Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Down East Home Review

Down East Home, a division of the locally owned Down East Outfitters, is a store with name brand furniture items marked down to fit within your budget.  Down East Home carries many designer brand names (which they are not allowed to advertise) as well as their very own Down East Home brand, made to the highest of quality but sold at seriously low prices.  Straight from their warehouses, Down East Home gets new shipments weekly which go straight to their stores so there is always something new to find.  I had the opportunity to review Down East Home, view their wide variety of high quality furniture products, and learn about particular products (dear to my heart) they carry that seem to be "flying off the shelves" as soon as they arrive...

As I made my way through Down East Home and reveled at all the furniture items that would be SO great in every home, I got some fantastic ideas for redecorating my son's bedroom.  Below are just some of the beautiful pieces of furniture they have for children's rooms at any age and which are unbelievable affordable in comparison to other stores.  I really got some great ideas for the transition of my son's current bedroom to his soon to be "big boy room".
And some ideas for our next child...should it be a girl.

The picture above is from Down East Home's own collection, which has been rated "A" for safety.  This set so cute.

We also got some great ideas for adding a sitting area in another room.  In fact, my husband and I were so taken back by how perfect some chairs were that I found it created a whole inspiration behind what is going to be better seating for guests in our living room and a little area where we can sit together with a drink and good book in hand and peer out our windows at the beautiful mountain view.
Just as I was about finished touring the wonderful array of products at Down East Home, the director of stores asked me if I had any more questions and wanted to show me a few pieces of reclaimed furniture their department salvaged from a future of the dump that they restored beautifully.  That really caught my eco-interest!  Apparently, Down East Home might receive a furniture product that is missing a small piece or has a small scratch which in their original stores, are thrown out as garbage.  Instead of filling up our landfills with perfectly good brand new furniture and wasting the wood used to produce the furniture as well as the time and energy it took in creating it, Down East Home has the most trained and skilled carpenters available to repair any piece back to it's original perfection...how wonderful is that?  I love that concept.  Reduse.  Reuse.  Recycle.

I love this piece which can be used as storage in any room.  It is gorgeous!
And that's not even my favorite part of Down East Home's products.  They also carry a line of products made from reclaimed wood.  And they are BEAUTIFUL...to put it simply.  I loved their recycled dresser and small table.
And below are pictures of a line of products made from recycled wood and so popular, they can hardly keep any in the stores!  You can see why...

Above are just some of the picture from the new Farm House Tuscan collection in white, which is just one of the eco-friendly lines they produce and carry.  Gorgeous and made from reused wood...love it!

You can find Down East Home at any one of their many locations in ID and UT.  Click here for your nearest store.  To go to the Down East Home Blog, click here.  And for your chance to win a $1000 shopping spree, go here and comment after the posting.  You only have until Labor Day to enter so enter soon!  If you would like another chance at winning the $1000 shopping spree, go to Down East Home's facebook page, become a fan and post another comment here stating you did so and have 2 chances to enter.

Good luck to you all!  And one more thing, don't forget that this coming weekend Down East Home will be having a great Labor Day sale so don't miss out!  Click here to learn more.

Thank you so much to Down East Home for letting me review their store, give me inspiration in redecorating my own home and learn more about the eco-friendly products they have available.

Bridget James

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yummy (Tofu) Ranch Dressing

My Mom made the greatest ranch dip for us growing up...and lucky for us, she passed the recipe on.  Not that any of us knew what tofu was when we were in the adolescent years, but the main ingredient in this recipe is a box of tofu.  We had no idea how much healthier it was for us but only that we loved the way it tasted.  Over the years, I've continued to make it as a dip and a dressing.  Lately, I've been eating it daily with my veggies so I thought what a great recipe to pass on to you (especially for those of you with veggies galore from your gardens)! 

Here you go:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 ts. salt
  • 1/2 ts. dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I use Canola)
  • 2-3 tbls. apple cider vinegar
Blend the above ingredients in a blender under mixed.  Then add:
  • your choice of box tofu (I use plain firm)
  • 1/2 packet of dry ranch mix
Mix well in blender.
  • then add 2 more tbls. apple cider vinegar
Mix well and enjoy!  Your kids will love this...I promise.
~Mommy Bridget

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Modmum Secret Sale

Mod Mum Secret Sale!

