Thursday, November 18, 2010

Write down this number! It will save your child's life!

This is the "911" number to every poison center in the US. It is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. How do I know this? Because last night my little Ben, and his endless curiosity, helped himself to a mouthful of poison.

Before anyone freaks out, don't worry! HE'S OKAY!!! Seriously. He's fine. I was slightly exaggerating when I said that he drank poison. In fact, this story really does not even need repeating; I do not need mass hysteria (read: certain family members) on the other end of the phone line.

Here is what happened. I was downstairs in the kitchen getting things prepared for dinner. The boys were upstairs playing, as they have done a million times, and all of a sudden I hear Ben screaming. I run upstairs to find him in the bathroom with Daddio's electric razor cleaning system:

in his hands, with the cleaning solution all over the floor, down the front of his shirt, and IN HIS MOUTH! I freaked out and didn't know what to do. (At this point, I was unaware of the poison center hotline number). I tried rinsing out Ben's mouth, calmed him down, and frantically called Daddio in tears, who then came immediately home from work. Anyway, long story short. Ben is fine. I don't think that he even really swallowed any of the cleaning stuff (which turns out to be 40% alcohol and 60% water). As soon as it hit his mouth and started burning, I think he instinctively spit it out again.

We are usually pretty careful when it comes to household cleaners and "poisons" and keeping them away from little hands. I keep all medication safely out of reach and usually keep the door closed in the downstairs bathroom, (where Ben is known to frequently explore). We haven't really worried about the upstairs bathroom because there are no cleaning supplies up there, and all medication is out of reach. However, what neither Daddio nor myself considered was his razor's cleaning system. (Truth be told, I didn't even realize that he kept it somewhere that the boys could reach; I rarely use that bathroom. But I'm not about to point fingers at anyone here).

If you look at the cleaning system, it doesn't really appear to be something that one would need to worry about. The cartridge itself looks as though it's pretty secure in there, (it's the blue plastic line thing at the bottom), and unable to be opened by little fingers. However, it turns out that if you tip the device over, all of the liquid pours out (seems like a pretty poor system to me). What Ben must have down was pulled it down from the shelf and either tipped it over on top of himself, or tried to drink from it like a cup. Either way, all of the liquid came pouring out.

Now, I want to make this perfectly clear, in no way, shape, or form, do I hold the product or the company to blame for this. Yes, it seems stupid that this device is not spill-proof, but this was entirely our fault for storing it somewhere Ben can reach.


I guarantee you that we will be reevaluating the potential hazards in our house, no matter how innocent and safe they may appear. (I suggest you do the same). Bathroom doors will stay closed, razors will be kept entirely out of reach, and this cleaning system will find a permanent home on the tippy-top shelf, behind padlocked doors, with an alarm system.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Isoki Bag; Yes, Please!

The October 2010 issue of Parents magazine featured this diaper bag in a mini-article about "awesome imports from Down Under".

It's the Urban Reversible Saddle Tote Bag from Isoki. Hefty price tag aside, (it's nearly $200), I really like this bag. Not only is it pretty stylish, resembling a purse more than a diaper bag, but it has a lot of bonus goodies that come with it. I don't know how well you can tell from the picture, but it comes with a smaller storage "satchel", a changing pad, and an insulated cooler bag.

Other items offered on the site are a small storage wallet, (I wish that I had had one of these!)

And a really great looking portable changing mat.

Of course it's too late for me to make any splurge purchases for items like these. I'm actually in the process of getting rid of my baby items. But I thought that they were really cool and wanted to share them with anyone who might have the opportunity (and the means!) to get one of these in the future.

Even if your not a parent, or interested in these items, you still HAVE to visit their homepage to take a gander at what I'm assuming is Australia's version of a stripper mom? I'm a little confused by the woman featured with her boobs up to her chin, wearing Daisy Dukes, red stilettos heels, and clinging to a rope pole. Seriously, why?

Upon further investigation, it may be worth noting that this woman is only featured on their US website, marketing bags available to the United States. (Their Australian site shows more sophisticated, and fully-clothed moms and their children). Is this woman the image Australia immediately associates with American mothers? Do they think this is what a typical American mother looks like? Or dresses like? I sure hope not!



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Small Town Living

The longer I live in Small Town (we've been here a little over three years), the more I realize how great it is. Here are a few reasons why:

1. We are within walking distance to just about everything in town: the library, the post office, friends' houses, the movie theater, the school, restaurants, the gym (if we are feeling extra motivated, which we never are. But we could definitely walk there if we had to).

2. People clean up after their dogs while walking them. I looked out the window this morning and saw the man from the end of the block in our yard with his dogs, and cleaning up after them! It's so nice being able to have the boys playing outside in the yard without having to worry about what they are going to bring back inside with them.

3. People out walking will stop to say hello or chit chat, even if they don't know you. Especially if Owen is outside. He can get even the sternest people to stop and have a conversation with him. There is one woman, who lives two doors down, who walks around our block several times a day with her dog. Usually she is a woman on a mission, staring forward, rarely making eye contact, let alone saying hello. But one day, Owen was outside while she was out walking and was able to get her to stop and talk with him. Of course he also kept yelling "Hi!" until she finally turned around to say hello in return, but he did it.

4. Even the garbage men are awesome. The woman across the road from us is well in her 80s (although you would never think it if you met her), and this morning, the garbage truck actually backed into her driveway and picked up her garbage from the porch because she hadn't brought it to the curb yet! I have also seen them do this for the couple who live across the other street, (we live on the corner of two intersecting streets).

