Monday, July 23, 2007

BOB's Your Uncle!

Oh my my! Let's talk about strollers, shall we? When I was about 2 months pregnant, my generous and thoughtful mother-in-law offered to buy me the stroller of my choice. Now of course, the first thing that popped into my head was Bugaboo! Bugaboo! I want a Bugaboo! With Green and Blue and the bassinet feature and, and, and... But, I didn't say any of that. I knew just how spendy that ole' Bugaboo was ($749!), and so I opted for the prim and practical Maclaren. Well, the Kate Spade designed Maclaren that is. Ya know, the one in navy with the little white polka dots on it. We girls love our polka dots.

I was so excited when it arrived! I envisioned long, leisurely strolls with my precious bundle cooing at every corner. I couldn't wait! Of course, this was B.PZ, and before I read all those Dr. Sears books about wearing you baby. By the time A.PZ rolled along, I couldn't bring myself to put my tiny baby in the stroller, polka dots or no. So out came the Baby Bjorn and the Maclaren was relegated into a door stop for my front door.

This lasted about 6 months until PZ's feet started pressing down on my knees when I took the stairs. Worn out, and concerned about the hump forming on my back, I realized it was time to take the stroller for a test drive. What a disaster! Prim turned out to mean tiny bordering on painful, practical apparently meant completely lacking in much needed amenities (i.e. cup holder, pockets, roomy insides, carrying space underneath, breaks, shocks, etc.), and polka dotted...well, that part was still fantastic. Disappointed, I shoved the stroller back into the hole behind the door and went sling shopping.

I continued wearing PZ relatively happily for the next 9 months rain or shine, cold or hot, fussy or content. I hauled 20+ pounds of baby with grocery bags, diaper bag, while I walked the dogs. Finally she started walking and on the advise of a very astute massage therapist who reported that my body was "ANGRY" I agreed to switch back to a stroller.

So I blew the dust off of it, tried to bend the shade back into a somewhat shade-like shape, and trotted PZ out in it ready to pretend we were all old pals. All it took was one bumpy, jumpy, jarring ride across the lawn at the Sewallcrest Park with PZ howling and frantically trying to escape and I knew the Maclaren was no friend of mine. Several of my mommy friends had jogging strollers and I'd seen their kids ride along without distress. I had convinced myself for all those months that PZ having been worn for so long couldn't possibly enjoy a stroller now. We'd missed our window, right?


After hearing my friend Anne rave about her new stroller exercise class and checking in with my still puffy waistline, I decided to go to Segal's For Children and see what they had in stock. I had done a little on-line and local mommy research and knew that I was interested in the BOB, the Phil&Ted, and the Schwinn jogger. Well, pink and brown (new for the season), long, tall, with plenty of pockets and jacked up with shocks, the BOB won by a mile. And after only one trip around the store in the BOB, PZ didn't want to get out! I was sold.

We love our BOB! Its part of the family. The stroller practically glides its so smooth and I can fit most of my groceries underneath. PZ has two pockets of her own inside the stroller and I bought the cup holder accessory so I've got room for 2 bottle of water and a pocket for my keys, wallet, and cell. Yeah! If they were cheaper(they run about $350 new) I'd give them as baby shower gifts. Okay, a LOT cheaper, but you know what I mean.

We're going to Chicago soon and I was tempted to leave the stroller at home since my mother-in-law is apparently bringing an umbrella stroller up from Cleveland. But like I said, BOB's part of the family. Look out Chicago, here we come!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Krazy for Kiwi

Back in October, I was checking out at New Seasons Market and saw something new in the magazine rack, KIWI Magazine. It caught my eye because of the cute kids on the front and the friendly, hip logo. Me, I'm a magazine reader. I like quick snippets of information. Charts and Quizzes. Reference sections and testimonials. And I especially love advertising. I did mention earlier that I'm a shopper, right?!? Well anyway, this magazine snagged my attention and from page one I was hooked. A magazine about kid's nutrition right when my own child was starting to eat solid foods?!? It was kizmet.

With cover page teasers like "50 Healthy Lunchbox Ideas", "Healthy Family Restaurants", and "New Baby Foods Put to the Test", KIWI is definitely speaking directly to my concerns about healthy eating. WooHoo! that people are out there concerned and trying to help America get back on track in regards to our children's health. We all know there isn't a manual out there when it comes to kids, but magazines like KIWI certainly help fill the void.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Organic Baby Food In Your Grocer's Freezer Isle

When it comes to feeding PZ I want her to eat healthy, organic food that tastes great. That's why I'm so excited about these three organic frozen baby food companies. They are all super easy to make, made of organic, high quality ingredients, and full of flavors that will educate my child's palate. Fries are not a vegetable, people!