As they say “out with the old and in with the new!” Modmum is having a huge end of summer sale to make room for new products! All of their baby slings are on sale from 30% - 50% off of their retail prices. Now you can get that baby sling you have been coveting at a price that anyone can afford.
Now, here is the secret… they will pick three moms and give them their entire purchase for free! Yes that is right free! At the end of their sale they will be picking the orders randomly, regardless of the total! So stock up now on your Christmas and baby shower gifts. As all deals, this one won’t last! So get one while you can!

Go to www.Modmum.com to shop.

Mommy Bridget

Friday, August 27, 2010

Ecomom Review and Giveaway

I have an exciting new eco-conscious company to share with you...they are called Ecomom and they carry all the splendid natural products for you and your little ones to enjoy.  Ecomom researches and tests all of their products before they promote them to sell to the public.  That means Ecomom has YOU in mind when providing the best quality products for you and your little one's needs.

Not only does Ecomom provide a variety of eco-friendly products for you and your family, Ecomom is committed to making eco-conscious living easy, affordable, and awarding through education and support!  They have everything from money saving tips to healthy living tips to product ideas for you and your home.  This world needs more companies such as Ecomom that we can trust to provide us with the best products with our health and environment in mind.

We had the opportunity to review Ecomom's Plum Organics Sampler/Revolution Foods Sampler. 


Second Blends Organic Baby Food in a Premium Spouted Pouch & Mish Mash Organic Fruit Snacks

Second Blends available in 7 yummy blends.
Mish Mash available in 3 fruit blends.

This Sampler features 1 Organic Baby Spinach, Peas & Pears, 1 Organic Baby Pumpkin Banana, 1 Tots Organic Strawberry Mish Mash, and 1 Tots Organic Peach Mish Mash + 
I received one box of Tots apple-carrot fiddlesticks

Second Blends are 100% pure fruit and veggie blends, perfect for introducing baby to a mix of flavors
Certified organic non-GMO ingredients
Simple blends & smooth textures - the second step in developing baby's palate
Innovative shelf stable pouch - gentle cooking retains freshness, flavor & nutrients
No mess solution - resealable, convenient & portable
Baby friendly package - child safe cap, no sharp edges
100% BPA-free packaging & recyclable cap - an eco-friendly alternative to the glass jar

Mish Mash fruit snacks are 100% organic fruit purees
No added sugar, juice, colors or flavors
Naturally high in vitamin C from acerola berries
Mild flavors for little palates
Easy squeezy pouch for self feeding
Resealable, child safe cap
BPA-free packaging
No mess solution

SPINACH, PEAS & PEARS INGREDIENTS: Organic Pears, Organic spinach, Organic peas, Organic lemon juice concentrate

PUMPKIN & BANANA INGREDIENTS: Organic bananas, Organic pumpkin, Organic lemon juice concentrate, citric acid
STRAWBERRY MISH MASH INGREDIENTS: Organic apples, Organic pears, Organic strawberries, Organic acerola fruit (a natural source of vitamin c)
PEACH MISH MASH INGREDIENTS: Organic apples, Organic pears, Organic peaches, Organic apricots, Organic acerola fruit (a natural source of vitamin c) 

Plum Organics Fiddlesticks Organic Fruit & Grain Snack Sticks

100% organic
Baked with real fruits & veggies
A grab-able snack for little hands
No mess snack
Quickly dissolves into soft bites
Easy to hold & easy to chew
BPA free packaging
Each carton is 2.12 oz.

Ecomom also included the Plum Spoon by Plum Organics for those of us feeding on the go or for those who don't want to use any unnecessary dishware.


Developed exclusively for Plum Organics in partnership with Boon
Spoon easily attaches to all Plum baby spouted pouches to make one-handed feeding a snap.  Simply attach, squeeze & feed
Convenient & portable dispensing spoon that is great for on-the-go feeding.  Sold in carrying case that can be attached to diaper bag
Reusable spoon is dishwasher safe and is 100% BPA-free, Phthalate-free and PVC free
Works with Plum Organics Baby Food: Stage 1 Just Fruit and Stage 2 Second Blends lines

2 spoons to a case, green and purple

(sampler not pictured but "sammy jammy" bars to the right)

