Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Cloud B is this great company who is dedicated to helping children of all ages sleep better. They have products ranging from a sheep that makes soothing sounds to the Lullabag, a bag sleeper that is safer than blankets for your baby, to a turtle that projects stars on the ceiling.
My very favorite product of theirs is the Twilight Sea Turtle. It is a constellation night light like their original Twilight Turtle with some very cool differences. Twilight Sea Turtle's beautiful shell illuminates in three soothing colors: Ocean Blue, Emerald Green, or both colors together (creating a kind of Aquamarine). It also highlights five endangered sea friends: the Blue Whale, California Sea Otter, Knysna Seahorse, Leatherback Turtle, and Vaquita Dolphin. It comes with a storybook that teaches children about each of the endangered sea animals, a helpful star guide, and an adoption certificate. A portion of the proceeds from buying a Twilight Sea Turtle will be donated to an international conservation organization.
Sea turtles are so cool! I love the sea turtle, Crush, in Finding Nemo. He was my favorite character in that movie. Disney is going to do a coaster named Crush's Coaster for one of their parks. It is the making and soon to be "turtally awesome". I hope to "Grab shell dude!" and try it out when it is done. My other favorite part of that movie was of course Dory speaking whale.
If you are ever in Georgia stop by the Georgia Sea Turtle Center in Jekyll Island, Georgia. It looks like fun! Visitors can explore exhibits on sea turtle conservation, rehabilitation, and their amazing journey from egg to adulthood.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Bitty Braille tees feature simple "kid-friendly" words set in Braille type in either sparkly faceted metal studs for the girls or simple metal studs for the boys. The translation is hand-embroidered underneath in a simple print or cursive. They make great gifts for showers, birthdays or whenever a unique gift is needed.
I would change one little thing if I were doing the names on the tees. I would have the first letter of the name capitalized in both the braille and hand-embroidery. My daughter, Tatiana, is totally blind and so I have learned braille by taking courses through Hadley School for the Blind with their Family Education Program. When you write names in braille you use a capital sign in front of the first letter of the name. Tatiana's first name would actually read like this in braille...
My daughter also received a set of their new Braille Alphabet Tiles. These, although smaller than what I expected, are very well made. I am going to use them to teach my other children braille. As a homeschooling mother any opportunity to teach good things is wonderfully received! These are a great teaching tool! If you get more than one set you can spell more complex words with them. I think these would also be great as fridge magnets because of their size.Bitty Braille donates 10% of every sale to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB).
You can go to this website by the American Foundation for the Blind and make your name into braille. You can also do whole sentences with punctuation.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I won Momma Findings giveaway on her blog for the color changing mood bead bracelet with medical ID and she sent me a fiber optic sherbert bracelet to use with the medical ID because she was a little late getting it in the mail. Thanks Sara!
I had asthma as a child and I wish I had one of these! My 4 year old daughter, Tatiana, who will be 5 in January would benefit greatly by having a medical ID. She is totally blind (no light perception) and has: Panhypopituitarism, Diabetes Insipidus, Hypothyroidism, Seizure Disorder, Hypotonia, a g-tube, and developmental delays. She is also allergic to Betalactams, Penicillins, Cephalosporins, Promethazine and Latex. Since she is so medically involved I will probably have to have some help getting it engraved.
Lauren’s Hope donates a portion of their profit on the medical ID bracelets to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Lauren's Hope is also having free standard shipping and handling on any bracelet over $20 with the coupon code: dazzle. Coupon code expires on November 7th, 2008.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
As a teen I wanted one of those Shamu Cruisers to drive around :) I was into science fiction books like Animorphs and Deep Wizardry because of the whales and dolphins in them. I was introduced to a dolphin discussion forum called POD (Place of Dolphins) by one of my Animorphs role playing buddies and that is where I met my husband. He was in Ohio at the time and I was in Utah. We also chatted by messenger and a web camera with video chat. He came to visit me in person the day before my birthday in May of 1999 and in a whirlwind wedding we were married in June of that same year in his parents' backyard. Some say we were crazy, but we were in love and still are! He is the love of my life and I am so glad to have been introduced to POD because I don't know where I would be without him and my 4 wonderful children!
