A journal

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Star Wars birthday party

Yesterday we took the fam to a birthday party for my friend's son who turned 3.  His name is also Greyson!  He loves Star Wars and so his mom did a whole Star Wars themed birthday party.  She had Yoda cookies (made with the cookie cutter from William and Sonoma), Yoda soda, Dagobah Swamp (pasta) salad, pretzel rod light sabers and light saber wrapped utensils, black and silver table clothes and blow up light sabers for the kids.  These were a HUGE hit with the 2-10 year old set!!  Even my kids enjoyed them.  It was a great day in the park, even if we DID spot a female black widow spider under the lid of one of the nearby trashcans.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Birds in my backyard - Rufous Hummingbird

I am kind of obsessed with the wildlife here in CA.  It is pretty different from what I am used to in New England.  Today I was able to photograph a few hummingbirds in my backyard.  They are always buzzing around the Hawthorn bushes but for some reason they don't care for the feeding I put out.
I believe this is a male Rufous Hummingbird.  I guess they migrate through Orange County about this time of year.

I also photographed this beauty. I am not sure if it is the female or another species.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kid TV - Why I am addicted to Dinosaur Train

Oh man.  This post is a stretch as far as content but i just need to get it out there. I L-O-V-E Dinosaur Train.  It's on PBS and it is so cute.  Basically (for those who don't watch kids programming 24-7) it is about a Pteranodon family who "adopts" a baby T-Rex named Buddy when he hatches in their nest. The family has 3 pteranodon kids, Tiny, Shiny and Don. They live in the Cretaceous time period and there is a "Dinosaur Train" that runs between time periods through time tunnels to allow dinosaurs (and Pterosaurs and other creatures) to visit one another.  Now, except for the scientific inaccuracies of all these dinosaurs living together in harmony and suspending your disbelief over the train part (oh yeah and that dinosaurs spoke, and in English) this is actually a very fun learning tool.  The dinosaur kids, especially Buddy, are obsessed with testing hypotheses about why certain dinosaurs have certain features.  They compare and contrast features like teeth, finger and toe number, horns, neck length etc.  Each show they take the dinosaur train to visit a new species and learn about them and their habitat.  The 2010 season was neat because it introduced the underwater stations and an Aqua car so that the family could visit sea creatures.  I really like the sense of humor of the show, the catchy tunes, and also learning about dinosaurs.  I'd have to admit that I know very little about dinosaurs but after every segment "Dr. Scott, the Paleontologist", a real paleontologist, gives the viewers more info about the creature that family just met.  I have a little crush on Dr. Scott.  He isn't cute but he is the only one that talks science to me at all anymore.  Pathetic I know. LOL.  My boys are 8 months old so they don't really get it and aren't enthralled by it but that doesn't matter to me right now.  It's educational and entertaining and that's about all I can ask for in a kid's show.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fluffy stash and work station

So I just re-read my post from when the kids were 6 weeks old.  We were struggling with diaper leakage mostly because the fit wasn't just right and they were so small (WERE!!!).  Now, at 8 months old, we are in a really good place with cloth diapering.  So much so that I would say I am addicted.  We have many different types of diapers and brands in our stash.  Our daytime diapering stash consists of AI2s (all-in-twos) like Best Bottoms, Grovia and Trend Lab as well as fitted diapers like Thirsties Fab Fitted Duos.  Our nighttime diapering stash consists of pockets like Thirsties Duo diaper, Thirsties AIO pocket (old style), a DiaperRite, a Bumgenius, and one Fuzzibunz.  We tried gDiapers but they never fit the kids right and we always had leaks around the legs.  Here are some pictures of my stash and our diaper change station:
I feel like we have some unique features of our diaper change station that i'd like to share. The first is shown in the second picture.  I use a lot of AI2 shells and we needed a place for them to "dry out" between diaper changes.  Here I have used a multi-tier skirt hanger to hang the shells between uses.  Cute and functional.

The second is using Lock-and-Lock containers to contain used (pee-soaked) flushable liners.   I keep these because they can be laundered and reused 1-2 times.  I especially like the Imse Vimse brand liners because they hold up well to multiple uses.  The other container we use to hold liners with poo that needs to be flushed.  Let's face it. I can't always get right to the toilet after a change with two babies demanding attention.  I used to use an open bucket to hold and transport poo to the toilet.  But it smelled because it was open.  Now with the lock and lock, smells are contained until I can get it to the toilet.

