Thursday, November 20, 2008

happy sacks - the reusable sandwich bag

This idea is genius!! I need to order some of these reusable snack and sandwich bag for school lunches. I hate using plastic bags and result to packing a lunch full of glad ware! This is a much better option. By purchasing from Happy Sacks! you are supporting local labor, which is great! You can check them out at

Here is what their site says about themselves:

happy-sacks! were invented in the hills of western Massachusetts by a mother of three who packs over 500 lunches every year!

They are made in our home-based workshop by talented local sewers. We are committed to keeping our business local, and will never outsource our labor.

happy-sacks! are a great alternative to plastic bags and wraps, especially when just one reusable bag has the potential to eliminate an average of 1000 plastic bags over its lifetime!

post signature

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

processed foods you can't live with out

I have eliminated probably 90% of the processed foods that we use to eat but there are a couple that I haven't let go of or found a better, more natural substitute for. Here is my list of top five most loved processed foods that I can't let go of! I would love to know if anyone has any great substitutes for some of these.

1. Cream of _____ soup -
Surely there is a better way to make my favorite casseroles with out using cream of chicken/potato/mushroom, etc. Surely there is a healthier choice, but until I find it, I just can't let go!

2. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls-
I love these things. They are so easy to add to a dinner, and make a great pizza crust, taco ring crust, stuffable yumminess. I know they aren't good for us, so I try and minimize my use, but I truly have a love affair with these.

3. Mac and Cheese out of the box-
I have gotten better by switching to Annie's, but bottom line the cheese is powder and I know homemade is better, but my kids only like the box kind and I try and balance it out with fruit and other healthy sides... it's a crutch I know!

4. Cereal Bars-
Again, I have switched to healthier/organic versions, but surely there are better breakfasts for my kids. I have limited our purchasing of these, but both my kids love them ( and hey it's better than an oreo or little debbie snack!)

5. Instant Oatmeal-
Again, I buy organic but know that the plain oatmeal would have a lot less sugar than the flavored packets. Personally I am just happy to get oatmeal in them, so is this the lesser of the evils??

What are your guilty pleasures??

post signature

Thursday, November 6, 2008

hand me downs.... the ultimate recycling

A friend just recommended this great site! You should check it out. If they don't have your city already, you can get it started . You can sell/donate clothing, toys, and gear! What a great way to recycle!

post signature

Monday, November 3, 2008

soup's on!! what's for dinner this week!

Here is our menu for the week. I menu planned, cut coupons and shopped yesterday. I love starting the week off organized.

Monday- Baked Potato Soup, honey butter and crescent rolls, salad
Tuesday- Chicken and Brocolli casserole, brown rice
Wednesday- BBQ mini meatloafs and mashed taters
Thursday- Left Overs
Friday- Vegetable soup and homemade bread

What are you eating this week??

post signature

Sunday, November 2, 2008

great deal for the georgia aquarium

Me and Mommy $20 ticket to the Georgia Aquarium!! Twenty dollars gets you and all your children under 5 Mondays-Fridays from now until 12/31/08! This is a super deal to get into an incredible aquarium!! Click here for all the details!

Who's up for a playdate?

post signature

Saturday, November 1, 2008

winter coats and car seat safety

Now that it is getting cold I thought this was a great reminder of how to handle bulky winter clothing and still keep our kids safe in the car. It would be so easy to just loosen up those straps and squeeze all that fluff in but it just is not as safe. Here is a great article explaining why it's not safe and what you should do instead!

post signature

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

haba farm set steal

I am all about wooden toys for my kids. I love any toy that doesn't take a battery and requires some imagination to be played with. Well today on, they have this awesome wooden farm set for sale. It retails at $39.99, but is a steal today for $19.99. This would make a great Christmas present or to put away for birthdays!

Baby Steals is a great site to get awesome products at reduced costs. They have organic baby clothing on there occasionally so keep an eye out!

post signature

Monday, October 27, 2008

slacker menu monday

My menu is really slacking this week as we are really busy and not eating at home much but here goes!

Sunday- leftover pizza, applesauce and grapes
Monday- fend for yourself night
Tuesday- I have small group dinner. Family will eat annie's mac and cheese and fruit. I am making homemade yeast rolls for small group and making chicken pot pie and pumpkin bread for a friend who just had a baby.
Wednesday- I have my monthly dinner club. Family will have grilled cheese on whole wheat and soup
Thursday- Chicken Pot Pie ( I will make a double batch of the filling tomorrow so I just have to throw ours together on Thursday)
Friday- We will be having dinner at a friends for a Halloween Party. I think I am going to make corn bread and heath bar apple dip to take with us.
Saturday- some sort of pasta, maybe chicken pesto??