Before I moved to Oregon I went to Newport and went whale watching with my husband with Marine Discovery Tours. We also went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and I wished we were there when Keiko was so that I could have seen him before they let him back in the wild. We also took a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and went to the Mirage Hotel where Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is. Generally that, shopping, a few shows, and my sister's family would be my only reason to visit there because my sister lives and works in Las Vegas now that she is married.
After three of our children were born we lived in Orlando, Florida for a while and spent a lot of time together at Sea World there. I envy the dolphin and whale trainers there because they get to spend their whole day with them and get paid for it. I miss Orlando a lot. We go back and visit every now and then. Oregon is fun too, but I miss living as close to the coast as I used to. Now the Sea World in Orlando has a great new water park called Aquatica and it looks like so much fun!! They have a water slide called the Dolphin Plunge that goes beneath the water and their Commerson's Dolphins swim right beside you while you are shooting through a see through tube. Maybe I will get to go when my children are a little older and I don't have a baby in tow although she probably would love the lazy river.
Monday, October 6, 2008
These jewels are also made from plastic that is food-safe, non-toxic, phthalate, BPA, latex, lead, and PVC free. They are also dishwasher-friendly. Dr. Bloom's Chewable Jewels are made of food grade silicone that has FDA approved materials and colorings. Not only did Dr. Bloom make sure the material and colorings on her products were safe for your baby, she made sure the product was the perfect thickness/hardness. If a product is too hard it can damage the tooth buds. She apparently has done her research to find the perfect durometer for a teething baby. She should know her stuff, being a dentist and all! The pendants have a latex free cording that has elasticity to allow for stretching instead of the breakaway clasp. The jewels for the necklaces come in a rectangle pendant, circle pendant, or hexagon pendant. They also carry bracelets and keychains.
I was sent a Emerald Bracelet and Circle Slide Necklace for free from Dr. Bloom to test and review.
They are giving $1 to the Starlight Children's Foundation for every Plum jewelry item sold from their website.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
What a great product they have! I love the fact that they are safe for babies to chew on and so stylish to wear. As many moms know that when you wear your jewelry while holding small children they are always enthralled by it and want to either pull on it or chew on it. I can say that most of my jewelry is not safe to chew on. Most have small parts and some even have lead in them! The Teething Bling is made from plastic that is food-safe, non-toxic, phthalate, BPA, latex, lead, and PVC free. They are also dishwasher-friendly and all pendants come with a breakaway clasp. As you already know I love bangles...so when I heard about this fabulous product on some other mom blogs out there I had to buy one to see for myself. I bought the Lapis Lazuli donut shaped pendant and the bangle to match.
A percentage of all retail sales goes to these worthy organizations:
Dress for Success
(in special memory of Maria Jankowski Maurer)
Also, you can use coupon code S-MWS to receive $12 off with every pendant purchase, expires September 2008. Save yourself. Check it out.
