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

Cook, Baby, Cook!

I have Mommy Guilt. I wanted very badly to breastfeed my son. When he was born, he started to nurse within 20 minutes of delivering. He had a great latch and when it finally came in, I made enough milk for 2 babies! And then the tummy troubles hit. After appointments with Pediatric GI Specialists, despite a best-case-scenario for breastfeeding, in the end, the only thing that made him feel better was a hefty dose of Zantac twice a day, and lot of cereal in his bottles. His very expensive bottles. He ended up on Nutramigen, Enfamil's Hypoallergenic, lactose-free formula. I pay for a 16 ounce can what everyone else gets to pay for a 25 ounce can. Let's just say that I can't wait until we hit a year old so we can switch off of it.

I had planned on making Andy's baby food from the beginning, but when my case of Mommy Guilt set in over the whole breastfeeding thing, I was bound and determined. My son was born in October. By Christmas, I was dreaming of a Beaba BabyCook.

For the uninitiated, the BabyCook is a French compact babyfood maker that has won acclaim in Europe. The Americans, it seems, are a little slow on the uptake - the BabyCook has been on the European scene for years. In any event, the BabyCook steams, purees and defrosts, all in one unit.

Machines produced after 2005 have no traceable abouts of BPA. Older models had baskets made of polycarbonate plastic, known to leech the endocrine-disrupting chemical. The new baskets are made of polysulfone (PSU) plastic.

I have to say that I love this thing. My son is eating foods that I don't think Gerber even puts into jars. He eats combinations of foods that are sometimes strange, but always delicious. At 7 months, he eats almost all of the fruits and veggies that our family eats. In the beginning, I pureed everything smooth after I peeled the skins off. Now, I leave the skins on to retain the most vitamins and am pureeing into a lumpy/chunky consitancy. When he eats chicken, it still retains some semblance of chicken (actually it looks like tuna fish all broken up, but without the mayo). I know that what he eats is pure, fresh food - no salt, sugar, preservatives or anything else I choose not to put in. He can learn to enjoy the pure deliciousness of a ripe peach or the creamy flavor of a perfect avocado. As his palate grows, I've added new herbs and spices.

I've found that an excellent companion to my BabyCook is the book Cooking for Baby. From first tastes to new flavors and textures all the way up to real meals that our whole family will enjoy, this book has you covered.
I'm hoping that my effort is helping me to grow an adventurous eater. I have no doubt that he'll experience the same demands for nothing but Cheerios and Mac and Cheese for weeks on end, but maybe in the meantime, I can sneak in something wholesome and delicious. And hopefully in the long run, he'll be my little gourmet. Something his wife may just thank me for.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

If Money Were No Object...

Filed under the list of things I'd consider buying my kid if he weren't going to outgrow it in the next 10 minutes...

I adore this coat by French designer Judith Lacroix. Price tag? A mere $219. What?? For my kid? Seriously, it wouldn't last him half the season. Even at the low, low sale price of $99, it isn't looking good. The last time I spent $219 on clothing, I got alot more than one miniature coat. So despite the fact that my son will no doubt be the envy of mothers and babies everywhere while wearing it, he'll just have to settle with whatever pile of rags mom comes home with. Poor kid.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fabulous Fabrics

In my job that pays (no, writing a blog doesn't pay my bills, unfortunately), I get paid to pay attention to trends in the craft, textile and art world (its not writing a blog, but its a pretty sweet gig, nevertheless). A fair portion of the time, I see things and don't give them a second thought. Weeks or months later, I'll be doing something else and I'll have a spark. "Haven't I seen that before? Where have I seen that??" As I delve further in the world of baby gear with modern flair, I'm seeing a distinct crossover between the modern textiles I deal with at work and the fabulous products I'm loving for my baby.

Armed with a little knowledge about the fabrics that adorn your favorite baby gear, you can satiate your own Soft Chic Center by using matching and coordinating fabrics elsewhere. Case in point - Planetwise Wetbags. "Where have I seen that before??" Oh right, that print is a fabric by Heather Bailey. Planetwise (who is probably throwing things at my blog right now for giving away their secrets) may be calling this print Green Meadows, but I know that its from Heather's Pop Garden line of fabrics. Heather's line if beautiful and if you want to coordinate your diaper bag (assuming you sew, or can pawn the project off on someone who can) with your new fabulous wetbag, the sky's the limit.
Here are just a few of the other gorgeous fabrics from Heather's Pop Garden line:

Heather Bailey isn't the only designer to be embraced by the baby gear industry, either. More and more I'm seeing awesome products sporting prints by Amy Butler. The Peanut Shell Baby Slings are a great example (again, Peanut Shell people throwing things at their computers). A number of their styles use Amy Butler prints, including some of their newer products, line the swaddlers shown below).

