Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm terrified of Plastics

I am more and more terrified of plastics.  There is so much of it out there and it's really confusing when it comes to choosing what's best for your family.

Every single time I hand my daughter a plastic sippy cup, plate or utensil I think twice. There are special plastics markings which we should look for when looking for safety but sadly there are more unmarked plastics out there than not.

safe plastics


Bisphenol-A (BPA) has received a lot of bad rep since 2008 and deservedly so.  In Oct 2010 Canada was the first country to declare BPA toxic and ban its use in food & drink containers such as baby bottles.  Today I found out that the EU has also banned the use of BPA in baby bottles starting in March 2011, and banned for import and sale as of June 2011.

According to Wikipedia, BPA is a chemical that mimics the action of the human hormone estrogen.

BPA has been found to stimulate prostate cancer cells and causes breast tissue changes in mice that resemble early stages of breast cancer in both mice and humans. One study found an association between ovarian dysfunction and higher levels of BPA in urine.

BPA is primarily used to make polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers, plastic food wrap, and epoxy resins that are used to line metal cans for food, such as cans of soup. Polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers that contain BPA will be labeled recycling #7.

What we need to know (taken from eHow): 

PETE, Labeled 1, Polyethylene Terephthalate - Common in drink containers (soda, water, etc.) food jars and cosmetic holders. This material is not designed for repeated use due to leaching and bacteria growth.  
HDPE, Labeled 2, High density Polyethylene - This is common in milk and juice containers as well as grocery and shopping bags. From what we know, it appears to be safe. 

PVC, Labeled 3, Polyvinyl Chloride - This is found in vinyl shower curtains, baby mattresses, window frames, meat wrap just to name a few. PVC is known as the Poison Plastic because of the dangerous toxins it contains.  

LDPE, Labeled 4, Low density polyethylene - Found in sturdy trash bags, bread bags, squeezable bottles and food wrap. This one also appears to be safe. 

PP, Labeled 5, Polypropylene - Common in medicine bottle, cereal bags, straws, chip and snack bags, and food storage containers. Also in children's sippy cups and bottles. This one also appears to be safe. 

PS, Labeled 6, Polystyrene - Used in CD/tape cassettes, plastic cutlery, egg cartons, and take out containers. Avoid this one as it is a possible carcinogen and hormone disruptor. It may leach styrene.

The most confusing is the one labeled 7, which is "other" OR "PC" which is toxic Polycarbonate. This is sadly found in baby bottles, baby food containers, formula containers, pacifiers, and car parts. It is better to be safe than sorry and avoid this one. The concern is from leaching of Bisphenol A which appears to cause chromosomal damage.


      • I've done some further research on label #7 and have found that there are some bottles marked with number 7, and promoted as BPA free, underneath it's written Tritan, BPA Free.  However, although it is BPA free it doesn't actually mean that it's safe. This is because the ingredients that make up Tritan have been kept secret.  So we have no way of knowing whether its safe.  It could contain some other dangerous chemical, or not.... we just don't know. 
      • I should state that there are some number 7 plastics which are safe but do not belong to any other category so are sadly lumped here. Such as Biobased plastics which are basically plastics made of plants instead of toxic chemicals.  But those plastics should be marked as such.

Now the scary point is that when heated, even the safe plastics emit BPA.  So basically, we should not microwave food in plastic containers, and we should really avoid putting them in the dishwasher as well.  We should not put hot foods in plastic containers for storage but wait until cooled to do so.  The more the plastics are used, scratched and worn out, the more chances there are of BPA leaching out.

I've basically made a decision to completely reduce the use plastics with Emma and all my future children. I'm switching to stainless steel as soon as I can get my hands on a bottle. There are even stainless steel baby bottles.   I've actually decided to go so far and import stainless steel baby bottles, sippy cups and sports bottles to Cyprus.  So if anyone in Cyprus wants one, please let me know!

  
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MuffinTin Monday - Snack

Here's our latest muffin tin! There's no theme this week and these are usually my favorite....

muffin tin monday

So here's what's in our tin:  
Top: soft buttered bread sticks, cheese roll ups, red grapes (pitted)
Bottom: honey, Special K cereal, cubed plums

Emma ate everything except the plums... granted the skin was a little sour.


Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth


  

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fun Lunches Make the World Go Round!

