Monday, June 30, 2008

Whole Paycheck?

Why is it that multiple beauty products seem to run out at the same time? Is it just me or do your deodorant, toothpaste, face wash, and shampoo seem to time their emptying so you are left with a hefty shopping list? Since I've been trying to convert to more environmentally and human-friendly products (no dangerous ingredients, no testing on animals, etc.), I decided to take a trip to our local Whole Foods to do some replacing of these products. Being the new bargain-hunter that I am (it's getting addicting), I decided to do some searching online to see if I could find any coupons/deals before I trekked to Rochester. Here's what I found:

*First, I checked the Whole Foods website. There is a function available where you can view all the deals currently taking place at your nearest store and add any items you like to an online shopping list. Once you have finished browsing bargains, you can print the list to bring along. I found this to be extremely helpful; I had a "game-plan" before I set into what can be a very dangerous, pricey store for me!

*Which leads me to my next discovery online: Many people have nicknamed Whole Foods "Whole Paycheck" because of the high prices they give their natural, organic products. Going in with my list made up greatly helped; it was comprised completely of sale items and Dan and I stuck to it like glue (alright, he did through in some baked Kettle chips!), but it was still a pricey trip, mostly just because I had several beauty products to buy.

*My third and final point is that I love their reusable shopping bags!

They are bigger, sturdier, and, let's face it, cuter than the Meijer reuse bags and cost the SAME amount: .99 cents :).

I was proud of my husband for ditching his favorite face wash for new Aubrey Organic choice:

So what do you do to buy quality products for your family at low prices? Any great items that you've found work as well as the alternatives you are used to?

Friday, June 27, 2008


Alright, I know you've come to expect ridiculous gadgets and gizmos from the Outrageous Friday Post. Oh, sidebar, I think it is quite endearing how you all personalize the name! I've heard it called "Crazy Friday" and "Wacky Friday" among other things! Smile. Sigh. O-kay, moving on...

This Friday's post is neither a gadget nor a gizmo and might not be that exciting to some of you, but it is an AMAZING, OUTRAGEOUS, CRAZY, and WACKY bargain I found via and The Company Store is a beautiful place to find lovely (albeit pricey) linens, pjs, home furnishings, etc. Right now they are having their Winter Blowout Sale and just lookie what you can get:

For $13.99! Regularly $59.00! And if you enter the code AFFGK08, you get 10% off on top of that!


NO, for the bunting, not the baby! Geez, how outrageous do you think this post is??

Check out the other Winter Blowout items for some great Christmas items! You'll be so smug, having some of your shopping done in June :).



Ps. You SERIOUSLY thought I was talking about the baby? Wow..

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Expand your vocab; Feed a hungry world...

Help end world hunger

My dear friends Andi and Frank recently told me about this cool website, The UN World Food Program has set up a site where advertising sponsors agree to donate free rice to those in need every time you answer a vocabulary question correctly! 20 grains are donated for each right answer and the more you play, the more you give. It is a fun way to sharpen your syntax and impress your friends.


You can play even if you are home, sick in bed with pollinosis.

Ooo, you say, she sounds very smart and medical-ish. Well, I just learned on that pollinosis means "hay fever"!

See what I mean! O-kay, ready, set, GO!

I expect to see big words in all of your blogs! I won't tell! :)



Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I have been through natural childbirth. I've broken a bone. I've had appendicitis and an appendectomy. I would consider myself pretty well acquainted with pain. But last night I had one of my first migraines. Let me tell you, it ranks up there. The sensitivity to light, the inability to lay down (for some reason, it's a hundred times worse if I rest my head), and the awful nausea that sweeps over again and again. Leading finally to, well, you know. Although I will say, I've found the kitchen sink to be a much better place to throw up than the toilet. I know it sounds gross, but hear me here. No disgusting bathroom odors to inhale (my bathroom is freshly clean, but with the migraine I was sooo sensitive to smells that I was still repulsed) and the sink is at waist crouching down. And if you have a sprayer and a garbage disposal...alright, too much information, huh?

