Friday, April 5, 2013

Adventures in DIY Personal Products

Some fun facts I've learned off of Facebook memes recently:

Parabens are chemicals that serve as preservatives in antiperspirants, cosmetics, & sun lotions.  99% of breast cancer tissue contained this everyday chemical.  Scientific research has shown that most breast cancers develop in the upper-outer quadrant of the breast.  And it just so happens that area is closest to the lymph nodes exposed to antiperspirants.

26 seconds is all it takes for the chemicals in your personal care products to enter your bloodstream.

These facts look much more dramatic in their original meme form, but as I'm not into copyright infringement, I won't post them here.  But suffice to say that the Internet in general, and Facebook in particular, is full of factoids like this, depending on where you look.

The more I learn, the more I really want to venture into making my own personal care products, as I vowed to do sometime back around the beginning of the year.  (Of course, I also vowed to start blogging more, and we can all see how well that has turned out so far...)

Why yes, that bottle of baby wash does, in fact, have a mustache.

I actually have made a few things though!  I made Little Bug some baby wash using a recipe from Heather Dessinger's DIY Organic Beauty Recipes.  I love how it smells (so clean, with just a hint of sweet orange), and it literally leaves his skin squeaky clean.  I only wash his hair about once per week anyway, unless it gets food or something gross in it, and I use the wash on his skin once every two or three days, depending on whether or not he needs it (most of the time a good soak gets any accumulated dirt off just fine).  The only real adjustment we've had to make to our bath routine is that I have to be extra careful when I rinse it out of his hair, as it's not "tear free" as the Aveeno baby wash we used to use.

I've made myself face wash and toner, also from DIY Organic Beauty Recipes.  Both make my face feel clean and balanced and wonderful.  Next on the list is her recipe for tooth powder, which I will make once my current tube of Tom's of Maine runs out.  And then deodorant; I am planning to try a recipe posted by the lovely and talented Mrs. H.

Some time ago, I actually made up a batch of homemade laundry detergent, and I haven't looked back since.  I use it for everything and it seems to work wonderfully.

Soap, soap, soap, soap...

And this desire to make my own is slowly spilling over into all kinds of other areas too.  A few weeks ago I started a bottle of vanilla extract.  And after seeing a few other memes up on Facebook and reading this article, I now have a glass on my windowsill with green onion root tips in it, which I'm hoping will grow into new plants.  I have some other plans floating around in my head; I'll just have to see where this takes me!

Obligatory cute picture of Little Bug.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lovely spam, wonderful spam!

(In case you don't get the reference, the title of this post comes from a Monty Python song.)

Email spam, that is.  I will be happy if Little Bug never ever learns that the word "spam" applies to anything else in the world.  'Cause even before I was vegetarian, I thought spam was nasty.


Sometimes, when I go to empty out the spam folder in my various email accounts, I actually open the messages.  You know, just for funsies.  And I can't help but wonder why con artists or scammers or whoever it is sending this crap out even bothers.  I mean, does anyone actually fall for this crap?

Like this one:

This is to inform you that your E-mail Address has WON you the sum of 1,000,000.00GPB (One Million Pound Sterling) from the Chevrolet Award Promo 2013.The Draw No:1593.make a contact and collect your winning fund immediately, Fill the Information below:

Chevrolet Award Promo <>
1. Full Name:
2. Full Address:
3. Valid Phone Mobile Number:

Contact Email:
Mr. Gore William
Chevrolet Company Department,
Because yes, I'm going to believe I somehow won "one million pound sterling" from a contest I never entered.  A contest for which the contact email is a hotmail account.  Come on, you can do better than that.  No one uses hotmail these days.

Or this one:
Delivery Update

Courier Company <>
Pending Delivery Alert!

This is a reminder that Your packet is already on the transit point (Rome). It has been on hold awaiting pickup since December 28th,2012. You are expected to call or

email us with a confirmation of the exact recipient address.

Recipient Postal Details required are stated below;


From our database,it shows your package is coming in with a high priority delivery (highly classified package),so you should attend to this case promptly. You have to

Confirm if you wish to come to ROME for pickup of your package or if you want us to deliver to you in your location.

For more info, call us on: +39 328 879 6421, Note this is a highly valuable delivery and so, you must attend to all messages promptly.

Looking forward to a prompt response from you.

Sergio Marchionne.
(Delivery Agent)
Because, obviously, I am such an up-and-comer in the world that I regularly receive mysterious courier packages delivered to me in foreign countries I have never even visited before.  Calling this foreign telephone number sounds like a fabulous idea!  What could go wrong?

Some of the other things in my junk mail folder just confuse me.  Like this one:
This Stock Is Trading UP

Arabella Brooks <>
The next Winner!!! Breakout on the horizon!

