Boobs, votes & friends

I’ve had a super productive Monday morning here (two loads of laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, trash emptied) and I might as well continue the streak over on my blog. I’ve got a few bloggy matters that need addressing so I figured I’d cover them all in one fell swoop.

  • GET YOUR BOOBIES ON: Don’t forget the Great Virtual Breast Fest is happening at 10 a.m. (your local time) on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Check out The League of Maternal Justice for more information. And check out the video they put together of so many happy breast-fed babes. 🙂
  • GET YOUR VOTING ON: Mom 4 Life is having a month of contests in October and the voting is underway for Week 1. You can help select a winner! Go check out the photos (they had to include “Mom 4 Life” in them) and vote for your favorites today. (If you want to vote for me, my photo is (aa) – the bicep/tattoo.) Voting will close at 9 PM PST on Oct. 11. And if you haven’t yet entered her contests, there’s still time for some of them so head on over there.
  • GET YOUR FRIENDSHIP ON: Just for kicks, I joined CafeMom over the weekend. If you have a membership over there, please feel free to look me up (amygeekgrl) and send me a friend invite. I am sure there are a ton of people I know there, but without your usernames I don’t know how to track everyone down. Thanks! 🙂

Best Shot Monday – 10/8/07 – Laundry basket fun

Hanging out in the laundry basket - Oct. 2007
Sigh. I love them so much. I especially love Julian’s little hand holding onto Ava’s head and how cute and lovey they look here. I should note though that this picture was taken right before the one of Julian trying to eat Ava’s face. He’s got five teeth now, so ya don’t want him chewing on your head. 😉

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

Halloweenie shirt winner

Peek-a-boo

Congratulations to Cristy from two peas, no pod for winning the Halloween shirt from Cute as a Bug! Thanks to all who entered!

There’s still plenty of time to order a Halloween shirt for your little pumpkin from Cute as a Bug and you can save $5 (off any purchase of $50) by using the coupon code FALL2007 at checkout. Expires 10/31.

Now be sure to check out my latest contest for a chance to win “Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon” from Barefoot Books. 🙂

Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon – a review and a contest

Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, and while it is only Oct. 5, I’m happy to say I have not had any meat yet this month. It honestly hasn’t been hard for me, but then again, I don’t eat meat all that often to begin with. Anyway, the reason I mention veggie month is because my next review and contest is all about a vegetarian dragon! 🙂

I received a copy of the book “Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon” from Barefoot Books and was immediately impressed by the beautiful and vibrant illustrations. The book is about a dragon named Herb who tends to a nice vegetable garden in the forest and is a vegetarian, unlike the rest of the carnivorous dragons in the forest, lead by Meathook, who enjoy raiding the castle for amusement (and tasty eats). The knights of the castle set forth to rid the forest of the meat-eating dragons, but the meat-eaters hear of their plan and hide out in a cave. Meanwhile Herb is the only dragon left in the forest. The knights find him, assume he is a meat-eater as well and capture him. Herb is about to meet his fate at the mouths of hungry alligators when an unlikely hero emerges and saves the day.

Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon is a story about diversity, acceptance and living together in harmony. I do want to note that it’s recommended for ages 4-10 and I have to agree that the content is a bit more mature than toddler-level. When the book first arrived in the mail, I read it to Ava (3) before I had read it for myself or realized it was meant for older children. (Oops.) While she expressed some concern about Herb’s safety and other parts of the book, I explained it to her well and she did OK with it. We have since read the book a few times and she knows how it ends which I think reassures her that Herb will be OK even when the knights are tying him up.

Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon would make a great addition to any child’s library. The illustrations are gorgeous and the book teaches some valuable lessons about life.

Barefoot Books – founded by two moms in 1993 – “offers products that are thoughtfully written, beautifully designed and illustrated, and have high educational value.” If Herb isn’t your cup of tea, check out the rest of the site. There’s a huge variety of books available – many of which celebrate other cultures. I love that their books are free of media, toy or candy references, and are unique and meaningful children’s literature. Most of the paperback books sell for $6.99 and the hardcover books sell for between $16.99-19.99. I suggest keeping Barefoot Books in mind for birthdays and holiday shopping for the kids this year.

Win it!