Anyway, I have an awesome family. Dan was sitting up with me until I told him "I know, sickness and health and all that, but you really don't have to watch me throw up" :). My exhausted husband finally went to sleep. And my mom is coming today to pick up Maddy, saving her from a fate of PBS kids shows, since I am just whipped.

Let me know if you get migraines and what you do for them. Hopefully I won't be experiencing them on a regular schedule, but I'd like to be prepared next time!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Question of the Week: Fess Up!

So I had a different question in mind for this week (something along the lines of what you would do first if you inherited a large sum of money unexpectedly. No, sadly that does not arise from any personal experience! :) However, I was just filling out a survey to get a free sample of something or other online, and had to answer this soul-searching, light-shedding question:

*How many hours a day do you spend on the computer?

Oooo...that'll get ya.

There were several options (ie: less than 1, 1-2, 2-3) etc. I, of course, chose on the conservative I-am-remembering-to-do-laundry-and-get-out-of-these-pjs-and-feed-my-two-year-old kind of day.

But I must confess, some days my still, small, internal voice politely and sweetly screams:


So, fess up! On average, how much time are you glued to the screen each day? Does it take up more of your time than you'd like? Do you feel "sucked in"? Some days I know I squander more time than I should away clicking and typing. But what a beautiful tool to communicate, learn, research, save money, spend money (little laugh here, ahem).

Guess I better sign off for tonight...there's a load in the wash that needs to make its way to the dryer!

Friday, June 20, 2008


I sincerely apologize in being late with today's posting. Again, I know many of you have difficulty eating, sleeping, concentrating at work because you are so excited to see what outrageousness lies in wait. You must forgive me as I spent the morning doing this:
Watching my neighbor's kids!

And then trying to get to do this:

(Madalyn's obviously quite younger in this picture, but I don't take sleeping pictures anymore. Are you kidding me? Sneak into her room and risk waking her up in the middle of a nap? Nope :).

ANYWAYS, today's posting is courtesy of Dan and my good friend Brad Ruggles. He thought this would be a fitting submission for Outrageous Friday, which brings me to a new element in this weekly tradition...join in the fun! If you come across something truly outrageous, let me know about it, and you too could appear as a featured contributor on this nationally acclaimed blog. :)

So let's cut to the chase...Meet The Flippee! Now, girls outnumber boys in my house, but...

...maybe someday this will come in handy! Here's what the official site says:
Flippee™ The Toilet Shield protects your toilet, walls and floor from accidents. It attaches to your toilet with premium suction cups and stores discreetly around the base. The drip lip feature stops any excess from hitting the floor when it is flipped down.
Brad found this posted at The woman blogging is a pastor's wife and mom of three boys; she thought this may be the answer to (most of) her troubles!
Let me know what you think and have a GREAT weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Free Beauty Products, Anyone??

So I've recently been checking out a couple pretty cool sites: and Both post amazing deals every day; things like free string cheese at Wal-Mart if you use a coupon from Sunday's paper or free salad dressing after rebate. And if cheese and salad's not your thing, they both have an amazing deal from's beauty department posted. It is as follows, although you can get all the official info at the site:
Spend at least $25.00 in beauty products from a single source on, and the site will give you a subscription to the magazine US Weekly. But wait, you say, I like to know what is going on with Britney and see Suri's cute outfits as much as the next person, but I'm not really into having gossip in my mailbox. If it was People, then we'd be talking. I thought you'd say that, dear reader, and here is where it gets good. If you chose to fore go your subscription, US Weekly will refund you $19.80 instead.

So you spend $25.00 and get $20.00 back! How's that for a deal? I felt so blessed since I need new foundation. As previously mentioned, I am trying to be more conscientious about buying "safe" products (see earlier post Skin Deep), so I got on the Skin Deep website, found a foundation with a super great safety rating, and ordered it through Amazon! Since my total didn't come to $25.00, I had to throw in a fun eyeshadow too, darn it :).

Think makeup, shampoo, or lotion! Think gifts for Mom, Sister, or Friend! How fun! Seriously, check out those two above mentioned sites. They are rocking my world :).

