Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Family Fun

Ladies - if anyone is looking for a fun family outing, check out this link to the Tribeca Film Festival Family Street Fair, this Saturday May 3 from 10-6. We were planning on going to the Central Park Zoo but we are going here instead, zoo isn't going anywhere.
Just a thought for anyone looking for something different to do...I have also heard that the Children's Museum in Philly is great (hands on) and of course Cape May Zoo. Haven't done either yet.

Living with 3

Hi everyone. I have to type fast as I am cutting into my one hour of internet/tv time per day. Patrick and I feel like John and Abigail Adams. Patrick was being funny and walking around in the dark with a candlestick in his hands while he was trying to find our cloth napkins the other night. So far the challenge hasn't been too hard yet.I like not having the TV on at night and Patrick and I eat dinner at the dining room table and talk about our day. I had to give up my hour of entertainment yesterday so Patrick could watch the Red Sox on the internet. Our apartment has never been more tidy as all of my TV time is used to clean up and we go to bed a little earlier because we aren't all keyed up from watching CSI and such. I thought no paper towels would be hard but I just replaced them with cut up Tshirts of Patricks that he never wore. Not buying anything has posed a little bit of a problem. It is a friends Bday this Friday and we don't have a gift for the party. I have decided to make him chocolate chip cookies. I will present them in coffee cans wrapped with fabric (I don't have cookie tins). I made the card already. I took a piture of my scrabble board with the words Happy Birthday and printed it out on my picture printer. I then glued it to a note card that I already had. If I can figure out how to post pictures I will show you the final product when I am done. If anyone else has taken the challenge I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shoot I did it again.

To take the challenge just click on the title of my last posting. It seems I have hidden the link in there again. I am a bad blogger.

Take the 'Live with Less' challenge

Just in case you were not a part of my mass email this morning I am posting here too. Starting this Monday, April 27th, Patrick and I will be taking this challenge. I thought it might be fun to hear feedback from anyone else who is intrested in taking this challenge too. Good Luck.

Greening our home

I recently read Healthy Child, Healthy World and highly highly recomend it. It is easy to read and offers tons of do-able suggestions to live a cleaner life. There is tons of info in the book but one of the most alarming statistics to me was from the American Cancer Society - they estimate that 75% of all cancers are due to environmental factors. That is scary!

Here are some ideas to live a greener life - healthier for us and the environment.

Things we can do now:

1) When replacing shower liners, remove the package and leave outside for at least a day before bringing in and hanging up. I actually knew this one, when you open the liner packaging that heavy smell is toxic. If you smell it, you are breathing it in.

2) I am not ready to completely give up dry cleaning (although my dry cleaner up in K Mart plaza is going green in August which is great) so for now - remove the plastic and leave behind with them. Most toxins can then also stay behind. Leave clothes hanging ideally outside or someplace other than your bedroom for a day before putting in your closet.

3) Don't eat microwave popcorn. The lining leaches into the oils and are a known carcinogen. They say the amounts ar small enough so the govt wont outlaw but the problem is they stay in your body for years so they build up. Not worth it. (this was easy for us, cant think if the last time I did eat it! My sister on the other hand...

4) Use non-stick (teflon) pans sparingly (if at all). I would rather clean a messy pan...the govt did get involved here and Dupont and others agreed to eliminate by 2015. The EPA lists Teflon as a "Likely human carcinogen". Why wait until 2015?

5) Stop buying plastic containers. I went to Target and bought the box of Pyrex storage glass containers with lids. Completely reasonable. I now feel bad about chucking the plastic crap we do own but we have. This is obviously for the environment as well as our health.

6) Replace light bulbs with CFL bulbs. They are more expensive upfront but use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer. This is ongoing ,we will replace as incadescent bulbs blow.

7) We buy California Baby products for the kids then dump Pantene etc on our own heads. There is a GREAT website that lists almost every known product out there and rates each on a healthy to hazardous level. The books says our skin is very porous and absorbs approximately 60 % of what we put onto it and many of these chemicals then go directly into our bloodstream.

It is eye opening to see where all the products fall out...

Next level - (More money)

1) Replace crib mattress with organic one. My son sleeps half of his life right now. You know that tag that is the butt of jokes at times, threatening jail time if you remove from the mattress? It is because it tells you that it is up to fire code, meaning it is covered in toxic flame retardent chemicals. As well as others...(its all in the book). If you dont want to spend the money, the next best thing is to cover the mattresss with a natural organic wool pad.

2) Eventually replace all mattresses is house...

Third level - (Steps to take when we re-build our home)

1) Install water purifier, either under sink or whole house filter. The worst types of plastics are labeled by the numbers 3, 6 or 7. The 5 gallon water bottles that we get delivered are 7's. I cannot find a water delivery company that uses glass bottles in NJ. There is a whole section on bottled water, the best option by far is to purify tap water.

2) Either skip carpets entirely or go with natural fiber carpets. I had no idea how many chemicals are in carpets !

3) Paint with only VOC free paint. Most mainstream paint companies offer either low or no VOC paints now.

4) Same for floors - Low or no VOC finishing is a must for hardwood floors. And if ambitious go with bamboo (rapidly renewable, 4 years) or cork

Those are my thoughts for now, just in time for Earth Day :)

Please share your own ideas!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Recipes for ground meat?

Anyone have good easy recipes for ground meat (turkey in this case)...we have had tacos, turkey chili and the taco potpie (recipe below) A LOT in the last few weeks. Oh, and meatballs too. any other ideas? Besides hamburgers...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Donate Used Books?

