April 10, 2014

Revive, Relax with Mighty Leaf Tea {Giveaway}

Despite winter's end, tea season is not over for me.  I enjoy it hot throughout the year, and of course iced in summer.  Last summer I went out of my way to prepare good quality iced teas (no typical orange pekoe for me) and I'm so glad I did--what a treat.
Iced tea with mint, fresh from my garden
And now that I've added homemade kombucha to the mix, anything is possible.

Tea is a great incentive to take a 10 minute relaxing break, and while I won't say it's anything close to a spa treatment, it is a nice bit of respite from the chaos of a day.

When I was an undergrad, my college had a gorgeous Japanese tea house where they hosted traditional tea ceremonies.  There was also another Japanese tea house and gardens in Philadelphia (Shofuso in Fairmount park) that for me was a place of quiet transformation.  As a 20-something, I loved walking around the grounds, enveloped in a sense of calm after living in the middle of the busy city.

It's amazing how sensory experiences like place, smells, music and food can transform your mood, which is probably why many of us take breaks for coffee and tea.

One brand of tea that I treat myself to, Mighty Leaf, is crafted with high-quality ingredients, including whole leaf teas.  You can actually see the whole tea leaves in the pouches, not just dust from who-knows-what remnants you get in cheap tea.

Mighty Leaf is teaming up with Spa Week for an incredible sweepstakes--free tea for a year, a two-night luxury getaway to San Francisco and a Michael Graves tea kettle.  You'd be foolish not to enter!  And five lucky runners-up will receive $100 gift cards to Mighty Leaf. ENTER HERE!

One lucky Katydid and Kid reader will win a Taste of the Tropics Sampler ($30) and a Tea Top Commuter Brew Mug (a great way to drink perfectly-brewed tea on the go)
Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below, and best of luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received samples of tea from Mighty Leaf in exchange for sharing information about their sweepstakes.  All opinions are my own.

April 9, 2014

Rabbits and Shoulders

Have you ever had to function without a hand? Or a leg? Or a hand? Or an eye?  Parenting takes everything you can give physically, but this week I'm muddling through with one arm.  Stupid me popped my shoulder out of place on Sunday, while painting the upstairs hallway. 
It popped back in (I know, SO gross!) so my arm works, albeit poorly.  I did this once before during a field hockey game in high school, and the possibility of an injury like this happening again is pretty likely.  Wonderful.

I'm pissed at myself for not being careful or mindful (despite my reminders to the boys about being careful all day long).  I was standing on a kiddie chair, talking with Chris and it slipped out from under me.  I grabbed the doorway and there it went, arm stuck at an unnatural angle.  It's my fault: I was too lazy to lug the ladder upstairs and relied on an easily available but poor substitute.  I've probably seriously messed up my yoga practice, which really sucks. I can't imagine doing Down Dog with my arm, but I'm trying to practice other poses so I'm not entirely un-limber at the end of all this.

Thankfully, I'm much better today than Sunday, but wrangling Jude for clothing and diaper changes is difficult.  And I still can't fasten or unfasten my bra.  For one moment, I wish I was a guy, able to handle the job with just one hand. :)

I also thankful that I am still able to knit, and have been furiously trying to finish these two rabbits for the boys' Easter baskets.  It helps that I can catch up on the latest season of Mad Men on Netflix while doing so.
I am giddy about how adorable this rabbit is.  I'm knitting it from a free Ravelry pattern if you're interested.  It needs some button eyes, but I haven't found the perfect ones yet.  Wooden ones would be perfect, huh?  I'm still working on Jude's, which is going to be a darker brown than Soren's and with a green bowtie instead of blue.
It requires a lot of sewing, which I hate, and some blocking to make the pieces flat, but the result is so worth it.
I think they'll be really excited on Easter morning when they see these guys.  They loved the sock ones from a few years ago (made from a Lil Boo Blue tutorial)
So my week of one-armed wrangling is going better than I expected.  I'm trying to enjoy the benefits, like not having to cook much or carrying a 50 pound someone to the bathroom at night for a potty break.  Hopefully I'll be back in the groove by the weekend--I don't want to have a compromised birthday dinner!  Thankfully, we're going to The Melting Pot, so I just need one arm to poke those cubes of bread into cheese.

