Saturday, March 31, 2007

formerly the e3 {update}.

Remember all the stroller talk a while back and I gave my two cents about my favorite (and current) stroller: the Phil and Ted's E3? And I talked about how much I loved it despite the two flaws I found with the design: 1. The 5-point harness system was loose and 2. a infant car seat couldn't be strapped in. Well, Phil and Ted's has come out with a new model: The Sport, and problems...solved! [1. I figured out that-all along, the harness system was adjustable and 2. now they have a car seat adaptor for the times where you just need the convenience of leaving the sleepy baby alone (in the car seat).]
This is what Magic Beans (where I bought our stroller) has to say:

Sport Single 2007 (formerly the E3) The Phil & Teds Sport is one of the most clever and flexible strollers on the market, and a personal favorite of ours. As a single stroller, it has many advantages. It steers well, is lightweight, folds up compactly and has a convenient carry bar, making it easy to hoist in and out of a car trunk. We hear many parents say, “I wish I’d bought this before my first baby was born.” In fact, this stroller is such a conversation piece that many of our customers keep a stack of Magic Beans business cards close at hand when they take it out for a spin. If you have (or plan on having) kids within one to three years of each other, the Sport is a great choice. With the optional doubles kit, it adapts to accommodate a newborn and a toddler, or two toddlers. The Sport is the most convenient double stroller on the market. It is nimble enough for many types of situations. It wheels easily into a doctor’s office, folds well for trips to the mall and maneuvers smoothly through crowds at outdoor fairs. Although some parents are initially skeptical of the top/bottom design, toddlers almost always love the rear seat for its novelty, privacy and proximity to their grownup. And there's a nifty new recline feature that is effective for a small second rider. Consider the doubles kit even if you only have one child - it makes great extra storage space, and besides, you never know when you'll get a second rider. The Sport is a good fit for grownups too, no matter what their height. The handlebar has a ratchet-style adjustment mechanism that lets you easily move it up and down. (An upgrade from last year's model, which offered just two handlebar heights.) They've added a slight bend to the handlebar too, giving it an ergonomic feel. The alloy and steel frame is lightweight and sturdy, the air tires provide a smooth ride and the rear wheels release quickly with the push of a button. The front wheel can be locked for uneven terrain or light jogging. The Sport comes with an easily removable bumper bar and a newly redesigned, stronger sun canopy with a peep window. The fabric is sturdy, water repellant and easily washable with a garden hose. There are also a number of well-made accessories available (sold separately), like the infant “cocoon” (amazing soft-sided carrycot for newborns), Velcro on pannier bags for carrying gear, and single and double sun and rain covers. (Be sure to buy the sun and rain cover made specifically for the Sport.) There is also a car seat adaptor that is compatible with a number of of car seats, including Graco, Peg Perego and Britax. (Please note that the car seat adaptor should only be used when the stroller is configured as a single.) The Sport is suitable for newborns and will last well into the kid years. As a single it accommodates up to 55 pounds; as a double it accommodates up to 55 pounds in the main seat and up to 33 pounds in the second. (The heavier child should ride in the front.) Vital Statistics Width: 23"Height: 43"Folded: 36" x 23" x 11"Weight (without rear wheels): 17 lbs.Weight (with rear wheels): 21lbs.

Friday, March 30, 2007

sleep deprived...

We all know that as a parent (especially a mom), your sleep is the first thing to suffer. I was reading this article about parents losing up to two months of sleep in the first year. TWO MONTHS! I don't think I've lost that much...but I have lost enough to know how very dear sleep is to me! If Izzy wakes up, she's pretty good at going back to sleep quickly, except for these crazy 6am wake up calls lately.

To sum it up (a la copying and pasting the key parts):

1. The poll of 500 mothers and fathers showed a third lose 90 minutes sleep per night, equating to a full night's sleep every week, or 68 in a year.

2. And almost half of new parents argue over who has less sleep, with mothers claiming they lose the most.

3. A total of 42% of mothers claim they respond to their baby's night-time cries within 30 seconds, while 68% say their partner takes five minutes or longer.

4. Only 1% of women claim to be able to sleep through their baby's cries but 43% claim their partner can.

5. A fifth of parents said they were woken four times a night or more with their baby in its first month.

6. By the age of one, 38% of babies are still not sleeping through, while 15% of parents with one to two year olds are still experiencing disrupted sleep.