Does anyone know where to donate used books? I had heard of a program where you can donate to the troops which I wanted to do, but from I can find online I think I have to actually ship them. Which makes sense I guess but I was hoping to either just drop them off somewhere close or have someone pick them up...let me know if anyone has any ideas, thanks!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Michael James Murphy

Mike is two months old today and I finally got his pix! Congrats Beth :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Increasing Breast milk?

Does anyone have any ideas to increase breask milk? If so, pls post here or E-mail Tracie at

Chase Patrick LeMoult (Janine's new baby) has arrived

Congrats, he is a beaut!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

BPA Free sippy cups and bottles

I read about this topic a lot but there is so much info and sometimes conflicting so I haven't yet been able to take the plunge and chuck all of our cups and bottles and replace with BPA free ones. BPA stands for Bisphenol-A which is a toxic byproduct found in most plastics. Basically the chemical has the ability to act like a hormone. Ever wonder why girls today walk around looking incredibly advanced at earlier and earlier ages? I have always attributed it to hormones in meats and dairy but perhaps this is a can go online and read all about the different studies that have been done.

Anyway, a popular BPA free option seems to be Born free (this is the one that we are going with)

They make cups and bottles, they can be purchased at Whole Foods and Babies R us...some of the sippy cups brands that you have in your cabinet now also make BPA options.

It seems crazy to take such care with what we feed our kids to then put it into a toxic container!

Those without kids should also take care in purchasing water bottles for the gym etc that are safer...

Anyway, for more options I copied the next piece from another website:

Sigg Baby Water Bottle (Price $14.95-16.95) - This great product is made by a Swiss company. This sippy bottle is made from aluminum and has a completely inert, water-based epoxy lining that does not leach harmful chemicals. Instead of an actual sippy spout it has one more like a sports bottle. It has a lid that clamps down over top of it to help avoid spills. They come in a variety of child pleasing styles so this bottle is anything but boring. My kids love the different choices available and overall they like this bottle. Although I have not had a problem with leaking I have some friends that have had issues. It is also pretty commonly known that these bottles will dent and chip if dropped a lot. My kids gave this cup an A+. I would give it an A-.
Avent Naturally Sippy Cup (Price $6.95)- Yes, it is made of plastic but not a variety which contains harmful chemicals like BPA. Although because it is made of plastic I knew this sippy cup would not be a favorite of mine. Plastic is always going to be slightly suspect to me…I can’t help it. We picked up this particular cup at Whole Foods. The cup is rather plain and ugly and we did have a few leak issues so I can’t even say that it did the job all that well. The lid also got lost pretty fast. My children would pass this one up in favor of one of their “cool” cups. They gave it an D. I gave it a C… it is BPA free and low in price.
Klean Kanteen Sippy Bottle (Price $16.95)- This sippy bottle is made of stainless steel which will not leach harmful chemicals. I use this bottle myself (the adult version of course) and I REALLY like it. For the kids bottle you have two choices. You can get a sports bottle spout (with a detachable lid) or an actual sippy spout AND you can get a sippy adapter to make the transition yourself which is a nice feature. The sippy spouts are made by Avent and are BPA free. You can also easily get replacement sippy spouts. The bottles are nice and shiny but they do get kind of dingy looking once they have been smeared by tiny fingerprints. Maybe it is an OCD tendency but I am often grabbing them and cleaning them to make them look shiny again, LOL. My kids really like this bottle and they especially like that it is a mini version of my water bottle. They give Klean Kanteen an A. I did too.
Born Free Sippy Cup (Price $10.99) - This BPA free sippy is made the same company that is widely known for making BPA free baby bottles. Their sippy cups are made with safe plastics and they come in green, blue, peach and yellow (that I have seen anyway). They are fairly attractive for a plastic cup with their translucent and delicate colors. They have a detachable lid (this one got lost too) and handles on either side. They have a low vacuum valve designed to create free flow of liquid but unless your child is just learning to use a sippy cup the flow may be to slow, so the drinking cup model for older kids might be a better fit. We had no leaks with this cup but there was a big drawback for me. This cup breaks up into six different pieces…the cup, the handles, the vacuum valve, the top part that houses the valve, the spout, and the lid. I guess this is good for an extra good cleaning but sheesh…there are just too many pieces to keep track of. My kids gave it a B. I gave it a C.
Thermos Foogo Sippy Cup (Price $14.99-17.99) - This cup is also stainless steel like the KK and it has a soft plastic spout. You can also get it with or without side handles. There is even a taller cup with a straw available. The colors are quite attractive with blue/yellow and pink/purple combos. I have one friend that claimed to have a few small leak issues but so far we have not. One BIG advantage that this cup has over the KK bottle is that it is also a thermos. Warm drinks stay warm and cold drinks stay cold. It is good, sturdy cup. I love that it is made of stainless steel, I love that it is also a thermos, and I REALLY love the ultra stylish design. It is one gorgeous sippy cup (did I really just say that). My kids gave this cup an A and I gave it an A+.
Just a quick side note: I hand clean all my sippy cups and water bottles but of the ones I have reviewed here the only ones you can put in the dishwasher are the Born Free, the Avent Naturally, and the Foogo (although it is not recommended for this one). So if using the dishwasher is a sticking point for you keep that in mind.
So…what is the verdict? Who wins the safe sippy cup celebrity death match….muhawaaa! The Foogo by Thermos wins the first round in our household but the Klean Kanteen is very close behind. My kids really liked the kid friendly design of the Sigg bottles but mom likes durability more. Born Free is a good option in plastic but a little to high maintenance for me. Avent Naturally came in last but it is the most affordable option so parents with more limited budgets can feel safe with it.