Monday, October 22, 2012

8 months

Can you believe my little girl is 8 months old already?!  Everyone says they grow up fast...

She is so super active, adventurous, and sweet right now.  I'm amazed everyday at how much she is absorbing and the new skills she picks.  She crawls like a maniac, pulls up to standing with no problem and is squatting down to pick up toys while holding on with one hand with greater ease each day.  I think we will have an early walker on our hands.  What an exciting (and terrifying!) thought. 

It was a beautiful day here so we tried to spend as much time as possible outside playing soccer, exploring the grass & leaves, and enjoying the fresh air....

 We ended the day with a little Sofee dog bonding, carrots & butternut squash for dinner, a cozy bath, and an evening guitar lesson with Daddy...

Make your own cleaning spray

I have been using baking soda and vinegar for a lot of the household cleaning for awhile now but had not been able to break away from store bought cleaning spray for the counters and general cleaning.  I came across a "recipe" in The Grid and finally got around to making my first batch over the weekend. 

What you need:
White vinegar
A clean spray bottle
Lemon, cinnamon, and tea tree essential oils

Fill the spray bottle half full with vinegar.  Add water until you have about 1 inch remaining at the top.  Add 10 drops each of lemon, cinnamon, and tea tree oil.  Shake before each use. 

It's super easy, cleans great, and really cheap.  The essential oils seem a little costly at first glance, but keep in mind you're only using 10 drops per bottle and a bottle of cleaning spray last me a good while. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Apple Picking

We ventured out to Styer's Orchard last weekend for a little family hayride action & apple picking.  It was a little chilly to start but turned out to be a beautiful sunny Fall day.  Riesling really loves being outdoors will stay pretty content in the Ergo for a long while.   I just love this picture of us together.  Doesn't she just look so content?

 Daddy snatched her away for a little while so she could experience some apple picking first hand...

She loved the few and enjoyed numerous "horsey" rides from Daddy...

We always come home from the orchard or strawberry picking with more than we know what to do with, but I make it a point not to let any of go to waste.  I decided on applesauce for our first round of apple treats.  I made a simple batch for Riesling by peeling & cubing a few apples, steaming until soft, than right into the food processor with water until it reached the right thickness.  

For the adults I decided to try crockpot applesauce.  I modified this recipe slightly (less sugar and a touch of vanilla) and it turned out really great!  We had it for dessert all week and a batch in the freezer for later.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Thrifty Finds

Speaking of good deals...

Nothing beats a little early Sunday morning trash picking.  A new set of tires and a little cleaning and this guy will be good as new.  Then we will just have to wait 5-6 years for Riesling to start riding a bike

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thrifty finds

I love a good garage sale, flea market, or thrift store find.  It's of course a hit or miss kind of thing and if you're really searching for a specific item(s) it can take time and patience.  I tend to hit Craigslist for bigger, more specific items and browse the thrift store or flea markets for books, records, & clothing.

I'm lucky enough to have a decent thrift store really close to the house, walking distance in fact.  It's small so sometimes the selection is limited, but they are really good about checking stuff and don't really put out clothes with huge stain or holes or really disgusting stuff.  Jim and I have had some good luck in there with paperback novels for only a $1.00 and some random clothing items on their sale days where all clothes are only $1.00 (normally $3-$5).

Since we didn't find out whether our little Riesling was a boy or girl ahead of time I did very little shopping for baby stuff.  However, I would allow myself to go crazy in the children's book section, at only $0.25 each how can you resist! Kids clothing is always only $0.50 so on a few occasions I found something really cute and took the risk on whether it would work for the gender, season, etc.  Since Riesling's arrival I had little luck finding anything her since until recently.  My theory is that a lot of newborn and 3-6 months sizes tend to get mucked up with poop and spit up stains, so they never make it to the rack.  Once she hit the 9 month mark in clothing (and now 12 month!) I started finding some really great stuff.