If you’d like to win your own copy of Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon, please leave me a COMMENT below STATING WHAT BOOK YOU LIKE BEST FROM BAREFOOT BOOKS. Make sure to include a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, Oct. 16. The winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and announced on Oct. 17. It’s not required, but please feel free to post about this contest on your blog if you’d like to share the love. 🙂

Kitchen appliance lovin’

How, oh how, is it that I’ve gone through the past several years of my life without a food processor? I’ll tell ya how. I honestly didn’t think they were necessary which is why I never put one on my wedding registry in the first place. I figured a blender was just as good and, over the years, I’ve attempted to use my blender for anything and everything. But the thing is, of course, it’s not just as good. In fact, it often didn’t work very well at all and I’d spend far too much time getting frustrated and cursing the damn thing, but I didn’t have the money to plunk down on a new food processor, so I made do. Until today.

A friend of mine was recently gifted with an 11-cup super-wowee food processor. And she needs it. In addition to having an extensive garden, this woman cooks up all sorts of delicious foods. When I learned that she would no longer be using her old food processor I figured it couldn’t hurt for me to ask her if she’d be willing to sell it to me. She had no plans for it and was happy to pass it my way.

I used it today for the first time. First to grate a zucchini. Then to grind up some chickpeas. Oh.My.God. That thing is amazing. I’m honestly a little bit intimidated by it and it’s power. First of all, it’s a Kitchenaid. I’ve never owned a Kitchenaid appliance before. I’ve heard they were amazing, but I did not have any first-hand experience with one. Well, I’m totally a believer now and can understand why it’d be worth it to spend the extra money to get one. This food processor was a wedding gift to my friend 9 years ago, but it still works as if it were brand new. Love it. LOVE IT!

I can’t believe how much time I’ve wasted in the past hand chopping and grating and trying, trying and trying again to get my blender to puree foods. But no more. That is all in the past.

I’m in love with a kitchen appliance. Ya can’t get much more domestic than that.

How about you? Do you have a kitchen appliance you just can’t live without? What is it and what do you love about it? 🙂

NaBloPoMo


NaBloPoMo. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Oh! What does it mean? Let me tell you. 🙂 November is National Blog Posting Month AKA NaBloPoMo.

“Post every day for the month of November. That’s all you have to do.”

That’s all. 😉 Ha ha ha. I’ve been trying to post every day for the past couple months. Some days it’s not easy, but I admit I do enjoy the challenge.

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 has started a NaBloPoMo group for Breastfeeding Mom Bloggers. You can read more about it on her blog.

Breastfeeding mother or not, are you up to the NaBloPoMo challenge? 🙂 Go sign up!

Chew on this

Did you know that chewing gum is made from petroleum? It is. Why do I know this? You see, Ava (age 3) has recently taken quite the interest in chewing gum. Jody and I let her have a piece and she did well with it – didn’t swallow it I mean. However, now that she’s had a taste, she wants more, more, more. You could say she’s a chain chewer. She’ll chew one piece for a minute or two, spit it out and pop another in her mouth.

This new habit made me question what all goes into chewing gum. Jody did a search on Wikipedia and found this: Chewing gum is a type of confectionery which is designed to be chewed rather than swallowed. Traditionally, it was made of chicle, a natural latex product, although for reasons of economy and quality many modern chewing gums use petroleum-based polymers instead of chicle.

Mmmm, petroleum. /gag If I don’t want my kid to ingest pesticides and growth hormones in her food, I sure as hell don’t want her gnawing on petroleum in her gum. Oy.

Of course his next search was to find a natural chewing gum alternative to crude oil, which lead him to Glee Gum. Glee Gum is all natural chewing gum made with sustainably-harvested rainforest chicle.

Glee Gum

Jody picked up three packs of Glee Gum at Vitamin Cottage and Ava has been happily chewing on chicle ever since. The only problem with chicle is that it gets stuck in your teeth much more easily than slippery old petroleum. So there have been a few occasions where I’ve had to retrieve gum from Ava’s mouth – it likes to get stuck between her teeth and gums. But I’d rather fish around in her mouth than worry about her ingesting petroleum. 😉

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Which brings me to my next story. Guess what artificial colors are made from. C’mon, guess! That’s right – petroleum as well (in addition to coal tar and insects)! Thanks to Greenstylemom for sharing this bit of information and putting a damper on my recent M&M gluttony consumption.

