Halloween candy alternatives – a follow-up

After deliberating in the dollar store for nearly 30 minutes on Tuesday, I finally decided what alternative candy treat I was going to pass out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween – assorted stickers for the younger crowd and natural cereal bars for the older crowd. A total of about $8 (thanks to the dollar stores low low prices). On a side note, I was actually quite impressed with the variety of foods the dollar store carried – even some organic and natural stuff. Perhaps I’ll be stopping in there more often.
Fast forward to tonight. There was a knock at the door. Three little faces said, “Trick-or-treat!” I doled out stickers into three bags and held my breath as I waited for a reaction. The children walked away from our house proudly exclaiming, “We got stickers!” to their parents. Yes! They were a hit! 🙂 In fact, all of the young kids who we gave stickers to tonight made some sort of happy exclamation about them. I was pleased.

As for the cereal bars, nobody yelled, “Yes! Cereal bars!” but nobody ran away in disgust either. They all said thank you.

The bummer was that for the whole two hours we had our porch light on, we received a total of 13 trick-or-treaters. So all of that deliberating over just the right treats felt like kind of a waste. Oh well. Ava had fun passing out stickers to the kids and the kids were happy, so it’s all good. I seem to overbuy for Halloween every year. One of these years I’ll remember that we never seem to get more than 20-25 kids, but 13 seems exceptionally low. And it wasn’t even snowing.

Did you pass out an alternative Halloween treat this year? How was it received?

In other news… Earlier this afternoon we went to a Halloween party at Ava’s preschool. Our cute little lion had a good time “fishing” for mango “fish,” making and decorating a pumpkin cookie, making a candlestick holder, and playing with her friends.

And Mr. Julian started walking in earnest today. He’s been taking unassisted steps for about a month now, but today he was letting go and walking by himself quite a bit. When did he get to be such a big boy? His first birthday is coming up in three weeks. I really can’t believe it’s already been a year. I had a hard time with Ava turning 1 and Julian’s looming birthday is proving to be no exception.

Lastly, tomorrow (Nov. 1) is day 1 of NaBloPoMo (aka National Blog Posting Month). Are you signed up? November is going to be a busy month around here with Thanksgiving, Julian’s 1st birthday, my parents coming for a visit, and spending a few days with them at a resort in Estes Park. I have a few other things I’ve been working on lately that I haven’t blogged about, but that have been consuming a fair bit of my time. Guess November will be a good time to spill the beans about those projects since I’ll be blogging every day and will need content. Oh wait. Me? Short on content? Ha! 😉

Hope you all had a nice Halloween. 🙂

The Rockies lost, but you can WIN!

I make milk. What’s your superpower? t-shirtLast week, Tanya (from The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog) and I had a friendly bet going over the World Series between my Colorado Rockies and her Boston Red Sox. If the Rockies won, she would give away a Breastfeeding Coalition t-shirt. And if the Sox won, I would give away an “I make milk…” t-shirt from my store.

The Red Sox swept the Rockies 4-0 and the series was over before it even started, though it did get pretty good at the end of the last game. Even I, not generally a baseball fan, watched some of it. 😉

Breastfeeding Welcome Here

In light of the Sox’s win, I am indeed giving away an “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” t-shirt. And, because Tanya is such a good sport, she’s throwing in two “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” stickers as runner-up prizes. 🙂

Win it! 

I’m going to make this short and sweet. To win an “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” t-shirt or one of two runner-up prizes of a “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” sticker, leave a comment here stating one of your favorite breastfeeding moments. The winners will be selected using Random.org the morning of Nov. 8 and announced later that day.


Got laptop?

Am I the only blogger out there without a laptop? Surely not, but I tell ya, I sure feel like it sometimes. I know I could make much better use of my time if I was able to carry my computer around the house – or at least have it in the main part of the house. Right now the dinosaur is in our “office” which is away from everything, which means the bulk of my computer time has to be spent either after the kids are in bed (which makes for a tired mommy) or on the weekend (which makes for little family time) or while Ava is at preschool and Julian is napping, which is a few hours a week. I’m frustrated. I want laptop freedom.

Maybe I can move my desk into the livingroom and the TV/entertainment center up here. 🙂 That could work.

Or better yet, anybody want to give me a laptop? I’ll be your BFF. 😉

Thanks for indulging my whiny moment. I must go now.

