Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wordless Wednesday-- Is it Fall Yet?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday Baby Link Up: Week 45

Welcome to the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

Here I have been wishing for fall so hard and now it is summer all over again.  Our weather has been so wacky this year since this is the hottest weather we have had all summer and it is nearly September.  Ugh.  Oh well.  It could be cold and rainy.  Hope everyone has had a great week!

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Your Hosts

Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take

Featured Post

This week I am featuring a post from S.A.H.M i AM about the Happy Mama Manifesto.  It is a great reminder of the things we as mama's should strive to do or be.  Check it out!

Monday, August 26, 2013

I am Jealous of a Cartoon Character

Yes you read that title right.  I am straight up green with envy jealous of a cartoon character.  Who you might inquire?  Mom tiger from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.  No it isn't because she kept her tigerly figure even after having Daniel.  It isn't because she and dad tiger go out dancing regularly although that must be fun.  Nor is it because she got to spend the night in a castle.

I am jealous because she has her crap so together.  I mean come on.  Watch when she opens her fridge.  It is spotless and all healthy foods.  I mean where are the shelves that need scrubbing, food that needs trashing, and 8 billion packets of condiments from various restaurants falling everywhere.  And the food in it.  It is all healthy.  Where are the suckers on top to be used as bribes when Daniel has to stay with a sitter?  I have never seen a single box of goldfish, yogurt puffs, or even so much as a pouch.  I mean it is all healthy fruits and veggies, milk, cheese. 

When her kid acts out and makes an inside beach with buckets of sand, she does lose her cool.  By turning around and counting to four and then calmly explaining the wrongness of his actions.  Yeah some days I put myself in time out just to avoid screaming at my kid for his naughtiness.  Plus do we ever seen Daniel throw more than a momentary temper tantrum.  NO.  I mean he is four so I guess Kai has two years to improve, but I mean he never runs away from her, never tortures pets, never hits or kicks or bites his friends.

Plus Mom Tiger's house is always freaking spotless.  I mean so clean I am jealous.  I am just happy if all my diapers are sprayed before bed and there is no food the dog can steal off the table.  Clean sheets on my bed are an added bonus.  I mean I know that Daniel goes to preschool some so she has a bit more time to clean and she also isn't working full time, but I am sorry none of my mommy friends houses are that clean.
Even these smiling cupcakes are mocking me tonight

You know Mom Tiger, you are on my crap list tonight.  Yeah you.  I want a Daniel episode where Daniel is screaming his head off about not getting to paint the wall neon yellow and throwing himself in the floor over there being no Goldfish for snack.  I want Mom Tiger to look all frazzled and be just counting the minutes until bedtime with a glass of wine in her hand to soften the blow of the day.  Maybe when Dad Tiger comes in instead of looking at him with adoring loving wife eyes, she tells him if he doesn't take this kid outside for ten minutes she is going to run away and never come back.  

Tell me I am not the only one to want this.  Just one episode.  Kids don't have to watch it.  Okay maybe I have lost my mind.  I mean I am jealous of a fictional character on a kids cartoon.  Oh well.  And side note, Daniel Tiger toys are coming out in a few days.  I am psyched.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Destructo's Favorite Toys at Two

My son is spoiled.  As of right now, he is the only grandchild on either side of the family.  Which also means he is the only nephew on either side of the family to a total of seven aunts and uncles right now.  Which means sometimes it feels like not a day goes by that he doesn't get a toy or book or article of clothing.  I like clothes and books.  I am cool with this.  He likes toys.  He is cool with that.  Either way, our toy inventory needs to go down considerably.  I want to divide some of the toys and rotate them out every few months, but need attic space to do so and I currently have nine full crates of 18 months and smaller clothes up there.  I think I might actually stash some toys in the shed.  Then he will always have "new" toys.

But anyways what are his favorite toys as a big two year old you might ask?  Well here is his ten favorites right now.

1)  Kidcraft Fire station.  Kai is obsessed with fire trucks and fire men and fire stations and everything "fie wah."  It has truly surpassed his train obsession.  He even wants a fire truck big boy bedroom.  My mom and sister got him this for his birthday (used off Craigslist for only fifty bucks no less) and he plays with it every single day.  It is basically a doll house for boys and I even like playing with it with him.

2)  Fisher price zoo talkers zoo.  He didn't like this much at first, but the more animals he got for it, the more he started playing with it.  This is another toy that was as much for me as it was for him.  I mean I love the zoo and what is better than a zoo that makes animal sounds?

 3)  Not quite a toy, but close is Destructo's "motorpsychee."  He wanted a "lellow" bike so for his birthday we got him a Strider balance bike.  He is slowly figuring out how to ride it even though he prefers keeping it inside so he can ride it whenever he wants (and naked a lot of the time eye roll.)

 4)  Melissa and Doug farm blocks are a favorite in this house.  Kai is slightly obsessed with making hay and for good reason.  Apparently he has a horse, cow, giraffe, and elephant in our back yard that he has to have enough hay to feed.  I hope he likes scooping poop.

