Archive for February, 2011

A dino hunting we will go.

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

This week in Zach’s class, they’ve been studying dinosaurs. To end this special dino-filled week, the class is having the Great Dinosaur Extravaganza. (Seriously – nothing is funnier than hearing a bunch of snaggle tooth first graders trying to say “extravaganza.” lol) Tuesday, his teacher sent home a sheet about this extravaganza. The students were to bring in dinosaur related books, posters, toys, etc, PLUS they were supposed to do one of the following to bring in on Friday:

  • draw or color a dinosaur picture
  • make a dinosaur diorama
  • make a dinosaur fact poster
  • make a dinosaur fact book

I’m going to say it’s very safe to assume that most kids will probably bring in a dinosaur picture they colored that their parents either printed or got out of a coloring book. But did my son want to take that easy route? No. It’s not like we live with dino-obsessed Ryan, so we have literally twenty dinosaur coloring books. It would just be much too easy for him to find a page in one of the coloring books to color. Oh no no no. He wanted to created a fact book AND a diorama. After it taking him almost all of the time we had during the week for him to gather the information for his fact book alone, I managed to talk him out of the diorama also.

What we did with the fact book was both of us sat down Tuesday and thought about what we wanted to put in the fact book and how we wanted it to look. We worked on how he wanted to phrase the questions, how he wanted the pages set up, and then I showed him around the websites he would find his answers on. Wednesday, I gave Zach a piece of paper with his questions, opened the websites, and told him to find the answers. (I had to help him some, but really only on big stupid words that the letters don’t say the sounds that they’re supposed to.) Then, we got together the dinosaur images we wanted to use. After he went to bed, I opened Photoshop and started putting the pages together. (more…)


Oh, Boy

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

“Dad? May I have that cupcake?”

“Eat five more bites of broccoli, please.”

“I did it! Give me the cupcake right now! Now!”

“Wow. What are we teaching you?”

“You’re teaching me to have sugar.”

Gwendolyn’s Legacy

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Last night in TCF chat, I asked for suggestions. I wanted something I could do to honor Gwen tomorrow. The response I got was wonderful. A very wonderfully supportive woman named Joanna suggested that I ask people to do a good deed in Gwen’s honor to continue her work. Maybe I should explain…

You see, when I miscarried Gwen at 11w, I was devastated. In my grief and fears for new pregnancies, I found I quickly signed up and found the ladies to be wonderful. After a few months on the site, I began hosting the recurrent loss board, where I have been able to provide support to women for more than two years now.

Shortly after becoming host, a member posted. Her rainbow baby was very, very sick. They thought he had cancer. During his hospital stay, I emailed her to check on him. She was happy for my concern and gave me her # to check on him any time. I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, that precious rainbow baby is Joey, and he didn’t have cancer…it was worse: histiocytosis. As you likely already know, I have become VERY involved in raising awareness and volunteering for the nation’s biggest histio charity.

All of this was set into motion by Gwen’s passing. This precious little girl has made such a difference in so many lives despite never getting to take that first breath. I’d like to follow Joanna’s suggestion and take it one step further. If all of my readers would do just one good deed in Gwen’s honor tomorrow…think of the difference she’d make. If you can’t do this, for whatever reason, it would mean a lot to me if you’d just light a candle in her honor at some point tomorrow.

If you do a good deed, tell me about it. I’d love to know what’s being done in my baby’s honor. If you light a candle, I’d also love to know. If you can, take a picture of it and send it to me. Thanks in advance!

Devastation hits my city.. It’s bad this time.

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

I am really emotionally drained, and pretty much traumatized.  I had just arrived at my parents when the quake hit – I had put Emmy on the floor, went to smell Mum’s flowers she got for her birthday, and then the house started shaking. I raced to Emmy, falling over on the way, and knew all I could do was just dive on top of her… Stuff was falling down all around me, and I was just closing my eyes hoping we were out of the path of anything.  After it was over, I started hyperventilating and managed to drive to my Mum’s work (2 minutes away) to see she was okay, then found a route to get to Gaby’s preschool. On the way, I got a text from my Dad… I knew we were all alive, so I felt a little better then.