This October 2008, Smart Mom Jewelry supports breast cancer awareness month with a special online offer. Purchase anything from their "Think Pink" line and they'll donate 20% of every sale to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
November is time for their pre-holiday sale! All month long, everything is 20% off.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The product that I tested out is called a Kickin' Coaster by The First Years. It looks a little like a baby bouncer chair. Looks; however, can be deceiving! This thing is the coolest baby seat I have ever seen! My 4 month old daughter, Teela, loved it from the start. That is her in the picture :) Instead of bouncing a little when the baby moves or kicks its legs it has a kick plate that when kicked makes the seat glide backwards in a smooth movement. Teela had a bit of trouble getting her legs to push the seat all the way back back, but she got it to move a little. I think babies that are a bit older than her would be able to push it the whole distance without any trouble at all. Below the fabric seat it has a switch that locks the seat into position so that it cannot be pushed backwards. It has three musical settings with lights that go with the music. The settings are: happy playful music all the time, soothing music all the time, and happy playful music when kick plate is kicked. It also has three settings: off, low, and high for vibration and the same for volume. The music is nice and not annoying like some toys. It also has a cute little monkey and kangaroo that seem to wiggle when the kick plate is kicked. Teela loved the rattle that is attached and the infant headrest to lay her head on while in the chair. These two items are both detachable. The fabric seat is easily removed and machine washable. This is a great product and I thank Learning Curve for letting Teela and I test it out!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
As I was going to an appointment for my 4 year old daughter at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon we passed a park that had this beautiful gazebo. I immediately fell in love with it. The park is called Dawson Park and it is at N Stanton St & Williams Ave if you ever have the chance of going. The gazebo that was built in 1978 was made from a 120 year-old cupola salvaged from the Hill Block Building that was torn down. Renovated in 2008 it is absolutely my favorite thing about the park! Here is a picture of it that I found online. I will have to go back and actually get some pictures of my own to share with all of you as well. If anyone has pictures of this gazebo please share them with me. Thanks!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Jewelry I love: chokers, brooches, chandelier earrings, bangle bracelets (I have always wanted to collect them), and memory wire wrap bracelets (I love to make these in my spare time). When I was young I loved friendship bracelets...still do actually. They are so colorful!
If I am not wearing jeans or capri pants usually I have on a long flowing skirt. I really dislike the skirts with slits that will always show your slip or ones that are too tight they don't let you walk in them. I love long skirts that go down to my ankles. Maybe I am a bit old fashioned. My favorites are the sarong (Indonesia)/pareo (Tahiti)/kikepa (Hawaii)/lavalava (Samoa)/sulu (Fiji)/beach wrap...long skirts, gauze/crinkle/broomstick/gypsy/peasant long skirts.
I also love shawls, scarves, dupatta (long scarf), and ponchos (esp. ones with fringe, metallic threads, eyelash yarn, etc.), capes, caplets (esp. hooded ones). I love outfits from India (kirtis, saris, choli, salwar (pants), kameez (shirt). I love smocked tops with empire waists.
Other things I love, but haven't tried out are bindis and henna/mehndi fake tattoo body art.
COLOR, FABRICS, PATTERNS, AND JEWELS...
opalescent or iridescent or holographic or dichroic
opals, blue goldstone, blue moonstone, blue/black pearls, shell, tanzanite, iolite, etc
embroidery - beaded
pashmina - finest wool
Angora wool - Angora bunny fur spun with wool fibers
velvet (crushed, patchwork, w/lace, beaded, embellished, tie dyed)
Monday, July 14, 2008
My babies got the green treatment. I did the whole cloth diapering thing with my boys when they were younger and I loved it! It was better for the environment and I was saving money in the long run. I also breastfed all my babies and this saved me money, was less waste, and in my opinion is a lot healthier and more natural for the baby than formula. I also loved making them homemade baby food with my baby food grinder when they were old enough to eat it.
Speaking of eating, if you can organic is definitely the way to go. It is so much better for you and doesn't have all the toxic chemicals that might come from eating processed or non-organic (pesticide laden) foods. It might be a bit more expensive, but it might save doctor bills in the future.
I also love things made of natural materials. Clothing made of natural material seem to breath better and feel better on my skin to me. I love 100% organic cotton. Industrial hemp is also one of my favorites because of the many things it can be made into. Industrial Hemp has natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties which makes it a great fabric for cloth diapers and other things.
*I also use compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs in my house because they save me money by lasting longer and using less energy than incandescent bulbs.