  • 4-"Grammy Sammys" (all organic, yogurt filled mini sandwich bars)
  • 1-"Jammy Sammy" (organic, peanut butter and jelly mini sandwich bar
Jammy Sammy's are Wheat Free
Filled with Organic Fruit Spread
No Trans Fats, No High Fructose Corn Syrup
Balanced Nutrition for Steady Energy
100% Whole Grains and Organic Fruit Spread
Sized with Snacktime in Mind (100-110 calories per serving)
Meets the Highest Gov't Standards for School Nutrition

Grammy Sammy's are 100% Whole Grain Filled with Organic Yogurt Filling
No Trans Fats, No High Fructose Corn Syrup and No Artificial Ingredients
Balanced Nutrition for Steady Energy
100% Whole Grains and Organic Yogurt Filling
Sized with Snack Time in Mind (110-120 Calories Per Serving)
Meets the Highest Gov’t Standards for School Nutrition 

JAMMY SAMMY INGREDIENTS:Organic strawberry filling (organic evaporated cane juice, organic apple powder, organic strawberry puree, organic rice starch, natural flavor, pectin, citric acid, red cabbage extract for color), organic whole grain oats, organic whole grain barley flour, organic peanut butter, organic agave, organic evaporated cane juice, organic sunflower oil and/or organic safflower oil, organic peanut oil, organic peanut flour,baking soda, sea salt. GRAMMY SAMMY INGREDIENTS: Organic Yogurt Filling [Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Yogurt Powder (Organic Nonfat Dry Milk, Lactic Acid), Organic Apple Powder, Organic Rice Starch, Organic Strawberries, Water, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Red Cabbage Extract For Color], Organic Whole Grain Barley Flour, Organic Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Sunflower Oil And/Or Organic Safflower Oil, Organic Honey, Water, Organic Molasses, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt. Contains Gluten, Wheat and Milk. Produced in a facility that processes peanuts, tree nuts, soy and eggs 

First and foremost, I love and appreciate the all natural and organic ingredients in each and every food product we sampled and reviewed! You know food is good for you when you can understand the ingredients on the food label not to mention that they are organic!  Plum Organics and Revolution foods are a mother's dream for feeding her little ones the best possible nutritious meals possible.  And my favorite part, the convenience of everything sampled!  

When we travel anywhere, my purse is loaded with enough snacks to keep my child fed and happy. Everything we sampled was perfect to take on the go.  My son really loved the fruit pouches by Plum Organics not only because of the taste but that he could hold it himself and squeeze out more "mish mash" when he wanted more.  Even though they are meant for children under the age of 1, a 2 year old can enjoy them too!  For a 2 year old, this is a very easy and a very fun new way to feed oneself.  The 1-year old that sampled the mish mash pouches also enjoyed this Plum Organics product.  His mommy felt the Boon Spoon attached to the pouches was unnecessary while feeding at home.  One the go, however, it would be a magnificent convenience!

Plum Organic's Apple-Carrot Fiddlesticks are perfect for a child just beginning to eat solids up to a toddler aged child.  They are nutritious, easy to hold and melt in the mouth for those with only a few teeth.  And they taste great too! (By the way, everything was not only sampled by little ones but by their parents as well.)

Park also REALLY liked Revolution Food's yogurt filled sandwich bars.  And they are so handy to drop in my purse or even stick in my pocket on our way out the door!  They are made in such a way that any little hands could hold the sandwich bar without the bar falling or crumbling apart.  They are so great!  The peanut butter and jelly or "Jammy Slammys" were my choice of favorite bar.  So I guess you could say there really is something for everyone here to enjoy!

Plum Organics and Revolution foods offer not only a variety of food products but also other items such as high chairs and children's lunch boxes...all available for purchase through Ecomom.

Buy it:
To get discounted prices on all the above items, go to www.ecomom.com and join today.  Ecomom has a new program called Ecopass, which allows readers to purchase a $99 annual membership (includes a 15% discount on every order) and free shipping.  Ecopass pays for itself in as little as 4 orders!

Win it:
Ecomom is giving away a $15 gift card free to one lucky winner!
(available for US and Canada residents)

To Enter:
***Also, remember to leave your email address with your comments so you can be reached*** 
Subscribe to my blog (located on the left side of my home page) and tell me if you have tried any of the Plum or Revolution products.  This is MANDATORY to enter the giveaway.