Monday, June 16, 2008

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Question of the Week:

Maybe you are one of the lucky few who knew exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up from childhood. Maybe you graduated high school, applied to exactly the college or trade school you had in mind, and proceeded with the training you needed to make your dream come true. Maybe you did it all before "life" kicked in with marriage, kids, or other "reality" checks. Maybe you are living your dream.

Or maybe you thought you knew what your dream was, and proceeded much as above, and now life has come, you are married, you have children or are about to have your first, and your perspective has changed. What you once thought was "you" doesn't seem to be as close of a fit with your new found reality. The more mature "you."

Often I wish I had the perspective I do now when I graduated from high school eight years ago this month. What would I have done differently? Nothing, as it turns out. Alright, maybe a few minor things :), but the goals and dreams I have now would have been impossible then. They only came with experience, with new birth and love.

Which leads me to the Question of the Week:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Are you already there, living the dream? Are you close and in the process of pursuing it? Do you have a little, sneaking voice whispering that there is something you are meant to be?

Of course, as you might imagine, this question is born out of my own thoughts as of late. I love being home with Madalyn right now; it is an honor and a privilege. But I believe there is still something for me in the wings. More on that later.

Let me know if it's a firefighter, a ballerina, or a mailman. Or anything in between.



Saturday, June 14, 2008

Being Real...

Many of you have visited Angie Smith's site "Bring the Rain" and have told me how touched you have been from her story (which I originally found via my friend Brad's blog at Late last night, I was reading through the "comments" section on one of her postings, and someone asked that she check out this site: It is the blog of another family going through some pretty hard stuff.

Disclaimer: Matt (that's who is blogging) is very real about what he is experiencing. Real as in using some four-letter words some may find offensive. Once you see what he is dealing with; however, you will find he is totally justified in using them. On the right hand side of his blog, you will see a link entitled warning. Click there first. Then click on If you haven't been here before to get the story from the beginning.

Disclaimer Number 2: If you are pregnant (yes, that means you JEN!), it may be best for you to wait until after you deliver to read. I should have given Jen that disclaimer about Angie's site, poor girl!

I'm not sure why I have been so touched as of late with these stories. One thing I do know: Dan and I have been working on how to be REAL, and I think both Angie and Matt teach me how to do that in different ways. We are trying to undo some "churchiness" (yes, it's a word!) that has crept in over the years to learn how to be accessible. Genuine. Human. Not seperated from others.

Anyone tracking with me?



Friday, June 13, 2008


Alright, so last Friday's "Outrageous Friday" posting was a hit; many of you commented that although the "pee" and "poo" dolls were certainly funny, you wouldn't buy them for your own child. I promised this week's edition would be even more outrageous, and, in my opinion, it is!

Some of you told me you couldn't sleep last night because you were so excited to see what today's posting would hold. Alright, no one said that, but you are interested right? :)

Let me begin by saying that I in no way pass judgement on this week's outrageous find. I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding; the benefits to mom and baby are vast. Baby reaps reduced GI upset, reduced allergies, passive immunities from mom, increased bonding, and more. Mom (oh, how I love that Mom gets some selfish benefits!) is able to lose her "baby fat" much more quickly due to calories burned producing milk plus she doesn't even have to turn on a single light for a two AM feeding. The milk is ready, it's warm, it requires zero effort.

There's my breastfeeding stance. So what happens when Mom decides that her little one is ready to be weaned? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and then continued breastfeeding with supplemental food until age one. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends breastfeeding "for up to two years of age or beyond."


However, many counter that the WHO recommendation of toddler nursing is intended for third world countries where other sources of nutrition are scarce. Madalyn is two, and, for me personally, I think nursing her at this point would be awkward. But WHATEVER your view, today's outrageous find was recommended by a mom trying to wean her three year old, yes, I said three year old, from nursing. Are you ready?

Meet Woolie Nursies:

Oh, they are what you think they are! And to answer your next question, yes, it appears they do come in varied skin tones and sizes! I found them on in the blog section (ordering info also included there)! They are apparently filled with flax seed, but you can choose to have them filled with rice so they can be warmed up!