Happy Baby
from - Brooklyn, NY
cost - $4.99 at New Seasons
servings - 12 1oz cubes, 2 flavors per box
flavors - (6mos+) - yes peas & thank you carrots, smarter squash & wiser apple, sweeter potatoes & purer pear, (9mos+) -grrreat greens & easy-being-green beans, baby dhal & mama grain
where to buy - New Seasons Market, Wild Oats (I'm sure there are others, but it wasn't showing up on their website)

We've tried the 9mos+ grrreat greens & easy-being green beans and the baby dhal & mama grain. PZ's favorite is the mama grain (bananas, quinoa, and black beans). She likes the baby dhal, which is such an adorable name, and the grrreat greans too. She does NOT like the easy-being-green beans, but I've found if I put two of the green beans and two of the grrreat greens together she likes it pretty well. I just mix in some quinoa and she gobbles it up. My other complaint about the easy-being-green beans is that packaged next to the grrreat greens it is really hard to tell which is which. I have to remember that the greens have mango in them and so smell a little fruitier. Overall though, these are meals she eats every week.

Nice Cubes
from - Portland, OR
cost - 4.99
servings - 3 per box 12 oz
flavors - (7mos+) - bandango, gentle lentils, perfect pear, sassy squash, sweet potato pie
where to buy - Alberta Coop, Whole Foods, New Seasons Market, Peoples Coop, Market of Choice, Lamb's Markets, Food Front Coop, Daily Grind Natural Foods

Let's hear it for the local mama! We buy our Nice Cubes at New Seasons and have even seen the momtrepreneur there giving out free tastings. YUM! PZ really likes the gentle lentils and the sassy squash. We've tried the bandango frozen and that was a hit as well. We've held off on the perfect pear and sweet potato pie because they contain grains that we weren't ready for, but we'll be trying them soon.
Another perk to Nice Cubes is the packaging. They come in 3 ready to microwave containers that seem to be made of some sort of waxed paper. I rinse them out and reuse them to microwave her veggie nibblets. They are also good for serving her food in, because they don't break if she tosses them onto the floor. Ingenious!

Plum Organics
from - New York
cost - 3.49
servings - 2 per box 8oz
flavors - (6mos+) - sweet potatoes, pears & apples, super greens, (9mos+) - super greens multigrain, chicken whole grain pasta, red lentil veggie, vegetable stew with beef, banana peach rice pudding
where to buy - Wild Oats, Whole Foods, Central Market, Fairway

We don't buy as much Plum Organics as I'd like because for some reason they don't sell them at my within walking distance New Seasons Market. I have to wait until hubby leaves me the car so I can drive out to Wild Oats, but Plum Organics are the only reason I make the trip. So that says something! I think what I like most about this brand is that they use meat (organic beef and chicken) in their recipes, and the food smells (and tastes) delicious. PZ really likes the chicken whole grain pasta, the super greens multigrain, the red lentil veggie, and the vegetable stew with beef. She LOVES the banana peach rice pudding and I've had to actually fake the recipe a few times when she's eaten her serving and wanted more. My one complaint is the plastic tubs the food comes in. They say the containers are made from 100% virgin polypropylene which do not have any known risks and do not contain any phthlates, but I still kind of feel weird about microwaving plastic. And we had one container's lip break off a few tiny plastic bits into the baby food. Luckily I caught it before serving. Oh, I also wish they had more servings per box, but I am glad that their boxes are recyclable.

I've heard rumor that another Portland mama is starting an organic frozen baby food called Gaia Baby Food, but I guess we'll just have to see if that pans out. Until then, PZ and I are very happy to have three great organic, gourmet food choices for the times when this mama doesn't feel like cooking. Which, let's face it, is most of the time. WooHoo!

The Great gDiaper Dilemma

gDiapers are a flushable diaper and the third contender in the great cloth vs. disposable debate. The concept of a flushable diaper was created by a diaper company in Tasmania and later brought to the United States by parents and gDiaper founders Jason and Kim Graham-Nye. The gDiapers are a healthier alternative to most disposables, using no elemental chlorine and no perfumes. Plus, since you flush gDiapers down the toilet, there's no smelly diaper pail to deal with and no guilt over filling our landfills with a substance that can take up to 500 years to biodegrade. They are also much easier and less time-consuming then washing like you do with cloth diapers.

