Friday, April 24, 2009
My mom & I got a free roll of Reynold's Recycled Foil thanks to my dad, who was awake in the night & printed the rebate form! We also got free cloth bags from Walgreens and I got one from Trader Joes. (Walgreens - with coupon, Trader Joes - because my sister mentioned it was my first trip to Traders...but hopefully it won't be my last!)
I hope when Alex and "Baby Bob" are bigger, we'll be able to do some fun earth day activities each April. But for now, Alex is too little to understand it. I'd love to do things like take a walk to pick up trash, use items from the recycle bin to create a robot or sculpture, etc. (Alex DID find a plastic milk jug ring in the recycle bin and use it as a bracelet last night...does that count? LOL!)
I'm working on a compromise between frugal and green, and think we're doing okay. I'm not aiming for perfection, just to use what we can to make a difference in little ways. Here's my Earth Day post...just like last year.
Here's a list of the cleaners we currently use. I love that it's such a short list...keeps the cabinets much tidier!
- Palmolive Free & Clear natural dish liquid
- Arm & Hammer Essentials detergent and dryer sheets
- Clorox GreenWorks toilet cleaner
- Sunrise or CVS brand recycled paper towels (along with cloth kitchen towels & microfiber cleaning rags)
- Advanage all-natural, all-purpose spray cleaner (which also works for windows, mirrors, spot-cleaning carpets, and more)
- baking soda (sprinkled on the glass-top stove, scrubbed with a really wet sponge or scrub brush)
- Electrasol or Cascade (yeah, so not 'green'...but usually cheap!)
- we cloth diaper about 95% of the time, although I have about 10 packs of disposables for the first month or two with "Baby Bob". We'll probably use disposable with Alex for a few weeks at that time, also. We're at about 95% with cloth wipes, too. Daddy prefers disposable wipes, and we keep them in the diaper bag, too.
- The lady who made Alex's cloth wipes also makes a larger size that is designed to be used like a paper towel. I love them! They're such a cheery print that I'd prefer to use these simply because they make me smile! :) (There's usually a roll of recycled paper towels in our kitchen, as well, but it lasts a long time.)
- We rarely use paper plates or ziplock bags, but I can't give up paper napkins. Why cloth diapers are okay, but cloth napkins are gross is beyond me. Go figure.
- We've got a stash of Palmolive Free & Clear that I got for $1/bottle, but I'll still use Dawn dishsoap if it's free at CVS. And we still use Electrasol or Cascade because I can't find a reasonably-priced, readily-available "green" dishwasher detergent. Any suggestions?
What do you do that's earth-friendly? Any fun projects with your kids? Do you plant a garden with your kids? Any advice on keeping away the tomato worms? The tomato worms have taken over my tomatoes & peppers every time I've tried. I don't think I'm even trying this year unless someone wants to walk me through the process all summer long, but I wish I could teach my kids to garden...and I'm dying to make homemade salsa from my own garden someday!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I feel like lunch repeats itself around here, and I'd like to add a little variety. I need some good, easy toddler-friendly lunches. Any suggestions? Here are "the rules":
1) We avoid lunchables and Gerber toddler meals...it's just pricy junk food!
(not that I always do much better with making my own lunches for him...)
2) No peanut butter or peanut products, although my friend Trish suggested sunbutter as an alternative
3) preferably has some sort of dairy/calcium content since Alex doesn't care for drinking milk, so I aim to get calcium in his food
4) I'm disgusted by the smell of tuna, and I won't feed it to my kid(s)...because then I have to smell it as I prepare it, lol!
Here's what he currently has every day:
1 - always yogurt (half his daily calcium need)
2 - always fruit (canned peaches or pears in fruit juice, applesauce, sliced grapes or strawberries, blueberries, melon chunks - whatever is available)
3 - one of the following:
- tomato soup & grilled cheese (he LOVES this!!)
