Oct 29, 2009

Have You Seen Me?

I apologize for the lack of posts this week.  Life has been nothing short of crazy, however, I have been busy searching out "natural" peanut butters for my upcoming taste/cost comparison.  But there is one that, although I have heard good things about, I have yet to see on a store shelf.  

Have you seen me?

When I tried to locate a store that carries it, it gave me the address for a Target that's 11 miles away even though there's at least four other Targets much closer to me.  So if anyone has seen Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter out there, please let me know! 

Do you think I should hang up flyers around my neighborhood? lotsalove!

Oct 24, 2009

Follow Up: Bar Keepers Friend In Action

I just thought I'd post some before and after pics of our stainless steel sauce pan.  My husband had cooked scrambled eggs in it the night before and I scrubbed it with hot soapy water the next morning.  Even after it had soaked for several minutes, this is as clean as I could get it.

And this is how it looked after we scrubbed it with 
Bar Keepers Friend.  

Ooooo, shiny!

Oct 23, 2009

Bar Keepers Friend...and Yours and Mine

As I told you in my post about Spray Way Glass Cleaner, I love, love, love multitasking products!  They mean less hassle, less money, and more room in my cupboards.  Bar Keeper's Friend Cleanser and Polish is another one of those cleaning products that you may not see advertised, but is a superstar when it comes to cleaning.  It cleans stainless steel, fiber glass, porcelain, glass and enameled cook tops, copper, tile, brass, chrome, and removes stains from laundry.  It even removes rust and hard water deposits.  I told you it was a superstar!  Bar Keeper's friend cleans better than Comet or Soft Scrub, without scratching or any harsh fumes.  Just give me a can of Bar Keeper's Friend and Spray Way and I can practically clean my whole house! 

 I've been especially impressed with the way this stuff removes the cooked on black stuff from my white enameled cook top better than any other cleaner I've tried.  It also does a beautiful job on my white porcelain kitchen sink and chrome faucet, making them look like new!

The only local store I've found that carries Bar Keeper's Friend is Bed Bath and Beyond, where I picked up a 21 ounce can for $2.99.  The store locater on the product's website claims that Target, Walmart, and Albertson's also carry it, but I haven't seen it in any of those stores.  Ace Hardware is also listed although I haven't looked there.  Amazon carries the entire line of Bar Keepers Friend products as does the company's official website which offers online ordering but you have to buy 4 cans at a time (4-21 oz cans/$8.50).

Please read all instructions and warnings before using.  Happy scrubbing!  lotsalove!

Coming soon..."Natural" Peanut Butter taste test!

Oct 20, 2009

Turn Water Bottles Into Sports Bottles

A mom in my play group introduced me to Gerber Graduates Spill-Proof Water Bottle Spouts which turns any ordinary water bottle in to a sports bottle.  This product is literally an answer to a prayer for me (Thanks, Kelly)!  

My 3-year-old chews on EVERYTHING and has all but destroyed every sippy cup and reusable water bottle we own, and when I just give him an open water bottle, more gets on him than in him.  These water spouts are made of such hard plastic that my son has no choice but to drink out of it like a normal human being, AND they truly are spill-proof!  I can now hand my son a full, open bottle of water in the car with no qualms.  That is, until he decides to give it a good squeeze when it's full.  But he hasn't thought of that...yet.

The spouts just pop on and off of the water bottle and are reusable and dish washer safe.  My daughter's teacher allows her students to bring water bottles into the classroom if they have a sports bottle spout.  I save a ton of money reusing these spouts instead of buying water bottles with a sports top already on them.

You can find these at Albertson's supermarkets in the baby aisle for $1.49 each.  I haven't found them in any other stores, but they are available online for $3.95 per-2 pack with minimal shipping costs.  The recommended age for this product is 12 months+.  Happy sipping!  lotsalove!

P.S.  If you enjoy this blog, please tell a friend.  I have yet to find my niche in this vast blogosphere, but not for a lack of looking.  So until I do, word of mouth is my best friend.  Thanks in advance! - Angie

Oct 16, 2009

Moms, This One's For You!

Long gone are the days when I would put on my running shoes and jog out the front door for an hour-long run without a care in the world.  Back then, I mistakenly thought that if I didn't spend at least 45 minutes working out, it wasn't worth the effort.  Fast forward to today when I don't have 45 minutes in a row to do anything!  With a husband who is gone for long hours and four young, needy children, I have to squeeze in a little exercise wherever I can and be satisfied.  During my last pregnancy, I started searching for an exercise DVD that would provide a complete workout in less than 30 minutes.  I'm thrilled to share with you that I found one that I truly love!

