2009/03/31

Spring

Warmer weather means more time spent outdoors. Callum loves walking around outside! There aren't many places to go, so we have to stick around the parking lot and lawn, although he prefers a flat surface to walk on. We admire the trucks and tractor if the neighbors aren't burning their garbage pile."Wheel! wheel!""Do not want!"Lovin' the shadow.He's gotta do what Mommy is doing. New blooms on my flowers in the window.





2009/03/30

Caramel Shortbread

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups butter, divided
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted. (small handful of chips)

Directions
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 cup butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Add flour, mix well. Pat into a greased 9 inch pan (I use a 8x11 pan since I don't have a square one) Bake at 350F (180C) for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

  • In a qt (2L) glass measure with handle, in microwave oven, melt remaining 1/2 cup butter on high 1 min. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Microwave on high 6 to 8 minutes, stirring after each minute until mixture turns a caramel colour. Stir in vanilla. Spread over warm shortbread . Drizzle with chocolate.

  • Chill until firm.

  • Cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature.

2009/03/28

Are Cloth Diapers Really Better for the Environment?

Original Post

The following is a guest post written by Karen Randall of New and Green Baby Co.

This is a big question on the minds of new parents. Common opinions out there may say that cloth diapers are equal to or less environmentally friendly than disposables. Have a look at the following information and decide for yourself.

Let’s take a closer look at some numbers:
How many diaper changes will your baby go through in the next three years? 7200!
Those thousands of diaper changes can be managed with 7200 disposable diapers or 24-48 cloth diapers! Keeping these numbers in mind, let’s look what disposable and reusable diapers are composed of and what kind of draw they have on the environment - from manufacturing to end use.

Most disposables are made of petroleum based plastics for the outer layer, an absorbent layer of wood pulp fluff + super absorbent gel beads (sodium polyacrylate) and bleached paper. Disposables typically also have dyes and fragrances in them to make them more pleasing to the consumer.

Each disposable diaper requires 1 cup of crude oil to manufacture the plastic. Disposable diapers create 2.3 times as much water waste, use 3.5 times as much energy than cloth diapers. The bleaching process also creates dioxins as a byproduct. Multiply these factors by 7200 to extrapolate the environmental impact of diapering one child in disposable diapers.

Cloth diapers are made from various textiles, the most eco-friendly being bamboo, hemp, organic cotton and wool. Home laundering of diapers each week uses about as much water as flushing your toilet 5 times each day during that week. You can take steps to reduce your energy footprint by washing other laundry in cold, hang drying where able and using an earth-friendly detergent.

Bamboo & Hemp Diapers are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Read more about bamboo and hemp’s eco-friendly growing conditions and their excellent properties related to cloth diapering.

Wool is a fabulous, renewable resource to use for a diaper cover. Read more about wool and other diaper covers here.

By choosing to diaper your child in Reusable Cloth Diapers, you can:
  • Make a dent in the 4,000,000 disposable diapers thrown away every day in Canada
  • Keep 1 ton of solid waste out of our landfills (per child)
  • Reduce the amount of petroleum dependent products you are using in your household
  • Adhere to the three R’s - Reduce (only 24-48 diapers vs. 7200), Reuse (every two days you are washing and Reusing your diapers) and Recycle (use the same set of diapers for baby #2 or pass on to another family)
  • Teach your children that small steps can make a big difference in their world.

More information from For Baby with Love:

Why NOT disposables? What's so bad about disposable diapers anyway? Well, probably a lot of things you may not have thought of...

What disposables are made of:

- Disposable diapers are made from super absorbing hydrophilic polymers called polyacrylates. What does this mean? Basically, these are water loving materials that can absorb hundreds of times their weight in water. A large disposable diaper can hold half a gallon of water. These polymers don't dissolve in water, but solidify into a gel.

What's so bad about this stuff?

