Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Infomercials that Make Me Want to Buy

I'm home sick for the second day in a row. And right now, I'm watching the Luminess Air airbrush makeup infomercial. And I want it! I'm sure it would make me more beautiful! While the $30 trial price is easy on the wallet, the upkeep prices are a lot more. A bottle of foundation is $25+. So, with the rise in living expenses, I'm just going to have to stay a mom with drug-store makeup. No movie star looks for me!

I know that infomercials can sell really cheap, worthless products, but I've had success with several infomercial products. The Firm exercise videos changed my life and my exercise philosophy. My favorite is BSS4 and the Transfirmer series. Now, I want to try Power 90X because I need variety in my workouts. Power 90x includes cardio, weight lifting, yoga, etc. into the workout. Another exercise infomercial that intrigues me is Fluidity. Of course, I won't buy anything new until I actually start working out again!

I've always struggled with my hair because it is thick and wavy and I have cowlicks. Even with a straightening iron and a blow dryer, I couldn't get my hair completely straight. I purchased the Conair Infiniti and my hair was much straighter, much faster. Definitely worth the money. However, the big version doesn't work real well on my shorter hair. I'm sure the smaller version would work better.

I also love the steamer infomercials. And I've bought the Shark and then the bigger version. And while the concept is great, I've decided that you really need a professional version to make it practical at home. Sure, it powers through soap scum without chemicals, but I constantly had to wait for the steam to buildup again.

So, what infomercial items have you tried? What did you love and hate?

More Info on the Firm's Wave:
I Tried the FIRM Wave
More on the new FIRM Wave
The New FIRM Wave Arrived
The New FIRM Wave - I Bought It
The FIRM Wave - Is it a Gimmick, or Lots of Fun?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dad Kicked Out of Home for Mistakenly Giving Child Hard Lemonade

Does our child protective system have too much power? After a father purchased a bottle of lemonade for his son at a ball game, the son was put in foster care and the father was forced to move out when the boy was returned home. All of this because the father unknowingly purchased Mike's Hard Lemonade. In case you don't know. Mike's Hard products contain alcohol.

I can completely understand this mistake. It happened to one of my husband's professors in grad school. My husband was giving his final presentation to a large group of individuals. And this professor was overly critical and mean. Turns out, a foreign student had given him Mike's Lemonade. The professor, who didn't drink alcohol, didn't realize it.

Good thing he doesn't drink normally, because he was MEAN when he had a little alcohol. He later issued a formal apology. I always felt a bad for the guy. But a formal apology is much better than having your child taken from you.

Maybe we should sue Mike's for poor labeling! Just kidding!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Make Matching Baby Socks Easier

I made a big mistake as a first-time parent. I bought my daughter's socks wherever I found them on sale. Not a great idea. Now, matching white socks isn't just about finding two white socks in the pile of laundry. (Yes, Caron, I know that you do the laundry right now. But I did it before you moved in.) Since the socks from each brand are slightly different sizes, colors, and thicknesses, I have to make sure the Target pink sock doesn't end up with the Old Navy pink sock. Annoying!

I personally prefer Target socks to Old Navy. They are softer and stretchier. But, they also have a taller cuff.

When you buy your socks, find a store with a sale and buy a lot of socks!

Taggies Books Perfect for Babies

My daughter loves rubbing tags. Her obsession started as a little baby. She rubbed tags on blankets and on toys. I knew about the Taggies books, and I knew she'd love one, but I had a hard time justifying the $12 price tag. I finally caved, and it was worth the money. She rubbed and slobbered all the different tags. As she got older, we used the book to teach her several animals in sign language.

Eventually, she transfered her affection to the tag on the bottom of her stuffed dog. At night, she tucks her dog under her arm, bottom-up, and rubs the tag between her fingers to sooth herself to sleep.

One funny thing about the Taggies Book, she had a definite preference for the real tag!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Happened to 12 Second Sequence?

For those of you who are wondering how my 12-Second Sequence workouts are coming--they aren't. Shortly after starting the program (Which I think is great. I loved the way my muscles felt the next day.) I discovered I have multiple, multiple food allergies. So, the lunch hours I was going to dedicate to working out were dedicated to cooking new foods (and sleeping in the warm sun on my deck.)

But, I've started working out again. I took a walk yesterday, and I've done The Firm Power Yoga twice this week. (For those who don't know me, I used to be an active, toned, Firm Fanatic. But, work-related injuries and pregnancy and being a working mom have been my excuses for not doing it recently.) And I've noticed that my back hurts less after doing yoga.

