April 29, 2023

Wordful Wednesday: Weird Lullabys and the Human Beatbox

Now that I'm a flippin' Flip owner, I can't stop recording SoJo doing weird and funny stuff. I'll spare you the minutes of sappy video that only Mr. Geek and I get misty over, since I don't want to be one of those dullards who pull out photos of their kids at every turn.

Recently, Mr. Geek came across some ethereal animations from Metronome Films set to folk music and SoJo was intrigued. The Turkish one is particularly beautiful, as seen here

SoJo loves watching Chukchi Lullaby and the image of the pregnant polar bear gliding across the screen. Here's his reaction

And on a totally different theme, some plain old human beatbox courtesy of this blogging dork

I must have done that 15 times that day, always with the same reaction from him, flapping his hands like a lazy bird.
For more Wordful Wednesday, visit

April 27, 2023

Monday Musing: Complaining

While I try not to complain much on this blog, since there's nothing more annoying to me than whining when you are a well-fed, sheltered American, I just have to vent about the awful weekend that I had. Nothing major, just a long, hot, whiny weekend with a toddler that is hell-bent on destroying everything in his godzilla-like reach.
Preparing to stomp Pennsylvania while clutching a school bus
Before I go any further, I must return to the complaining topic. I try not to complain because there are so many strong parents out there with very sick children or those who are yearning for children of any sort, even the whiny, godzilla ones. So my venting is really more for my sake rather than wanting pity from my dear readers.

Back to my rant: did you ever just have one of those days or string of days where every annoying thing just compounds upon itself? Of course you have, especially if you're a parent. Well that was our weekend. We had grand plans of working on the garage and going to our town's block party but those were immediately crushed by the chief whiner, who is just over a year old.

Let's see. It started with tons of laundry to be caught up on (still sitting in the basket as of today), a major ant problem due to all the crumbs that SoJo drops while eating/playing, and a desire to clear out the flower beds for spring planting. Well, none of those things got done until late at night. And who wants to be up until 10 cleaning?

And guess what...it continued into today! That's why this post is so late in getting up, since I had part of it written this morning before swim class (which was the day's highlight). Now I'm not sure where I want to take the post, since I've kind of cooled off from the boy, now that he's been in bed for an hour, the dishes are washed, the toys are put away. It's still darned hot, but I can already feel the cool air coming through the windows. Tomorrow is always a new beginning.

April 22, 2023

Happy Earth Day!

While I haven't put together any great plans for Earth Day, I wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite green posts from the past year.
  • I love using my homemade baby wipes, since they're both safe on my son's bum, and on the earth's too!
  • My homemade laundry detergent is worth the elbow grease of shredding the Fels-Naptha soap. Try it out yourself, and free the rivers and streams of phosphates.
  • Recycling a tote into a water-saving baby bathtub
  • Reusing Newspaper in some creative ways
  • Joining a local food CSA
  • And of course, drying your clothes on the clothesline, which I haven't necessarily devoted a post to, but I talk about it all the time!
Enjoy your Earth Day, wherever on Earth you may be!

April 21, 2023

Earth Day Confession

I may just be the only green-leaning blogger not going all out for Earth Day.
To be honest, it's pure laziness masked as busy-ness. Well, ok, it is busyness, and not having time to post something really inspiring and creative. I still have one day left though!

I do try to live Earth Day every day, and I have seen some buzz about Grist.org's Screw Earth Day, which offers the opinion that Earth Day is a crock, that it takes more than just one day to attone for our sins toward the earth. While I can sympathize with that P.O.V., I believe that any amount of green lovin' toward the earth is good. Baby steps, people, are better than no steps. So I applaud all of you mamas and papas out there who are starting to make changes in your routines to help our earth. Everything helps!
Our Earth Day plans are simple: we'll be trying to spend some time outdoors, depending on the weather, and doing our everyday routine of recycling, using green cleaning items to clean up the messes, and maybe doing laundry and hanging it on the clothesline (weather permitting, again).

I had high hopes of planting a tree in our yard, but we're looking to put up a fence (we live in town, on a corner near a busy street, which equals danger for SoJo) so the tree will have to wait until we figure out where the fence will go. Our yard is tiny and we need to space the tree far enough from the fence.

Oh, and the photos...they're the flowers that have finally opened up in the front of the house. I love daffodils and their smell. It reminds me of the hundreds of them that grew in our yard as a kid. I once picked nearly all of them, thining my mom would love such a huge bouquet. I can tell you she was not as pleased as I thought she'd be, since I only left one or two in the yard.
I also have some Primroses that came back from last year (I thought they were annuals), and of course some pansies that I planted last month for some early color.

So what are your plans for Earth Day? Is your community doing anything special?

April 17, 2023

Leftover Easter Eggs? Make Niçoise Salad!

One of my favorite springtime meals is a French Niçoise Salad since it incorporates foods that you can easily find this time of year, like hard-boiled eggs left over from Easter, spring greens, and asparagus or green beans. I make a lemony-dijon vinaigrette, which is traditional for this type of salad, and makes the dish fresh and light.

