Take It Smiling

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stamp Giveaway

A lovely friend from church passed on her stamping supplies to me and I'd love to pass some onto you! Sooo... who wants to play Pay It Forward with me?
  1. Take a look at these pics and if you'd like any of these stamps, send an email to me (go here to see my email address).

  2. Tell which you'd like and where I should send them.

  3. Put up a post on your blog, if you have one, and offer up some of your unloved craft supplies.

Feel free to send your readers here to grab up some of these stamps! I also have a few ink pads that I'll throw in (while supplies last).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Am I Overreacting?

Have you seen this ad for Southern Living? It says, "Today's Southern woman doesn't mind burning the candle at both ends. Especially if she's using her grandmother's candlesticks."
Really? With all that women do today, with the overwhelming majority of us feeling like we can never do it all, with most us finally learning the art of saying "No" as we get older... Really? I'm surprised that Southern Living is promoting a "do more" (read "you're not doing enough") mentality. I'm quite disappointed in them...
I composed the above paragraph in an email to Southern Living actually, but then I began to wonder, "Am I overreacting?" Do others feel this way or is it just me? What do you think? If a few of you comment that I'm not being overly sensitive and the message is downright weird, I'll send my complaint email.
Thanks for the feedback!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Embrace Your Inner Witch

Ah... it's nice to be back. To say that my family has had things... uh... "going on" for the last 10 months is an understatement. It's been too much, really, and instead of helping me cope with the stress, my creativity took a nosedive. I now have a lovely craftroom with *gasp* natural light but for months now, I've just been sitting at my worktable staring out the window looking for inspiration.

Well, I've finally found some! Life has thrown me a bone in the form of a new friend who enjoys crafts as much as I do. She's SUPER talented and I'm honored that she considers me artistic too. This week, I attended her annual "Witches Luncheon" and I want to tell you all about it! I'll begin by introducing my friend, Christa McInturff from Sweet Life ART!. Christa is a graphic artist and mother of two and, in addition to the gorgeous gift items she creates for sale on her website, Christa creates delightful framed works of art that are full of whimsy and color, like this cute pumpkin to the right.

Christa's friend, Mary, hosted the first Witches Luncheon three years ago after hosting the same type of event for Valentine's Day. Mary, Christa and their artist friends all agreed it was a great way to spend time together, exchange handmade gifts and build their boutique-quality decoration collections.
Christa has taken on the role of hostess for the last two years and she truly excels at it! According to Christa, "My party decorating inspiration comes from diving into the details. I open my craft cupboard looking for ways to dress up my table to put smiles on my guest's faces. I love mixing up patterns that make my table decor visually pop with festive flair. Setting up and decorating my table for a party is always a happy moment for me."

Over the years, artists have contributed spooky terrariums, journals, clay bones in vintage bottles, necklace charms, candle holders, martini glasses, and witch and pumpkin creatures... all handmade or decorated, of course.
When I asked Christa what inspires her most when crafting, she said, "My inspiration comes from taking something I have and turning it into a unique gift (all I have to do is open my craft armoire and ideas jump right into my brain)." That must be some armoire!
Some Creations by Christa and Her Artist Friends

I have to tell you, I was thrilled when Christa invited me... honored, really, that she considered me an artist. I was so nervous thinking about what to bring, wondering if my item would be "artsy" enough. I made the little pumpkins to the left and thought they turnout pretty darn cute. They are soft fleece and only about 4"-5" wide so they are really sweet.

It felt great to create again and oh, so lovely, to chat with women about their art forms and lives in general while enjoying Christa's delicious food and wine. Thank you so much, Christa! I hope this inspires some of you to make time to create something and gather among friends.
Here we are, embracing our "inner witch"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Is There Asbestos in My Home?

By Barbara O'Brian

The short answer to the question, “Is there asbestos in my home?” is “Yes, probably.” How much, where, and whether you should worry, depends mostly on when your home was built and what condition it is in.

In the U.S., if your home was built after the mid-1990s there might be asbestos in roof shingles, floor tiles, cement pipes and boards, caulking compounds, and joint cements. However, this is not necessarily something to worry about.