I have noticed that there just isn't enough time in the day! When I workout, I blog less. When I blog, I workout less. So, all that to say, I'll be starting up on the 12-Second Sequence again this week and I guess that means you'll be hearing less from me!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sometimes Daddies Know Best

Since my daughter was a baby, I have always been able to comfort her better than my husband could. She would cry and reach for me and I had the magic touch. But Bryan has come up with a magic trick of his own that works better than mommy's comforting arms when my daughter is really upset. Tonight, he took her screaming from my arms and walk out into the cool night air with her. He pointed out the moon and the bright, shiny stars. And she stopped crying. Just like that. Of course, after she was calmed down, she wanted me to snuggle with her in bed for awhile. So, I guess, sometimes, she just needs both of us.

Signing Time Audition Results

Thanks to all my daughter's fans who were rooting for her to get on Signing Time. But, all the crossed-fingers and positive thinking did not have the intended result. My daughter was not selected to be on Signing Time. But, she should have been! :-)

I guess that leaves more money for us to spend on the new videos. She loves Who has the Frog.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tips for Selling Clothes on eBay

I purchase most of my daughter's clothes second hand. I have a system with another mom. She packs up her daughter's clothes, and I buy the whole lot for $1 a piece. It saves me a lot of time and money. And, the clothes are really nice.

Now that my daughter has outgrown them, I've been selling them on eBay. One of the difficulties with selling on eBay is determining shipping. I've miscalculated before and came close to losing money. So, to prevent that problem in the future, I picked up several flat-rate shipping boxes from the post office. Now, I pack the box and list items on eBay based on how much fits in the box. Then I just list the flat-rate shipping price. If it turns out to be cheaper to ship it at the metered rate, I get to keep the difference.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lessons from a Toddler

My almost two-year-old has taught me a lot. Including, when you see a spider, grab a tissue and squish it. If you don't have a tissue, use your shoe. Don't waste time being scared. Just squish it like the little bug it is.

Whoa! She is braver than her mom! And a hero compared to her Aunt Neenee.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Egg Substitues: When and How to Use Them

Cooking egg-free has been very difficult. Some egg substitutes made things a little chewy--which is good in cookies, but not in pancakes. Some are dense, some are fluffy. It's amazing how many personalities one little egg can have!

But Vegan Baking summed it up. Egg-free baking will hopefully be less confusing and more tasty in the future. I made a chocolate cake tonight, and based on Vegan Baking's summary of egg substitutes, I used 1/4 cup pumpkin for 1 egg. The cake is good! Nothing like that horrible quinoa bread I made. More on that later.

Want to Know What Mothering is Like?

Swistle blog sums it up really well. I'll sum her up: It's different for everybody!

But I must say, I've always wondered how much of an impact my parenting techniques had on my daughter, or how much was just who my daughter was.

I KNOW that signing with her has helped mold and shape her and opened up communication between us at a young age. I know that swaddling her helped her sleep, and sleeping helped her be happy, but I don't know how much happier.

Whatever...she's happy, I'm happy, my husband's happy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Muffin Recipe: Wheat-free, Egg-free, Soy-free, Corn-free

It took me about 30 minutes to find a recipe online that I could easily modify to fit my crazy allergy-free diet. But I did find one--and it tasted pretty good. My daughter kept asking for more, and she has no qualms about spitting out food she doesn't like.

This recipe is for plain muffins, but I think it would be really good with blueberries or another fruit in it. I ate these with my chili tonight. They are thick, moist, and a little chewy. Definitely denser than a light cake.

Plain Muffins (Wheat-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free, Corn-Free)

2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
3 tsp Hain Pure Food Featherweight Baking Powder (corn-free, aluminum-free, gluten-free, sodium-free)
1 1/4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer beaten in 2 tbsp water
1 4/5 cups Meyenberg Goat Milk (or water, milk substitute or juice)
1/4 cup canola oil (or oil of choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together. Combine beaten Egg Replacer, milk, and oil. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are thoroughly dampened. (Since this is gluten-free flour, you can mix it longer without making it tough.) Turn into greased muffin pans or cupcake liners and fill about 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes or until done.