Trading Date: Mar, 4
Name: Gold & GemStone Mining, Inc
Sym: G G_S_M
Last Trade: $.017
Long Term Target: 0.30

It is heating up before the close, could be explosive!!! The Alarm is still sounding!
I've received four separate emails within the last few days containing basically this same information.  I don't trade stock.  If I did, I wouldn't act on mysterious tips that come from bizarre email addresses.  And why did they capitalize the words "winner" and "alarm?"  Don't these people know that I am not a fan of capitalizing random words for no reason?  And that comma after "close" should really be a semicolon.  Even if I were inclined to buy your stock, the lack of proper English language usage would cause me to turn away.

And what about this one?
Hello Dear

Faridah Mohamad <>

Hi Dear
My name is Miss Faridah I saw your profile today on the Internet friendship
site and decided to write to you to know if we can become friends. I hope to
hear from you soon so that I can send you more details about myself including
my photo. you can write me here (
Yours Sincerely
All I can really say here is WTF?  (No, seriously, imagine me saying this as the acronym, not as the words it stands for.  Trying to clean up my language here; I do have a 13-month-old, after all.)  Well, Miss Faridah, I don't think I'm comfortable with you calling me "dear."  And I'm sure as hell heck not going to be sending you a picture of me.  Internet friendship site?  What does that even mean?  No.  No, we cannot become friends.  The end.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


This is a thing that I know: most of my best writing is done in my head, usually late at night, when I am in no position to grant the words any kind of permanence.

Many a middle-of-the-night nursing session has been spent lost in thought, composing blog posts in my head.  But since getting out of bed after Little Bug is done in order to record those thoughts on the computer (or even plain old-fashioned paper) is completely out of the question, those posts remain in my head.  And let me tell you, I can write sentences that sound amazing in my head sometimes, but if I don't write them down right away, they're lost forever.  Oh, sure, I can try to re-create these wonderful compositions later on, but they never come out nearly as intelligent-sounding or funny or thoughtful or whatever the next day.  So I give up, delete the document, and go on with my life.

Except sometimes those ideas continue to float around in my brain.  The only way to banish them completely is to write them down, but since I can no longer do justice to those ideas... well, the idea for this post was born.

For your entertainment, I present a sprinkling of ideas, a smattering of topics and stories I have wanted to work into blog posts in the past, but that never made it out of my head and into written form.

There was that time when I wanted to write a series of open-ended letters, mostly to people who piss me off.  Dear guys who wear sunglasses with white plastic frames: I am going to assume now that you are probably a douche-bag.

Dear owner of this car: 

Just so you know, vehicular modifications are not an effective 
method of compensating for deficiencies in other areas of your life.

Or that time when a good friend and I possibly kinda freaked out the other mamas at a baby playdate by using the topic of postpartum depression as a segueway into a discussion about placenta encapsulation.  Although I think the (less diplomatic) phrase used was "And then I ate my placenta."
(I think this may have happened on more than one occasion, actually.)

There was the time I started a list of all of the Facebook status updates that I never used because they probably would have offended someone.

Or the time I started a list of all of the types of posts on Facebook that I don't read.  (Example: If I have to click on a picture to read a long story, then no.)

Or the diatribe of why, when it comes to giving birth, I would probably be a nightmare hospital patient.  A nightmare for the hospital, that is.  Nope, barring valid medical reasons, any future babies I have will probably be birthed at home just like Little Bug.

Or there was the time I was talking with another mama at an indoor play place, and she commented that her toddler had an iPad, but followed that comment with a self-deprecating request not to judge her, and I said I don't judge anyone, since parenting is hard work.  Except I did, I totally judged her in my head.  Call me Judgy McJudgerson.

Maybe an account of trying to take a "sick day" with a toddler in the house.  No extra sleep to be found there.  Or ever.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One Year Old: A Slightly Belated Update

Somehow, an entire year slipped away from me and now my Little Bug is a year old!

Walking tall!

Or, he is a year and almost two weeks.  So much for that resolution to blog more often.

Little Bug started walking a month or so ago, and now hardly needs my help at all, although he likes holding my hand when he's tired or sometimes when we're in an unfamiliar environment.  And he needs me to go up and down stairs, sometimes.  I had to go buy him some real shoes recently, since I'd probably be considered a bad parent if I let him walk around outside barefoot or just in his socks.  Not to mention the fact that his socks would all get filthy.  (But at least he'll wear socks now.  We went through a phase where he loved pulling his socks off.  Heck, he loved pulling everyone's socks off.  My socks, the socks of other babies...)

His newest skill is clapping his hands, and he spent the entire day today walking around clapping and grinning.  And of course, I was grinning all day too, because what mama doesn't delight in her child's enthusiasm for the world?  I also taught him to high-five a few days ago, a skill he proudly showed off for his daddy at the video teleconference earlier this week.

Clap your hands!