So, sorry we have a busy week. I am not so full of good ideas this week. What are you eating this week??

post signature

Sunday, October 26, 2008

what do you think about this fox news article?

It states that non organic is no healthier than organic... share your thoughts before I share mine!!

click here to read!

post signature

Friday, October 24, 2008

trader joe's pumpkin bread mix

As I have mentioned before my kids are in love with pumpkin bread and what better time to make some then on a rainy cold fall afternoon. Last time I was at Trader Joe's I grabbed some of the Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix. For $2.99 I figured it was worth a shot. While nothing will ever top homemade, this mix was pretty tasty and quick to throw together. Lots of dumping and stirring which my four year old loved. We decided to make mini muffins instead of bread which are great for preschooler and toddler hands. I would recommend this as something to keep on hand for a rainy afternoon or when you need something quick to make and don't want to have to worry about having all the right ingredients on hand.

post signature

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

why should you choose organic foods for your kids

A lot of people think I am a little over the top or too controlling over what I feed my kids (personally, I think I am pretty lieant). They don't understand why natural and organic foods are so important to me. Here are 5 reasons I want my kids to have as much natural and organic foods as possible ( I could go on and on so I limited myself to 5!):

1. Artificial Hormones- I don't want my children fed tons of unnecessary hormones in the meat, cheese, milk and yogurt.

2. HFCS- High Fructose Corn Syrup- Despite what the lovely ads say, HFCS is not natural. Sure once upon a time it was corn, but that does not make it natural. If my kids are going to have sugar, I want them to eat real sugar, not chemically derived sugar.

3. Artifical colors- Blueberry yogurt should be purple not neon razzmatazz berry blue and lime green yogurt shouldn't even exist! I want my kids to eat healthy foods and not be bought into the advertising/marketing schemes that food companies ploy on kids.

4. Real food- I want my kids to be exposed to real food and lots of varieties of it. I have very picky kids. Sure they would love to eat french fries and chicken nuggets for every meal, but I am their mom and it's my job to expose them to as many healthy choices and varieties of food as possible. Many will be refused, but eventually their paletes will expand and they won't be fearful of things that are actually food, and not just processed junk. (And believe me, my kids are not deprived their nuggets and fries... everything in moderation).

5. Pesticides- pesticides scare me. If they are meant to kill things on fruit and veggies what good could they possible do to my child's insides (or mine for that matter!). With different cancers popping up all around us,I want to prevent as many chemicals as possible from going into my child's body.

If you are interested in exposing your child to more organic food or want to just understand why some of us stand so strong on this issue I highly recommend this article from Dr. Greene. He explains so many of the benefits of natural and organic foods.

post signature

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

pumpkin apple muffins

I found this yummy sounding recipe on Testosterone Times Three today. I can't wait to try them. I am going to use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose. I have found when you split the two you can't really tell the difference. I might cut some of the sugar too. If you tweak this at all and they come out good, share with us what you did!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled apples

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Combine eggs, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. For topping, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle 1 teaspoon over each muffin. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

post signature

Monday, October 20, 2008

marvelous menu monday

I am all about meal planning to conserve food and save money, so I am going to post my menu every Monday. Let me know in the comments if you want any of the recipes and feel free to share your menu!

Sunday- Chili and cornbread
Monday- Peachy Pork Picante and brown rice
Tuesday- Leftovers- mama's going to the movies!
Wednesday- Spaghetti and salad and homemade bread
Thursday- chicken pot pie
Friday- Family Movie night- hot dogs (nitrate free), tater tots and baked beans

what are you eatin' this week??

post signature

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

30 days to natural

I found this great website sponsored by GreenWorks last night. It is called Basically you can sign up on their site and they will send you either text messages or emails with ways to make your home more natural. It's a great place for beginners to get started with out being overwhelmed. I have signed up to see what kind of tips they give that I am not already doing and to encourage me in the things I know I should be doing.

There is also a diary section that follows three moms and their journey with more natural living. I love hearing what real people are doing so I am going to be checking that section out in more detail.

Check out their site, plant a virtual daisy and start getting some great tips. Let us know what you think about the project in our comments!

post signature

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

smashies, mmm mmm good

Our sweet friends at Smashies sent my two little ones some samples of Smashies Organic Squeezable fruit to taste test and let me tell you, they were a big hit in our house.

