Tuesday, October 12, 2010

True-Confession Tuesday

I bought disposable diapers today. The Chewy Tot has a nasty rash the Dr. says is virus based - but need to bring on some heavy duty ointments. I have been using gDiaper liners in our hybrid shells since we started using some creams - but between the creams and handwashing the shells, knowing this is going to be for several days and the cost of the liners... well, I caved today. So one large package of Huggies Pure and Natural Diapers came home when I picked up his prescription.

So, we'll spend the next few days medicating (with the Dr.'s suggested mix of 2 parts zinc based diaper cream, 1 part Hydro-cortisone 1% and 1 part of the prescription diaper ointment) 3-4 times a day, having baking soda baths and "free time".

Oddly enough, when we filled the prescription, the pharmacist recommended that in addition to "free time" we should try cloth diapers.

I'm hoping this doesn't last too long. Although, you sure wouldn't know he was "sick" by looking at him!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Simple Saturday - One bowl chocolate cake

This cake recipe is about as easy as using a box cake mix - AND I can pronounce all the ingredients. I rarely have buttermilk so "make" it by putting 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in the measuring cup and fill it to make one cup. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to sour and use as buttermilk.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 cup hot water

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in oil, buttermilk and eggs. Add water and stir until combined. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 35-38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely and frost with a favorite frosting recipe.

I'm thinking I need to make this using hot, strong coffee in place of the hot water!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Five - Board Games

While I've done some more in-depth board game posts - and I'm sure I will again, this is a quick list of some of the board games that get the most table time when the whole family plays. Please leave any input, and/or questions regarding the games in the comments - are there any I missed?

5 - Cloud 9 A fairly simple press your luck game where the bigger the risk, the greater the payout. As the balloon rises players have the option of "bailing" and keeping points earned to that point, or staying in the balloon as the probability of completing the hands gets more difficult. Player build a hand of colored balloon cards that are then used to "pay" for passage to the next level based on the roll of the dice.

4 - Scene It, Disney - Like the other games in the "Scene It" genre - this one involves watching movie clips, puzzles or other items, all from Disney movies, and then answering questions. There are two sets of cards, with one set especially for the younger players. Questions are such that even those without a lot of Disney knowledge will have a shot. Not only is it something fun for the whole family, but it has reminded us of some older Disney classics, and encouraged us to get them out and give them another watch.

3 - Carcassone
A great tile laying game with mechanics easy enough for a young player, but strategy to keep the older ones (and adults) intrigued. I had a full post about it here. This is one of our favorite "gateway" games with families. As mentioned in the original post - there are multitudes of expansions for this one. We finally wised up and marked the various expansions and play with no more than one or two on any given game. Really, the base game is sufficient.

2 - Pandemic! We are a competitive family. Very competitive. Probably why we enjoy games so much. What I love about Pandemic! is that it is a cooperative game - everyone wins, or loses. Your goal is to beat the game. In this map based games, each player has a role (Scientist, Medic, Operations Expert, etc.) with special skills. How you use those skills to cure and eradicate the diseases is up to you. What makes this a great game for families - is, since you are working together, there is plenty of table talk, and it is perfectly acceptable to bounce your ideas and suggestions off of the entire time. It's also a great change to really discuss strategy. The fact that everyone either wins or loses is an added bonus. Here is a time lapse video of Mr. Chewy and I playing a game.

1 - Ticket to Ride While this has nothing to do with the famous Beetles tune, I bet it's in your head now! Geography, History, a simple rummy style mechanic - what's not to love about this one? This favorite made an early appearance in the blog here. This is another one that we will bring out frequently to introduce people to a "different" board game. We have had the most success with the Chewy kid playing with the basic rules/US Map. Each turn you must choose whether to collect or play cards that are used to complete various routes for points. Longer routes take more time to collect the cards, but the payout is exponentially greater!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mish Mash Monday

It's another New York Times Op-Ed piece that I heartily agree with. I have no problem with food stamp programs for those that need it - but it makes me cringe to see people spend their allotment on junk and processed food. This is only a small step - yet one in the right direction.

Check out the "online community" map at xkcd - pretty interesting - too large to try to paste here - I'm particularly fond of the "northern wasteland of unread posts" on the massive country of "Facebook"

Looking for some crock pot inspiration? While I'm not ready to commit to using it every day for a year - I do need to use mine more. Here is a blog with a LOT of crock pot recipes! A Year of Slow Cooking. The writers resolution was for 2008 - but the blog is still updated regularly with new recipes! I need to dig a bit deeper at this site.

and for the Mish Mash Monday video -- this one has been out and about this week - but it is good -- and who can resist lovable, furry, old Grover?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mish Mash Monday

I've talked about geocaching before, and it is one of our favorite family activities - and I think fall is generally our favorite time to get out and find a few caches. If you are interested in giving it a try, but don't necessarily want to invest a lot of time or money until you know you are hooked, try an introductory event. If you are in the Des Moines area - there is a great intro event happening at Community!Youth Concepts on Saturday, October 23rd. Flier and registration can be found here. If you are interested in an overview of geocaching check out my post here.

I'm a babywearer. The chewy tot loves his ring sling, and from the beginning it has been a back and sanity saver! I love having my arms a bit more available, and that out and about, we both feel more comfortable being cozy. Especially since we use a ring sling - a lot of people have asked concerned about the bad press slings have received in the past year. The models in question are NOT like the simple ring sling we use (a Maya Wrap). Kim at the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog has shared some great information about promoting baby wearing safety - check out the blog post and information on the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance.

Ok, true confession time -- I was a bit of a Bert Fan - and I even had the "Doing the Pidgeon" Album. I never knew that he was "uncool" sigh.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Five - Things that make me non-crunchy

First of all -- sorry for the gap in posts this week. Please hang with me as I try to get ahead again (or at least not so far behind!)

I've stated before that as a "chewy" family - we are not green at all costs - so what are some of my "non-green" guilty pleasures that I have a hard time letting go of?

5 - Clothes Drier I have a rack that I can use inside or outside. But I don't use it very often. I like how the clothes/diapers are nice and soft after using the drier with the drier balls. Also, I tend to do laundry pretty last minute.

4 -Organic Food I don't buy much organic food. I try to buy local as much as possible, but for the most part, a lot of organic food is not in the budget, or locally produced.

3 - Zip top bags Over the past several months I have greatly reduced the amount of plastic bags we use, but have not been able to eliminate them. They are just too handy for holding miscellaneous items, being a great "safety net" for potentially leaking items getting packed, and more.

2 - Non-local foods While I buy local whenever possible - I do have a soft spot for seafood - and there isn't a lot of coastline in Iowa. Bananas, pineapple, citrus fruits, avocado, not so local either (but very tasty!). You are likely to see some of these items in my grocery cart each week.

1 - Travel Our family loves to travel - and we love cruises. This year we will fly, and then get on a cruise ship for a week. Not very green at all. Right now for us, the benefits are outweighing the negatives. I want my kids to travel, see the world, and learn about places and people that are different from us. I love the time we get to spend together, relaxing, renewing, and trying new experiences.

I'm sure I could come up with more - but what are your items that you just can't let go? Do some of these ring true? Are there others? Please let me know in a comment!