Although we mostly eat vegetarian meals, occassionally we have fish in our diet. I tend to use canned tuna in this recipe rather than searing a fresh tuna steak, because frankly, fresh tuna is expensive and to me, canned tastes just as good in this dish.

I like that this recipe uses up some of those leftover hard boiled eggs that never seem to get eaten at Easter dinner. And since eggs are inexpensive and full of nutrients, they're good for garnishing salads and adding protein to your diet. You can get more tips for using eggs in your cooking along with recipes from The American Egg Board.

Salade Niçoise
1/2 small red onion (minced) or 2 shallots (minced)
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp vinegar (I like red wine)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Black pepper to tasted
Combine above ingredients (except for olive oil) and whisk together. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. An alternative would be to combine all of the ingredients in a jar, screw on the top and shake. Set aside the dressing.

The Salad
Greens of your choice (I like Boston lettuce--soft and buttery)
1 lb. of cooked asparagus or green beans
2 tbsp minced shallots or chives
1/2 cup of Niçoise olives (small, purplish black olives)
6 hard boiled eggs, cut in half
6 small red potatoes (cooked and cut in half)
1 can of tuna, drained (packed in either oil or water--oil adds a little more flavor, and you can reserve the oil to use in your vinaigrette for a more distinct flavor)
10-15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Optional: Croutons (I make homemade ones by toasting stale bread in the oven @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes)
Assemble the greens on top of a flat platter or shallow salad bowl. Toss together the asparagus/green beans, shallots and half of the vinaigrette. Let marinate while arranging the ingredients on top of the salad greens. I like to lay the olives in the center, then make rings around them with the other ingredients, leaving the potatoes and eggs to the outside of the dish. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salad, and serve. This will feed 4 hungry people.

Enjoy! I'm aiming to make one this weekend, so I'll upload some photos to this post if and when I do.

This post was written for the Parent Bloggers Network, where you can share some of your own ideas for using leftover Easter eggs. Check out their list of blog posts sharing great recipes and tips for using up thoe hard-boiled eggs. Photo is courtesy of the American Egg Board.

April 16, 2023


I've been wanting to post about conserving water, since gardening season is coming up. I'm amazed too that in our area, our rainfall levels are lower than usual, which makes me a little nervous going into the summer with water deficits.

This year, to save on water, I'm going to turn to greywater for some of my watering. Greywater is household water that's been collected from laundry or kitchen use (no toilet water here!) and used elsewhere, like in the garden. A simple way of doing it is to use a bucket in your shower to collect water as you're waiting for the water to warm up. Then use the water on your plants.

Another method is to take water from your washing machine, via the overflow hose. You can set up contraptions to automatically send greywater from your home into a sistern outside, however I'm lazy and just not motivated financially to do this. This is the cheater's method!
My machine conveniently has the overflow hose located in a panel on the front.
To collect the greywater, I unscrew the hose and direct it into a bucket during the spin cycle. This yields a few gallons of water. I'll admit that it takes some time to empty, but I can see myself occassionally doing this in the summer.

I should also mention that I use phosphate-free detergent, so it's not too hard on the garden to use the rinse water for plants. And of course, water from loads of dirty diapers is NOT used!

One other method I want to pursue this year is a rain barrel, which collects rainwater from the roof of your home or garage.

I found a post from HGTV on how to build your own...

but you can also purchase them from places like Gardener's Supply Company, but they run a minimum of $100.
We've wanted one for a few years now, so I'm going to see if we can make our own, using some clean, food grade barrels. I'll keep you posted!

April 15, 2023

Wordful Wednesday: Toys

I've been wanting to compile some photos of SoJo's toys, so I can eventually turn them into a little album for him to reminisce over when he gets older.
Mr. Geek and I love trolling eBay and vintage toy sites to remember some of the dolls and action figures of our childhood. While we have a few family photos of ourselves playing with toys (especially at Christmas), I would have loved a small book with photos of my now-forgotten toys.
Some of my favorites were my Cabbage Patch dolls, Care Bears (I had Tenderheart and Cheer Bear!), lots of Fisher Price toys, especially the Little People (today's just aren't the same), Barbies, and Legos. Mr. Geek was a big GI Joe fan, but also liked Transformers and WWF Wrestling figures. My brothers were toy fiends, and we had quite a collection of Star Wars figures. I should say probably half of them are still buried in the dirt behind our old house. With 4 boys and me, we probably had nearly every character. It's a wonder my parents didn't go broke.
This is "Bicycle Man" (which even has his own song, courtesy of my friend Jayanti). We got him at Ten Thousand Villages, and he's made in Kenya using recycled metal and string. It's a push toy that "pedals" as you push him.
Here's SoJo playing with an old stand-by, alphabet blocks, while at my niece's birthday party last weekend.
And a few shots of his many toys. It's amazing how quickly the accumulate, even when we're not the ones buying most of them.
I love this BlaBla doll. SoJo likes chewing its party hat and arms, but I love just looking at it sitting on the shelf. It's so quirky and the colors are great.

