Monday, May 27, 2013

Update - Cockamamie Scheme 2013!

After a little bit of research (and a whole lot of convincing my other half that I could do this for a small amount of money), I got my first hydroponic system set up!

Granted, it's in my bathroom...on top of my toilet, but I can easily monitor it at that location and watch water levels and such.

So here's my setup...the purple light in the photo is from the grow light ($10.97 at Walmart), my water container (holding the nutrient solution: 1/2 gallon filtered H2O, 1/2 scoop Plant Food [$3.97 for a giant box of "off brand" Miracle Grow], and the tiniest pinch of Epsom Salt) is an empty Folger's coffee "can".  I used a small planter (Dollar Tree...$1 for 4 of them) that I drilled massive amounts of holes into the lower half, then filled with a handful of decorative stones (giant bag of them from Dollar Tree..there's probably about $0.03 worth in this set up) from outside would have worked, but then I would have had to boil them and such to ensure no "ookies" got into my system.  The tubing in the lower left of the photo is my airline, this was another Walmart get 8-feet of tubing in the fish section for $1.88.  I drilled a 3/16" hole to shove it into the can and under water it went, with an air-stone attached at the end (it looks like a pencil eraser).  The air pump (also a Walmart purchase for $6.38) is above the whole system on top of my cabinet.

The plant I used for my "test system" is a Celery that I am regrowing!  Even if I never eat it...the plant itself is gorgeous and smells great!  The darker outer stalks and leaves were already sprouted when I set up the Hydro system, but, those paler green leaves in the center are all new in the past week or so!  It is doing amazingly well (even flourishing) in my little Hydroponic experiment.

I need to buy some seeds so that I can get the full system set up sometime between now and winter (I know my original goal was end of Summer, but my hands are getting worse, not better and I don't think I'll be doing much of anything until after I have healed from surgery on both of my thumbs...and I don't even meet the surgeon until the end of June).  I can't wait to harvest veggies from a full-blown Hydroponic System in my garage!  Months away, I know...but a girl needs goals.

For now, I have a second air line and a set of T-splitters ready to expand this little system...just need a plant to go in the pot!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Got2be POWDER'ful - A Review

So...I don't have to share this with you all (but I do need to tell people in general about this stuff since it is a BzzCampaign), but I thought I would let you know about my experience with this hair product anyway.  You are all dying to know what keeps my hair looking like a hot mess all the time, right?

The good folks over at BzzAgent sent me not one, but three bottles of this stuff!  I sent two of them off in Mother's Day gifts to two other Mommies in a couple of my mommy groups on Facebook.  I hope they like it, or find someone else to pawn it off on...

I got a chance to use it a few weeks ago when my Mom was visiting.  She baby-sat for us and we went out for a "date night" to a place with other adults and I didn't have to wear my hair up for fear of a baby grabbing hold and never letting go until he had successfully pulled it from my skull by the roots (he does that).  I was less than impressed though...the powder comes in a small "can" that is roughly as big around as a silver dollar (gold if all you know is the "new" coin money) coins and about as tall as a roll of quarters, maybe a little bigger.  It is a super fine powder that you squeeze into your hand, rub between your palms, and then work into your roots.

It left my hands feeling very sticky, even after several washes (with soap).  To make matters worse, it left my hair feeling just as sticky!  Ever time I would touch my hair, I had to go rewash my hands because they would be immediately sticky feeling again.  It was an unpleasant night fr my hair.

I never saw any "volume" did manage to make my unruly hair appear even more unruly though.

 Overall, this was not a good product for my hair...I don't know if it's just me or if it works poorly for most people, but I do not recommend this stuff! (But, if you like it, I have a coupon to share...)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Fun at the Chinese restaurant!
Seven months ago today, the reason I no longer dread this day arrived! After spending most of the past decade trying unsuccessfully to become parents (mostly through the "if it happens, it happens" method), I can say that I really did "hate" both Mother's Day and Father's Day. No more though! Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommies out there (especially my own Mom {who is here with me for a week and a little bit}, my Mother in law {as close as we can be to it anyway}, my sister, & sister in law {who is trying to do it all over again and I can't wait to be an aunt again!})!
Just coming in from outside...