We are at my parents’. My house is okay, but the general area is an utter mess; I’m in Avonside, if you see that on the news at all.  The main road my street comes off is terrible, and so is the intersection just around from me (AGAIN!!)… I have been too emotionally not with it to take many photos, but I am uploading some now on FB.

When Dad got home, he told us he had left the CTV building 20 MINUTES BEFORE THE QUAKE – in which it collapsed. I think we’re all having trouble processing that, and what could have been had his appointment been 15 minutes later.  It’s just…. I tear up whenever I think about it.  My Dad isn’t handling it well. He’s such a strong man, but you can see how troubled he is.  He just got a phone call to say his doctor is missing.

My family is alive though, our houses are standing. I do know of one woman who has lost someone… I am dreading them releasing the full list eventually.

Yesterday we got power, and it was the first time we actually saw images of the utter devastation in the CBD. (more…)


Lunch on the Beach!

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by
One very curious little boy…
One french fry…
Some very hungry and eager seagulls…


Intro to Cloth Diaper Series: What Are Sleeve Cloth Diapers?

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

Welcome to my next installment in my Introduction to Cloth Diaper Series. This week, I am tackling Sleeve Cloth Diapers. Never heard the term before?

A “Sleeve” cloth diaper is basically a pocket diaper but with an opening at the front and back of the diaper. In the best situation, this means the insert should agitate out during the wash cycle.

According to my definition of a pocket diaper in my last installment, a “sleeve” diaper is a pocket, however I felt it deserved its own segment. (The tongue style will also get a stand alone post.)

The most popular sleeve diaper is probably the Smartipants, which I reviewed here. Another example would be the Thirsties Duo Diaper, which I have also reviewed. Both are seen in my video demonstration.

What is wonderful about sleeve cloth diapers is that you get all of the benefits of a pocket (inserts are removed and get cleaner than an AIO, dry times typically fast, inexpensive, customizable absorbency) but without the drawback of having to remove the insert before washing.  Like a pocket, you will still have to stuff it with the insert again before use.

The average pocket diaper is $17.95, a Smartipants will run you $14.95, and a Thirsties Duo Diaper is $18.50. Other sleeve diapers will remain in that range, whereas an AIO can cost closer to $20-25 depending on the brand.

Sleeve diapers make great diaper bag diapers, because while out you can skip un-stuffing the pocket before placing it in your wet bag, or worse, after it has been in your wet bag for a few hours and it has “ripened” up a bit.

Sleeve diapers are perfect if you don’t mind the laundry side of cloth diapers (stuffing) but prefer not to touch the dirty inserts.  They are usually trim, are economical, and come in a few brands and varieties to suit most consumers’ tastes.  It’s like an All-in-One and Pocket had a hybrid baby, not to be confused with hybrid diapers – that is another installment!

Smartipants are only sold through their website (they stopped selling in retail outlets a few months ago as best I can tell).  You can find Thirsties Duo Diaper at my affiliate, Kelly’s Closet, and many other cloth diaper stores!

Any questions on sleeve diapers, or other cloth diaper inquiries, leave a comment.  Also, if you have a topic you want to be covered in the series let me know!

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Homemade Bread

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

Just over a year ago, I was blessed to receive a bread maker for Christmas. I was so excited to start making bread – I thought I was going to do so much baking with it that we wouldn’t need to buy store bread anymore. Well, if you’ve ever baked much bread before, then you probably know how ridiculous that thought was. Baking bread is sort of an art. It takes practice to really get it right. Different recipes require tweaking here and there to finally land on the one loaf that you realize you’d eat every day with joy.

Well, after a year of baking, I think I’ve found it!