 5) Matchbox cars.  All of them.  All of them all over the place.  All the time.  I swear these suckers breed at night.  And Mr. Destructo is enabling Kai on this one.  He is starting him a collection for when he is older.  Because anything Captain Destructo has now will survive until he is older  Yeah right.

6)  Fire truck.  It lights up and makes sounds and is so very annoying.  But he loves it.  It isn't the one in the picture, but is very close to it.  It came from Dollar General one day.  The batteries will never ever ever die.

7)  Melissa and Doug horse trailer.  This makes my horse loving soul happy.  Especially when he drives his horses to the race track.  Living my dreams son, living my dreams.

8)  Melissa and Doug car carrier

9)  Garbage truck.  Kai picked this out himself with his birthday gift card.  It also makes noise and has lights and the batteries also never die.

10) Thomas track master set.  He is still on the young side for this, but we decided to start this set for him.  He loves to play with it, but isn't quite old enough yet to set it up for himself.  I do have to say the trains are really well made because he hasn't destroyed them yet even with much trying.

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Tuesday Baby

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Baby Link Up: Week 44

Welcome to the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

Hey guys!  Welcome back to another week's link up.  I have been super busy canning, picking, and otherwise tending to my garden.  I love gardening, but it sure is a labor of love.

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Your Hosts

Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take

Featured Post

This week I am featuring a post about ways to help siblings have a loving relationship.  I hope that one day if I have two kids I can help them foster a great relationship.  Check out the post from I Though I Knew Mama here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Canning, canning, canning

If you have noticed the distinct lack of talking coming from this blog, well let me tell you it is my garden's fault.  Summer is always such a busy time with my garden and pool.  This week even my pool has taken a back seat.  I had my entire kitchen table covered in tomatoes.  This isn't an exaggeration either.  My kitchen table isn't that small either.  I mean it is a normal four person round table.

I hated to waste them, but didn't really know how to can tomatoes either.  Well Mr. Destructo stepped in an taught himself (and me) to can.  It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  I mean it is tedious and time consuming, but not horrible by any means.  I think we processed at least 100 tomatoes.  I don't think the six pints of tomato sauce and six pints of diced tomatoes will be the best tasting ever since the majority of my tomatoes are slicing tomatoes and not cooking tomatoes, but it makes me even more excited for my garden next year since I have this knowledge now and can do less slicing tomatoes and more canning tomatoes like Romas.

I planted six slicing type tomato plants this year and two that were supposed to be Romas.  They weren't.  I got a grape tomato plant and a cherry tomato plant neither of which are that useful to me.  My boss is happy though haha.  The tomatoes have done amazing even though the garden got away from me a bit when we went on vacation and I never managed to stake the tomatoes back up.  I have been giving away tomatoes by the shopping bag full and just having to get rid of them as they got too ripe.  Well no more since I can can now.  I feel all domestic and stuff.  I was canning tomatoes, freezing squash, and line drying my cloth diapers.  Win!

In other garden news, the cucumbers made an amazing come back even after they were decimated early on by slugs.  I need to learn to pickle those since I am having to give away bags of them each week.  The squash did awesome and I have frozen probably 7 or 8 quart Ziplocks and we are eating squash at least twice a week.  Yum.  Zucchinis were disappointing.  After losing three of five plants and then one of the two replacements to squash borers, it has been slow.  Plus I missed a day or two of picking and had a number get too big to eat so I gave them away for zucchini bread making.

And the thing that made my gardening year the best was picking my very first bell pepper.  I have picked some before, but they were only an inch or two tall and stunted.  I never have luck with these.  This year I got the most gorgeous pepper ever.

Finally, in cantaloupe and watermelon news I have two large watermelons.  I just can't figure out when to pick them haha.  I have about 15ish cantaloupes on the vines right now that again I am trying to determine the best time to pick.  I am going to have cantaloupe out my ears soon.  I wonder if it can be easily frozen?  Destructo loves cantaloupe year round.  Oh and I have bird house gourds and decorative gourds/ mini pumpkins going crazy along the fence.  I am curious to see what all I get.  They also spread all through the cantaloupes and watermelons so it is a big (yay for an amazing gardening year) mess!

Does anyone have any good jam recipes?  My raspberry bush is thriving and I picked an entire small container yesterday and have quite a few more that will be ready this weekend.  I was thinking about making jam from some of them if it is easy, not too time consuming, and you can make small amounts of it since I don't have that much fruit to spare since Destructo loves "rasbabies."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Baby Link Up: Week 43

Welcome to the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

Welcome back guys!  Thanks for linking up yet again.  Ahh my favorite time of year is nearly upon us.  I keep fantasizing about the crisp cool weather of fall and football and pumpkin patches.  Since I have mentioned fall in two out of three of these link ups, can you tell I am excited!

Can't wait to add to this collection of pictures

Grab the Badge


Your Hosts

Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take

Featured Post

This week I am featuring a post from The Pistachio Project about 11 Breastfeeding Myths.  It really covers a lot of the myths that are popular about breastfeeding/formula.  Check it out here!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Ammonia Woes

As I have prefaced in many posts, I have had ammonia build up problems before with my cloth diapers.  We have incredibly hard water where I live and this leads to mineral build up even with a great wash routine which then leads to ammonia build up.  I had no problems until solids started and Destructo got closer to a toddler.  But as his pee got more concentrated, my diapers started reeking of ammonia.