The third feature is a set of plain old tongs.  We use a lot of pockets and I was finding that my fingertips were getting really raw as a result of touching urine-soaked inserts.  Even if I washed right away, they would still get raw.  We tried using dipes that have large pockets in order to allow the inserts to "agitate out" during laundering but my new top-loading HE washer doesn't seem to agitate enough to make these work right. Also my husband had been balking at touching the dirty parts of the diaper, fearing he was transferring germs to the kids before he could get to wash his hands which was a legitimate concern.  So we repurposed an old rusty set of kitchen tongs to remove inserts.  Now we don't have to touch any dirty parts of the diapers to separate inserts from the pockets.  Genius!  I am surprised someone hasn't marketed this yet!  I did a quick search online for diaper tongs" and this is what i found, from 1958!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

QUAKE! and the power of the internet

Yesterday I experienced my first Southern California earthquake. It happened at about 1030AM and the kids were both sleeping on the floor in our living room.  It was like something had exploded. The house shook for about 5 seconds.  I was like, wait, was that an earthquake?  Should I grab the kids and stand in a doorway?  So of course I jumped on Twitter and searched for earthquake. Sure enough, there were other people trying to find out what just happened.  Then I posted on facebook. Within a few minutes a geologist friend of mine on the East Coast sent me a link to this:
So it was a 3.9 quake. Small for California but relatively powerful for this area.  Usually, I am told, quakes this far south are less intense but last longer.  I just did a little more reading and apparently this quake originated off of a newly discovered fault called the San Joaquin Hills Thrust.  It is not visible at the surface like the San Andreas Fault but evidence of ancient sea life in the hills of this area led researchers to hypothesize that this area was underwater and the fault caused the hilly terrain of this area.  Fascinating!

Now I feel like I should get my Earthquake Preparedness Kit together just in case we get "The Big One."  Better start watching Doomsday Preppers. HAHA.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mommy Gardner, how does your garden grow?

So it has been about a month and a half since I started seeds indoors to plant my vegetable garden.  I ordered all my seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange.  Here they are:
Yep, that's 7 types of tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, snap peas, beans, carrots, beets, parsley, and lettuce. I purchased my square foot garden frame from SquareFootGarden.com and read up on the internet about how to plant the squares of the square foot garden.  The day after I put in my seedlings we had torrential downpours in Southern California and little sun so a few of my plants did make it, probably due to root or stem rot.  So I quickly started some new seedlings to fill in the gap and they are doing well now.  Here is how the garden looks about 1 month out.  Peas and beans are doing great.  Beets and carrots look good.  Cukes are behind because I has to restart the seedlings and lettuces are also behind because i had to restart them as well.  Most of the tomato plants look pretty healthy and the watermelons look good though they grow pretty slowly. Parsley is being grown in a pot not shown here.  Can't wait for the summer to harvest all my crops!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My first real scrapbook page

Happy Spring!  That is the theme of my first ever, created from scratch, scrapbook page.  I received the most beautiful Scrapbook with about 20 pages created by a friend of the family when I had my twin sons in August 2011.  All I had to do was add photos, which I thought was the most thoughtful present.  Only now (8 months later) have I been able to sit down and actually do that.  I was invited to go to a Crop session with some friends at a local scrapbooking store.  We were there for 6 hours!!  It was so much fun and having the run of the store was really neat. I was hooked.  So I thought, well, I better start getting creative and do my own pages, from scratch. Now I'll admit that even being a "creative" person, I have always felt overwhelmed by scrapbooking. SO many options!!!  And then I thought, with Earth Day here and all, that I could probably use what I have around the house (along with my meager stash of stickers, papers and embellishments) to create a cute page.  So here is what I came up with:
I thought it came out pretty cute.  I used a couple of easter cards the boys received to create the flower and circle details - upcycling!!!  Here is one of the cards that I used. I can't wait to get started on my next page!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Great Cloth Diaper Change

So today was the Great Cloth Diaper Change, which was an event to record the most cloth diaper changes occur simultaneously.  It was recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records which is pretty neat.  But more importantly it is a day to promote the use of cloth diapers as a greener and cost-saving alternative to disposables.   Now, I am not going to get on my soapbox about using cloth.  It is not for everyone and it really takes a certain amount of commitment that many people can't or won't make.  But I wonder why that is.  Do you recycle?  Of course you do.  But WHY?  You don't get paid to do it and you don't save money by doing it.  Is it easy?  For some it is, and for some it takes an extra bin in the kitchen or an extra run out to the trash area to put stuff in the recycle bin. You've made the commitment to do it and that is great for the environment.  So is cloth diapering and really all it takes is the awareness that our actions affect the planet in deeper ways than just what we are doing at this very minute.  Think about it, get educated and take action if your heart tells you that is the right thing.
And now, some cute baby photos from the event at Granola Babies in Costa Mesa CA.  I changed Jack from a Softbums Omni to a Grovia AI2:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lazy Mom lunch

Ok I haven't posted in a while but i keep getting inspired to post stuff, so here goes.  Today I was rooting around the kitchen trying to think if something to make for lunch.  Now I am not on a diet per se, but I am trying to lose weight by doing zumba and boot camp, especially for our impending trip to Italy.  So I wanted to make something that was low in calories.  I happen to have whole wheat tortillas, black beans, hummus and olives....and this is what I came up with:
So this is my burrito:
1 whole wheat tortilla (taco size)
1 tbsp hummus
1/4 cup black beans
1 garlic stuffed olive sliced
Layer wrap and eat.

So as far as nutritional content:
                          calories          fat        cholesterol
1 tortilla                   120          3.5g        0
1tbsp hummus            35          3g           0
1/4 cup beans             45          0.25g     0
1 garlic stuffed olive    10          1g           0

So that's 210 calories per burrito, 7.25g of fat and NO cholesterol. Not too shabby!  I had two!


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