Sleep. That's a tough one.

Driving Miss Baby

So, up until last week, I haven't had a car. My husband (who is sometimes gone as much as 16 hours a day) needs it to get from work to his master's classes, and so for 2 years, we have been forced to walk or stay home. As of last week, I have been borrowing my late grandmother's car, and WOW! What a difference!!! It is great to go out on outings with the kids...but I am wondering: have any of you done any kind of car organizing? With two car seats in the back, there is space for a box, or somekind of tote like this or like the one above. Right now, when one of them drops a toy, or gets bored with one, I find myself driving with one arm stretched behind me a lot. Any ideas? These are the only two that I can find. But, I am thinking there is a better solution to keeping your car tidy and your kids entertained. What are your ideas?

Nursery Therapy

Did you catch the post on Nursery Therapy this morning? Here are some pics of a well-established artist/,modern designer's baby's nursery. She wanted to avoid baby pink and this is what she came up with. You may not dig the style, but her interview is really helpful in how to DIY.

Modern and is what she came up with.


We're totally into birds at our house, or rather when we are outside of our house. Avery is always looking up at the sky ready to point out the birds overhead. It really makes for fun playground times. But, I'm dying at these new stuffed birds. I love them and think they would be not only the perfect stuffed animal, but also an accessory to a dresser in a nursery. Just dangle the legs off the side.
Found here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

it's a...girl.

This post is for Kathryn, who asked, "Quick question. My sister in law is having a baby soon, and I still haven't gotten her a gift. She has TONS of clothes, thanks to my sister, so they don't need anything at all in that department. Is there anything that you can think of that I can give her (maybe in the $50-$100 range) that might be useful?"

[Yes, I'm playing Design Mom, and yes-I'm in the middle of cleaning my house, and no- I haven't showered for the day yet...]

I love this stuff. This is a fun project for me, Kathryn. If I were to put together a gift that includes bits of all of my favorite things {that I have found in the last year}, it would look something like this:

*Use a Bumbo as your gift basket: $39.99 at Target.

I love that I discovered Bumbo and would have loved even more to get it as a gift. It's fun(ny) to see your 2/3 month old sit up on his/her own and is an added bonus that they are strengthening their back muscles while getting lumbar support and watching their world from an entirely new angle. We used it as a chair, a highchair and a shower seat. [And it does come in purple, pink, yellow, green, and lime green.]

*You can never get enough bundling/swaddling blankets...especially if they are mod like Babystyle's Cozy Stripes Velour Blanket for Girls on sale for a crazy $9.99!

(I also really love this one for $24.00.)

We bundled Cole for a good 6 months. This may be a bit extreme, but bundling equals comfortable newborn and we took any help we good get in the sleep department.

*Please add a quality {plush} toy like the Blabla Elephant Rattle for $16.00 at or

You cannot start your toy collection too soon and the Blabla products, with their whimsical color and imagination, are definitely runners in my race of favorites. How could they not be?

*Haba makes amazing all-wooden rattles. The Kringelring is a perfect start for only $6.99 at

You could add a bit of "girly" by substituting the Kringelring for the Triola ($11.99) or the Flori for $11.49.

I was so thrilled to get this {pictured} as a gift before Cole was born. So far, it's been perfect for a newborn grab toy, Cole's teething bouts, and will assuredly last through other children.

*To add a bit of {practical} luxury, include Kiehl's Gentle Cleansing Milk for $17.50 at

Every newborn needs a "sweet recipe" of gentle, all-natural and non-drying body wash that will pamper the very new and very sensitive newborn skin.

*Finally, a classic book like Goodnight Moon for $7.99 [found at Magic Beans] will complete the perfect gift.

I also love Little Miss Curious ($3.99) or Pat the Bunny for $9.99.

Story time equals the joy of parenting.

The Grand Total is just under $98.50. I hope this helps! Any other ideas and/or favorites?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Feeling London-ish?

If you're missing Lindsey {or London, or both!}, you can get a little closer to her by making your way to Target. Yes, ladies {do we have any gents here?} I said Target.

