Tuesday, April 29, 2008

this week's top 5


5. the flylady. yes, this is another one of my attempts to get organized and stay on top of things around the house. i'm tired of being a disorganized flake. if you sign up on their website, they send you little reminders of what you should do that day as well as encouragement! we'll see if it works! http://www.flylady.net/




4. zatarains. this is another one of those 'where have i been?' type of things. i discovered these boxed rice dishes a few weeks ago and YUM, YUM, YUM! why have i never had these before? we're having some for dinner tonight!




3. lou piniella. i have a soft spot for this former mariner's manager. i love a manager who gets all fired up and i have yet to see anyone do it better than lou. have you seen his aquafina commercial? http://uncutvideo.aol.com/videos/04b99149cb2db2f85992607ff6dcc168



2. almonds. i always thought i hated almonds, which is unfortunate since they're among the healthier nuts, but it was because my mom (who loves to snack on almonds) always gets the raw almonds. i recently tried some that were roasted and salted... YUM!!!



1. the baby bjorn toilet trainer potty seat. this one takes the cake this week. i ordered this about a week ago to replace the horrible potty seat i had. (btw, munchkin is a horrible brand of potty seat to buy. too many nooks and crannys for pee to get into so it stinks and when you turn it sideways, old pee actually drips out of it. YUCK!) it came in the mail yesterday and i put it in and took the other one to the trash immediately. it's awesome. don't waste your money on a cheaper model. i got this for 25 bucks on amazon and it's worth every penny.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

i stand corrected...

layla is up now too....

aren't saturdays supposed to be for sleeping in???

certain boys have caused me to be awake and out of bed at this ridiculous hour on a saturday morning... i've actually been awake since 4:30 when boy #2 decided to wake up and not go back to sleep. it was around that time that i heard boy #1 in the other room talking. when i asked why he was talking, he said he couldn't sleep and he'd been up ALL NIGHT. i assured him that was an exaggeration and told him to go back to sleep. he didn't, and an hour later, ended up in my bed. turns out he's 'too excited about going fishing'. today is apparently the opening day of lake fishing and he and wyatt get to go out in the boat with ron this morning and do some fishing. i finally got up at like 5:45 when micah got noisy. poor dave still is planning to go to work this morning... at least it won't be hard to get out of bed.

well... at least layla isn't up!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

oh come on! seriously???



so i just discovered something unpleasant. my favorite bagged salad (not very green, i know) is packaged in the bad #7 plastic! this is the one that canada just anounced they will be banning for use in food and beverage containers because it leaches BPA into the food it contains. i'm so ticked. i am a major fan of packaged salads because i love salad, but i HATE to wash lettuce. no really, i despise it. i'm not sure exactly why, but it's a very unpleasant task for me and i avoid it at all cost. so i'm majorly bummed. i realize that i can still get salads in the little plastic boxes, which is probably better since they are usually organic, but they don't have the ones with all the nifty extra veggies in them that i like and they usually have lots of extra greens in them which dave (aka, mr. iceberg) won't eat. LAME!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

all about me

i'll play along, brenda. this is another 'tag' and if you so desire, consider yourself tagged and reciprocate.