You also have the opportunity for additional entries (one each) if you do any of the following:
  • follow The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Google Follower
  • subscribe to Ecomom's newsletter
  • like The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Facebook
  • like Ecomom on Facebook
  • follow The Curious Mommy on Twitter 
  • follow Ecomom on Twitter
Again, please be sure to leave your email address with each entry.
You have until September 10th at midnight to enter.
Good luck to you all,

Mommy Bridget

This policy is valid from January 1st of 2010
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.
This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards. We believe in honesty of relationship, opinion and identity. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post will be clearly identified as paid or sponsored content.
The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.
This blog does contain content which might present a conflict of interest. This content may not always be identified.
Bridget James


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Circumcision Is on the Decline

Circumcision Is on the Decline

I know, I know...this article was written for America's Cosmopolitan Magazine (not the best of references), but still I proudly wanted to share it with all of you.
~Mommy Bridget

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reminder: Modmum Baby Sling Giveaway-ends Friday 8/27

Just a few days left to enter for the Modmum baby sling giveaway!  To enter, go here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer of the Unexpected

It's crazy to think that children will be heading back to school this week.  What happened to the summer?  Although I anxiously await the temperatures to begin their decline, the leaves to turn their fall hues, and my baby belly to grow and grow...I can't help but be saddened by the fast passing of my son's second summer (third really but 2nd that he can run around and enjoy), the opportunities to camp abound, and the endless opportunities for outdoor play.  I don't know about you, but our summer has been a whirlwind of happenings that has overtaken our ability to sit back, relax and enjoy the summer days.

In early July and to our astonishment and joy, we found out we were going to add to our family.  This was a pleasant surprise as we were wanting another child for sometime.  We are delighted!  It's so strange at times to believe that I'm doing it all over again...being pregnant is such a blessing and adding to our family a huge blessing!  Park is going to be a great big brother with his passion to those around him he loves.

But just as soon as our excitement and gitty jitters began at the big change about to come in our lives, our family was also struck by another surprise. Unfortunately, this one was not so pleasant.

Following our family vacation over the 4th of July to the Lake of the Ozarks, I took Park in to see his pediatrician for a throat culture.  Since it had been about 6 months since our last visit, his Dr. had some questions and concerns about his development.  As we got up to leave the office, she kindly put her hand on my shoulder and told me that she was concerned Park is showing signs of Autism.  AUTISM...the dreaded "A" word!  I fell back in my seat in tears and hugged Park in fear that her concerns were justified.  He wasn't talking yet, didn't show interest in other children, and had hitting issues that at the time, I had simply given up on trying to stop.

As I tried to drive home with tears streaming down my face, all of Park's strange behaviors began to make sense.  I remember thinking, how stupid I have been that I didn't consider this as an explanation!  When I arrived home I first called my brother who, as stated before, has experience with developmental delays and disorders in children and since we had just returned from a vacation together, I wanted him to tell me that he thought Park was just fine.  I wanted his reassurance.  Unfortunately for us again, he agreed with Park's pediatrician's concerns.  He too had picked up on some very strong autistic like behaviors.  He and his wife (who works with children with autism) immediately armed me with professional advice and recommended I read two books and begin working with Park. Those two books, which helped us tremendously were:
  • Let Me Hear Your Voice: A Family's Triumph Over Autism by Catherine Maurice
These two books, on their own, are amazing! I recommend not only those parents with children with autism or other related disorders to read these but also other parents to help them better understand the disorder and the signs.  There is simply too much incorrect judgment on such disorders, more speculation about what causes them than the treatment to overcome them, and too many questions left unanswered (or answered by the unqualified and inexperienced) which in the end is detrimental to the advancement of finding causes and treatment for such devastating disorders.

So after about a week of feeling like I was mourning the loss of my son and as soon as I received my new reading materials in the mail, I decided that I would do absolutely everything in my power to help my son live a normal happy life.  The determination of a mother is truly astonishing...we really will do anything for our babies!

Also, I can't forget to note that we had already begun working with the Early Intervention Program.  This is a wonderful program available to EVERYONE in the United States whose child is developmentally delayed somehow or for children with disorders.  You pay based on your income and the payment is very little in comparison to the wonderful treatment received.  It is a great program and I thank my lucky stars that my new friend Mel (thank you!!!) told me about it back in June.  For those of you in Utah, go here for the contact in your area.  The determination of Park's language/communication therapist with the Early Intervention Program has helped him tremendously.  With only a handful of visits to our home thus far, his progress is remarkable.