You know Boots. Of course the store. But, the skincare line that is only made in England? Well, Target has struck a deal and the products are making their way over the Atlantic and into our welcoming arms. Tell me others know their face washing products. Lindsey, do you use their stuff? I haven't tried their eye cream {used their face wash while living there}, but that's a good deal for a mere $13.99. Neutrogena's is $20.

Lindsey, I feel a little closer to you just thinking of my Target ten minutes away.
***Addendum*** here is the link for all Boots products at Target online.

What is your Inspiration?

Ok, since I am blogging this week, we have to talk about Nursery design. I am an artist which is a lot of fun, but it also presents a few problems...I have so many different styles that I love! As far as Interior Decor goes, I love everything from Southern French to Modern Swiss or Swedish. I am a mess sometimes! I have to say, my taste is narrowing as I get older, and it's working out. But as far as my Nursery goes, it too has gone through changes.

At first, with the knowledge we were having a girl, I wanted a sweet soft room perfect for a princess. This is what I planned on. I had the most to-die-for crib bedding made, and everything, and then...when she was four and a half months old, I was pregnant again! This time with a boy. So, now I had to make the nursery neutral enough for a boy to enjoy. Scratch the bedding, and start all over. But, with no money, I had to be creative.

Then, as I got to know Addie's personality, I realized this vintage French thing wasn't working for her, or me. I was over it, and she was much more spunky and fun than these soft subdued colors. So, back to the drawing board. So, this is what I came up with. But it is still a work in progress. The main thru line that keeps this room together are the colors from my favorite childhood books: The colors of this, the style of this, and the color and spontaneity of this.

The truth is, I never wanted to spend a lot of money buying exactly what I wanted. 1) my husband is a teacher getting his master’s degree, 2) this room is temporary…we don’t plan on being here long 3) With a girl and a boy, it’s a challenge—I would rather wait till they each have their own room to really go to town. BUT, limitations spawn creativity! So, most of this room is hand made, hand-me-down, thrift store or discount Pottery Barn.

Here are some pics.

The reason for this post is two fold:

1) I figure if I post pics of my nursery, you will too! I love seeing what other people have done and get ideas

2) To post the question: where do you get your inspirations from? My dream is to open a business selling Nursery Decor, and I want to find out more what people love and why.

Also, to say that decorating a nursery doesn't have to be pricey. Those two shelves are Pottery barn discount (they needed to be repainted) I purchased for $5 each. The Crib skirt is Pottery Bard discount for $10. The Frames are of my kids from Michaels that I added some color to and a ribbon, totalling $13 each. The Sock monkey was from a charity fair, $5. The Dresser was a horrible dark wood vermeer that I painted, and then added Frog and Toad to it at eye level for a Toddler. Point is, it can be done. So, what have you done?

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I'm always on the look-out for cute things to personalize Izzy's room (aren't we all?).

I thought these jars from Pottery Barn were a fun way to add color and personality to a kids room. So many things you could fill them with...

I love...

that motherhood brings women together. I know, it's an obvious statement, but it's an inherit quality in this new role I've take on that I love.

Do you ever share a brief smile with moms who are total strangers? A smile that needs no words, because you just know? I love that there's an unspoken bond between mothers that defies culture or language. Something I experience nearly every day and something that resonated a little more with me in Spain.

While all our situations and experiences may still vastly differ, we are connected by it all - the sleepless nights, the joys of a smile, the tantrums, the laughter, diaper explosions, first steps, cuddles, first words, labor, recovery, learning, teaching, unconditional and overpowering love...

I love being a woman and I love being a mother. And I just get so excited to welcome (and learn from) more women into the this sisterhood (especially friends and family).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


So, since I'm on a {wooden} toy kick, I thought I would share my newest great find. I picked up Melissa and Doug's rainbow stacker when I was grocery shopping at Wild Oats last week. For only $5.oo. Such an amazing price for an all wooden, non-toxic, quality stacker that seems perfect for his age. Ever since, it has quickly become Cole's favorite. I can't believe the deal I got (or anybody could get) when I compare it to:

Djeco's Cachempil Maman Poule from Oompa Toys for $29.99
or the Fun Stacker from Plan Toys [also found at] for $17.99
or the Brio Stacking Clown, found at Target for $14.99
or a cloth version: Galt Toys' Stack and Nest Farm Friends found at Target for $31.99
or Haba's similar Rainbow Tower for $14.95 at Baby Oliver.
or the Latitude Enfant Cat Stacker (cloth) at Baby Oliver for $29.95

Something to look into for the hand/eye coordination.