I'm not really a fan of Jillian Michaels, but I am a fan of her 30 Day Shred DVD.  The following is a list of what I love about it:
1.  It has 3 complete workouts on one DVD.
2.  The workouts are 20 minutes from start to finish.
3.  Each workout contains strength training, cardio, and ab work.
4.  Each workout is a different level with different moves so I don't get bored.
5.  The moves are easy to modify if you're not feeling too energetic that day.
6.  All of the workouts are pretty intense, but level 3 kicks my butt every time.
7.  The only equiptment needed are light hand weights and a mat.
8.  Jillian is not too annoying to have in my living room a few times a week.

Although I do love this DVD, there are a couple of things I don't like about it, but by no means are they deal breakers.  There's a 5-minute intro at the beginning of the DVD that is impossible to skip or fast forward through.  Believe me, I've tried everything.  Instead of sitting and waiting, I'll just start the DVD and then finish getting ready while she yaps on.  The other unfortunate thing is that Jillian uses the term bad a** once in each of the workouts.  Not exactly hard core profanity, but that's definitely not something I want my 3-year-old repeating, so I try to distract him when I know it's coming if he's in the room.

This DVD is available from Amazon for as low as $7.33 new and $6.69 used.  What a deal!  I've been using it for several months now and I've definitely seen increases in my strength and fitness levels and the post-baby weight is coming off slowly but surely.  Am I "shredded"?  Well, no.  While I have a lofty goal of working out 5 days a week, most of the time I don't get in more than 3.  But, I'm cool with that.  I think one of the most valuable things I've learned from using this DVD is that when it comes to exercising, quality matters more than quantity.  Have fun sweating!  lotsalove!

Oct 11, 2009

Window Markers

I read somewhere that Angelina Jolie lets her kids color all over the walls to encourage their creativity.  Ummm, yea, well I guess my kids' inner artist doesn't stand a chance because that's not happening in my house. 

I did come across a product that lets my kids experience the euphoric feeling of  coloring all over the walls without having to hire someone to repaint the interior of my home every few months.  Our living room has a sliding glass door that almost takes up the entire wall thanks to an extra panel of glass on the other side.  It's a huge pain to keep clean, but when when I found Crayola's Window Markers, I new my kids would have a blast coloring on our "wall o' glass".

And boy did they!  They spent hours drawing, doodling, and even working out their math homework on their new canvas.  And when I decide I want clean windows again, I wipe it off with a damp cloth, then a dry one, and presto...good as new!  Eat your heart out Angelina!

Crayola Window Markers (8-pack) are available on their website for $5.49 + shipping, but I picked mine up at Walmart for $3.64. The label warns not to let ink remain on your glass for extended periods of time or it may be more difficult to remove.  Have fun!  lotsalove!

Oct 8, 2009

Better Than GoGurts!

I think yogurt in a tube is a really great idea!  It's nutritious, appealing to kids, and freezable so you can throw them in your child's lunch box and they thaw by noon.  If you're sneaky enough, you might even be able to convince your kids that they're popsicles. 

I try to keep this blog positive, but I need to fill you in on some sad statistics: 70% of kids in the U.S. have below-normal levels of vitamin D and less than 50% of kids ages 6-11 get the recommended # of servings of dairy products a day, which provide 76% of their calcium intake.  These statistics are only getting worse and along with them, our kids' bone density.  There are quite a few reasons for this trend, but the bottom line is that, despite the popularity of the "Got Milk?" ad campaign, children past the age of 6 just don't drink much milk anymore.   It's our job as their parents to try and change that.

I literally grew up with a dairy cow in our back pasture (her name was Buttercup, and she was so beautiful!) but these days, we're lucky if our kids even know where milk comes from.  So that's why I think yogurt in a tube is a great idea.  It takes a food product that's ho-hum, and makes it cool and desirable just by changing how it's packaged.  However, what is not desirable, is added sugar and high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors blue 1 and red 40, and a huge price tag for the tiny bit of yogurt actually in those tubes.

Many thanks to Stonyfield Farm for offering us a choice, which is: yogurt in a tube with all the above mentioned crap, or great-tasting, totally tubular yogurt without any, as they put it, "yucky stuff".  Their awesome product is called Yokids Squeezers and it comes in berry, cherry, and strawberry flavors.  Honestly, my kids love them and really don't know the difference.  They still call them "Gogurts".  Besides not having any artificial colors or flavors and less sugar than Gogurts, they have the 10% of the Daily Value for calcium and vitamin D and only 0.5 grams of saturated fat.  To top it all off, they're less expensive than Gogurts!  Love it!!!

I buy them at Trader Joe's for $2.99/8-pack (Gogurts at Albertsons cost $3.59).  If you don't live near a Trader Joe's, you can find a retailer that carries them near you by clicking here.  I hope your kids love them as much as mine do.  lotsalove!