The talented people who create unique clothing on are in the mix, too. The print on this dress is also a Heather Bailey print.

So if you're a crafty momma, get out there are coordinate your gear! If you're not, well, you need to find someone who is!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Baby Carrier Cage Match...And the Winner Is...

I finally made a decision and purchased a new baby carrier. Soft, Chic Center won out in the end. I ended up with a (very comfortable) Beco Butterfly 2. I picked out this adorable owl print on rust colored organic fabric (so that Slightly-Crunchy can be happy, too). Sweet enough for me, not too girly for Daddy.

I put it on when we got home this afternoon and toted Andy around for an hour or two. SO easy to get on and off (the exact opposite of the old carrier). Let me tell you, no longer does The Moose feel like a bag of dogfood. I had him on the back and sucessfully did some work in the garden, then I swapped him around to the front and was amazed at how comfy he was to wear that way, too. Now, if I can just figure out how to keep him from using my ponytail as a set of reins when he's on my back...

Footwear for the Discerning Baby

Love, love, love these adorable baby booties by Ivory and Moss (formerly Auralia and Annalise). They're a handmade item, so every pair is a unique work of art (though she makes more than one of each style).

Currently, Ivory and Moss/Auralia and Annalise is available on Ivory and Moss's new website is under construction. Price: $21.50 to $28.00, depending on style.

(left to right) Green Damask & Pink Rose Mary Janes, Gemma Red Damask Mary Janes

(left to right) Chicklets Light Grey T-Strap (available without flower for little boys), Boatside Plaid Boy Loafers

(left to right) Emme Canvas Mary Janes, Heidi Unisex Boots

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bibbity Bobbity Boo & Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! For anyone of you moms out there who are crafty, artful mommas in addition to being ModMommas, my "real job" (aka "The One That Makes a Paycheck") is offering a 10% coupon for today, as well as a promotional giveaway. When you spend $125 (after your 10% coupon), receive a limited edition canvas tote bag.

More information available at (Shameless plug)

My kid is a drooler. No, I mean it, he's a serious drooler. Long before teeth starting conspiring to errupt, this poor kid made some serious spit. Consequently, he's turned into a bib kid. At first, I was seeking out something to simply mop up the volume of fluid. As he's gotten older (and thankfully, less drooly) we've started to need bibs for other purposes, like eating.
As the mother of such a serious drooler, I consider myself a psuedo-expert on fabulous bibs. Should you find yourself in need of a stylish hunk of fabric to sop up spit or to protect baby from himself (and his food) try some of these on for size:

Cotton bibs with chenille backing

Assorted bib styles - (left to right) Feeding Bib, Teething Bib, Get Messy SmockBella Tunno:
Cotton bibs with terry velour backing:

(left to right) Laminated Bib, Laminated Play Smock

JJ Cole Collections:
Laminated Canvas Bib:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Beco Butterfly 2 vs. The Ergo

At my baby shower, I received a baby carrier. How exciting, hands free with baby! As it turned out, that carrier was pretty uncomfortable. The buckles seemed to never line up with my body, so they dug in all the time. The weight distribution system wasn't great, so my moose of a baby was like hauling around a bag of dogfood. But, by the time we'd figured all of this out, he'd puked on it, so we owned it.

Well that carrier's days are numbered. It has a weight limit of 20 lbs. (I think). At his last checkup, Andy was 19lbs 5oz., so the time has come to replace it. Decisions, decisions...

There are two choices, the Ergo (shown left) and the Beco Butterfly 2 (shown right). Both are touted as easy to use, with excellent weight distribution systems (my shoulders and back are already cheering). The Ergo looks more comfy to me with its padded, cushy straps. Plus, you can buy cool accessories like sucking pads, sleeping hoods, backpack attachments, front packs, a weather cover (uh, if I need a weather cover, we're going indoors) and changing pads. However, the nougatty chic center wants the Beco. The prints they pick for the carriers are so fabulous. The straps look pretty cushy, too!

I'm making a choice soon, so stay tuned!

Ergo Baby Carrier - MRSP $105.00 to $135.00
Accessories - $8.00 to $46.00
Carry Style:
Front or Back
Comes with:
- Sleeping Hood
Recommended Weight Limit:
40 lbs. (Ergo states they have tested it up to 90lbs.)

Beco Butterfly 2 - MSRP $140.00
Carry Style:
Front or Back
Comes with:
- Head Rest (Hood)
- Infant Insert
Recommended Weight Limit:
45 lbs.

