Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cakes, Revisited

What can we learn from this series of photos?
What conclusions can we draw about the twins?
#1. Bex does not get fed enough. (As evidenced by his small size).
He must steal from his younger litter-mate
in order to ensure proper nourishment.
#2. In this picture, there is one casual diner,
and one who believes eating is an event
to be attacked and conquered.
Let the body language help you decide which is which.
#3. While Dee contemplates crumbs,
Bex dreams of the day his mouth will
grow big enough to stuff a whole cake in to.
# 4. Stereotypical gender roles are already being developed.
Bex gazes with adoration upon his cake.
He even lovingly pats it. Dee just wonders how she'll
ever get those frosting stains out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

October Crafts

Paper Plate Pumpkins

Missy at Two Little Monkeys did this easy, adorable paper plate pumpkin craft and I knew Bug would love it.

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Using watercolor paints, Bug painted two paper plates orange.

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I cut jack-o'-lantern faces out of black construction paper and Bug glued them on.

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Here comes a curious bystander (who would be more accurately described as a curious bycrawler).

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“Hmm. Let me see if I can destroy this” said the enormous baby.

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I corralled the beast for this photo.

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Spooky Bat!

Okay…why is this photo here. I’m sure I had a spectacularly quirky and witty thing to say about it, but it is now gone from my genius mind. How it would fit in to bat-craftdom is throwing me off. Well, let me tell you this: I love ribbon. So there.


Let’s do this batty thing.

First I cut two egg holders off of an egg carton.


Then Bug painted them black.


I cut out some batty parts from black construction paper. These are all the pieces.


Don’t be intimidated by my bat awesomeness. It takes a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology to get this good. My parents are so proud of their well-spent money and what their daughter has accomplished with it.


Then Bug glued the bat parts together—wings, head, red eyes (for spookiness) and fangs. Of course, fangs. Then the egg carton pieces get glued on for the nose. It adds a little dimension. It’s very biologically authentic, I assure you.


Okay, really! What is going on here?? But now you know. I love me some ribbon. It’s important to know all the facts about the people you’re friends with.


Marshmallow Ghosts

Didn’t we all make these in kindergarten? And our moms saved them in the Halloween box so the next year we had a petrified marshmallow ghost? But we were only 6 by then, so of course we tried to eat it? Mmmm. Crunchy. Just wanted to pass along this fascinating culinary tradition to my daughter.


Here’s everything we started with. Toy dog on the corner of the table is optional.


We found it best to cut the marshmallows in half.


We also found it helpful to eat copious amounts of the cylindrical little sugar puffs. Wait. Helpful for who?


You put the marshmallow in the center of a facial tissue.


Wrap it up. Tie it with string or twine.


Draw a ghostly face on it.


And there you have a friendly little Casper of your very own!

We made 5 for a very good reason: our ceiling fan has 5 blades. And there’s really nothing funnier to a 3 year old then 5 Kleenex clad marshmallows whirling around. Oh, and if I put the fan on high, Mr. Bat starts whipping around. Bug about loses her head laughing when that happens. When the tape holding one of the ghosts fails and the ghost flings off into outer-living room-space? Forget it. Bug’s on the ground rolling.


Easy crafts, easy laughs! What’s not to love?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Cake Pops

I embarked upon a journey…of the cake pop kind.


It was a journey fraught with mishaps and words that are somewhat naughty.


But first birthdays are so special.


So I took one for the team.

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I was under the mistaken impression that holding my breath and pressing my lips together would cause the cake ball to stay on the lollipop stick and persuade the candy coating to sheet off in perfect smoothness.

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I was wrong. So wrong. I don’t think, in my life, I’ve ever had so much trial and error in one day.


But right about the time I was beginning to curse Bakerella, this started to happen:


Then this developed:


Then this occurred:


Then this transpired:

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Then this took place:

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And I became a happy cake pop maker indeed, arriving safely to my cake pop destination.

I’m embarking on a different journey tomorrow. Of the stupid-computer-you’re-lucky-I-don’t-sledgehammer-you kind. It’s actually a journey to Best Buy. I tell you, that Geek Squad sees me coming and they say “the usual Mrs. Bee?” and I say “yes please, boys” while handing over my infected computer and my Visa. So, if I’m not commenting on your blogs, please know that I miss you terribly and I’m not being neglectful. I’m just computerless for a while.

Blog Action Day – Climate Change

Today I’m talking about climate change. It’s the topic for Blog Action Day ‘09. (I first read about this on Reduce Footprints).

What the blazes is Blog Action Day and why would you care?

“Blog Action Day is an annual event that unites the world's bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.” -blogactionday.org

“This December, world leaders are meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark to draft a new global climate treaty -- one that has the potential to turn the tide on global warming and get our planet back on a brighter path. The problem is, most world leaders and their negotiators aren't getting it. They're not planning to do enough to to avert the climate crisis. But we can change that -- with one number, and one day. Sound implausible? Take a minute to hear us out. The number is 350, and it's now the most important number on the planet. 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, measured in parts per million. Since we're at 390 ppm now, it's a tough number, and getting back to it will require remarkable efforts. The good news is that people all around the world are mobilizing around 350 in a unique and beautiful movement to solve the climate crisis.” -an email from Bill McKibben, Co-Founder of 350.org

So. Let’s talk about the weather. Things are heating up? Not so you’d notice. But the science is clear. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, are being released into the atmosphere causing our globe to warm up. Small changes in temperature cause huge changes in the fragile balance all of life depends on.