5. Freebies! The above-mentioned woman across the street gives the boys special Halloween goodies every year. (She doesn't hand out candy on Halloween). Other neighbors have brought us cucumbers, apples, and squash.


Tasty Tuesday: Butternut Squash Waffles

Hey, don't knock 'em until you've tried them!

Owen wanted waffles for dinner one night, and I had just baked a butternut squash to make muffins with. Knowing that I would have plenty to go around, I decided to use some of the squash in place of sweet potatoes in a waffle recipe that I have. (I have yet to try it with sweet potatoes. You can find the original recipe here). I didn't tell Owen what was in the waffles until after he finished TWO of them, (both he and Ben wanted seconds), to which he said, "Mmmmm. I LIKE squash!" Success!

Butternut Squash Waffles

2 cups biscuit/baking mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 1/3 cups milk
1 cup cooked, mashed butternut squash
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix, brown sugar, and spices. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, squash, oil, and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined.

Bake in preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown. Serve with syrup.

Note: The original recipe called for a nut topping which I eliminated because of allergies. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our October Adventures

I am finally jumping on the bandwagon to post the obligatory All-Things October (read: pumpkin patch, Halloween) photos.

The boys are lucky enough to have a grandma who grows pumpkins for them every year! This year the pumpkins were HUGE and I had to call in the reinforcements just to get them out of my trunk!

I don't think it's going to fit in my truck, Mom.

I was supposed to bring the boys to a nearby farm that has a wagon ride, pony rides, corn tunnel, petting zoo etc., but when I woke up that morning to a dusting of snow, I opted out. It actually turned out to be a really nice day, but snow just has a really depressing affect on me and there was no motivating me to step outside after that.

Instead, Daddio and I took the boys to a local family farm to pick out some more pumpkins. (Because apparently, two LARGE pumpkins were not enough for our front porch. We ended up with 8! more, in varying sizes).

Can I have this one?

I am NOT taking down my hood for a picture, Mom

That night we attended a pumpkin carving party where Daddio had big intentions of carving three of the pumpkins, but he only got around to one of them.

Okay, I will sit here because you gave me a chip, but I am NOT looking at the camera!

Benny knows how to listen. But not look at the camera.

They also had a Halloween themed craft at the party (Owen was thoughtful enough to make one for Ben too. Awww). And they decorated Halloween cookies. 
Why can't I have TWO houses on mine, Mom?

 I hosted a girls' game night AND a had a lasagna dinner at our house while Daddio was out of town for two weeks, all by myself. (And for those of you who don't know me well, that's a pretty big deal!) I even decorated with pretty autumn colors:

How great are autumn colors?

(That would be my apple and pumpkin pie sitting there on the buffet. And walnut cookies that I soon discovered Owen is allergic too. Just like Mommy. Why am I not surprised?).

The napkins match the place mats. I was so proud. We don't usually even have napkins in the house.

 For Halloween, Owen dressed up as a pumpkin. His costume was made by Grandma S. 12 years ago for my nephew. It's really held up well!

Can we just go already? The candy won't be there forever!

And Ben was a cuddly little bear. Or not so much. He was more like a grumpy, whiny, little bear. He made it to six houses before we headed back to ours to hand out candy for the rest of the night. Grandma S. also made his costume. He hated the headpiece part and would only leave it on while we were outside:

How long do I have to wear this?

(Grandma S. also made Owen's first Halloween costume two years ago):

How much longer do I have to do this?
 Isn't that the cutest skunk you've ever seen? That Grandma S. She's pretty handy to have around!

That was pretty much it for our October. We are still working through a major horde of candy, split three ways. We are THOSE parents who sort through the candy ahead of time and get rid of the pieces that we don't think Owen should be eating, like Pixie Sticks, Charleston Chew, and Almond Joys. (The latter because they are Mommy's favorite!) But don't worry, he ended up with most of the loot and a pretty good variety too, (Kit Kats, Twizzlers, Three Musketeers, Reese's etc.).

And now that we are in November, I suppose it's time to start planning for Christmas Thanksgiving. Let's not rush things TOO much!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Crumb-Topped Apple & Pumpkin Pie

I have never really been a fan of apple pie. (I know. How un-American of me). But when I came across this recipe in my Light & Tasty magazine it sounded promising. I made it for the first time for Christmas last year and it received rave reviews. I made it again this past weekend when I hosted a game night and a separate dinner night at my house. It received even more rave reviews and several requests for a copy of the recipe. They plan to make this for their Thanksgiving dinners.

Crumb-Topped Apple & Pumpkin Pie


1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
2 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cold butter
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

On a lightly floured surface, unroll pastry. Transfer pastry to a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate. Trim pastry to 1/2 in. beyond edge of plate; flute edges. In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice and cinnamon. Spoon into crust.

In another large bowl, whisk the pumpkin filling ingredients. Pour over apple mixture. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

For topping, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly; stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over pie. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until a knife inserted into pumpkin layer comes out clean (cover edges with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning if necessary).

Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 10 servings

Note: I made a couple of changes from the original recipe out of convenience. Instead of a sheet of refrigerated pie pastry, I used a deep-dish pie shell (from the freezer section). I also used 2 eggs instead of the egg substitute. I eliminated the chopped walnuts in the topping due to allergies. I also found that I had to add at least around 1 tablespoon of butter to the topping in order to get it to crumble properly.

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