Monday, June 8, 2009

What's cookin' ?

Miss M's new play food cooked on her new stove, that's what! Yes, I made the stove and food. Yes, I might have too much time on my hands (although, it never feels that way). Now you know what I'm doing when I should be posting on the blog!

In anticipation of the awesome pots, pans, and cooking utensils that I knew were on the way from 2 of Miss M's grandmothers, I got inspired. Actually, it was when Maya walked into the room this morning with a toy tea pot offering me "coffee" that I got the food idea...

Anyway, for the stove (if you want to make one or just know how this one was made). It's a cardboard box, burners are images I found online, printed, cut out, and glued on the top. I cut an opening for the oven door and more cardboard for handle. Voila stove/oven! The play food is the same thing. Pictures glued onto cardboard. All the cardboard I got from my recycling bin. The whole deal (minus the pots and pans, which she LOVES) is all re-purposed (which I LOVE). Pretty simple and I got in touch with my inner child.

Honestly, nerdy as it was, I had fun. DORK, I know! Anymore crafty/re-purpose ideas for my and Maya's idle hands?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Kid's Herb Book

If nature's unfurling is still enticing you to join in the verdant growth, then consider Lesley Tierra's compilation: A Kid's Herb Book. Make some Lemon Zest Sun Tea (heated by the sun), Herbal Candy Drops, a Sun Bouquet, or a fragrant herbal pillow. The final chapter on our ecosystems and particulars for harvesting or gathering is very useful. We have used the more medicinal remedies in this book for ailments, and look forward to the more joyful, fun, and beautifully creative moments in this workbook. I don't think we will resist the Root Beer recipe any longer! With Love, Mandala

Fruits of Our Love

This spring and summer, fresh, organic strawberries are ripe and red again! Little did I know that this book would touch my boy's heart and belly in such a delightful way. Fortunately, we had a cool batch of strawberries lounging in the kitchen when, at the closing of the book, he said: "Let us eat some strawberries to remember." This reading was in season, in synch, and instills some immeasurably profound values in our young ones: loving-kindness with words, generosity, and forgiveness. I hope you all enjoy this Cherokee story! Thanks to Joseph Bruchac for writing this book and to Mr. Michael for finding it! With Love, Mandala

Monday, May 4, 2009

Summertime... and the living is easy?

As the weather begins to warm up, and we enjoy more and more daylight and sweet breezes in our backyard I'm realizing... I stink. Yes, I'm already sweating in the afternoon sun that floods our backyard. Miss M is sticky with dirt and mud already and it's not even 80 degrees!

She doesn't seem to mind, but I see that we can NOT spend the ENTIRE summer in this yard. Sure, some of it, but I gotta give the kid a little more. That, and people are probably going to think we have gophers from all the little digging holes.

So, I've got some ideas about what to do this summer. I can sweat other places (and Maya can get dirty other places) like farms where we can pick berries, the beach, the pool, the botanic gardens. I can keep cool in the museums (and Maya can get dirty there too!), libraries, music class, aquariums, the beach and pool again! And I try interesting and new things like movies in an old Hollywood cemetery complete with a picnic of good food, wine, my little family and friends (I think Maya can get dirty doing this as well!).

We don't have any exotic getaways planned this summer, maybe a trip back east to see family, but I have a feeling that it'll be a great summer. Hopefully, some really beautiful memories will be made.

What are some of the ways you and your babes and family will take in the Summertime? I'd love some more ideas. Summertime with a child/children is not exactly easy (or clean), but it already seems like a lot of fun!

Potty Talk: Update

So, we found a little throne for Miss M. to sit her tiny tush on when Mama goes into the bathroom. It's quite fun. It's the Circo (Target brand) sort of 3-in-1 deal. It's a potty! It's a step stool! It's a training seat for the big potty! It's only $9.99 (I love that)!

The little "container" comes out like a drawer, for easy cleaning (right... sure...) and dumping. This blue center "seat" detaches and can go on the grown-up potty.