Asbestos is a mineral that breaks into small fibers. The fibers are dangerous to breathe, because if they settle in the lungs they can cause mesothelioma, a deadly lung cancer, and asbestosis, a debilitating disease that interferes with breathing. You should also avoid ingesting asbestos. However, as long as the asbestos fibers are encased in something so that the fibers can’t be breathed, or get into your water — generally the case with newer construction materials — you can safely leave it where it is.

Insulation in Homes Built Before the mid-1990s

Homes built between 1920 and 1950 may have asbestos insulation. Also, be aware that homes built after 1950, and possibly as recently as the mid-1990s, may contain an insulation called Zonolite made of vermiculite contaminated with asbestos. The vermiculite came from a mine in Libby, Montana, a community so contaminated with asbestos the EPA recently declared Libby to be a public health disaster.

As long as the insulation is enclosed in a wall where fibers cannot escape, it is not hazardous. However, if walls are damaged, or if your remodeling plans involve cutting into a wall, you must arrange for state-certified asbestos abatement specialists to deal with the insulation. They may either remove it or find some way to contain it. But do not handle the insulation yourself.

Asbestos in Homes Built Before 1980

Here are just some of the other places you might find asbestos in an older home:

Shingles and walls. From the 1920s and until 1978 asbestos cement shingles were a popular choice for housing exteriors. Also until the 1970s, cement sheet, millboard, and paper with a high asbestos content were used around fireplaces and wood burning stoves. Cutting or drilling these materials can release asbestos fibers into the air you breathe.

Soundproofing. Until the 1970s, soundproofing material containing asbestos was sprayed on walls and ceilings. Asbestos also was used in textured paint and patching compounds until 1977. The asbestos in these applications can become loose and release asbestos into the air, if they haven’t already.

Hot water and steam pipes. These may be coated with asbestos or wrapped with asbestos tape.

Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets. Replacing an old basement furnace in your home can create an asbestos hazard.

Inspection and Abatement

At this point, you may be worried about the cracks, chips, and flaking in your older home. It cannot be stressed enough that if asbestos really is present, you need professional help to deal with it. Deal only with asbestos inspectors and asbestos abatement contractors that are licensed by your state.

The first step is assessing whether there really is an asbestos danger in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you hire an inspector who is independent from any abatement contractor you might use to avoid a conflict of interest.

Even if there is asbestos in your home, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have it all removed immediately. If the asbestos is in a place where it won’t get into the air or water, it may be left alone. But be aware that renovations or damage to your home might release the asbestos, and then you must call in an asbestos abatement contractor. Don’t try to deal with it yourself.

Uh... um... hi?

Do you ever know you need to call someone but you don't because of whatever and then you think to call them but you don't because you should have called them earlier and then it just gets later and later and later? That's how I feel about my blog. I ran out of things to say so I stopped writing. I lost the lust, as it were. It's weird... I had tons to talk about at first and then, once it became something I was "supposed to" do, I couldn't think of anything. I guess you could say I choked.

But, lo! Someone with a message for the universe found my blog and has asked if they can post something! Here comes Barbara O'Brien from www.maacenter.org:

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Earth Day is Coming

Earth Day is April 22nd! What can you do to help our planet? According to an article originally featured on the Baltimore Aquarium website, there are just nine (yes, nine!) actions that will change the world. When these nine basic actions are taken together by thousands of us, it has a significant impact on our environment.

