All Posts by Laura Fuentes

1 Today’s Challenge: De-Junk Your Junk Drawer

Admit it. You have one. We all have them.  The dreaded “junk drawer.”  It’s the place where things end up by default and when you can’t find something; you look there first. Some of us start with one drawer, but when that one gets full, we move on to the one next to it.

Whole Living Magazine has a daily action plan challenge.  Adding a daily challenge to my to-do list is not feasible all the time; but this is one that I am happy to take on!  I’d like to share some tips on how to get your junk (any) drawer cleaned and organized.  I have two junk drawers in the kitchen and one “storage and wrapping” drawer that has become quite a mess lately.  It not only holds aluminum foil, glad wrap, and zip lock bags… but it’s the drawer that I stuff unwanted candy or treats my kids come home with (it’s where I pretend I am saving it for later). This is what it looked like before.

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After a quick trip to the Dollar Tree and $2 later, I purchased some storage cubbies (3/$1).  These are great to organize/separate the rubber bands, treats, name bands for cups, the few artificial sweeteners for when guests want that in their tea/coffee, and chip clips.

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Unfortunately, I forgot to take a “before” picture of my two junk drawers.  Imagine all that stuff (plus some lots that I threw out) thrown freely in the drawers.  These drawer organizers you see below were about $6 eat at Target.  Well worth the investment if you ask me!

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The trick to de-junking the junk drawer is to open the drawer and put everything on the counter, clean/vacuum drawer and line if necessary.  As you begin to put items back in the organizers, you must assess if the item is truly needed.  BE HONEST. If you could get rid of it, toss it.  I threw out 3 glue sticks and 2 dried out super glue bottles (and many other things). If things don’t fit, get rid of them or find them a new place. Have no mercy!

Do you have a junk drawer?  What’s an item that doesn’t belong there that is residing there?

 

4

WATER BOTTLE WONDERLAND!

I am happy to introduce Tiffany Cassanova (@TiffanysToyBox) as our guest writer today! She will continue our “Green-Up-Your-Kid’s-Lunch-Box” series moving us to the drink department!  Remember the  those “convenient” sugary drinks and juice boxes from the lunch time visit at my son’s pre-school? Buy juice in bulk, fill, use, wash, reuse = reduce and $ave!

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I am so excited to be on the Super Glue Mom blog! Especially since Ms. Super Glue herself has started this super, fabulous “Green Up Your Kid’s Lunch” series which is totally up my alley as a mom and producer of an eco-friendly kids series teaching kiddies about going green!

As busy as I am, I still try to take steps towards living a waste free life, and instill the same qualities and awareness in my twin boys Tristin and Tyler and my hubby (who still needs a lot of work).  One of the easiest ways to stop the waste is by using reusable bottles for the boys’ water! So instead of plastic water bottles, which would end up in a landfill forever, the boys use reusable stainless steel bottles to hold their water!

So, why did I call this post Water Bottle Wonderland?  Well, there are so many options and features on these bottles that you may get a bit overwhelmed with choosing!  So I am coming to the rescue to help you navigate these confusing waters (pun intended) in your search for the perfect kiddie, reusable water bottle!

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Before we get into specifics, the most important thing to note is that you should choose a bottle that does not contain materials made with Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical used to manufacture plastic and it has been found to be harmful to the health of adults, but especially children as they are still developing.  So greening up your kid’s lunch is helping the earth AND your child’s health, what’s better than that?

1. BRANDS – I don’t really care about brands too much, I think it’s all about what works for you. But SIGG is by far the leader in this industry, having been around since 1908.  But there are some brands that are right behind Sigg, making some cool, eco-friendly strides in this arena – check out Klean Kanteen, Blue Q and Earth Lust.

2. COOL FACTOR – Just cause we are talking GREEN doesn’t mean you can’t talk cool at the same time.  A lot of the manufacturers I mentioned have totally stepped up their cool factor.  Check out Camelbak!