Friday, May 8, 2009

If I Were a Diaper Bag

After a hideously long Friday at work, I'm all too happy to relax and unwind with a cup of coffee and write today's post. Somehow, between a combination of general goofing off and planning to have Momma Friends over last night for drinks, I managed to leave most of my week's worth of work until today. Big mistake. Combined with an advertising deadline that I didn't really know I had until about 4pm on Wednesday. I'm happy to say that I managed to meet my ad deadline this morning, have gotten most of my work accomplished and am now waiting for my incredibley good natured husband to arrive with my company's Mother's Day promotional give-away. So here I sit, with a few minutes, to kill. Since yesterday was about my new favorite diapers, me-thinks that today should be about the fabulous item we all tote them about in - The Diaper Bag.

Shameless plug for company shown above.

I don't know about you, but when my son was born, my Dooney and Bourke Signature Quilt Bucket Bag went in the closet. I can barely fit a bottle in there, nevermind the other 10 pounds of stuff I lug around for Andy. I knew this was going to happen, so at 8 1/2 months of pregnancy, my due date baring down on me, I purchased an equally fabulous diaper bag. Enter my OiOi Tweed Messenger Bag. Fabulous enough for me, manly enough that my husband needn't blush when he's forced to carry it. Two insulated bottle pockets, a changing pad, a wipes container and a wet bag; This thing has it all! I distinctly remember thinking, "This thing is huge. I'll never fill it up." Ha!

My days of travelling lightly are officially over for the next, oh, 10 or 15 years. These days, that poor bag is stuffed to the gills: Full change of clothes (including socks, because, yes, they'll stick their foot in poo), bottles, thermos of warm water for mixing formula, diapers (duh), wipes, the list goes on. I haven't seen the bottom of that bag in weeks. Ok, months.

And now that spring is upon us, I'm thinking, "Tweed is such a winter fabric." So my soft, nougatty chic center demands a bag more fit for the season. My choice? I'd steal my friend Hillary's Reese Li Lexington in Marine Tadpole. Fabulous bag. Green and blue, my (and Andy's) colors. But, alas, I'm not spending on another fabulous diaper bag. But I do have my mom enlisted to make me an appropriately seasonal bag. And its almost done, which is a good thing, because Tweed is so last fall!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

gDiaper Baby

New favorite product? gDiapers. Well, new to me. gDiapers has been around for a few years now, but that's hardly the point. The point is that they are a fantastic alternative to disposables for those of us who don't want to do any extra laundry (I already have huge, perpetual piles).

"Disposable diapers, with twenty billion thrown away each year, are the third largest contributor to landfills. (That's 50 million disposable diapers/day.) The plastic contained in these diapers takes up to 500 years to decompose. Additionally, most of these diapers contain untreated human waste that can leach into the water table."

Uhh, ick.

So what's a Semi-Crunchy Momma to do?

gDiapers are a flushable diaper system that is good for babies, parents and the planet. gDiapers have no elemental chlorine, no perfumes, no smell, no garbage and no guilt. gDiapers are a two-part system. The flushable inner refill fits into a pair of colorful ‘little g' pants. When the flushable becomes soiled, it's simply flushed down the toilet, composted or thrown away.

Starter Kits contain 2 washable pants with waterproof liners, 10 flushables, and 1 swishstick for $26.99. Refill packs are $14.49 and contain 40 small flushables or 32 medium/large flushables.

Slightly Crunchy with a Soft, Chic Center

When I got pregnant, I had no idea that I would become obsessed with all things baby. There is a whole world of expensive baby accoutrements out there that you could spend your paycheck on (and then some!). As it turned out, I wanted them all. Never mind that I have no need for more than one fabulous diaper bag (though I've managed to justify 2 - one for winter, one for summer), there are tons of bags out there that I need. Don't even get me started on baby clothes, that's a whole other post.

The funny thing is that I'm not a super-trendy person myself. I prefer comfy jeans and a t-shirt and that's what you'll see me in 99% of the time. Even though I had the time to do my hair before my son was born, I didn't. Forget it now. But its there, rumbling around inside me...The part of me that wishes that I was always well put together, with fabulous clothes, hair and accessories. That's my Soft, Nugatty, Chic Center.

As it turns out, I'm a semi-crunchy momma. I try to be green when I can. I even go out of my way to do so, but I draw the line at full-cloth diapers, Diva Cups, the family bed, gluten-free/sugar-free anything (luckily, we don't have any allegies to contend with...yet), alternative vaccination schedules, and a host of other stuff. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with any of that stuff. I admire the people who practice them, but they don't fit our lifestyle. And that's ok by me. I swaddled my son until he was big enough to kick out of it. I had a co-sleeper for him and actually used it. Even though I wasn't able to breastfeed him past 2 months due to belly problems, I feel like I make up for it a little bit now by making his baby food. He wears a hybrid cloth diaper, but we only just started them. Admittedly, he wore disposables for the first 7 months. My husband and I are finally putting in the garden we've talked about for 3 years. I want to start a compost pile, and may even get to it this summer. See? Semi-Crunchy.