Oh, lentils! Why do you hate me so?

To discourage seed predators, pulses contain t...

To discourage seed predators, pulses contain trypsin inhibitors that interfere with digestion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I decided to be good and made a nice big pot of lentil stew.  I followed the recipe to the letter, and it turned out, if I do say so myself, quite delicious.

There is a small quirk to my lentil stew though.  You know how anti-freeze is crazy poisonous, but for some reason it tastes delicious to animals and babies, so they can mistakenly ingest it, not knowing that they are in fact slurping down poison?  Yeah, so, under cooked lentils are also pretty poisonous.  They have proteins that cannot be broken down and require a full, good hard boil to make them safe to eat.

Did you know that?

I didn’t know that.  If the under cooking of a food could cause severe illness and food poisoning, don’t you think that should be general, common knowledge?  You know, like how we all know you should’t eat raw cookie dough or lick your fingers after touching raw meat?

I didn’t under cook my lentils on purpose.  As I said, I followed the directions exactly.

Luckily, I was the only one that ate it.  Unluckily, it took two completely separate days of what felt like painful, near death illness, for me to put two and two together and realize what made me ill.

Abe had to stay home for half of the day today to help me take care of the babies because I was just too sick.  Again.

Guess what I will never eat again?  Did you say raw cookie dough?  Naw, I would probably eat that, that stuff is delicious.  But lentil anything?  Oh my.

No.  Just no.

I tend not to forgive things that make me violently ill.  Did you read the caption under the lovely lentil photo at the top of this post?  “To discourage seed predators, pulses contain trypsin inhibitors that interfere with digestion.

Consider this “seed predator” discouraged!

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Mice are icky.

I’m sure whether you care to admit it or not, you have probably experienced a mouse or two in your house from time to time.  It has nothing to do with cleanliness, rodents, and bugs for that matter, are resourceful little boogers that want to find a way into your house and they will.

We have had mice come visit our home uninvited a few times over the years, but having two cats, and the growing population of stray cats in our neighborhood has greatly reduced that number.  The last time we had a mouse inside our house, our two cats found it and kept it trapped until Abe came home to catch and release the little intruder.

Mice carry diseases, they are gross, filthy little things.  Have you heard about the bubonic plague making a comeback?  Seriously.  2012, and bubonic plague is still around, kickin’ it medieval style.

All this said, we grow up watching adorable little cartoon mice on television, begging us to love them.  Mickey Mouse anyone?  So, it seems natural that when confronted with a mouse, though totally grody as mentioned before, that something inside of you, whether you like it or not, will tend to think that it looks like a sweet little creature.  Something not to be feared, but to be adored and protected.

No, we don’t have a mouse in our house, but the kids did find one outside last week on the way to the bus stop.  Now, as you may recall, they recently found a very dead mouse, while digging around outside.  Probably something that a cat found, played with, chewed a bit, and then left for dead.  Cats are evil like that.

The mouse they found last week was alive, but barely.  I’m pretty sure it was also a kitteh play thing.  We found it wet and not moving much.  I hate to say it, but it was adorable.  Tiny and helpless and just precious.  You know, in that gross you know you aren’t supposed to think this thing is cute kind of way.

I told the kids not to touch it and we went off to catch the bus.  On the way home, I couldn’t help but stop and look at the mouse.  Not wanting to touch it with my hands, bubonic plague!, I grabbed a small stick and gently prodded it, seeing if it could move.  The poor thing seemed scared to death.  He moved, which is a good sign right?  I saw no obvious injuries, no bloody tooth marks, nothing that hinted at what may be wrong.

The thing is, where he was, right out in the open, well, he was easy prey to any cat passing by.  And as I said, we have quite a few cats that pass through our neighborhood.  So.  I coaxed him with the little stick, my home made mouse prod, over to where I thought he would be safer.  I thought to myself how insane the Wildlife Rescue people would think I was if I scooped up this little mouse and brought it to them to save.  I tried to remind myself of how icky this thing was, no matter how cute it may be on the outside.  He could have the zombie virus for all I know!

