Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh. My. God.

At Mary Poppin's suggestion I made these little babies for my Compacting Christmas boxes...

They're Candy Cane Joe Joe's (available at Trader Joe's... and yes I bought a box and packed them in my suitcase to bring home... kind of wish I'd bought two right about now) dipped in white chocolate and embellished with a little extra holiday spirit.

It's a good thing I already started packing them up before I tried one..

or they might not have made the boxes at all!

What you need:
One box cookies (I'm sure mint oreos or the like would work)
One 12 oz bag of white chocolate morsels

Melt white chocolate in microwave in 15 second intervals. Stop heating when chips are mostly melted and stir until smooth.
Using a knife dollop a generous amount on each cookie (holding over the bowl) and spread over edges. Place on parchement or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with decorations. Repeat. Let rest until chocolate cools. Then shovel in your I mean package up to give away!

This project should only set you back about $5!

If I could send every single one of you some of these... believe me... I would!

Guess Who's A Big Girl Now?!

[Missing Pic Of Adorable Peeing Toddler... check back soon!]

While we wait for Mr F to reformat that photo I'll give you this:

Baby proudly wearing her self-styled "big girl underwear" (Kid's bikini briefs worn backwards... St Tropez style)
Look at those little curdley butt cheeks basking in the glory of their new found freedom!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Disgusted and Depressed and Infuriated

I got to tell you I'm actually feeling pretty fucking depressed.  I was minding my own beeswax making santa shaped crayons (what?!) while listening to Michigan radio (I still miss you) on my computer when I heard the report about the melamine.  

This is what I'm feeling...
Is it too much to ask that the food we feed ourselves be free of ANY amount of toxic compounds? Have we really gotten to the point where we have to convince ourselves that a little bit is okay?  Really?  REALLY?  

I'm sitting here late at night looking at my canister of Nestle hot cocoa... one of my only non-organic vices (that is just for me) and I can't help but wonder "what the fuck is in this?!"  Nestle had melamine in their formula.  Hot cocoa is made from milk products.  It doesn't take a huge leap there.  And it just fucking disgusts me.  

Why can't anything be completely safe?  Seriously?  Why the fuck can't my goddamn kids' food and toys and shampoo just be safe?  Why do I have to have a full time career as an investigative reporter to try and eliminate toxic (factually, admittedly, toxic) compounds from their stuff?  

And still it isn't enough.  It's never enough.  I can't be thorough enough.

And some people might say "give it up".  "You can't protect them from everything."

Don't you think I fucking know that?  

I certainly can't protect them from everything.  Shit I can't even protect my kids from their own bodies!

 Don't you think we should be able to keep our kids from being poisoned (even a little bit) everyday of their lives?  Who even knows what the result of all of this will be?  How much of a little bit of poison is okay when there's a little bit in EVERYTHING.  

Well This Stopped Me Cold

Remember when I was talking about melamine making its way into our food supply?

Well LISTEN TO THIS! (if you aren't checking it today Thursday December 4th... then select today's date in the playlist) The FDA now admits that they have found melamine in baby formula in the US.

If your babies are drinking formula please listen.   They list the US formulas that have now been found to contain melamine. This is seriously legitimate.

You may have noticed I took down my video post. This is so important to me I don't want something frivolous up at the same time to distract you. I'm literally sick to my stomach over this. I'll remind you that NO testing has been done to determine exactly what parts per million is safe for babies. And this is exactly what killed those children in China. This is not about China. It is about a global food industry.

I'm furious. How many times does shit like this have to happen? Seems like a pretty common occurrence that a government agency would *report* facts that later turn out to be the opposite of true.

The Associated Press broke the story, you can read it HERE.

I found this on
"While proclaiming that the very low concentrations detected of melamine and a similar compound called cyanuric acid pose no health danger to infants, the FDA has maintained it is unable to identify any exposure level of melamine in infant formula "that does not raise public health concerns."

Further complicating the situation was inaccurate data that FDA released to The Associated Press, which was first to disclose the formulas' brand names and other details in an investigative report Tuesday.

A spreadsheet the AP obtained from the FDA under a Freedom of Information Act request stated that Mead Johnson's Infant Formula Powder, Enfamil LIPIL with Iron contained traces of melamine.

On Wednesday, FDA spokeswoman Judy Leon said that spreadsheet contained an error — that the FDA had incorrectly switched the names of the Mead Johnson product with Nestle's Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron. That meant, Leon said, that the Nestle's Good Start had melamine while Mead Johnson's Enfamil had traces of cyanuric acid.

The FDA said last month that the toxicity of cyanuric acid is under study, but that in the meantime it is "prudent" to assume that its potency is equal to that of melamine."

It's Beginning To Look A Little Like Christmas

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mr F Was Wrong

Somewhat Overdue

I was meaning to post this video and discussion last month since November is both the anniversary of Kid's official diagnosis and also Epilepsy Awareness Month. But I have to say that I'm trying to push down my state of worry (and moments of hopefulness... lest they be dashed) and talking about it or thinking about it has been difficult.

Today was the last day that Kid will take her anti-seizure medication. This morning she had her last dose... maybe forever... maybe for now. The uncertainty is overwhelming.