3. SIZE – Yes, we moms know, size does matter (forgive me, had to do it!).  No one, especially kids, wants to carry around a huge clunky water container, it doesn’t matter how cool or green it is.  Also, for the really little ones there are reusable sippy cups, they are so cute! Check out Klean Kanteen

One amazing innovation is foldable water bottles. Yes, before you bite my head off, there is some plastic involved but, the plastic used in these bottles (or at least most of them) are BPA free and these bottles contain 80% less plastic than regular bottles.  So if you’ve got a really active child, you can’t beat the fact that you can fold thus water bottle up and put it in your pocket until the next refill. Oh, and get this: this water bottle can double as an ice pack! Us moms know how super important that is!  Check out Platypus. Oh, and get this: this water bottle can double as an ice pack! Us moms know how super important that is!

5. SPECIAL FEATURES – Can you believe there is a water bottle that can filter the water? Yep, the innovations are absolutely endless! Check out Bobble and Water Geeks.

So as you can see, there are a lot of innovations and choices but I hope this post was a little light at the end of the water tunnel for you parents out there trying to do the best for the health of your kids and the earth and, let’s not forget, the coolness) of your kiddies.

Happy Water Bottle Hunting!

Tiffany

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About Tiffany: Mommy, entertainment lawyer, wife and producer of a cool, eco-friendly kids series! You can follow her blog at http://tristinandtyler.com and her cute kids video series here. I also consider her my lost sister in NYC.

4 Perseverance

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”
~ Samuel Johnson

Perseverance is the steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state of continuance.   Wow, big words.  Many of us do this every day in our daily life and we barely think about it.

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to do this past year is convert a vision in to a concrete idea and subsequently into something I could touch, a prototype.  This was not a one step process, but rather a year-long man hunt for the right person, the right engineer, a tool maker, and so on.  Communicating a precise idea to someone else and having them draw and develop a product is no easy task; rather, a complicated and costly one.

It’s easy to get discouraged along the way and to loose vision of the end goal.  Really easy. I will tell you that I’ve gotten impatient, upset, angry, and short sighted many times this past year.  I’ve paid for someone else’s time do to something I know I could do better if I only knew how do do CAD drawings.

How about the most expensive cup of coffee, ever?  Yup, a $250 cold coffee to meet with intellectual property attorneys?  Let’s just add a 5hour round trip every time I need to meet with the engineer, materials supplier or manufacturer?  And finally, let’s not forget the $2990.91 prototype that is sitting on my desk that looks good but doesn’t function because the engineer did not measure properly?

The list could go on and on. But it wont’.  Rather, I choose to focus on the small achievements along the way that are leading me to the end result.  I am happy to have an amazing group of people around me who encourage me along the way and remind me WHY I am doing this.

If you are a step by step person, let’s look at it this way:

4 Steps to Achieve any goal:

  1. Set a goal and have a plan. You won’t get far if you don’t know where you’re going. This relates to loosing weight, getting organized, or a new business.
  2. Recognize your accomplishments: Honor the small accomplishments toward your goal in order to keep your motivation high.  Did you loose a pound this week?  Did you get your to-do list done?
  3. Set up a support network: Do you have friends and family to help you keep focused and motivated?  It’s a great feeling when they can celebrate the small milestones with you.
  4. Make a commitment to yourself: Gather up your will power and remind yourself often why you chose to set this goal.  Commitment comes from within.

Press on, go on, and on… We all have challenges to overcome.  You will encounter pebbles and boulders along the way but it’s our attitude that separates the achievers from the quitters.  Staying positive, even in the loosing moments, will help you endure the challenge.

What are some of the challenges you are facing?

When My Kids Play Hookie

Last week my son was sick Wednesday and Thursday with a terrible stomach bug.  He stayed home and I held him most of the time while he slept, drank, threw up, went to the bathroom, and re-cuddled himself in my arms.

By Friday, Alex was feeling better but I decided to keep him home from school to seriously minimize any chances of passing on the nasty stomach virus to any other kid in pre-school.  Sofia, of course, began to show signs that she wasn’t feeling good on Thursday night; so I kept her home Friday as a precaution.