I tried so many things to fix it.  I sunned my diapers more even though I was already doing this any time the sun was out and they were wet.  I ran the diapers through three hot washes with no soap.  I tried many different detergents because I knew that ammonia buildup was also usually caused and/or complicated by soap buildup.  I tried more soap, I tried less soap.  I tried vinegar (which I later learned isn't recommended in hard water.)  I tried adding in boiling water to increase my water temps.  I tried Funk Rock which fixed the problem temporarily, but then the ammonia came back.  As a last ditch resort, I even went so far as to use bleach with my diapers which worked for about two weeks until the ammonia came back.
Photo via Kelly's Closet

It got so bad that my poor baby was getting rashes caused by the ammonia and I nearly quit cloth diapering.  Luckily I am the most stubborn person out there and refused to be defeated by ammonia.  So after much advice, scouring internet articles, and trial and error I came up with a few tips and tricks that helped mainly eliminate my ammonia woes.  In his overnight diapers I still occasionally can catch a whiff of ammonia but it isn't strong at all and I can live with this as long as it isn't every diaper and causing rashes.  He does wear those diapers for 12+ hours so I assume this is normal.

Okay before first and foremost since I just thought I should have included this after I typed all of it, I would recommend stripping your diapers so that you are starting with very clean diapers.  My preferred method is stripping with RLR.  First and foremost, I found rinsing all diapers even just the pee ones helps.  Secondly I no longer zip my wet bag closed but leave it open 24/7 to let oxygen circulate and help prevent ammonia from building up.  If one of his overnight diapers smell really strong, I will actually let the inserts soak in water in my bathroom sink for a while.  So basically rinse, rinse, rinse. 
Photo via Kelly's Closet

Then you repeat the rinse, rinse, rinse while washing.  (To read my washing routine in detail, click here.)  I do a warm rinse first.  Warm seems to work much better than a cold rinse at getting extra urine/ammonia out of the diapers.  I was concerned with staining of my diapers from the warm rinse, but I found that it isn't anything that a good sunning won't take out.  I then do an entire extra wash cycle with a hot wash/cold rinse as the final rinse.

Calgon Water Softener Liquid  is a life saver as well.  I add a half a cap in the hot wash and then a half a cap in the hot rinse.  I didn't actually think this was helping until I stopped using it and the ammonia got worse again.  It makes a huge difference even if it isn't super noticeable at first.  This is especially true if hard water is what is causing your ammonia woes.

A final product that I have to recommend is Grovia mighty bubbles soap.  This is something I will use every other month or so for a wash or two as a method of reducing build up from the hard water.  It seems to really help as I notice less odors immediately after using it.  You just throw a pack of it in in place of your normal detergent.
Photo via Kelly's Closet

I hope these tips and tricks helps you battle your ammonia woes.  It was a lot of trial and error, but I finally got a place where I feel like I know what I am doing haha.  You know until something else comes up and I realize cloth diapering is always a learning experience.

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Tuesday Baby

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Are you Ready for some Football??????

I sure am.  Oh yeah first preseason game.  I am psyched.  My dad has awesome season tickets.  Fourteen rows from the field right in between the goal posts.  I can never buy cheap seats now that I have sat there.  I always end up just waiting for a game that I can buy tickets from him and his friends.  I can't wait until Kai gets to go to his first game.  He will love the atmosphere and camaraderie.  If only he can stop calling it a home run.  

It is a Sunday tradition to me to watch football while cutting coupons.  Now that Destructo exists, it is a bit harder to cut coupons while he is awake so it is more like listening to the game while I chase him around.  I do miss this.  I used to get my entire shopping list of coupons cut while the game was on and then right after I would go shop.

So which teams are your favorites?  Are you a tail gater?  And better yet, what is your favorite stadium foods?  I am a hot dog lover by far.  Although nachos are up there in my book as well.  Lemonade too.  Yummm.

Destructo's first Super Bowl

Who you looking at?

Youngest Titans fan!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tuesday Baby: Week 42

Welcome to the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

Welcome back guys!  I hope you will link up with me.  I have a bit of a cold right now in case you notice the decided quietness of the blog.  Summer colds are the worst.

Grab the Badge


Your Hosts

Shannon at GrowingSlower
Jennifer at Every Breath I Take

Featured Post

This week I am featuring a post about proper use of a car seat over at Pistachio Project.  Swing by and check it out. 
This is the mistake I see most in facebook pictures.  Chest clips go across the chest not the stomach.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Daniel Tiger Birthday Party

For Kai's second birthday he requested a Daniel Tiger on the train tracks birthday party.  This was difficult for two reasons.  One no Daniel Tiger stuff is available commerically yet.  Two he couldn't be content with one theme but instead needed two.  But nothing to fear, my mother is here.

Cake by When Big Kids Play Bakery