Monday, June 30, 2008

Vacationing in SAHM-land

I am playing at the whole SAHM thing this week. We have 4 weeks of SAHM-ness for me this summer. I have to say, so far, I am digging it!

My friend, Nancy, from college came to visit with her very cute children. Her son is 7 days younger than my Tater, and her daughter just turned 4. Much fun was had by all. My basement has the toy-strewn wreckage to prove it!

We spent the morning hanging out on the porch while the kids played. Took a picnic lunch (of expertly prepared PB&Js, if I do say so myself) to the pool. They hit the road back to NJ around 3. Then we went to Tater's piano lesson, home for dinner, and now I am getting ready to start the bath/bedtime events.

AND today was my first day of being caffeine-free!

When I had a hard time convincing myself that I COULD give it up, I decided that was a pretty strong sign that I SHOULD.

I had a little headache around 3...and I have to say Diet Sprite is nowhere near as enjoyable as my old friend Diet Coke. ( friend...I miss you already...) But so far so good.

The caffeine-hiatus is probably as close as I am going to get anytime soon to the whole "cleansing fast". I can't quite imagine doing the whole hog thing (unfortunate choice of words since I just read the chapter in Quantum Wellness on "where does your meat come from") with kids around who are not up for relentless experimental eating.

Now if I can just squeeze my workout in tonight and keep myself from getting sucked into the wasteland of

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Summer Skin Care Tips for Kids

The folks at have some great tips for taking care of kids in the summer heat and I thought I'd share them with you...

#1 Sun Protection
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 (I personally go for 30 or more for the kids when they are going to be outside for any extended period of time).

You should look for products that provide "broad spectrum" coverage to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

To be most effective, you should use this sunscreen routine with your child--daily application 30 minutes before going outside and reapplication every 2 hours (or sooner if swimming, toweling off, or sweating).

Creating a routine will establish good habits for the future. For even more protection, don't forget a wide brim hat, sunglasses with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection, and sun protective clothing (Tater refuses to swim without his swim shirt, which is rated with SPF 50 - not that he knows that, but still a good habit!)

#2 Hydration
In my personal experience, kids never notice they are thirsty until they are offered a drink. So, during the hot days of summer, offer drinks on a frequent basis. Give them a water bottle to keep outside (Sprout just got a contraption that allows a water bottle to hang around her neck, like a lanyard, which she thinks is very cool).

Remind them to take drinks on a regular basis and make sure to take breaks in the shade (or the A/C!) We also try to avoid being outside too much during peak sun exposure hours (10AM-2PM). Popsicles and ice pops are also excellent, slightly sneaky ways to get some liquids into busy kids!

#3 Soothe Irritated Skin:
Summer fun is also a minefield of potential skin irritants. From overexposure to the sun (see #1!), chlorinated pools, the salty and grubby ocean, insect bites (poor Sprout is a smorgasboard for mosquitos, apparently the sweetest-tasting child in Pennsylvania!), and those scary nasties poison ivy, oak and sumac.

One of the best ways to minimize the impact of these is to make sure to bathe the kids every evening. In the winter, I have recommended against too-frequent bathing to preserve skin's natural moisture in the dry air. In summer, the opposite is true. Daily bathing is necessary to get all of the sunscreen, dirt, chemicals, etc off. Soothe skin after bath with a nice light lotion (Stuff for Sprouts' Lotion for Crunchy Kids in Beach is especially summery!)

If an allergic reaction does occurs, ask the pediatrician about an oral antihistamine and/or a topical skin care product such as a steroid cream or calamine. If the rash is extensive, looks infected, or is not getting better, call your doctor right away.

So, be careful out there and have fun. I can't believe June is almost over. The summer is just flying by!

You can also check over at for more great health tips for kids!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Hitting the Campaign Trail

Stuff for Sprouts Wants Families to Declare Independence from Dry Skin

Natural Line of Skin Care for Kids Launches National 4-month
Campaign to “Conquer Crunchiness”

June 27, 2008 - Chester Springs, PA – Stuff for Sprouts, a line of natural skin care for kids, today announced its national 4-month long campaign to “Conquer Crunchiness!” Beginning this July 4th and ending on Election Day November 2008 the company will offer a variety of promotions for Stuff for Sprouts customers. More information on the campaign can be found at:

“It’s about time that someone took a stand for kids with dry skin,” said Kristen Bassick, businessmom and creator of Stuff for Sprouts. “My own children had the crunchiest legs, the crispiest chapped faces and the flakiest elbows. The store bought options we faced were gross and greasy, weird and smelly, or pink and sparkly. I bought it all and tried it all. And at the end of the day, the kids were still crispy and crunchy and chapped, and sometimes slightly glittery. Because of what was happening in my own household, I developed a line of skin care products for kids that are full of good natural ingredients. Stuff for Sprouts skin care products are effective, feel good and smell fun. My goal is to Conquer Crunchiness one kid at a time!”

