Sunday, June 14, 2009

Homemade Facial Masks

Momma's gotta look beautiful and now she can do it on a budget with pantry staples that have long been the basis for expensive mass-market formulas. Being on a budget doesn't mean you have to skimp on skincare. Find a formula below that's right for you!

Organic Banana Face Mask

Your skin will have a healthy glow after applying this tropical mask to your face. This recipe is designed for all skin types.

  • 1. Mash one half of a banana
  • 2. Mix in a tablespoon of orange juice and a tablespoon of honey
  • 3. Apply to the face and keep the mixture on for fifteen minutes
  • 4. Rinse with lukewarm water and then moisturize

The Breakfast Mask

Complete with protein and whole grains, this breakfast-themed mask is used to correct and calm oily skin.

  • 1. Combine an egg yolk, a tablespoon of honey, then a tablespoon of olive oil (yes, olive oil) and half a cup of oatmeal
  • 2. Apply to the face for 15-20 minutes
  • 3. Rinse with lukewarm water and then moisturize

Honey & Papaya Lightening Mask

This mask is specifically for those who have hyperpigmentation, sun spots and uneven pigment.

  • 1. Blend together two tablespoons of honey and half a cup of mashed ripe papaya.
  • 2. Apply on the face evenly for 15-20 minutes
  • 3. Rinse with lukewarm water and then moisturize

Heavenly Honey Citrus Mask

This honey-and-orange-based mask is a quick fix to give your face an organic healthy glow.

  • 1. Combine three tablespoons of orange juice with half a cup of honey
  • 2. Apply to the face and leave on for half an hour
  • 3. Rinse with lukewarm followed by cool water, then moisturize

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Support Your Local Store

These days, you can go online and buy anything. And if you're willing to pay a little extra, you can have it in no time...After all, you probably found a better price online anyway, right?

Over the weekend, I bought Andy a Rody Inflatable Horse. He's really too little for it, but he can just barely get his toes on the floor, which is just enough for him to bounce around like a little maniac. He's completely out of control and would just tumble off of it if I didn't keep my hands on his waist. But he loves it, so I've spent quite a bit of time this weekend doing just that.
I bought our Rody from a great toy store in Smithfield, RI called Sparks Toy & Hobby Shoppe. This is place is so much fun. They have an amazing selection (for all ages) and the owner is super friendly and helpful. In the end, I paid a little more for Rody at Sparks than if I had bought him online, but I didn't have to wait for Rody to arrive with the UPS Man. And when was the last time that told you why they love a product so much? When was the last time they took one out of the package so you and your child could play with it and try it out right there in the store?
I guess the point is that I'm happy to pay a little more. If we always shop on Amazon, there won't be a Sparks left. And that sounds horrible. I enjoyed bringing Andy into the store and giving him several toys to try out. Not all the toys were keepers, but my heart melted seeing the pure joy in his eyes when we found a toy he loved. We went home with what I knew he liked and would play with, which may just be the biggest money saver of all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When Momma is Happy...

Filed under the category of "When Mom is Happy, Everyone is Happy" is this very cool Starbucks To-Go Cold Beverage Tumbler. There are a million options out there to tote your hot java on the go, but cold versions are few and far between.

This one has double-walled construction to help insulate your beverage, a sealing screw-on top, and a straw that has a nifty little lip on it to keep it from pulling out of the cup. Fill it up with 16 ounces (Grande sized!) of your favorite frosty beverage and find your happy place on the go.
Price: $12.95

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting Fancy with the Babycook

My friend Hillary suggested I post some of my ideas for homemade babyfood in the Babycook. I doubt any of this is novel, but it seemed like a good idea to share anyway.

Chicken Dinner

1 chicken breast, cubed
1 large carrot, 1" pieces
Baby's Brown Rice (see recipe below)

Add the chicken and the carrot to the Babycook. Fill with 3 measures of water and cook. Puree the chicken and carrot with the remaining water, and mix with the brown rice.

Baby's Brown Rice

1/4 cup brown rice

Put the rice in a blender and pulverize for approximately 2 to 3 minutes (longer for younger babies). Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly until the water is absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes.

Baby's Pasta & Meat Sauce

1 hamburger patty, precooked on the grill
1/4 cup tiny star pasta ("pastina")
pasta sauce, whatever your family eats

Puree the hamburger patty in the Babycook and remove to a small bowl. Cook the Pastina according to package directions and add to the hamburger, along with the sauce.

*Note - I have a friend who makes a version of this, but instead of using commercially prepared sauce, she puts tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and a bunch of other veggies in a pot on the stove, cooks them, purees and freezes in cubes.