Smashies come in a neat little squeezable container that your little one can squeeze applesauce right into their mouth. This is a super invention for my 18 month old because she loves applesauce but isn't so good at keeping it on the spoon yet. I loved that I could give it to her and let her eat it up, with out bathing in it. I acutally prepared my entire dinner one night while she slurped her applesauce right down.

Snappy Apple is the only flavor they have out right now, but they are promising three more by the end of this year and three more by next summer. I will definitly be on the look out. These handy little guys make a great, healthy and organic diaper bag snack, something that is not easy to find! You can currently purchase Smashies online by clicking here and be on the lookout because they are coming to stores near to you soon!

post signature

Monday, October 13, 2008

smelly cloth diapers in an HE washer.....

About two months ago our washer died and we decided to get a top loader, HE washer. My biggest concern while washer shopping was how cloth would wash up in them. Well, two months later and I don't feel any better about my wash routine. I am using Tide Free and Clear, and I feel like no matter what I do, they still still are a little stinky when they come out of the dryer. I also feel like there is never enough water in the machine to get the diapers good and clean.

So, all you cloth diapering mamas.... send me some tips! What is your wash routine?? What HE soaps work for you?? Please help me out!!

post signature

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

eco show in atlanta!

This is an awesome show going on this Friday in Atlanta. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend due to running around like a crazy person finishing the last details of big boy's birthday party, but you totally should go! Please come back and leave comments telling us all about how awesome it is!! Click on the picture to see the image larger. Check out for more information.

post signature

Monday, October 6, 2008

wonderoos sale

This came in my inbox today from Blueberry Diapers:

For those who have been using cloth diapers for a while, you may be familiar with the diaper brand called Wonderoos. It was the original one size pocket diaper which is now owned by Hip Hip Baby, a company in the UK. Swaddlebees/Blueberry is currently the distributor of Wonderoos in the USA.

Beginning October 6, we are holding a Buy 2 Get 1 Free promotion on Wonderoos diapers. Diapers will include two 3-layer microfiber inserts. This offer will not be available directly on Swaddlebees or Blueberry, but will be exclusively available from the following retailers:

Tree City Diapers
For the Monster
Heiny King
Child Organics
Natural Baby Source
The Natural Mothering Shop

Detailed information about the diapers is available on The sale will run for 10 days and ends on October 15th.

and ps.... we are back on the wagon today!! now just need to find some better liners!

post signature

Sunday, October 5, 2008

veggie breads

Fall is officially here and I am looking for some good veggie bread recipes. Pumpkin, zucchini, hit me with your best bread and muffins recipes. My kids love any kid of muffin/bread, so this is a good way to get more veggies in them with out them knowing. Oh, I would love a great apple bread recipe too if anyone has one! I will try them out and post my/ the kids faves.

You can email me recipes at stephanieswanson at mac dot com, or you can post them directly in to the comments.

Ready, set, go!

post signature

Friday, October 3, 2008

are they serious......

Have you seen the "high fructose corn syrup" advocate commercials yet? I seriously had to rewind on my tivo because I couldn't believe that I just saw that. Did you happen to notice the endorsement from CORN REFINERS at the bottom?? Do they think we are that dumb? Do they really believe because something was once corn that it is natural, despite the chemical processing they have to do to it to turn it in to a sugary substance. Do they not realize that with HFCS comes artificial colors and tons of other unhealthy substances that are being poured into our children, the fatest children this nation has ever seen?

I can't even collect my thoughts clearly enough to let you know exactly how much the commerical infuriated me. And I feel for all the children of parents who will fall for this stupid gimmick of a commerical.

And one last thing, how bad must the stuff really be if they deem it necessary to make commericals about it to try and get this cheap, artifical sweetner into our bodies.

Okay, rant over! Tell me what you think about it? Did this make anyone else as mad as it made me??

ETA: here is another great blog on this stupid stupid commericals....

post signature

Thursday, October 2, 2008

fallen off the wagon

So as you know if you have read my past posts, I am a huge cloth diaper advocate. Well, I am here to confess all my sins, and I have totally fallen off the wagon. We stopped using cloth when we went to the beach. I don't like to travel with cloth if I don't know what my washing set up will be like and boy was I glad because it was an awful washing machine! Well I had every intention of getting back into cloth when we got back and I did for a while, but then Gracie started getting some HORRIBLE rashes. She would be clear and clean one change and angry red and blistered at the next. We took her to a pediatric dermatologist and he put her on a prescription diaper cream, which of course, stains cloth diapers, so back into sposies she went.