The Conquer Crunchiness campaign’s first promotion will begin this Independence Day. The company has official declared July 4th as National Declare Independence from Crunchy Skin Day. In light of this national observance, all Stuff for Sprouts products will be offered at 50 percent off from 12:01am to 11:59pm July 4th. All those interested in receiving the 50 percent discount will need to use the promo code CAMPAIGN upon checkout.

Additionally, over the duration of the campaign, people that sign up on the campaign web site for the free newsletter will be automatically entered in a contest to win a product sampler basket and a gift card worth $50.

Stuff for Sprouts will run its campaign on the following platform:

The Campaign to Conquer Crunchiness

  • Kids should not crunch.
  • Kids should not be covered with grease. They are not fried foods.
  • Soft skin is the inalienable right of every person.
  • Petroleum belongs in cars.
  • Skin care ingredient lists should sound more like a recipe than a chemistry experiment.
  • There should be zero-tolerance for chapped lips.
  • Fun does not require sparkles.
  • Natural products don’t have to smell like your grandmother.
  • Sun-parched skin deserves a treat.
  • Moms know best.
The entire Stuff for Sprouts line is formulated without using nut oils, animal products, soy, artificial colors, or chemical fillers. The company offers parents paraben- and phthalate-free product choices. Stuff for Sprouts does not do any animal testing and always promises to produce products with “Nothing weird. Nothing gross. Just good stuff for dry skin.”

Stuff for Sprouts Products
Cream for Extra Crunchy Kids is the powerhouse formula of the line with high concentrations of no less than 7 natural oils and butters chosen specifically for their ability to help sensitive, dry skin.

Lotion for Crunchy Kids is a lighter recipe appropriate for normal to dry skin. With healing Aloe Butter and Evening Primrose oil, it packs plenty of natural moisture-enhancing power.

Lip Stuff for Crispy Kissers, a generously sized balm with a handy oval shape, is perfect for one-swipe application to even the most resistant “Sprout”. The Olive Butter intensive formula is smooth, long-lasting, and, most importantly, super-effective in wiping out winter-chapped lips.

About Stuff for Sprouts
Stuff for Sprouts, launched in September 2007, features exclusive formulas developed by the owner of the company, Kristen Bassick, to treat the persistent dry skin of her own children, or “sprouts” as she likes to call them. Kristen is so sure that her stuff is great that she offers a money back guarantee. More information can be found at:

# # #
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Neves, WordsInspire PR – 415-948-1200,
NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: High-resolution images and interviews with spokespeople available upon request.

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Wrong...and yet funny.

My friend sent me an e-mail with a whole series of helpful hints about taking care of babies.
This was my favorite.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

A New Leaf

I changed around my schedule a bit today in an attempt to put more structure into my work time v. personal time. In an attempt to actually devote the time the kids were at camp to work, I got up at 7 AM (GASP!) and worked out and took a shower before I even got the kids up.

I know for many of you this sounds like no big deal, but my normal schedule it to roll out of bed around 8:15, throw on clothes, dress the kids, throw breakfast at them (in a very loving way) and whisk them off to camp. And then I figure out how to put myself back together and get the day started.

This was all OK when I had 6 to 8 hours to work with. Blowing one of them seemed like no big deal. But with only a 3-hour window of opportunity, it's been trouble.

So, despite the slight tangent of meeting my friend for coffee at 9:20 (don't even ask me about the water-day debacle that extended camp drop-off by more than 20 minutes - I earned that coffee break!), I spent the rest of the morning working. Packing up samples for some more blog reviews, an order, a package for the retail distribution consultant who is taking pity on me and taking a look at my marketing materials, and a shipment of products to my new, almost on-line fulfillment center.

And now it is nighttime and I am not working, well, I won't be after I finish this. Hmmm...a free half-hour, what to do...

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A Little Blogger Love

Thanks Mom Central!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mood Swing

HOORAY!! The lady at Comcast had NO IDEA what she was talking about!!