Here's another of Emma's teddy lunches with a bit of a twist.  She loves getting her lunch served like this....
Bento Lunch box

Bento Lunch box

So its a Butter sandwich with Cinnamon teddy and teddy bear bourgouri with yogurt and cucumbers.  This box was gone in 60 seconds :P

  

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Thanksgiving

Its thanksgiving theme over at Muffin Tin Monday.... and I was totally going to bail on this theme until I visited MTM website.  I'm totally taking her idea and posting the Foods we are Thankful for.... FRUIT! :)

Here's that tin :)
muffin tin monday thanksgiving theme
Apples, Mandarins, Bananas

Emma loved it and that's what I'm thankful for :)




Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

  

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas (Rudolph) Craft to do with your Kids

Here's another great craft to do with your kids, its simple and quick for those short attention spans :)

It's the same technique we used in the Turkey Craft a few weeks ago.

toddler craft hand print and foot print Rudolph


What you'll need:
Orange & Brown Paper
Scissors
Glue
Goggly Eyes
Markers

Trace two feet on brown paper and two hands on yellow paper. Cut out with scissors.  Depending on the age of your child you may need to do this yourself.

toddler craft tracing hands and feet to make Rudolph

I let Emma colour the back of the foot while I cut out the hands to keep her occupied.  Then we glued the antlers and the other foot to cover the back.

toddler craft gluing Rudolph

toddler craft gluing Rudolph

toddler craft gluing Rudolph

Then we cut out a round nose and coloured it red and glued it to the face together with the goggly eyes to the face. And then Emma drew the smile...

toddler craft gluing Rudolph's eyes

toddler craft hand and foot print cut out Rudolph

Let me know how yours turns out if you try to do it :)

  
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Morning in the Life of a Parent

I blogged this some time ago on an old blog of mine, but I think its more deserving place is here.

Getting ready for work used to be so easy.  If you woke up late, meaning 15 minutes before you’re supposed to leave for work - no biggie. You showered the night before, so just brushing your teeth, slapping on some mascara and putting your hair in a ponytail was enough.  You’d end up at work looking smart and tidy and no one would be the wiser.

After you have a kid everything changes. Waking an hour before you’re meant to leave the house is too late. First of all showering the night before is a luxury. If you manage to stay awake after putting baby to sleep, you call it an accomplishment.   Doing one of 10 million things that still need to be done, is a really productive evening.

Showering?  What’s that?  And you begin to wonder why we wasted so much space in the house on bathrooms.

In the morning, a 2 minute shower may still be an option - only if the baby is still asleep. If not….another smelly day at work and a whole bunch of bargaining…

First of all, your playful child thinks its the perfect time for a puzzle.  So she picks up a 100 piece, nonetheless, empties it all out on the floor in an attempt to do it herself.  But…mommy must watch!  If you manage to pry yourself away just long enough to grab the first thing you see in your closet you’ll be half way to going downstairs.

Then its time to dress your princess. Now, the days of picking out whatever you wanted and putting it on her are long gone.  Your toddler has a very strong mind of her own and knows exactly what she wants.  And what she wants is for everything to be the same colour. Whatever that colour may be.  So putting on a white top and blue shorts is not good enough. She starts pointing to her socks and shorts saying: “Mommy, it’s not the same! I want same-same!” Pointing to the two things that are not the same. But look, your socks are the same as your top and your shorts are the same as you shoes conversation ensues and you just pray to God that she will accept today’s combination.  And she does, after a bit of convincing and making sure that, in that case, the hairband is blue as well. Thank God, because you have no idea where the blue socks are.

Once we leave the chaos of undone beds and scattered puzzle pieces, its time for breakfast.  Breakfast is a gamble of its own… you hope that seating arrangements won’t be an issue today, that instead of cereal with milk or as she calls it “cookie mleko” she’ll settle for a cheese sandwich on the go. And if not, just dry “cookies” in a bowl will still do.

Scrambling for keys, bags, wet wipes is the climax just before you step out the door.


And this, my friends, is my usual morning routine since I’m always late to wake up.

So if you ever see me in the street, with my hair in a mess, no make up and a strange smell is suddenly coming from somewhere, just know… I’ve had a rough morning, so please cut me some slack.


  

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The Stylish Blogger Award!

This is my very first award and I'd like to thank Jamie over at The DIY Sweet Home Project for thinking of me :)

Stylish Blogger Award

Rules for accepting this award are: 
1. Thank & link back to the person who awarded you this.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers.

4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their award. Blog Award!

So here are the 7 things about me:


1. I'm pregnant :)
2. I used to work on Wall Street
3. I've lived in 3 different countries and would like to move at some point and live somewhere else again.
4. I've traveled to more than 60 countries in the world. And I want to go to more!
5. I love bagels. Toasted everything with creme cheese and tomato....mmmm
6. I'm married to the most amazing man on the planet.
7. I love going on road trips with my family and friends.
 