Sometime in his eighth month, Little Bug really took a good interest in food.  We didn't really do much with purees, mostly because he didn't like them but also because the "traditional" method of introducing solids just didn't sit right with me.  I pretty much always have and still do just feed him directly from whatever I'm eating myself (with exceptions sometimes; if I'm eating junk, I make him something healthy).  To start off, I'd mash it up a little with a fork or cut it into tiny pieces, but nowadays he's pretty good at mashing things with his gums (and chewing with his seven teeth) so I can offer bigger chunks that allow him to figure out eating for himself. Yep, spices and salt and all, and none of this one-new-food-at-a-time-with-several-days-between nonsense for us.  Little Bug so far loves pretty much everything, although his distinct favorites are bananas, raisins, green beans, carrots, brussels sprouts, beans, and egg yolks (hard boiled).  He also loves bread, and cheese, and I started offering peanut butter on occasion shortly before he turned one (my one concession to neurotic food schedules), and he loves that too (just like his daddy).

Banana attack!

I have no idea how much he weighs right now, or how tall he is, because I was too lazy to schedule his first birthday well baby checkup on time and I couldn't get an appointment until March.  Suffice to say he's a big boy, and carrying him around should eventually give me some nicely toned arms.

He does still love being worn in the Ergo, although it won't be long before I won't be able to carry him that way in the front; already he's getting too tall that he barely fits under my chin!  He loves being worn on my back too though, and my sister is going to gift me with a backpack-style carrier that will make hiking easier.

Little Bug has a plethora of toys.  He loves balls and his stacking cups and anything with wheels, and he loves bringing me books to read.  (He doesn't always stay put for the entire book, but whatever.)  He loves the little wheeled cart his grandpa (my dad) got him for the holidays, and he loves his set of IKEA little pots and pans.

And he's finally, finally getting past the stage of "everything in the mouth."  That's not to say that Little Bug doesn't still put things in his mouth, because he does, but he doesn't put everything there anymore.  We can go walking outside and I can let him pick up leaves and twigs and know that he might just look at them and then put them down, although he does still try to eat them sometimes too.

So all in all, our son is growing up.  He makes me smile, and sometimes my heart swells so much with love that I don't know how I could possibly love him any more (but there are always more reasons to love him), and every day brings new things.  How could I have ever thought my life was complete before I had my Little Bug?  All that's missing now is my beloved D, and hopefully we only have a few months left before he comes home to us.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Wish you were here!

There are so many things that I wish D could see right now. So many little things, so many precious moments that make my heart swell with joy. (Not trying to make you feel bad, honey, I swear!) Raising a baby is one of the most joyful endeavors I've ever embarked upon, and there are no end to the things that make me smile.

I love this picture, even if Little Bug's eyes
are closed.

Sometimes I think I should be taking more videos of Little Bug during these long months of deployment. And then I remember that I don't have a video camera, and my regular camera doesn't seem to take videos, and even if I did have a good reliable way of taking videos, it wouldn't really work anyway. I can't even easily take pictures anymore; most of them have a little hand reaching intently toward the lens. And more than half of them are blurry anyway. I swear, Little Bug never stops moving. He's a very busy boy.

So since I don't have videos, I'll instead try to paint a picture with words.

Little toothy grins. As of now, Little Bug has two teeth on the bottom and three on the top, and I think a fourth might be on its way in up there. (Hard to get a good look though...) He has the cutest little smile, with all of his little teeth, and I love the way they flash when he laughs.
I still haven't succeeded in teaching Little Bug the sign for "milk," which I use interchangeably with "nurse." I'm hoping that eventually he will start signing when he wants a snack, rather than coming over and pulling my shirt down, since that's not exactly okay to do out in public. Within the last few days, though, he's started telling me he wants to nurse by grabbing the nursing pillow and doing his best to fling it at me. (He's not strong enough to actually throw it, but that doesn't stop him from trying!) I love how he knows what the pillow's for!
Buddies! ...kinda...

He has, however, approximated a sign for "bath." Every night, Little Bug has a bath at 1800, and woe be to me if I'm not ready on the dot. I've been trying to teach him the sign for "bath" for awhile now, and he seems to have modified the one I'm using into something of his own creation!
Blowing raspberries. Little Bug loves blowing raspberries at me, and he loves it when I blow them right back. Sometimes we wander around the store while shopping, Little Bug strapped to my chest in the Ergo, blowing raspberries back and forth.
First steps. He's getting better every day! He can walk all over the place so long as he's got something to hold on to, and can easily make it across the room on his own. I think he'd make it farther if he didn't get so excited about his abilities though; he just wants to go, go, go, as fast as possible, and then he ends up going too fast and falls over. Chubby legs, unsteady steps... heartwarming and amazing.

Dino pajamas!

Bananas are one of Little Bug's favorite foods. Bananas, blueberries, and sweet potatoes. And when we share a banana, I usually let him take his own bites. Which is a comical sight to behold, as he won't bite down until he's stuffed as much banana in as will fit. A Tremendous Mouthful of banana, as it were. And then he looks at me and mashes it with his gums and some dribbles down his chin. Sometimes he ends up spitting some out, if it's more than he can swallow on his own, but more often than not he gets it all down and then comes back, grinning, for more.