Today, by chance, the nurse who came to give us our life insurance physicals revealed (for no apparent reason) that her son has epilepsy. Boy did that bring up a lot of feelings. His is not the same as Kid's but not that different. We had a lot to talk about and it really made me wish that there were more support groups geared toward the parents. Many places don't have a support group at all and if they do it is for caregivers of adults with epilepsy. We had so many things in common... the mood swings... unexplained fevers and vomiting... the bed wetting (who freaking knew? Kid wet the bed twice since weaning her meds and I guess that can be a sign that she was seizing... all new levels of worry are entering my mind).

So I'm sitting with it. I'm just trying to stay the course. I'll talk more about it when I can do it without having to think so much. I'm also thinking of taking the family to D.C. in the spring and participate in the annual Epilepsy Walk there. It might be nice to talk with other parents. It might also do some of them good to see a child who has (hopefully) made it to the other side of their journey... give them a little hope that there (sometimes) is an end.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cause And Effect


Listen Up!

Wondering how the Compacting is going? Well. Very, very, well. Shockingly so.

The results are in... aka... the credit card statement has arrived! And take a guess at how much we saved in one month of Compacting?

1100 freaking dollars folks! Believe it.

Now here is the truly astounding thing... I still went to Target. We still ate organic. I even bought the kids some clothes. We did not go without.

Changes we made:

  • I cut my grocery spending nearly in half by meal planning around what we had on hand each week and trying to buy as little as I could get away with. While I've been meal planning all along planning this way meant I was typically only buying fresh diary, meat & vegetables. Pantry items Mr F stocked up on at Whole Foods which saves us considerably.
  • Mr F started taking a sandwich to work everyday. FYI my grocery spending included his new lunch.
  • I enforced a "only make as much coffee as you are going to drink" rule. We had been dumping half our coffee every week... which was $7 down the drain. Might not seem like a big deal but it is the small things that add up!
  • I shopped (at Target etc) only for what I needed RIGHT then. Not things I might need next month... that is definitely my habit at both Target and the grocery store. By cutting out my "anticipatory needs" at each shopping trip (a serious challenge I assure you!) I cut my spending in half at almost every trip.
  • Instead of ordering pizza we started making frozen pizza on Friday nights (or this week homemade).
  • We didn't cut out going out to eat entirely but we definitely made cheaper choices and really weighed out if going out was worth it.... sometimes it wasn't (that's when you want to have a few frozen pizzas in the freezer).

That's it. Basically by being more conscious of our spending we cut out a thousand bucks of unnecessary spending. That seems crazy to me... but it is true. Did it take some thought and self control? Yes. But was it actually difficult? No. I wasn't sure we'd save that much even if we cut out all spending outside of food and gas... I'm shocked. And I didn't cut out all spending. I think adopting a "do I need this today" shopping test is key. Does it mean you might have to go back to the store tomorrow? Maybe... but I think you'll find you don't.

I'm excited to see what our savings are for this month. I'm hoping that we'll be able to stick in the same range of spending (which was the lowest since we've had kids). If we can that means we are covering tuition and an addition $300 bucks that could go to something fun like a VACATION. I feel so much more in control and positive about our financial outlook... and that is saying something!

Now You Tell Me

"If you wait for sex to happen spontaneously it ain't going to happen."

Monday, December 1, 2008

This Week The Plan

I'm getting down to business...


Monday - Potato Leek Soup, crab cakes, salad

Tuesday - Brown Sugar & Ginger Salmon, rice & broccoli

Wednesday - potluck ???

Thursday - spinach stuffed egg crepes, tomato soup

Friday - homemade pizza, salad

Saturday - dinner out

Sunday - Shrimp Lo Mein

Kid's Lunches:

Monday - hard boiled egg, gogurt, carrots & ranch, milk, pb &J

Tuesday - hard boiled egg, gogurt, orange, milk, potato soup

Wednesday - smoked salmon, gogurt, apple, milk, spelt pizza (from school)

Thursday - smoked salmon, gogurt, avocado, milk, leftover salmon & rice

Friday - smoked salmon, gogurt, apple, milk, pb & j

Diet & Exercise:
I'm back to food journaling but for this week I'm not counting calories. I just need to get back in the habit of keeping track and making mindful choices.
As for exercise I'm going to do 5 days. I'm not pushing myself crazy hard... just show up and give a good effort.

Errands & Chores:

Monday - groceries, decorate outside of house and begin inside

Tuesday - clean up kitchen & craft area, put away clean clothes

Wednesday - continue decorating, vacuum

Thursday - shop for Compacting Christmas boxes

Video Update

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Now That's A Welcome Home

While I was away Mr F transformed my room from this:

To this:

Sometimes when Mr F paints a room while I'm gone (which is our usual arrangement since it keeps the kids out of the room) I end up being disappointed in the paint color. I pick them out but when you are going by a chip and not a full wall you can be slightly off. Once it's painted it's painted and Mr F is not going to repaint it just to appease me (believe me I lived with the wrong purple in our dining room for 7 years)... so I was thrilled that this turned out to be exactly what I wanted!! Yay!
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