I forgot to ask my doctor:

Do you know when it is an ideal time to start weaning [Cole] off of binkies? We are completely off of bottles (that was an easy transition for us), but I'm scared for the night where Cole needs to fall asleep without his binky. I'm sure it will be an all-nighter. Any ideas?

Guest Blogger...

Ok, so Kelli wanted me to just babble a little about me so you know I am more than just some phantom behind the computer commenting on all your great posts.

First off, I love your blog! It is so nice to know that there are other girls like me, trying to make sense of this whirlwind we call motherhood. I hope to share a little this week on what it is like having 2...or just sharing how crazy it can be:)

So, about me:

1. Sarah Jane Knell Wright
2. 27 years old...28 in July (Ahhh!)
3. Born in Provo (BYU baby) lived in So Cal, Boston, and DC
4. BYU grad in Music Dance Theatre Performance
5. Met my husband Kenneth as a freshman, dated, wrote for 2 years, married in Dec 2000
6. Have 2 adorable kids: Adriana Noel (Addie) Jan '05 and Ian Scott in Jan '06
7. My husband is a school teacher getting his masters in Utah whose career path is yet to be determined
8. things I love: Mothering, painting and drawing (nursery art is my present obsession), traveling, playing with my kids, yoga, healthy cooking, cycling, being with my family, talking, blogging, good music and photography.

well, that's me! Here it goes!
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On Martha's website this week, she gives 100 reasons to "get rid of it" here are her top 3:
Because You Have Too Much Stuff

1. 1.4 million Americans suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter.
2. People burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.
3. 80 percent of what we own we never use.

In a perfect world, my home would look close to these pictures.. but it doesn't. i try, everyday....several times a day...all day! But with two babies crawling around the house, getting their clothes dirty, pulling their socks off and leaving them random places, taking toys out and hiding them in the hallway, pulling the pots and pans out while I am making dinner, and mixing up all the DVDs in my bedroom and scattering them all over the floor, it makes sweeping and wiping counters seem like nothing.

So, the answer is (besides lock up and put up what ever you can) get rid of stuff! I have been filling bags for DI and MS for weeks now...but I feel like I still have 'stuff' everywhere. Most of it is a laundry issue (me, in between like 2-3 sizes with winter and spring clothes still out) Addie (do I get rid of the winter clothes yet, but she is needing her shorts right now too) Ian is in between sizes as well, and Kenneth, is not a problem. So with three people in between seasons and sizes as well as 2 that go through at least 2 outfits a day, laundry can seem overwhelming! Not to mention putting them away!

So, I started by getting rid of the stuff that fits, and is "ok" but i only wear if my laundry needs to be done. (When Kenneth and I backpacked thru europe for a month, I had 3 shirts...only three) and I was in heaven! Why, then, is my closet overflowing with clothes that I will wear, but maybe later. The "if you haven't worn it in a year, chuck it" rule has always worked for me, but I am needing to go deeper. I really don't have that much, but there are things that I really don't like but still wear because it is there.

so, that was the first step. The second step, get rid of the toys that are just taking up space in the toy know those toys that someone gave you, that they only like to chew on, but not play with? I need to really be better at recycling the toys we have. My husband put half of the toys in a garbage bag and put them in our storage closet. 6 months later, we switched and the kids felt like they had new toys!

Third, if I ever buy something, I need to get rid of something. I don't buy a lot, so this is not too helpful for me. But it works!

Fourth, everything needs to have a place. if it doesn't have a place, make one, or chuck it. THis is my favorite one.

So, here are somethings that have worked for me. what works for you? Having two mobile children is a lot harder than when there was just one. That is for sure. But habits are habits. I really need to accept the stage of my life right now, but also find new ways to improve. How do you keep your bedroom your bedroom, and not a dumping ground? do you have great toy solutions? How do you keep your kitchen clean? Any great routines that you do that help you feel like things are getting done despite the runny noses, crying, "hold you mommy", etc? Any great web sites that you find inspiring or helpful! Tag...your it!

what I wish I knew..