Two days ago, I tried out an adapted form of this recipe and was astounded by how wonderful it was. The bread came out light enough for a sandwich and hearty enough to fill you up. It was moist and not at all crumbly, meaning slicing it was a piece of cake. It stores well for at least 3 days (although we pretty much ate all of it by then, so I wouldn’t really know past 3 days!), and it boasts the nicest crust I’ve ever tasted on completely homemade bread (not hard and crunchy like some loaves). I’ve already made a second loaf, and it too is almost gone, since we can’t seem to stop eating it!

If you’re interested in my adaptions for the recipe, here is what I did differently:

  • I skipped the soaking – I was making this bread for dinner, so I needed it quick, and not soaking the grains didn’t impart any significant taste drawback! (Although soaking is much better for you, so I think I will try soaking it next time.)
  • I opted to leave out the flax seed and wheat gluten. Pretty much because I didn’t have any!
  • Since I didn’t soak it, I left out the extra 1/4ts. of honey and the 2 tb. of water.
  • The first loaf, I used olive oil, and for the second loaf, I used coconut oil
  • I used 1 cup of bread flour instead of all WW flour. This is mainly because I was running low on WW flour. The second time, I used 1.5 cups of bread flour, because by then my WW flour had run out! The next time I bake it, I will be using all WW flour to see how it turns out.
  • The first time I baked this in bread machine, I needed it before it was “done,” so I took it out about 10 minutes early. It was fantastic. The second time, I let it continue baking throughout the cycle, and it was just as good, albeit a bit more dense and not as moist.

There ya have it! I guess that is quite a bit of adaption now that I think about it. I tend to do this a lot these days – just winging it in the kitchen throwing things together! I find I’m actually to the point where I can begin creating my own recipes based on the cookery knowledge I already have – such a great feeling.

Do you have a favorite from-scratch homemade bread?



Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

“So, Mom? I didn’t play with anybody at school today.”

“Why not?”

“No one I wanted to play with wanted to play with me back.”

“How was that for you?”

“It was okay. I am good alone sometimes.”

Menu Plan Monday

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

Monday: Egg Salad Sandwiches

Tuesday: Chicken n Rice Casserole

Wednesday: Chicken Teriyaki w/Mushrooms

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: *Birthday Party*

And here rolls in another BUSY week! I haven’t gone grocery shopping yet, nor sorted through my all coupons! Ahhh! Wish me luck! Check our Organizational Challenge… she hasn’t posted this week’s Menu Plan Monday, so check that out.

"Rare But Equal"

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by by

Today is the 3rd annual Rare Disease Day. What is Rare Disease Day, you ask? It is a large event organized by EURORDIS in an attempt to raise worldwide awareness for all rare diseases. Forty countries are participating this year (including the US). There are 7,000 rare diseases in the US. Combined, these diseases affect at least 25 MILLION Americans. To learn more about rare diseases in general, go to the Children’s Rare Disease Network.

In honor of this day, I have chosen to do a special blog entry to raise awareness. I will be talking about five diseases, all of which affect someone I know. If, at any time, you want to know more about any of these diseases, please feel free to comment or email me. Also, all headers are linked to pages where you can find more information.

Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)
LCH affects 1 in 200,000 children and 1 in 560,000 adults. 76% of all LCH patients are under 10.

Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis is a disease that acts (and is treated) like a cancer, yet is not classified as one. It is caused by an overabundance of histiocytes (white blood cells) that accumulate in various areas of the body, causing lesions and/or tumors to form.

Treatment for LCH includes chemotherapy, steroids, radiation, and, rarely, a bone marrow transplant. Despite treatment, the disease can and does prove fatal far more often than anyone cares to think about.

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)
HLH affects 1.2 in 1,000,000 people under the age of 15.

Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis can either be genetic or secondary to a virus. (Yes, something as simple as a virus can be the start of your nightmare!)

When a person gets sick, their t-cells and histiocytes (i.e. their immune system) activate, causing an inflammatory reaction in order to fight off the illness. In a person with HLH, a defect in their immune system allows this inflammation to exist. Essentially, their body is attacking itself. (more…)