Gerber Bunch-A-Bowls

With all of the elaborate and expensive crap there is out there to buy for babies and children, sometimes it’s just really, really nice when a cheap option is the perfect product. And when it comes to toddler feeding, there’s no more perfect product than NUK Gerber Graduates Bunch-A-Bowls.

Don't underestimate my awesomeness

Oh it seems simple enough–little plastic bowls with lids in happy friendly colors, and I even picked them up as an impulse item thinking they might come in handy someday. And now we use them, like, several times a day, every day. Don’t let their rather humble simplicity put you off. Sure, they’re not as flashy as a contour-molded suction cup bowl scientifically designed to encourage independent eating while teaching your child four different languages and the text of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (unabridged!), but they get the job done and then some, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re really looking for?

Allow me to extol the virtues of the NUK Gerber Bunch-A-Bowl.

  1. Lids that fit tightly but don’t break your fingernails getting them off. Maybe it’s strange to kick off this list with lids, but these babies are air tight and absolutely waterproof. You can toss them in your diaper bag without fear of leaks or spills, but they have a handy tab that makes it easy to get them off.
  2. Size. They are the perfect size for so many things. With finger foods, each bowl is pretty much one toddler serving size, so it even helps portioning. When I’m packing up meals for Mouse, I loosely fill the bowl and that’s just about exactly what he eats.
  3. Additionally, they are the size of a jar of baby food plus baby cereal. When we were still feeding purees, I used to thicken it with some baby cereal. On the go, I’d just put a couple spoonfuls of dry cereal in the bowl with the lid, then take along a jar. When it was time to eat I’d just pour the jar into the bowl, mix it up, and it was totally the perfect size.

    One portion of mashed potatoes, one of cut-up apple, ready to go!

  4. Dishwasher-friendly. This is a term I just made up in my own head that’s different than dishwasher-safe. Lots of things are dishwasher-safe but they are still a serious pain in the rear, particularly things that collect water that then gets dumped over the clean dishes when you pull out the rack. These bowls and lids are easy to stack in the dishwasher and don’t collect water, which I love. Also they don’t warp in the dishwasher–another big plus for me.
  5. BPA-Free. Oh yeah.
  6. Microwave safe. I’ve never used them in the microwave, but you can if you want to.
  7. Stackable . They’re very easy to store, as they stack quite neatly into one another and don’t take up a lot of space.
  8. Perfect for leftovers. When we have leftovers, it’s super-easy to just divide them up into individual bowls. Then when the next meal comes around, I can grab a bowl and it’s already set up for me.
  9. Unbreakable. Obviously, because they’re plastic, but if kiddo is into throwing his tableware, these aren’t going to suffer any damage.
  10. CHEAP!!!!! This is the best part of all–they’re CHEAP! A 4-pack will run you around $6.00 or less, and they last forever. We’re going on well over a year on our first set and they work just as well as the day I bought them.

I really do love these bowls. They’re so simple, yet so effective, and so cheap! NUK Gerber Graduates Bunch-A-Bowls, works for me!

Don’t miss your Hamburger Helper coupon below!

WFMW: Detangling Playground Hair

Ah, Fall…the leaves are turning, the wind is blowing, warm hats and hoods are pulled on and off and on and off, and long hair gets mind-blowingly tangled.

Unless you live in Southern California, where it’s still quite nice but hair gets tangled on the playground anyway.

Nice

When I was little I used to scream when my mother came at me with a comb or brush. Tired of the battles, my mother told me I could either endure the hair grooming or they would cut it all off and I’d have to sport the Dorothy Hamill bowl cut that was all the rage. Despite the fact that it made me look like a boy, and that my hair wasn’t anything near Dorothy Hamill’s, I got stuck with it up until I hit the spiral perm craze.

At any rate, if you love someone who has long hair that gets tangled, and you don’t want them to end up looking like the unfortunate person in the picture, our good friend The Hair Guru has a video tutorial on how you can comb out tangled playground hair with just a comb and some hair oil (you can even use olive oil!). The oil the Hair Guru talks about in the video can be purchased here.

Easy detangling–Works for me!

Works-For-Me Wednesday

Help Me Clean This Rug!

Rather than a Works For Me Wednesday, I’m throwing out a What Works For You Wednesday.

Dog will be removed before cleaning

Here’s my dilemma. We have this area rug in the living room which I LOVE. It’s one of those that’s braided out of fabric like Grandma makes if Grandma worked at Crate and Barrel. And now I need to clean it. But there are a couple of problems here:

  • It’s big and covers most of the floor, so while there are a few spots that are dirtier than others, in order not to look odd I’m probably going to have to clean the whole thing.
  • There’s no backing underneath. It’s sitting right on top of the hardwood floor.
  • Said hardwood floor is original to the house and almost 90 years old, so it’s not in the greatest shape.
  • I’m not 100% opposed to icky chemicals but I’d prefer to avoid or minimize them

Now I know what you’re saying–steam clean it! However, my concerns about steam cleaning are threefold:

  1. I’m extremely worried that the steam will totally warp and completely jack up the hardwood floor underneath. Did I mention it’s original to the house and almost 90 years old?
  2. I don’t own a steam cleaner and am pretty sure I don’t know anyone else who does (though I haven’t really asked yet)
  3. I’m really cheap and would rather not rent one

So HELP ME CLEAN THIS RUG!!! Hit me with your best suggestions. I’m begging you!