Oct 7, 2009

I Found Them! (My P and Q that is)

I just thought I'd post a follow up regarding the frantic search for my baby's beloved P & Q teethers.  Apparently they were left behind at a friend's house when she babysat for me.  She said she didn't think they were so important that she needed to call me right away to tell me she had them.  Little did she know!  Now they're back home safe and sound and I am so relieved!  (and I'm sure you are too, ha ha!)

Oct 6, 2009

Food Products I Love...Coming Soon

I've been a practicing registered dietitian for 10 years and have worked in hospitals, nursing homes, a dialysis center, adult day-care centers, and with community-based nutrition programs.  But, trying get a balanced diet into my four very different children has been and is my most challenging and rewarding job ever.  Because making sure our kids eat well is sometimes an overwhelming responsibility, soon I'll be including posts to help you wade through the commercial hype and find yummy and nutritious products that your kids will love, or at least like.

Since most people I come in contact with outside of the health care industry aren't really sure what a dietitian is or does, I thought I'd take a second to clarify this and establish a little credibility while I'm at it.

Most people are more familiar with the term "nutritionist", but the definition varies from state to state.  Some states have licensure laws for using the term, while in others, anyone can hang out their shingle and start doling out nutritional advice with little or no training.

In contrast, the term "registered dietitian" is a legally protected title and can only be used by someone who has completed very specific educational and supervised practice requirements.  All dietitians have a minimum of a BS degree nutrition or a similar field, but many also have graduate degrees.  Dietitians must then complete an accredited internship program, usually a year or more in length, and pass a national registration exam.  We also need to complete a required amount of continuing education every 5 years to maintain the title.

Whew!  Clear as mud?

So stay tuned.  I'm hoping to post a great food product for kids this week.  And as always, if you have any questions or product suggestion, please leave a comment or send me an email.  lotsalove!

Oct 5, 2009

Mind your P's & Q's

OK, I'm really not sure what that expression really means, but if we're talking about my P & Q teethers, I'm apparently not very good at minding them, because right after my last post, they disappeared!  Really, I've looked everywhere.  I still have my green chewy tube, but it's just not the same as that cute little Q.  Here's hoping I find them soon. I'll keep you posted.  lotsalove!

Oct 3, 2009

Chewy Tubes Teethers

If you have a baby or toddler, you know the frustration of buying every brightly colored, fluid-filled, nubby, scented, and vibrating teether on the market, only to have your little one reject them all and instead you find him gnawing on a cardboard toilet paper roll he fished out of the bathroom trash can.  My baby has a particular fetish for flip flops, and since we are a family of 6 living in in Southern California, he always manages to get his chubby little hands on one, despite my best efforts to hide them.

Just thinking about what touches either side of our flip flops and then, in turn, my baby's mouth, drove me to the internet to search for a teether that my baby would actually want to chew on.  It was then that I discovered Chewy Tubes "P's & Q's" oral motor devices.

All you occupational therapists and speech pathologists out there have probably heard of Chewy Tubes. As for the rest of you, these are probably as new to you as they were to me.  They're made by Speech Pathology Associates, LLC and are a line of devices that can help develop biting and chewing skills or strengthen the jaw.  But, some of these devices also make fabulous teethers for infants and toddlers. 

What makes them unique is how perfect the firmness and texture are for soothing sore gums and giving new teeth the workout they need.  They're just the right size for little hands and are easy to grasp and aren't slippery when wet with slobber.  They also make that cool squeaky sound against my baby's gums, which he loves.

Chewy Tubes are made out of a thermo-elastic polymer material (whatever that means) that is latex, pvc, lead, and phthalate free.  The original Super Chew device (see right) was not designed to be a infant teether, however, it is suitable for babies ages 9 months and up.  I purchased this Super Chew product as well as the P's & Q's and my baby liked it and never gagged on it.  However, if your baby has an active gag reflex, he'd would probably do much better with the "Q".

The "P" and the "Q" come as a set and as you can see, my 3-year-old, who still puts everything in his mouth, likes to chew on them also.  Babies especially like the little nubby tail on the "Q" which doesn't protrude quite so far into their mouths as the tail on the"P".

To learn more about Chewy Tubes Oral Motor Devices, you can visit the website. To purchase a set of P's & Q's, I found the best price and the lowest shipping costs here.  A set of 2 P's & Q's is $6.50 and shipping is $2.00 which is great considering some of the other online retailers charge as much for shipping as they do for the product.  Wash with soap and water, and inspect for signs of wear and replace if any appear.

Awwwwww!  I love that little guy!

If you give these a try, please let me know how your little ones like them.  And now, you can send me an email as well.  lotsalove!

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