So where's the dilemma, right?

Well, I started using the gDiapers when PZ was about 4 months old (before that I was using the Seventh Generation diapers which are a chlorine-free disposable) and after the initial shock of handling and flushing several VERY poopy diapers, I was pleased with my new guilt-free, odorless diapering alternative. We started out using the medium diapers (13-26lbs), but within only a couple of months we were having frequent leaks. We decided to try moving up to the large size (27-35lbs) even though PZ only weighed around 20lbs. This worked until she was about nine months old and then we started getting leaks again. I also noticed some chafing where the snap-in liner touched her legs. Note: She hadn't gained any weight during this time, but was growing longer and starting to move around more.

So, we switched back to Seventh Generation diapers and have been leak free now for about four months. But the stink is phenomenal and with each bag of dirty diapers we throw away I envision a growing tower of white poop-filled garbage bags wobbling toward the sky. Not a pretty picture and not the legacy I want to leave my daughter. I've tried the cloth diapers sporadically throughout my daughter's life and they are just too much work, a real mess with my washing machine, and certainly not the leak-proof answer I was hoping for. What's a mama to do?

For one, I went to the gDiaper website where they have fit tips, videos, and contact information. I've also been in contact with Karen at the headquarters here in town (Portland, OR) and we are trying to schedule a time to get together for a personal fitting. Talk about customer service! I've also been told that they are working on a new little g pants prototype for all the cherubic babies out there, PZ included.

PZ is wearing the large size gDiapers today which I put on her using the fit tips from the website. So far so good. I'm giving the gDiaper a definite Woo! for all the strides they've taken in making an environmentally responsible, easy-to-use, supercute product. When and if we can get all the fit issues solved I'll add the Hoo! But until then, I guess the answer to my own personal gDiaper dilemma will have to be a Hard to Choose.

Monday, March 19, 2007

March Fourth

So, let's get caught up.
On March 4, we saw March Fourth and Who's on first and What's on second - yeah yeah, I know, it all sounds very confusing and it was a bit overwhelming, but it was also our first show since having the little one and it totally rocked! or umm, marched I suppose. My dear and lovely friend Cory gave us the head's up on this one, the MARCH FOURTH Anniversary Matinee Spectacular and it truly was. Although I am, and have always been the Duck Man, no excuse me, I meant to say incredibly hip, I was also in marching band in high school and I've got to say these guys made me proud to have worn a plume in my hat.
The music was tight and funky and completely compelled you to dance. The sideshows were riveting with pleather and fishnet clad acrobats, 2 and 4 legged stilt walkers, and a bevy of bountiful dancers that gave the whole event a moulin rouge meets the further bus vibe. And then there was the crowd. Balloons, and children dancing, and moms and dads getting their grooves back, hipsters, and street punks, and gypsies galore all stomping on the trampoline-like Crystal Ballroom floors. We went with two other young families who have a 6-month old and a 18-month old respectively, and although we DID have to wait in line a REALLY long time (with will call tickets) the show proved not too loud or too scary for anyone. The parents of the 18-month old did report she made strange screams and grunts while she slept that night, but that's probably just an added bonus.
Well anyway, we had a really wonderful time and I've heard rumors that they may start doing more kid-friendly shows in the future. So exciting! Needless to say, but WooHoo! for March Fourth (M4) and if they come to your town don't march, RUN! to be the first in line.

Salutations and WooHoos for me!

I'm starting this blog because I am someone who loves knowing what's up and where it's at - the best music, shopping, resturants, events, etc., and thought I'd be super sweet and share. I've got a 1 year old daughter named Pannonica (PZ for short), an uber-opinionated hubby named Franz, two dogs, Dudley Do-Right and Siciley Sioux, and a mean, and I do mean MEAN shopping habit. I'm originally from my old Kentucky home, but since '99 have been living in rainy day Portland, OR which I love, Love, LOVE. I try and do the responsible thing by shopping local, organic, recycled, revamped, and so on, but I do love all the pretty shopping carts online. So if I miss something cool - egads! I did mention I've got a 1 year old, right? - or you're someone doing something cool that I should know about, don't keep it to yourself.

So that's my nutshell. Cya later!