1.WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? i think my mom once had a student named rachel and anna is a family name on her side.
2.WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? i'm really not entirely sure. life must be pretty good right now.
3.DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? sometimes
4.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? good salami
5.DO YOU HAVE KIDS? quite a few, actually
6.IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? i hope so. i think i'm pretty nice.
7.DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT? oh no. never!!! haha.
8.DO YOU HAVE YOUR TONSILS? yes, and all four wisdom teeth
9.WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? no. i hate big drops.
10.DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? no. too lazy.
11.DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? sure.
12.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? it varies. for awhile i was on a mint chocolate chip kick. but at baskin-robbins i go for either chocolate peanut butter or strawberry cheesecake. at cold stone i get cake batter w/ butterfingers in it.
13.WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? probably hair and clothing.
14.RED OR PINK? pink, unless it's for the kitchen. all of my small appliances, hot pads, towels, pots and pans and even my countertop compost crock are red.
15. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? i'm completely disorganized, late to everything and very flaky. i have a hard time committing to things because i never know if i'll be able to remember to do it, be organized enough to do it, or be on time.
16.WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? that's a hard one... maybe the ohdaps.
17.WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? grey capris and navy blue slippers
18.WHAT IS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? chips and salsa
19.WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? the dishwasher, washing machine, and layla attempting to use the vcr.
20.IF YOU WERE A CRAYON WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? how about a metallic blue.
21.FAVORITE SMELLS? coffee, verbena, jasmine, nag champa, the way hot clothes smell when you're ironing them, fresh cut grass, i could go on and on... i'm very olfactorily influenced!
22.WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? the lady from studio east
23.FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? baseball, dog agility, cheerleading competitions and lumberjack competitions. i know, odd.
24.HAIR COLOR? brown
25.EYE COLOR? brown
26.DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? no
27.FAVORITE FOOD? strawberries, nectarines, blueberries, raspberries, popcorn, pickles
28.SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? i won't watch scary movies.
29.LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED. juno
30. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? navy blue (hey, something matches my slippers! i'm coordinated!)
31.SUMMER OR WINTER? summer
32.HUGS OR KISSES? hugs
33.FAVORITE DESSERT? really good cheesecake
34.WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? i am notoriously reading like 5 books at any given time. the sneaky chef, the continuum concept, green this, and the no-cry discipline solution.
35.WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? a dell logo
36.WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? about 5 minutes of dancing with the stars
37. FAVORITE SOUND? babies laughing
38.ROLLING STONES OR BEATTLES? grateful dead
39.WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? florida, i guess.
40.DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? well, i'm a mom, so i can untangle slinkys, heal owies with a kiss, and do almost anything with only one hand and very little sleep!

this week's top 5

5. charcoal chimneys. this is a great little contraption. it makes it so easy to get your coals hot fast. just stuff some newspaper in the bottom, fill it with charcoal and light the paper. no lighter fluid needed!



4. o organics oolong tea with peach from safeway. this stuff is so yummy.



3. vinegar. do you have any idea how useful this stuff is? i currently use it as a weed killer, fabric softener, drain cleaner, and mop solution. there's like hundreds of uses and it's cheap!



2. juno. we got this on saturday and it was really good. it definitely lived up to the hype and i totally recommend it.

1. the bravado body silk seamless nursing bra. i got this bra on saturday. i have such a hard time finding a bra that really fits my narrow rib cage, especially nursing bras. this one is great. so super comfortable and doesn't wiggle around. YAY! i'll be wearing it everyday, mostly because i could only afford one.

Monday, April 21, 2008

tootin' my own horn! (for the sake of the earth)

so i'm not usually one to blab about how 'green' i am, but in honor of earth day tomorrow, i've decided to take a personal inventory of the choices i make daily that affect the future of our planet and the quality of our lives. i'm not usually an earth day celebrator since i try to treat every day as though it were earth day, and not just once a year. but i figured this was a good excuse. i've always walked a bit on the green side, but i really took a turn about a year and a half ago when i was influenced by raffi - yes, the children's musician - after reading his autobiography, life of a children's troubadour. this is, by the way, a fantastic book and i highly recommend it to anyone who has ever enjoyed his music, or even remotely cares about children's or environmental advocacy. i don't want anyone to see this as any sort of snobbish, 'i am greener than you' kind of thing, but rather as a challenge to myself to see what else i can do, and maybe as a suggestion of some easy ideas that the reader might be able to use. i want more ideas too, so feel free to share and hopefully we can collectively do even more to live a little more 'with' the earth instead of destroying it. so here goes...