Going along with Missy's Newbies post, I've been wanting to do a what I wish I knew [about labor and delivery and recovery] post. It's a personal subject/experience, so I'm not asking for a tell all, but don't you think that there are some things all of those pre-baby books should have mentioned? [I hope this doesn't sound negative, because it was an amazing experience. But, I could have been a bit more prepared!] Maybe, for a lot of women, labor is what they expected; what they read and were ready for (?).

I wish I knew:
1. That labor could be really long. I was in no way prepared for being in labor for 3 days. And that I was in so much pain for so long. I was basically in the dark about labor in general: my contractions where a minute long and a couple of minutes apart for days, body wasn't progressing. I didn't know that was possible. And I wasn't prepared for back labor.

2. That the epidural isn't extremely painful. It was a pleasant experience for me. I think that a good anesthesiologist=a good experience.

3. That the aftermath of an epidural (days/weeks later) could mean extreme back pain. I had no idea. And back pain (intense!) was the hardest part about my recovery.

4. About split stomach muscles that don't heal. It's a bit scary when you can fit 4 fingers (across) in the hole between your stomach muscles. And the exercises I was given didn't join them. It's just the way my body handled carrying Cole. (Including no more belly button. I have an innie and an outie.)

5. That I would bleed SO much. I had never worn pads in my life until...after the delivery. Good thing I was stocked up. And good thing I had no reason to go in public for a while. [No tampons until 6 weeks postpartum, right?]

6. That birthing the placenta can be painful. It was for me...the kneading it out of my stomach while I was holding my new baby and trying to love the new experience of a newborn.

7. Tucks witch hazel pads. They were lifesavers!

8. That it's almost impossible to get sleep in the hospital. Nurses come in every...too often.

But, now I know. And it helps me look forward to my second experience. [I get emotional every time I watch the baby delivery shows: vaginal or Cesarean. They are amazing. The experience is amazing. It reminds you of your strength and of the value of a life.]

Monday, March 26, 2007


So, my sister-in-law and brother just had their baby girl Lillian June today. Just looking at the pictures brought all sorts of memories and I sort of lump in my throat and thoughts of I want that again. While I'm not planning on getting pregnant anytime in the near future, it took me back to things that I would do differently or change next time. What are a few things that you guys loved or consider "must-haves" for your next or would give advice to for "must buys" for other new mothers?

A few for me:
  • A carrier (bjorn or sling)
  • Burp cloths (stylish ones)
  • Soft and simple clothes for the first couple months (comfort is key for them and easy accessibilty to change diapers for you)
  • Playmat (I never had one, but my sister borrowed one and everytime we went there, Avery loved to just sit and look at the dangly items above)
  • Binkies (nurses scared me about nipple confusion, but once we got Ave a bink, she did quite a bit better)
  • Love these. Best things ever.
  • New clothes for me (So sick of wearing pregnancy clothes and you just want to feel cute. I think next time I will buy a few lounge/lifestyle outfits for myself for post-partum era)

Those are just a few things. I'm sure I'll think of more. But, you know the beginning you don't need a ton of stuff. Just nice things to have ready when you bring the baby home before you feel ready to go out with him/her.


I'll admit that I stole this from Design Mom, but I need to get these for Avery. They're a little pricey, but they are wooden and stack neatly into a condensed box. And if you think about it, they help teach the child numbers, animals and reading. View them here. I think they would be a great gift to a new mom too.

Where The Wild Things Are

Avery has been super snuggly lately. She sits for the book before naps and bedtime and once finished she curls up and rests her head on my shoulder. We're going on two weeks now and I love it. I guess tonight is the night to reminise about childhood books since Kelli did below too. But, we read this one tonight. You can't beat it. Every child needs Where The Wild Things Are in their library.