Also, coming up this week is the anniversary of my Dad's passing...13 years have gone by, it really doesn't seem like that long ago. Gabriel carries a little bit of his grandfather around with him (his middle name was my Dad's name), he also looks a lot like him in certain aspects. He does this forehead wrinkle thing that only my Dad could's so cute! I really wish my Dad had stuck around to meet his grand kids...he would have had such a blast having 5 grandsons.

Here's the forehead wrinkle thing!
p.s.--I'm not a nut job, up early today (I wrote this on Monday and scheduled it...'cause I can).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips - A Review

Time for another review of a product sent to me by BzzAgent!  This one came around the same time I dropped off the low-carb diet again (I just didn't have a good support system in place and was struggling anyway and then had the issues of going dairy-free for a while on top of that), so I was happy to try these "chips"!  Of course, the Zesty Cheddar ones do have dairy in them, but by the time the box arrived on my doorstep, we had ruled out a milk allergy for the little guy.

I'll start with the Zesty Cheddar flavor since I've already mentioned them.  They are good...shaped a bit like Doritos, but don't expect these to taste like a Nacho Doritos, you will be disappointed!  None the less, they are good and I would probably buy these again if I weren't going back on my diet as soon as possible (next week)!  After several chips, I did notice a "vegetable" taste to them, or rather an after-taste, but I liked them.

The Sweet Potato chips I was really looking forward to!  I had tried a version at my Mother's house that were actual sliced sweet potatoes and they were excellent!  These are not...these are made out of sweet potato (and regular white potato) powder!  They didn't taste like a sweet potato at all either.  I received a full-size bag and several "snack bags" of this flavor.  After trying one of the snack bags (you know, the single serving size you can get out of a vending machine or at Subway type), I took the larger bag in to my hand therapist's office and let them all share it.  The assistant that does a good portion of my therapy treatments told me the bag was gone by the end of the work day!  I also left all of my coupons for this campaign there so they could buy more if they liked them or wanted to try the Zesty Cheddar flavor.

Overall, these were good, but not great.  Fir the price at Walmart ($1.98 for the full size bag), I might buy them for the kids, but at Kroger pricing (almost $5 for the same bag), I'd skip it and get them something better for them anyway.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Household Happenings...

This past weekend, I finally accomplished a task that I have been meaning to get done since January (or so)...I got the Christmas tree taken down!  I know, I's May and the tree was still up...but no more!  Also, we figured out why part of the tree wouldn't light up at Christmas...I missed a plug!  There was an outlet plug dangling between sections when I took the center portion of the tree apart, oops!  At least that means it should all light up next year (you know, in about 5 months), assuming I remember there are four plugs to plug in.
Taken while Garrick was searching the garage for the bag the tree goes in.
Also, a little update on my last post (this one)...I got a miniature hydroponic system set up over the weekend (it was a productive weekend).  It's an $11 grow light from Walmart (the whole fixture is cheaper to replace than just the bulb), an "upcycled" water container (empty coffee can), a planter I paid $1 for and got four of them (Dollar Tree), a handful of decorative rocks (another Dollar Tree purchase, I can probably do eight of these planters with one bag of the rocks), a plant (in this case, a Celery regrow from the base of a stock of Celery I purchased from the grocery store and put in water to see if it would did), and an air "system" (teeny air stone {2-pack at Walmart for $1.38}, 8' line of 1/4" hose {Walmart in the fish section, $1.88}, and a small air pump {also in the fish section, $6.33 for the 5-15 gallon air pump}).  I have the whole thing sitting on the back of the toilet in the Master bathroom because it gave me easy access to two outlets (one for the light and one for the air pump), but when I get the larger system done, I'll have to run a cord out to power the system.  I turn the grow light off from 11pm to 7am (or rather 6:30am when I get in the shower), giving the plant about 16 hours of "light" if my math is right...

