Following Along

R watches his big sister intently and mimics her activities almost instantly at times.  What I haven’t noticed until today was how much he has been watching me, too.  In the meantime, E in her own turn is still absorbing and learning even though right now we are going through a phase of defiance.  I have two stories from today that got me thinking about all this.

We’re all sick and R asked for some water when he saw me with the bottle (I know they are wasteful but we do recycle and use our Brita as well).  In typical fashion, he wanted to walk around while sipping away so I let him, the need for hydration trumping caution (also, the bottle had maybe two ounces of water left).  I forgot he had it still until he emerged from the kitchen with an armful of dish towels, beelined to an area of tile and started wiping up what I realized was what remained of his water.  So he spilled the bottle, got a towel, and started cleaning up in the span of perhaps a minute. He’s so independent sometimes.  I’ve heard a parent’s goal is to reach obsolescence regarding their kids and I feel proud seeing all the things he wants to do by himself at just eighteen months.  He knows from watching us just how slippery spills on the tiled floor are and took action.  So cute.

Interestingly enough, today E did something that gave me a window to how she perceives what I do with food allergy friendly cooking and planning each day.  We were eating some frozen orange juice (a vice of mine the kids have picked up) and she very matter of factly picked up a silicone flower shaped ice cube tray that I’d recently used to make chocolate molds.  Studying the shapes she said, “Mommy, I have an idea.  We should take some brown rice syrup and make some of our own corn starch out of some safe corn and mix it in with strawberries and put orange juice on top to make flower popsicles.”  I reminded her corn is not safe and she said “I know that Mommy, but I think they will make some safe corn next winter, maybe all the people bought it all already.”  I love that to her anything is possible and that food is something we create.  Why not view safe food as an inevitability?  I worry so much on the inside and when I confide to others but what E sees is that we make treats and meals that she loves.  Whether a starch, syrup, and fruit are tasty together I am not certain, but I’m tempted to let her try her idea out!

Tomorrow is this blog’s one year anniversary and as I read the above I think of how the kids have come so far in that span of time.  My big goal here has been to chronicle safe foods and meals to make into a photo recipe book for my children and though there’s a lot yet to be done I feel like this has not been a shabby start.  My husband has also contributed his voice, which I’ve loved having. Additionally, staying positive in this space has been an important exercise in perspective.

E doesn’t say “oh mah deehness!” anymore but I love hearing every new thing she has to tell me.  R’s words are coming together as well, so who knows what another year will bring.  At any rate, thank you for stopping by!

Star Wars Lego Valentines with “Lightsabers”

Valentine’s Day has become very much a candy/food day, much to my dismay. When I was small there was always a “cool” kid that gave out lifesaver candy valentines but the rest of us just did cards. E really wanted Star Wars valentines and I luckily found Lego themed ones that did not feature any characters from the prequels (the kids don’t know those exist, I’d like to keep it that way!). She also wanted to get glow in the dark bracelets (amazon affiliate link, though we got ours at Target) for the little party we had yesterday and I was struck by how like lightsabers they were!  A perfect non-food valentine, I think!

Review Roundup!

It has been a while since I shared some links to reviews over at and with a few days left to vote for the site on the Circle of Moms Top 25 Vegan & Vegetarian Mom Blogs of 2012 I thought it was a good time to do so.  No logging in required, just click through, scroll to the 20s (where they were hovering at my last check) and click the thumbs up.  For those of you new to Vegbooks, you’ll find book and movie reviews with a mind toward animal friendly and earth conscious themes.  I know I like to read books to my kids with positive messages and the site has steered me to many a great library reserve.

My blog is also on the Vegan & Vegetarian Mom voting list (you can vote for as many blogs as you want once a day until the 14th) but I really hope people vote for Vegbooks because the resource is so wonderful and captures that intersection of parenting and being a vegetarian or vegan parent perfectly.  Circle of Moms has six million members, wouldn’t it be great if a volunteer-contributed site was among the 25 presented to those readers via this list?