- Published studies have found that mice exposed to the materials in disposable diapers suffered from eye, nose and throat irritations (much like an asthma attack), this was attributed to gases emanating from the chemicals in the diapers. - It is estimated that 300 million pounds of polycrylate polymers are used in disposable products (diapers, feminine pads, etc) per year (in the U.S.A). This results in a large amount of the material being discarded. With so much of this material making it's way to landfill sites, it's important to understand the effect the chemicals have on the environment. - Very little work has been done to determine the behaviour of these materials in environmental systems (ie. what happens after they are disposed of, how are groundwater and surface water systems affected? What are the long term environmental implications?).

The Waste Factor:

- It is estimated that over 4 million disposable diapers are discarded in Canada EVERY DAY! That is a lot of diapers (that's about 1.6 billion per year!). Babies are estimated to require between 5000 and 7000 diaper changes in their lifetime.

- The manufacture of disposable diapers in Canada consumes approximately 65,500 tonnes of pulp, 8,800 tonnes of plastic and 9,800 tonnes of packing material annually (source: Environment Canada/Raven Recycling).- Landfill sites are not designed to handle human waste (dumping diapers threatens the health of sanitary workers, water supplies and wildlife).

Other things to consider:

- Recent studies have suggested that plastic lined disposable diapers may cause an increase in scrotal temperature in boys - it is thought that this might be one of the factors contributing to decreased male fertility.

- Disposable diaper manufacturers do not need to disclose materials used (the article I read this in was from Great Britain, but an American article I read also stated that "diaper contents are a highly guarded secret".) Research by Greenpeace has found levels of Tributyl Tin in disposable diapers up to 3.6 times the World Health Organizations estimated daily tolerable intake.

References:Heal, C. and Hooper, C. 2001. Other Implications of disposable nappies, in Letters,Arch. Dis. Child, vol. 85, p. 269.Martin, J.E., 1996. Environmental impact studies of the disposal of polyacrylate polymers used in consumer products, in The Science of the Total Environment, vol. 191 p. 225-234. "Superabsorbers", Scientific American, Dec. 2000, p. 100-101.

My useful links:

Washing and Caring for Cloth Diapers

Shop Canadian:

For Baby With Love

Down to Earth Baby Gear

Parenting by Nature

Moms and Bums

*Even if you use disposable diapers, always put your child's poo in the toilet, where it can be properly treated! :)

2009/03/27

Tomorrow is Earth Hour!

Make sure you remember to turn out your lights tomorrow night (Saturday, the 28th) at 8:30 p.m. for Earth Hour! People around the world will be joining together to turn out their lights for Earth Hour, sending a very strong message that we need to do more to fight climate change.

Make your voice be heard - sign up at EarthHourCanada.org!

For some last minute ideas on how to make Earth Hour truly memorable check out our top 25 suggestions for things to do for Earth Hour 2009!

Earth Hour in the Virtual World
Join us online on Saturday and follow WWF staff as they prepare for and then participate in various lights-out events across the country! We will be blogging and Twittering the whole day long!

Earth Hour around the world
Earth Hour is taking place around the world on March 28 at 8:30 p.m. local time. This means many countries such as Australia, Thailand, Germany and Ireland will be celebrating before us. View images and videos from their lights-out events and then get ready to show the rest of the world how committed Canadians are to fight climate change.

2009/03/25

Buzzed


Yesterday I received this lovely package from Matchstick! Matchstick is a word of mouth company who believes that the most powerful selling of products and ideas takes place not marketer to consumer, but consumer to consumer.
When I applied I wasn't expecting to "get in" as I do not have a gazillion followers. Was I pleasantly surprised! What I recieved in this package was all three of the new products in Herbal Essences' Hydralicious line, in both a shampoo and conditioner. There's "Featherweight", "Reconditioning", and "Self-Targeting", all focussing on, you guessed it, hydration for your hair.
I always use moisturizing products to help keep the curl in my hair, and help repair & protect it from dryer damage.
Stay tuned for my reviews!
Oh, I also have a whack of free product coupons. Anyone interested? ;)

Frustration

video

This poor robin is so confused. He wants to get in the nice warm house, but somehow the way is blocked by an invisible force field! He's been trying for two days now! Too bad Aunt Grace isn't there to let him in. We'll see if he tries again tomorrow.