Fall Y’all Bloggy Giveaway

This giveaway has ended. The winner is #11Jenny from Mommin’ It Up ! Congratulations! 🙂 I will be emailing you shortly to get your mailing address.

If you’d like to get a Mommy Blogger shirt for yourself, please visit my store. Currently you can save $5 when you spend $50 or more! Use Coupon Code: ATOMSSLOGAN (Expires: Nov. 9, 2007)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
It’s here! It’s here! The Fall Y’all Bloggy Giveaway! 🙂

This time I’m giving away a 100% cotton mommy blogger Jr. Ringer t-shirt just like the one shown below. It’s size Large and is mint/avocado colored. (They run a little small.) The shirt is from my store Cute As A Bug.

Mommy blogger shirt

Win it!
All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below AND be a U.S. resident (sorry, no international entries please). Please make sure you use a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. The winner will be chosen using Random.org on Nov. 3 and announced that day. Good luck!

Now click on over to Bloggy Giveaways to see all of the other giveaways currently going on this week. Last time there were over 500 giveaways. There are sure to be a ton this time as well! 🙂

Best Shot Monday – 10/29/07


I’m totally cheating this week and instead of selecting one picture for Best Shot Monday, I’m posting a a whole lot of them from our Halloween parade/trick-or-treating adventure on Saturday. What with a cute furry lion and a sweet sleepy zebra, it was impossible to choose just one to share. 😉

My two jungle animals arriving at the parade:
J and A 10/27/07

Cute and roaring lion:
Sweet Ava lion 10/27/07 Growly girl 10/27/07

The kids and daddy (dressed as a park ranger) watching the marching band go by:
Jody with J and A watching the parade - 10/27/07

Getting some candy 10/27/07 A checking out her loot 10/27/07

Julian decided he was going to get his nap in:
Sleepy zebra 10/27/07

Walking down Main Street after trick-or-treating:
Walking down Main Street 10/27/07

A tired out lion heading back to the car:
Heading back to the car 10/27/07Tired out lion 10/27/07

As Julian slept, he sunk further and further down into his costume:
Still sleeping 10/27/07Sinking farther into his costume 10/27/07

“I’m awake. What did I miss?”:
The zebra wakes up 10/27/07Hi daddy 10/27/07

“Where’s Julian? … There he is!””
Where’s Julian? 10/27/07There he is 10/27/07

For the record, we let Ava have a piece of gum and some animal crackers (she really didn’t get all that much candy) from trick-or-treating. Then we told her about the “natural candy” we had instead in the car. “Is it good for your body?” she asked. 😉 “No, not exactly good for your body, honey, but better for it than the other stuff,” I replied. She was pleased with the swap. No need for the candy fairy this year, but maybe next. I do rather like that idea.

See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
little bsm button

Two memes and an award

Farrah at Baby Loves Slings tagged me to write 7 True Things about myself, so here goes:

  1. I am left-handed.
  2. I have green eyes.
  3. I have a not-so-secret love affair with chocolate.
  4. I would love to give birth to another baby, but am unsure if more than two children is right for our family.
  5. I don’t wear antiperspirant, just deodorant.
  6. My first pet was a goldfish named “George.”
  7. I’m a perfectionist by nature, but have had to relax a bit, OK, a LOT since having kids.

I’m not tagging anyone specifically, but please feel free to play along if you’d like and let me know that you did so I can come read more about you. 🙂

Cristina at HomeSlice tagged me for the 4 Things meme.

4 Jobs I have had:
– Sales associate at K-mart
– Tech support rep for an ISP
– Office manager at a newspaper
– Customer service rep at a bank

4 Movies I love to watch over and over:
– The Princess Bride
– Napoleon Dynamite
– Bridget Jones’ Diary
– The Breakfast Club

4 Places I have lived:
– Clawson, MI
– Mount Pleasant, MI
– Oklahoma City, OK
– Colorado

4 TV shows I enjoy watching:
– The Office
– Uh, I can only think of those two. Oops.

4 Places I have been:
– Cancun, Mexico
– Key West, FL
– San Francisco, CA
– Chicago, IL

4 Websites I visit daily:
– The Weather Channel
– iGoogle
– Maya’s Mom
– Yahoo! Groups

4 Favorite Foods:
– Avocados
– Chocolate
– Grapes
– Mexican food

4 Places I would rather be:
– Sleeping in my bed
– On a tropical beach
– At a spa
– On a massage table

Again, I’m not tagging anyone specifically, but please feel free to play along and let me know if you do. 🙂