  1. Skip a car trip each week – The average American drives over 250 miles each week. Replace a weekly 20 mile car trip by telecommuting, biking, or combining errands, and you'll reduce your annual emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by nearly a thousand pounds!
  2. Replace one beef meal each week – Meat production is extremely resource-intensive. Livestock currently consume 70 percent of America's grain production! Feedlot beef is particularly wasteful. For every 1,000 of us who take this action, we save over 70,000 pounds of grain, 70,000 pounds of topsoil and 40 million gallons of water per year!
  3. Shift your shrimp consumption – Today, nearly 70 percent of the world's fisheries are fully fished or overfished, and about 60 billion pounds of fish, sharks, and seabirds die each year as bycatch - animals caught accidentally as a result of wasteful fishing techniques. For every 1,000 of us who stop eating shrimp, we can save over 12,000 pounds of sea life per year.
  4. Declare your independence from junk mail – Surely we don't need to twist your arm to do this one! Begin by using the Center for a New American Dream's online form to get yourself off junkmail lists. For every 1,000 of us who succeed in halving our personal bulk mail, we will save 170 trees, nearly 46,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, and 70,000 gallons of water each year. Check out Eco To The People for even more ways to reduce your junkmail influx. (As an aside: I have contacted individual retailers who send me multiple catalogs such as Pottery Barn and Oriental Trading Company. They have all been very polite in removing my name from their database.)
  5. Replace four standard light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) – Want a hundred bucks? Replace four standard bulbs with low-mercury CFLs, and you'll reduce your electricity bills by more than $100 over the lives of those bulbs! More importantly, you'll prevent the emission of five thousand pounds of carbon dioxide.
  6. Move the thermostat 3°F – Heating and cooling represents the biggest chunk of our home energy consumption. Just by turning the thermostat down three degrees in the winter and up three degrees in the summer, you can prevent the emission of nearly 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
  7. Eliminate lawn and garden pesticides – Americans directly apply 70 million pounds of pesticides to home lawns and gardens each year and, in so doing, kill birds and other wildlife and pollute our precious water resources.
  8. Install an efficient showerhead and low flow faucet aerators – Of all natural resources, water is the most essential. But available supply is diminishing rapidly as human populations swell and inefficiently drain precious aquifers. For every 1,000 of us who install faucet aerators and high-efficiency showerheads, we can save nearly 8 million gallons of water and prevent over 450,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year!
  9. Inspire two friends – Last and most important! There's an easy way for you to triple the positive impact you are making with these nine actions: convince two friends to join you in your effort! Ask your friends to join!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Circus is Coming! The Circus is Coming!

Wow! I am excited! (Is four exclamation points in four sentences too much? Hmmm...) Well, it's just that I am REALLY excited because Over the Top by Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey is coming to Baltimore (March 26) and Fairfax (April 8) and I have four tickets to share with you! Seriously! (Two more in two more... Grrr...)

Here's what I want you to do by midnight March 23rd:
  1. Take a look at my paper crafting gallery and pick your favorite item
  2. Leave a comment under this post stating which item you like best
  3. Tell me which show date/location you would like to attend (Baltimore 3/26 or Fairfax 4/8)
Make sure I have way to contact you if you win. I'll use random.org to choose a winner and contact you Tuesday, March 24th. Your tickets will be at the Will Call window at the circus.

If you don't win, don't worry! You can purchase tickets at a total steal (4 tickets for just $44!) by using the code "MOM" at http://www.ticketmaster.com/. This offer is good on all performances though there is a minimum purchase of 4 tickets required; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased for $11 each (you must purchase at least 4 to get the $11/ticket price). This offer is not valid at Gold Circle Seating, Circus Celebrity Seating, Front Row and VIP seating or combinable with other offers. Other Restrictions may apply.

Check out http://www.ringling.com/ for more information on the show as well as more dates in the Baltimore/Washington area and across the country.

Friday, March 6, 2009

When is it Worth Buying Organic?

You know what? I have a secret admirer. Or a secret Santa. Or maybe just a thoughtful friend who knows me REALLY well. You see, out of the blue, I began receiving Everyday Food, a Martha Stewart magazine. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I took a few minutes to peruse that first issue and that's all it took; I was hooked! I immediately earmarked recipe after recipe, thrilled to liven up my weekday menu. I couldn't believe there were so many EASY and QUICK recipes using ingredients I commonly have on hand. (Martha, I love you but you usually cook with stuff I just don't have and I'm not in the position to shop for each meal.)

In the latest issue (April 2009), I read something and wanted to share it with you. I've seen this information before, maybe in an email (?) but now that it's in print right in front of me and the source is named, I thought I'd share it... I'm quoting Jovana Ruzicic, a spokesperson for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting public health and the environment:

When is it worth buying organic?

If you're concerned about pesticides in conventionally grown produce, buying organic is a good option -- but it can be expensive. To get your money's worth, stick to organics for the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticides when grown conventionally (based on data from the FDA and USDA):

  • apples
  • bell peppers
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cherries
  • grapes (imported)
  • kale
  • lettuce
  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • pears
  • strawberries

Regardless of what type of produce you buy, wash it thoroughly with water before eating or cooking.

I've also read that veggies that grow in the ground, such as potatoes and carrots, are also high on the Must Buy Organic list and that makes sense to me.