Baby Signs Potty Training Made Easy

My daughter loves Baby Signs' Potty Training Made Easy system more than I do. I love it because it helps keep her excited about potty training, even though she's not allowed to use the toilet at daycare until she's two. When she had a nanny, she was going three times a day. But after going to daycare, her pottying slipped. Understandable, of course.

Potty Training Made Easy was created by Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn, the creator's of the original Baby Signing program. Acredolo and Goodwyn have researched sign language and it's impacts on babies and young children. Their newest program helps parents potty train their children by the time they are two by using sign language.

The kit comes with a train-themed DVD (which my daughter begs to watch over and over and over). She also likes to sit on her potty and watch it. However, we had to end that practice because she has a tendency to get up and dance to the music. It also comes with a conductor's whistle that can be used to announce potty time, celebrate a successful potty time, or the child can blow it while sitting on the toilet to help hurry the biological processes up. Cool little trick!

The kit also comes with a "parent training" book with lots of helpful suggestions. Things like:

  • Don't ask your child if they need to go potty, they'll say "NO!" Just announce that it is Potty Time.
  • Don't force your child to sit on the toilet. It should be a good experience to make the process proceed more quickly.
  • Choose one time each day to practice (at first). Select a time when you child normally needs to go, and practice at that time so the child can have experience being successful.
  • Use sign language to help non-verbal kids communicate about toileting.
This program has given me more confidence in potty training. It has also made it more fun for the whole family. Now, my daughter regularly congratulates me with the "Good Job" sign when I used the toilet. Her encouraging voice and signs make me laugh every time.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Toddler Going to Allergist

My daughter may look like her dad, but she's following in her mom's allergy footsteps. Poor kid. At least I've already tasted the really bad foods and eliminated them from our diet. (I'll write more on quinoa flour later.)

The last two weeks my daughter has been on a milk elimination diet. Her constantly runny nose stopped running. Her watery eyes stopped watering. And her crusty morning eyes disappeared. We put her back on milk and by the third day, her symptoms were back. So, I called the pediatrician's office this morning, and they referred her to an allergist. So mommy and baby will be seeing the same doctor.

I asked if she needed to see a pediatric allergist, and they recommended it. We can see the same allergist because my allergist functions as both an adult and pediatric allergist.

I was concerned that a milk-free diet may result in malnurishment or a lack of calcium. The nurse recommended soy milk and said she would be just fine. I'm guessing that since she is so close to 2 already, it's fine. I'm guessing the recommendation would be different for a younger child.

So, I learned the sign for ALLERGY today. I'm pretty sure Rachel doesn't cover that sign in Signing Time!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Signing Baby: 23 Months Old

Tonight Kalen memorized and recited her first Bible verse. "God loves everybody." A paraphrase of John 3:16. Her Sunday School class has been reciting this for awhile, but she's never really caught on. Tonight, I decided to start reviewing her Sunday School verse after our goodnight prayer. I signed and said it to her. She quickly started signing EVERYBODY with me. We said and signed it a few more times and she quickly had the whole verse down. Now, her sign for GOD is only recognizable to me, but LOVE and EVERYBODY was very clear.

I told her she GOD and MOMMY thought she was very SPECIAL (she just learned this one tonight).

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Funny Things Kids Say

Kalen is potty-training and she loves to congratulate people of all ages on their ability to go potty.

I was giving her a bath and we were draining the water out of the tub. She grinned, "Potty!" She signed POTTY, too.

"You need to go potty?" I asked.

"Noooo." In her cute baby girl voice. "Potty!" with a grin and pointing to the drain.

"The bathtub is going potty?"

"Yes! Bathtub potty!"

Do-It-Yourself Lead Testing Kits

The media attention to lead-based paint in toys has quieted down, but toys are still being recalled for containing lead. You may be concerned that toys you have purchased simply haven't been recalled yet. Or maybe you know a product has been recalled, but you don't know if your toy was made in the batch that was recalled.

Can you test for lead in paint at home? Yes-maybe, but not very reliably.

Home testing kits are available for around $15, but according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, home testing kits are flawed. They may give false positives and false negatives, and they only work well on lighter paints. Dark paint may obscure test results. According to, Abotex's Lead Inspector Kit ($13) is reliable. But, since the CPSC didn't endorse it, I plan to rely on other methods, like the CPSC's recall list and getting rid of suspicious toys.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I May Have Allergies--But At Least I Can Chew!

