Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just Four Wheels in Our Driveway

I have to catch up on some of the changes we've made in the last few months, and this is a big one...we are officially a one-car household! One of our cars needed some repairs and, in the meantime, was just sitting in our driveway. We quickly realized that we could live with out it...we only needed one car. But which to sell? We had the fuel efficient small wagon (which i LOVED) and a bus of an SUV. Seems like an easy choice, but it wasn't. My husband is very tall, and we are about to have two in car seats. The wagon was too small. We put the seats in the SUV and found that it actually didn't have room for Daddy when the seat was behind him either. I'll never understand how auto makers can build cars that are so friggin' huge and have no room. I'm sorry we ever got that SUV.

The solution? Trade them both in for something that meets our every (almost) need. We now own a Ford Freestyle (now the Taurus X) crossover. Part wagon, part SUV, it's just the right size for us. Lots of room up front, and two captains chairs in the middle that slide forward and back. We love the console in between for separating squabbling siblings and corralling their stuff. The third row is pretty much full-size (so much better than the old SUV), and not only folds flat to disappear, but it also folds backwards, for things like tailgating and parade watching out the back! The third row also has LATCH for carseats, should we be so lucky to add to our family.

The downside? Not so fuel efficient. But now that we do more carpooling and bike riding, we feel we help that a bit. Maybe someday there will be an even better option for us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Surprise Use for Vinegar

By now we all know that vinegar is great for a plethora of things. I discovered a new use this weekend, and it surprised me a bit.

I have to start by sharing a funny story. The holiday weekend started with a birthday party for friends' little girl. Her dad loves to tease me about my green ways. He was talking about some of the work he'd done in his yard, including pest control, and said "Don't worry, Renee. It's all made of vinegar." :) I'm sure I talk about vinegar the way the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding talks about windex. It really is an amazing thing. So tease all you want, it's funny because it's true!

Anyhoo, today's use for vinegar? Taking the sting out of sunburn. Of course, you're better off not getting the burn in the first place, but if it happens, some vinegar in a spray bottle soothes!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Better Than Jell-O

Marlee is currently sick with croup, and doesn't seem to want to eat anything that's not cold and smooth. Jell-O seems like an obvious choice in times like these, but I was a bit put off by the ingredients list:

Sugar, gelatin, adipic acid (for tartness), contains less than 2% of natural and artificial flavor, disodium phosphate and sodium citrate (control acidity), fumaric acid (for tartness), yellow 6, red 40, BHA (preservative).

I decided to attempt my own version. Here is my ingredients list:

1 package kosher/vegan gelatin
3 cups Vruit brand juice
[Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Peach Juice, Carrot Juice, Cucumber Juice, Celery Juice, and Spinach Juice (Water, Juice Concentrates); Natural Flavors, Vitamin C, Beta Caroten]
1 cup water
frozen (or fresh) organic blueberries

Mix juice and water (I only did this to cut sugar content). Pour one cup juice in a large bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit while you bring remaining juice to a boil. Pour the hot juice over the cold juice and gelatin and stir, about 3 minutes. Pour into a 13x9 pan and add blueberries. Chill until set, about 3 hours. Cut into squares or with cookie cutters.

Want a comparison?

Jell-O /My Version

Sugar 19g /12g
Protein 0 /1g
Potassium 0 /175mg
Vitamin A 0 /100%
Vitamin C 0 /100%
Iron 0 /2%
Calcium 0 /2%


(I'll post pictures tonight!)