Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

Earth Day is here! But if you're like me, you try to treat everyday like earth day, not only for your family's health, but for future generations as well.

That's why this event is SO awesome - you can do good, get informed and have a little fun at the same time. Here's the low down:

The Great Cloth Diaper Change


Cloth diapers have come a long way in past 10 years, and it’s time to stand up and be noticed. Celebrate Earth Day, by joining the North American and International cloth diaper community on April 23rd, 2011 at 9AM PDT to set the Guinness world record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously. 

While this event will be happening in nearly 400 other locations through out the world, there is one happening right here in our own back yard at the Tree House Social Club in Los Angeles. Come and enjoy a high end raffle, food, beverages and an awesome playground for the kids. Check out the event's facebook page for the specifics.
 
You'll be doing something good for you and your kids, and if you still have doubts about the benefits of cloth diapers - check out this article from my fav source BabyCenter.
 

And if all else fails, check out the below statistics from our friends at the Real Diaper Association. The truth is not pretty, but it exists.  Knowledge is power people! 
  • In 1988, over 18 billion diapers were sold and consumed in the United States that year.  Based on our calculations (listed below under "Cost: National Costs"), we estimate that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S.
  • The instructions on a disposable diaper package advice that all fecal matter should be deposited in the toilet before discarding, yet less than one half of one percent of all waste from single-use diapers goes into the sewage system.
  • Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill.
  • In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent annually just to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags.





Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Um, Uh....Yeah...

Lately Joe has been saying "yeah" instead of "yes". It's driving me nuts - because I know he got it from me. Then, today, I read an interesting article on BabyCenter about ums and uhs. Yep. That's what the study was about - using "um" and "uh" while explaining stuff to our kids. Sleeplessness and endless distractions will make you less articulate almost overnight. While I don't think I use these words (?), I might. And if I do, I'm covered. Read more here:

Saying "um" and "uh" to kids may aid learning

 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Art of Manliness Explained

This was one of my most favorite blogs that I wrote for momlogic.com and I'm reposting it, because well, I love it. 

Read it and let me know if you agree about what it means to be a man in today's world.



Could we be in the middle of a "manaissance" -- a time wherein a new kind of "manly dad" is learning how to step up to the plate? Brett McKay, founder of the website The Art of Manliness, thinks so.
His site gets hundreds of thousands of hits each week, yet despite being featured on CNN and garnering a heavy cult following, Brett is incredibly down-to-earth about his mission to inspire dudes to be better men -- and better dads. We sat down with him to talk about how dad's roles have changed in recent years (among other topics). Read on -- then show this to your man!

momlogic: How did the idea for the website come about?

Brett McKay: I was standing in Borders one night looking at men's magazines, and I realized that the topics they covered were exactly the same every month: How to get six-pack abs, how to score lots of women and something about Megan Fox's boobs (or whoever the babe of the moment was). I remember thinking, "Is this all there is to being a modern man?"

And I as looked around at the men my age, a lot of them seemed a little lost and directionless. Some of them had grown up without dads; they didn't have any male mentors, and the examples of men in the media were clueless buffoons or violent meatheads. They didn't know what a man was, and I realized I didn't have a clear idea, either. The art of manliness had stopped being passed down from generation to generation. I thought it was time for my generation to rediscover it. So I decided to start a different kind of men's magazine, one that didn't focus on cars and boobs, but instead had more substance and took seriously the idea of helping men become better, helping them reach their potential and find their way in the world -- while having fun, too!

ml: Why do you think there has been a resurgence of "manliness" recently?

BM: I think a lot of men are just fed up with the low expectations given to them these days. They're tired of being the butt of every commercial or sitcom joke. They're tired of the Maxim/Spike TV versions of masculinity. I also think that a generation of men who grew up without strong father figures is looking for guidance on how to be honorable men. Also, some sociologists argue that every generation ends up [being] like their grandparents' generation in some ways.

ml: How does this new manliness relate to family life?

BM: To me, being manly means being the best husband, father, friend, brother and son you can be. It's all about stepping up to the plate, taking personal responsibility for your life and being a contributing member of society and your family. I believe that a man should be the rock of the family. Not in the stoic "you can't squeeze tears from a stone" way, but by being the anchor of calm during life's storms, stepping up instead of hiding when your wife and kids need you, solving problems, taking care of what needs to be done and showing some leadership.

I definitely believe that marriage is an equal partnership, but too often these days, men who are afraid of coming off as chauvinistic (or are just lazy!) turn the "equal partnership" into the wife having to make all the decisions, all the time. The women I know, all across the feminist/nonfeminist spectrum, want a man to take charge of things sometimes.

In regards to fatherhood, being a "manly dad" means being available to your kids both physically and emotionally. Having dad around is important for both girls and boys, so dads should do the things they know they should but too often don't. Spend time with your kids. Play with them. Talk with them. Read with them. Be the best example you can be. Show your kids that being a good man not only means being strong and brave, but also being nurturing and empathetic.

ml: Amen! In your opinion, why are many of today's women drawn to manly men?

BM: I think biology plays a role; there's that evolutionary desire for a man who can be a capable provider and protector. What women really want is a guy who's emotionally healthy and mature, but also has that confident, take-charge kind of manliness that's truly attractive.

ml: We know that you don't have kids yet, but would like to someday. If you have a son, what will you teach him?
 
