Tuesday, February 24

Healthy Kids' Snack

This post is part of a year-long partnership with the Netflix #StreamTeam. 

Call it a snack, call it a dessert--either way it's delicious. So I'm not complaining or anything, but it's been frigid here lately. This morning I walked outside to start the car in just a zip-up sweatshirt and my first thought was hey it's not too cold today! Then I read the thermostat in the car--2 degrees. Two! And I thought it felt nice out? That's a sad, sad story.

So anyway--we've been working on ways to have fun inside since the last time we played outside we almost got frostbite. Funny story! I really did get frostbite once. Most disgusting thing in the world. I'll save that story for a post without pictures of food. What can I say, I'm a good person.

To keep mundane-ness of days inside at bay we made a fun snack to eat while we snuggled up to our Netflix for the day. All you'll need to do the same is a banana, some peanut butter and candy coated sunflower seeds. You could use regular ones too, if you're not as fun as we are. (Just let yourself eat the chemical dye this one time. You can't win 'em all and it's totally worth it).

The first time Carter tried these sunflower seeds he deemed them "the worst candy ever," but today I caught him sneaking handfuls when he thought I wasn't looking so I'd say that was "the worst lie  story ever."

So let's catch up on our monthly Netflix, shall we?

Carter's watching: Care Bears
Amy's watching: Friends (duh), Inside the Hunt for the Boston Bombers, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2 
Tom's watching: Parks and Recreation

Friends needs to explanation other than the fact that I like to quiz myself to see if I remember what's going to happen in the next episode. I know I stored all that extremely important information in the back of my brain somewhere with the lyrics to "Smelly Cat" and 
"I made a man with eyes of coal 
And his smile was so bewitchin' 
How was I supposed to know
That my mom..." 

Funny story. So I've said a million times how I've had the same best friends since preschool. That song used to be our favorite to sing in the car so our moms made us change the lyrics from "my mom was dead in the kitchen" to "my mom was cooking in the kitchen." The two statements were basically equivalent.  

Therefore the no-cook "recipe" in this post is completely appropriate. It's delicious and fail-proof. 

Tuesday, January 27

Gem Poe, The Duchess

This post is part of a year-long partnership with the Netflix #StreamTeam. 

So our sweet puppy Gemma doesn't make it on the blog quite as often as she should. She's pretty shy, she likes to prance in the backyard (especially over snow in her houndstooth and faux fur sweater/jacket) and she's not that into crunchy treats. She has many moods and for those many moods we have many names:

Gemma Posey
Gemma Pose
Gemma Poe
Gem Pose
Gem Poe

We go through about all of these combinations in a single day. She knows them all well. I think she prefers Posey. She gets really googly-eyed when you call her that.

She likes to tease other dogs

And she likes to sit on laps.

Sorry for my not-so-great quality iPhone pictures. I've been the worst about charging my camera. Blast those fast-dying batteries!

Who are my pet people out there? Here's my monthly rundown of what's new and what we're watching on Netflix.

New: Puss in Boots If you're a cat person, this might just be your thing.

What I'm watching: The Duchess
What Tom's watching: who knows
What Carter's watching: all the Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I really like this show. The little songs in every episode have been so helpful. Carter's favorites are: you've gotta try new food 'cause it might taste gooOOOOoood. And When you're feeling frustrated. Take-a-step-back -- and ask for help. Like what I did there? If you're familiar with the show then you get it.

Things Carter Asks

1. Why don't I have bunk beds?
A million reasons. Mainly, you are three and you are a boy. #injuries #ERvisits #nothanks

2. How did Santa know to use the same wrapping paper [as you and daddy]?
This was a near parenting fail. Tom's face says it all.

3. Is Little Bunny Foo Foo bad? Is the Fairy Godmother a good person or a bad person?

4. [holds up a round ball toy with a stick at our neighbor's house] Hey, is this a Glitzy Globe?
What the heck is a Glitzy Globe? Someone watches too many YouTube videos...

5. Why do you love me?
This is equally hard to answer because how do I explain that to you? I gave you a lengthy list and then you got bored and started doing play doh.

These days you keep me on my toes, Carter. One minute we're talking about Daniel Tiger and the next you're asking me about the afterlife. Then you're telling me I never want to grow up, I want to stay little forever! It's never a dull moment with you.

Right now your favorite thing is to make YouTube videos. You aspire to be like Sammy and Evan and those Hobby Kids. I think we missed that train, kiddo. But it's OK. I'm not really ready to post more of you than this:

Hey, it's a start. And you're going to get a kick out of watching yourself for all these 4 seconds.

