Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: Ella's Kitchen Organic Baby Food

I had the great pleasure of meeting the reps from Ella's Kitchen at BlogHer 2011.  They are such a vibrant company with a fun story.  Ella is a real life little girl with an inspired father, Paul, who collaborated to create 100% organic and kids food with a variety of unique blends of fruits, vegetables and grains.

  
"Healthy eating can be fun, tasty, and cool for kids!"
If you've been in Target lately (and what good woman hasn't?), you will see that they're on the shelves there in a happy rainbow of colors in convenient little squeeze pouches. 

Here are some informational tid-bits you should know about Ella's Kitchen products:
  • No added sugar, salt or water
  • No perservatives or thickeners
  • No egg, wheat or gluten
  • BPA free packaging
  • 100% organic
  • Orthodox Union Kosher (I am sorry to admit I don't know what this means but hopefully you do)
They are good for when you're on the go and to add to recipes so your child gets their fruits and veggie servings (sneaky sneaky).  It is resealable for use within 48 hours, but honestly, my 11 month old can eat one entire pouch in seconds.

Personally, for my l'il chicken hawk, since he's been born, I've only made my own baby food based on food I already had on hand, or specifically bought to make my own.  Since I've found myself 'in between jobs', making my own baby food saves me money on baby food and the hassle of trips to the store, and it also introduces a variety of texture to his palate.

To be honest, buying Ella's Kitchen baby food would be cost-prohibitive for me since I'm watching my $ (watching it flow down the drain).  But I think having a some on hand is good for outings or when you're in a hurry.  When I offered Ella's Kitchen pouches to my son, he devoured them quickly and wanted more.  (He's got a BIG appetite.)   You can say they were a hit with him!  My chickadees begged me to give them some too.

Another concern I have are the packaging waste, which is a concern for many Eco-concious folks.

Some of the unique food combinations are extensive for all levels of eaters - take a peek!
For the kids, I prefer anything that's got vegetables in it, since it's so difficult to get them to eat it off their plate.

You can find Ella's Kitchen in your favorite stores like Target, Kroger, buybuyBaby and online at Diapers.com and Amazon.com - and they're expanding their reach all the time.



Interact with Ella's Kitchen online at:
Disclaimer: I was provided with a sample box of Ella's Kitchen baby food for this review.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've Got a Friend to Unfriend

To help with Jimmy Kimmel's cause for National Unfriend Day, I've got a friend...

She posted this on her Facebook today (while driving apparently):
Dear Lime green SMART car, Next time you speed up to cut me off...I won't come to a screeching HALT and instead you will become an pretty hood ornament on my SUV:)! Happy Holidays!!
Texting and driving combined with road rage? Lethal combo. And I told her so - I was the only one in her stream of 'Atta Girl' comments to be contrary.

She is so full of herself and her materialism.  Her entire Facebook feed is one big, exaggerated brag after another.  Just to let you know, she has 496 friends and is truly clinging to her party girl reputation.  Hell yeah, we used to rage when we were younger and I was a little more single, but now she's roaming into cougar territory with no sign of slowing down.  

I don't like the way she sounds in this post - as if she's scoffing at someone who would drive a SMART car while she drives her top of the line Range Rover.  Just her - no husband, boyfriend or kids or dog.  Just her AND her big fake boobs.  Did we not grow up in the same small town with humble beginnings?

Truth be told, I may be just a little jealous.  She has a great job with tons of perks, owns her own home in a gorgeous city, is single and living the high life, traveling around the world and partying with fun and interesting people.  And she has a nice rack and 496 friends.  Possibly 495 if I unfriend her.  

Should I?  Do you have any friends you want to remove from your Facebook?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Joy

We've survived the Thanksgiving holiday weekend! I bet you probably forgot about it already, didn't you?  We're moving onto Christmas without a second thought about Thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for again? Do you remember?