I’m not a hippy. I don’t live in a grass hut and wear a leaf over my privates. I don’t have hairy arm pits. I don’t use an old t-shirt instead of toilet paper and then wash it so I can reuse it.

But you know what? Hairy arm pits are not a prerequisite to caring passionately about the environment.

So instead, I just buy toilet paper that hasn’t been bleached. (And by the way, it’s still white, so I’m confused by the practice of bleaching it in the first place…) It’s a simple little change. No one will notice, right? AH! That’s where you’re wrong! To say “my small changes won’t make a difference anyway, no one else is doing it, what does it matter anyway” is a victim’s statement. A whiner’s statement. I won’t make that statement any longer. I choose to say “I have committed to doing the best I can, when I can, however large or small of an impact it will make. I am proud of the green choices I make for my health, the health of my family and the health of this planet”. I know better, so I do better. No more procrastinating, no more hiding behind ignorance. The planet is in crisis. We are on a path to runaway climate change. I can do something about it.

In fact, I believe it’s the little things that are going to help make the turn around—that are going to pull us back from the 390 ppm of carbon dioxide our atmosphere is currently harboring and return us to a safer 350 ppm. Oh sure, the vast majority of change will probably come from corporations scaling back emissions and car companies creating cars that run on alternative fuels or something. But what about you & I? You are I count as one and two of the 6 billion people on earth. 6 billion people? That’s a lot of sway. That’s a lot of influence. And because people get jaded by the thought of full-scale, whopping changes in their everyday lives, we can instead focus on small, practical changes. Change out one traditional light bulb to a CFL? I can do that. YOU can do that. Heck, let’s just go all nutty and change every light bulb in the whole house! You’d be surprised at how pleased with yourself you’ll be. Ride your bike to the store to pick up a head of lettuce? (And take along a reusable grocery bag?) We can all do that. What if all 6 billion of us did that?

I am very well-read in some subjects and not so much in others. What can I write about climate change? What do I know? I’m not privy to the cutting edge science that leads us to the number 350.

But I can show you some things we do here at Kitchen With Kids. I can tell you that we are a normal, middle class family who loves Disneyland, backyard barbecues and individual servings of applesauce. We’re not perfect. But we also love this breathtakingly beautiful earth. So we’re implementing the changes that make sense for our family. Some of the changes are mindless. Some of the changes require a little sacrifice. But all are do-able. All are helpful.

Here’s the twins gettin’ jiggy with it in their chlorine free Seventh Generation diapers. (Which I’ve found to be just as effective as Huggies). Seventh Generation has online coupons and promotions in Babies R Us mailers. Earth’s Best and Full Circle diapers are great alternatives. Or, just one up me and use cloth diapers.


Chlorine free baby wipes. Again, just one up me and make your own “green” baby wipes, using chlorine free paper towels.


Here’s a few organic items we keep in our pantry. Organic options aren’t just at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s anymore. A lot of these items are from Save Mart and Costco.


And just in case you were wondering how buying organic foods can reduce climate change, you can read this and/or this.


A tour of my fridge:


Look at the price on those grapes--$1.99 a pound—the same price as the non-organic grapes.


Think organic cheese is too costly? This cream cheese was 50 cents more than the traditional brand. 50 cents really adds up in a grocery bill. Believe me, I know. But so does a Starbucks coffee once a day. Or eating lunch out. So we don’t do that and instead we do this.


Organic chocolate syrup??? They’ve got organic everything!

Vinegar is a great cleaning product—a great alternative to harsh chemicals.


Seventh Generation has wonderful dish- and dishwasher soap. Again, I use coupons. Even Save Mart now carries this brand and I’ve seen it on sale there a couple of times.


This is by far my favorite laundry detergent. The eucalyptus and lavender fragrance leaves my clothes smelling so good.


But if that doesn’t float your boat, even Costco carries an environmentally friendly laundry detergent. And guess what? It costs less than their traditional equivalent!


The joeys have organic body wash. These brands lather up beautifully.


On any given day this is on my island countertop. Gross? Well, yeah, a little. But whatever.


It all gets taken out to our compost bin.

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What else? The joeys and I wear tons of hand me downs. We like to buy produce locally at the farmer’s market. I like to combine a walk with a trip to the grocery store. I save gas, emissions, money and I get my work out in. We all have our own reusable water bottle or sippy cup, so there’s no need for bottled water.

Well. That’s that. We are far from perfect. I’m guilty of a few pretty un-green habits. But these are just some of the things we do that we believe can make a big impact in the long run. These things fit easily into our lifestyle and we’re proud of them.

Be a champion for the only home we have. Let me know in comments what sort of things you do.