Fast forward to Friday morning around 9:30am. I am trying to catch up on laundry, washing mountains of sheets and towels that had been used to clean up anything that projectiled; a kitchen that was a mess, a long to-do list for work…. with two kids who were not so sick.

Sofia: Mom, can we go outside and play?

Me: Sure honey.

Alex: Mom, you come play outside with Chuchis and Me?

Me: Ummmm, can you and Sofia play together for a little bit? If not, your bed will still be dirty with your throw up (not exactly, but he’s a clean freak at 3).

Alex: Ok mom.

Ten minutes later..

Sofia: Mom, can you come do tea party with us?

Me: -giving up any hope of productivity– Sure for a little while. Then, I need to work on mommy’s list.

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Any mom will tell you that kid sick days are no fun.  They typically mean zero to no productivity… or a “pause” button on your life.  It’s even worse if you have to stay home from work (or your spouse) and take care of the kids.  I’ve been told by many moms that the first year of school is the worst because my kids are now exposed to a million more germs than at home or their 2 day a week pre-school with other stay-at-home kids.

Here are 3 things I do to stay sane and get things done when my kids are home sick and I have housework or deadlines:

  1. Prioritize.  Crate an absolute to-do list.  These are the things that are non-negotiable in order to a) not loose your job, or b) get done for the well being of your family.  Everything else can wait. Calling a client back qualifies for the list, but surfing the net or being on FB doesn’t.  Same goes with washing the puke off sheets or tiding up the kitchen; yet, say goodbye to dusting.
  2. 20 min Activity timer. Find a tv show, game, activity or snack that your kids need to be occupied with for 20min while you get some items done from the list above.  Set a kitchen timer for 20 min.  When the time is up, it’s mommy’s turn to play with kids (tea party anyone?) After the 20min, move on to another activity and tackle something else.
  3. Implement mandatory rest time. Remind your kids that the reason they are home is because they are sick (at least they were at 7am when it was time for school).  After lunch, it’s time for their 1 hour get-well rest.  They must lay on the sofa, bed, or nap mat for this; no toys, books or tv.  If they complain, tell them that this is what happens when they stay home sick.  And, staying home sick is no fun but they must get better so they can return to school to be with their friends.

During the “rest” hour is when I get most of my urgent things done. I will tell a client that I have a sick child at home but I will be available between 12:30 and 1:30pm to call them back uninterrupted (seriously, who wants to hear my kid on the other end screaming, right?)  I understand that some of you have infants and their nap schedule may be different.  Then you need to adjust. It may be two 45min breaks or one long 1.5hr stretch. Regardless, this is the time to get the important things done.

Does this work all the time?  Not always.  But, I will tell you that since I have become a bit stricter on 7-10am sick days (the non-fever-diarrhea-puke days) where the kid miraculously gets better by mid morning and now wants mommy to be play mate… we no longer have issues and I don’t feel like a failure for the day.

3

Green-Up Clean – H2O At Home

Hi! It’s Green-up Monday!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Alaina sent me a wonderful gift.  A big box of ‘green’ cleaning and laundry products she loves and knew I would enjoy using.

I haven’t purchased regular detergent in over 4 years.  No, I am not so gun-ho-green that I make my own… but I had kids in cloth diapers and regular detergents with surfactants and petroleum based ingredients leave a residue.  I’ve been using Country Save detergent for over 3 years and I’ve loved it.  My only complaint is that the clothes smell clean with no scent.

My friend Alaina sent me H2O at Home Natural Laundry Soap, the Laundry Ball Kit, and Netepur (stain remover soap).   At first, I was skeptical.  I’ve tried laundry concentrated detergents before and found that they wash just as good as mine.  Apparently, the trick is in the laundry ball.  The laundry ball has ceramic pearls that create friction in the wash cycle so clothes wash better and you use 75% less laundry soap.