2009/03/24

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a symbolic event. Turning off our lights for an hour won’t stop climate change but it does demonstrate that our individual action is important and adds up to make a big difference. More importantly, it sends a very powerful message to government and world leaders that people want policies and regulations put in place that can achieve meaningful emission reduction to help fight climate change.



Sign up today! There are only three days left until Earth Hour, WWF's global call to action on climate change. On March 28, the world will be sending a strong united message to the world leaders - and we need you to be part of the action!

Canada has the third highest number of cities signed up for Earth Hour, with over 250 cites, towns and municipalities ready to turn out the lights! There are tens of thousands of people on Facebook talking about how they will be celebrating Earth Hour and people across the country are Twittering about the big event.

We still need your help! WWF is asking people to register your participation at EarthHourCanada.org. Even if you are already planning to turn out your lights for Earth Hour, please lend your name to the cause so WWF can track and report on participation here in Canada, and around the world, to show world leaders that Canadians want action on climate change, and are ready to be part of the solution. Make your voice heard today - sign up at EarthHourCanada.org!

And remember... by signing up you also have a chance to win a trip for two to visit the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba! If you have already signed up, you can still be entered in the contest. Just go to EarthHourCanada.org, re-register, and then check the box that says you want to be entered in the contest. It's that easy!

2009/03/11

Expressions

Callum is the biggest ham I know. He is such an entertainer and thinks it's so funny to make faces and weird sounds. He also is pretty creative and comes up with all kinds of things to do. Just today he decided to bend his upper body sideways, dance in a circle while going bede-aw bede-aw bede-aw. Then he'll dramatically "fall down."
Because he is such an animated boy I get confused when I meet other kids his age who aren't so crazy. ;) And smiley!


Whiney-clingy expression.
Fake-frowning

*GaSP* (What was that?)

Just being a goof...



Fake (mostly) laughing...

Just some photos




Raiding mom's bowl cupboard.
He now does "voices" when he's playing. His characters have conversations.

2009/03/09

Friends in America...

Be Heard Project Defends Conscience Clause

You have strong convictions, but President Obama says that doesn't matter. He's ready to rescind the Conscience Clause.

The Conscience Clause was implemented by former President George W. Bush to give physicians and nurses the choice to act according to their conscience - to not participate in abortion procedures if it conflicts with their personal convictions. If President Obama makes this damaging move, if he reverses the Conscience Clause, pro-life doctors and nurses will be forced into performing abortion procedures, despite their individual beliefs.

The announcement is expected this week. Once the official announcement is released, the public has 30 days to file their comments with the White House ... so we've got 30 days to make our voices heard at the White House.

Make a difference in this nation and stand for the freedom to act according to your conscience. Sign the online ''Petition to Protect Pro-Life Doctors.'' It will be delivered and filed at the White House no later than April 1, 2009. Get the word out now.

BE HEARD!

2009/03/07

Hailey

A few minutes after Hailey was born the nurse put her under a heat-light. Imagine how bright any kind of light would be after spending your life in darkness! Birth must be so traumatic for them...

After I took these photos I put my hand above her eyes to shield them from the bright light. Then she opened them! (Now I can brag that I was the first to see them...:) )

Nate, you are such a blessing to Leanne, we are so glad you are in her (and Hailey's!) life! You were amazing in the delivery room, too. Congratulations to you both.

Mom and babe checking each other out!Hailey was quite alert and content for hours after the birth!

Proud grandparents!
"Hey! What do you think you're doing?!"

Safe at home.

2009/03/04

My Baby Sister

...is now a Mommy! Little Hailey was born Tuesday, March 3 at 6:58pm. She weighs eight pounds 2 ounces. I was able to be there to witness the birth, and...well, there are no words to describe the emotions... I wasn't able to see Callum being born, so this was my first time seeing it actually happen. Leanne, you were amazing! You had a great coach, too. Congratulations!

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139

Praise the Lord for his wonderful creation! May God keep Hailey in His care, so she may grow to know and worship Him.