I was looking online tonight to see if my facial and extremity numbness could be related to TMJ. I am not supposed to lift anything great than 5-lbs. (Yeah, right!) I've been getting lots of shipments of heavy boxes at work recently. Always self-sufficient, I've been lifting many of them without help. I came across this question about cookbooks for people who can't chew at And I quickly remembered how good I have it. There was a time I couldn't chew--not even hypoallergenic pasta! If you are a non-chewer, here's a list of resources for you.

Question: Are you aware of any non chew cookbooks? I have TMJ and cannot chew this week!

Answer: There are several cookbooks for preparing good-tasting, non-chewing foods. Check out the following:

  • Pureed Foods with Substance and Style by J. William published by Aspen Publishers, Inc. It is expensive, so you might want to get a copy from your library first to see if it is useful to you.
  • Easy-To-Chew and Easy-On-Salt - Pureed Foods for a Sodium Controlled Diet by Rosalie N. Norris published by Cornwall books
  • Ease-To-Swallow, Easy-To-Chew Cookbook by Donna L. Weihofen, published by John Wiley & Sons
  • Dinner Through a Straw and Let's Do Lunch (and other meals) by Becky R. Dethero, published by Dethero Enterprises. P.O. Box 332574, Murfreesboro, TN 37133, 1-800-842-3841, e-mail:,
  • The Healing Jaw Guidebook by Susan Beaudette RN, published by Zip-N-Squeeze (714) 997-7146 or
  • Soft-Sipp Bottles and Zip-N-Squeeze feeding systems designed by Susan Beaudette, RN P.O. Box 575, Yorba Linda, CA 92885-0575 or (714) 997-7146, e-mail:,

The first three books are available from and probably other merchants. They may also be available from your local library.

A number of TMJ patients have had success with a straightforward approach that does not require a cookbook. Make your normal dinner and puree it in a blender. You may wish add a broth to thin the consistency. For a dinner item, the taste is quite good.

Baby Signing: 22 Months Old and Praying

My husband and I have prayed with Kalen in sign language for about a year now. The other day she sat down at her little table with a snack while I cooked supper. When I turned around to check on the quiet Kalen, I caught her praying in sign language.


And now, she reminds us to pray before meals. Of course, she has no problems starting to eat before she prays and then praying with gooey hands.

Where Have I Been?

I'm sure my vast readership is wondering where I have been the past week. Well, the short answer is, "I've been busy." The more enlightening answer is:

  1. I've been testing my daughter for a milk allergy. She is responding well to her milk-free diet. Here teary eyes and runny nose are almost gone. I've had to keep track of what the menu is a daycare and send Kalen-safe foods in the days that the menu contains Bananas, Peaches, or Milk. Bananas cause her face to turn flaming red. Peaches cause an instant splotchy complexion and diaper rash.
  2. I've been trying to figure out my diet. I keep having weird symptoms where my face and hands feel numb and my brain gets cloudy. The allergist says it's most likely hypoglycemia--but eating food doesn't clear it up. A nurse said it was dehydration, so I drink more water--still have the problem. So now I need to start recording everything I eat to see if there is correlation.
  3. My sister got engaged and is going to get married in four months. I went wedding dress shopping with her, which was fun. I'd post the pictures, but her fiance would find them. He likes to snoop around my blog (Just kidding, Joel. You're welcome here anytime, especially with your expertise on avoiding food.)
  4. I've been researching air purifiers to find the best one for our situation. I need a HEPA air purifier that is not outrageously expensive, preferably has a pre-filter or two, will clean up to 300 square feet, and is quiet. The quiet part is the hardest. One purifier I looked into was described as sounding like driving with the car windows open an inch. That's NOT quiet.
  5. Researching allergy in children and adults. I want to help Kalen food allergies as much as possible. But, since a component of it is genetics, she's probably doomed. But, I did find out that by reducing environmental allergens, you can reduce your sensitivity to food allergies. Does anyone know if a vinyl toddler mattress is hypo-allergenic? Or does it need to have a dust-mite proof cover?
  6. Trying to add a few more signs to my vocabulary so I can continue expanding Kalen's vocab. She doesn't seem interested in the sign for FRUSTRATED, although she should be now that she's almost two!
  7. Searching for a replica of Kalen's precious sage blanket. It is a sherpa dot blanket with a satin backing. Interestingly, I can only find it in pink, or blue, or white, or multi-color. But Kalen must have green. Well, after several days and hours of searching, I found out we really didn't need the blanket. It was all a miscommunication between my husband and myself.