Thursday, July 30, 2009

3 R's



Let's face it, with regards to protecting our environment I've spent the last 30 years being ignorant, selfish, greedy and impressively lazy. I can't quite say if it's because I'm now a mother or if it's because socially it's the right thing to do---but whatever the reason I'm now much more conscious about preserving our earth and making smarter decisions about the world around me. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no Prius driver, but I am making baby steps daily.

There is a song that Bella, Mia and I love jamming to--it's called 3 R's by Jack Johnson. It's great for the kids....and it's got a funk beat yo! The 3 R's. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. It's become one of our family mantras these past couple years. I think about the 3R's everywhere I go. It's like that stereotypical angel/devil on the shoulder trick. Except instead of an angel it's a little green Leo DiCaprio whispering do you REALLY need these woven placemats Gina? Or do you REALLY need another lipstick that you won't use and will sit for months because fire engine red was never really your color to begin with? REDUCE GINA!!!!

Traveling in Europe woke me up. The only toys that we packed for the girls were crayons, their travel journals and Bella's Teddy. That's it. For 3 weeks they had no access to toys. And you know what? We talked more than ever. Mia's motor skills grew by leaps and bounds. Honestly, we don't need nearly as much as we think we do.

Last week I was on an organization mission in my kitchen to reduce everything down to the basics. The 24 inch wide George Foreman grill that maybe in it's time saw the skin of one chicken? Gone. RECYCLE. The crock pot that was small enough for a freshman dorm? Gone. RECYCLE. The 14 drinking cups and 7 coffee mugs in the cabinet? Gone. RECYCLE. It felt so good. So satisfying. However, my satisfaction quickly turned to nausea as I read some of the expiration dates on my canned goods. WHAT? You gotta be kiddin' me, I thought they could last forever?! Woops. Then I went through my spice packets and was MORTIFIED with what I saw. MORTIFIED I SAY. You see, I found a stroganoff packet. No biggie other than the fact that it's from Kroger. KROGER!! As in the Kroger grocery store in Bloomington Normal!! GASP. I quickly did the math. Eugene was in grad school--oh--I dunno--one, two, TEN YEARS AGO!

Did you just dry heave? I understand if you want to click away right now, I don't blame you, just please don't hate me. Ten years we have been saving this stroganoff, for apparently, a special occasion. But that's just it--we keep adding to our life without taking the time to reduce. It's gone on for too long.

As you can imagine, I emptied a lot of cans and boxes of food that day. But before I put them in my recyclable bin, that little green Leo whispered an idea to me about the final R. REUSE. Instead of recycling my items I set them up in the living room so that when Bella and Mia woke up I could surprise them with "grocery store" time.


No one should be this excited--this early.



Mia was thankful she clipped her Jif coupon.



They debated who gets to push the cart.



Not surprising, Mia lost the cart debate.



"The chocolate ones are my favooooooorite!"



I scanned the eggs and Mia worked the calculator. Err, I mean cash register.



Bella actually disputed the cost of milk and we had to get a price check from store manager Eugene.



Mia, showing early addiction signs, couldn't get enough hot chocolate sniffs.



Let us all continue to do our part.

"Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children"
~ Kenyan Proverb

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Growing



Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. ~Lou Erickson

I have always wanted to have a real garden. I've spent years admiring other gardens from afar but never put the effort into one of my own. Until now. And by no means do i have a green thumb. In fact, I have no freakin idea what I'm doing half the time. But apparently, watering once a day is really all you need to do. With the help of my friend Jamie Rex (truly the ultimate gardener) and my mom, I was able to put something together this summer that I'm pretty proud of. Here are some before and after pictures.

The view from our door:




The view from the gate:




Another view from our door:




My version of a children's garden:








The girls are so happy playing in this courtyard. Mia has finally learned not to pull, hit, or eat the flowers. Yay!

Thank you Jamie for all your advice.....you are so so talented! Check out her blog and see her beautiful garden:

http://ilovemywisconsingarden.blogspot.com/

Quote of the Day

Instead of an alarm clock waking me up this morning, this is what I was greeted with:

"Mommy! Mommy! Mommy, come quick, I went pee just like Daddy does."

Half awake, I braced myself and watched as Bella proceeded to show me how she goes pee, facing forward towards the toilet, carefully clinching her little thighs around the toilet bowl, just like daddy.

Hilarious!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tee Ball Blues



The novelty of tee ball has worn off for Bella. I think I figured it out. She loves going up to bat but HATES being in the outfield. It might be because three of her tiny fingers fit into one finger slot on her mit which renders the mit completely useless. Poor girl can't even open or close the darn thing. Or maybe it's because she has the attention span of a fly. Or maybe because chatting with her teamate Nicole about the newest addition to the Disney Princess lineup is way more important than catching the line drive that is heading straight for them.



And like true athletes they leave the outfield, on their own time, skipping towards the dugout.



Here's the highlight of the game. And thanks to Eugene's new camera we have every single frame captured.













And there's Mia cheering from the sidelines...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tiny Dancers



Apparently, in the past couple weeks a receptor in Mia's little brain triggered her reflexes so that now whenever she hears something- anything resembling a musical number she breaks out into dance. Not kidding. Homegirl will start groovin' to the sounds of the microwave beeping. 