I have renewed faith in the goodness of the world.
And the cluelessness of Helpless Desk workers.

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So, due to the great danger that I am going to sit here and spam people all day long (because I have that kind of time and motivation)...I have to apparently use the Comcast mail server for outgoing mail.

Which won't work with Entourage. Only with Outlook. But you can't get Outlook for a MAC. So I can't use it at all.

Which completely and utterly sucks.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What things cost

Some things I found out today:

Cost of a personal trainer - around $60 per session X 3 sessions per week. Yikes.

Cost of a retail distribution consultant - $1800 per day. Holy cow.

Cost of a night out with the kids watching a "free" concert - $40.

Seeing my rock star husband do his rock star THANG - priceless!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Funnest Newsletter Ever

Well, next to mine. I win. But this guy is second.

Help a Reporter Out

Several times a day you get an e-mail listing a bunch of things that reporters need help with. You HAVE to eventually be able to fit one of these descriptions. I am forwarding them to people I know as I see a fit for them.

Female Dentist 20-40 with two kids between 3-13 for a toothbrush commercial?? MELISSA!

Someone who can comment on wedding trends? JAMIE!!

Someone who was in a flexible work arrangement that went wrong?? ME!!

Someone who runs a windfarm?? Well, no one I know - but how fun!

Interesting to look through even if it doesn't ring any bells...and your name in lights (well, type) if it does! What could be funner than that??

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Technology addicted?

I think we have pretty well documented my issues with my e-mail (which is still not fixed - a big fat pox on Comcast for dropping the ball and not getting back to me with the log-in information for my account, which is apparently the critical missing piece).

But I digress.

Today the keyboard on my phone stopped working. And I am a hard-core texter. (Well, I am not so much "hard core" anything, but I do like the texting!) My little flip-it-open-for-the-full-keyboard phone rebelled and would not work in full keyboard mode. And I was left texting on the number pad...666-6-4...what a PAIN!

I was all concerned about how brief and unfriendly I was being in my texting...I couldn't figure out punctuation...

Of course, Mike then says "So why didn't you just call on the phone?" As if!

And, as I was repeatedly pushing the little numbers to make letters, I thought "Hmmm...perhaps this is a sign that I should be getting a new phone!"


I have been totally lemming for a Palm Centro...the pink one is so very cute. My calendar and phone all in one. How efficient. Not to mention very very cute!

Or I could get a Crackberry! But NO, that would be a BAD idea because of my e-mail addiction....which is now managed (sort of) by the fact that even a laptop isn't THAT portable.

But if I had a Crackberry I could WORK anywhere!! (Right, work...that's what I would do with it!!) I would be SO productive! Stuff for Sprouts would take off. I'd be famous. And rich. And able to retire.

If only I had a new phone.

And my old one is all broken. It is a sign. I am meant to have a new phone! It is out of my control.

And then Mike turned my phone off. And when he turned it back on it worked.

DRAT. All my big plans out the window.

How can I possibly be so efficient and productive with my OLD phone? 9-8-3! Seriously.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Do I want eat like Oprah?

In my quest to be healthier, I saw the article that Oprah was undertaking a 21 day "Cleansing" diet. And I was intrigued by this idea. It isn't a fast. It isn't a "diet" per se. But one bold move in the direction of taking control of what you are (and in this case, aren't) eating.

No meat. No dairy. No gluten. No sugar. No alcohol.

Oh yeah, and no caffeine. That one hurts.

I have read through her blog which, on some level, makes me think that the only way you could pull this off is to have a professional chef who can make salad taste like things other than salad...but on another level makes me think, I could do that.

Gluten-free waffles don't sound so bad...

Mike says if I tried this I would be a flaming b__ch. But that he would do it with me.

I have the book:
Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness. I am reading it. I think I need to get the full scoop before making such a bold decision. But I just might do it!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stock Market Tycoon

I have never cared about nor monitored the stock market.

Until my financial future could change dramatically based on where this number goes.
And now I am all obsessed.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Long awaited love

I haven't had too many of these in the pipeline - need to start submitting more samples!