My favorite website for reducing, reusing, and recycling is Freecycle. They help prevent things from going to the landfills everyday. On Freecycle everything is free, minus the gas to go pick it up! You can get rid of all kinds of stuff you don't want to people that do by offering it up on your local Freecycle site. You can also get some neat things too by either asking for it and seeing if someone would give one up for free or waiting until someone lists something cool you want. While we were living in Florida we got a really awesome and totally free sand & water table for our blind daughter, Tatiana, for her sensory learning. We also got rid of a whole bunch of stuff on their when we moved.
Clean green too - Replace harmful household cleaners containing bleach and chlorine with cheaper, non-toxic alternatives like baking soda, borax soap and vinegar. Create all-purpose cleaners by mixing together everyday items in your kitchen. Mix together 2 cups white distilled vinegar, 2 cups water and 20-30 drops of essential oils to clean hard surfaces like countertops, kitchen floors, windows and mirrors. Also there is this great product called SoapNuts which are sold at Green Virgin Products. They are great for cleaning your laundry and 100% natural.
*2013 Update: I no longer use compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs because they contain mercury and are a toxic hazard if they break because it leaks out. Instead I use Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs because they are better for the environment, use less energy, and are getting more cost effective over time. With the phase out of incandescent bulbs because they no longer meet federal energy-efficiency standards LED bulbs are the best way to go.
I have only listed a few ways of going green here. There are a lot more ways to help the environment and ourselves. I am sure you can think of others, but this list might get you: thinking and started on the path.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I did the whole cloth diapering thing with my boys when they were younger and I loved it! It was better for the environment and I was saving money in the long run. I used 100% Organic Cotton Diaper Service Quality (DSQ) Unbleached Chinese Pre-Folds (CPF) folded inside Bummis Super Whisper Wraps or ProServices, Inc Proraps Classic Diaper Covers. We would get ProServices, Inc seconds which were products that they sold that had minor defects that they couldn't sell full price. I am not sure that you can still do this, but it saved us money upfront and they are really well made diaper covers!
Here is why I basically decided for myself that cloth diapering was the best solution for me...
More environmentally friendly:
- Using Cloth Diapers is an act of recycling. You can reuse them for more than one child as well as reusing them over and over again.
- Disposables create waste in our landfills and it can take up to 500 years for one disposable diaper to break down.
- On average, you will spend anywhere from $2,800.00 (for 8,000 diaper changes) and $3,500.00 (for about 10,000 changes, which I believe to be a more accurate number) per child on disposables (depending on what kind of shopper you are).
- When using cloth diapers for 2-3 of your children, you can spend as little as $300.00 for a basic layette or as much as $500.00 with all the bells and whistles. You can also reuse them for your next child. That's quite a savings per child!
- Cloth diapers have come a long way since Grandma or Mom used them! With products like All In Ones, flushable diaper liners, leak-proof and comfortable Velcro® and snap fitting diaper covers, you'll soon find that diapering is actually an easy process! And no, you don't need to use any diaper pins or rubber pants!
- Instead of pins there is a great little gadget called a Snappi and another called a Boingo. Or you can do like I do and just fold a DSQ (Diaper Service Quality) Chinese Prefold or other prefold diaper into a wrap.
- All In Ones are Also known as AIO's, all-in-ones are fitted diapers that have an attached outer waterproof layer. They are just like your disposables except you can reuse them and they are cloth. Frequent washing and drying, however; reduces the effectiveness of the waterproof outer layer. So, hanging to dry is recommended.
- Flushable / biodegradable septic safe diaper liners...These are awesome! All you have to do is lay them in the diaper and when they get yucky you just take 'em out and flush 'em. Saves time spraying diapers down.
- Diaper covers. These have come along way from the rubber or plastic pants of the past. You can pick from the huge variety out there. I love Bummis Super Whisper Wraps myself. But Proraps are also really great at holding in the mess and not leaking...and I think you can still get these for $3 each from the company as seconds.