Community Blogger Award

And lastly, Phyllis at Ima on (and off) the Bima recently gave me the Community Blogger Award which was designed to “celebrate people who reach out and makes the blogger community a better one.” I’m so honored and felt so touched by what she wrote about me. Thank you, Phyllis. 🙂

I would like to pass the Community Blogger Award on to Kristen at Green Style Mom. Her blog may be fairly new, but I think she is already doing an awesome job to raise awareness about the importance of doing your part to go green, as well as providing a lot of great resources to help you on your way. She is trying to make the world a better place and that makes her a community blogger in my book. I hope you will check her site out. 🙂 She also has some super cute Christmas cards with a great green message for sale.

fall y’allOK, one more thing. The Fall Y’all Bloggy Giveaway is almost here! If you haven’t yet heard about it – go check it out! The fun starts on Monday, Oct. 29. The summer bloggy giveaway was HUGE and I’m sure this one will be even bigger. I will be posting my giveaway on Monday, so be sure to check back.

Amy’s Halloween candy alternatives

jackolanternsHalloween is right around the corner, but in light of my recent discoveries about damaging effects of artificial colors and flavors (and petroleum and coal tar) in candy, I haven’t been feeling very excited about a holiday that promotes candy consumption.

Consider this:

Americans spend a whopping $950 million on Halloween candy every year. So it’s not surprising that a 2006 Mayo Clinic article estimates that 1 in 3 American children are now considered seriously overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. That’s a staggering 25 million children who are at high risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, bone and joint problems, exercise induced asthma, disturbed sleep patterns, premature maturity, liver/gallbladder disease and depression. — Go Green

So the idea of handing out “treats” that are laden with sugar AND chemicals was less than appealing to me. But what is a good alternative that won’t get my house egged the next day?

Using several different web sites, I’ve compiled a list of some alternative Halloween treats. (Please be aware that some of these may be choking hazards for small children.)

Non-food options:

  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Playdoh
  • Pencils
  • Small pads of paper
  • Fancy erasers
  • Pencil toppers
  • Crayons
  • Coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • False teeth
  • Superballs
  • “Slime”
  • Kazoos or other small musical instruments
  • Tiny decks of cards
  • Origami paper & instructions
  • Bubbles

Healthier food options (buy organic if you can afford it):

  • Granola bars
  • Cereal bars
  • Pretzels
  • Glee gum
  • Packets of instant hot chocolate
  • Raisins
  • Fruit leathers
  • Prepackaged trail mix
  • Prepackaged cookies

Things to avoid:

  • Avoid costume jewelry, especially glossy, fake painted pearls and toys from vending machines, both of which may contain lead
  • Avoid cheap plastic toys that are just going to end up in the trash and go off to the landfills

Now what about for your OWN kids?

What do you do if your kids go trick-or-treating and come home with a bag full of stuff you’d rather they not eat? While my kids are still too young (in my book) for door-to-door trick-or-treating, we are going to a Halloween parade tomorrow (the kids dress up and walk down Main street) and the local merchants pass out candy after the parade is done. This year I decided to buy some natural candies – suckers, cookies, fruit leathers, etc., to trade Ava for once she’s done trick-or-treating. I’ll likely still let her pick a few things from her collected loot, but then I’m hoping she’ll trade the rest in for the still tasty, but natural candy goodies I have for her. I am optimistic that it will go well! 🙂

Get your game on

156155142v13_150x150_front_230793172v16_150x150_front_colorblacMy home team, the Colorado Rockies, are playing the Boston Red Sox, home team of Tanya from The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog in the World Series this week. Tanya thought a friendly bet was in order and I agreed that, even though I am not a baseball fan, a little bloggy bet sounded like fun.

We’ve agreed that if the Rockies win the series she’ll give away one her breastfeeding coalition‘s “Breastfeeding Welcome Here” t-shirts (see her store), and if the Red Sox win I’ll give away one of my “I Make Milk. What’s your Superpower?” shirts (see my store). We’ll announce how to win one once the series is over.

Play ball! (Go Rockies!)

Kids’ toys, pajamas contain industrial chemicals

rubber duckyIf the toxic lead paint scare wasn’t enough of a reason for you to consider getting rid of all of your children’s plastic toys, you might change your tune after you read about a new study that revealed high levels of industrial chemicals in children’s bodies. Children as young as 18 months and 5 years old showed “chemical exposure levels up to seven times those of their parents.” How did these kids end up with industrial chemicals in their bodies? How about from their toys, their furniture, their bottles, their pajamas.

