Monday, April 25, 2011

Toddler Eats: Veggie Lasagna

In my constant quest to find healthy foods that my 18 month old will eat, here is another potential option to feed your toddler in order to provide him with lots of healthy veggies in a stealthy sort of manner...

Check out this Hearty Vegetable Lasagna recipe. I made it the other day and was very happy with the results. I even managed to find a whole wheat lasagna that I could use in it, for added nutrition.

One tweak, or addition I made to the recipe was to add more of a variety of vegetables than the recipe called for. I stuck with the mushrooms and peppers, but also threw in half a small zucchini that I had left over, chopped into small pieces, as well as a few leaves of baby spinach which I chopped up finely. I'd recommend that all the veggies you add to the lasagna be chopped very small (pea sized at the largest) so that they're very easy for the little ones to chew.

I scaled the recipe in half too because it's just my husband, son and I who ate it. An 8x8 casserole dish works just fine if you scale yours down by half too. This reheats wonderfully so we ended up getting a few meals out of it, which makes it even more worth the effort to make, in my eyes.

Know of any recipes that have lots of nutritious veggies mixed in to make them more palatable to the picky toddler? I'd love to hear about them! I'm always looking for new recipes to try :D

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dying Brown Eggs

So today we dyed eggs! I am really in love with the rich colors that resulted from dying brown eggs. The h-band seemed pretty impressed with the results too.

Here's the instructions on how to dye brown eggs again, for anyone who missed my last post which contained this link.

I am equally amazed at how much my 1 year old son was content to sit and watch as the eggs soaked in the cups of dye. Periodically he'd yell out the name of a color (usually green) and point, and that meant that I should bring the egg up and check on its progress.

Tomorrow I'll be hiding the eggs around the house while my husband feeds the boy breakfast, and we'll see how he likes his first Easter egg hunt. I crocheted some egg cozies to add a bit more color, decoration and cushioning for the eggs, especially considering they will be getting handled by a 1 year old :D

Have a happy Easter if you are celebrating it tomorrow!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

It's Earth Day once again. I have never been great at doing something grand to celebrate. I just do what I do every day of the year, in trying to be as sustainable and eco conscious about the water and energy I use, reducing the amount of waste we generate, recycling, etc. It's nice to reflect on what we do to live greener lives today, and to think of how we could potentially be more earth-friendly in the future.

With that in mind, I came up with a list of ways I'd like to live even more sustainably in the coming year...

- I'd like to cut out any use of paper towels. I use them VERY sparingly as it is, but I really do need to designate certain cloths which I'll use to clean the toilets, so that I don't feel compelled to use paper towels over cloths.
- Eat a whole lot more fresh fruit and veggies, and shop for them locally. We are lucky to live close to lots of farms and 2 farmers markets that will be stocked with local produce very soon. I just have to make the extra time and trip to them every week, on top of going to the grocery store.
- Get outside more! Especially this summer. This way I don't need the air conditioning on so much too, as I won't be in the house. I am working on making our small outdoor space into a fun, shady place just for this purpose. I'll be looking for deck furniture on craigs list and in thrift/antique stores too instead of automatically buying something new that I could get for cheaper in a used but good condition.
- Drive even less. I'm lucky enough to not need to drive very often. We live in a town with a decent amount of things to walk to. So when I want to get out of the house, I will have to try and find us lots of fun things to do within walking distance.

Earth day falls very close to Easter this year, so I thought I'd share the few things I am doing to celebrate in a greener way...

- I found an Easter basket and stuffing (made from wood) from my local Goodwill store this year. Spent a whopping $1. 98 on those items
- We are going to dye the organic brown eggs we have (and be sure to actually eat the eggs when the Easter egg hunt is done). I found this great write up on how to easily dye brown eggs with household supplies (no egg dying kit necessary, or the extra wasteful packaging that comes with it).

What are your plans for greening the year ahead, or even just greening Easter?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Just Listen

This has to be my favorite Bon Iver song. It's hauntingly beautiful.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Leaky Pocket Diapers

Since my son was about 8 months old I've been slowly growing a collection of different one size pocket diapers (i.e. Bumgenius) to replace the previous sized prefolds and Grobaby 2 in 1 diapers I'd been using for him, as it became obvious he would not fit in those options for as long as I'd need to diaper him.