We also immediately contacted the Child Development Clinic with the Utah Dept. of Health for a formal evaluation.  They are very busy, as our appointment was made 6 weeks in advance with the pediatrician.  Park's meeting with their psychiatrist is in a few more weeks.

And continuing on that note, it has only been a short time since we were told of his concerns, since we began diligently working with him, following the advice given to us by those with experience, and I am SO DAMN PROUD to say that our little Park is doing remarkable!  He is talking a lot, saying more phrases but still having a difficult time speaking clearly, his behavior has dramatically changed and he loves to play with other children.

I don't know if maybe there was never really anything wrong with Park's development other than a language delay.  I don't know whether his behaviors were due to a confusion in his brain or a confusion caused by something we might have done. I don't know what caused it although I do know that genetics plays a huge part.  (Park has uncles that also had developmental delays).  I don't know much of anything other than that Park is progressing, not regressing.  That is all we care about at this point. He is happy, he laughs a lot, he is now playing with other kids, he has stranger anxiety more and more (which is a good thing as before, he would run up to complete strangers).  He looks into my eyes more and more everyday and to tell you the truth...I couldn't be more pleased with this state.

We had our first appointment for Park's first formal evaluation last week and it went well.  We were there for 2 hours, answering question after question while Park was being observed playing, interacting with other kids and us.  To our joy and relief to say the LEAST, the pediatrician (bless her soul) told us she wasn't concerned about Park having an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  She, like us, would have been more concerned a few months ago when he wasn't communicating much at all to anyone other than physically hurting himself under distress (all of which are ASD signs) but now the concern is minimal.  He obviously does have a language delay but we are working on that.

I could go on and on about the last few months of trials and tribulations with the health of our dear baby boy, but I will save that for another day.  Our summer has been a whirlwind of emotions.  Finding out we were expecting and then quickly finding out the unexpected made for a rough time.  I was so upset for some time and with the nausea of my first trimester, I felt hopeless at times.  There were days I was worried that my stress would cause a miscarriage.  Thank god for the support of family and friends...and to those who negatively made quick judgment on the cause of Park's condition...well, they are not a part of our lives any more.  It's truly astounding the protectiveness that comes into play when our children's lives are being threatened in any way.  Once we reached out to others about the news of Park, we of course heard opinion after opinion.  We very quickly learned that these opinions were not the first, nor would they be the last of judgments we would get from others concerning the cause for Park's behavior.  This is just one of the minor trials that afflict the parents of autistic children. Suddenly our life is fair game for everyone's scrutiny, and everyone "knows" just what caused the problem.  Friends, even causal acquaintances, feel compelled to pronounce their opinion as to cause and treatment.  If you have a disturbed child, obviously you are in need of everyone's advice, no matter how uninformed. (Catherine Maurice, 1993)  At one point I was even told I should look into "cleansing Park" because of the vaccines he has received.  Talk about judging...we are no longer associated to this individual as I will never let anyone harm me or my family in such a way...never.   

While we know that everyone (well, maybe most people) are trying to help in their own way by giving us their take on our son, but no one...and I mean NO ONE knows and understands but us the behaviors Park displayed for sometime.  I remember on multiple occasions telling my husband that Park didn't feel like my child.  I loved him just the same, but he truly felt foreign to me.  And I was justified!  He didn't look into my eyes, he didn't respond like most children his age did, and he didn't remind me of me or my family.  All I can tell you is that there was definitely something going on in our little one, but that now he is overcoming those behaviors.  He is beginning to emerge. 

So to end my long explanation of our hectic summer (and why my blog has been lacking), I want to first and formost thank all of you for reading this.  I am so grateful for your support, and so happy with the direction my blog has taken and for its success.  I truly apologize that my blog posts have been few and far between but as explained above, my summer has been trying.  As many of you know, family always comes first.  Any extra time I have is spent sitting down and interacting with Park or resting to help my body and baby #2 grow.  But now as I am feeling much better, Park is doing much better and life at the James's is beginning to settle down a bit...I promise to do my best keeping in touch with all of you.

My deepest thanks to all of you,

Mommy Bridget

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zucchini Gigantor

I've been so busy this past week that I haven't gone out to the vegetable garden to see if there was anything new, ripe and ready to eat.  I decided I would check in yesterday evening and look at what we found...