When I first read the title of the article, Tests reveal high chemical levels in kids’ bodies, I had a feeling I knew where it was going, but the results were pretty alarming nonetheless.

“In 2004, the Hollands became the first intact nuclear family in the United States to undergo body burden testing. Rowan, at just 1½ years old, became the youngest child in the U.S. to be tested for chemical exposure with this method.

“He had two to three times the level of flame retardants in his body that’s been known to cause thyroid dysfunction in lab rats.”

…children up to six years old are most at risk because their vital organs and immune system are still developing and because they depend more heavily on their environments than adults do.”

Some of the chemicals the Holland children were tested for include:

Phthalates are the chemicals that make plastics soft and pliable. Phthalates disrupt hormone levels, cause neurological dysfunction and reproductive defects in lab rats. In preliminary human testing, phthalate exposure may be linked to genital birth defects in males and infertility problems in men.

Think about all of the soft plastic toys your baby may have (or have had in the past) – teething rings, toys on exersaucers, stackable rings, Fisher Price “Little People,” rubber ducks. Now think about how many of those toys go/went into your baby’s mouth. What about plastic eating utensils?

Flame retardants such as PBDEs are found in foam products like mattresses, couches, and carpets and electronic plastic casings. Liver, thyroid and neurological damage in lab rats. Studies on human toxicity have just begun.

Flame retardants are also on children’s pajamas.

Bisphenol A is a chemical used to make plastics hard. Found in baby bottles, hard water bottles, food containers. Study shows a link between bisphenol A and female reproductive disorders such as cystic ovaries and cancer. More research on children and adults recommended.

PFOAs are chemicals used to make non-stick and stain-resistant products such as non-stick frying pans. Developmental problems and liver toxicity in lab rats. Some studies suggest PFOAs may be human carcinogens.

How many of us have stain-resistant sprays on our furniture or carpeting? Where do babies and kids spend most of their time? On the floor. On the stain-resistant carpet.

Fellow blogger and Coloradan Katja at Skimbaco wrote an excellent post about this very subject called Protect your child from the harmful chemicals in your home. She includes a list of things you can do to help keep your children safe. Rather than repeat all of her information over here, I highly suggest you pop over there and take a look. I was quite shocked to read that sex toys, of all things, have to have warning labels on them when they have high phthalate levels, yet children’s toys do not. How messed up is that?

So, what am I going to do about this in our home?

  • For starters I’m going to try to avoid putting my children in flame retardant pajamas. Think about how much time your children spends in their PJs – at least half of their life, right? That’s a huge amount of exposure to PBDEs. (Read this article – “Inherently” Flame-Resistant Pajamas? – from The Green Guide for more information about pajama safety standards and what options you have other than pjs treated with flame retardants.)
  • I’m also going to check into getting organic sheets for our beds. I’ve thought about it in the past, but haven’t pursued it yet.
  • And I’m going to continue to purge the plastic toys from our house. We got a good start after the lead paint/made in China scare, but we need to keep at it. There are too many times that I look over at Julian to see him gnawing on a soft plastic something or other, and I remember it being that same way with Ava as well. I do know soft plastic toys can be made without phthalates, because Jody bought Ava one such squishy, squeaky toy when she was just a baby. On the bottom of “Vinnie the skinny hippo” (our name, not the actual name of the toy), it says “No Phthalates.” We used to joke about that odd word – phthalates – until we found out what it meant. Then we were glad to know that Vinnie was phthalate-free. I imagine that unless your soft plastic toy is marked with “no phthalates,” then it’s probably safe to assume it has them. (Just quickly, here’s one store that sells toys with safe (no phthalates) plastic – The Bunny Nest. I’m sure you can find more by doing a Google search. Updated to add: I came across the Cool Mom Picks Safer Toy Guide with tons of discount codes listed at the bottom. Also I just got the latest issue (Nov./Dec.) of Mothering magazine in the mail today. There’s an article called “Out of the Mouths of Babes” – a guide to non-toxic plastics, as well their annual toy review containing the Best Natural Toys of 2007 – I can’t wait to read them!)

I know I can’t protect my children from all of the toxins in the world. It’s simply impossible. But I believe I can protect them from dangerous chemicals by the products we choose to have or not have in our home. Even if the government isn’t going to ban them for their toxicity (like many other countries already have), this mama still can.

Knowledge is power.