Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's your size?

If you can't handle "girly stuff" then move on. Let me start by saying that I have always had a thing about underwear. The need for matching bra and panties to me has always seemed like a perfectly normal thing, and the idea of wearing "fancy" underthings on a "regular" day was like brushing your teeth before bed - a given, a no brainer.

Well, having a baby (two really) put a serious damper on my style. First, you search for maternity undies that are cute and comfy while at the same time being stretchy enough to fit your gargantuan parts. Then you search for a bra to match as you change sizes almost daily. I ended up going for white and beige, which is really boring in my book. I'd at least like a little flower or bow or something, but no dice.

I won't even go into the phase most of us block out between the birth and like 2 months later when you just need (want?) to wear a diaper. Then, the attempt to find a nursing bra that works, is pretty, and can stretch a few cup sizes and a few band sizes at least (seriously - I was up to a 36 H at one point, and then steady for a bit at a 32 F while nursing - try finding those sizes in a store. Welcome to online shopping) so it will fit for more than a week is almost impossible. When Peanut was born, I worked hard to find good bras. I got sized at a fancy shop and tried about a zillion on. I now have a drawer full of nursing bras of various sizes.

This time, after Pumpkin was born, I just gave in to comfort and have worn nursing tanks almost every day. All the bras I have are uncomfortable, too big or too small, and don't match my undies anyway, so what's the point? Well, now I am officially sick and tired of wearing tanks and completely mismatched panties, and I'm on the hunt for new underthings! It makes me tingle just thinking about it - I've missed my Vicky's outings.

So I have no idea what size I am, which means I definitely need to go and try things on. BUT. How do you go to Victoria's Secret or wherever and try stuff on with a toddler and preschooler in tow? Yeah. Not so much. So I started my search online, and found several bra size calculators. That would be helpful! I can just find my size, order a bunch of things, and return what doesn't work - have a dressing room at home. So, I plugged in my measurements and discovered...that every single calculator gave me a different size. And not like within two band sizes or something. Up popped everything from a 36A (yeah right) to a 30F. So what, do I pick the size that sounds most appealing to me? Do I try one of everything? Argh! I can't imagine why most women are wearing the wrong size!

Looks like it's nursing tanks for me until I can get a sitter or Honey to hang out with the kids while I go get measured. Maybe I can at least find some cute printed panties to match the tanks...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh deer...

It's really lovely and interesting to have wildlife all around us. We have our own little ecosystem with birds, bugs, bats, snakes, foxes, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks... in addition to the stray cats, and, oh yeah, the deer.

This year, we have started some work on the yard and landscaping since the inside of the house is basically done. We rigged up a deer fence for our veggie garden which seems to be holding so far, but i think the deer have realized that the rest of our yard is completely open for their all you can eat buffet. Thank goodness I've gotten almost all of our plants off freecycle, since within days of planting, the deer have eaten them down to the ground. I'm not sure if it's a word or we made it up, but we call it "nubbed" as in bit it down to the nub, as in "the deer nubbed that hosta last night honey."

So far, our friendly evening and early morning snacker has eaten black eyed Susan's, echinachea, hosta, almost all of my bulbs, sedum, morning glories, tomato plants, impatiens, daylilies, bleeding hearts, apple tree saplings, and several shrubs. Of course, we do see that some weeds are nubbed as well and for that we say thank you.

A few nights ago, as we were getting ready for bed, Honey and I heard a scratching on the outside of our house. We theorized about what it could be. The next morning we found that about a foot of a large shrub had been eaten. The shrub is at the corner of the house by our bedroom and we think the branches scratched the electrical box as it was being mauled.

So what to do. Well, we are currently investigating fence options which would clearly be the best way to deal with this guy. It's pretty expensive though to install a wood fence, and really good deer fencing is expensive as well. Plus it will take a while, and I'd like to stop waking up every day to find another landscape design decision made for me. I don't think scaring him away will work, since we see the deer in broad daylight while the golf course landscapers are using loud machinery. Doesn't seem to phase him. I did half jokingly (well - maybe not half) ask Honey if I could get a shotgun. I'm not a fan of hunting for sport but we do have a big chest freezer and I am a pretty good cook.

Once the back yard is fenced of course there is the decision about the front yard. It seems like the deer leave all herbs well enough alone, so the herb garden might be moved to the front yard next year. We'll see. This year, I'm just glad to see my vegetable garden intact each morning, even though the rest of the yard is becoming one big patch of dirt and mulch.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Greenwashing

This is a recent post from The Holistic Moms Network blog. I'm re-posting it here, because this is a huge pet peeve of mine. The greenest thing you can do is not consume - so use things you already have, or things that have been handed down, only buy used, etc. Some things you do have to purchase, so then you look for less packaging, a company with a smaller environmental footprint, and natural materials. It's not that hard, but people prey on ignorance, and they count on the fact that most people will believe the company claims rather than do any research. So be aware, and question everything!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010
When Skepticism Pays Off


It's easy to get swept up in the tidal wave of "green" and "natural" products. It seems everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and claiming that they have developed an eco-conscience these days, but a healthy dash of skepticism is definitely in order.

