Toddler Place Mat

One of our favorite purchases since Milan has been eating solid foods is the Summer Infant Tiny Diner place mat. If you have a messy eater (and what baby isn’t messy?) then this is a must have!

The suction cups on the bottom keep it to just about any surface. As with any suction cup, it always works better with a little bit of moisture. So far, it as adhered to just about every table that we’ve had him at. The only one it didn’t stick on (at least very well) was a really old wood table that didn’t have an even surface in the slightest bit. But luckily, the rubber itself is kind of sticky so the mat didn’t slip off.

Another cool feature is that there is a little tray that catches some of the food (it doesn’t catch all of it of course) and since it is soft, it doesn’t bother Milan at all. In fact, sometimes if the table is too tall he’ll put his food in there and eat from the tray. The tray has another purpose though. You can fold the mat up and then tuck it into the tray for easy transportation.

The manufacturer says its top rack dishwasher safe, but I haven’t tried it yet. I find its very easy to clean by hand and I don’t want to waste all of that precious top rack space.


Posted in Feeding, Reviews Tagged with: , ,

Suction bowls and plates

A few months ago, Milan decided it was so much fun to dump the contents of his bowl on the floor. Thus began my search for a good suction bowl or plate. The following are the three that we purchased:

Sassy On The Go Snack Bowl Set

Of the three, this one is our favorite set. The only review of it on Amazon said they had problems with the suction thing, but its the main reason I like this set. First, the suction actually works. I like the fact that it is removable, particularly because I like to use the bowls to take with us, too. I’ve never put the suction part or the lids in the microwave, but the bowls are microwave safe. We use it a lot to make pastina with spaghetti sauce for Milan. The bowls stack nicely inside of each other for storing, too.

We do like the fun colors. The bright colors make them easy to spot when we’re digging through the diaper bag or our drawer in the kitchen. The lids fit nicely and haven’t had a problem putting them on. They’ve also never come off inside the diaper bag which is always a good thing.
One thing I do have to remember is to put the tab for removing the suction base in the back. If I put it on the side, my son quickly pulls the bowl off the table. Also, it stays on a lot longer if there is some moisture on the tray. That really isn’t a problem, because I’m usually washing the tray before he eats anyways.


Munchkin Stay Put Suction Bowl, 3 Pack

These worked great for about a month. I made the mistake of taking one of them in the bag with me and the suction got completely ruined. I’ve never been able to get it to work again. However, it is more convenient to have suction bases on each of the cups. But I found the suction wasn’t as strong as on the Sassy bowls. Also, the lids didn’t fit as nicely as they do on the Sassy bowls. Just like the Sassy bowls, they are fun colors and easy to spot in a diaper bag.


Gerber Lil’ Trainer Tableware Set

This is such a cute set and I really wanted to like it but I don’t. As a suction bowl/plate this sucks. DO NOT buy this if you are wanting the suction feature. The suction part comes off and no matter what I’ve tried (running it under hot water, putting it in the fridge, putting it in the dishwasher) I cannot get the ring to stay on the plate.

The food guard is the only thing I like about it. Milan does have an easier time getting things on to his spoon with the guard. But he doesn’t really like the spoon or fork. They look cute but they’re not the right ones for him. He actually really likes the OXO Tot Fork and Spoon or some inexpensive ones we picked up at Babies’R’Us.


Posted in Feeding, Reviews Tagged with: , ,

Motherless Daughter

Many years ago, I was very fortunate to have worked for a very loving boss who encouraged and guided me. One of the best things she ever did for me, among many, was she gave me the book Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman. Hope Edelman, has written a book that explains the stages of grief and shows the reader that no matter what age you were or how old your mom was when she died, you will always miss your mom. You are not alone in this journey.

As a woman without a mother, there are numerous times in my life that I have painfully felt the absence of my mom. Unless you go through it, you really can’t understand what it feels like. One of the hardest parts is the feeling of isolation.

It took me over a year to read this book. I could barely make it through a chapter without breaking down. There were so many times that I thought I would never finish it. Each chapter would bring up feelings that I had buried so deeply.

After a little time would pass and I had sufficient time to mull over my thoughts and feelings, I would find myself picking up the book again. A year may seem like a long time to read a book, but considering the journey, its actually not very long.

What I took away from this book has transformed my life. I know without a doubt that I am a better person, a better wife and a better mother because I read this book. I also believe that I got so much from this book by taking my time in reading it and REALLY absorbing all of the information and taking the time to work through the feelings that arose.

If you know of any daughter that has lost their mother, this book is an absolute must. Don’t want to take just my word… read the article “My Mama Aha Moment” on Hybrid Mom. The writer shares how this book has affected her, too.

Posted in Personal

Didn’t realize how long its been

When I was pregnant, mothers kept telling me to get ready to lose my mind. I didn’t believe them. I am constantly amazed at how much I don’t remember any more.  Luckily, I remember the milk though.

I just realized its been almost a week since I wrote a post. I really thought it was just two days ago. Maybe I wrote one in my dream. I guess I need to put it on my task list to remind me.

We cleaned out the garage this weekend and now we’re preparing for a yard sale this Saturday. It really is a lot of work but oh so worth it. Today I started posting signs in the neighborhood, that is until my alternator in my car decided to not work properly. So tomorrow my car will be back in the shop and I’m going to hoof it around the neighborhood to put up the signs.

I love having a three day holiday, I just don’t like how quickly the following week goes. I can’t believe tomorrow is already Friday… I’ve barely even touched my to do list this week. I guess I’m just going to have to skip doing some housework – what a pity.

One thing I did accomplish this week was to make my grandpa and “grandma” cards. I’m going to post them up a couple of days after I send them, just in case they happen to check this website. I’m proud of the way they look. I’ve only made a few cards in my life so I’m still pleasantly surprised when they turn out looking good.

Posted in Personal

Getting ready for cleaning the garage

In honor of Labor Day, my hubby and I are finally tackling the garage ~ woohoo! I spent the day finishing going through the very last of the boxes in the house. Yes, I still have, correction had, boxes that needed to be unpacked. Yes, we moved over 5 months ago.

I’m finished with the stuff inside the house, well sort of… I do have one box of things we’re going to put up, we just don’t know which items or where yet. I can’t believe how long it has taken. I was so quick with the majority of things. I never dreamed (is that the right word when its really a nightmare) that it would take this long to get everything unpacked. And we don’t even have any artwork on the walls yet.

I guess that’s what happens when you try to spend the majority of your day trying to provide a rich and nourishing environment for a growing boy… and he is growing. We had such a great time at the park tonight with my husband. I absolutely love going to the park with him now. He can climb up the stairs, go down the slide and then climb back up it – all on his own. Of course mommy is right behind him… just in case. I think its really funny that he can totally climb up the slide by himself, but he still can’t walk.

Now after a long day of playing, cleaning, playing, sorting, playing and putting stuff away, I’m ready to tackle the nightmarish job of our garage. I hate thinking about how much crap we have accumulated. I kind of feel like one of those crazy hoarders when I look at all of the junk piled on top of more junk. In all fairness, we did have the garage somewhat organized when we first moved in but a couple of months after we moved in, the apartment owner wanted to paint the garage. So we had to put everything piled into the center of the garage so the painters could get around.

Since my husband works 6 days a week, neither one of us really wanted to spend his only day off cleaning the garage. But since Monday is a holiday, we’re tackling the big G tomorrow. Then we won’t have to labor on Labor day even though I’m sure we’ll be feeling the pains of our labor.

Posted in Personal

I finally remember the milk

I have a handy-dandy to-do list on (RTM) that I live by. Its a great online tool with offline and mobile phone access.  Its an amazing product that I don’t know how I ever lived without before getting it.  I put my weekly chores (along with the rest of my life) on there and have them repeat as required. Its great because I can set the repeat for whatever interval I want, every 3 days, every 3 weeks, once a month, etc.

So each day when I have a moment or two, I check out my list for this week’s home chores. I select the item or two that I feel like doing and mark them complete (after doing them of course). At the end of the day I view the list of completed items to see what I did. Its a great way to remind me that I actually do a lot.

Before I started running the list at night, I felt like I was never getting everything done because every where I looked I could see something that needed to be done. But now that I’m faithfully using my RTM list every day, I don’t focus on the work that has to be done as much because I know in my mind that I will get to it since its in my list.

According to the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, when you have a system that you are confident has all of your loose ends in it (all of your to do items), you feel more relaxed and more productive. This always sounded like such a wonderful idea. And to be honest, I’ve been trying to implement a good system for a couple of years. I’m not very good with daily tasks so I needed a flexible system that could accommodate my lackadaisical methodology.

RTM was the solution for me. Its very flexible and you can set it up however you like. Its super easy to add tasks to it – you can just email yourself. I send messages from my phone. I always seem to remember things when I’m put walking my son and my dog.

One of the best things is since I can access the list from anywhere on my phone, I now remember to buy what I want/need when I’m at the store. I really do “Remember the Milk.”

Posted in Personal

Today is my mom’s birthday

My mom died in 1987 and I have since spent more than half of my life without her. You’d think I’d be used to her birthday coming and going, but I woke up this morning wishing I could give her a call and wish her a happy birthday.

I know that there is never a good time to lose your mom but I wish she could have met my husband and my son. It makes me sad when I think about how they will never have a chance to meet. My son will never know how comforting it is to be in her arms or be able to be spoiled rotten by her (as all grandparents do).

There are so many things about who I am that come from my mom – either by genes or by her raising me. I laugh like her, I have the same smile that she did, I stand with my arms at my side in a funny way that my mom used to do, too, I look for the good in every situation because she showed me how to find it… the list goes on and on.

My mom was not perfect but she was a really, really good person. I learned so much from her example  ~  Thanks for everything ~ I love you mom!

Posted in Personal

Outside Play for my toddler

I hurt my foot the other day – don’t know how, just know that it hurts – so I haven’t wanted to take my dog and son on long walks. Instead, I have been going outside of our apartment and sitting on the grass and letting my son crawl around on the grass and in the bushes while my dog plays. We live on a corner where one block is almost all apartments and the other block is all houses (except for our apartment and the apartment on the other corner).

So there are lots of neighbors walking by with their dogs. Its great for Liberty (our chihuahua/jack russell mix). A lot of the neighbors and their canine babies stop to play. In fact, Liberty has lots of friends in this neighborhood. One day, there were 12 dogs playing in the grass in front of our building. It was quite funny.

I always let Milan crawl around while we’re out there. His favorite place is to crawl over the pseudo rock fence (its made from resin) and sit behind some of the bushes. I think of it as his very own sandbox with plants. Most of the time he comes out covered in leaves. On occasion he has had a few bugs on him.

Anyways, my neighbors always comment on how great it is that I let him crawl around and have the freedom to explore his surroundings. It always makes me wonder why they’re commenting. Don’t other moms let their kids play in their yards? Or is it just because its an apartment building front yard? I have never seen any other moms and their young kids playing in any of the front yards… I see some older kids, but not little ones.

I try to take my son to the park every day so he gets some outdoorsy time. But when I don’t get a chance (like today), I find the park in front of our building to be just as delightful.

Posted in Parenting Tagged with:

Recycling Plastic

I hope you’re familiar with the recycling symbol that you find on pretty much all plastics these days. Numbers 1-7 are recyclable, which is good news.

The bad news is that the plastic needs to be clean! Yes, clean. No, not talking sparkling clean but clean. If you have a dishwasher, you should put the plastic items in there when you run it. If not, then you run into the dilemma of wasting drinking water on washing your recyclable plastic. Yes, I said drinking water. Remember, the water that comes out of your tap has been through quite a lot and is now drinkable (provided you live in one of the 90% municipalities with safe drinking water). That processing takes a lot of energy. So washing that peanut butter jar by hand will probably waste a lot more resources than just throwing it away. But, if you have a dishwasher, it really is the best way to save energy and water.

Some more good news, if you live in Los Angeles (city or county) polystyrene AKA Styrofoam is recyclable! So whether you’ve got a leftover Thai iced tea cup or packaging from your computer, put that polystyrene in the recycling bin. However, packing peanuts ARE NOT recyclable. But check out Loose Fill Packaging for where you can recycle them.

What about items that have plastic and electronics? Nope, the item would need to be disassembled. Electronic recycling is a whole other topic that will be written about later on.

Other items that are often overlooked that are recyclable:

  • Plastic coat hangers
  • Plastic swimming pools
  • Plastic laundry baskets
  • Dry cleaner bags
  • Plastic, non-electric toys
  • Blister packaging (when a plastic pocket is attached to a cardboard back like a pack of pens or 9 volt battery packaging)
  • Clamshell packaging (the very hard to open plastic packaging of toys, electronics, etc that opens up like – you guessed it – a clam shell)
  • Plastic planters

I recommend you looking up the exact recycling requirements for your city, but here are some quick tips when recycling PLASTIC in Los Angeles (here’s a link to a handy .pdf about what can be recycled):

  • Rinse or clean in dishwasher, if necessary, all plastic containers
    • soda, juice, milk, shampoo, detergent, mouthwash, beauty products, yogurt, cottage cheese, pill packaging,
  • Remove caps from containers.
    • Most containers do not have the same plastic for the cap. In fact, it is probably fine if you throw the cap away if it doesn’t have a recycling symbol on it. Most caps are made from mixed plastics and are no longer recyclable.
  • Put all plastic bags with a recycling symbol inside of one plastic bag to keep them from flying out of the truck or jamming up sorting equipment. You can also recycle them at most grocery stores.
    • The food residue issue applies here too. If its covered in dried on food, skip the recycling bin and throw it away. Of course, if you have a dog, you can use it to pick up its mess – after all the bag is already dirty.
  • DO NOT put any plastic hygienic item in the bin. It should be obvious, but that’s just a big No-No besides being gross.
Posted in Being Green, Recycle Tagged with:

My Mom Recycles talks about Recycling

Since recycle is in the name of this blob, I thought it was time that I posted something about recycling. Recently, I was in a discussion with a couple of my neighbors about what can and can’t be recycled. The only thing I walked away from that discussion with was that I wasn’t 100% positive about anything.

There is much confusion over what can be recycled and what is the proper way of recycling items.  So I’m going to do a multi-part series on recycling, beginning with today’s post… Plastic.

Other topics to be included in the near future:

  • Recycling Paper
  • Recycling Aluminum, steel and other metals
  • Recycling glass
  • Recycling Electronics
Posted in Being Green, Recycle Tagged with: ,