Probably not, but mice are icky.  Right?

*sigh*

Wanna see the icky mouse?  I took a picture.  It’s what I do.

 

Look at those tiny little paws!  The itty bitty whiskers!

I am such a bleeding heart, bubonic plague be damned.

I resisted the urge to name him and make him a pet, but I worried about him all day until Abe came home and I told him to check if he was still out there.  I asked him to tell me he was gone no matter what, and if he was still there, to move him into the woods but not to tell me.  I want to assume in my goofy little mind that he got his act together, found his way home, and is living happily ever after, bubonic plague free with his adorable little mouse family.

I am crazy, I realize.

 

Potty Tots Review & Giveaway!

I will be completely honest with you all and just say that I hate potty training.  I dread it.  The Pull Ups Potty Dance?  Ridiculous.  We have books and DVDs and I even sat through Dr Phil’s Potty training in one day deal.  You know what all of these things are lacking?  Focus on the child!  This is where Potty Tots is completely different.  Everything is all about full immersion of the child into the realm of using the potty.  There are adorable characters, cute songs, fun games, even an interactive website all designed to help get your child excited to use the potty.  Brillante!

Potty Tots was invented by a mom, Jill Leech.  I love that.  Who better to know what’s best for our children?  She saw a need for this in the market and so she made it happen!  Her philosophy is to make learning fun, and she did exactly that with Potty Tots!  The characters are multi-ethnic, easy to relate to, and honestly, they really are adorable.

Through the Potty Tots website, once you go through all the amazing information and fun activities, you can order a Potty Tots kit for a boy or a girl.  Each kit is specifically geared towards your child, getting them excited to start potty training.

The kits include a potty training guide book, an illustrated potty chart, a progress chart with clings, and an animated DVD with bonus music videos!

The kit is literally jam packed with all kinds of goodies that are perfect for helping you and your little one gear up for potty training with as little stress as possible.

Something super cool and unique with this system, is the progress chart that is included.  There is a large sheet with tons of adorable vinyl cling Potty Tots that are used to show your child’s progress.  Ideally, this would be hung in the bathroom, but we use ours on the refrigerator, where everyone can see Noah’s progress and cheer him on.  The more cheering and excitement there is, the more interest and success there is, trust and believe!

Noah would literally run down the hallway to move his little Potty Tot down the field, it was cause for celebration!

And of course, he also loved the book, which not only stars the Potty Tots, but they use the very same system in the book, showing the chart in use and everything, which is even more exciting for the child because they get to do exactly the same things as their favorite characters in the book.  Kids like to imitate, the awesomeness here is just, well, awesome.  This system has worked wonders with Noah’s potty training.  We have tried several different methods, taken several breaks, even assumed the kid would wear diapers into his teens.  Well, maybe not that bad, but potty training can be a stressful time.  Anything that helps encourage your child, and you for that matter, is worth it’s weight in gold.  Potty Tots is most definitely worth it’s weight in gold!

This is a system that you will use now and then pass down to the next child or share with your friends and family.  No silly gimmicks, no complicated maneuvers, just plain, simple, tried and true methods that make potty training something that does not need to be dreaded.

Check out Potty Tots for yourself at there website by clicking HERE.  They even have diplomas that you can print out for your little one!

“Like” Potty Tots on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Follow Potty Tots on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Did you check out their website and “Like” their Facebook page?  Once you do both, leave me a comment or send me an email to let me know and you are entered to win a Potty Tots training kit of your very own!  Share this review with your friends on Twitter and Facebook, and I’ll let you have an extra entry.  Hey, I’m cool like that.

I’m telling you, this system is effective!  I really wish I had had it for my oldest two, but now I know where to go when Sara is potty training next year.  Now go enter and good luck!  Winner wlil be announced Saturday, September 29, 2012.

The awesome folks at Potty Tots provided my with a Potty Tots kit free of charge for review purposes.  I was not compensated in any other way, and Potty Tots really did make potty training fun in our house!  They are awesome!