Thanks BabySteals - you ROCK!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Madonna of the Help Desk

This is lengthy and painful...but sort of funny in a weird, customer-service-sucks sort of way. And no, my e-mail still isn't fixed.

user Kristen_ has entered room
Using hosted mail server - outgoing mail won't work?
analyst Madonna.21799 has entered room
Hello Kristen_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat
Support.My name is Madonna.21799. Please give me one moment
to review your information.
I understand that you are having an issue with your
Outgoing mail.
Did Comcast recently start blocking outgoing mail on SMTP
port 25?
I apologize for the inconvenience.
I would be glad to help you with that issue.
Kristen, please change port 25 to port 587.
I did that, it still isn't working.
Can you try to send a test mail again to get the
exact error message?
Sure - it says it is timing out -
I will get you the exact message in a second.
Thank you.
Error: -3259
It was the same when I had the port as 25.
Thank you for that information.
Can you try to log in to your email account using
Yes, it works fine that way.
Incoming and outgoing.
Can you send an email account using your Webmail?
I don't understand the question.
I apologize for the confusion.
I will provide you the information on how to verify your
Outlook Express settings.
Yes, I can send mail from this account if I use webmail.
That is good.
If that is case, there is no problem with your email
To fix the issue, we only need to change the port
number to 587.
To verify your settings in Outlook Express, please
follow the instructions in this link:
I did change the port number to 587.
That didn't change anything.
I am using Entourage - is it the same?
Please hold for one moment.
Thank you for patiently waiting.
Please refer to this link
This is showing the ports as 25 and 110?
That is the link to verify Entourage X (Mac) settings.
I am not using the server -
I am using a hosted server (
Are you using this for a business account?
And it was working for several months with the
current settings...and then stopped working last week.
Thank you for that information.
Did Comcast recently change the ports?
I suggest to contact Comcast business department, Kristen.
The phone number to talk to a representative in Comcast
Business is 1-800-316-1619.
I apologize for the inconvenience.
It isn't a Comcast business is my home cable
internet service.
Only the mail account (through another provider) has
anything to do with business...
It shouldn't matter for this question.
I understand your concern. However, the outgoing server you
are using is for business account.
But I don't have a business account with Comcast!
It shouldn't matter what it is for - how it works through
Comcast should be the same.
Can you receive email messages?
Just not send via Entourage.
Since last Thursday.
Since you are able to receive email messages using
Comcast incoming mail server then there is no problem
with your incoming server.
Right. I am not worried about my incoming server.
Only outgoing.
The issue is with your Outgoing server since you are using
a different port
I am using the same server for both.  
And I changed the outgoing port to 587 as directed.
Would the company hosting the incoming mail server have
to do anything to work with the new port #?
Can you try to send a test email again?
I just did. Several times.  It doesn't work.
In my previous question I meant the company hosting the
receiving mail server - do they have to do anything to
make the 587 thing work?
It depends on the mail server provider, Kristen.
In general - if you change the port - does something
have to happen on their end to make things line up?
The host is 3Dcart...if that matters.
Can you put a check mark on the box that says
"smtp server requires authentication"
It is already checked. Using the same authentication
as incoming mail.
Are you using Comcast mail server?
No. The hosted one at -
hosted by 3DCart.
Which was working until last Thursday.
When something somewhere apparently changed.
Like the port #.
It will not work if you will use 
Why did it work for 5 months and now won't?
I need my outgoing mail to have the same address as incoming
...if I can receive mail on that server, why can't I send it?
The port 587 is for Comcast mail server.
Did you recently start blocking port 25?
Does the other company need to change their port to 587 for it to
work it I am using Comcast as my ISP?
This error indicates that your port 25 has been blocked.
Comcast has determined that your computer has been infected
with a virus and has been used to send out spam, liekly without
your knowledge. By closing this port, we've taken steps to
protect your computer from being used to send spam.
OK. So I need to get them to set it up to send on another port?
When was I sending spam (I wasn't - but when do they think I was?)
I don't have a virus...
Yes, Kristen.
So if the host changes the outgoing mail port to 587 then
everything should work?
Yes, Kristen.
Thanks. I will talk to them.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 1

It's not like I don't normally spend time with my kids. I haven't worked full-time in years. I have been on both drop-off and pick-up duty. I am the one who stays home when they are sick. I play with them after school and on the weekends. I have spent a week at a time with them for the Christmas holidays, Spring break, school strikes, summer vacations...

But somehow the idea of this summer and the increased amount of quality (and quantity) time to be spent with them has me all freaked out. Part performance anxiety (Would they rather be at camp? Will they be disappointed?). Part regular anxiety (Am I going to lose it?)

But today was good. I didn't make Tater do too much "work" (they hate when I haul them around to do errands). He played his new video game for a bit while I continued to try to figure out what the h___ is wrong with my e-mail. No resolution there.