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Ok, so maybe if I use 75% less soap, I can splurge on the Natural Laundry Soap; right? I don’t need my MBA to figure out that at $21 per bottle, 100 loads will only cost 21cents per load (with the ball). The ball is $30 but lasts 1000 washes, so 3 cents per wash?  I have to say that I have gotten used to the amazing smell of lavender and orange scent this leaves on my clothes… I think I can pay 24cents per load.

The next thing I had to figure out is how to use the stain soap bar (Neterpur).  Through trial and error I found that it removes the dirt off the bottom of my kid’s socks surprisingly well.  I just wet the sock, rub it on the bar and throw in the wash.

The other half of the gift was what I was most skeptical about.  I’m used to using natural cleaning products to clean my house but what I am most disappointed with is the lack of their abilities to handle the really tough jobs (like shower doors and my stove).  Alaina swore that with only 2-3min of elbow grease my stove would be like new (super skeptical here).

She sent me the Natural Clay powder cleaning kit.  It includes the clay powder (100%natural, biodegradable cleanser that cuts through grime, grease, and soap scum), the heavy duty Chiffonnette (high quality microfiber cloth), and the cleaning sponge.

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What my cook top looked like before:

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I wet the clay powder tub (it’s more like a hard paste) and rubbed my sponge over it.

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After 2-3min of elbow grease around the cook top.

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I’ve also tried the natural clay powder on my shower walls, doors, tub, sinks, and granite counter tops.  It gives the counter tops a nice buffing effect and removes the tiny spots I would have normally missed.  The Chiffonette is basically H2O at home’s own patent pending version of a microfiber cloth.  I have always used microfiber cloths with water to clean my mirrors, glass doors and windows in the past, but I found that theirs works really well and leaves no streaks.

Thanks so much to my friend Alaina for sending me this awesome gift!  For more info on any of the H2O at Home products click here.

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The opinions mentioned above are my own. While I did not receive compensation for this post, I was gifted the fabulous products above to review.

12

Sneaky Brownies

I’m sure I’m not the only mother who struggles to feed her kids all the fruits and vegetables that they are ‘supposed’ to have.  The daily recommended servings? Well, they don’t happen all the time in every meal.  If you are one of those mothers who are lucky enough to have kids that eat all the fruits and veggies and then some…. “lucky” is the magic word.

I’m still struggling people. My kids have turned picky all of the sudden and I am so sleep deprived I don’t know what to do. So I’m looking everywhere I can for recipes that will help me get my kids to try more fruits and veggies.

A few weeks ago I bought the book: The Sneaky Chef.  The recipes look good but the whole premise is that a “hidden” veggie is pureed into every recipe for added nutritional boost, and I’m not sure if I will have a magic puree ready at all times.

Since kids love chocolate, I decided to try her Brainy Brownies. I did tweak the recipe a bit, mainly because my kids like their brownies to be moist and cakey, vs dense and chewy.  I took LOTS of pictures, because I have some friends that said “no way my kid will eat that!”

It all starts with the ‘purple’ puree (made ahead of time in a larger batch to use later)-recipe follows. I dusted the baby food maker for another round of use.

Step 1 to make Purple Puree: Steam spinach

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Once spinach is steamed (can be done in microwave or stove) add blueberries and puree (this can be done in blender and a larger batch)

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This is what the purple puree will look like. I know, not very eye appealing, but you are not eating it like this!

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If you make a bigger batch freeze purple puree in 1/2 cup increments. That way, you’ll have it handy for next time!

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Now on to the brownies.  On one bowl mix dry ingredients (not pictured) and on a separate bowl add eggs, puree, vanilla, and sugar.

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On the left is your melted chocolate. On the right is the ingredients above mixed.

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Pour the mixture into the melted chocolate and mix.

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See!! It blends right in!!

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My kids love helping (although they didn’t see the spinach and blueberry mix)

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In case you are still skeptical, you will see that it looks just like the brownie mix when you pour it in the baking dish.