- Chinese prefold DSQ (Diaper Service Quality) diapers are a ton better than the prefolds you see in stores or that people use for burp cloths..those were used in the past as cloth diapers. Chinese Prefolds are a lot more absorbent and can survive rigorous washing/drying without tearing, shredding, piling or losing absorbency.
- Read this article about Diaper Rashes and Cloth Diapering...it about sums up what I was going to say about it...I don't use a diaper service...and frankly I don't plan to...I want to save my money.
- Cloth Diapering isn't hard, it's easy and it doesn't take up all your time to do either. Here are some websites that are all worth spending your time reading... http://www.comfybummy.com/Why_Cloth_Diapers.html, http://www.diaperpin.com/howto.asp
My In-House Cloth Diaper Washing Method (everybody has different ways of doing this...here is mine):
- When the diapers are soiled or wet I pre-rinse them in the toilet with a diaper sprayer. This saves me time and makes the diapers less stinky. Also I have found that using flushable-biodegradable septic safe diaper liners also saves time in my routine. I keep the pre-rinsed diapers and wraps in a diaper pail with deodorizing disks (just do a search on them...there are a number of homemade ones you can make...or you can buy them) before wash day. With the use of the diaper sprayer I do not have to soak them in the pail or dunk or swish them in the toilet. I used to do dunk and swish diapers in the toilet with the use of a Diaper Duck. The Diaper Duck is still an awesome device for wringing out the water out of the diaper.
- When wash day rolls around first run a Cold Wash/Cold rinse adding-in only 1/2 cup of Baking Soda and 1/2 the amount of dye/fragrance free detergent as suggested with the water. Make sure that all diapers are opened-up for easier cleaning. Make sure that all AIOs and covers have the Velcro secured on their loop-backs to keep from developing a 'diaper chain' in the washer. Make sure that all doublers, or inserts are pulled out of the diapers.
- Once this load finishes, hang to dry all of the AIOs and covers to extend their longevity. Then run a Hot Wash/Cold rinse adding-in about 1/2 the amount of dye/fragrance free detergent as suggested on the side of the box. For hard water areas or for those who line-dry, throw in a Downey Fabric Softener ball filled to the line of Distilled White Vinegar. The Downey Fabric Softener ball will open up in the rinse cycle. The vinegar will prepare your diapers for line-drying, soften them against the hard water elements, balance the pH to keep the diapers odor free, help static cling, and keep your diapers absorbent. Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial agent. You can add 20 drops tea tree oil to approximately 1 gallon of water in your diaper load for germ free, super clean diapers! Lavender oil added to your wash load of diapers also freshens the batch and smells sooo nice!
- After the second wash, open the lid and take a whiff. Does it smell fresh? If not, run another Cold Wash/Cold rinse with NO DETERGENT, NO BAKING SODA and NO VINEGAR! This is just to rinse out the diapers. Then, pull out your dipes and depending on your preference, line-dry or tumble dry.
- NEVER RUN A HOT WATER WASH FIRST!! Hot water tends to set in stains. (Also you can always sun the stain out and use lemon juice to help the stain come out with sun. Sun also disinfects and restores PH balance.) DO NOT USE VINEGAR ON YOUR COVERS OR AIOs!! Vinegar will eat the water-proofness away because it is acidic. DO NOT USE CHLORINE BLEACH OR LAUNDRY ADDITIVES LIKE OXYCLEAN OR BIZ ON YOUR DIAPERS OR COVERS!!!! Bleach eats away at the cotton and will make your diapers less absorbent the more you wash them in it. The laundry additives destroy the All-in-ones and covers water-proofness and will eventually make holes in your diapers because they breakdown the fabric. Since they are also harsh chemicals they may cause irritation to baby`s skin. Instead, use sunshine and lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide bleach to get stains out. They are a lot more natural and not as harsh. NEVER USE FABRIC SOFTENER, DREFT, PURE SOAP, OR IVORY SNOW ON YOUR DIAPERS!! It will coat the diapers, and make your diapers less absorbant. Instead use vinegar as directed above. DO NOT WASH COVERS OR AIOs ON HOT WATER!! The hot water will melt the water proof coating. DO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR WASHING MACHINE!! The diapers need room to move in order to get clean. DO NOT MACHINE DRY COVERS OR AIOs!! This wears out your covers and AIOs faster. Instead, line dry them.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I love organic architecture that incorporates nature and the outdoors so that the house looks like it blends in with the surroundings. I love the Neoeclectic, or Neo-eclectic style because it incorporates many styles. I would put together styles of old world, moroccan, persian, mediterranean, tropical, and tuscan with a hint of african, hawaiian, and oriental.