A creative "lovie" to help a toddler or baby wean from breastfeeding? What do you think? :)

Happy Friday!



Ps. "Outrageous Friday" is not meant to only be about crazy children's toys; next week we will explore a different arena!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pillow Fight...

Here are some pictures courtesy of our very own Aunt Andi who beautifully captured an all-out pillow fight between Madalyn and Uncle Frank last week.

We love you, Mariettas!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Down Came The Tree...

Last Sunday brought some particularly vicious storms for much of Southeastern Michigan. Oxford happened to be right in the middle of the worst cell; as I type this on Wednesday, some are still without electricity. Thankfully, we never lost power, but did witness an equally monumental result of the storms...

Our neighbor's huge tree fell in our yard. I know that sentence would sound better if I clarified the type of tree, but my husband is not home and he is the expert in that area. Its leaves do look mapley, perhaps? Anyways, it is/was a HUGE tree but wasn't any match for the 65 MPH and above winds that came ripping through.

At the time of taking these pictures, our neighbor has already begun to clean up the largest branches, but I want you to notice in the pictures above and below where it fell. How it fell.

Square in our yard. It missed our neighbor's house. Our neighbor's garage. Our garage.

Our house.

The corner of the house you see hidden in the above picture by our patio and our smoke tree is Madalyn's room. She had been sleeping in her crib just a half hour before the storm came through. I couldn't help but think "What if the tree had fallen just a little to the right and landed on her room? What if the storm had come through a half hour earlier?"

That didn't happen and I'm just so, so thankful. Often after a tragedy does occur, we are left reeling, thinking "What if the tree had landed in the yard instead of on the house? What if the storm had come through just a half hour later...when Maddy would have been up from her nap?" And when the opposite happens, we think "Whew! That was close!" and are on our way unaffected.

I don't want to be unaffected. We were protected and I am thankful.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Question of the Week...

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend and survived the heat! We had some vicious storms come through last night (Sunday night) that ended with our neighbor's huge tree in our yard! Stay tuned for pictures from that exciting event...

But on to this week's question. I came across an essay contest in one of my favorite magazines, RealSimple. The topic of the essay seems easy enough: describe in 1500 words or less the most important day of your life.


The blurb does give a few examples, such as "perhaps it was the day of your daughter's high school graduation" etc. The top prize is $3000.00 and the opportunity to be published in a future edition of this great mag.

All thoughts of entering (or not) aside, it got me thinking...what would be the most important day of my life? It's a tougher question than it seems on the surface. If I had to pick a single day in which the events proved most monumental, most forming, most influential on who I am today, what day would that have been? Without which day would I be different? The day I first talked to God in my bunk bed at summer camp? The day I found out I was pregnant? Delivered Maddy (that day, May 6, 2006, does seem to be a forerunner since I simultaneously graduated from college as well!)? None of the above?

What day was the most important day of your life? Tell me, but, more importantly, if you come up with a good answer, tell RealSimple. It just could be worth $3000.00 and your name in the byline of a national publication.


Ps. This just included for extra cuteness :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Outrageous Friday...

I've decided to include a little feature on my blog called "Outrageous Friday." I figure by the end of the week we can all use something to make us laugh. I'm pretty excited as I've already found some things that are truly, well...outrageous.

This week's find was advertised in the magazine Wondertime, a gorgeous compilation of articles celebrating childhood. The stories are incredibly well written and usually very witty. These little beauties were displayed in an article about potty training.

Are you ready for this?

Meet Pee and Poo, cuddly, huggable plush dolls designed to make potty training tangible and fun:

For more laughs, or to purchase these cute excrements for your little one, visit their website home:
And, as funny as those two are, I promise you, next Friday's outrageous find is even better!
Ps. If you actually do want to purchase darling Pee and Poo, do so on this website since they are ten dollars cheaper than the official site given above!

Another compelling reason to go cloth...

Check out this posting on Dr. Greene's website...another great reason for the comeback of cloth diapers.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the HEAT!



Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Skin Deep...

I am some what of a begrudged "green" girl. I have to admit, when I first learned of the BPA found in plastics, including Avent baby bottles, my first thought was "great." Don't these consumer reports know that we stocked up on these very bottles for Madalyn and smugly planned to use our stash for any and all future children? We already bit the bullet once--c'mon! And, really, isn't Maddy just fine? Aren't we just fine, oh fellow generation, whose mothers placed us on our bellies to sleep, never fed us organic whole milk, and let us ride our bikes without helmets?

As a nurse, I am always on the lookout for "junk science." It is my firm belief that you can find a "study" to back just about any opinion you to you separate real, pressing concerns from the anxiety-inducing fray who seem to prefer our children to grow in climate-controlled bubbles?

That being said, as a mom, a nurse, a human-being, I love being informed. Individuals use similar logic as mine given above to justify, for example, why they have home births with lay midwives; their sister or mom or grandmother did and everyone was just fine. But look at the maternal and infant mortality rates when home births were a norm. So there is a very proper place for questioning and examining practices of the past with the knowledge and technology we have today.

Babies who are placed on their backs to sleep have a lower instance of SIDS. That is what we know now. It could change as we learn more. Prayerfully, there will come a time and a body of knowledge that eliminates SIDS entirely.

Organic milk is healthier for our children than that packed with antibiotics, grow hormones, chemicals. That is what we know now. Again, there is room for more study.

And helmets save lives when children fall, as children do, when riding bikes. Heck, they save lives when adults fall. If only I'd had a helmet on my tushy during mountain biking (see earlier post). Maybe I'm on to an idea there....

But I digress.

Believe it or not, there is a purpose to the soap-box filled blog. Good friends who I trust have inspired me to take a hard look into what cosmetics, soaps, and lotions I use for myself and my family. However, I had no idea where to look for the "safer" version of my paraben-filled favs. I'm certainly not going to take the time to scrutinize the back of every bottle at Meijer with the meter running on the car I payed a dollar for Maddy to sit in and watch WonderPets while I shop. The battery runs out on those things. And that MUST NOT happen until I have safely cleared the checkout lane. Don't judge me until you have experienced the peace and calm of shopping with a two-year old with the Meijer cars.

I can't stay on point today! Too much caffeine this morning, perhaps. The point, in fact, is that I came upon a website source entitled "Skin Deep" at This little gem allows you to type in any bath and body product, including cosmetics, and scores each product on toxicity, cancer-causing potential, allergies, and much more. You can then see which similar items are safer or more dangerous in comparison. Eg: I was shocked to find that Boudreaux's Butt Paste actually ranked better than the Burt's Bees Baby Bees Diaper cream I just purchased. Way to go, Butt Paste. *Warning*--this searching is somewhat addicting and can lead to deciding to see where every product you own ranks and staying up until 1:30 AM doing so. Not that that happened to me. I'm sure I'm always in bed at a sensible hour.

This database is a great resource to make informed decisions. As I run out of my current products, I'll use it to see what would be the best possible replacement. I'm sure all my way-cool, less reluctant Green friends already know about it. I'll get back to checking out those glass bottles. Incidently, several Babies 'R Us stores are taking back Avent bottles and giving the fair market price as a store credit to purchase a safer substitute. So it looks like our investment is still worth something!

Happy Searching!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Favorite Summer Smell...

This week I promised a lighter question and with the warmer weather out, I decided to give it a summer theme! Walking outside, I am greeted by so many summer "smells," a BBQ in full swing, trees blooming, the smell of my neighbor's lilacs that maybe I trim just a little (only the ones that hang in our yard...aren't they technically ours?)

So here's my question? What is your favorite summer smell? What reminds you most of the season of relaxation and sunshine?

Is it the smell of sunscreen? Fresh blacktop?

Mines a little weird...I love the smell of lawn fertilizer! Something about that smell just reminds me of the season; maybe all the Chem Lawn applications my parents had put down annually...certainly not very green, I'm sure! But nonetheless...

Let me know what yours is!