We are also loving Baby Led Weaning (or rather, Baby Led Feeding since he is not being weaned at all)!  Photographic evidence to follow...

"Baby food"! Bananas, Apples, and Sweet Potatoes.
"Dinner" one night was steamed Apples and Sweet Potatoes with a fried Egg (yolk).
So serious about his food...
Whole Wheat Toast with Avocado smeared on...
He loves egg yolks...especially runny, but hard/medium is okay too.
Another hit!

Tomatoes are yummy too (but plug him up because he can swallow whole chunks without chewing well enough).

Gabriel's preferred method of eating a Banana, he doesn't like holding on to them!

Pre-dinner happiness out at IHOP!  He had egg yolk (runny because they couldn't figure out how to hard cook an egg without scrambling it).
I love having a video monitor and really don't know why we didn't get one sooner (other than the fact that they cost an arm and a leg...)!  I'm so glad Garrick noticed this one on clearance ($50, can you believe it?)!  Now that we have it mounted on the wall, we don't end up with "creepy baby pictures" like this one because the infrared lights are out of Gabriel's line of sight, he does occasionally still look for it though.

Since Picture Me Studios went under (and took advantage of so many people...the parent company, CPI, owned all of the Sears and Walmart portrait studios), we've gone to JC Penney's portrait studio (run by Lifetouch...they do all school photos as well).  They are expensive though!  The paper quality is better, but I hate the studio's tiny and hot, and for the most part, if you want props that don't look like they've been run over by a truck, you have to bring them yourself.  They also won't airbrush the photos like Walmart did...and since my child is prone to causing himself bodily harm (scratches while he sleeps), both his 6 and 7 month portraits have "head wounds" in them.  I asked on the 7 month ones if she could "touch it up" to get rid of the big scratch down his forehead and got told they "couldn't do that"'s all done digitally and the computer program should do it without irks me.  Also, the camera stopped working halfway through his session, she didn't notice (other than that the camera wasn't reacting as fast as it normally does), and we lost some really great pictures of him!  We ended up spending over 2 hours there trying to get portraits and order them.  I'm on the hunt for somewhere else to go...what I'd really love to find is someone who can do them and give us a CD (or other means of digital storage) with the whole thing on it for less than what Penney's wants ($150 for a CD that doesn't include any of the photos they deem "unworthy", which are usually my favorites)!  I like having them print 8x10s and stuff...but if I have to go have them printed somewhere, I'm all good with that too.
6 month portrait session!
7 month portrait session!
Other randomness...
In our "too small for Mom or Dad" baby shouldn't be up on my neck like that, but that's where it goes...I'd love an ErgoBaby Sport carrier (in black)!

Tired baby passed out in the car...we get so many compliments for him in his shades!  They have little red flames on the sides.  Macular Degeneration runs in my family, so it's shades on when we go outside!

Rosie willingly lays down with Gabriel these days (this time he rolled to her though).  He is very gentle...until he can reach her fur that he can sink his fingers into, then he pulls out handfuls!
 One last "recent" project...from a few weeks ago actually.  We finally got around to replacing the awful chandelier that hung in our Dining Room (which is now more of a Family Room that happens to be off the Kitchen and has a table in it)!  It's darker overall than the old light, but with a few lamps we should be able to regain more light if we really need it, so far this has been plenty.  A second one of these in the Kitchen would be great, but that's pushing my luck a bit since we replaced that fixture a few years ago (with an extremely cheap round light with three bulbs).  As we slowly replace fixtures in the house, we are changing them all to Brushed Nickel...the old ones are all Brass.
Our new light fixture in our Dining room!

The best part about the new fixture though is that it is very close to the ceiling, so Garrick can easily move around the Dining Room without smacking his head on the lights!  Even I had to be careful of where I walked or moved in there because I'd hit it and I'm an entire foot shorter!