We aren't really sure what to do with it quite yet.  Grill?  It's HUGE!!!  I also picked a medium sized bowl of cherry tomatoes and am going to add them to my skillet for dinner tonight.  Anyone with a really great Zucchini bread recipe?  I think I will be baking this week:)

~Curious Mommy

Ecousable Giveaway-Low Entries-Ends Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that the Ecousable's BPA-free and stainless steel containers giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight.  There are low entries so your chances are great!
Click here to enter!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Modmum Baby Sling Giveaway-ends 8/27

As many of you know, the invention (many many MANY years ago) of the baby carrier/baby sling was a lifesaver for moms, dads and caregivers alike.  Not only are carriers convenient for us and babies because of all we do on a daily basis, but the positive emotional and psychological effects baby slings have for us and our little ones are, to sum it up in one word, profound!  

I seriously don't know what my son and I would have done without a carrier these past few years.  Who wants to push around their infant in a stroller or carry a car seat everywhere they go?  My life was so much easier with our baby carriers.  I was able to continue doing so many of my daily duties with my child safely and cozy next to my chest or on my hip.  All the while my hands free.  Park never cried because he was right there with me.  It just makes sense.  I can't imagine what I would have done without one.  

Here's another questions for you, what baby would rather be pushed around in a stroller or carried in a car seat instead of laying in a comfortable carrier next to their mother?!!!  I would say probably next to none.

Modmum, one of my absolute favorite sling companies, is giving away a free sling to one lucky winner!  The winner can pick any sling of their choice.  There are a great variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics to choose from. Something for everyone!  They even have a man sling which my husband rocked for sometime.  It is super handy..especially if you have more than one child.

But it:
Go to www.modmum.com and shop away!

Win it:
To Enter:
***Also, remember to leave your email address with your comments so you can be reached*** 
Subscribe to my blog (located on the left side of my home page) and tell me if you currently use a baby carrier and what brand.  This is MANDATORY to enter the giveaway.

You also have the opportunity for additional entries (one each) if you do any of the following:
  • follow The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Google Follower
  • subscribe to Modmum's newsletter
  • like The Curious Case of Mommyhood on Facebook
  • repost this giveaway on your facebook profile
  • like Modmum on Facebook
  • follow The Curious Mommy on Twitter 
  • follow Modmum on Twitter 
  • tell me something about Modmum's YourTube video
Again, please be sure to leave your email address with each entry.
You have until August 27th at midnight to enter.
Good luck to you all,

Mommy Bridget

ksl.com - Scientists test brain activity in the wild

ksl.com - Scientists test brain activity in the wild

ksl.com - Poison control warns of energy drink risks

ksl.com - Poison control warns of energy drink risks

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Harvest Is In

I can't believe that I have my very own working and growing vegetable garden.  Something I spoke about for years, I am in awe everyday that I get to go out to the garden and pick ripe tomatoes, zucchini, basil, thyme, red leaf lettuce, strawberries, cucumber and now carrots! 

Although small (only 9' x 5'), my garden is MORE than enough to feed my family alone.  Tonight, I am making a vegetable tray for a party almost exclusively from my garden's harvest.  And yesterday I picked up my canning supplies because you better believe in no time I will have tomatoes growing out of my ears!  I am in need of some really great canning recipes..and soon.

Now that I have a garden, I wonder why in the world I waited so long to do it in the first place.  I suppose moving a lot, baby, no space are good excuses.  But what a great way to sustain what we have right out our very own back door instead of making the trips to the stores or markets for items shipped from other countries.  Now I don't know what I would ever do without my garden.  It's never to late to begin...

~Mommy Bridget

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Turn Your Key..."

Turn your key, be idle free!

I have the sticker blasted on my rear side window of the back of my vehicle that I picked up from a Utah Moms for Clean Air tabling event.  Although my windows are tinted and unless you were standing right next to my car would you ever read the sticker, it serves as a strong reminder for ME to turn my car off when I'm idling (for example, at the bank drive thru, fast food drive thrus and our dry cleaning drive thru (yes I said it...dry cleaning on the go!). 

Did you know that more than 10 seconds of idling in your vehicle consumes more fuel than restarting it?  And who in the drive thru business wants to inhale unnecessary exhaust (or any for that matter)?  I know I know, in the summer time when temperatures are reaching high numbers, we have little other choice than to leave our car running with the ac pumping.  But in that case, I would say get out of your vehicle and do your business.  Or on that matter, try not to use your vehicles at all during the hot part of the day when ozone levels are already at their highest.

