Friday, November 29, 2013

Toddler in the dark? Help them reach the moon..

My 2 year old has been potty trained for a while now. Yet, she refuses to use it by herself because she is afraid of the dark bathroom & she is too short to turn on and off the bathroom light. She has a stool that she uses to climb on the potty, so we thought perhaps she could use that to turn on the light. However, that takes TOO much time. She has to move the stool to the switch, turn on the light & then move the stool back to the potty. By the time she has done all of this it is too late & an accident had occurred. 

So I set out to find an alternative way of her turning on the light unassisted. After checking some parent sites & googling the topic I stumbled upon the "KidSwitch". It's a glow in the dark light switch extender that allows your toddler to turn on and off the light by themselves. The description said, "KidSwitch can be installed and used on any single, double, triple,or more toggle or decora style switch plate. (For decora switches, the adapter is required).​

"KidSwitch"  extends down 12" from the switch, allowing toddlers to safely reach and operate room lights.​"

I was SO excited that I had found something that would allow her to use the potty w/ out having to wait for help from someone else. However, that excitement soon fizzled out when I received the package in the mail, opened it & headed right to the bathroom to install it. 

The "KidSwitch" is designed to go on a light switch which flips on and off vertically. However, the switch in our bathroom turns on and off horizontally. Sigh.. Imagine my disappointment.. Here I thought I found the answer only to be denied a solution. 

Now what? I began to look for a place in the house where the "KidSwitch"  would function properly and that my 2 yo would need to turn on/off the light. It had never crossed my mind this wouldn't work for what I needed it for. Since we have an older house, many of the switches in the house while flipping vertically on/off, are difficult to turn operate due to their age. After combing the house for just the right switch, which fit all the above criteria, we decided upon a bedroom light switch. 

Following the simple instructions I installed the "KidSwitch"  on the light switch cover and over the toggle switch. I removed the existing switch plate screws, and replace them with the "KidSwitch"  screw sets.​ The whole installation only required a screwdriver. To operate it simply push the moon handle up or down. 

I was worried that maybe because the original switch was so high off the ground that she wouldn't be able to reach it, but that was not a problem. It was easy for her to use and she was quick to figure it out. 

While it didn't work for my initial intention, I think it's a great solution to avoid dangerous climbing by toddlers. If the switch in our bathroom would have be a vertical one it certainly would have solved our bathroom issue.. Now I have a new problem.. my 2 yo can't decide if the light should be on or off.. :)

To learn more about or purchase the KidSwitch visit @ their website:  http://www.buykidswitch.com/ 



Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Healthified Sausage-Stuffed Shells



Ingredients

24 
jumbo pasta shells (from 12-oz box)
lb lean Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
container (15 oz) light ricotta cheese
cups shredded reduced-fat Italian cheese blend (8 oz)
box (9 oz) Green Giant® frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1/2 
teaspoon dried basil leaves
3/4 
cup finely shredded carrots (1 medium)
jar (25.5 oz) Muir Glen® organic Italian herb pasta sauce

Directions
  • Step1Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package, omitting salt.
  • Step2In 10-inch nonstick skillet, crumble sausage. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain.
  • Step3In medium bowl, stir ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the Italian cheese blend, the spinach and basil until well mixed. Stir in carrots and sausage.
  • Step4Spread about 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce over bottom of baking dish. Spoon about 3 tablespoonfuls sausage mixture into each pasta shell. Arrange shells, filled sides up, on sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining pasta sauce over stuffed shells. Spray 15-inch piece of foil with cooking spray; cover shells with foil.
  • Step5Bake 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Italian cheese blend. Bake uncovered 5 to 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
    • Prep Time 30 min
    •  
    • Total Time 1 hr 20 min
    •  
    • Servings 12

16 weeks and counting...

By some of the changes being made to my blog, (like the name) I am in fact pregnant once again. This will be #7 for us. It's always exciting when a new little one is on the way, it's also a shock to the system after having moved away from the "baby" stage to the toddler. The thought of starting all over can be overwhelming, but as soon as the new little one arrives it just all falls back into place. 

I'm trying to get everything ready ahead of time & to get rid of the excess kid clothes/stuff that we just don't need. The only thing that is really holding me back is we don't know yet, what gender the baby will be. So I don't want to purge the girl clothes & then we have a new sister in the house... 

This has been a different pregnancy. I have spent much of the time tired & feeling sick to my stomach. Seems like this baby is a picky eater. Also things just don't taste the same, things I would normally love are off limits & things I wouldn't normally eat seem to be more included in my diet. 

I think one of the hardest things is to decide on a name for the baby. I always try to find a name that isn't mainstream, something that is classy, traditional & most of all unique. This time seems to be difficult because many of the names I may have considered in the past have moved back to being mainstream. 

