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Popsicle Weather

 

The weather is heating up where we live and that means it's popsicle weather. I have resisted buying popsicle molds for many years because I didn't want to buy plastic ones, even if they were BPA-free. But I finally found a fabulous stainless steel one: the Freezycup™ Stainless Steel Ice Pop Molds made of high-quality food-grade stainless steel 18-8 (304). The Freezycup™ is made by Life Without Plastic, an amazing Canadian company I first read about on Beth Terry's blog My Plastic-free Life (use dropdown menu in left sidebar to switch from CAN$ to US$).

Each Freezycup™popsicle maker has 4 parts: the popsicle cup or mold, lid, silicone gasket (goes in center of lid and holds stick in place), and reusable bamboo stick. I love that the stick is reusable. We have used our sticks at least 10 times and they still look great. It can be tricky with small ones to keep track of all these parts. My children mostly eat their popsicles outside, so we have chosen a spot where they can set their sticks and lids (with gasket) when they are done. They know if these parts get lost, there will be no more popsicles, and so far that has been plenty of motivation.

Healthy-ish Chocolate Chip Cookies

  


I really hesitate to use the word "healthy" in conjunction with these cookies. Mostly because they have a lot of sugar. But also because I believe I have not compromised one bit on taste. I mean, if you are going to have a chocolate chip cookie for dessert, have a real cookie. One delicious cookie is so much better than two cookies that taste healthy, if you know what I mean. Perhaps these cookies would be best described as "less unhealthy chocolate chip cookies," but I thought that a very poor post title.

My kids love a little treat now and then, and to avoid having to resort to store-bought packaged treats, even if they are from Trader Joe's/ Whole Foods, I often make these homemade cookies in bulk and freeze them. One little cookie is dessert enough for my little ones.

How to Sell with Confidence on Craig's List




Last week I posted (Almost) Everything I've Ever Bought or Sold on Craig's List and How to Buy with Confidence on Craig's List. In today's post I'm sharing some tips that I hope will give you the confidence to try selling a used item on Craig's List. I've heard people say buying and selling on Craig's List seems creepy. Maybe you heard a sketchy story on the local news involving Craig's List once. Having sold tons of items on Craig's List, I can tell you that almost everyone buying something that you would sell on Craig's List is just an ordinary person like you. Take a few precautions, and you should never find yourself in an iffy situation.

Note that Craig's List is used for other things besides buying and selling (personals, services like tutoring and child care, job postings, rental housing). This post is about selling an item in the "For Sale" section. Go to the Craig's List site page, click on your nearest metropolitan area, then click on "my account" where you will be prompted to sign in or create an account. Once signed in and on your account page, click on the "New Posting" tab at the top of the page. You can also click on the "For Sale" heading and then "Post" in the top right corner.


 A few tips for selling safely and successfully on Craig's List


Deal locally with people you can meet in person, and you will avoid 99% of all scams according to Craig's List. As a general rule, you should hand over your item only when the payment is in your hand.

Always ask to be paid in cash. Put it right in your post: "CASH ONLY." I've had a few people want to pay me by check, especially for larger amounts, but I always insist on cash. I let them know where the nearest ATM is and wait for them to make a withdrawal.


Worth Saving for the Grandkids: Colorful Wooden Blocks by Grimms


My 18-month-old building with Grimm's Color Charts Rally Building Blocks Set
(wooden cars and people not included).

In Search of Colorful Wooden Blocks (not made in China)


A few months ago my husband suggested that it would be nice to have some colorful wooden blocks in addition to our numerous unfinished natural ones. I agreed, but quickly discovered that the choices were surprisingly slim. There were quite a few inexpensive sets of small blocks that were painted colorfully, but all were made in China.

I eventually started checking websites for individual brands I like (Plan Toys, Maple Landmark, Holgate Toys, Haba) as well as natural toy stores I've purchased from in the past. And what I found was that not one offered a large colorful set of basic building blocks. I was feeling rather defeated about the whole thing, when one day our Grimms stacking rainbow caught my eye. Of course, Grimms! I went to the Grimms website and immediately found gorgeous colorful sets of blocks. A little online comparative shopping landed me on Amazon where I found a wide variety of Grimms blocks sold by The Natural Family Shop (purchases are fulfilled by Amazon).

