Friday, July 27, 2012

Football is just a game

*note i am about to unleash an opinion piece on y'all this is neither cheap nor green but definitely mommy related

I did a lot of my growing up in the state of Florida. I went to college at the University of Florida. I am a Gator through and through, I bleed orange and blue. I am a huge football fan. Every year with great anticipation I await the start of football season. So I feel like I have some ground to stand on when I say this. Penn State should not be allowed to have a football team at.all. I would most certainly feel the exact same way had this horrible course of events transpired at my beloved UF.

After the NCAA handed out its punishment to PSU this week the reaction from some of the Nittany nation shocked and disgusted me. "It's not fair! It's not fair to the fans! It's tarnishing JoePa's legacy"
Those fans have completely lost touch. They have succumbed to the grasp of a materialistic, apathetic society that would not only allow, but enable these atrocities.
People this is not about football. JoePa and PSU kept this all a secret for the sake of football, and for the almighty dollar. They did it to preserve the Penn State name and guarantee themselves and the school millions.
They sacrificed the innocence of little boys for their own gain. Those boys trusted their mentor and coach. They looked at him with adoration, respect, and love. He took advantage of that trust for his own sick and twisted perversions. And JoePa and PSU knew that, and they did nothing. They turned a blind eye, allowed the mentoring to continue, fed the beast they kept locked in the basement. 

I have two little boys. I look at their wide eyes full of life, happiness, curiosity, trust, wonder, love, and innocence and it crushes me to think that another little boy looked at Jerry Sandusky with very similar eyes. He took everything that made those kids wonderful and consumed it, leaving hollow shells. Those boys will never be the same again. They know the horrors that lurk outside. They know far too much about life already. It is not about football, it's not about money, it's about making sure no more little boys have nightmares after they see the blue and white on the field. It's about sending a message that shouldn't be needed. We must protect our children, they are everything that is good about humanity. I know I'll be watching this fall with a little more perspective. Football is just a game, money is just paper we assign value to. Hug your kids close.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No poo update

As promised I have an update on my no-pooing adventures. I did get my hair cut and highlighted in late June. My hair stylist was very receptive to the no-pooing, she said my hair felt softer and thicker, she even said she might try it too!
So that was the good news. The bad news, I'm only half way doing it right now. There are 2 reasons, one we went out of town and because i couldn't think of a good way to travel with my no-poo accessories I just took along some trial size shampoo, big mistake, huge (bonus points if you get my pop culture reference there). See, I liked shampooing, I liked the way my hair felt and smelled afterwards. And then I felt dirty, not my hair, that was fresh and clean, but I felt dirty for cheating on my no-pooing promise to myself.

Well turns out that was just the taste I needed to get hooked again. Monsoon season has hit in AZ and for us that means it is super humid. I have still been blow drying my hair because its super thick and takes forever to dry so I do get sone damage from that. So with all the humidity, my frizzies were showing, and guys? It was really bugging me. So I looked longingly at my pantene moisture balance sitting in the bathroom cabinet and thought "just one time. I'll just use it one time to see if it makes a difference, I bet I won't even like it. But I did like it, actually, I loved it. My hair had no frizzies, and was far more cooperative. And so, I became hooked again, I am shampooing with actual shampoo. BUT I am still "conditioning" with the vinegar rinse and still love the results doing that. My hair is soft and managable without frizzies because of the shampoo, but not weighed down because I use the rinse. So there you have it, i have fallen off the wagon with my foot caught on the wheel. My name is Christine, and I am a shampoo addict.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CFL not the Canadian kind

Not the Canadian Football League, but Compact Fluorescent Lights.  They are an energy saving, and thus cost-saving way to "go green".  So how much energy can they save?  According to the energystar website:

" If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a light bulb that's earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars."