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When done, you get super moist chocolate brownies we hope our kids will actually eat.

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They were excited to try them and eat them -they were brownies after all- but after a couple of bites they said they “tasted funny.”

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And that is how I spent an hour of my day. Attempting to hide spinach and blueberries in brownies just to get my kids to have a little more nutrition. Why isn’t there a better way? Off I go to find another recipe.

In case you want to make the brownies…

Sneaky Brownies

  • Author: Laura Fuentes - SuperGlueMom
Scale

Ingredients

For Brownies:

  • 4TB unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup semisweet choc chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup purple puree (following)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I make a mix of 1/3 white, 1/3 whole wheat, 1/3 wheat germ inside the cup)
  • 1TB unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Optional: 1/2cup chopped walnuts

Purple Puree: – from The Sneaky Chef

  • 3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 2cups frozen chopped spinach).
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
  • 34 TB water (I use water from steamed spinach)

Instructions

For Brownies:

  1. Preheat oven 350F. Butter or spray 9×9 pan.
  2. Melt butter, and chocolate chips in double broiler or microwave. Remove from heat and allow to cool off slightly.
  3. In another bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, sugar, and purple puree. Combine this mixture into cooled chocolate mixture
  4. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour blend, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder (and optional walnuts). Combine chocolate mixture into dry ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Pour in 9×9 baking pan.
  6. Bake 20-25min or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Keeps 1 week in refrigerator covered lightly. See! now you have healthy treats to bring to school for lunch!

Purple Puree:

  1. Steam spinach. When cooked, add blueberries and puree until smooth. Add water as needed for a smooth consistency. Divide puree into 1/2 cup servings and freeze extras.

 

 

5

Green-up Your Kid’s Lunch #2 – Pouch Pals Review & Coupon!

Hello! It’s Green-Up Monday!

Say goodbye to plastic zip bags from your kid’s lunch! Here comes cuteness to wrap it all up!  Seriously.  You know you hate zipping those plastic baggies and you sometimes feel guilty at all the trash you are creating.  If not, I suggest you pay a visit to your kid’s school cafeteria during lunch time and look around.

The same conveniences you love about your plastic zip bags, you’ll adore in your Pouch Pals.  Pouch Pals’ mission is to “Create a healthier planet for our kids by making it easy and fun for families to pack ‘greener’ lunches and reduce waste.”

I’ve been using my Pouch Pals snack bags for a while now and my kids love them.  They are super easy to open and you can put moist or dry food in them.  Here are our two:

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We have the snack size Pouch Pals… but they are pretty roomy.  To the right is Alex’s and it’s holding two mini bagels.  Sofia’s has grapes.   I love the fact that I can reduce zip bag usage, waste, and they are easy to velcro close.  They wash great in the laundry (inside out) or I merely wipe them down to clean if they are not too dirty.  I’ve washed mine a dozen times so far and they have held their shape, texture, and quality perfectly.

One of the things that most impressed me about Pouch Pals is that the product was created by a Mom with small children who saw the need to reduce waste and save money for her family.  From the products to the packaging used for shipping and their stationary; Pouch Pals has definitely proven that they are an environment conscious company.

Look at all these bags! aren’t they cute? Just imagine your child opening up his/her lunch all wrapped up like a present! -That’s what Alex calls them: snack presents.

Aren’t these cute?? I want some for me! Now I know why my friend says that my kids have lots of cute lunch things…. they do!

The Sandwich sized are $9 and the snack sized Pouch Pals are $7.  You’ll see that these will pay for themselves no time between school lunches, after-school snacks and weekend outings.

In case you are wondering how many I suggest you get per child, I think you should get one sandwich size and two or three snack sized ones. You can always put one or two wet wipes inside one for your kid to wash his/her hands before and after they eat (good idea, right?).

I love that Pouch Pals are a safe and reusable alternative to plastic zip bags and they are made in the USA. You’ll save money and feel good that your kids are eating their food out a bag that is made out of a 100% cotton exterior and a nylon interior that is 100% free of BPA, phthalates, and PVC.  On the days they are not using their pouches, you’ll find yourself filling them with your snacks (they are great for at-home-mom snack portion control).