Recently I got her 2 pair of sweats, a pair of leggings, a nice pair of pants in a toddler size, a little jacket, a sweater that might be cute for Christmas, a pair of jammies, and several cute tops....all for $0.50/each!  Including this cute little top (leggings are from H&M).....

Friday, October 12, 2012


 I don't know why but this seemed like the longest, fastest week ever.  Makes no sense, I know.   I also can't make sense of the jumbled To Do lists I have scattered throughout my house, purse, and car.  For no good reason it just was a hectic week for me, maybe more mentally than anything else. Regardless, I'm happy that it's Friday.  I'm also happy that my favorite season is in full swing.  I'm craving anything and everything pumpkin, hot apple cider and a heaping pile of brussel sprouts! 

I'm afraid to actually write anything since my brain is scrambled plus  I only had one cup of coffee and it's nearly 1 o'clock so I will just shower you with links.  Perhaps an little light reading, some topics, of general interest, and of course a few recipes I will be putting to good use....

25 Vegan Pumpkin Recipes

My favorite way to cook brussel sprouts

Roasted acorn squash soup (we ended up with 3-4 random guys growing in our spaghetti squash patch!)

A few to follow up on my rant about healthy living....

Economics of Junk Food 

Debate over whether organic is actually healthier

Fast food vs. healthy food

And a  little parenting to top it all off....

Ideas for reducing sugar overload at Halloween 

Parent Like a Caveman

Cry it Out?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Give Health a Try

I'm primarily a perimeter grocery shopper, meaning I only go through a few of the aisles.  I hit the produce section heavy, organic when possible and within a reasonable price range; the two aisles of organic, gluten free, and natural products at my local store; then a few items in the freezer and dairy case (which has decreased significantly recently since we've been trying to reduce our dairy intake).  Although I occasionally need a random item, like mustard or vegetable broth, I rarely actually shop in the majority of my local grocery store.  What's down those mystery aisle anyways?  (I'm guessing a lot of sugar and artificial crap)

A few weeks ago I was unloading my cart at the checkout and starting feeling weird and self conscious about my selections.  Like everyone around me was watching and thinking nasty thoughts. It was basically a mound of produce, a few gluten free items, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's (I am human after all).  Maybe it was the mid calf length floral, bohemian style skirt I was wearing combined with my darling little baby strapped to my chest in the ergo that made me feel a little out of place.  For a short moment I actually might have cared that the cashier and the lady behind me were giving me glances indicating god knows what about me.  Then I looked at the man in front of me with his fried chicken, chips, chips, and more chips, cookies, soda, and bologna accompanying his overhanging gut and pitting edema and thought....."Why the HELL am I embarrassed!?" 

I know a lot of people argue that they can't afford to eat healthy, which I think it ludicrous.  I do realize that organic is more expensive and some of the specialty items we purchase are not affordable for everyone but that doesn't mean you can't eat healthy on a budget.  I think the bigger issue is taking the time and effort.  Preparing your own food takes time and planning, not to mention the clean up.  Some nights I absolutely DREAD the thought of going into the kitchen (in which case I probably order sushi) but most nights once I get going I'm always happy that I made the time and put forth the effort.  Jim and I are constantly reevaluated our lifestyle choices in an effort to improve wherever possible.  Not just with our food choices, but with everything from cleaning products to managing our budget better.  We actually work pretty hard to try and live healthy and happy.  Maybe we should all try just a little harder and see where it takes us.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Florida preview

We survived our first big family vacation to the beach!  We had to make a trip to Florida for Jim's brother's wedding, so we decided to extend our stay and make a little vacation out of it.  I was really nervous about the whole thing:  flying with a baby dealing with a place that didn't have all the amenities of home, a wedding, the just seemed like a lot could go wrong! 

Riesling actually seemed to love every minute.  She loved the ocean and the sand, took nice long naps, and even made it down the aisle in her flower girl dress.   I'm hoping to posts some more details about ours travels and the wedding this weekend but for now a few pictures of Riesling discovering and enjoying sand for the first time...