We swam, they swam some more.

We have plans for most of the rest of the week. A pool party, a trip to the aquarium, another pool date. We are going to turn into fish.

Next week they start camp for 3 hours a day. So that leaves 5 for me to fill, right? Oy.

I wish someone would hand me a schedule of what to do in those hours...

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Too Good to be True?

I just read an offer that promises, for $89 to send 30,000 people to my website.


And it says they will be targeted to people who would actually be interested in Stuff for Sprouts (although that part isn't so specific). I need to know more.

30 THOUSAND people coming to visit Stuff for Sprouts. At least SOME of those people would buy things. Right? For $89 it doesn't even have to be that many people buying to be an interesting experiment.

Or is this some total sucker deal? I am losing all perspective.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tech support?

My outgoing e-mail isn't working. In-coming seems OK, although a little light - so maybe I am not getting everything?

Where is tech support? Oh yeah, I am tech support. Tech support around here SUCKS.

I should complain to management. Oh yeah...

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Friday, June 13, 2008


I just for fun checked the Google results for "natural skin care for kids" and Stuff for Sprouts is 3 of the top 10 listings - including # 2 and 3!

I just re-arranged the Press Page to be prettier. Quite an impressive list of reviews I think.

So why is no one coming and buying things? Help me understand...

I also loaded the "Manifesto" of the Campaign to Conquer Crunchiness.

I am still brainstorming the big pitch for the "campaign". The idea is to do something big and attention-getting. To, well, get attention.

Some ideas (although costs play a role in some of these):

  • Send me products you have tried for persistent dry skin, that didn't work and I will send you something that will work.
  • Write to me about what you have tried and I will send you a sample and coupon.
  • A contest of some kind?
  • Any ideas out there in imaginary reader land? Something we could get attention for...something themed to "our version of No Child Left Behind"??

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The end and the beginning

Today is the last day of daycare. For 8 years and 2 months I have been sending someone (or two someones) to daycare. But we are graduating.

As with all graduations, there is a bittersweet feeling associated with this one. There is a joyous side. I am so very excited to not have to a) pay the bill and b) deal with the drama associated with daycare.

This year has been relatively drama-free since Tater has been in the kindergarten classroom with a fairly consistent cast of characters. His teacher has remained the same all year, her assistant has remained the same. There has been drama elsewhere in the building, but we have been blissfully unaware of it.

There is also a bit of a sadness in the ending. I think that daycare was great for both of my kids. They had their own social lives, they learned to share (mostly) and to get along with others (mostly). They are pretty well-adjusted kids (mostly) and it has all been good (mostly). It is weird for this chapter to be over. Almost like the day we gave away the last piece of baby equipment.

So, it is with an ounce of sadness that I will pick him up in an hour or so and gather all of his belongings: the extra change of clothes that is three sizes too small and appropriate for winter and has been unused for years, the art projects, the notebook full of drawings, his final report card, his sunscreen, quite possibly a small plant that I will try really hard not to kill. I will probably have a tear in my eye as we pack up and leave for the last time ever (of course, it doesn't take much to produce the tear in my eye).

And then we will embark on the "First Summer of Mom". And that might cause some crying, too. But hopefully not right away!

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Overly Optimistic?

Why is it that everything I do takes approximately 15% longer than I think it will?

So therefore I am constantly running late because I thought I could get things done in far less time than they actually, realistically would take.

I always underestimate drive time by at least 10 minutes. I never think the traffic will be bad (and somehow it always is).

I think it takes me a half-hour to shower and dress, I tell myself it is just a slow day when it takes 45 minutes. It is apparently always a slow day.

I think I will quickly check my e-mail for a few minutes. It always is at least 30 minutes before I can pry myself away.

If a vendor says something will take 4-6 weeks, I am hopeful that it will be 3 1/2.

When I mail things and they say it will take 3-5 days, I am thinking it could get there tomorrow.

Every night I am going to bed at 11. And then it is 12:30.

Today I was very proud of myself because I actually admitted that I could not go to yoga, get samples packed, put together a retail delivery, go to lunch with my friend, shop for teacher gifts, and get to school to pick Sprout up by 3.

However tomorrow I am thinking that I can drop the kids off at school, have coffee with my friend, walk on the treadmill, shower, work on my website and still be ready for lunch with my husband by noon.

It could happen.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Movin' Along

Today was a day for getting started on new projects.