Anyways, that is just is just some thoughts, etc about what is currently going on w/ me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Healthified Hearty Vegetable Beef Stew

From LiveBetterAmerica

320 fewer calories • 80% less sat fat than the original recipe. At last, a nutritious, veggie packed stew that won't have you asking "where's the beef?"


Healthified Hearty Vegetable Beef Stew

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray
pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
12 
ounces tiny new potatoes, quartered
medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
medium onion, cut into wedges
can (10.75 oz) reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup
cup lower-sodium beef broth
teaspoon dried marjoram or dried thyme, crushed
cups frozen cut green beans (about 9 ounces)

Directions

  • Step1Cut beef into 1-inch cubes. Coat an unheated large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium-high heat. Add half of the beef cubes. Cook and stir until browned; remove from skillet. Add remaining beef cubes; cook and stir until browned. Drain off fat from beef.
  • Step2Place beef in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Add potatoes, carrots, onion, cream of mushroom soup, beef broth, and marjoram. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 41/2 hours.
  • Step3If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Stir in green beans. Cover and cook about 30 minutes more or just until green beans are tender.
    • Prep Time 30 min
    •  
    • Total Time 9 hr 0 min
    •  
    • Servings 6

Monday, September 16, 2013

RnR Pnuemonia & the Social Networking blues

It's true. I have to admit it. Time to come clean. I have a dirty little secret that I must confess. I am a social networking junkie. I am a junkie in the aspect that I belong to SO many social networks & I am usually interacting on a large portion of them. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed, YouTube, Ryze, linkedin the list goes on & on.

I think social networking is incredible. Getting to met & interact with people from all over the planet all from the comfort of my living room. Wow! I have met & became friends with a lot of great people this way too. People that I never would have met in my daily life. Amazing people doing amazing things. People who inspire me, people who share their thoughts, ideas, beliefs with me. It truly is an incredible world we live in.

Yet, I do have one big complaint about social networking. NO matter how much of my life, thoughts, etc. I am willing to share I find that sometimes the interaction with others or the lack of interaction from others leaves me wanting more. What I mean by this is I become frustrated when I tweet a question looking for the answer or some kind of feed back only to hear NOTHING. *Insert Cricket chirps here* Makes me wonder how in this so connected world of ours I can feel so all alone. I guess that's why I fell absolutely in love with the social network environment of Blip.fm.

Blip.fm is like twitter for music, yet so much more. While playing your favorite tunes, you can comment on other selections or have conversations amongst the music. I find this is a great place for me to go whenever I have something to say but can't really say what I need to say. I have found that music always seems to relay the feelings or thoughts that I want to express when words fail me.

I think one of my favorite things about Blip.fm is how much further I have expanded my musical horizons than they already were. I have discovered a whole new group of fabulous musicians that are out there. All of whom I may not have ever been exposed to otherwise. In fact because of it, I have purchased MP3s & CDs that I might not probably otherwise even considered.

Blip.fm is also a great way for artists to get their new music out there to the masses. I love promoting my friends' latest releases this way. One example of this is Jody Whitesides @jodywhitesides Every time her releases a new song I have to blip it to my friends. I LOVE sharing Jody's work w/ the masses and this is a great way to reach ppl that I've never even met before.

In fact sharing music is how I learned about JENNINGS @jenningsmusic. One day she was the featured artist on the single of the day. Well, I fell in LOVE with her version of the song Umbrella. (Thanks Jody) I immediately had to share this with others. After some social networking through Myspace & Twitter I was able to connect with her. I received permission to blip Jennings music. It has truly become some of my favorite music to play.

Another example of this is another great guy & talented musician I met through social media. Garfield Mayor @garfieldmayor is from the UK. His music is beautiful & moving.. Definitely worth checking out.

With all the great indie talent out there social media is a great way to discover new music. Some other great indie musicians Imogen Heap @imogenheap, Joe Gande @joegande and Marcome @marcome. There are many more, but that just a start.. Go check them out & if you have an artist you want to share with me drop me a line.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time for a change...

So it's been a while since I've posted in my blog. That got me thinking that the whole thing just needs a makeover.. So while I"m in the process of updating the look of the blog, I thought I would also mix up some of the things I post about.

So starting now I'm going to try to offer so tips, tricks, etc that I use for our family. Things like how to get college text books cheaper, how to use coupons in your everyday life, shopping tricks, recipes, cloth diapers, etc.. I'm also going to try (note try) to post more often & put up some videos. 


These are all goals. Even if I only post a short note.. that will be more than I'm currently doing.  I was going through all the things I started to write, but never posted & I have decided I really need to stop being so critical & just the the message up. :) 


Another goal (long term) will be to try & fix all the broken audio links that are @ the very beginning of my blog. This maybe a summer project though.


At any rate I wanted to share this info with you as I want to turn my blog into a place ppl will want to come. After all with 6 kids I should be able to offer a lot of insight on things right? :) lol


If there is something you would like to know more about let me know. With kids from (almost) 2 - 20 I can saw that I've experienced many things..