If I had my dream house landscape I would use lanterns as indoor and outdoor lighting. I would have a large yard with a swimming pool oasis. It would have a waterfall falling into or out of the pool maybe with a waterslide going into it also. I also would love a jetted hot tub. In my yard would have a gazebo with a chiminea and sitting area. I would have a greenhouse for my garden of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. My deck/patio would have an outdoor brick oven, a canopy for shade, and an entertaining area. I would have room to have horses and/or mini ponies.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
My style has changed over the years. When I was little I would fancy myself as a princess and the victorian side of me began. Back then I longed for the highly ornamented architecture, decor, and furnishings popular in 19th-century England. Exposed to more and more cultures and art I began to metamorphosis into a butterfly. Now I love combining the different aspects of cultures and other things into something new and unique. The spinning of these most extraordinary things together into one web makes something spectacular.
I only hope to capture the essence of my style; a conglomerate of color, passion, and artistry here in this blog.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
You might think I am crazy to still keep up with the homeschooling...well maybe you don't, but I do have a lot on my plate. Especially with Tatiana who has been in and out of the hospital more than any child should this year or any other year for that matter. Anyway, I am trying to keep sane and not stress to much.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Butterflies, Bees, Easter Eggs & the Resurrection
By Jean Henrich
Did you know that butterflies, bees and eggs are symbols of the resurrection? Symbols have long been the unspoken means by which a common language is spoken. Regardless of where one lives, culture or background symbols communicate where words may not. Historically many people were unable to read or write. To address this problem, church leaders would frequently depict the stories of the Bible through performances such as the Passion Play as well as symbols.
The Christian faith is filled with symbols. Colors, animals and objects have symbolic meaning. Symbols and their associated meanings are wonderful ways to communicate the story of Christ. Regardless of age, race or culture Christian symbols can be a tool to share the “Good News” of Christ’s salvation.
Watching a caterpillar change into a butterfly can be an excellent teaching tool about the gift of Christ’s sacrifice. There are numerous butterfly kits available on the market. Whether you have very young or order children, all will enjoy watching a caterpillar grow, make a cocoon and eventually emerge as a butterfly. Why not give a child a gift certificate to a butterfly kit as part of their Easter Basket or to someone who is in great need after an illness, injury or loss.
The promise that a butterfly offers as a symbol of the resurrection is immense. Let this small creature bridge the language barrier and carry the message of hope and the promise of Easter. The following lists a few of the many Christian symbols that are often associated with Easter which you may wish to incorporate into your Easter celebration:
- Cross & Crucifix - The crucifix and the cross are symbols of Christ’s sacrifice. The empty cross (without the figure of Christ) symbolizes Jesus' victory over death and the hope this victory brings to believers.
- Lily - The white Easter lily symbolizes purity.
- Bees – Bees symbolize the resurrection of Christ.
- Phoenix – The phoenix is a mythical creature dies in fire but rises again from its own ashes is a symbol used by early Christians to symbolize the resurrection of Christ.
- Butterfly – A butterfly is a symbol of Christ's resurrection after three days in the grave.
- Eggs – Eggs symbolize the renewal of life.
- Lamb – A lamb symbolizes Jesus and relates His death to that of the lamb sacrificed on the first Passover. Christians frequently refer to Jesus as, "the Lamb of God.