At any rate, here are some of my latest reviews. . .

Jo MacDonald Had a Garden – a re-telling of the familiar “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” song but with a little girl and her garden

How to Take Your Gradmother to the Museum – a little girl who loves science and nature introduces her grandmothers to the natural history museum

Naamah and the Ark at Night – Noah’s wife in the familiar flood story tends and sings to animals as they go to sleep

Billie the Unicorn – set in a world where unicorns make plants and flowers grow

All Kinds of Kisses – animal parents kiss their babies, by the author of “Have You Seen My Duckling?”

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too? – one of Kohl’s latest $5 deals, a great book by Eric Carle

You can see my other reviews for the site here:

Allerbling Food Allergy Alert Wristband

At age three at the local community center classes start posting signs indicating that the parents are supposed to wait outside.  Fair enough, you’d think, but when you’re being vigilant about food allergies and your child isn’t in preschool or daycare this could very well be their first time away from the protective care of a parent.  In anticipation of that situation I started researching medical alert bracelets and wristbands.  Even if there’s meant to be no food present, I knew from experience that you can’t control when a teacher decides to bring treats instead of stickers or when a student forces a snack on your child (both have happened to us already but I intervened in the former situation and my daughter said “no” in the latter).  With that in mind, I started following Allerbling on facebook (thanks to the referral of Elizabeth Goldenberg at Onespot Allergy) and was lucky enough to win two Allerbling contests before the holidays!  In one contest I won two charms of my choice (I chose the sesame and corn allergy charms) with a small wristband and in the other I won the starter kit ($18) that comes with two bands and eight charms.

These don’t cover every single one of E’s allergies but it is a huge start.  I took pictures with different combinations of her two bands showing, each band has 4 charms denoting her allergies plus a medical alert charm.  I used a yoga mat as a background and now they look like product photos but they’re really the ones we have.  A caveat: they are hard to get into the band, it is not advisable to be trying to get the bracelets set up while an impatient 3 year old is asking when she can wear her “food allergy bracelets” as she calls them.  I think they’re in their respective spots to stay!  I prepared her for the idea of the wristbands by showing her the video on this page, she liked Kyle Dine’s “Stop, Please Don’t Feed Me” (it plays in the background of the video, which made me cry the first time I heard it, actually) so much I also purchased the song (amazon affiliate link).  I want teachers to see them and remember not to give E food or anything of the sort and between talking to her about the song and having her wear the wristband, we’re in good shape.  I never seek to alarm her in this arena but having the pictures to reference has been a help to her.

At first she fidgeted with them but she’ll wear them for an hour or two at a time now.  The charms are nicely detailed and don’t look like they’ll suffer from too much wear.  I use the small size bands for her little wrists and they’re just right for now.  If you have any questions, please let me know.  I know my biggest debate when I was shopping for medical alert bands was the cost – but seeing that my daughter wears them and they are very noticeable I feel they’d be worth the cost though the extra charms I needed would cost $6 each.  Other bands I considered were from Lauren’s Hope and Road ID.  As she grows they may be a good fit for her as well but for really little ones I think that Allerbling’s approach communicates with the pre- or early reading wearer as much as with those around him or her.

Note: The brochure I received with the charms and bands implored me to share charms that were not of use to us and since I received everything for free as a result of the contest (they didn’t ask me to write anything about it, I just wanted to share my experience) I will gladly mail the shellfish and fish allergy charms to a reader in the United States or Canada that needs the charms.  So let me know, I put them into the packaging that the corn and sesame allergy charms came in but they actually were a part of the starter kit.  First come, first served.  We are a veg family as you may know so my hope is that you don’t eat shellfish or fish anyway but if you need these charms, comment below.  First come, first served before a month from now.  If I have no takers I’ll be able to find a way to get the charms back to the company or something.