Last night as I was buying a case of LUVS, the guilt was overwhelming me. I love cloth diapers. I love her in cloth diapers. I love the benefits of cloth diapers and my child is currently wrapped up in paper with Blues Clues all over it. UGGHH!! I have been such a slacker!

So I figure confession is the first step. I need some encouragement. Also, (TMI warning), Gracie's poop has gotten super soft for some reason and explosive, so that is a whole other reason I have backed off as those are the WORST diapers to clean.

So, please, pull me back on the wagon. I just washed diapers last night. I need to get back into the habit of putting them on the girl!

post signature

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

worst blogger every award goes to......

ME! I am so sorry I haven't been blogging. I need to get back into the habit. I hereby claim today as getting back into blogging day. Please forgive me and if you see any cool green products or tips, please forward them my way and I will post about them. If you are a vendor and you want me to write about your product, please email me at at gmail dot com and we will set something up!

I'm back and I promise to start blogging on a regular basis again!!

post signature

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

children's warehouse sale

If you like MonkeeMoos, come see it all in person!! We will be at the Children's Boutique Warehouse sale on Friday and Saturday this weekend. Click here for all the details if you are in the Atlanta area!

post signature

Friday, July 18, 2008

wipes solution.... it doesn't belong in a sippy cup

I use these wonderful little bits to make wipe solution for Gracie. First I started with them in the good ol' peri bottle that we all get sent home from the hospital, then I use a wipe warmer, but am now back to dry wipes and the peri bottle. Basically, baby bits are just glycerin and tea tree oil. You add one to your water solution and desolve. It's a good, natural cleansing solution. I have been using them for awhile and purchase them from Jillian's Drawers.

So, now to why wipe solution does not belong in a sippy cup. Yesterday, I was changing Gracie's diaper. I went to put the dirty one in the pail with the wipes (which I keep in our laundry room since it's right next to her room). I come back to find Gracie chugging wipe solution right out of the bottle. I normally put the bottle up on her dresser, but must of left it down while I was taking care of dumping the diaper. I looked at the ounce mark on the bottle and going by memory of where I thought it was prior, it look like she had drank about two ounces of it. I called poison control and the good news is tea tree oil is not toxic and nothing happened to her. The solution was mostly water ( I actually tasted it while on the phone with posion control) and they told me the worst thing that might happen is she would vomit, which she did not. Now if only I can convince her that vegetables taste way better than wipe solution........

post signature

Monday, July 14, 2008

great ground beef sale at Harry's

For my Atlanta based readers.... Harry's (which is owned by Whole Foods) is having a great sale on ground beef right now. They are selling hormone free, antibiotic free ground beef for a $1.99 a lb. We tend to use ground beef once a week or every other week for things like taco meat or in tomato sauce or for burgers, so this was a super sale for us! I don't know if all Whole Foods are doing it, or just Harry's. There is a minimum of 3 lbs that must be bought. I sent Matt this weekend and he stocked up. He brought it all home, divided it, made burgers out of some and froze it all! I am always lovin' a good sale!

ps.... I hope I don't offend my vegetarian readers with this post. We try to eat organic and healthy, but I haven't been able to give up meat!

post signature

whole food vitamins

Several months ago I went to this great seminar on food at my church. One of the things the speaker said that was totally a light bulb moment for me is that it's important for us to take vitamins that are made from actually fruits and vegetables. Why this was such an "ah ha" moment for me I am not sure, in retrospect, it seems pretty obvious. I went home and looked at Charlie's gummy vitamins that I had been giving him. About one of the only ingredients I could read on the label was of course.... High Fructose Corn Syrup. Wonderful!

So off to Whole Foods I went to see if I could find a better vitamin for him. That is where I discovered Yummi Bears, which are a wholefood vitamin. I am always hesitant to purchase stuff like this because who knows if Charlie will accept or refuse them, but I was determined to try. He never questioned that these were the least bit different from his other gummy vitamins. He still occasionally asks for Spider Man vitamins at Target, but is perfectly content with the healthier version at home!