Become a Toxin Freedom Fighter with Seventh Generation #FightToxins #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central for Seventh Generation. I received a promotional item and product samples as a thank you for participating.
I'm a devotee of eco-friendly cleaning products, and Seventh Generation is one brand that I continually purchase at the store.
Their dishwashing detergents are always near our sink, both for handwashing and the dishwasher, and their laundry soaps are what I exclusively use on our clothes.
I'm reluctant to use products that contain loads of chemicals (more than 80,000 of which are untested on people or our environment), especially ones that come in direct contact with our food or skin.

Who really knows what the exposure to all of these chemicals and combinations of chemicals are doing to us and our world?  It's a truly frightening thought.  While I try to do my best maintaining an eco-friendly lifestyle at home by avoiding processed foods, minimizing my use of plastic in food preparation and storage, and exclusively using green cleaning products, it is discouraging not being able to control things outside of my home.

Seventh Generation is advocating for awareness and reform of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  The company has launched the Toxic Freedom Fighters Campaign to encourage people to pressure the EPA to make some much needed changes to the Act.  The Toxic Substances Control Act was grandfathered in 1976 at 62,000 chemicals yet over 20,000 have since been added without being scrutinized.  Yikes!  That's less than 10% of chemicals tested since1976.

All it takes is for you to sign a petition urging the EPA to re-evaluate this important act.  Just click the image below
The goal of the campaign in 100,000 signatures by April 24th, and when I signed today, there were 91,431 which is awesomely close to the goal!

Mom Central will be hosting a Twitter party tomorrow (Thursday April ) from 2-3pm to bring more awareness to this issue.  If you're free, I urge you to check it out so you can learn more about keeping our country and its population safer from chemicals.  There will be tips for encouraging an eco-friendly lifestyle as well.

If you'd like more information about the Toxic Substances Act, you can learn more on the Natural Resources Defense Council website.  And please, sign the petition!

March 28, 2014

Easter Goodies from Stubby Pencil Studio {Giveaway}

I'm sure if you're a regular reader here, you'll know that I used to be an art teacher, and therefore have a fondness for art supplies, both kid and adult oriented ones.  I also like to think of myself as ecologically-minded, so when there's a craft or art material that involves recycling or uses natural ingredients, I'm all for it.
Stubby Pencil Studio is an online store I discovered a few years back which offers quite a variety of eco-friendly art supplies and craft materials. The products are not only safe for the environment but for people as well, using ingredients like soy and beeswax (not petroleum), as well as 100% recycled paper sketchbooks (not virgin trees), and pencils made from sustainably harvested wood and recycled newspapers (not vibrant forests).
Kate, owner of Stubby Pencil writes:  "I started this arts and crafts supply store to bring the safest, highest quality art materials to other families. You see, when my twins were toddlers, I wanted them to enjoy arts and crafts, but I didn’t want them exposed to chemicals. I tried to buy toxic-free, quality art supplies and I really had to search. Once I found products I was confident enough to give my own kids, I realized other moms would want these safe products for their kids, too."
Not only are their products ethically made, but they're cute and colorful too.  Wouldn't these make great Easter basket stuffers? 
My boys especially like the crayon rocks, but I definitely need to pick up some Smencils for them too.  Browsing their website is like being a kid in an eye candy store.
Who knew that such things as eco-highlighters existed?
This finger puppet robot is pretty cool too (there's a mermaid available too!)
Mary's Softdough is always a hit, and it's made with natural ingredients
And if you're thoughts are set on Easter, this kit is really adorable
My 6 year old loves to paint wooden objects, so I know he'd love this.

One very lucky reader is going to win this adorable suitcase filled with art supplies, all ready to give as a springtime or Easter gift!
Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below, and best of luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 21, 2014

A Delectable Shepherd's Pie

I'm sharing my recipe for shepherd's pie over at a local-to-me blog today.
Not only is it tasty, but it moves my previous post down on the page so you don't have to look at the nasty kombucha SCOBY again (my husband thanked me; kombucha gives him the creeps).

Have a great weekend!
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