Grimm's Set of 100 Stepped Blocks

And then I hesitated. For several months in fact. Because, as is often the case, choosing to purchase high-quality, crafted by hand, ethically and sustainably-made products can result in a bit of sticker shock. But as is also often the case with such purchases, once I forked over the dough and received my item, I was so pleased with my choice. I say with the utmost confidence that you will not find colored blocks any where more attractive than those made by Grimms. What Makes Grimms Blocks Special?


How to Buy with Confidence on Craig's List




Earlier this week I posted (Almost) Everything I've Ever Bought or Sold on Craig's List. In today's post I'm sharing some tips that I hope will give you the confidence to try buying a used item on Craig's List. I've heard people say buying on Craig's List seems creepy. Maybe you heard a sketchy story on the local news involving Craig's List once. Having purchased tons of items on Craig's List, I can tell you that almost everyone selling something that you would want to purchase on Craig's List is just an ordinary person like you. Take a few precautions, and you should never find yourself in an iffy situation.

Note that Craig's List is used for other things besides buying and selling (personals, services like tutoring and child care, job postings, rental housing). This post is about buying an item that is in the "For Sale" section. Go to the Craig's List site page, click on your nearest metropolitan area, then click on the heading "for sale" and you're ready to go. 

A few tips for buying safely and successfully on Craig's List


Deal locally with people you can meet in person, and you will avoid 99% of all scams according to Craig's List. As a general rule, you should hand over the payment only when the object in play is in your sights, ready to be loaded into your car. This is not eBay.

(Almost) Everything I've Ever Bought or Sold on Craig's List



The other day when I mentioned that I'd recently sold something on Craig's List, a friend asked me, "How does that work? I've never used Craig's List." I was shocked. SHOCKED. This frugal soul had neither purchased nor sold a single thing on Craig's List. Just in the past month I have purchased a TV stand, infant bucket swing, and kid's bicycle, and sold 2 portable air conditioners on Craig's List.

My conversation with my friend inspired me to try to catalog all the items I've ever bought or sold on Craig's List. It's not truly possible, because it's just been too many things over too many years (dating back to my single days in Los Angeles over 15 years ago), but I did look through my emails and walk around my house to try to remember what I've bought and sold on Craig's List. Here is what I came up with.

Green Changes that Save You Money

green changes to save money green sisterhood


Soon after I decided that I wanted to live a greener healthier lifestyle, I discovered that green changes and choices come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Some green changes are really challenging and may require perseverance despite repeated failures, like trying to find a natural deodorant that works for your husband. Or a natural cleaner that conquers mold. On the other hand, some green changes are downright easy. For example, opening your windows to improve indoor air quality or turning your thermostat up one or two degrees in the summer.

Certain green choices are expensive, like buying an all-natural bed free of flame retardant chemicals. Organic and natural food products also tend to cost more than their conventional counterparts. But many green choices are inexpensive and will save you lots of money.

Top Methods of Entertaining a Child on the Potty



How to get your child to sit on the potty and stay on the potty long enough to relax and do her business: this is one of the central dilemmas of potty training, whatever age your child may be. I'm currently potty training my third child. Since I've done early potty training with my 2nd and 3rd children, I've had a chance to hone my skills for entertaining a wide range of ages on the potty, from 3 years all the way down to 5 months. Whatever age your child may be, here are some ideas for getting them to take a seat and make a deposit.

Potty Time Entertainment


The list below is roughly in the order I have used them with my third child, who started sitting on the potty around 5 months and is now about 18 months. 

New Loves Discovered on the Green Path




This week, as I wrote my umpteenth post about how much I love the farmers market, I realized how many wonderful things I have discovered only because of my permanent detour onto a greener path.


Farmers Markets

For me, one of the greatest benefits of living greener has been becoming connected to my local food economy and developing a greater appreciation for where our food comes from. Since I don't really garden, the farmers market for me is the shortest path of production available. Food has such far-reaching implications for our family's health, how land is used and the health of the planet. It is also a large and recurring expense. I view changing how I buy my food as one of the most important green changes I have made. In addition to feeling great about giving my family the healthiest and tastiest produce available, I feel good about consciously choosing to support small local sustainable farming. I like handing my money straight to the farmer. I have always said that I don't like shopping, but I have discovered that what I actually don't like is shopping in conventional grocery stores and mega-stores and especially malls. Thanks to our local farmers markets, now I often go more than a month without setting foot in a regular grocery store, which means no cheapy toys or salacious magazines at my kids' eye levels, no wandering through a dozen aisles to find the one thing I actually want, no processed foods beckoning, no checkout line. Love that.



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