Brushing myself off and starting to look for a new manufacturer to work on suncreen for next year.

Starting a new advertising/PR idea that I think will be very fun to work on...still in the brainstorming stages...but it starts here:

Reordering the corrected labels.

Moving forward. Optimism and positivity all over the place.

Three more days of full-day child care and then the summer juggle begins.
All kinds of new beginnings. I'm kind of excited!

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Confirmation that my opinion is fact

Apparently even my accountant things that accounting sucks. He is switching careers.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

It's not easy being green...

OK, so I am not the greenest. But I am trying. Really hard. Well, hard-ish.

I have the reusable bags for the grocery store. But I feel a little odd about bringing my Giant bags into Genuardi's or Acme. So sometimes I leave them in the car because I don't want to hurt their feelings at the other stores. (I am guessing they have no actual feelings on the subject and would probably rather have me in their store buying a big pile of groceries regardless of the bags I bring).

I do have one Whole Foods bag, and that one just makes me feel kind of cool. In a pseudo-green poser sort of way.

I am beginning to think there is some rule that the cashiers aren't allowed to touch the reusable bags. Or else I am giving off some manic control-freak vibe when I plunk my stash-o-bags on the conveyor belt. But they basically won't put anything in the bags. I stand there wildly opening the bags and attempting to sort through the deluge of stuff as it piles up at the bottom of the bagging area...and they just sort of watch me...and don't help.

Sometimes if I run out of space in my 6 bags (which is not often) - they do put the extra stuff in a plastic bag. Thanks for that.

So I am feeling all righteous when I use the bags - but not enjoying the process all that much.

I went to the farmer's market last week. Trying to "eat local" and do more "whole foods" and all that good stuff. But there are like BUGS flying around. And I didn't recognize many of the varieties of produce, which seemed to be heavy on the "fancy lettuce" category. So I ended up buying a loaf of bread. Lame, I know. The planet needs saving and I am buying bread.

We are transitioning to compact fluorescent bulbs. We are using the water bottles with less plastic. We are not taking receipts at the ATM or the gas station (I don't want evidence of how much I am spending on gas anyway!)

My dog eats food from Whole Foods. My children, for the most part, do not.

I still don't buy organic milk. Because if I had to dump 1/2 full glasses of milk that costs $8 a gallon down the sink I might have to kill someone. And trust me, that is much scarier than whatever might be in non-organic milk.

We are finding small ways to get greener. It is a long road. But as in most things, I think better is better...and if we keep getting better, maybe someday we'll get it all the way right.

Some good resources (even if we can't follow ALL of the suggestions, following any would be better, right?):

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time very digestable. Some of the suggestions seem strange, but some are really good. And you can read about what the celebs are doing to be "green" (if you are into that sort of thing!)

Ideal Bite is a very fun website/newsletter that sends you one "green" tip each day.

The Lorax (Classic Seuss) is a great way to talk to kids about natural resources.

And I want to read these three - but there isn't room in the pile at the moment!

Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life

Green Chic: Saving the Earth in Style

Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Blogger Crush

I want this woman to be my friend. She is all cool and confident and smart and funny.

And I, it seems, am not. Maybe I could be cool and confident by association if she was my friend. Or maybe I would be that much less cool and confident in comparison...

Enough moping. Time for the good stuff!

Coast-to-Coast distribution has been achieved! I have the shipment all ready to go to The Kids Club in Seattle. Yay! So, to the extent that Kennett Square, PA represents the East Coast and Seattle represents the West, Stuff for Sprouts is officially coast-to-coast!

I am going to attending "First Friday" in Kennett Square this evening from 5:30 till 8:30 or so. I will be at Bedbugzz on State Street if you would like to come visit!

This weekend is Tater-palooza. Graduation was last night (sob) and he has a "friend" birthday party on Saturday and then a "family" party at home on Sunday. We were planning to set up a pool and Slip-n-Slide outside for the kids, but now that it is going to be close to 100 degrees here in PA, I am afraid we will end up with kid soup if we put them out in the water. So we may have to come up with a Plan B.

We are making t-shirts for the kids for the Saturday party - mostly so that I can keep track of them. The kids and I tie-dyed t-shirts for everyone (I KNOW - how Martha Stewart are we??) and then we made iron-ons that say "Tater-palooza 2008" (not really, they have his real name...) So after I get back from First Friday I will be madly ironing-on into the night.