I purchased a product at my local Roots Market called Biokleen Produce Wash and I love it. It's made in the USA and it's not tested on animals (nor does it contain any animal ingredients). It simply contains lime extracts, grapefruit seed and pulp extracts, surfactants from coconut and/or corn, cold pressed orange oil and filtered water... that's it! You simply soak your produce, rinse and enjoy. I grew my own lettuce for the first time last year and it was comforting to soak my greens before consuming, knowing I was getting all that yuck off my yum.

Ug. I've got Spring on the brain. I've got my local farmer's market on the brain... I want fresh local produce and I WANT IT NOW. (I'm channeling my best Varuca Salt from Charlie and the Chocoalte Factory there.) Who's with me?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Introducing Wonderwash from Laundry Alternatives

My friend Resourceful Mommy told me all about some new, innovative, cost-saving and environmentally friendly laundry products that work so I thought I'd pass along the information. Here's what she had to say:

Introducing the Wonderwash from Laundry Alternatives - the space saving, time saving, energy saving Green Clean solution for your laundry needs! As seen on The Rachael Ray Show, through a patented pressure system, the Wonderwash thoroughly cleans a five pound load in just minutes using less water and detergent than even hand washing!

What can you wash with the Wonderwash? How about a week’s worth of dress shirts, 10 t-shirts, 30 pairs of socks, bibs, cloth diapers, burp clothes….the list goes on and on.

How does the Wonderwash work? When you put warm or hot water into the drum, fit the lid in place and seal the machine,the air inside the drum will absorb the heat of the water and expand (i.e., just like a hot air balloon). When the air expands it creates pressure inside the drum. The pressure forces the detergent (which is diluted into the water) into & through the fabric (which is porous) about 100 times faster than you could by hand or machine.

Tell Us How It Could Work for You – And Win a Wonderwash PLUS a Mini Countertop Spin Dryer, which quietly spins the water out of your clothes in just minutes.

To participate follow these easy steps!

  1. Blog on your site about what YOU would use the Wonderwash and Mini Countertop Spin Dryer to clean.
  2. Post a photo or a video of your mess and be sure to link back to Laundry Alternatives.
  3. Fill out this secure participation form to be entered to win!

Then join us on Twitter Friday, March 13th from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. (EST) to tweet with Green Cleaning experts and find out who won the grand prize! Five attendees will also win The TrueGreen Laundry Washing Ball, which cleans your clothes without bleach or detergents in cold water. It does not contain harmful synthetic detergents, perfumes, dyes, or oils!

Resourceful Mommy

Contest is open to all U.S. residents and runs from Friday, March 6th to Friday, March 13th at 8:00p.m. EST. All winners will be contacted within one week of closing to verify participation and obtain shipping information.

Good luck, friends!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Font-loving Five Year Old

I'd like to share something my darling daughter did for me the other day; I'm so proud of her.

We were cataloging our curriculum closet at school during a staff meeting. My daughter always attends the staff meetings with me and usually plays in the background (they are held, after all, in a preschool classroom). Well, with books all around her, she had tons of fun "reading" (she's almost 5) but even that lost her interest eventually. As my daughter watched all of us adults look through the titles and then write something on a piece of paper, she decided she would like to write too.

I had established a mental list of the books we would need to add to our home collection - how can you look through piles of books and NOT want to have them all for yourself? Anyway, I put my daughter to work writing the list for me. I said, "Could you copy the title of this book for me on this piece of paper?" I expected her to write the title in her own handwriting, which is pretty good for her age. I knew I'd need to decipher the extra and/or missing spaces that she's still working on.

To my surprise, my daughter actually copied the font of the book title. It took me a minute to realize why her "f" looked weird, then her "Y" looked weird. I almost said, "Why are you writing so wonky?" but then I looked at the book cover. Her "f" and her "Y," as well as all the other letters in the title, mimicked the serif font of the title. Seriously? I mean, really, just look at the "r" in Butler. How amazing is my girl?

I have always been drawn to the differences of fonts, the effect a font can have on a project... Whether it's in web design or paper crafting, fonts matter in my work. I am amazed (and basically stoked!) that my daughter has an eye for them already. How cool is that?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Valentine's Day Contest Prize

Victoria over at Life Starring Ellie and Eve is holding a fun Valentine's Day contest and these cards, made by moi, are one of the prizes!

The set includes six handmade notecards, two of each color family on three different black and white backgrounds. They measure 3 1/2" x 5".