a new [old] find

I grew up with a book called Harry the Dirty Dog, which I remember loving. It's a simple story: Harry's a beloved family dog who decides to run away before bath time. He goes out on the city, turns into a black dog with white spots after his filthy adventure, and comes home to a family that doesn't recognize him. Right before he runs away for good, he remembers where he buried the bath brush and begs to be cleaned. This is out of character for Harry and the children love the idea of throwing the new found dog into a tub of bubbles. Of course, bubbles clean the filth and the black dog with white spots returns to the white dog with black spots. "It's Harry!" It's the perfect length for Cole's short attention span and the pictures are vintage and lovely. [And for us adult readers, it mirrors the wayward Prodigal Son story in a strange, touching sort of way.]
Harry the Dirty Dog does have a board book version, a version in Espanol [Harry, el Perrito Sucio] and a couple of sequels.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


the most obnoxious character in Charlie and the Chocolate factory and my favorite new modern gift-giving sight. Did you ever see the Oprah where Colin Cowie had an armories/closet full of gifts for when the occasion to give came up..? Wouldn't that be an amazing?! This sight is the second best. It's like a Red Envelope but a little more...hip. You can search by occasions or recipients or categories. So, whether you're looking for a birthday gift or a thank you or something for your "reliably hip" friends or a house gift for a morning person-in particular, they offer stuff like this:

Sunprint Eye Pillows, $18

Botanical Coasters, $10

Everyday Notebook, $20

Cards for a Year, $60

The sight itself is really good looking (I'm in love with greens and blues and grays) and the gift options are creative and very "me." What would you have in your pre-stocked gift armories?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

sparrow and bull.

[and for post #4 today--I'm on a roll]

If you get the emails from Urban Baby, you might have already gotten a sneak peak of Sparrow and Bull clothes. I browsed and will add them to my list of clothes I will buy for Cole when I find extra cash. (I'm not so into spending $30 on a t-shirt for a one year old. That means $30 for a couple of wearings before he lands a stain or two. But I really like adventurous style. And sometimes it's worth a spurge...especially if you shop the sale section.) I'll show you a favorite for boy and a favorite for girl. This dressing a baby thing just gets better and better, now that they need rubber soled shoes and practical running around clothes.


I love when I find the great finds that aren't fancy shmancy: when you get what you need without having to pay boutique prices or skimp on quality. After the big twelve month check up, I was determined to put the bottles in storage and stock up on a variety of sippy cups. It's only day two for us, put so far Cole has done really well with the Nuby cups I found. They seem like the perfect transition from nipple (be it breastfeeding or bottle): a soft rubber "spout," easy grip handles and pretty aesthetically pleasing. I brought home two twin handle cups,

one with a straw

and one without

(as well as a similar option from Gerber: a pack of two, which he isn't liking as much!) I like Nuby. I especially like the no-spill design, the optional lid for traveling, and the price.

I'm still in search of some other options for keeping milk cold when we're gone for the day, for example. Maybe this. And now I can find a reason to get one of these:

This one year old stuff is fun.

the organic buying guide.

So, here's a pretty complete answer to the question we've been pushing quite a bit: [Thanks to Martha Stewart: Body and Soul and Lindsey's tip..]

What are you really getting when you pay a little extra for organic? It depends on the food. Here's an expert list of what to buy organic -- and when.