Silver Springs Park

We are taking some new classes this semester, including a music class for R at Silver Springs Recreation Center, which conveniently has Silver Springs Park just across the street (you can see the park in distance in the picture above).

The park just reopened after some renovation work and it has a nice mix of areas for little kids and big ones.  E did a great job playing with the other children at the park, I think the fact that some were from R’s class helped ease her into talking with them.

In fact, at one point as we said good-bye to one of her playmates, she said “if you want to come to our house and play, you can!”  I want her to be social but not that social!  She’s turning into a bit of an extrovert, I have to work at being outgoing so it is fun to see her personality turning out a little different from my own.

This sticker caught my eye because wouldn’t it make more sense to just give the full age range without the “or” in between?

At any rate, the weather has been so gorgeous that we are outside at local parks often and I think are all the better for it.  Fresh air, sunlight, exercise. . .I would love for my children to stay active and be happy doing so.  I am trying to do some true exercise myself to be a better example, I will hopefully write a proper post about my efforts soon.

P.S. Happy 4th Birthday to my Nephew!  My mother in law and I made him a cape with his first initial on the back – he loves Iron Man so that is why we made it red and gold.  I hope he likes it!

City Center Tram and Water Tornadoes at the Aria

The same day we visited the Bellagio Conservatory with friends, we made our way over to the City Center tram for a ride to the Aria.  Admittedly, my husband and I were underwhelmed by City Center the first time we visited so we had not been back since, especially since the shopping at the Aria is a lot more “upscale” than we’d like.  I am glad I gave it another chance because there were some beautiful things to see, like the inlaid staircase pictured above.

A note about the tram is that if you have a stroller you’ll have to follow a maze of sorts to get to the elevators to the tram platform.  At one point on the way back we were separated from our friends because the escalator took them to a different side of the platform than the elevators did.  Lesson: stay together!

I especially loved seeing the kids play in the water tornadoes, they seemed to be a hit with many people but R was really having a great time running through them and watching the water spiraling.

You could see more decorations up for the Year of the Dragon, both in shop windows and in the common areas.  We decided to make our way back to the Bellagio to eat lunch before the kids were too tired but there are some fountains you can see as well as other neat areas to visit so we’ll probably make another excursion over there.  It might be a good idea for when it is too warm to do much outside.

Bellagio Conservatory


This is a favorite outing for us – just drive to the Bellagio and make your way to the lobby – you’ll get to see the beautiful blown glass ceiling and nearby is the conservatory which is always overflowing with fresh flowers in a seasonal display.  I was hoping to make it for the holiday display but they were just putting the finishing touches on the Chinese New Year features when we arrived for a visit.

Please forgive the blurry pictures, I was using my cellphone because juggling two kids and a proper camera was not something I wanted to do when we were also carrying the diaper bag and a full picnic lunch.

The Bellagio is my favorite casino/hotel for a number of reasons, one of which being that it is gorgeous.  Another being that my husband and I went there to see the fountains on our first date six years ago, it was decorated for Chinese New Year then as well since it was January.

Can you believe all the outfits you see on these figures are made of fresh flowers?  The kids really liked the display.

A fairly new feature (say, the last year or so) is the picture frame with a work of art rendered in flowers.  It is my favorite aspect of the conservatory aside from the old tree they have there sometimes (but not in this particular season’s display, sadly).

I’d suggest parking at the Bellagio and then viewing the blown glass and conservatory before making your way to see the chocolate fountain.  We also made time to hop on the tram to City Center – it is free and the kids enjoyed the ride.  One caveat, there are no water fountains on this side of the Bellagio – I was told that the side with the Shark Reef and convention center does have water fountains but they are trying to sell you $4 bottles of water so be aware of that.  I forgot our water at home and instead of buying a bottle was able to get a free cup of ice water from the kind folks at Jean Philippe Chocolates (where the chocolate fountain is) for free.