I am a little 'Bah Humbug' and get a little irritated with the sappy posts about what people are thankful for.  I know I need to be a little more appreciative for the blessings in my life - that's for sure! Just to be clear, I AM thankful for so many things: health, home, car, food, conveniences, children, friends, education, etc.
But grant me a moment of venting about what I'm not thankful about. 
  • My mom  who doesn't bother to call me and wish me a Happy Thanksgiving or to check on her grandchildren.  I find that rude and selfish. And no, I still haven't called her because I'm being stubborn and want to see how long it takes her to reach out.  It could be weeks or months...
  • Stock Images - Stylish smoker
    Looking down her nose at me.
    © Photographer:  | Agency: Dreamstime.com
    SMIL who asks the same probing, personal family questions: "How is so and so doing?" "Have you talked to so and so?" and she'll go through the list of family members I'm embarrassed about. I don't have any new information on these family members and don't feel like sharing anyway.  When I try to change the subject to talk about my other aspects of my life or what I'm working on, she never really listens or hears me. Either that or she acts like she's scoffing at whatever I find funny or enjoyable.  She just doesn't get me. At. All.  It seems I can't talk to her about any subject without it becoming awkward.  Case in point: me telling my FIL about a cool app called Stitcher, which compiles all podcasts in one place for great listening.  "I don't need any more media to listen to; I've got all the news I need with my NPR." me: "Oh, as a matter of fact, they have NPR podcasts on Stitcher." Crickets.
  • NaNoWriMo. I'm new to it and refuse to lose. I am writing at least 1600 words a day between the hours of 9 to midnight.  Or later. The sleep deprivation is making me depressed and delirious.  I'm not able to keep up with my blog or other chores very well.  Craziness. I can't believe my SMIL kept asking me to show her what I've written - she said she really wanted to read it.  I said no, it's really not a story yet, it's just a regurgitated splattering of words so I could get to the 50,000 word goal.  Plus, it's semi-autobiographical, therefore personal, and I am shy about sharing that with anyone.  It's not that it contains anything super juicy or torrid, it's just that she doesn't understand me, so why would she want to read my story? She would just try to compare it to a piece of classic literature, which it is definitely not, and judge me.  She then went on to tell me of people she knew that were novelists and English professors at some name brand university. (Wasn't really listening.) Me: "Oh, one of my cousins is an author of erotic fiction." Ha - gotcha there! Conversation stopper.
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday or any holiday shopping.  I only have $50 in my checking account to last me until my unemployment check comes in.  Which it will come later than planned because last week I forgot to send in my claim form in a timely manner (I blame NaNoWriMo).  I don't think my children or husband need any more material things.  My FIL just took my husband out on a big shopping spree and bought him (us) an iPad and a bunch of toys for the children, so it seems we are covered there. I feel as though buying an iPad is a little expensive and possibly not necessary as we both have smart phones and laptops and a PC.  How much technology does one family need?  At one point does it become too much?  "It has great games on it." We have a Wii and a DS that we don't play with; do we need games on an iPad? Just another 'THING' in our lives.
  • Holiday decorations. Another thing to manage. We've inherited a ton from my deceased MIL and it's just too much.  They're not my style and I resent the explosion of Dickens mayhem that has taken over our house.
That is all for now.  That's enough Debbie Downer for one day.  The Big Chicken Hawk does not like it when I'm this disgruntled.  I start attacking everything and I'm no fun to be around.  But one last vent - I am not thankful how he acts like a tough guy in front of his parents and responds to my statements with a condescending facial expression.  I can't weigh in on our activity agenda and schedule? Whatever!

In addition, I am very thankful that November and NaNoWriMo is coming to an end in a few more days.  I am going to win the challenge, so there! Proof that I don't quit everything that gets too hard!

UPDATE: My mom called me this evening. Hooray! She said she spent Thanksgiving alone because she was sick with bronchitis (remember she has COPD) and my sister didn't invite her over until it was too late. (Awww...now I feel bad.) She said it was the first time in forever she didn't host a dinner at her house. 

Well, if she wasn't so damn anti-social and angry all the time, she wouldn't have to be so alone.  Is this what my future looks like if I continue to be so disgruntled?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tis the Season for Giving

Since September, when school started, we've been inundated with fundraising and school fees.  It's becoming overwhelming.  Of course they aren't 'mandatory', but we certainly don't want to stand out as the stingy family.  We've had:
  • PTA membership
  • PTA birthday book club
  • Jog-a-thon
  • Spirit wear
  • Class pictures x 2
  • Pumpkin carving with Daddy
  • Harvest Festival 
  • Spooky Bingo night
  • Book orders
  • Yearbook orders
Stock Images - Keeping Cash
© Photographer:  | Agency: Dreamstime.com

It's $25 here, $10 there, but it's becoming a drag.  I feel anxious being unemployed and not having my disposable income. And now that we're heading into the Christmas season, we're bombarded with messages of helping the needy and everyone is fundraising.  Don't get me wrong, I totally want to give and help in any way I can, but at some point I feel like I'm a charity case.  No, we're not in dire straights and need any help paying our mortgage or buying food/clothes/toys, but allow me the opportunity to vent for a second.