Here’s a bit more about some of the artificial colors…

Blue No. 1 uses coal tar as one of its components. Because of the use of coal tar, many organizations and circles are speaking out and boycotting products using colors with coal tar because it is a carcinogenic in large quantities, known to cause tumors in lab rats.Blue candy

Red No. 40 can be found in sweets, drinks and condiments, medications, and cosmetics. It has caused allergic reactions in people as well as hyperactivity in children.

Yellow No. 5 or Tartazine can be found in soft drinks, instant puddings, flavored chips (Doritos, etc), cake mixes, custard powder, soups, sauces, kool-aid, ice cream, ice lollies, candy, chewing gum, marzipan, jam, jelly, marmalade, mustard, horseradish, yogurt, noodles, pickles and other pickled products, certain brands of fruit squash, fruit cordial, chips, tim tams, and many convenience foods together with glycerin, lemon and honey products.

Tartrazine, however, does produce the most common allergic react, especially among those with an aspirin intolerance and ashtma. Some research has linked Yellow No. 5 to early childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and hyperactivity. It is banned in Austria and Norway.

Yellow No. 6, also known as Sunset Yellow FCF, is an orange coal tar-based food dye found in orange squash, orange jelly, marzipan, Swiss roll, apricot jam, citrus marmalade, lemon curd, fortune cookies, sweets, hot chocolate mix and packet soups, trifle mix, breadcrumbs and cheese sauce mix and soft drinks. It is the color most prominently seen in DayQuil. It is capable of causing allergic reactions such as abdominal pain, hyperactivity, hives, nasal congestion, and bronchoconstriction, as well as kidney tumours, chromosomal damage, and distaste for food.

Here’s the kicker, a number of these dyes have been banned in countries around the world because of their link to cancer, tumors, allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children, yet they are still used in foods in the good ol’ U.S.A.

Note to self for future sweet binges: Chocolate = good. Chocolate with cancer-coating artificial dye coating on it = bad.

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brain-body connection Thirdly, on another related note, thanks to my friend Melissa for sharing the article: Scientists make gut-brain connection to autism. (The bolding below is mine.)

Compounds produced in the digestive system have been linked to autistic-type behaviour in laboratory settings, potentially demonstrating that what autistic children eat can alter their brain function, say scientists from the University of Western Ontario.

It’s wonderful to see a scientific study finally acknowledge what many parents have already come to realize on their own. (Jenny McCarthy was recently talking with Oprah about this with regard to her autistic son.)

Dr. Martha Herbert, assistant professor in neurology at Harvard Medical School, told CBC News that the study opens up a new way of thinking about the disorder.
Now we’re learning that the brain and body can influence each other,” she said.

Excuse my cynicism here, but NO KIDDING! This hardly seems like news to me, but I guess I should be happy that science is catching on that there IS a mind-body connection. Perhaps they will realize that this can apply to many other things as well. I’m crossing my fingers, but not holding my breath yet.

Eat your veggies day

World Vegetarian Day
Today, Oct. 1, 2007, is World Vegetarian Day – the annual kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. We eat vegetarian meals several days of the week in this house, but I made a point of selecting only vegetarian meals for this week, and especially today.

We started off the day with cereal and fruit and had leftover pumpkin and black bean soup for lunch (a favorite of both Ava and Julian who had his first bowl full last night for dinner). Jody said he even chose to even vegetarian while at work today, which isn’t that big of a deal considering he used to be a vegetarian for seven years, but he seems to like his meat these days.

For dinner I am making a spinach and chard quiche which calls for tofu instead of eggs (though I may still throw in a couple eggs). The rest of the week will include dinners like Spinach Lasagna, Fall Minestrone Soup, G-Z Burgers (G for Garbanzo beans and Z for Zucchini – a recipe I got from Isil a long time ago) and a few others that I haven’t committed to yet.

How about you? Are you going meatless today? What veggie meals are you eating?
Special thanks to everyone who signed up to ‘go veggie for a day’ below. You rock! 🙂