* DIAPERING. when at home, i use cloth diapers. they are unbleached cotton fitted diapers that i use w/ waterproof covers. a lot of skeptics say that this is no better since you use so much water and electricity, plus chemicals to wash them, but i use as little water as i can get away with, only one cycle is hot, i hang them to dry when time is not an issue (ie, i've run out of diapers!), and i use naturally derived, non-toxic, biodegradable detergent, baking soda, and vinegar to wash them (not all at the same time). besides, disposables don't break down in landfills... i think i've taken up my fair share of landfill space. when out, micah does use disposables, but i'm still doing the EC thing, so in general, he doesn't use very many. layla still uses diapers when she sleeps, but i get the Seventh Generation ones that are chlorine free. i'll switch micah to these when i finally use up the super-mondo costco pack of huggies i've been working on for like 3 months. i'm looking into getting a few all-in-ones for layla to sleep in instead of using the disposables. i also have taken to using those little cheesy baby washrags that i have like a million of instead of wet wipes. i keep a basket of them in the bathroom and get one wet when i need it, then just toss it in the bucket with the dirty diapers and wash them together. how easy is that?
* LAUNDRY. as mentioned above, i use non-toxic laundry detergent. i've recently given up dryer sheets. i almost never use bleach. chlorine bleach is a very evil substance - not good for human health or planet health. i say almost never, since i do have one vice - the bleach pen. if i can figure out a comparably easy and effective way to get stains out of whites, i'll give it up. i'm looking forward to summer and getting a clothesline up so i can hang out my laundry. i positively LOVE hanging clothes to dry.
* CLEANING. i've been slowly phasing out all of my old toxic cleaners in favor of safe ones. i've started using baking soda for a lot of cleaning (sinks, toilets, and tubs), and for most everything else i use simple green or a seventh generation spray cleaner. i mop my hard floors with an easy recipe i found of vinegar, a few squirts of baby shampoo and warm water. i just dump it in my mop bucket and that's that. it works great and smells good too. i have one vice in this area too and that's paper towels. i'm sponge-phobic to some degree since most people use their sponges way too long and let them get stinky and full of nasty bacteria by not rinsing them and leaving them in the bottom of the sink. i do have a sponge i use in the kitchen but i'm super OCD about making sure it's rinsed and allowed to dry out of the sink. i'm thinking of switching to rags since they're infinitely reusable (unlike sponges) and i could wash them as often as my OCD sees fit. but at least for the time being, i try to buy the recycled, unbleached paper towels.
* DISHES. i use non-toxic dish soap and dishwasher detergent, but here's another vice of mine... i've tried using the unheated drying cycle to save energy, but i can't stand it when the dishes are still all wet. it works okay if i can run the dishwasher in the evening and then leave it open all night, but it never seems to work out that way. i'm usually starting it before i go to bed and then i would have to leave it open all day to get them dry. this doesn't work for several reasons; if i don't unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning, i'm behind all day and dishes pile up in the sink and on the counter making for a gross mess, an unusable sink, and a depressed rachel because having a decently clean kitchen is one of the things that helps me maintain my sanity. also, i have a toddler in the house and she frequently likes to pull sharp knives out of the dishwasher if the door is open. not good. finally, our kitchen was designed by someone on crack and you can't open any of the drawers when the dishwasher is open and i'm too short to reach the dishes in the cupboard when the door is hanging out in the middle of the floor. so until i get better at scheduling my dishwashing, i keep using the heated dry cycle. bummer.