Monday, December 22

Dance Party, King Julien, Merry Christmas!

This post is part of a year-long partnership with the Netflix #StreamTeam. I received a one year Netflix streaming subscription and an iPad mini for participating. I've been a paying customer of Netflix for 8 years--I'd be lost without her.  Thanks for reading!

In honor of "All Hail King Julien" coming out on Netflix this month (it's available now!) I wanted to share a little peek into one of Carter's dance parties. If you've seen Madagascar then you're probably already familiar with King Julien. If not, you have some catching up to do!


(I apologize for my less than stellar videography skills)

So, Christmas. Three days away. For the first time in forever (hello, subconscious Frozen soundtrack playing in my brain...still) I have almost all of my gifts wrapped already. Total weight off my shoulders. Things are slowing down here as we're getting ready for Christmas and that's my favorite. Tom starts his vacation tomorrow and we're going out to breakfast while Carter's at preschool. Holy excitement. This is our THIRD breakfast date since school started. It's possibly the best thing to have happened to us in 2014. 

So, question. Who has a hard time falling asleep at night? Oh, everyone? OK. My sister enlightened me with the greatest foolproof way to get to sleep super fast (and I'm not trying to sell you any fancy essential oils either). haha! Read the Count of Monte Cristo before you fall asleep. Why?

1. It's free on iBooks
2. It's a classic and everyone should read as many classics as possible in order to be a whole, real person
3. Tip: Watch it on Netflix first. No, I'm serious. Break the rule with this one. Watching the movie first will get you all into the Count of Monte Cristo spirit and then the book is even more dramatic. And it's exciting, but a little bit hard to read when you're tired. It's that perfect balance of attention-holding, but sleep-inducing (thanks to its wearily long length and wordiness).

So Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah (yay, you still have two more days!) Drink coffee with a splash of egg nog and build Lego sets until your eyes cross. I'll see you on the other side. xo

Sunday, December 21

5 Natural Deodorants to Try

So everyone who's even a little concerned about the ingredients in antiperspirant is always on the lookout for a good deodorant, am I right? Well I've tried a bunch and I've decided to grade a few based on my experience. I'll try not to be overly subjective, but it's deodorant, so it's a pretty subjective subject.

I thought it would be nice to have a little guide to help you navigate the failure-wrought waters of natural deodorant trial and error.

To keep things simple, ratings are 1-10 (10 is best).

Natural Deodorant

1. Tom's of Maine, Lavender

Feel: --3-- Super sticky, stays sticky.
Scent: --5-- Mild, not over-powering, but definitely there
Effectiveness: --6-- worked ok for me, but I couldn't get over the sticky feel
Price: $9.99 on Amazon

​2. Herban Cowboy, Forest

Feel: --7-- Slightly sticky. Not as sticky as Tom's.
Scent: --9-- strong, unisex, definitely good for men; I want to try their superstar scent for women
Effectiveness: --7--
Price: $5.99 on on Amazon, awesome value

3. Crystal Rock (name?)

Feel: --5-- Not sticky. Can pull the skin a little if it's not wet enough. Not ideal for sensitive skin, in my opinion.
Scent: ---10-- unscented, I personally love this, but fragrance might be your thing
Effectiveness: --7-- It works, but feels like it needs to be reapplied more often than others.
Price: $6.31 on Amazon

4. Lavanila Laboratories, Coconut

Feel: --10-- Not sticky, not chalky. Perfect. Best feel.
Scent: --10--
Effectiveness: --9--
Price: $14 at Sephora. The coconut scent does not seem to be available anymore. I'd go with vanilla grapefruit.

5. Celadon Road, Coconut

Feel: --5-- Too chalky. Difficult to get it warm enough to apply. Possibly might be better in the summer or warmer climates
Scent: --10--
Effectiveness:-- 9-- when I can actually get it on!
Price: $18

Some things to keep in mind:
-All natural deodorant options need to be re-applied during the day. One application just isn't going to cut it with any product.
-It's always changing. Just because one deodorant works for me, doesn't mean it will work for you. You might find that a certain brand works for a few months, and then one day that's no longer the case. That's why I have 5 on hand! Moral of the story--mix it up. 

Thursday, December 11

How to Make Water Kefir

So let's talk water kefir for a second.

What is it?
In short: fermented sugar water--but don't worry. The water kefir grains eat up the sugar and the longer you ferment the water, the more sugar is eaten up; so it's not like you're gulping down teaspoons of sugar (gross).