Incredible impact!  So, how does this directly effect YOU?  CFL bulbs last longer, up to 10x longer than your standard incandescent bulb.  They also give off significantly less heat (75% less!), so your house will be cooler, you'd be amazed out much the standard bulb heats up your house!  Yes, CFL bulbs tend to be more expensive than your standard incandescent bulb.  BUT, there are ways to decrease that cost some.  Your local power company may be willing to help you out.  Salt River Project, my power company, has a program in place to offer discounts on CFL bulbs at the local hardware store.  Also, while this offer has ended with SRP, check your power company to see if they have something like this going on, SRP was offering, FOR FREE, a 6 pack variety pack of CFL bulbs.  I have found CFLs in multi-packs at Costco in the past for a really good price.  SRP also has a handy-dandy calculator so you can see how much CFLs will end up saving you, you might be surprised!

There are a few things to be aware of if you go CFL.  One, very important detail, they contain a small amount of mercury.  So, this means, do NOT just chuck them in the trash in 4 years when they burn out (no joke, we just had some burn out that we put in when we moved in our house 4 years ago), you should recycle them, Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace, etc should have recycling centers for this type of thing.  If not, use earth911 to find a recycling center near you.  The other one is that they don't look like your incandescent bulb and you may have to find the equivalent wattage for your lamp.  Also, generally they do not work well in dimmers, there may now be special CFLs on the market for this purpose, but there were not when we were looking last.  Also, for similar reasons, they do not work well with timers, so if you want to swap out your outdoor lights for CFLs and use a timer, be aware of this.  
So there are pros and cons, but I think the pros outweigh the cons substantially!  Give them a try, replace the next bulb that burns out with a CFL and see what you think!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


A day late for Friday Find, but this is a site I want to share with you.  If you haven't heard of it, is a fantastic site!  It's like a giant, online swap meet, where there is actual swapping, not swapping for money. It works like this, you list items you have for swap, books, movies, clothes, electronics, you name it.  And you browse for items you want, if your "haves" line up with somebody's wants and vice versa, make an offer! It's mostly free, you pay shipping on the item you are sending.  It's simple, it's very green, because you are reusing items by swapping them, and it's cheap.  One of those, "why didn't I think of that" ideas!
AND they also have a swap4schools where you can donate your items to a school that has them on their wants list.  How awesome is that?  Your unwanted items going to a great cause to help schools out!

Check out their site and start swapping!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Reduce, Reuse

Everybody seems to be drinking more water lately, which is awesome.  Obviously it's the best thing for your body to quench thirst, it's no cal, you can take it anywhere, you can pretty much find it anywhere, it's all we drink in our house.  So about the taking it anywhere part, having a portable drink is necessary these days, whether we are out and about shopping, exercising, shuttling kids, it's important to stay hydrated.  

There's a catch though, you know those plastic water bottles that are at the store? People buy them in bulk and use them to drink their water and carry it around with them.  Well I hate to rain on your "I'm so healthy I'm drinking bottled water" parade, but that could possibly be one of the worst things for you to do.  
First of all, it's completely unnecessary.  That water in those plastic bottles is *not* any better for you than your tap water, in fact, in a lot of cases it's much, much worse.  There is no regulation on what is in that water you're getting, "mountain spring" sounds fantastic, I agree, but what if that "mountain spring" is just run off from a manufacturing plant that is purified and put into those bottles?  And then there's the plastic, those bottles are full of BPA and other lovely chemicals that leach into the water when those bottles are heated up.  "But I never keep them in my car to heat up" some say, maybe you don't, but trust me, on the way to your mega-store, they got hot, so when you buy them, you're already getting a cocktail of chemicals.  Aside from the chemicals for you, there's the effect on the environment, the plastic bottles that don't decompose and take lots of petroleum to make.  And there's much, much more.  I recommend watching Tapped if you want to learn more.  

So, what do you do? You want to be healthy and drink lots of water, but now you're afraid of bottled water.  There are LOTS of reusable bottles on the market, invest in some of those and you will be set!  Personally, I like to stay away from all plastic as much as possible.  Yes, you can buy BPA-free bottles, but IMHO, they are plastic, so they probably just have some horrible chemical we haven't discovered is terrible for us yet. My current favorite reusable water bottle is this one from thermos:

It's insulated so it keeps the water cold, it can go in the dishwasher, and it has a straw to drink out of.  Not a paid endorsement, just sharing my favorite.  There are also Sigg bottles Sigg Traveler Classic Water Bottle , klean kanteen Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle , and many others.  There are versions for kids too!  Z loves his batman funtainer:

There are even stainless steel sippy cups by companies like Kid basix, and klean kanteen Kolor Klean Kanteen Sippy Cup Orange, thermos Thermos Foogo Phases Leak Proof Stainless Steel Sippy Cup, 7 Ounce, Blue/Yellow, and many others.  We have a few Kid Basix and love them.
Full disclosure, it's not like I *never* drink from plastic water bottles, when we're on a road trip we put some in the cooler to drink in the car.  My point is, don't do it all the time if you can help it, do what you can.  Think of all the money you will save filling your reusable water bottle from your fridge supply instead of buying a big box of bottled water every week!  What's your favorite reusable water bottle?

Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for coconut oil, it has TONS of uses!

Friday, July 13, 2012

She puts the lime in the coconut... (GIVEAWAY!!)

That's just what pops in my head every time I hear "coconut" mostly because I'm a cheeseball like that :).  Really, this is about coconut oil, as far as I can tell this is like the miracle substance. I recently had the opportunity to sample and review Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

As you may have read in my No-Poo posts, I have been dying to try coconut oil on my ends and I've read a lot about all the things that coconut oil is useful for, so I was really excited to try it out!  First thing I will say is that it arrived safe and sound, the folks at Tropical Traditions have their packaging DOWN, the glass jar arrived safely tucked in with no issues.  Of course because it's currently an INFERNO in Arizona it arrived (and has stayed) in liquid form, but that's perfect, it's ready to use for me :).  I tried it on my ends right away, initially I used WAY too much because I had no idea how powerful this stuff was, so my ends were a bit greasy the first day.  After I corrected though, they were super soft and very nicely conditioned.  So I was completely pleased with the results there.  I also used the coconut oil on Gavin's scalp because we've been dealing with some cradle cap and I tried olive oil, with moderate success and someone told me to try coconut oil.  It worked GREAT, cleared up his cradle cap right away and it hasn't returned!  

Next I decided to venture into food.  I was a little leery of this because the hubs is not a coconut fan.  I'll be straight up with you, this stuff is virgin coconut oil, it has an odor of coconut, not strong, but it's there and it does taste like coconut, again, not strong but it's there.  I decided to use pinterest (shocking, I know) and found a recipe for no-bake, super simple granola bars that used coconut oil, peanut butter, honey, oats, and chocolate chips.  They were freagin DELICIOUS!!  I am a fan of coconut, and there was just enough flavor in there to make the granola bars really tasty :).  And a nice and easy go-to snack for the evenings when I'm feeding G and all of the sudden I get ravenous.

So I'm officially hooked on coconut oil, I'm excited to learn more about it and try using it for other things.  

But wait! There's MORE!  What would a product review be without a giveaway?

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
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Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Car toy/book organizer tutorial

finished product
Lately I've been feeling very... crafty, I blame Pinterest.  And my cheapness.  There are so many good ideas on Pinterest and I always think "*I* could do that".  So, today I have a quasi-tutorial on how to make an organizer for toys, books, random junk, whatever, for the car.  You could use this for lots of things, even if you don't have kiddos, maps, notes, tissues, wipes, snacks, books, things that are currently strewn about your car that you might like to have in some sort of order. I based it off of this pin.  And of course, I mixed it up a little to suit my needs.  

First thing, that organizer wouldn't fit in my car as she described it.  The middle seat has a cup holder thing that comes down making the available height pretty short, and Zach DEFINITELY uses the cup holder, so I made it to attach to the back of the seat instead.  Added bonus, Z can get to it easier and the boys can each have their own, which I suspect will be better as they get older.  As always do what works for you, this is what I did... (also I should mention, I am *at best* a novice seamstress)