Sprout has her first sleep-over party tonight. I am hopeful that all of the little girls can remain friends for the 12 hours that they will be together...fingers-crossed on that one.

That's all I've got. Hope you have a great weekend doing whatever it is that you do!

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A Moment of Silence

I am sad to announce that Sunscreen for Shady Kids is not going to happen. At least not this summer.

But all the signs were sort of pointing to this not working out. And I think I need to not fight the universe on this one.

The SPF isn't what I wanted it to be. The costs are too high. The company that would make it is nightmarish to deal with.

Better to move on. Not think too much about the money lost. Tally up the lessons learned.

Contact my waitlist of people who were actually waiting for this. Boo.

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Today's dose of Mommy Blogger Love

Parents with Style

From Dates to Diapers

Thank you ladies!

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Something about becoming a Mom makes you start thinking and acting all Mom-ish about things that are not directly in your Mom jurisdiction.

By this I mean:
1) I stress when I see other people's children not in car seats, or in the front seat.

Example: Yesterday I was parked in the lot at a service area on the NJ Turnpike, enjoying my Starbucks before getting back on the road. And this car pulls up in the spot facing me, with a boy about Sprout's age in the front seat. And then I see that there is a baby loose in the back seat - not completely loose, but in the arms of a woman who was just holding the baby - no car seat.

Now, for all I know the baby was safely strapped in her regulation car sear and started choking and the boy and the woman switched seats in some emergency maneuver to get the baby out and give her the Heimlich maneuver and these people were very heroic. And yet, I am pretty sure they were just driving down the NJ Turnpike with a loose baby and a little kid in the front seat. But I am guessing that if I rolled down my window (as I was tempted to do) and gave them a bit of motherly advice about proper car restraint use, they wouldn't have thanked me.

2) When I see a small child wandering around in a public place, I stress about "who the grown-ups are that belong to this child and why aren't they watching more closely!?"

Example: As the child that is wandering around Target with no grown-up starts heading for the doors, I start striking up a conversation to try to attract the attention of the grown-ups that might be his, but are not watching. "Your mommy probably doesn't want you to go out there!" I say in exaggerated tones. "Do you know where your mommy is?"

Of course, the mommy comes whipping past and either looks hugely annoyed that there was some implication that she wasn't watching the child (she WASN'T!) or looks like I must be some crazed child-approaching stalker (I'm NOT - but they are around, so for goodness sake, stay with your kid!!)

3) When I see a kid with horrifically chapped lips or flaky dry skin, I just want to walk up and put some lip stuff and lotion on them. Yes, I know it would be wrong. I don't do it. Ever. But the point is, I WANT to.

Now, this is certainly specific to me (although who knows, maybe other Mom's want to moisturize other people's children!) But since I have created this great skin care for kids, it pains me a little to see kids who could use it not using it.

Example: Last year I used to go in to read with the kids in Sprout's class every week or so. And there was this little girl, cute as can be, who would come and read with me. And I couldn't even focus on what she was saying because the skin on her arms and face was so dry it literally had little cracks on the surface. And all I could think was a) that has to be uncomfortable and b) have her parents never heard of lotion?

And I just KNEW if I could slap a little bit of Cream for Extra Crunchy Kids on her (which I happened to have right there in my bag...inches away...) she would feel so much better. And then I could focus on listening to her (excellent) reading.

But I didn't, couldn't, knew it was wrong. But I really REALLY wanted to.

Does anyone else get this?? Just me?

I mean, surely there is plenty of mothering to be done to my own children. But it is hard to stop there...and you end up telling other people's kids to stop walking on the sofa, please be gentle with the dog, please don't throw that at the house, watch out for the cars, can you turn that off if you are done playing with it, please don't take out any more toys, can you find a nicer way to say that, sharing makes everything more fun, and you probably shouldn't eat too many of those and then go on the swings.

So, there you have it, I want to protect and moisturize all of the children in the world. Is that so bad? Even if it is outside of my immediate sphere of responsibility.

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Some (much needed) Blog Love

Thank you, What's Hot for Tot's!

I needed that!

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My name is Kristen, and I am a quitter...

...but I am trying to reform.

When the going gets tough, I want to go somewhere else.

When the s__t hits the fan, I want a new fan.

But then there is this child. Well, these children, but especially my girl child. And if something is hard, she doesn't want to try. And this child is brilliant, and talented and she could do ANYTHING she tried, if she just put a little effort into it. And she won't try. Until she is dragged kicking and screaming, and then she is brilliant. Until it gets hard again. Then there is crying, and quitting, and convincing. And then she un-quits. Until the next time.