Works-For-Me Wednesday

Reading with iBooks

I used to love to read. However, these days between my children, husband, school, my business and household, I barely have time to cook let alone read for pleasure. When my husband recommended I try the iBooks app on my iPhone, I scoffed at him. As if reading on my teeny-tiny iPhone screen was going to fill that void of pleasure reading… HA!

Screenshot of the "bookshelf"

Every once in a while I’ll go into the app store and try on a new app for size. Give it a go so to speak. I saw the iBooks app and decided I’d try it. I downloaded the trial version of Eat, Pray, Love. The trial version probably gave me the equivalent to 10-15 pages but of course on a iPhone screen it was about 198 pages.

Boy do I stand corrected! After about 5 pages I was hooked. Not only on the book (yes, the book was amazing!) but on the app. Since the only time I ever have time to read is in strange 5-8 minute bursts, like say pumping gas, waiting for water to boil, or in a doctor’s waiting room I can read a few pages, and since I always have my phone on me its super convenient. I can highlight, or bookmark something I want to remember, and every time I open the app it goes to where I left off.

Now of course it’s not as cool as the kindle and the screen is not nearly as easy on the eyes as the kindle, but if I had a kindle I doubt it would always be on my person. Whereas my iPhone never leaves my side. Sure it’s not as relaxing as sitting down with a glass of wine and a good book, but considering I love reading, I enjoy my little 5-10 minute stolen moments.

Thank you Steve Jobs and all the wonderful people at Apple… keep ‘em coming!

Works for me!

Works-For-Me Wednesday

Conveniently Green: Kitchen Spritzer

Sometimes non-stick cooking spray comes in so handy, but I hate the aerosol kind. First, it’s impossible to get the cap off and I end up spraying myself every time, second, the aerosol spray is just not Conveniently Green, and third, I always wonder what kind of chemicals end up on the pan along with the oil.

Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer

That’s why I adore my Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer. The Kitchen Spritzer works on a hand pump. You add your own oil, then pump the cap a few times, which builds up air pressure in the spritzer. Then when you hit the button, you get a fine mist just like with the aerosol cans. Not only is it environmentally friendly, you also can put whatever kind of oil you want in there with no chemical contaminants.

I use the spritzer for more than just a non-stick spray as well. I love to fill it with extra virgin olive oil and spray it over potato slices when I’m making oven fries. It’s just enough to crisp the outside without overloading the oil. You can use it wherever you need just a touch of oil, and as I said, since it’s your oil you know exactly what’s in there. And it’s not expensive, given how long you can just refill it!

You can order directly from the Pampered Chef website, but I would really encourage you to ask around your group of friends and see if anyone is a consultant, or use the “Find a Consultant” link on the Pampered Chef site. Many consultants are moms, and we moms gotta stick together and support each other!

The Pampered Chef Kitchen Spritzer: Conveniently Green, and works for me!

Works-For-Me Wednesday

WFMW: Remembering Reusable Shopping Bags

Everyone knows that reusable shopping bags are an easy way to go Conveniently Green, right? The problem is, how do I remember to bring and use those bags? I have a big collection of various types of bags–canvas ones, free ones, ones I got gifts in, and so on, but I was consistently forgetting to 1) bring them back to the car, and 2) bring them into the store from the car. More than once I’ve had to abandon my shopping cart to run back and get my bags, and I will admit that quite a few times I’ve just gotten plastic bags even when my reusable bags were sitting in the car because I had Mouse with me or it was too big of a hassle to go back and get them (or too embarrassing!).

This is my tiny purse that fits into my diaper bag

I know a lot of people like the little nylon bags that turn themselves into tiny little capsules you fit in your purse, but I already have such a collection of various other bags I just don’t want to buy more. So I finally figured out a way to remember my bags, both out of the house and out of the car.

I simply place my purse and keys inside the bags after I empty them in the kitchen. I never leave the house without my purse and keys, and if they’re inside the bags, I never leave the house without the bags too! I leave my purse in there if I’m going to the store, I leave my purse in there (or place it in there at home) and again, never forget it going into the store either.

A reusable shopping bag tip for a scatterbrain like me? Works for me!
works for me wednesday at we are that family

WFMW – Calming the Witching Hour

Little C on a recent walk

Little C is a “spirited” child.  He is extremely stubborn and moody by nature, so I’m sure you can use your imagination as to how the witching hour can go in our household if we don’t take control of it.  You know the hours, its usually the hour s right when daddy gets home until bedtime.  The kids are tired and crabby, you’re tired and crabby and everyone wants to tear each other apart.

Well in our house, there is really only one way to calm this dreaded part of the day… OUTSIDE.  Now I realize we are lucky to live in Southern California where going outside until 8:00 pm is totally beautiful and comfortable and not everyone will be able to solve their witching hour with this solution.  But for us, getting outdoors is pretty much the only solution.

Not only does getting outside help with the crabbiness, its great for the family for bonding and for your health.  What good is plopping in front of the boob-tube after dinner?  Instead, get outside, ride your bikes and go for a nice walk.

Works for me!

Works-For-Me Wednesday