The lid goes down and Voila! Step stool, complete with grip.

The only feature we really use is the step stool part. Miss M. does like to sit on it and pretend, HOWEVER, she is no where near dealing with it for it's true purpose. Right now, it just keeps her busy while I'm doin' ma thang (whatever it may be) and maybe, way down the road she'll use it for something other than a place to hide toys in! But, shoot, she looks good on it!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

But Why?

Poor me. While I'm starting to collect cool friends with kids, I mostly still am surrounded by those who haven't (yet) spawned. And when you politely (again) decline a shot of Tequila, you're lame. But why? They whine. Because I have to wake up at 4am. But why? Because I have a toddler. But why? Because babies like to rise early. But why are you leaving so early? (11pm). Because like I said, I have to be alert and playful at 4am, or maybe 6-7am. But why? Because like I said... @#$%! See, adults without kids are really a lot like toddlers.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Introducing Myself

Hello Conscious Mamas. I'm Libby, and I'm the Midwest mom. My daughter, the irrepressible Miss Scarlett is 2 and a half [today, as a matter of fact] and we are expecting our second in about 5 weeks. I can give you any advice you care to hear about subsequent pregnancies [including exactly how long it took me to remember the word 'subsequent' with pregnancy brain] and tell you exactly how important kegel exercises are. Trust me. Important.

My philosophy is thus: I have been making a conscious effort since the birth of Miss Scarlett to do our families part to offset all the brightly colored plastic that has made its way into our lives. We are in no way perfect, but we believe in recycling, cutting out as many chemicals as possible, and shaking our heads in disbelief anytime the Corn Counsel puts a commercial on trying to convince people that High Fructose Corn Syrup is really okily dokily when used in moderation!

Since I don't actually have much to contribute right now [see aforementioned pregnancy brain], I thought I'd share one of my favorite websites. Check our their kids Smart tees! The alphabet is printed upside down on the hem, with the corresponding letters highlighted. Love it!

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I do have to tell you that today I went and picked out my minivan. Hypocrisy, thy name is automatic sliding doors. But when staring down the tunnel of lugging a pumpkin seat and a two year old, you quickly decide that you can step up your environmental impact in other ways. See? Not perfect.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On choosing clothing

Hi all!  This is my first post on this blog- my name is emeraldwednesday and I have a 3 1/2 month old son.  I'm so glad to be able to contribute and hope that I can be helpful to someone once in a while.

So the other day I was thinking about baby clothing and how much what I look for has changed since I was pregnant and buying the first little newborn outfits.  As a mom in the trenches, I have a completely different perspective and list of requirements versus when I was a starry-eyed expectant lady.  I still want cute duds for my little dude, but practicality trumps all- and before, I didn't know what really *was* practical.

As you get to know me, you'll find that I'm all about the bulleted list.  (Probably too much time either in science or in corporate life; not sure which.)  Anyway, without further verbiage, here's my list of what I've found about baby clothing.  Some findings may be obvious, others not.

  • The "month" sizing means little to nothing.  Every manufacturer has its own ideas of how big, say, a three month old should be.  Right now my DS is wearing 3-6 months in Old Navy and "just one year" (by Carters), 6 months in regular Carters, 3 months in Baby Gap, and 6-9 months in Circo (the Target brand).  As you can see, you can't even depend on two divisions of the same company to get it the same.  The "pound" guidelines are much more helpful.
  • Regarding one piece sleep and plays- snaps, especially snaps that go down both legs rather than just one, are much better than zippers that go down one leg.  You don't have to practically undress the baby for a diaper change, or put baby's leg into contortions to get it in and out of the sleeper.  Zippers can also ride up into the baby's face if you wear them in an upright position.  All that said, I prefer one piece outfits to separates in the beginning- fast, no matching to worry about or pants to remove for diaper changes!
  • Never buy anything where the only closure is down the back!
  • I find "envelope" or overlap necklines easier to deal with than ones with snaps.  They open wider.
  • Bodysuits (the onesie type thing) don't ride up the way Tshirts do when you pick up the baby.  
  • I needed many more changes of clothing than I expected to.  Babies tend to spit up and diapers can leak.  I had visions of going with quality over quantity with clothing, but unless I wanted to use crazy amounts of energy, water, and time doing laundry constantly, that wasn't going to work.  I hit sales now, and am thinking of buying used if possible, for both budgetary and environmental reasons.  There are buy/sell/trade shops around for baby clothes; this may be an option.
  • "Baby legs" (legwarmer things) are an awesome alternative to pants that don't have to be removed for diaper changes.  There are tons on etsy!
  • You can get "garment extenders" for snap-crotch shirts to get a little more use out of them.  I also hear that you can get something to attach to Tshirts to sort of convert them into bodysuits, but I haven't checked into that yet!