As demand for more natural, earth-friendly products has increased, so has the number of companies claiming to fulfill this demand - and exponentially so. But consumers take heed - greenwashing is here! What is greenwashing? According to Greenpeace, greenwash is "used to describe the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service." In other words, companies are manufacturing products and labeling them as green or natural without any real basis to do so or claiming that they are taking steps to "green" their company or factories to gain credibility in the growing natural market. Why? In some cases, according to stopgreenwash.org, companies have been forced to clean up their industries by law or a court decision but spin their actions as a good deed on their part to be more environmentally conscious. Painting themselves "green" may also attract investors and staff to their industry or products, as well as consumers. But behind the smoke and mirrors, no real change is happening (except, perhaps, in the company's profits). BP, for example, now entangled in the worst oil spill in our history, launched a $200 million greenwashing campaign, complete with a earth-friendly sun logo and partnership with the National Wildlife Federation to portray themselves as supporters of the environment, despite their primary industry - oil drilling and refinery.


And these companies are succeeding. According to an article in the New Scientist earlier this year, consumer perception of how "green" a company is based upon their ads or media campaigns is very different from the reality. So how is a consumer to navigate through greenwashing? It's not always easy. Start with trying to uncover the truth behind the claims or ads. You might follow your gut instinct, as the Greenwashing Index recommends, or take a peek at some of their greenwashing ads, showcasing some dubious claims. You can also do some online research by visiting company websites to determine what organizations and associations they support or belong to, or what partnerships they may have to reveal their core intentions and mission. You might also look for authentic green certifications such as LEED for green building or read up on some blogs such as the Greenwash Brigade to determine the validity of corporate claims. Get to know your producers - whether local farmers, businesses, or manufacturers. Sometimes, a personal touch makes a huge difference in knowing the truth behind the marketing!

My boy, my boy

So Pumpkin is growing by leaps and bounds, and surprising us every day.




He's been walking for a few weeks and has picked up an awful lot of speed. He gets himself into all kinds of precarious spots - he loves to climb, and can get up to the sink using Peanut's step stool.


He's really affectionate and cuddly, and can't get enough of being held.


Pumpkin has also discovered the joys of science experiments with the toilet. He likes to see what fits in there, and he enjoys the adult reactions to his clinical trials. Here's a few shots of my little guy and a video of one of his potty experiments!

video

Little Artist

A few days ago, Pumpkin was taking a nice nap and Peanut wanted to do a little painting. So we pulled out her easel and new paints, and she went to town. What a nice difference to relax, play and paint without worrying about a little brother spilling or eating the paints! She just looked like such a pro - it was really cute!

As she painted, she told me about the colors and that she was painting this for one of her friends.

Of course, Pumpkin did wake up and sort of hurry her process along...but she held her concentration and created a lovely masterpiece. She says she wants to put it in our "museum" - the downstairs hallway that has been lined with art paper. I think it will be a fitting addition to the gallery!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How did they do it all?

So I've been reading about the Great Depression lately, and the stories of how families survived and made things homey in the face of these great hardships is really making me feel lazy and wasteful. It's also an interesting revelation that those engaged in this "green revolution" are all going full circle with many of the ideas and ways they had back then. The way that women used to sew dresses out of empty feed sacks and use every last scrap of material in creative ways made me think of the way some people are "remaking" clothing they get second hand. How people were creative about ways to keep warm or cool down, and finding fun interactive and free things to do for entertainment. Making a big pot of stew and adding "fillers" (like additional veggies, some rice, whatever is on hand) to it all week is not unheard of today.

The difference mainly is that they had to and we want to. When you want to do something but you don't have to, there is a lot of wiggle room. I really enjoy gardening, and I have a great veggie garden, but I can go to the farmers market or grocery and buy whatever I need pretty easily. So I find I don't get into the garden every day and it becomes a bit of an overgrown mess. I have several patches now where one crop has come out and I should be planting another, but it just hasn't happened yet. People used to can everything, and save it up for winter. I never got past chopping the tomatoes for sauce last summer, so I am hoping to actually get the sauce made and canned this year.

As I am reading about women taking care of homes, cleaning dirt floors so they looked and felt like concrete, sewing and mending, feeding their families on what they grew or raised, and still seeing the pictures of them smiling with family and friends, I just think wow. I complain about not getting any time for myself during the day, but really, I'm sure I have a few minutes here and there that I just piddle away when I could be finishing something that looms over my head. I wonder what would happen if I HAD to do all these things. Would we be a family going hungry? Would we have clothes to wear? I'm not sure. I do have to admit, that hearing about these lives in the 1920's and 30's has lit a bit of a fire under me and really made me appreciate all that we have today.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

There's nothing better than a good birthday cake!



Chocolate coconut flour cake with white marshmallow icing... my first attempt at a coconut flour cake was pretty good - the batter was really delish, and all the kids liked the cake itself! Score one for the gluten and dairy free crowd!

I made an almond flour banana dark chocolate cake for Pumpkin as well, and some vanilla vegan cupcakes. I'll admit that I did use regular Duncan Hines Frosting on the cupcakes - really, there is only so much baking I could handle in one day! We did a pretty good job of polishing them all off!