Now that you’ve made it this far and have clicked on Pouch Pals’ site and saw all the cute fabrics that will match any lunch bag… I will tell you that Pouch Pals has offered my readers a 20% off discount on a purchase of $30 or more by entering Pals2711 for the next 30days.  Wooohooo!!! I’m so excited for you! Go get yours and green up your kid’s lunch! 🙂

2 If I Could Only Get Organized….

How many times have you sat there and looked at a pile of mail, papers, kid school work, and receipts on top of your desk and wondered…. If I could just get organized… I could probably be more productive.

This happens to me all the time.  My husband describes me as the cleanest disorganized person he knows.  The thing about working from home is that I have work ‘crap’ everywhere.  There are appointment cover sheets, orders, invoices, finished shipments…  stacked high in one corner of the kitchen counter that has been unofficially dedicated to Laura’s papers crap.  It’s been named the “I’ll get to it when I can” pile.

It’s the urgency of not being able to find something when I really need it that promotes the “I’ll get to it now behavior.”  I associate this to when I was single and I did laundry when I absolutely had to because I had nothing left to wear.

“Getting Organized” is always on my new years resolution list.  This year my office, closet, kitchen, and kid’s rooms topped the list.  I am currently organizing my office out of necessity, not because I want to.  I am moving my office and I have an unfiled pile of papers that is a foot high.  I dream of a NeatDesk to scan our home bills and all my work paperwork (a bit pricey for me to justify buying it).

The truth is, that unless I get all the paperwork in order; I can’t move on. It’s like I have a “chaos block.” My brain gets foggy as to where to proceed to go next.  Plus, it bugs my husband like nothing else to have paper crap everywhere (specially when I can’t find something I need that should be where I think it is…. like our money market checkbook so I can pay tuition by Monday.)

Today is the day my office is being moved. I am finally consolidating the crap-corner with the unfiled pile upstairs; as well as my work from home office with our house bills and the new company.  Chaos I tell you.

Anyone else have trouble keeping up with the filing and putting away?

PS: I didn’t think a picture was necessary for this post; as I think everyone can relate to a crap pile 🙂

Green-up Your Kid’s Lunch #1 Wrap-N-Mat Review

You might have already read what I think about wasteful lunches.  How easy it is to fall into zip bag heaven to wrap up fruit or convenient snacks we buy in bulk for our kids.  Last night I bagged up 49 Valentine’s day “treats” for my kid’s classmates along with a little card.  As I finished the last treat bag, I thought to myself: “this is ridiculous! I can’t believe I am going to write about ‘greener’ ways and here I am wasting this many.”

Another of my pet peeves is the amount of tupperware containers I use up to package up my kid’s lunches.  The top rack of the dishwasher gets filled up in no time!  To top it all off, I think: how clean is the table where they are going to be eating?  (I know, I know…but I can’t help it!)

A while back, I found a Wrap-N-Mat at the container store and loved the idea of having a clean surface to eat anywhere! The sandwich size one is 13×13 inches and fits even a “salad stuffed” sandwich (you know, the ones that have like 3″ worth of lettuce and tomatoes.)

In my case, I love to use it for my kid’s bite sized sandwiches.  They open their Wrap-N-Mat and they can eat their sandwich on a clean surface and not one freshly wiped with Lysol. Once they get home, I just have to wipe it clean or hand wash it for the next use.

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The Wrap-N-Mat Pouch is great to include snacks in their lunch and it opens the same way; pulling the velcro open to provide a clean surface to eat the snack.  I mostly use it for sliced apples, grapes, carrot sticks, crackers and pretzels.  Between these and another re-usable pouch I use, I save about 2-3 zip bags a day for each kid; or about 25-30 a week!!