Below is an image of the nutritional information for Yummi Bear vitamins, much more encouraging than our previous label! I attempted to find an image for the gummy vitamins we use to use, but their website doesn't provide that information.... interesting! Luckily for us, I still have an almost full bottle in my cabinet so you can still compare! Here are the first few ingredients:

glucose syrup (corn), sucrose, gelatin, citric acid, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, di-alpha-tocopheyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, zinc, citrate, biotin, and the list goes on and it never actually mentions a food except black carrot somewhere down the list!

Here is the Yummi Bear label:

post signature

Saturday, July 12, 2008

so what did you get during the outlet sale

I didn't get a chance to get on until this morning so I know I probably missed out on a bunch of good stuff, but I did great still I think! I LOVE Swaddlebee pockets and love their contour inserts because they are super trim ( I do not have a heavy wetter though!). Anyway, Gracie still fits in mediums but could go up to larges, and I have none so I ordered 2 mediums plus contour inserts (the inserts were full price), then I ordered 6 larges plus inserts. So all in all I got 8 new diapers plus 8 first quality inserts for $72 shipped. I thought I did pretty good! It helped that Matt had Paypal, so it wasn't like spending "real" money", LOL!

So, what did you get??

post signature

Friday, July 11, 2008

the stocking has been delayed on the diapers!

I just got this email from blueberry:

This is to let you know that the complete stocking of the Outlet Store is currently delayed due to the inability of the server to handle to the huge amount of site visitors that came at exactly 3 pm at the Swaddlebees site. This has never happened before, and our server has usually been able to handle sudden surges in traffic. We will continue to stock the Outlet Store throughout the day as the site permits us to. We apologize for the inconvenience.

I guess we will just have to keep trying until it works!

post signature

Thursday, July 10, 2008

need cloth diapers at a great price??

I just got this email from Blueberry Diapers. Blueberrys and Swaddlebees will be on sale, two of my favorites!

This is a heads up to let you know that we will be putting up a lot of items on clearance starting tomorrow, Friday at 3 pm ET.

These items will be available to order through the Outlet Store section of our sister company A mix of both Swaddlebees and Blueberry diapers will be offered and stocked on the Outlet store tomorrow. Full descriptions of all items will be available on this page:

Please note that this will be an Outlet Clearance Sale, which means that all items will be sold as is, without any warranties, and are not eligible for return or exchange. Elastics are guaranteed though. All item flaws will be clearly described.

post signature

pure fruit popcicles.... do they exist??

Last night after dinner Matt wanted to run to Publix to get some ice cream. Charlie hit the popcicle aisle and wanted to pack the whole aisle up and take it home. We told him he could get one box of popcicles. Do you know how hard it was to convince him that he really didn't want the Dora or Superman ones that were nothing but HFCS and artifical coloring. I was amazed at several that "claimed" to be all natural and had HFCS as one of the main ingredients. The Edy's fruit bars above were the best I could come up with. They aren't perfect by any means, but better than the alternatives. I guess I need to head to Whole Foods and see if there is a pure fruit popcicle around....

ps... I know I could make them.. I probably will, but he really wanted to pick out his own treat last night, kwim?! I think I am going to make the deceptively delicious yogurt fruit pops, I just need to get some molds.

post signature

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

vaccines....I hate this part of parenting!

Today was Gracie's 15 month appointment. I also go into these appointments feeling like I am playing Russian Roulette with my child. I have attempted to research vaccines in the past and always feel like I am being scared into believing that either the shot will be super detrimental to my child or by not giving the shot I am risking my child's life. It is so hard to figure out what is the right thing to do and what to believe. With Charlie, I started off just doing what the pediatrician recommended.

I was a first time mom and pretty much thought vaccines were an all or none, you either gave them or you didn't.While I still have so much to learn, I have learned since then that it is not a black or white issue. I can deny only certain vaccines if I feel the need and I can space them out so Gracie doesn't get a gazillion vaccines in one visit. This has kind of been my method this time around and I am sure the next time around I will be even more educated and picky.

All that to say, I am ordering Dr.Sear's Vaccine Book today from Amazon. I have heard really good things about the book and that he doesn't try to scare you and that he offers a good delayed vaccine schedule. Right now, I will only allow Gracie two vaccines a visit. We delayed the MMR and the chicken pox vaccine today until later. I am pretty sure she will eventually get the MMR, but not before her second birthday. I am not sure about the chicken pox vaccine....

I would love to hear your take on this. As a parent it is my responsibility to research and advocate for my children. The only way I can do this is to keep reading and talking about it with other mothers, so I love hearing other peoples perspectives (please keep them respectful though!). Also, if you have heard about green vaccines, share that info too! Thanks!

post signature