BM: If I had a boy, the way I'd instill the art of manliness in him is to read him stories about great men from history, teach him how to do manly stuff and, most importantly, spend quality time with him, modeling good manhood and mentoring him in manliness.

ml: What do you consider to be typical "manly" activities?

BM: Well, there's the typical stuff we think of -- woodworking, hunting, fishing, sports. But I think that a lot of different activities can be manly, so long as a man does them with gusto. Great art, literature and music have been created by manly men. The life of the mind can be manly. Video games and fantasy football? Not manly. Men need to get out and actually play football and a real guitar instead of playing pretend football coach and jamming on a plastic instrument.


Is your man a "manly dad"? Tell us why -- or why not.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rainbow Pancakes

My family spent a wonderful weekend with friends and while we were making pancakes for our large crew Sunday morning, I was reminded of this story.

Originally posted on Momlogic.com April 15, 2010

Mom, baker, blogger ... rabble-rouser? Apparently so.

When Minnesota's Amanda Rettke blogged about the adventurous task of baking rainbow pancakes for her children, the colorful recipe took off and was soon posted around the Web on various cooking sites.

And it's no wonder -- these things are fantastic! But what happened next was a big surprise: Amanda's blog received more than 500,000 hits -- and a ton of negative comments, ranging from "Gross!" to "You shouldn't be allowed to procreate if you're going to feed your kids junk!"
WTF?! Last we checked, this mom Just. Made. Pancakes. Turns out, there is a definite dark side to mommy blogging ... and poor Amanda walked right into the middle of it.

We sat down with Amanda to talk about her life as a mommy blogger ... and whether or not she'll make recipes like the infamous rainbow pancakes ever again!

momlogic: Tell us more about how your pancake blog-entry became so popular.
Amanda Rettke: I made the pancakes in October of 2009, and in February of this year they were featured on Swiss-Miss.com. Then it snowballed, and every food site from Slashfood.com to ohdeedoh.com had the picture up. I even saw them on The Insider!

ml: Can you share some of the good, the bad and the ugly of the comments?
AR: Meanest comments? "Food for people with no self-respect." "This is just GROSS!" "This woman should not be allowed to procreate." Nicest comments? Lots of folks mentioned that they were inspired to make these for their own children. Anytime someone tells me they are inspired, I get all sappy and smiley.

ml: What inspired you to make these pancakes?
AR: I was inspired by my kids! I had just made a rainbow cake for some friends, and the kids were obsessed with it! When they woke up that morning, they kept asking for rainbow cake -- to which I said no. But then I said, "How about pancakes?" The kids asked, "Can they be blue and green and red, Mom?!" [And I said,] "Well ... sure! We can make rainbows!"

ml: What is your response to the rainbow-pancake haters?
AR: At first, I was mortified. I had no idea that pancakes would inspire such mean in people! When folks started talking about what a horrible mom I was, I really started to feel lousy. But then I blogged about it in my series Things Successful Bloggers Do, and the feedback was thoughtful and encouraging and supportive! I started to put things back in perspective and understand that who I was as a parent was not represented in a picture of silly pancakes.

ml: Will the negative feedback discourage you from writing about your baking?
AR: No. I write and bake for a very specific audience, and this is people who love to consume massive amounts of sugar and/or give away massive amounts of sugar. I'm kidding. If anything, the feedback about these pancakes motivated me to be more educated! I want to make sure my kids have the best possible diet and are exposed to the proper ways to maintain a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.

ml: What's funny is, you really limit your kids' sugar to begin with!
AR: Yes, I do! I am big on making sure their "core fuel" is healthy. My husband shot a buffalo, and that has been our main source of meat for about two years. As I am sure you know, buffalo is very lean and healthy, and (since my husband shot it) free from the chemicals, additives and hormones that are in the meat bought at the grocery store.

We also make sure the snacks and extras are as organic as possible. Like ketchup -- my kids love ketchup! But if you don't get it natural or organic, the main ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar! Not tomatoes!

For snacks, we do all-natural or organic peanut butter and snack crackers. We also have plum trees in our backyard, so we make our own jelly! My husband is an amazing gardener, so we have a large organic garden that allows us to can veggies and fruits for consumption all year long. I also make them smoothies about five times a week.


Around holidays and birthdays (and anytime they go to Grandma's house), I supplement their diet with probiotics and vitamins. And no, 90 percent of the time they don't eat what I bake. When they are good helpers, though, an occasional mixer spoon does get licked clean.

ml: What's the inspiration for your daily blog, and how does it fit into your daily life as a stay-at-home mom?
AR: My blogs are about baking and being a mommy, so 99 percent of my inspiration comes from loving to eat sweet things and from the experiences as a mom and wife. I live in a small town outside Minneapolis-St. Paul with my husband and three kids and am a stay-at-home mom. I am an avid amateur photographer and baker and love that my kids enjoy hanging out in the kitchen with me!

ml: You're a pretty successful baker, from the looks of it. How many cookies and cakes do you think you baked last year?
AR: Ha! Thank you. I suppose I have made upwards of two thousand cookies this year. I mostly bake for friends and family, but I have also made cookies for church functions, weddings and some Internet orders.

ml: What advice can you give moms who may be receiving negative comments about their blogs, yet really enjoy and believe in what they are writing?
AR: Check the source. If the comment is from an anonymous source just being mean, don't give it too much credibility. If you are writing about your family and your kids, there is no better reliable source than you!

We want to know: What do you think of these pancakes?