We sponsor a World Vision child in Armenia, I volunteer my time with a few local charities and I give to our church.  I don't feel like giving any more to be honest.  I'm fretting about my finances, joblessness, upcoming expenditures and juggling all the responsibilities of having three small children.  I don't feel like buying toys for underprivileged children when I don't even buy toys for my own kids.  I don't feel like buying clothes for underprivileged children when I have been shopping at the consignment shop or taking hand me downs from friends.

I do not want to take an extra trip to the grocery store to fill up a shoebox for Operation Christmas child when I don't even go to the store for my own family unless I absolutely have to.  Going to the store with this many children is a nightmare - like yesterday when we just popped into Ralph's to buy cat food, litter, toothpaste and vitamins and they chickadees were running around crazy and knocked down a glass bottle of medicine and it shattered.

My children are my ministry and charity and it takes up all my resources.  If there ever was a non-profit geared for people like me, they would have people volunteering to help stressed out moms out.  They would offer to play with them or take them to the park so we can job search or get some work done around the house. Or even to volunteer at their child's school. Or even, God forbid, to go out on dates with their husbands to maintain a relationship.  Moms like me need mental health breaks and don't want to pay a babysitter $12 an hour to get it.  That's a stress in itself.  I can't even volunteer my time in the community for most causes if I don't have someone to watch my kids.  Most people who never left their hometowns, have the luxury of family in town to help out. 

Another thing about charities - I feel that we have so many people in our own communities and nation that desperately need our attention.  I am concerned about impoverished people around the world too, but I think we definitely need to take care of our own first.

That is my two cents and what is weighing on my heart right now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Working 9 to 5

Here's an oldie but a goody.  It's one of my favorite songs to get motivated to take on the day.

It really doesn't motivate me to want to pursue another job at the moment.  But then again, maybe if I worked at Dolly-Wood, I would love it as much as these folks seem to.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Miss Hiss




My oldest chickadee is learning to read. This book is from one of her easy  reader books at school. For some reason it really makes me laugh. I am nicknaming my youngest chickadee Miss Hiss from now on. Is really suits her abrasive personality.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Cancer Can't Do

My old friend from middle school has been diagnosed with cancer and starts chemo this week.  I am sad for her and for those in her life.  She recently got divorced last year, but has a new boyfriend, and has 3 little girls at home.  She is only 35.

It is so frightening to see people my age (or even younger) having to fight cancer.  I guess at any age really.  I have a family history as well, so it forces me to face the fact that I might have to battle it at some point too.

I sent her a care package of a cute knit stocking cap, my good luck Tigger socks, old pictures of us from when we were wild and free, and a book, "What Cancer Can't Do."  Just reading the title of the book brought tears to my eyes.  And I'm not a super sappy person - most days.

I read through the book before packaging it up and it was so endearing.  I knew if I was in her shoes, I would feel comforted by the words and the spiritual insight the book provided.  Still - it is a scary spot to be in.  My other close friend just finished her last round of chemo and watching her go through that was terrible.

My friend who is just starting her chemo treatment is mostly a Facebook friend now, as we no longer live in the same town and we lost touch over 20 years ago!  Doesn't even seem possible that I could be that old, but it's true.  Who knows what happens in high school to make you lose touch with certain people.  Boyfriends, interests, trouble with school, problems at home...??

I know this particular friend was into her boyfriend so much, they rarely left the bedroom I think.  Some of my other friends thought she was a 'slut' and didn't really want to hang out with her.  I enjoyed having wild friends like that because I could relate to their rebelliousness.  But, I had also been persecuted for my wayward tendencies and I was trying to 're-brand' myself about the time I was a junior in high school.  So I started distancing myself somewhat from my bad girl friends.  Or was it because I was super into my loser boyfriend? The one who wore black leather driving gloves driving his powder-yellow Datsun pickup truck?  I can hardly remember...

Either way, this friend and I lost touch.  If it wasn't for Facebook, I wouldn't even know where she was.  Or that she was battling this.  She grew up, became even more beautiful, had three beautiful daughters and still has a blast with her girlfriends.  I'm jealous.  I miss those fun friendships.  I wish I had girlfriends rallying around me when I'm at my worst.

Living two states away from everyone is sad.  Being a mom can be isolating enough, not to mention being relatively new somewhere without all the connections of your home base.  Facebook makes me heartsick for the people in my life that I've known since I was a young, clueless girl.  The girl who just wanted to get the hell out of her home town and start over.

Funny to look back now and wonder what the hell I was thinking.  But at least there is a way to keep in touch with technology these days.  And I am able to be a friend from afar and hopefully bring her, and other friends, a moment of joy in their sad and scary times.