The backgrounds come from calendar pages that were so pretty, I just knew I had to repurpose them.

The sassy gal is Lovely Bella from Stamping Bellas. She is colored in with various permanent markers. The flower in her hair sparkles in real life, though it doesn't show well in the picture.

The sentiment on the front reads "You're absolutely fabulous" and on the inside it continues, "No, seriously -- you are!" The sentiment comes from the Stampin' Up! set called Absolutely Fabulous.

The set is tied together with a ribbon of black with white stitching and it's ready to give as a gift for yourself or a friend! Envelopes are included.

Overall, the set is classy yet fun, and a little bit kitchy. I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Papercrafting

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Small Hands Make a Big Difference

My kids recycle, they turn off the water when they brush their teeth and turn off the light when they leave the room. They pick up trash when they see it on the way to the park. They know the three r's (reduce, reuse, recycle). I might think my kids are special but I really just think they're just doing what they must do, what every child must do. The world is different today and that's just how it is.

With this thought in mind, I approached the director of my preschool about instituting a recycling program.  The amount of water bottles we toss at lunch... ug.  The amount of construction paper we toss after completing projects... double ug.  And guess what!  She's onboard!  She's asked me to compile a list of items the children can recycle but I'd also like to include a list of simple things children can do every day to help the environment.

What are your thoughts?  What do your kids do to help?  Please leave a comment... I have one week to compile the list.  Thanks in advance!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Plastic Bottle Facts

(Copied from http://www.nubiusorganics.com/ - be sure to check out Nubius Organics incredible line of reusable water bottles, organic clothing, baby products and more!  Their prices are actually reasonable too!)

plastic bottle garbage

Bottled water is said to be safer than tap and is definitely more convenient, so what's the problem?
  • Bottled water creates tons of trash. Each year, more than 26 billion bottles are thrown away (less then 15% are recycled) and 16.5 billion gallons of water are wasted to provide Americans with "convenient" access to water. The plastic from these bottles doesn't biodegrade - it now a permanent part of our landfills. In 2005, 2 million tons of plastic water bottles ended up clogging landfills instead of getting recycled.
  • Bottled water is no safer than tap water. Non-profit Natural Resource Defense Council conducted a four-year review of the bottled water industry and the safety standards that govern it, including a comparison of national bottled water rules with national tap water rules, and independent testing of over 1,000 bottles of water. The conclusion was that there is no assurance that just because water comes out of a bottle it is any cleaner or safer than water from the tap. And in fact, an estimated 25 percent or more of bottled water is really just tap water in a bottle -- sometimes further treated, sometimes not.
  • Bottled water hurts the environment. In 2006, the equivalent of 2 billion half-liter bottles of water were shipped to U.S. ports, creating thousands of tons of global warming pollution and other air pollution. In New York City alone, the transportation of bottled water from western Europe released an estimated 3,800 tons of global warming pollution into the atmosphere. In California, 18 million gallons of bottled water were shipped in from Fiji in 2006, producing about 2,500 tons of global warming pollution.
  • Plastic bottles pose a health risk. Studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time. One study found that water that had been stored for 10 weeks in plastic and in glass bottles contained phthalates, suggesting that the chemicals could be coming from the plastic cap or liner. Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap water, there are no legal limits for phthalates in bottled water -- the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals!
And when bottled water marketing convinces one in five people that the only place to get drinking water is from a bottle, it threatens the political will to adequately fund our public water systems.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Apparently, I'm Fabulous!

Hey, according to Victoria over at Life Starring Ellie and Eve, I'm fabulous!  How cool is that?  Of all the blogs in all the world, she somehow walked into mine...

This award does have some conditions.  First, I must list my top five addictions.  Second, I must pay it forward and award five other blogs for their fabulousness