Did you know that our little children are more vulnerable than we are to all the yucky exhaust from our vehicle use?  Because their lungs are still developing, they breathe more often therefore inhaling more pollution into their lungs. 

So if you are making a quick stop to drop something off, pick someone up, grab some food on the go...remember to turn your ignition off.  We all thank you for it!

Mommy Bridget

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ecousable Review and Giveaway- ends 8/20

Ecousable Review and Giveaway- ends 8/20

Ecousable's filtered and non-filtered stainless steel water bottles are some of the best storage containers for your cold drinks available on the market shelves today.  With a strong goal to help in the elimination of plastic water bottles everywhere, Ecousable provides the safest alternative out there...BPA free stainless steel!

EcoUsable, Pioneers Of The World’s First BPA-Free, Stainless Steel, Filtered Water Bottle Launch Their “Make The Switch” Campaign
EcoUsable Offers The Safe Alternative To Aluminum Water Bottles EcoUsable, Pioneers Of The World’s First BPA-Free, Stainless Steel, Filtered Water Bottle Launch Their “Make The Switch” Campaign Los Angeles, CA (September 23, 2009)
In recent news, aluminum water bottle makers Sigg and Laken have publicly acknowledged that water bottles made and sold by their companies prior to August 2008 were lined with an epoxy resin containing Bisphenol-A (BPA.)
In scientific studies, BPA is often linked to health issues such as heart disease, cancers, infertility, obesity, and diabetes.
In response to this news, EcoUsable, pioneers of the world’s first stainless filtered water bottle, are excited to launch the “Make The Switch” campaign. This campaign encourages consumers with aluminum water bottles to “Make The Switch" to EcoUsable stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles produced with no lining at all.
“Our customers’ health is the number one concern,” said Joey Mendelsohn, President and CEO of EcoUsable, Inc. “The news about our competitors has been disturbing, however, we’re proud to offer consumers a safe way to live a healthier, eco-friendly lifestyle.” 

What a wonderful way to promote healthy drinking!

Each member of my family had the pleasure to review one of Ecousable's BPA-free stainless steel water bottles and we absolutely love them!  Not only do we NOT have to worry about the safety of using Ecousable's products, our cold drinks stay chilled in the containers for a long period of time and they look great too!  Park loves his "Doodle Water Bottle" as seen to the right.  It's just the perfect size for toddler size hands.  It holds 10 oz. of water and as shown, is fun for him to look at.  There are a huge variety of styles to choose from..something for everyone in your home!

Ecousable has spent over 3 years improving the quality of their bottles...and their effort has paid off!   Ecousable's products are currently sold in more than 1,500 retailers nationwide including the likes of Whole Foods Markets, Hallmark Stores, Vitamin Shoppes, Gelsons and Quiksilver to name a few. With our strong retail presence, our brand recognition has lead to our growing custom bottle division which has quickly become the top promotional item on the market replacing the typical hat or t-shirts from the past. With the immeasurable PR Value and the immediate eco-friendly identity the custom bottle provide, we’ve produced custom bottles to hundreds of schools, musicians, corporations and small to large companies like of New York University, EA Sports, The 2010 Grammys, The 2010 BET Awards, NBC Universal, Fox, Jack Johnson, Sting and many more… We also support numerous charity and non-profit organizations like the NRDC,  KidShape and Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

Click here for a YouTube video by Ecousable. 

I really recommend Ecousable products to everyone.  They are truly great, long lasting, safe and sustainable products for your whole family to enjoy.

Buy it:
Ecousable wants to extend a 10% discount to any of you interested in purchasing one of their bottles directly from their web site: www.ecousable.com  Enter in code: ECO10

Win it:
Ecousable wants to share their great bottles with you!  Ecousable is giving away one 16 oz. purple water bottle and one 33 oz. stainless steel water bottle with 2 sport drinking tops and a water wrap free to one lucky winner!

To Enter:
***Also, remember to leave your email address with your comments so you can be reached*** 
Subscribe to my blog (located on the left side of my home page) and tell me what you currently use to store cold drinks on the go.  This is MANDATORY to enter the giveaway. 