Oatmeal with Blueberry and Mango

1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 mango, cubed
Baby's Oatmeal (see recipe below)

Add the blueberries and the mango to the Babycook and puree. Add the fruit sauce to Baby's Oatmeal. Yum! (This is a "stolen" recipe, too, from another friend)

Baby's Oatmeal

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine 2 cups of water, cinnamon and vanilla and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the oats. When the mixture starts to simmer, cover, turn off the heat and let stand until thick and creamy (about 15 minutes). Stir in breastmilk, formula, water or fruit puree.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

High Style Highchairs

Since Andy has mostly outgrown his Bumbo seat, I'm forced to consider an alternative for feeding him. That thing was really great for meals. I could sit it on the dining room chair and feed him at the dinner table. I could put it up on the counter and feed him while I surfed the internet. It went out in the yard where he sat quietly and played in the dirt in the garden, too. When we were done, all it needed was a quick hosing off (which is more than I can say for the baby who occupied it).

I'm not overly crazy about most of the highchairs on the market. Its like most companies want to create the biggest, bulkiest piece of plastic possible. If thhat's not your style either, you're in luck, because there are some very cool, very modern choices out there. Some are reasonably prices, others require a trip to the bank for a small loan.

My favorite,and probably the one I'll purchase, is the bloombaby Nano. The Nano is sleek and modern and has a small footprint when open. It has an even smaller footprint when its folded up - Just 7 1/4", perfect for those of us limited on space. Its adjustable, too. The footrest has 2 positions and the tray has 3, and it detaches for "up-to-the-table feeding". For safety's sake, it has a 5-point harness. And it weighs just 12 lbs., so I don't have to get a hernia moving it.
Nano is engineered from recyclable plastic and metal parts including the stainless steel hardware and FDA-approved food-contact grade plastics in the trays, to the recyclable grade plastics of the seat. It exceeds all applicable safety standards in every country it is sold. All of its materials, finishes and textiles are lead free, phthalate free, PVC free, heavy metal free, and AZO dye free. This makes Slightly Crunchy very happy.
Oh, and to make your Chic Center happy, Nano is available in 6 stylish colors: Midnight Black, Coconut White, Blossom Pink, Paradise Blue, Henna Brown, Harvest Orange, Rock Red and Gala Green.
To buy: $179 from retailers all over the internet. Look for one offering free shipping, as well as one not in your home state, so you don't end up paying sales tax.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Slacker Mommy Finally Posts...Hello, Jack and Lily!

I have been a victim of the weather. It whispers in my ears. It pulls me outdoors during the day. "Plant the broccoli." "Mow the lawn...Quick, before it rains again." "Its going to be cold tonight...Protect the garden from the frost." So I've been a big slacker, working in the yard instead of posting new and fabulous baby gear.
Jack and Lily makes high quality baby footwear (in over 70 styles!). Luckily, its oh-so-adorable, too. Their shoes are made from ultra-soft leather that conforms to the British and European Safety Standard Safety of toys', as well as the Japanese Industrial Safety Standard. And to make you feel like you just bought Baby (and yourself) a present, each pair of shoes is packaged in a gift bag. Each pair of slip-ons is designed to encourage a baby's development. These soft-soled shoes invite babies to discover, touch and smile.
To Buy:
Limited Offer: Buy any 2 pair and receive free shipping. Coupon Code - "FREESHIP"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Boikido Toys

If you're a kid at heart, you love your baby's toys. I've carefully picked out alot of Andy's toys. Some are nostalgic, some are oh-so-modern and cool, some I wish I had had when I was his age. We have toys that I think are amazing that he's not even old enough for yet. And then there are the ones I have yet to buy! I have LISTS of stuff I can't wait to buy for him!

New to that list are the toys from Boikido (another French company!). "Bois" in French is "wood" - and "Kido" is "kids" so in free translation you could call it " Wood for kids". "Boi-Kido". Boikido has a unique outlook on play and design and its evident in their line of very cool products.

To satisfy Semi-Crunchy, they even have an Eco-Line of premium wooden toys with a special focus on sustaining the environment while maintaining a high level of social awareness.

All wood used in the “Boikido Eco Friendly” line are made from certified FSC wood. This means that the wood has been monitored to come from responsibly managed plantations that meet the FSC standards of biodiversity, ecological and productive processes as well as social standards under which local communities can benefit from plantation activities without disturbing the eco System.

They use water-based paints on them, too. Water-based technology is in many respects more environmentally friendly than solvent-based paints. Release of volatile organic compounds (VOC) is minimized, the paints are easily solidified and can typically be disposed as non-hazardous waste following appropriate disposal guidelines. As in all Boikido products, all paints used are non-toxic.

The packaging in which you receive your new ”Boikido Eco Friendly” toy is made of recycled cardboard and is printed with soy bean inks certified by ASA (American Soybean Association). Soybean oil and Soy Bean protein used in this ink are a bioreducible nontoxic predominantly vegetable oil paint comprising a paint base and a colorant blend.
Available at Toys R and numerous sites across the internet.
See the full product line at