I used cotton superhero fabric, and thick felt, both from JoAnn's, use your coupons! And if you didn't know, they have an app for your phone that gives you coupons too, so no need to always remember to cut them out and put them in your wallet!  I would say you could get by easily on a 1/2 yard of each, also check the remnant bin, that's where I found the felt :).
For the back panel cut the cotton and felt to 11 inches x 24.5 inches.  For the 3 pockets, cut the cotton and felt to about 10 inches x 11 inches.  Pin the felt and cotton together for each piece, with the "right" sides facing each other, like so.
All 4 pieces cut out
Pinned square, perpendicular pins at the top, leftish in this picture
Sew the pieces together leaving yourself a little unsewn segment to turn the piece around.  See where the pins are facing differently than the rest?  That's your cue to not sew that hole shut.  *IMPORTANT!* For the pockets, leave the hole on what you want to be the "top" of the pocket, you'll see why in a minute.  I sewed at about 1/4 inch in from the edge around.  BEFORE you turn your little square inside out, trim the corners so that there is not excess fabric there.
back stitched
trimmed corner
NOW turn the square inside out using your handy dandy hole.  I read somewhere that chopsticks are great to push the corners out, and we always have those lying around because I love take-out Kona grill (don't judge me!).  I highly recommend doing all the back-stitching at once and then pressing (ironing) the cotton side of the fabric down, including ironing the folds in the open hole.  This will make your life easier, I promise, and I *hate* ironing so I wouldn't do this if it didn't.

Now is the top-stitching, this part is a little tricky the way I did it, but I think it's a good method so listen carefully :).  First the easiest one, top-stitch all around the large back panel, making sure you pin the hole so it gets closed with the top-stitch. That one should be easy peasy.  Now the pockets, the easy part first.  Hopefully you were following directions and left the hole on the top of the pocket?  If not, go ahead and do an expletive rant now, it's ok, we'll wait.  Good now?  Ok, for the pockets, just top-stitch the top edge for now, so it should look like this.
only the top edge is top stitched right now
Once all of those are top-stitched comes the interesting part.  Arrange the pockets on top of the back piece how you think you want them, play with them, get them right, because you're about to make it permanent.  I put the first pocket about 2.5 inches down from the top of the back panel, and then had the next pocket overlap it on the bottom by about the same amount, repeat for the 3rd pocket, with the bottom of the 3rd pocket lining up with the bottom of the back panel.  
pockets arranged (this pic is pre top stitching so use your imagination)
Now, leave the top pocket laying on the back panel where you want it, and take the other 2 off, pin the top pocket in place. Sew the sides and bottom of it onto the back panel, essentially top-stitching it to the back panel.  This is 4 layers of fabric for your machine to go through, so you may have to coax it a little bit, but just wait, later you're going to have to buy it a drink and rub its shoulders.

Once the top pocket is sewn on then pin the middle pocket in place, the top of it should overlap the bottom of the top pocket by about 2.5 inches.  Now you see what I'm talking about, in that spot there are 6 layers of fabric to sew through.  Be nice to your machine, go slow, don't rush things, let it do what it needs to do, trust me.  I managed to break a needle on this step because I tried to jackhammer it through, not wise.  Anyways, sew the sides and bottom of this pocket on.  

Now the last pocket, the bottom of it should line up with the bottom of the back panel.  Again there are 6 layers, you will have to rub your machine's feet and buy it chocolate when you are done, don't just use and abuse it.

When you are done with that you almost there, now you just need to attach straps.  You could do this step before the attaching of the pockets, up to you, I thought if I did that the straps would get in the way and irritate me, but perhaps you are far more patient than me :).   

The construction of the straps are up to you, I did it with leftover scraps of the cotton and felt, and it was easy to sew, kind of a pain to turn inside out, I used about 2 inches wide by probably 15 inch long fabric, measure your "attachment point" to see how long you need the straps to be.  Same procedure as before, back stitch, trim, turn inside out, although I did go ahead and fully top stitch these before attaching, then I attached to just the back panel, sewing in two places, about 1 inch in and again at the edge for extra strength.  You could use velcro or snaps or just tie it to your car if you want to.  I used snaps because I didn't want to figure out how to sew velcro, and I didn't think tying it would stand up to use from my 3.5yo.
Straps sewn in 2 places, in about an inch, and at the edge
snaps, I did two for stability
When you are done just attach to the back of the seat in front of the car seat, TA DA!!
in the car
Any questions?  I'm sure I missed something, feel free to ask! Go forth and craft!