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This is a back view of the Wrap-N-Mat Wrap (left) and the Wrap-N-Mat Pouch (right).  All Wrap-N-Mat products retail between $7.50-$9.50 for their standard sized Wrap-N-Mat and $10 for the “grande” sized mat (17″x14″) You can buy Wrap-N-Mats at http://www.wrap-n-mat.com/ and other local retailers.

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Wrap -N-Mat has many fun patterns for kids and solid colors for adults.  I think these Wrap-N-Mats are great for adults who sometimes have to eat their lunch at their desk.  Yes, our desks are filled with germs.

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Thank you Wrap-N-Mat for providing these two great samples to try out for my “green-up your lunch” series.  My kids love it; and so do their teachers at school because they don’t have to wipe their tables clean after!

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I was not compensated to write this product review, but I am grateful to Wrap-N-Mat for providing these great samples to try out.  The opinions written above are my own.

5

Wasteful Lunches

Last week I volunteered at my son’s school because a few of the teachers were either sick or they had sick children at home.  The crafts, play and learning time went great… but I have to say that I was shocked at the over-wrapped, processed, high sugary snack food filled lunches these 4 year-olds had!

Almost every kid had a Caprisun drink or some type of juice (I’m not against juice), only a handful had any type of fruit, many had Lunchables (oh, so gross), one kid had pizza wrapped in foil paper, and one kid had 7 zip bags for his lunch alone!

In a class of 16 kids, there was only one little girl whose lunch resembled wholesomeness.  While many kids had some type of healthy item in their lunch (fruit, sandwich, raisins, or yogurt), I only saw one girl with a lunch that did not contain sugars and processed things. I said ” wow, your lunch looks delicious!” Her response: “yes, my mom packs me really healthy things because all that other stuff is not too good for me.”  WOW! What did she have? An almond butter and banana sandwich on sprouted bread, two prunes, carrot sticks, fruit leather and water.

An example of some of the lunches

What I also noticed, is that some kids barely had a lunch at all!  This is a preschool that allows parents to bring a lunch that needs to be warmed up (hello left overs!) why not take advantage? If anything, how much more convenient than making a little extra the night before and sending it to school? Sad, very sad.

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I will tell you right now that I do not claim to be the perfect mom or lunch packer.  I am learning to make fun, creative, convenient lunches that my kids will enjoy.  I try to pack their lunch the night before; because I know that If i left it to the morning rush, lunch would become something that would resemble what you see above although a packaged lunch would never have made it in my shopping basket!

At the end of lunch, I counted 52 zip bags, 9 Caprisuns, 4 juice boxes, 4 barely eaten yogurt containers, 6 half eaten chip bags, 2 apple sauce containers, 4 pudding packs, and 4 lunchables.   What shocked me is the amount of food I had to throw away (except the cookies and chocolate puddings) because the kid either half ate it or there was not way to save it for later.

My kid’s teachers know me as the tupperware lady; not because I sell it, but because all my kid’s food is packaged in re-usable ways.  I’ve decided I am going to do a mini-post-series on “greening up your kid’s lunch” and “zero-waste lunches” with product reviews and suggestions for you on how to reduce, reuse, and waste less! I love questions and suggestions, so send them over!

Stay tuned….

3 Hello?! Do You Need Your Listening Ears On?

As a parent, I find myself repeating instructions, directions, suggestions, questions, and just about anything that comes out of my mouth all day long.  It’s very frustrating, specially at the end of the day when everyone is tired.

My friend Christy showed me an app on her Iphone called Tomcat that repeats everything one says! Wow, wouldn’t that be handy?  You talk to the phone and this cute little cat repeats exactly what you just said. The kids thought it was really cute and wanted it on my phone.  Ooooooh no. Why won’t they listen to ME but listen to a talking cat on the phone?

I find that with motherhood I’ve developed my ability to “tune out” cries, whines, begging requests (mostly the whiny ones), and even the thirteenth “mommmmmm” from my son who is waiting for me to say “yes?”  This leaves me wondering… are our kids also able to tune us out?