* GARBAGE. this is one that i feel really strongly about, and i actually feel like yelling at people when i see them throwing out stuff that can be recycled. i just don't get why people don't do it when it's so stinkin' easy. i probably take it further than most though. i have a box in the kitchen for the recycling that gets reused, so no waste there. just dump it in the can outside and bring the box back in. i haven't been able to go totally bagless for the garbage (because it grosses me out), and i won't buy the biodegradable plastic bags made out of corn or whatever (because i refuse to spend money on something that has no other purpose than to contain garbage and then be thrown away with it), so my compromise is this; i occasionally will get paper grocery bags and use them in the can under the sink in the kitchen. however, i learned that paper bags won't just break down in landfills and the goal of this whole thing is to not create more garbage in order to contain the garbage i already have. so i empty the garbage out of the bag into the can outside and then either reuse the bag if it's not nasty or falling apart, or if it is, i put it in the yard waste bin so it gets composted. yes, you can do that. i can reuse the bag quite a few times since we compost our food scraps which really keeps your garbage from getting too nasty and stinky. we dump these in the yard waste bin as well. we used to put them in our compost here, but then i discovered that i had my very own templeton and stopped that, so now i just compost non-food items like leaves and grass. i'm thinking about starting up a worm bin to take care of the kitchen scraps.
* GROCERY SHOPPING. i usually bring my own reusable bags, unless i'm in need of a garbage bag and then i take paper. i never get plastic since they create a lot of solid waste and are petroleum based (and we use enough of that already). i keep bags in my car and a couple of small, fold-up ones in my purse so when i'm going to a store of any kind (like target), i have my own bag and don't have to take one of theirs. i try to buy organic varieties of what i can because i don't want to ingest a bunch of toxic, cancer-causing, gene-mutating pesticides, and i want to support farmers who don't pollute while growing their crops. i also try to buy as few individually wrapped products as possible. example, i quit buying string cheese because cutting pieces off the block isn't that hard and it doesn't come wrapped in a whole bunch of non-recyclable plastic. now that it's spring, i'd like to visit my local farmer's market more often. buying locally is great.
* OUTDOORS. we use an old fashioned push mower to cut the grass. no gas or electricity, just plain old sweat. it's a good workout, but it's really not that much harder than using a traditional mower. i pull weeds by hand or pour vinegar on them to kill them. did you know that? vinegar has all sorts of amazing talents. i started a garden last year and will this year as well. it's fun to grow your own stuff and nice to know that you haven't put anything dangerous on it.
* PERSONAL CARE. i try to buy as many natural products as possible; shampoo, soap, lotion, etc. i tried the tom's of maine natural toothpaste, but dave didn't like it. i've been told that the cinnamint flavor is really yummy, so i might try again with that. i also haven't been able to find a natural deodorant that really works. any input here? i used the crystal for a while and it worked for a while, but then didn't really work anymore. i'm that way with any deodorant though, i have to switch frequently. i also buy the toilet paper that is whitened w/out bleach. as far as soap is concerned, i recently learned that many botanical essential oils are antibacterial, such as lavender and tea tree, so you can kill germs without bad chemicals. (fyi, vinegar kills germs too! that's why it's good in the diaper laundry and the mop bucket.)
* MISC. AROUND THE HOUSE. houseplants. i keep adding more plants when i can. they're great little toxin eaters, especially the spider plant which loves formaldehyde. lightbulbs. i've switched many of my bulbs to the fluorescent ones. i'd like to switch out all of them, but it seems a little wasteful to replace bulbs that still work, so i'll just switch them out as they burn out.
* COMMUTING. well, i don't really do anything here, but dave takes the bus to work, so i'll toot his horn on this one. i'm still driving the gas-guzzling soccer mom mobile all over town. when are they going to come out with a hybrid minivan??? not that i can afford it, but one can dream. i'm trying to remember not to idle. it's better to turn it off and restart.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
*COFFEE. it may seem silly to give this it's own category, but coffee is a VERY important part of my life. at home, i use organic, free-trade coffee beans for my morning brew, and i compost my grounds and filters. when out, i love to go to tully's (sorry amy and auntie re) as often as possible because they are doing good things for the environment, including making compostable cups. i try to remember to bring my own cup, but i need to get better about it.