You also have the opportunity for additional entries (one each) if you do any of the following:
This giveaway ends 8/20 at midnight.
Good luck to you all!
~Mommy Bridget

Yoreganic's Giveaway-A few days left to enter-ends 8/7

Just a reminder that the Yoreganic's giveaway ends in just a couple of days.  Enter here for your chance to win!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Importance of Sign Language in Early Language Development

Before Park was born, I knew I wanted to use sign language as a means for my son and I to communicate before his speaking language skills developed.  Armed with a great book of baby sign language and flash cards to teach me how to use simple signs, we began signing with Park as early as 6 months old.  And it worked. Park caught on immediately to simple signs such as water, ball, dog, diaper, milk, more and all done.  It was so great.  But then I listened to some ill fated advice from a mother who, at the time, I believed knew everything about successful mothering.

I was told by this mother that using sign language in early language development years hindered speaking.  So I backed off.  I did not want my son to speak late.  And since everything else was normal about Park's development, I wasn't worried about anything.  Unfortunately, I was very wrong in listening to the motherly advice (something I have finally realized can only be taken with a grain of salt as all children develop differently).  Park has a serious language delay.  Park is 26 months old and barely speaks less than 10 words we can understand.  (He speaks all day but says nothing we can understand).  He is very frustrated that he cannot communicate very well with us...something that signing could have alleviated.

So after a few weeks into more intensive intervention with Park's language development, I've attempted to start over with our signing in hopes he feels comfortable communicating with Marshall and I.  But to our dismay, Park wants nothing to do with signing.  I think he figures, since Mom and Dad know what I want at all times and I can use other gestures to ensure they understand, why learn another way?  I dread telling Park's speech therapist this week that he has made no progress with signing.  He has with speaking, but not signing...something that he could do at 9 months of age.  Boy is he STUBBORN!  I wonder where he gets it from;)

So since it seems hopeless at this time to reintroduce sign language to Park, I thought I would do a little research of my own on signing as a means of progressing his language skills so I know how hard I need to try to get him to sign again.  (Note: Park's speech therapist, his early intervention case worker, my brother who is a school psychologist, and my sister in law who has expertise in developmental delays said it is ONLY beneficial to sign with your children for their language development).  I found some great articles on studies done and wanted to share a few with you just in case you have battled with whether to sign with your wee ones or not.

Click here for a study of the impact of symbolic gesturing on early language development.  The study showed a clear impact to the control group of children with symbolic gesturing than the control group who had nothing.  Click here for an abstract of an article I'm waiting to review about 20 subjects who had language delays that showed more improvement from signing and speaking versus speaking alone.

Click here for a great web site to signing.  Enter in any word and it will show you how to sign by video!

Note to self: Other mothers always think they know what's best for your child when in fact, only YOU know what's best for YOUR child.  Listen to advice...but take it, again, with a grain of salt.  Decide for yourself, no one else, when making decisions for your family.

~Curious Mommy

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yoreganic's Giveaway-Low Entries-ends 8/7

Click here to enter for the Yoreganic's Laundry Trio Sampler plus Lip Balm

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Indoor Air Pollution from Household Candles

When I had my first opportunity to help with a tabling event for Utah Moms for Clean Air, I couldn't help but overhear the topic of indoor air pollution from common household candles.  I can't remember if I commented or not that I've been burning candles in my home for years, but it's true.  I love the way burning candles creates a warm ambience in your home not to mention create a pleasing scent.  But I was shocked to hear how candles are one of the biggest culprits for indoor air pollution.  So I decided to learn more...

Click here for a study on the impact of burning candles in your home.

Apparently, most candles contain a variety of artificial fragrances including benzene, a carcinogenic volatile and semi-volatile organic compound which increases the  risk of cancer and neurological disorders.  The summary of the above study stated Use of scented candles may contribute significant quantities of pollutants to the indoor environment, especially soot, benzene and lead. Dozens of other compounds were identified...(The Journal of LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc., (1999-2000), Vol. 7, No. 4.)

After doing advanced research for more information on the topic, more studies done or any warning on the hazards of candle burning and indoor air quality, I found little.  It is rarely known that most candles contain harmful VOCs which can seriously affect the health of those breathing it.  I did find a document from 2001 the EPA put out containing research and development on the issue. If you get the chance to I recommend looking it over.  It might make you rethink lighting those scented candles.  

Click here for the analysis and literature review by the EPA.

On a positive note for all of you who, like me, enjoy the ambiance of candles.  You can make your own non-toxic and soot free candles!  Go here for instruction.  This will be a fun project for this coming fall/winter.

~Curious Mommy