Hmm... five addictions... here goes:
  1. Twitter
  2. Starbucks sweetened black iced tea
  3. Salty snacks
  4. Anything with roasted red peppers
  5. Several reality TV shows: So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, America's Next Top Model
That was actually pretty easy to do!  Let's see if I can narrow down my favorite five blogs:
  1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - By Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver, accompanies the book by the same name.  This book changed my life... how I eat, how I shop... an incredible MUST READ.  The blog gave me more insight into Barbara's garden and the seasonal workings.
  2. Feels Like Home - Aside from having loads of interesting and helpful information on her blog, Tara is a lovely gal.  She is so helpful and sweet.  Get to know her on Twitter too!
  3. Resourceful Mommy - Amy is a blogging maven (no really, she is... check her out on the Maven Track at Blissdom '09) and she is the reason I have this blog.  First I learned dreamed of being a writer.  And then I watched her do it.  And then she taught me how to network online to make my dream of crafting as more than a hobby come true too!  Her blog is phenomenally informative too... she is truly resourceful! Get to know her on Twitter!
  4. From the Land of Pleasant Living - This is a biased choice, I'll admit.  My longtime friend just started her own blog and I just love it.  Dana's sense of humor comes shining through her writing and I enjoy keeping up with her and her kids through her blog.
  5. A Year of Crockpotting - Yep, you read that right. Stephanie has cooked a meal for her family in her crockpot(s) every day for an entire year.  I subscribe to her blog and receive her posts via email (that's how I learned to make Thanksgiving's sweet potatoes in the crockpot!) but I also use her site as the world's largest crock pot recipe source.  It's easy to search for recipes by type (i.e. side dish) or ingredient (sweet potatoes).  The best thing is that Stephanie is a real person!  I emailed her about the sweet potato recipe (wondering how long to cook it if I changed the recipe amount) and she replied that same day.  Amazing.
I hope you enjoy your fabulous award, everyone.  I certainly have enjoyed all that you've shared through your blogs.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just Say "Ew" to Diaper Pail Systems

Note: On my honor, this is NOT a paid product review.  I am writing about this product because I believe in it so strongly and want others to know about it too.

I'm on kid #3 now and I like to think that I've learned a few things along the way.  I don't know everything about any one of my kids, of course, but I have learned which baby products aren't worth their weight in salt.

The baby product industry makes a gazillion dollars each year and the majority of the products are terrible for our children and the environment.  Whether its plastic items with phthalates (now banned in California because of the health risks associated) or painted items tainted with lead, our children are being harmed with things we buy for them out of love.  Even the most basic of show of love for our infants - keeping them clean in a fresh diaper - exposes them to chemicals such as Dioxin which can cause a myriad of health problems.

And some baby products are not only bad for the environment and the world in which we are raising our babies, they just don't work.

Diaper pails are a terrific example.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I registered for all of the products I was told I would need and a Diaper Genie was one of them.  Imagine, a product that would hide that stinky diaper smell!  But I was sorely disappointed.  The smell was not hidden.  It was, in fact, amplified.  The smell eventually leached into the plastic body of the Genie so that the smell greeted me each time I open the receptacle.  My husband and I tried everything - we washed out the receptacle, we sprayed it with Lysol and left it outside to air out over night - but nothing worked.  Eventually, we opted to buy another Diaper Genie.  

Huh?.  In hindsight, I'd like to kick myself.  Why would we spend more money on a product that wasn't working?  And when I think of the environmental impact... ugh.  We repeatedly spent approximately $25 for the disposal system and $6 for the plastic bag refills (they hold 30 small diapers, fewer as the child grows and uses larger sized diapers).  We spent $6 every week?  Every month?  For years???  We spent all that money on something that not only wasn't doing what we expected, it was adding plastic bags to landfills.

So then came kid #2 and we knew better.  We didn't even bother with the Genie.  We just put stinky diapers in plastic bags, tied 'em up and then tossed them in the trash.  Ugh again.  More plastic going into a landfill.  Yes, we were reusing the plastic bags but they were still landing in a trash heap for 500 years

But now, with kid #3, I've found the miracle stinky diaper container! I've found "Keep Me Tidy Diaper Sacks" by Classy Kid, Inc.   These seem like plastic bags but they aren't - they are made of a biodegradable polyethylene.  They keep the odor completely inside the bag and I can toss those stinky diapers right into the trash with 1/2 the guilt (still feel guilty for using "disposable" diapers but just haven't gotten past the convenience yet).  And they are super affordable!  It costs approximately $3 for 75 bags!  And each bag fits 3 stinky diapers (at least size 3 and smaller... will let you know how many fit once kid #3 grows into them).  I can use one bag to hold an entire day's dirty diapers.  Miraculous!