Chinese Evergreen Flowering

It has been years since I have kept houseplants, mostly because our kitties like to chew on them, rip them to shreds, and then, adding insult to injury, sleep on top of the dying plant.  Cats are evil, what can I say?  Also, when it comes to houseplants, my thumbs are undoubtedly black.  If the cats didn’t murder them, my neglect would before long.

This past May, whilst browsing the plant section at Lowes, I noticed some house plants that were advertised as both pretty and easy to care for.  Their tags said “Plants of Steel”, so I decided to accept the challenge and see if they really are as tough as their tags imply.  Well, four months later, I am shocked and happy to say that they are not only still alive, but they are thriving!

*happy dance*

This morning, I noticed my Chinese Evergreen, also called Aglaonema, is flowering.

 

Happy plants make flowers, not sad and dying ones.  I declare myself the best gardener/houseplant keeper in the whole entire world.  Yes, the whole entire world.  Now don’t ruin my moment, just ooo and ahhh along with me.

September Citrus Lane Box!

It’s mid September, and that means it’s time for our monthly Citrus Lane box!  For those who don’t yet know the awesomeness of Citrus Lane, basically it is a monthly subscription service, curated to your little one(s) from newborn to age 3.  Each month is centered on a theme, and the boxes are filled with fun, age appropriate goodies from brands that you may not have known about before.

This month’s theme is “Animal Parade”.

 

Sara was eager, as always, to dig right in!

 

Included in every box is an insert that tells you more about each of the items and often includes Citrus Lane exclusive coupon codes and offers from the featured companies.

 

It also includes the websites to the brands, so you can look up even more cool products that they may have to offer.

 

Green Sprouts Long Sleeve Bib $20.00

Have you ever dreaded meal time because of the inevitable mess that would explode as your toddler fed him or herself?  Yeah, me too.  Heck, half the time, we strip them down to the diapers, knowing that they will end up wearing most of their dinner.  This bib is waterproof, has a velcro closure to stay in place and it even has a flip pocket to catch anything that would otherwise slide down into baby’s lap.  Oh yes, this ranks high on the awesome meter!

 

HappyBaby Happy Tot Pouch $1.75

Bib firmly in place, now let’s eat!  HappyBaby makes yummy organic food pouches that are easy to store, easy to carry and easy for little ones to feed themselves with.  The pouch is BPA free and has a resealable top for preserving any leftovers.  This pouch is long gone, Sara loved it.

 

It’s like she’s anticipating the mess she is going to make with that fruit pouch.  What a thoughtful girl!

 

BabyGanics Toy & Table Cleaner $3.99

This item was in another box a month or two ago, but let me tell you, it is great to have several!  I like to keep one in the diaper bag, and now I have one next to the high chair.  This cleaner is paraben, sulfates and pthalates free, a perfect way to clean baby’s highchair tray at home or on the go.  It is also handy for wiping down restaurant tables, or anything that you want to make sure is nice and clean before your baby decides to gnaw on it.

 

I think Sara approves of her cute little puppy bath sponge!

 

Rich Frog Tub Sponge $5.95

Bathtime will be even more fun with this adorable little puppy dog sponge!  It has a very soft terry cloth covering that is soft on baby’s skin, a handy dandy loop to hang it to dry, and it stays afloat in the tub, so it is always easy to find and play with!

 

The cuteness of this book is almost too much!

 

InnovativeKids Faces Book $6.99

This book, as you saw, opens up to several, adorable and fun masks!  Talk about making reading fun!  This book was hugely giggle inducing for the whole family.  What a fun idea, we love it!

Try out your very own subscription to Citrus Lane by clicking HERE.  Once you follow that link, enter coupon code 10TODAY to save 10%.    When you subscribe for a full year, they also give you two months free.  Who doesn’t love free?!

We love Citrus Lane in our home.  As I have said before, the value of the products each month for the small price paid is just fabulous.  And much cheaper than a “quick” trip to Target for me.  I love being introduced to new brands and companies, and we have loved everything we have gotten so far.

Baby Cubes Giveaway Winners!!