The more pockets I bought, the more I fell for them. I didn't think I'd be all for pre-prepping diapers after washing them, but as my son grew, became more mobile and squirmed like the dickens for every change, I quickly saw the benefits to having a diaper all ready to snap or velcro onto him. Pockets were my dream diapers, I found.

The issue with his diapers came a few months ago (my son is about 18 months old now), as the little guy's bladder grew and I found that any and all of his pockets would start to leak when he wore them. I didn't even consider it a design or manufacturing flaw, as I have a large variety of different pocket diapers. The leaking made me feel like he was a newborn again with the amount of changes he needed in a given day. Moreover, I never had leak issues with cloth diapers before, whereas I had had them a lot with the disposables we had used when he was first born and when we went on vacation. Overall the cloth diaper leak issues were bumming me out.

My solution to the leak problem, for a while, was to just add more inserts to the pockets. I'd stuff about 3 inserts into a pocket, but still a lot of times he'd leak, and I would find that the pocket wouldn't even be saturated all the way, especially not the back portion of the inserts, near his butt.

More recently I had a eureka moment when I realized that the leaks might not be so much about an overactive toddler bladder, but about how the inserts were being placed in the diapers. It didn't matter if I had 3 inserts in a diaper, once the front of the diaper was saturated (little boys tend to saturate the front of the diaper the most, whereas girls, so I have heard, saturate the middle), urine would start moving out of the diaper from the sides, and onto his clothes, instead of making its way to the rest of the inserts in the back of the diaper. It was so simple that I kinda feel naive for having not realized it sooner. All I had really needed to do was to fold one of the inserts in half and make sure it was positioned in the front of the pocket. This meant that the folded insert near the front would be able to do more absorbing. Of course I use a doubler in a lot of his pockets too, so that was also folded along with one insert, and added to the front of the diaper as well.

I have definitely cut down on the amount of leaks he was having, and have extended the amount of time he can remain in a diaper before needing to be changed by about a half hour more, on average. I think this is definitely worth trying first if you are having leak issues, especially before you go ahead and try stripping your diapers (which may not be necessary at all). It's worth a shot!

My question to other cloth diapering parents is, how do you handle a heavy wetting girl in pockets? Pretty much the same method, except perhaps putting the folded insert more towards the middle of the pocket? Or something else? I'd love to hear, especially for other readers who may have this leaking issue, but with little girls :D

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tasty Tuna Salad

I'm a South Jersey native. We have lots of Wawa convenience stores around here, and while I don't go to them often any longer, I used to go a lot. They have a deli section where you can order subs and what not. I was always a pretty big fan of their tuna salad subs. Something about the flavor of that tuna salad always drew me in, but I had no idea what they put into it to make it so tasty, until a few months ago...

I think it was some act of desperation to get my little guy to eat the tuna salad I'd prepared, that had me experimenting with its taste. I ended up adding quite a bit of Italian seasoning to the tuna salad (along with the regular amounts of mayo [~1 tbsp], mustard [~1 tsp], and pepper [to taste]). The end result was REALLY tasty and reminiscent of those Wawa tuna subs that I still order on occasion. The bonus was that my son ended up devouring the tuna salad!

Another trick I found to get my little guy to eat a tuna salad sandwich was to melt some american cheese over top of the tuna on the bread (a toaster oven comes in handy for this). He was in a cheese loving phase at that point so anything with cheese was a sure thing.

What do you put in your tuna salad to give it that extra oomph and appeal?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flickr Finds

My EcoCraftiness Flickr pool still gets submissions all the time, which I love. I browsed through it tonight to find some representations of what I'm up to for the next week. Can you guess based on these photo clues?

Aluminum Can Earrings-"Jets" ~ 2 of 6 photos
Aluminum Can Earrings-"Jets" by Urban Woodswalker


Rough Sea, Stormy Sky - Painting on Driftwood
Rough Sea, Stormy Sky - Painting on Driftwood by tiddu


caribbean / central america travel journal
Recycled Travel Journal by PrairiePeasant


(Hint: don't take the 3rd clue too literally)...