What's the benefit?
BILLIONS of bacteria. You know the pricey probiotics you buy at the store? They have only a fraction of the probiotics in homemade water kefir.

Basically, you're supposed to have about 6 POUNDS of good bacteria in your gut. If you're filled up with good bacteria, the bad bacteria aren't able to colonize because the good guys outnumber them and the good guys shall prevail! AKA, you won't get sick.

Why not milk kefir?
You've probably seen this at Trader Joe's or maybe you've tried the Lifeway brand at your regular grocery store. Milk kefir is awesome (and you can make that at home too)! But some people can't have dairy due to an allergy or sensitivity (Carter!) so water kefir is a great alternative. Also, if you have a picky kid who doesn't like yogurt--water kefir is much easier to disguise.

So how do I get started?
Order water kefir grains from a reputable place like this one (it's where I got mine). They include really easy instructions for activating your grains. Once you have activated grains, you:

1. Dissolve 1/4 C organic cane sugar in 1 quart hot water (in a large glass mason jar)
2. Let the water cool to room temp
3. Add the grains and cover with a cloth (I use cheesecloth and a rubber band)
4. Let the mixture sit on the counter for 3-5 days
5. The fun part! Add fruit, fruit juice (or I like coconut water--not from concentrate!) and let the mixture ferment for an additional 2-3 (or more) days in swing top glass bottles (like these). At this point, the drink will become fizzy AKA even more delicious
6. Drink it up and do it all again! You only buy the grains once and use them over and over. If you're lucky and your grains keep on multiplying, share with friends!

Let me know how it goes!

Thursday, December 4

Amy's Anti Gift Guide

So right now is a season where you're being inundated by blog posts telling you, "buy this fur vest!" "you NEED this lipstick," go get yourself over to [insert any online store] RIGHT NOW for all these xyz deals.

Aren't you just a little bit sick of it all?

I am. So I did the opposite. Also known as the worst things I have tried/bought in the last few weeks. I'm not trying to spew negativity upon you, but let's just be real for a second in a very consumer-focused environment.

Untitled #14

1. Garden of Life Raw vanilla chai protein powder

So the vanilla chai flavor is super alluring, right? I thought so too. I've had it in my Amazon cart for eons, but never bought it. Enter Natural Living Expo that I went to recently and I got a sample packet of the stuff. I was stoked because I really, rreeaally wanted to love it. I tried it today. Imagine a non-smiley emoji with x's for eyes. I have tried (and endured) a lot protein powders and green drinks that most would probably hate, (I LOVE me some Green Vibrance) and usually I can stomach them. This...no. It was chalky. It was clumpy. It was awkwardly thick. I thought I could power through, but then I made the worst mistake ever and I let it just sit there in my glass for about 60 seconds. Maybe 65. Then I took another sip of the most congealed concoction and had to spit it out. Sorry for that mental image. You've been warned.

PS I love the Garden of Life brand so don't ditch them all together. I think their vitamins are awesome, but I just can't even pretend to like this protein powder.

2.  MAC Mineralize Skinfinish highlighter in Soft & Gentle.

So I was looking for a new highlighter for my kit (not that I don't have 19 billion already). And basically every YouTuber in the world recommends this highlighter. The thing that stood out to me most was that several people said "it's not glittery at all! it's so subtle!" WRONG. It is the most glittery highlighter I have. I have started using it as an eye shadow instead of highlighter beucase I wouldn't put this thing within 75 feet of a bride. Unless she wants bright sparkly north stars on her cheekbones in her wedding photos.

3. Earth Science Almond Aloe Moisturizer (lightly scented)

First of all, this is a brand I REALLY like. And I've used this moisturizer in the fragrance free version and it's an all-time-favorite. But the scent in the lightly scented version? To me it smells like some combination of crushed flowers, baby powder and car air freshener. I know fragrance is pretty subjective and someone else might totally disagree, but I would at least like to say that the title is misleading and it's definitely not lightly scented. It's just straight up scented.

But I'm not all humbug about Christmas. We  decorated the day after Thanksgiving. We have our countdown to Christmas calendar up. We have Christmas tree and cranberry scented candles. It's getting real.

standing guard just in case the squirrels get any ideas about trying to inhabit our tree

Also, I hereby bestow upon you permission to not go uber-crazy on your Christmas shopping this year. It's just stuff. It doesn't equal happiness, or Christmas cheer, or anything that will bring you joy for more than a week. Make memories. Drink mimosas. And have fires. The end.

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