  
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Food Pyramid

It's Monday again, and here is our muffin tin pyramid! Emma is really looking forward to her muffin tin meals.  She's actually starting to ask me for it!

This week's theme is the Food Pyramid.  And we REALLY followed that one! 

So here we go:

Muffin Tin Monday Food Pyramid

Starting from the base and working our way up:
Bread, Cereal, Rice & Pasta Group - mini sandwich bite, bourgouri repeated twice
Fruits & Veggies Group - green peas, cucumbers, green peas
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese Group - yogurt
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group - chicken
Fats, Oils & Sweets Group - one chocolate chip 

I didn't actually include fruit here because Emma had lots during the day.

I contemplated whether to include the chocolate... Emma is lactose intolerant so its a great excuse we use to avoid all the chocolates and sweets in general, as a result Emma doesn't look for it at all.  I put it in just to fill the pyramid.  The first thing she did was go for the chocolate, look at it and say: "What is this? I don't want it!"  No argument there! 


Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

  
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Activities with Kids - Jewelry Making

Emma's been home from school since Wednesday, a minor health issue, so I stayed home with her.... and we've done SO MANY THINGS!

Besides the usual, playing with ALL her toys, doing all the puzzles, going to the park, play doh, drawing, role play, we also cooked, crafted, painted, and now that I started jewelry making classes we also made jewelry.

It amazing how many things you can do with kids.  They are so adaptable, capable and willing to try so many new things...

Over the next few days I'll be posting about all the things we've done.  I'll start here with the brand new bracelet we made for Emma.

It's such a simple craft for kids. We basically went shopping for some fun beads, we got some flower beads, regular round ones of different colours and sizes, we even found some tiny colourful bells! Emma chose all of them herself, we barely managed to leave the shop.  We got an elastic band and a stopper. 

toddler crafts threading beads

toddler crafts threading beads

toddler crafts threading beads

toddler crafts threading beads

Emma beaded the bracelet, it really took us a while. I had planned to let her do all of it herself, but when I saw how much time we needed I helped from the other end.  Once it was done, I threaded the stopper, clamped it and that was it!

She is so proud of her new jewelry.... she wants to show it to everyone.

toddler crafts bracelet
The bracelet looks a bit tight in this pic, we fixed that :)


  

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Blog Hop & Email Subscribe Sunday

We all know how important it is to have blog followers.... we want people to stop by, read our content, comment and come back often. That's the whole idea, right?


The only issue there is that it is all visitor driven.  With Email Subscribe you can build a loyal readership by delivering your content directly to their inbox.  I myself find that this usually works the best for me too.  By email subscribing to blogs I really like I know I will never miss a post.  I get an update in my in-box and click on the post to read it.


This is why I'm starting a new Blog Hop.... or better say Email Subscribe Hop!


Email Subscribe on Emmas Lunch




The Rules?
  1. Email Subscribe & Follow the Host
  2. Pick the blogs you really like, Email Subscribe & Follow those
  3. Make sure you activate your Email Subscriptions
  4. Place the button somewhere on your blog... we are new so help us spread the word.
  5. Enjoy!




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Friday, November 12, 2010

Meatballs with Zucchini & Roasted Peppers

I'd like to share another favorite recipe of mine.  These meatballs are like sent from heaven! Just ask my husband, he's been talking about them for 3 days now :)  This is another recipe where I like to add zucchini. 

Meat balls with tomato sauce

Emma's not so keen on tomato sauce, so for her, I just remove a few balls before adding the passata.

Ingredients:
2 roasted red peppers (from a jar or a deli counter - one finely chopped and one sliced)
1 large onion (1/2 finely chopped, 1/2 sliced)
1 zucchini (pealed & finely chopped)
500g lean beef mince
1 tsp smoked paprika
4 tbsp bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
Olive oil
400ml passata
Salt & pepper


Instructions:
Mix 1 pepper and the chopped onion with the mince, zucchini, paprika, breadcrumbs and garlic. Season well and shape into even-sized balls. Coat the balls in bread crumbs. I got around 24 balls.

Meat balls ingredients

Meat balls mince

meat balls ready to cook

Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and brown the meatballs. Carefully turn them to brown evenly.  Once browned all over push them to one side of pan, add the sliced onion and the remaining roasted peppers and cook for a few minutes.  Add the passata,  season, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or wedgies and salad.

Meat balls cooked

Enjoy!

  

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