The Very Inspiring Blogger Award – Thank You

I started this blog to help me keep my mind active as I went from full-time/over-time career to 24/7 mom. After my son turned 6 months, I felt like I was losing all of my active brain cells. Months went by and I finally started discover and devour. It’s been so fun and challenging at times (when company comes I get so caught up in entertaining that I have less time on the computer…hence why my award shout-outs have been detained)

I appreciate being recognized for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award from two creative people: hnMom and Pug Life. A big thank you to both of you, as I also feel inspired by your words and photos (respectively). hnMom’s blog provides experiences and information on raising a child with high needs. Her insights and advice offers valuable insights for any parent raising a family.  Pug Life is a whimsical site in where you will find a new picture of Eloise (adorable pug) in many different situations each day. Her photos always bring a smile to my face.

I truly appreciate all of my supporters and thanks so much for reading!

The Rules:
1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the blog of the person who nominated you.

3. State seven things about yourself.

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.

5. Notify those bloggers that they have been nominated.

Seven Things About Myself:

1.I second-guess some mom decisions I make.

2. I don’t really speak French as well as I would like to.

3. I am in desperate need of a pedicure!

4.I love my dentist

5.I still get the Sunday paper delivered to my house.

6. I add kale and parsnips to my pulled-pork

7. I now understand why my sister drank a pot of coffee a day when she had her children (I only drink one cup a day…but I still get it).

Nominations:

beebeesworld

Boomie Bol

Folk Haven

My Twice Baked Potato

Ratnam Residence

Subhan Zein

The World According to Mitzie Mee

Apples and Oranges: Going Bananas with Pairs – Book Review

Word association takes on a whole new level in Sara Pinto’s picture book. At the beginning, the reader is immediately faced with the question, “How are an apple and an orange alike?” When the page is turned, the obvious answer isn’t given; instead the reader will enjoy seeing that the answer is, “They both don’t wear glasses.”

Some other pairs Pinto puts together to get your little one thinking: spoon and fork; rabbit and armadillo; starfish and octopus; and mug and teacup.

My personal favorite: trousers and underpants…”they both don’t make good hats.”

The artwork is creative and silly. Your child will love seeing a cupcake scuba dive and a book going out for sushi. It’s so fun to read!

Will Sugar Drinks Eventually be Taxed?

I read an article in this Sunday’s Tribune entitled, Many are no longer sweet on soft drinks. I was intrigued by the title, but mostly its byline: Communities, hospitals and others coast to coast are considering bans or taxes to curb consumption and combat obesity.

That’s a bold move considering every American consumes roughly 150 pounds of sugar a year (according to Dr. Oz).  The article mainly talks about adding taxes to sodas or banning sugary drinks from vending machines in hospitals, parks, and libraries. New York City is even talking about banning super-sized drinks from restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting events.

This got me thinking: Shouldn’t schools also be included in this “push”? If some hospitals in Chicago can replace energy drinks and sodas with bottled water, why can’t we do that in our public schools? Don’t these soda companies make bottled water too? I know that schools get some kickback for having vending machines in their buildings.  But why can’t these machines be filled with water and low-sugar juices?

If this idea is bogus, what about educating parents and children as to how much sugar they are drinking? Some hospitals in Boston are putting nutrition labels on the fountain drinks that show how much sugar is about to be consumed.  When I taught a one-week unit on nutrition (in one of my business classes) my favorite website to show my students was Sugar Stacks. This site gives you a visual as to how much sugar you are consuming for popular foods (cookies, soda, veggies, etc.).

I found it interesting that other popular drinks weren’t mentioned in the article. Mainly: Major coffee brand’s iced coffees and “milkshakes”.  How hard would these companies be hit if there was a ban or tax on its delicious creations?

How do you feel about banning or taxing sugary drinks? Is it so bad that lawmakers have to get involved? Do we need better nutrition education at the primary level?   

 Image from: New Public Health

Oster, are you there?

Due to the heat wave being over, my mom just left this morning to go back home. She was here almost a week and (because of the heat) we stayed indoors the majority of the time.

We pretty much spent our entire days together: cooking, cleaning, playing, reading, etc. There were times Oster and I did some of our daily routines: language class, library, grocery store, etc.

One thing that my mom really enjoyed participating in was the Skype-ing we did with my mother-in-law and my dad (on separate occasions). My mom doesn’t have a computer, nor does she want one. So you can imagine how excited she was to see Oster babbling with his grandpa and gram during the week. She was amazed at how clear the audio and images were.  She even got in the background to do a dance and add to the conversation.