- jelly & cream cheese tortilla roll-up
- deli ham & cream cheese tortilla roll-up
- jelly on bread (our biggest "hurry-up" lunch)
- macaroni & cheese
- dinner leftovers
- rarely: chicken nuggets or beef hot dogs in small chunks with BBQ sauce
- rarely: spaghettios/mini ravioli
Since a few of you are nutrition-oriented, you might like to know:
jelly is all-natural, fruit-juice sweetened, no sugar or corn syrup
bread is Aunt Millie's whole grain wheat bread (or sometimes homemade)
applesauce is all-natural, unsweetened - just apples & water
mac & cheese/spaghettios are usually Annie's if I can catch it on sale
if you know of a GOOD, creamy tomato soup that contains no corn syrup, let me know!
Yes, we eat junk, but Keith & I aim to keep most of it out of the kiddo! ;)
So, any suggestions? Please?! :)
- swiffering the kitchen floor (we shortened the handle & he loves it!)
- "So Big" tickles after his bath (oh, you should hear that - best giggle ever!)
- cars & trucks
- Racing Ramp toy
- helping Mama put clothes in the dryer, then shutting the door
- handing me towels & washcloths to fold
- randomly giving kisses
- playing with belly buttons (you've been warned, and I apologize in advance!)
- cell phones (we gave him Keith's old phone, charged up but without service)
- walking backward
- playing blocks at his bedroom table (Mama builds a tower, Alex crashes it)
- reading books together (when he feels like it, but always before naptime...and often one or two in the evening after dinner) Current favorites are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Bear Snores On and Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type. He's also doing a good job of destroying Aunt Deb's Ten In A Bed pop-up book, but he loves when I sing him that story.
- going "bup" (upstairs to the playroom)
- riding his toy train (for which we'll forever be grateful to Karen for the loan...I dread the day we have to give it back!)
- feeding Maggie
- putting his clothes in the hamper after his bath (yay! we've been working on this!)
- just starting to understand scribbling with crayons
- putting real coins in his piggy bank (with constant supervision, of course) and then shaking the pig
- making funny, scrunchy faces to get us to laugh
- remotes & real phones (which are no-nos, but try & stop him!)
- attempting to play with the dog
- strings, ropes, dog leashes - anything he can drag behind him around the house (I'm thinking of attaching a long ribbon to an empty box so he can drag around his little people or cars
- carrying a paper gift bag filled with little toys
- wearing his toy stethescope and being called "Dr. Alex"
- playing in the dog's cage
- playing with a small tub of colored, uncooked macaroni (although I still have to watch closely so he doesn't eat it)
- playing with a small tub of soapy water
- eating bananas - first thing he asks for in the morning, and he continues to ask for bananas all day long. It's a sad day if we're out of bananas. He signs 'banana' and looks longingly at the spot where we keep our bananas. He will beg anyone, anywhere for a banana. When we grocery shop, he MUST hold the bananas...and attempt to eat them through the peel.
- asking us to "puh" the electronics in our house. I don't know if this is Alex-speak for 'push' or something else, but he asks us to "puh" the TV, the stereo, the cell phones, the light switches...anything that can be turned on & off
I try to encourage him to spend a good amount of time each day with the 'unplugged' variety of toys. I love all our Fisher Price toys, but I'd like Alex to use creativity & imagination, too...something that battery-operated toys don't always allow for.
We've got the Toddler Busy Book by Trish Kuffner (free, thanks to Paperback Swap!), although Alex isn't quite ready for most of the activities yet. We're working on making a few, though. If anyone uses frozen juice/lemonade with the metal lids (small Durkee onion containers with metal lids, too) we'd love to have your lids, please!
A couple favorite toddler activity websites right now are listed below. I look forward to Alex growing into many of the activities found here:
What were/are your kids favorite things to do at this age? Favorite stories to read? Chores they could help you do? I'm open to suggestions for active ways to keep Alex busy during the day.