It's especially cute to see how much she watches every dance move that Bella makes. She tries so hard to emulate her. I love watching her little brain think this way.



And almost everyday we have a dance party. The type of music changes with the type of mood we're in. On this particular day, they boogied to The Sound of Music.





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It hasn't been easy for Bella having to step aside and all, but I have to say, I adore the genuine love she has for Mia. It's the kind of love that you know will always be there even if they're total opposites. It was there from the beginning.

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You're an awesome big sister Bella!  You make your Daddy and I so very proud. 

If Oprah Can


WOO-HOO. JUMP FROM YOUR SEATS-WAVE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR-HUG THE STRANGER NEXT TO YOU-BECAUSE THIS MY FRIENDS-IS THE GINA'S FAVORITE THINGS EDITION!!!!!

Hmmm. Not quite the response I was looking for. I was thinking more along the lines of Oprah's studio audience? But then again, I have about 5 followers to this blog and she has about 5 billion. Big difference.

The following things I either love, use daily or couldn't imagine a world without (in no particular order):





The Flip digital recorder is the handiest piece of technology EVER. Although, I do hear those iphones are pretty cool too. It's the size of a 2001 cell phone and takes pretty decent digital footage. I love that I can record something lickety split without any hassle. They do have a HD version on the market that maybe one day I'll upgrade to.



Bella lives in these shoes! They're exactly like the original Crocs--except a much cuter style. I love that she can wear them with a dress or with shorts. And the fact that you can wash away the day's dirt is a huge plus!



I have worn these ballet Crocs every single day since I purchased them in May. I trekked all over Europe in these puppies. They are so comfortable. I'm just thankful that the creative billionaires over at Crocs decided to up their style from the Swiss cheese clog to this adorable ballet flat. And look-- that's a cubic zirconia Jibbitz. Ah yeah!




Grub! I love these bars because of their stats but even more for their taste. They are an awesome snack and are surprisingly filling. Watch out though....high on fiber. You know what that means. My husband has restricted me to one a day :)




BADgal mascara by Benefit. Fantastic. Nuff said.





Okay, I may be a total idiot if Pandora has been out for awhile but I just learned about it a couple weeks ago from my friend Jill and I can't stop listening! Basically, you can pick an artist or an album that you really like and they customize a streaming radio station that sounds similar based on a hundred different attributes like beats per minute, or vocal ranges or songs that use a flippin tambourine. The point is, every song that was played for me, I loved. As I type this, Pandora is playing a song by Rosie Thomas called the Kite Song, and it's making me cry. In fact, I am going to click a link that will take me to itunes so that I can purchase this song and cry all over again. 




Holy Shitake. THESE ROCK MY WORLD! My friend Tiffany turned me on to these bread alternatives, Arnold Sandwich Thins, and I haven't stopped eating them since. For a measly 100 calories and a whopping 5 grams of fiber, these bad boys make an awesome sandwich. If you are a hummus fan, spread a couple tablespoons on these and you've got yourself a THREE point thoroughly filling snack. Yum. Yum and more Yum.









Remember on My Big Fat Greek Wedding when her dad used Windex on everything? That's how I feel with Fabuloso multi cleaner. Not because I think it can prevent strep throat but because it cleans like nobody's business and smells so so so good. My favorite scent is the lime green Passion of Fruits. Although, the lavender is a close second. I use it on absolutely everything.




















It pays to be a Costco member. For one, they have rockin dollar hot dogs that I totally order for my daughters in hopes that I can eat half of it and not feel guilty. Another reason why I love Costco, Kirkland Diet Green Tea with citrus. It tastes just like Liptons but way cheaper--35 bottles for $9-- how can you beat that?! Now don't get me wrong, I do feel a little eco-guilty going through 35 bottles in a week and a half which is why they double as an awesome bowling game for a 3 year old. Enjoy! 



Got any recommendations on items that you're a fan of? Please share. Click the comment link at the bottom and add your two cents.


Happy Consuming!

Banana Nut Crunch



Of all the meals that I have prepared for Bella, this is by far, her favorite. She learned to make it herself in a tasting class she took last year and STILL asks for it---like 5 out of 7 mornings! And if you don't have any kids, don't worry, I have been busted on several occasions sneaking some from her plate cuz even I can't resist. Enjoy!



Ingredients

1 banana
2 tbs peanut butter
1/2 cup Rice Krispies
(or something similiar)
1 Swiffer Sweeper




Directions

Put rice crispies in a food processor and blend into crumbs. Set aside. Peel banana and cut in half lengthwise. Spread peanut butter on banana. Cut into little pieces. Carefully carry plate to hungry, crabby little tot. Don't drop plate--avoid a morning meltdown. Watch as hungry, crabby little tot smiles, dips the banana in the "crunch" and grubs silently for a good ten minutes. Drink a cup of coffee.
Relish the silence.


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Take a deep breath. Try not to lose your shit as your happy, satisfied tot spills "crunch" all over the newly swept floors.

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