Last year, my son made “listening ears” at school.  They had a whole talk about good manners and how important it is to listen to our parents.  For a while, when I found myself repeating everything I was trying to tell my kids, instead of growing frustrated I just pulled these ears out and had my kid put them on.  Then, I would get down to their eye level and say: “Now that you have your BIG listening ears on, I am sure you will hear mommy better.  Can you hear me now? (yess) Oh, GOOD!! So, I really need you to….”

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Thank you Stephanie for modeling the ears since my kids

refused to put them on for the picture

The listening ears sit above our fridge and now and then I pull them out and just ask “Do you need your listening ears on? Because apparently you are not understanding what mommy is trying to tell you…”  And sometimes, they still let me put them on… but mostly they fight each other for who gets to wear them! Unbelievable.

I am tired of repeating myself on silly stuff like “Alex, can you please pick up your cars?” or, “Sofia, can you please eat your dinner?”  And the list goes on and on.  During the day, it’s not as frustrating because I am energized and still filled with positive attitude; but at nighttime, that is a whole other story. Kids are tired from a long day of “listening” to other people… and their listen-o-meter is full.

Anyone else here with me?  Do you have any suggestions that work for you and your kids? Feel free to share in the comments. Thanks!

5 Can Food Bring Happy Memories?

A couple of weeks ago we had family over at our house for a few days.  The truth is that we’ve had people in and out of our house since Thanksgiving.  Our house has -Inn at the end of the name, what can I say?

One of the things that every stay has in common is that we always take our guests to eat at this old, local, big whole in the wall place called R&Os.  I don’t know how long it’s been there, but the food is amazing. From its gumbo, po-boys, shrimp, soft shell crabs, to wood fired pizza.  The menu has something for everybody.

You may be wondering why we take all our guests there.  Well, back in the day (about 10yrs ago) when my husband and I were really poor and happy grad school students, dinning at R&Os for under $20 was a luxury!  I have to repeat that the food is amazing; and to have a date night for under $20 and be happy… was a steal.

Our last group of family:

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I eat pretty healthy and those who know me have to see it to believe that I would eat cheese fries and gravy (only when I go to R&Os – and it’s over an hr away from where I live now).  I remember looking at Eric like he was crazy the first time he ordered them.  WHAT? Who eats that? It’s loaded with grease and beef gravy and roast beef pieces.  If you want to imagine what french fries in heaven may taste and look like… this is it.

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One of the reasons that locals go to this place is for the authenticity of the food. The po-boy bread is big, airy, and fluffy.  Whenever we go here and I look at the menu, I can’t help it but smile and hear my husband’s voice in my head that says: “just order what I ordered, because you know that mine is always better.”  I hate to admit it… but it is true. I used to order my Po-boy sandwich dressed (lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, pickles) and it was delicious.  However, after many many times of trying Eric’s things… HIS were always better. So now, I order mayo only on the all time favorite roast beef po-boy.  He is right, the cold lettuce and tomatoes don’t do it justice; and besides, when you are eating one of these, what is the point of staying on the healthy side?

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New Orleans is known for its oysters and lots of fried seafood.  Bread + fried oysters = Oyster Po-boy (I’m not an oyster fan, but if you are, it is apparently amazing).

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Oh, the amazing roast beef po-boy (yes, I forgot to tell the waitress mayo only).  They make everything in house.  You better bring wet wipes in your purse…. that’s all I am going to say.

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Regardless of when we go or who we go to R&Os with, the experience is always great.  I don’t think it’s just about the food, I think it brings back memories of when life was simpler and we were poor and happy.  We are by no means rich now… but I still rather go to R&Os to eat a roast beef po-boy with cheese fries and gravy than go eat at Emeril’s (sorry Emeril!).  It’s the happy memories that are triggered by something so simple that make it worth it every time.

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R&Os did not sponsor this post or provide me with any compensation. I thoroughly enjoy eating at their establishment; so, if you know the person that owns it, feel free to let them how that I’d take a po-boy any day!

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