That's all I can remember for now.  Anyone have anything to add?  I'm sure I can use more advice on this from people who have more experience/older kids.  :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Potty Talk

Miss M's new favorite word (aside from "Papa") is "poo-poos". She also likes to say "pee-pee", but "poo-poos" is, by far, the most popular. Along with saying these words, she has a new fascination with all things bathroom related. This is adorable when she's trying to wash her own hands, brush her own teeth, or was her own face... However, she's really into what it is I'm doing. I find us having to stand over the toilet, as it's flushing, waving and saying, "byyeee!". So, this got me thinking, maybe she would like her own little throne to sit on.

There are many, many potties out there. Some that sing, some that don't do a thing, and everything in between. Although this is just a seat for the bathroom, NOT a serious attempt at real-deal potty training, it would be great to get one that will work when the time is right. I plan to start the hunt soon. Any good recommendations (whether you actually used it, intend to use it, or wished you had used it)? Also, any good potty tips or stories? I love potty stories.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bad Baby Bath?

Just wanted to include the email that got it all started.

"Okay, so I was completely on the fence about sharing this, because I'm totally known for being neurotic about these things BUT I did it anyway. Truth is I can be neurotic about these things and you all ALREADY know that about me, so why hide? PLUS you all should know (if you don't already). Especially if you have used Mustela, I was surprised.

Anyway, you all know how I feel about informed decisions (it's the doula in me)! :)

I love you all and your babes! Hope you're all well. For those of you far away, you are missed and we hope to see you soon! I'll send pictures soon, promise.

Some articles about it:,0,6899715.story "

Mama! What's for dinner?

Really. I feel as though I'm making the same things over again. Sometimes, it's the same ingredients, just put together in a different way. Maya can be a picky eater at times. She goes through cycles; she hates cheese, she likes cheese (but just one kind).

If you have one of these at home or even if your little one has no fear all kinds of cheeses, please share your quickest, easiest, and healthy meal ideas. I am desperate! I wince when I'm asked that dreaded question... What's for dinner?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bored Books

We own a TON of books. Quite frankly, I'm bored of them. Bored to tears. Maya, however, is not and will bring me some to read over and over and over again. I know some of them by heart. Seriously, I hide them sometimes. They are all very good books, but I need a break from them. When it gets this bad, it's time for a trip to the library.

Our local library is wonderful. They have toys, puzzles, a beautiful tree with an ENORMOUS root system for Maya to play in, and a sea of books (of course). I am always completely overwhelmed in there. It's hard to know which books are good and which are just duds. The shelves wrap around the room, there's an entire board book section and they have these catch-all baskets (great idea) for all "misplaced" books. You know the ones children just take off the shelves one after another and you don't have the time to alphabetize to put them back cause you're needed at the block station to mediate? Those.

So, I'm hoping that you'll take joy in reading our "old hats" and maybe we'll find some new blood in some of yours! Happy reading (and reading and reading).

1. Toes, Ears, & Nose by Marion Dane Bauer

2. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

3. Goodnight Moon by Margret Wise Brown

4. Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang

5. Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss