Saturday, January 27, 2007

14 moves in 15 years

I have figured out that I have moved 14 times in 15 years. That count starts from my first apartment in college after moving out from the dorms until my present location. JB and I alone have moved 5 times since meeting in San Francisco almost 8 years ago.

One year after meeting we were married in June of 2000. Two weeks after our wedding we packed a U-Haul truck and said goodbye to San Francisco as we headed East. We have managed to save all of our moving boxes from those 5 moves broken down in our basement. We have always kept them around because we were used to moving so often it was easier to just keep reusing the same boxes. That has all changed as of today.

This spring will will celebrate 5 years in our present home. If you are doing the math that means we moved 4 times in two years before setting here. We rented our house for the first 4 years of our occupancy and finally bought it in Dec of 2005.

So today I decided the boxes must go. Partly because I am working on creating my studio in my basement but also partly because we have been holding onto the idea that one day we would move back to CA. I can't do it anymore. I cannot live my life like this is my temporary home. I have two children now and I finally feel like I am becoming a part of this community a second time around (I lived here pre- kids, pre-JB, pre-California).

So off to the dump I went today to recycle the boxes. To me however I recycled more than cardboard. Those boxes represented moving back east with my new husband 7 years ago, 4 wonderful places we have lived in since that move and more importantly - feeling like I am finally able to grow some roots here. Even though one day we may move again - for now this is our home.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The wonder of fruit salad

My oldest kid has always been a great eater but he is now 5 1/2 and getting picky at times. A few months ago he decided he didn't like oranges anymore and refused to eat them. So instead I pumped him full of other fruits and stayed clear of the oranges for awhile. Until yesterday. For lunch yesterday I decided to try something new. I cut up all the fruit (including oranges) put heaping spoonfuls into bowls, placed the bowls on the table and called "Come on boys, fruit salad on the table". They came a running "fruit salad, fruit salad" they both screamed and devoured their entire bowls. My oldest who previously was on an orange strike told me while munching them down "wow I do like oranges." Kind of reminds you of a little book called Green Eggs and Ham perhaps?

So lesson #1 for today is don't give up if you kid insists he doesn't like something. Just give it some time and then present the food differently.

And now for an update on my post Junk in the Trunk from the other day:

Lesson #2 for today is don't let your kids run the show when it comes to their nutrition. The only juice we have served in our house is orange juice. that is what my oldest kid grew up on. He gets juice with breakfast and that is it for the day. One day while grocery shopping I gave into his request to try a new juice. We ended up buying some grape juice and he loved it. The problem was once I tried to switch back to orange he insisted he did not like orange juice anymore. I actually let it go for several months but last week I decided to take the situation back again. I much prefer serving orange juice because it is healthier and has less sugar. So last week when I was shopping I bought a new container of orange juice (Minute Maid Kids+ because it is pulp free and extra vitamins) told him this is what we now have, told him it was a new kids juice and served it up. Guess what happened? He loves it now.

So go with your gut. If there is a nutritional choice you feel is important for your family - go ahead and do it.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Junk in the trunk

An article came out today by the Associated Press called Students saying yes to junk-free lunches. It talks about how some schools are taking the junk out of school lunches and replacing it with healthier options. The article goes on to talk about how children are accepting these changes and will eat the healthier foods when they are offered.

I just have to say something now - Duh.

I have nothing against this article but it seems like lately there have been many articles and news specials on this topic. I just find it very hard to believe that the information is being presented as if it is revolutionary.

Here is a simple fact that it should not take a 20/20 special to wake you up to.

If you offer junk food in your home and in school your kids will eat it.

Kids are no different than the rest of us. Many adults have a difficult time avoiding sweets and staying healthy. Imagine if you were a young child or growing teen. What mixed messages we are sending them. The message of how obese our youth are becoming but yet we still manage to stock our home cabinets and school cafeterias with sugary and fatty foods.

If we are going to make a change it starts in the home and at school. I firmly believe that children will eat healthy if given the option to do so. I can't stand it when people say "my kid won't eat whole wheat bread or my kid won't eat low sugary cereal" My answer to that is - they will if that is all you have for them to eat or start them out right with these foods before their small bodies become used to the sugary overly processed foods .

I am not talking about strict dietary changes but if your children are small NOW is the time to start. If you feed them healthy from the start they will never know the difference. In my house my children grew up on getting juice only for breakfast, soymilk for lunch and dinner and water in between. I don't have kids screaming for another bottle of juice because they have just learned that juice is for breakfast. The same goes for other foods. Both kids grew up on plain yogurt. No Yo Baby or other heavily sweetened brands.

I am not claiming to be a nutritionist but here are my suggestions:

1. Only offer juice in the morning. milk (cow, rice or soy) at lunch and dinner. Water in between meals.

2. You should aim to have your breakfast cereal sugar content be 5 grams. Read the box.

3. Cookies, cakes, ice cream etc should not be a common daily food. If saved for special nights or occasions you will find children appreciate the treats more.

4. Don't offer dessert with every meal. If you are doing this because you use it for leverage for the kid to finish her meal you should change your ways. A child should learn to appreciate her food and not eat it only because they know they will get a cookie after. Plus, if you want bedtime to go better I would cut out the sweets at that time of night anyway.

5. Try to avoid buying foods that contain hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats). They are used solely for the purpose of prolonging shelf-life and the are in everything. Prepare more food from home instead of store bought versions or look for alternatives in your local health food store. If you don't have one near you lots of the big chain grocery stores are now offering a "natural section" of foods in their stores. The food industry must begin to produce foods that nourish rather than non-foods designed to enhanced profits because they have a longer shelf life. They profit, we lose.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Future Pro





We took Enzo snowboarding for the first time over the holiday break. I was his instructor. I was such a proud mama.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Iron Bell



I had to share this picture of Enzo that I took the other day. He insisted on being buried up to his neck in snow so he could pretend to just be a head. He managed to still give me an award winning smile.

This picture just took my breath away. It reminded me of how big he is getting. He is growing up so fast. I thought I would share this song I wrote about him after he was born.

Iron Bell

You were a peanut
and I was your shell.
You wanted life
I was your iron bell.
You needed me / as I needed you
You grew inside me
and I just knew.

Second comings
A second chance
A life lost long
Another glance at
life and all its possibilities
I prayed long -
and you came back to me.

Is it fate or was it just meant to be.
A child small / five hours of pushing
You finally came when I called
So little and brown
A head of hair - a body long
My tears burn as I sing this song
of life as its meant to be
My little angel
My little angel thank you for choosing me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Grocery Store Gripe

Has anyone noticed that grocery stores don’t have baggers anymore? I don’t know about where you live but where I live they are almost non existent. It is driving me crazy lately. I feel bad for the cashiers who have to ring in my enormous order and then turn around to bag it all. I hate it because it wastes time and I hate it because I always feel guilty. Like I should be helping or something.

I stay home full time so I already feel like I work a 14 hour day without pay. The last thing I want to do is go grocery shopping with my two kids in tow and work more for free. When I shop at our big Hanford's store i don’t feel as obligated but when I shop at my local health food/coop the guilt sets in.

Because I am a member of the coop I feel like I have more of an obligation to do this. When I didn’t have children I would actually help bag my own stuff all the time. When I had just one child I would still help out sometimes but give me a break. I have two kids now who are usually at their breaking point buy the time I reach the check out line. I have all I can do to keep them in sight just trying to pay. It drives me frickin’ crazy when the cashier just stands there expecting me to help. I can’t always help you people. Why can’t they just hire more people to help bag?

When I was in high school the grocery stores were flooded with kids working part time jobs bagging groceries. I was one of them. Is it beneath high school kids now? What is the deal?

New Biz Logo



Thanks to my friend Chris Varricchione for designing a wonderful new logo for me. He did a great job. I am very pleased with the results. I highly recommend him if you have any design needs. You can contact him at Chris Varricchione Illustrations chris@cvillustration.com

I have also been busy updating my website myself. I am embracing the creative buzz I now get through hacking code. Check out the new look at www.subsixstudios.com

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Baby Lotion Product Review

I have to share when I find a great product. This time it is a baby lotion I just love.

First let me say that I am picky about what products I buy to put on my kids skin. Call me a snob, freak, hippie or whatever but I don't like fragrances, artificial colors, animal ingredients or testing, and paraben. I usually have no problem finding products without these ingredients at my local health food store but usually the cost is high. Especially now that I have two kids and we go through the products much faster.

My littlest has very very dry skin. I have been on the search all winter for a lotion that helps heal his skin but does not break my bank and I finally found one.
Rainbow Research creates a whole line of baby products. I tried the shampoo and body wash (hint: you only need the body wash for both the body and hair. They contain the exact same ingredients) because my local Hanford's supermarket actually carried it in their little "natural foods" section. The price was right and I ended up loving it.

The next week I went back for the lotion. Within one day of using it I saw an incredible change in my son's skin. It is the first thing I have found so far that has worked this well for him.

So there you go. Lather up.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Business plug

MissMalaprop.com - indie finds for your uncommon life


I was featured on Miss Malaprop today!

I feel very honored. I am a daily reader of her blog. MissMalaprop.com supports small business, independent designers & artists, and people & organizations who are working to make the world a better place. Thanks Mallory

To read more about her and to check out the wonderful words she wrote about subsixstudios go to www.missmalaprop.com


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Holidays




We had a wonderful holiday. We were going to be alone this year but we ended up having last minute guests and it was such a nice treat. My mother decided she really wanted to see the boys open their gifts from her so her and my father came up on Saturday the 23rd and spent the night. I made home made pasta sauce (I am trying to master my great grandmother's italian recipe) and had a feast. The boys were excited to be able to open some gifts early. I was sad to see them go on Christmas Eve but they headed home to be with my sisters family. It was nice that we got to see them at least.

Enzo was excited to leave homemade cookies and soymilk for Santa and an apple for the reindeer on Christmas Eve. We read the Night Before Christmas and sent two very excited boys off to bed. Sal is still too young to really get what is going on but Enzo is at the perfect age where everything is so magical. It is wonderful reliving the magic of my experiences through him now.

I was up before everyone Christmas morning. I kept waking up every half hour from 5:30 until Sal and Enzo finally woke up at 7:00am. It was torture for me. Enzo was floored when he came down the stairs and found the tree house Santa had left for him. We had a nice morning opening gifts.

JB has an Aunt who lives an hour from us and we ended up inviting them last minute to have Christmas dinner with us. She had just lost her father and her partner had lost his mother all in the span of a week so we thought it might be nice for them to get out of their house and join us. They were thrilled to come. I made a sweet potato strudel, stuffing, green beans and a salad. It was a hit.

New Years Eve was quite. We stayed in. After putting the kids to bed JB and I pigged out on chips and tex-mex dip. By the time the ball dropped our bellies were full of a food and a few beers so we hit the hay with belly aches. New Years resolution was definitely to eat less and exercise more. Happy New Year!