After we “hung up” each time, my mom really wanted to get involved with the Skype-ing. I offered her our computer to Skype with our other family members but she said she wanted to Skype with Oster.  “How can you do that?” I asked.  “He’s right here…we only have one Skype account.” 

“Well,” she said. “I can use his laptop”. She picked up his plastic toy, put it on her lap, looked at the “monitor” and said, “Oster, are you there?” She talked to the laptop screen while Oster was standing right next to her. I wish I had my camera to take a photo. Both she and Oster had so much fun pretending. My mom had a giant smile on her face the entire time.  What a precious moment.

It’s because of the heat!

Image courtesy of: www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My mom lives on the south side of Chicago with a one air-conditioning unit to cool her house. So, I asked her if she would want to stay with us knowing that the temperatures will be (and are currently) in the 100’s.  She gleefully accepted and has been here since Tuesday.

I forgot what it was like to live with  someone addicted to extreme weather conditions. My mom is in love with Tom Skilling, our local weather forecaster, and watches his forecasts religiously. During the winter months, she even goes so far as to telephone me and repeat his forecasts word-for-word.

Well, Chicago’s heat is breaking all kinds of records. This is fantastic news for my mom. Yesterday was the hottest day, with temperatures reaching 103 F and heat index of 112. She loves talking about the extremities and is now continuing to blame everything on the heat.

Act I

Me: Oster isn’t eating as much as he usually does for breakfast.

Mom: It’s because of the heat.

Me: But it’s cool in the house.

Mom: It doesn’t matter. It’s hot outside.

Act II

Me: I think I put too much salt in the egg salad.

Mom: It’s because it’s hot out.

Me: What?!?

Mom: Yeah, your body loses salt in the heat so you should eat more of it to make up for it.

Me: Ummm…what? That doesn’t make any sense.

Mom: Yeah, well…whatever.

There is never a dull moment when my mother is around. She knows her weather obsession is over-the-top and allows us to laugh with her about it (although she’s 100% serious).  She has mentioned the heat at least 25 times since she’s been here. She even changes the subject of whatever we are talking about just to talk about the weather.

With most sincere love, I seriously think my mother would be a great Saturday Night Live character.

Eat Your Heart Out

As most of you know, Oster is allergic to dairy. My dad is staying with us for the week (from Georgia) and it’s taking him awhile to get used to our “no dairy” policy.

Every time my dad visits, he carries-out not one but two or three Italian beef sandwiches during his stay.  This is a problem in our house since most bread has some sort of milk content.

Well, I didn’t want to deprive my father of his beef, so I let the rule slide yesterday. I even let him bring fries into the house.

My dad was amazed at all of the precautionary measures I had to set up before I let him open his wrapped sandwich.

I was quite pleased that my father was understanding and really followed the rules (he tends to be a rule-breaker when he stays with us ). We were on high alert with the sandwiches and extremely careful in washing our hands and mouths after eating them.

Yesterday’s lunch just proved to me that I can put a little cream in my coffee sometimes and even enjoy a chocolate cake with real chocolate and real butter. I’ll just indulge in these luscious dairy treats when Oster is asleep, like right now…it’s 6am and I’m eating chocolate cake.

In My Bag – Baby Sunscreen

Before Oster’s arrival the website I would visit on a daily basis was EWG’s Skin Deep. This site is a database of good/bad/ugly chemicals that are found in your beauty products.  These products range anywhere from toothpaste to deodorant to your baby’s shampoo.  You can find almost any ingredient and major label (some not-so-major labels too).   The Environmental Working Group rates these products and ingredients from 0 – 10, with 10 being the most harmful.

The reason I haven’t looked at it in awhile is because I’ve been on the site for over 5 years, so I kind of know what products I should stay away from and which ones I should keep using.

However, now that Oster will be using sunscreen every day…multiple times a day…I went back to revisit.  You could literally spend 2-3 hours (I’ve done it before) on this site researching the ingredients.

Oster’s Sunscreen 

Not only did I find a sunscreen suitable for Oster, I also looked up some of my cosmetics I’ve been using for awhile. Lo and behold…a couple of my staple cosmetics changed their ingredients without my knowledge. Actually, all I had to do was read the packaging; but because I’ve purchased the same product for so long I just didn’t do it (shame on me)!  It looks like I’ll be re-visiting this site again to check all of the products in my bag!