Apparently this is genetic.

But now I must be a role model to my child. So when I order the wrong labels and pay someone to stick 600 of them on, I need to not throw a tantrum and stomp around and talk about what an idiot failure I am. I can't quit. Rats.

I need to be a grown-up and go order some new labels and realize it isn't SO bad. Recoverable. Not a huge disaster.

A small-ish and yet hugely infuriating disaster-like occurrance. That caused my heart to stop momentarily. And lights to flash before my eyes. That can't be good for you.

And then there was a (tiny bit) of crying and ranting (while holding a big sharp knife and attempting to cut up veggies for dinner, which caused my poor husband quite a bit of concern as he attempted to comfort and calm the crazy lady with the BIG KNIFE).

And then he offered to help. I can ask for help. I don't have to do everything.

Which I knew. But sometimes I forget. Because it feels like there's this big THING that is some sort of TEST that I need to complete. But it isn't a test. It isn't a big THING.

It's a thing that I (normally) really enjoy doing. That someday (please, please) will be a great success story.

And then I will look back on the wrong labels, and the crying and the BIG KNIFE and we will laugh.

And I will say, thank goodness I didn't quit.


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Monday, June 2, 2008

A long to-do list - DONE!

Today was a very productive day. I had an extensive to-do list and only didn't do one thing!

* Went for a walk in a great nearby neighborhood (Eagleview for anyone local). It is so cute, you just imaging everyone there is happy all the time with their picket fences, beautiful gardens and shady porches.
* Put together retail packages, samples and orders for Stuff for Sprouts
* Made three retail calls - unfortunately talked to zero people - but left messages.
* Signed up for the Y so we can swim this summer - Tater has been begging me to take him swimming. He thought maybe we could go tonight - but no.
* Purchased air filters for the house at Home Depot - we haven't replaced them in a year (oops!) and apparently they are some irregular size so this was the third attempt to get them and finally a success!
* Purchased allergy medicine at BJs. Pollen is killing us.
* Purchased T-shirt transfer paper at AC Moore to finish the T-shirts (which we are doing instead of favors - I know, scandalous!) for Tater's "friend" party on Saturday.
* Returned a book to Barnes & Noble - Did not purchase anything (wow!)
* Returned a "swimming shirt" to Target that would not fit over Tater's head. He has a huge head.
* Purchased new, larger-headed "swimming shirt"
* Made haircut appointment, sorely overdue
* Set up music lessons for the kids for the summer - Piano for Tater, Viola (?) for Sprout
* Mailed packages: Orders, samples, retailer information

I just have to pick up some pictures tomorrow...except now I realize I won't be here that's a bit of a complication since Sprout needs the pictures for a project at school on Wednesday. to make that happen??

I am going to Newark, NJ tomorrow for the "Make Mine a Million" Event. Should be interesting.

Hope all of you (imaginary) readers had a good and productive day, too!

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Time is flying!

How can this child be graduating?

I mean, granted, he is graduating from Kindergarten, and the picture is a couple of years old. But he's my BABY!

Graduation is on Thursday, his 6th birthday is Thursday.
Six. Years.
I mean, really - how did THAT happen?

And in the car today he said "I can't believe I am going to be six! And then I'll be seven, and then eight..." (at this point I was OK, I have an 8-year-old, I know that is do-able),"...then nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen..." (a teenaged boy - yikes!), "...fourteen, fifteen, sixteen..." (driving age...I can't breathe), "...seventeen, eighteen..." (an to college -although he does say he always wants to live with me...but he's not quite 6, that could change),"... nineteen, twenty, twenty-one..." (PLEASE don't drink and drive), "... twenty-two (an employed adult...with his own apartment somewhere that isn't here), " ...twenty-three, twenty-four..." (I need to pull over...I can't quite see straight).

Somewhere around thirty his sister started to complain that he was interrupting her reading of Harry Potter. He made it to forty before he was forced to stop.

I told him I was glad he was planning to have a long, long life and that I hoped it would be a happy one. I asked how long he thought he would live - the answer: one hundred and twenty-one. Sounds like a plan.

I told him then I would have to take extra good care of myself so I could live to be 155 so we could hang out together. He thought that seemed like a stretch. Maybe. But I sure would like to see him hit 121!

But first graduation...and 6.

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