Fruits and Vegetables
Why Buy Organic? When you eat conventional produce, pesticides and chemicals tend to show up in your body. The long-term health effects are unclear, but why risk it? The nonprofit Environmental Working Group studied 43 fruits and vegetables and ranked them according to contamination. Choose organic versions of the 12 worst offenders and you'll reduce your exposure by almost 90 percent: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes (imported), spinach, lettuce, potatoes.
Did You Know? A diet containing the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables exposes a person to an average of 15 pesticides a day.
Peanuts, Soybeans, and Corn
Why Buy Organic? Peanuts rank among the top 10 foods contaminated with persistent organic pollutants, says the Pesticide Action Network. These chemicals linger in the environment for years and can also build up in the body's fatty tissues. As for soybeans, 85 percent of the 2004 crop was genetically modified (GM). Experts warn against buying GM foods since their effects haven't been adequately studied -- on us or the earth. The same warning goes for corn: Nearly half of all corn planted in America in 2004 was GM.
Did You Know? Americans eat about 2.4 billion pounds of peanuts every year -- about half as peanut butter. From 2000 to 2005, more than 2,100 new foods containing soy hit the U.S. market.
Why Buy Organic? To enhance growth, conventional farmers often give their cows hormones. The FDA says they're safe, but the European Union disagrees -- and has banned their use. Farmers also give cows antibiotics even when they're not sick, contributing to antibiotic resistance. Cows excrete antibiotics and hormones into the environment, too, potentially harming local ecosystems. Finally, the "food" conventional cows eat (like manure) would make your stomach turn. Organically raised cows eat organic feed and grass.Did You Know? In 2004, consumers spent more than $70 billion on beef. In 2005, sales of organic beef totaled nearly $49 million, according to the OTA.
Why Buy Organic? The red flag here is recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a synthetic drug given to cows to increase milk production. Milk from these cows contains higher levels of a natural growth factor called IGF-1. Some experts link excess levels of it in humans to breast and prostate cancers. Although the FDA says it's safe, the European Union has banned the drug. Use of rBGH also increases infections in cows, prompting farmers to administer even more antibiotics.Did You Know? Large farms with 500 or more milk cows represented less than 4 percent of all dairy farms in 2004 but produced nearly half of America's milk.
Pork, Poultry, and Eggs
Why Buy Organic? Farmers use antibiotics on these animals in the same preventive way as with cattle, again contributing to the rise of resistant bacteria and potentially harming local ecosystems. And, like cattle, conventional hogs and poultry eat a range of stomach-turning "foods." In a 2006 study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) of supermarket chicken products, more than half of the samples tested positive for arsenic. One of the IATP's recommendations? Buy organic.Did You Know? Healthy U.S. hogs and poultry ingest about 20 million pounds of antibiotics annually; in comparison, 3 million pounds treat sick people.
Chocolate and Coffee
Why Buy Organic? Both crops naturally grow in the shade. But to meet increasing demand, farmers favor sun-loving varieties, resulting in clear-cutting and heavy pesticide use. Cacao, which is used to make chocolate, is one of the world's most heavily sprayed crops, according to the United Kingdom's Soil Association. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation tells us that if half of North America's 15 million college students chose organic, shade-grown coffee, they would prevent 3,885 tons of chemical fertilizers and 660 tons of pesticides from poisoning the earth.Did You Know? The organic standard doesn't cover fair trade. To ensure just compensation for farmers, look for both the Fair Trade Certified label and organic seal on chocolate and coffee.

Text by Mary Carmichael; photography by Jonathan Kantor. Mary Carmichael is a contributing writer at Newsweek.


While I'm on the animal theme, I wanted to rave about the great art work Design Mom recently posted on her blog. National Badger [I know, sorry for all of the link inlays] is basically brilliant. When you're looking for art (or decoration in general) in the nursery, don't you just want color and simplicity that looks quality but playful? I do. And I'm getting really convinced to make a purchase when I undergo the decorating Cole's room project. I'm actually really excited to take this on...I love decorating and I love Cole. But it's just hard to do it when I'm not wanting to live in this condo for very much longer. I like these the best:

Great combination, right! [With 31 choices of animals, several color options, and 3 different sizes...and the option to customize, how could you go wrong?]

Martha, Martha, Martha

Yet another Martha Stewart magazine...Can her empire expand any more? I love magazines and would sign up for this risk-free issue, but sadly they don't ship to the UK. Lame. Any takers?

Monday, March 19, 2007

exactly one year old.

Cole and I ventured to his 10am 1 year checkup today. It was risky business, considering that his nap time is 10:00 (although I have been trying to push it back a bit) and he can only be entertained by the paper lining the "bed" for so long. As you can imagine, come 11:00 (it was a long appointment...including my waiting time), he didn't even want my cellphone or keys. Or binky. Just his bed. The good new is--I got some advice for the screaming problem that became oh so unavoidable. This is what I learned about everything one years old (with special emphasis on Cole, of course):

His stats (if you are interested): He weighs almost 22 pounds [30%], is 30 inches long [75%], and has an 18 cm(?) head circumference[40%]. Anybody who tells me that my son is huge or "such a big boy" (which I get all of the time) is a little off. I have proof now.

He cannot eat shell fish or nuts, but anything else goes (including honey at this point).

He should be drinking 18-24 ounces of [organic] whole milk/day now. And the bottle is supposed to be no longer. I need to make a trip to buy some more sippy cups today. And Maggie (the very lovely doctor who is pregnant with her second baby girl) suggested trying one with a straw.

I am going to start giving him utensils with all of his meals so he gets the practice.

By 15 months, Cole (or any baby) should be saying at least one word. Even if it's not a word in my vocabulary, he should be consistent with saying "goo," for example, to mean he wants up, also for example. Cole is a bit behind with his language. He isn't saying mama or dada or many consonants at all for that matter. We already have a constant dialog, but I'm going to try to read to him at least 20 solid minutes a day.