i think that pretty much does it. i have a "green to do list" that i am adding things to all the time. i am trying to phase out wrapping paper and disposable ribbons as much as possible in favor of bags which i hope people will reuse. eventually, i'd like to use festive cloth to wrap gifts in and tie them up with real ribbons. i'd also like to have all cloth napkins. i'd love to have ones for every season or holiday.
so share your ideas with me. what are you doing? what's on your "green to do list" that should be on mine?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

yet another one...

last night dave was watching 'who wants to be a millionaire' on tv. layla walked in and saw the tv and asked, 'what's that?'
dave: it's a game show called 'who wants to be a millionaire'.
layla: oh.
dave: do you want to be a millionaire?
layla: no.
dave: oh, i know. you want to be a billionaire.
layla (yelling): NO!!!! I WANT TO BE A LADY BUG!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Top 5 (for this week)

i stole this idea from a friend and i think it's great! i guess the idea is to list 5 things that have recently impressed you... made you say 'wow'... or just something you're really into at the moment. so, without further ado (what is ado, by the way?), here are my top 5:
5. the seattle mariners. i love baseball. i love baseball season. i love ballparks, overpriced hotdogs and nachos, cheesy organ music, grass that's mowed in a pattern and peanut vendors that can toss their warm, foil-wrapped bundles with the accuracy of an nfl quarterback. go m's!
4. broiling meat. why did i never know about this before? it's so stinkin' fast!
3. strawberries. yum. dave accused me recently of liking strawberries more than sex... i responded that it would have to depend on the condition of the strawberries! btw, strawberries are the second most contaminated food... so buy organic!
2. thunderclouds, apple trees, flowering cherries and all the super gorgeous trees that are in bloom around here right now. as i drive down the road, i'm constantly commenting on all the awesome pink and white trees that are totally full of flowers. i also think it's pretty cool when they start to lose their flowers and it looks like the road got snowed on with pink snow!
1. 'unnecessary censorship' from jimmy kimmel live. dave and i stumbled upon this recently. OMG! LMAO! they have it on every friday night, but we never make it up that late. you can find it on youtube though, and we just sit there and try not to pee our pants!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

kid funnies

last night at dinner, the subject of birthday presents came up. dave asked shane what he wanted for his birthday. he answered, 'an ATV.' we suggested that it be something he might actually get and he then said, 'a sit-down lawnmower.' yeah, right. his final answer was a flat-screen tv that he can put on the ceiling so he can watch tv while lying in bed. then dave asked layla what she wanted for her birthday. she thought for a minute and then said, "um... a banana!"

Friday, April 4, 2008

more fun from layla

she seriously has the best imagination! just now i'm in the living room and she comes running over and says she's scared (or actually, 'scary' as she calls it) of the lion. i say, 'what lion?' and she says, 'the lion by the door.' so i'm like, 'wow, there's a lion by the door!' and she says that we should not let it in. well, duh! so then she proceeds to start talking about a goat, which by the way, is also by the door and i'm thinking, well if there's a goat and a lion by the door, wouldn't the lion pretty much take care of the goat? but anyway after i express my surprise about the goat being by the door, she says there's elephants there too. wow. and i say that we shouldn't let them in and she wants to know why. well, they would make a mess, right? they'd knock stuff over, and besides, they probably wouldn't fit through the door. and letting the lion in would be a really bad idea. 'why?' well, he might eat us. 'why?' well, what if he's hungry? 'oh, i'll just give him some cereal.' so apparently, lions like to eat cereal. so i say, 'if we let him in and you give him some cereal, then everything will be okay?' she says yes, and that after he eats his cereal, he's going to help her take out the trash cans. WHAT? where did that come from? not only that, one of the elephants is going to help too. the elephant will take out the blue can (recycling) and the lion is going to take out the green one (garbage), which leaves layla with the big, gray yard waste can. good luck with that! i don't know where she comes up with this stuff. sometimes i think she's eaten some funky mushrooms or something. she's always seeing cats out the window that aren't there. or maybe they are. sometimes i think there's stuff in the world that only kids can see. adults can't see it, because we don't believe we can. like fairies... lots of kids can see fairies. but seriously, life must be so much for fun for layla. i'm glad she shares this stuff with me. it reminds me not to be too boring and grown up all the time.

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