Now I'm curious, what were your favorite toys growing up? I'm hoping that you're over 25 too, since I probably won't know what the heck you're talking about if you're younger!

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit

April 14, 2023

Tempeh Cheesesteak Recipe

Since I live in the greater Philadelphia area, we are inundated with cheesesteak this and that. I once saw cheesesteak-flavored potato chips, which doesn't sound appealing to me in the least. What's next, cheesesteak ice cream?

I don't eat beef, so I've never even had a Philly cheesesteak, despite the years spent living in the city. I do however make some pretty tasty ones using tempeh, a soy product. Mr. Geek RAVES about them.
Tempeh tastes nutty and slightly sweet, and has a chewy texture. You can typically find it next to the tofu in the grocery store. Here's my recipe, which I made for lunch today.

Kathleen's Tempeh Cheesesteaks (makes 4)
  • Crusty rolls (4)
  • 1 package of tempeh
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 onions (I use red)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup bottled barbeque sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili sauce (optional)
1. Mix up your sauce/marinade by combining the liquids. Slice the tempeh into 1/4" strips, lay in a shallow dish and pour the sauce over the tempeh. Set aside, either for an hour or just a few minutes. I let mine sit about 5-10 minutes, while I'm preparing the other ingredients.
2. Slice the onions and cut the peppers into strips. Peel and mince the garlic. Saute these in a pan on medium until soft.
3. Add the tempeh and cook until heated through.
4. While that's cooking, shred some of the mozzarella cheese. Slice the rolls and sprinkle the cheese on either side of the open rolls.
5. When the tempeh has cooked, lay the pieces along with some onions and peppers on each roll. Bake in the oven @ 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and the rolls are toasted. Serve hot hot hot! Preferably alongside some birthday roses.

April 12, 2023

SoJo's First Easter

I hope everyone is recovering from sugar shock after all of the candy! I'll admit to having a few chocolate peanut butter smidgens from Gertrude Hawk's candy, which my parents buy every Easter, (and I ate a piece of vanilla cake...ugh!). All in all, SoJo's first Easter was quiet and sunny.
We contemplated plastic eggs
and someone had to taste them. Not much flavor, but fun to chew.We also headed outside to sit in the grass
and someone had to taste the wild onion tops.
Can this child not put everything in his mouth? Except of course, the things we want him to eat. Like peas. Which he hates. And note to grandparents...time to weed those flowerbeds!

Hope you had a lovely day!

April 11, 2023

Happy Easter!

Our table was looking a little bare, so I found a wire basket, some craft moss and bought some cute eggs to put inside. The scary pipe cleaner bunny came with the egg purchase, which I made at our local farmers' market.
He's really quite simple to make, just bend a pipe cleaner into a body, paste on a cut-out bunny head, and make a carrot out of green and orange pipe cleaners. Their green one just happens to be striped.

It's a ritual for me to buy a hyacinth at Easter each year--something about their thick, heady perfume brings back memories of childhood. I'm also reminded of this Persian poem.
If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And of thy simple store two loaves of bread alone are left
Sell one, and with the dole,
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.
I also bought some tulips, which, along with the hyacinth, will be planted in the garden to bloom again next year.
And finally, I boiled a few eggs and set about mixing up some natural dyes. I don't have high hopes, since I used brown eggs, but maybe they'll be tinged a little browner than before.
I used red onion skins and the juice from a jar of pickled beets. I love eating them on salads, but Mr. Geek finds that abominable. My feelings exactly for his like of okra.
I also used coffee grounds to make a darker brown, a bag of blueberry Celestial Seasonings tea, and a bag of pomegranate tea. I'm letting the eggs sit in the fridge in the "dyes" over night, but I don't have high hopes for any changes. No problem, since I find brown eggs to be beautiful anyway.

I hope you all have a happy Easter, however you celebrate it. May the sun shine wherever you may be.

April 10, 2023


Easter=bunnies, so check out these cute rabbit items found around the interweb. I know it's too late to buy them for Easter, but it's spring and well, you know that bunnies are the quintessential spring time animal. And they're multiplying like rabbits on this post.

White Rabbit Bowl at Alonso Art Pottery

Rabbit Lunch box by Built NYC at Babesta.com ($10)

Garden Rabbit at Viva Terra ($48)

Organic Fat Rabbit and Snuggle Blanket at Clementine NW ($33.93)

White Rabbit print by Ryan Berkeley ($8). Lady Rabbit print ($8)
I actually have these two in my living room, along with the Billy Goat. They make charming stand-ins for my ancestors who were too poor to have paintings made of them.

Buttercup Bunny softie by Maisey Handmade ($15)

Rabbit Robot Pouch at Anatomy of a Skirt ($30)

Lucien the Rabbit at Moolka ($14.99)

Rabbit rice mold for bento box lunches at Happy Japan ($3)

Bento box hardboiled egg mold at Happy Japan ($3)

Or you can just make your own out of grocery bags
Related Posts with Thumbnails