His car seat can face forward. [Check. We were excited about that one and did it a week early.]

And the screaming problem? She is a bit concerned that that is his communication (hence the lack of speech). Her recommendation: to give it no attention. When he starts to scream, I leave the room. If I'm holding him, I set him down on the floor and go to where he can't see me. Hopefully it will help!

Will you guys tell me what you learn (or have learned) in the next several weeks..? Every doctor seems to have a different focus and it's so helpful to hear things that maybe we skipped in Cole's visit.

[Oh, and p.s. It's a stethoscope.]

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Coconut Cupcakes
3/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 t. pure almond extract
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups sugar
1 1.2 t. pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 t. pure almond extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake 25-35 minutes, until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

And, look what I found: an amazing cupcake blog. Oh, this is trouble!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Chic Place Settings...for Kids!

No more Disney dinner wear for our little babies...check out this stuff. It's a new line of place settings for the style-minded. They are kid-friendly, but modern parents won't be disappointed. You've got the boy, girl, flying egg or melon. And I'm sure more prints will come out soon!

Their claim? You'll love them so much that they bet you'll hijack them for your own dish of ice cream.

PS: They have matching plush bibs to match!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

finding his flare.

This will sound silly, but I'm in search of a new style for Cole. (Remember when you realised-in 5th grade-that you just aren't a Ked's girl? Maybe this isn't a universal experience, but it rang true for me. I'm not a Ked's girl, I'm not a loafer girl, and I have a hard time being a purse girl. I like unique and I have an especially hard time when unique becomes trendy. I always tell Brad...if only I had the money to dress my style.)

Anyway, I was realising when I decided it could be a fun idea to get a new "birthday outfit" for Cole's first party, that he's not a Gap kid. I buy Baby Gap because it's available and because I get money back on my BananaRepublic card. That said, I'm getting pretty bored of the button downs and the polos and the graphic t's that the "big" stores are doing.

This is a cute image because it looks very European to me..but how practical is it to dress Cole in a blazer and expect him to keep the top button done? [not very!] If I had my way, Cole would be dressed in Oilily or Fig Kids or BlaBlaKids. (And I'm good at finding these kind of boutiques) But none of those can work on my budget. So, where do I go to find the unique, the simple- boy clothes on a budget. I should be able to pay Gap prices for something different. (And probably available online..)

Style mavens??

lunch break.

I'm in a rut or crisis... call it what you will. I love the food I make (or Brad makes) for our family, but we're falling into the trap of repeat meals. I cannot think of a variety of dinner or lunches or even food for Cole. Luckily, it's not mimicking my spaghetti or quesadilla or pb&j routine in college, but none-the-less, I could use suggestions!

Today, let's tackle Cole food. (Or toddler food in general) I'm sure everyone is more creative than I've been lately. What's on the menu for Cole? This is what I've come up with (and obviously never all at once. We mix and match ideas):

dried cranberries

eggs (scrambled, boiled)
cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, Babybell, cottage)

green beans
bell pepper
artichoke hearts

black beans
wheat bread/crackers (or toast)
cereal bar

lunch meat (turkey, ham, chicken)
grilled chicken

grilled cheese
homemade macaroni and cheese

I know this seems like quite the variety, but the truth is.. I usually don't have close to half of this stuff in my pantry/refrigerator. He gets quesadillas, sliced bananas, and green beans a little too often. Or eggs, toast and applesauce. It's a challenge to come up with a meal for Cole before our family dinner is ready. (Which is always the case. Cole gets hungry for dinner at 5:00! Ideally, we would feed him what we eat.) And lunches? I'm bored of what I prepare.

Any ideas?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spanish Zara

While in Spain we went to Zara Home, which is probably one of my favorite home stores. There were so many things I wanted to purchase, but couldn't fit all of them in my suitcase (we packed real light). But, I did manage to squeeze in a few things...

A decorative pillow for the bed in Izzy's room. And her Grandma bought her the pink bunny from Zara too - it plays music and she really loves it. The room is currently a work in progress...

Then for one Euro, the store was practically begging me to buy this little hand puppet. Izzy loves when I stick in on my hand and it talks to her.

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