Order Classy Kid's Keep Me Tidy Diaper Sacks right now or visit their website to learn more about their environmentally and kid friendly products (I'm going to try the toilet seat covers and place mats next).  You won't be sorry, I promise.  And tell your friends, too.  Let's start a diaper pail revolution after years of being revolted!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Photography

Wahoo! I Won!

What a friend! After reading my post Handmade Gifts for All 2008, Tara at Feels Like Home suggested I enter my creations in a contest over at Foodie Mama.  And guess what!  I won a prize!  And it is sooo perfect for me.  

I won the Blue Avocado Cool Kit, a set of 5 reusable shopping bags that replace 13 plastic bags! I already use reusable shopping bags everywhere I go (even the mall!) but these add so much to my arsenal and I am so excited.  

The Cool Kit includes:
  • 1 "pak" (carry-all) bag
  • 1 "gro" (multi-use) bag
  • 1 "chil" (insulated) bag
  • 2 "veg" (produce) bags
Here is a photo of the kit straight from the Blue Avocado site:

Aren't they gorgeous?  

And the site... wow.  So much helpful information on  storing the kit compactly, growing the kit later and remembering your bags when you leave the house.  I am thoroughly impressed and just so thrilled to have won this prize.

Thank you, Foodie MamaBlue Avocado and Tara from Feels Like Home.

Find Me on the Web

Read my articles on photographing children and infants on Picture My Camera

Check out my Mom Expert recommendations on Wishpot

Follow me on Twitter

View my Splitcoast Stampers paper craft gallery
View my Flickr photography gallery

I am thrilled to have been featured on these websites:
Foodie Mama: Gift Guide (contest winner)

Mothers and Daughters Creations: Weekly Design Challenge (winner)

DC Nature: Photo featured
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Friday, January 2, 2009

Interesting Discoveries: A Trip to the Toy Store

My mother lives in Florida and, for Christmas, she sent each of my children $25 so that they could buy what they wanted instead of guessing what they might like.  First, they were THRILLED to receive mail and then they were thrilled to find cold, hard cash inside the holiday cards.  They're thoughts raced of possible purchases... 

So today was the day.  We loaded up and headed to Toys R Us.  Normally, I would take them to a lovely little toy store right in our town (to buy local) but they don't carry LeapFrog products and I was hoping my son would buy a language arts Didj cartridge so he could practice his spelling words.  (If you have a son, age 5-10, who is really into video games but you hate the thought of him wasting away in front of a screen, you MUST check out Didj by LeapFrog.  Fabulous graphics and MATH and SPELLING that you can adjust via the Internet.)

My son did not, in fact, decide on a Didj cartridge and upon removing his choice from the packaging, I was quite disappointed.  My son chose the Indiana Jones and the Lost Temple of Akator playset by Hasbro (photo to right from Amazon.com).  This toy retails for approximately $42.00 but he paid $24.99 plus tax.  The deal was good but the product?  Beyond being more plastic junk (my opinions about buying more plastic junk were quickly vetoed), we already have this toy.  Did my son own it before today?  NO.  Did my son own the Star Wars Lava Mountain?  Yes.  Are they the same toy?  YES!  Can you believe it?  Hasbro has simply regurgitated the Lava Mountain toy, in a new color and with a few minor scenic adjustments.  The balls of lava that shoot out of the volcano's mouth are now giant boulders that roll from the top of the mountain, the lava pit is now a pool of quicksand and the nubs for electrical towers (not shown) now hook up to trees.  I'm thoroughly disgusted.  Take a look for yourself:

My daughter's choice redeemed the day's experience, thankfully.  She choose a Barbie Thumbelina doll ($12.99 at Toys R Us, $15.99 at Amazon.com).  What I love about this toy is not that it's more plastic (can't avoid it altogether) but the packaging is environmentally friendly.  The box even discusses the fact that the cardboard can and should be recycled and it offered a little green tidbit ("Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for three hours.")  And, believe it or not, there were no twisty wires holding the doll in place!!!  Just a few tiny threads held the doll in her packaging and let me say, after working my fingers raw removing toys from their packaging on Christmas Day, I was thrilled.

I'll be honest... I've never liked the way toys are made to "supplement" movies but this new approach to packaging by Mattel impresses me.  I already love the Barbie movies for their positive messages and gentle themes and now I actually appreciate their toys. 

Copyright ©2010 Andrea Diuguid. All content, including text, photographs and concept design elements featured in this blog are © Andrea Diuguid.