Whew!  What a week!  I was impressed with the number of entries we had for the Baby Cubes giveaway, and I had a great time chatting with so many of you through email, which is also how most people entered the giveaway.  Hey, I’m pretty easy, and entry is an entry.  A lot of you asked where to buy these, and one mama told me she completely cleared the shelf of them at her local Burlington Coat Factory, which is a place to find them here in the states.

You can also check out the official Baby Cubes website to find more locations to purchase these, or you can even get them online, which is easier still!

Now, for the winners!  If your name is listed below, please email me at livinglavidamommy @ gmail.com (no spaces) with your mailing address so that I can get your Baby Cubes prize pack to you!

Feeling lucky?  Here we go!

1.Caroline Pollack

2.Terry Smith

3.Shemeika Brock

4.Kate Buerig

5.Kimberly Stethum

6.Laura Kraft

7.Audrey Albinger

8.Charlie Hernandez

9.Natasha Szydlowski

10.Claudia Regal

Was your name listed?  Well then, email me!  You gotta tell me where to send your prize!  Name not listed?  No worries!  There’s always next time!

Thank you to everyone for entering!  I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!

Happy Birthday Abe!

Today my hubby turns 33.  That is still super young, regardless of how old he keeps telling everyone he is.  I like to tell him I’m his young “trophy wife” since he is a whole three and a half months older and one school year ahead of me.  It amuses me.

We wrapped his gifts with super fancy wrapping paper and stickers, as you can see.  Hey, we go all out in this familia.

Happy Birthday to my very best friend and the most awesome husband any girl could ever have!  I love you forever and always!  xoxoxoxoxoxo

Discovering Things

This past weekend brought us gorgeous, cool,  fall like weather.  I very happily opened up the windows to let the fresh,  crisp air in, and just as happily kicked the kids outside before they had a chance to fight about anything.

The nasty hot summer had them stuck inside far more than they are used to, so I was determined for them to soak in as much outside time as possible.  With the windows open, we could hear them excitedly talking as they followed the trails of butterflies or hopped around after a large grasshopper.

Bubbles were blown, drawing were made with chalk, they played on the swing set, they even made discoveries.

Abe and I were inside feeding the two little ones, when we hear Matt and Bella very excitedly talking about their great “discovery”.  They had been digging around and were talking about discovering fossils, so I assumed they found a rock that they decided to pretend was some sort of dinosaur bone, or whatever.

They started talking louder, getting more excited as they tried to decide what creature they found and what they should do with it.  When Bella suggested burying it, well, my brain started imagining what they possibly could have found.

When they declared that it had sharp claws, okay, game over.

Bella was coming up the front stairs when she opened the door to make her announcement.

“Mom, I have good news and some not so good news.  The good news is our dig was successful.  Too successful.  We found a dead creature with very long, sharp claws!”

Oh dear baby Jeebus.

“Did you touch it?!”  Ick factor to the max!  I sent Abe outside to see what they had found and sent them to scrubbing their hands clean from the dead “creature” cooties.

Abe said it was probably a mouse as he headed outside, to which they adamantly disagreed.

“No!  It can’t be a mouse, it has long sharp claws!”

Well, I don’t know what they thought they found, and I certainly don’t know what part of their brains were thinking it would be awesome to play with a dead anything.  But here it is, in all of its icky glory:

 

Doesn’t that look like an awesomely fun thing to play with?!  Blech.  And yes, it’s definitely a mouse, probably the remains of some stray cat’s snack.

They came inside and played video games after they used up all the soap washing their grody little hands.  They did make the day interesting, I’ll give them that.

Baby Cubes Giveaway Reminder

Have you entered to win the three pack of Baby Cubes yet?  Click HERE and get yourself entered!  There are lots of awesome ideas floating around in the comment section of that post, and all it takes is a comment to enter yourself to win!  Did I mention that there will be ten winners?!

Go enter!

I have gotten an inbox full of emails as entries, which is cool, I will still enter all of those into the giveaway.  But share your ideas in the comments section too, so everyone can see what you’ll use your Baby Cubes for!  Sharing is caring, ya know.