Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Story Time

I want to make a short post about a great podcast that your kids will love! My brother-in-law introduced us to Miss Natasha over at Story Nory. You can download their children's story podcasts for free! The wonderful thing about Story Nory is that some of the stories are short and some are long, so you can download the one's that fit your little listeners attention span and intrests.


When we are driving somewhere and Marin seems to be getting a bit antsy or just plain mad about being in her car seat we like to play a game called "Marin what does a_____ say?" We started it back when we taught her animal noises, so the "blank" is usually some sort of an animal. This is a great game to keep her busy and happy for a while and gets her mind off of being in the car seat.

The other day she and I were driving somewhere and I started the game.

Me: Marin what does a cow say?
Marin: mmmmm (she never does the "ooo" part)

Me: Marin what does a horse say?
Marin: Nay Nay

On and on through all the animals she knows, its a lot. We have added a few non-animals too--the conversation continues:

Me: What does Marin say?
Marin: bo-maing! (its her own made up word that we think comes from a book where the real words are "boom bang")

Me: What does mommy say?
I just threw it out there to see what she might say, we had not taught her any specific thing.
Marin: No sick babies!

I guess my fears of entering cold and flu season have rubbed off on her. Those are the words I had been telling her the week leading up to our Atlanta trip. But no matter how much ranting and raving and healthy-anti-sick foods I gave her, she still got sick. So we are on lock down right now not leaving the house, making teas, reading about natural cough remedies online, keeping track of when the next dose of Tylenol can be dispensed, charting her fevers, calling friends for advise--but really just to hear them say "she's going to be alright", and making chicken noodle soup from scratch.

This is her first time to go through cold and flu season without the amazing power of nursing. I weaned her before her second birthday back in October and can no longer use that source of nutrition and hydration to keep her healthy. And I'll be honest it makes me nervous because when she was sick and nursing I knew she was going to be alright because she was nursing, but now... I have doubts that chicken noodle soup (even if it was made from scratch) will provide her with the proper nutrients she needs to fight off an illness. I know there are a billion kids out there each year who make it through flu and cold season just fine without nursing, and deep down inside of me I know that my child is going to be OK without nursing, but nursing just gave me that comfort of knowing she was getting the most perfect food to get her through sickness. Or at least it gave me the comfort of knowing I was actually physically doing something to help her get over her illness.

Well here goes the first round of Winter-time illness. My thoughts are with all of you who are tending to sick children right now.

Yes, that flaky white stuff on her face is dried snot!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saving a Bit of Cash

I know there are tons of ways to save a little or a lot of money. I am not going to try and cover every area of our lives where we can save money, but I am going to pass out some information on one specific area; natural and organic products. These items can often be the most expensive, but they don't always have to be that way. If you are committed to using natural products or eating organic foods than this post might be for you. As a side note, I'm not going to make this post about why you should be using natural products because that's another post topic (I did natural cleaning products here). But this is about ways you can save money on the products you might already be using, or would like to use.

Natural Cleaning Products
7th Generation-- This is a wonderful company! If you go to their website you can sign up to get their weekly coupons. These coupons vary from dish soap to diapers to tampons. Not only do you get your coupons but they come as part of a great newsletter with all kinds of wonderful tips on purposeful living.

Shacklee--This company sells many of their green cleaning products in concentrated amounts so they last longer.

Check around at your local stores who might have their own natural brand that mimics a name brand product for a cheaper price.

Make your own-- here are a few sites I found on making your own cleaning products that are not only natural but very inexpensive: Pantry Cleaners, Earth Notes, and many others.

Or you can do what I do... just don't clean then you don't have to buy new products, hahahaha, just joking sadly the toilet must be cleaned! But I do use 100% natural cleaning products in my home, it has been a high priority with a kiddo in the house.

FOOD items
If there is a name brand organic company you like check their website for coupons. You can get weekly coupons from: Horizon Milk, Brown Cow Yogurt, Earthbound Farm (take the quiz for a $1 coupon), Earth's Best baby foods. Also if your local grocery store has its own organic brand they might put out coupons in their weekly adds. We have Greenwise organic line at our grocery store, Publix, and weekly get new coupons in their Greenwise advertisement.

Now if you are a lucky human and have a Trader Joe's near you than you don't need any of this information because TJ's is just the best grocery store in the world and you have many natural products, from shampoos to cleaning products to mac and cheese that is not only affordable but has great ingredients. We stocked up last week in Atlanta with all kinds of yummy foods, my favorite cleaning solution (Cleanliness is Godliness all purpose for $2.99), and lots of chocolate!

If you have found other ways to save money on these types of items let me know I am always looking for new ways to save and still buy natural products.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Traveling With Toddlers

We took a road trip to Atlanta last weekend to visit my husband's family. We had a great time hanging out with everyone. My daughter has a cousin one year older than her and they might have become best friends over the weekend, they just loved playing together.

My nephew is a miracle, I know all children are, but he was born 13 weeks early. Not only did he survive, but he is doing really well. I totally love this little guy, he's just a great kid who I wish lived next door so we could play every day.

Anyways what does all of this have to do with traveling and toddlers. Well this trip to Atlanta got me thinking that a great post would be to write about what I have learned about traveling... and all the tips I have gotten from my sister-in-law who lives in Atlanta and spends lots of time in traffic when she goes places, which has made her a pro at packing a bag full of "quiet toys".

Before I start let me say most of these ideas are airport/airplane-friendly, sitting-for-a-long-time-in-church-friendly, and fairly small which is nice for packing.

TOYS for travel:
Stickers--as soon as stickers are no longer a choking hazard for your child these are quite possibly the best option on the market. You do not need to spend a lot, many dollar stores sell good stickers. Also I recommend stickers that come on sheets, the one's with individual backing can make a huge mess of left over paper... I bought a packet of 200 Dora stickers with individual paper backing, while the stickers were worth it, the mess was not fun.
Aqua Doodle--there are nice ones out there but the one's Target carries are just fine

Books on CD--your local library may have many books on CD, but its also common that they have many more options on tape... sometimes it takes a while to get up to date.
Glow Sticks--night time dance parties, these do not need to be costly. I found 15 for $1.
Cookie Sheet and Magnets--you can even find toaster oven cookie sheet that are smaller. MAKE SURE THEY ARE METAL!!! A lot of new ones are made out of materials that do not attract magnets.
Books--My daughter likes books that have flaps, and other interactive parts to them.

Crayola Color Wonder
--no mess

Crayola Color Explosion
--similar to color wonder, no mess just another option

Magnadoodle--also comes in handy when you need to write down directions... just don't erase it!

A good book everyone can read together
Colorforms--nice and quiet

Mini no-spill bubbles--I have only seen the mini one at Target in the $1 section. This was one of the best toys we took on a flight. The bubbles are very small and the container would fit in your coat pocket and not leak.

Chalk Board--you can use a black Styrofoam meat tray and white chalk
One Special New Toy--this does not need to cost a lot, for example on this trip to Atlanta I restocked on stickers and then bought the glow sticks. I think the whole bill came to $3! This adds something exciting to the trip. I also always get a juice box, there is something really special to Marin about juice that comes in a box. I'm not sure what considering I get the Tot Motts apple juice which is probably about 90% water. But hey the goal is keeping her entertained.

I also bring a lot of snacks, things like cheese cubes, animal crackers, raisins, etc, and water in her Nalgene sippy cup.

I know most of these tips are already out there and most of them are for young children, but I know a lot of traveling is around the corner for many families so I hope they bring out just a few fresh ideas that help your travel time go a bit smoother.
Two cousins making their way around Atlanta!