Two Years Later

Here is a song I have always loved for our darling girl today.  It’s called Lullaby and was performed by Matt Costa and Jack Johnson for the Curious George soundtrack.  (F.Y.I. – great soundtrack for kids and parents!)

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Goodbye Binkie, My Old Friend

I have been relatively offline for the past month or so.  There was PAX, the fair, a huge garage sale, weekend trips, plus a lot of cleaning and renovating here at the homestead . . . turns out that being out of school was busier than being in it!

Anyway, on to more important things!  I was strolling through some pictures of this past year and I stumbled on some from the day we said goodbye to my son’s binkie.  We had been trying for a while.  We bought a book called No More Pacifiers! that didn’t really work, tried to buy another book called Bye Bye Binky that was so astronomically expensive, it had better come with a personal binkie coach that would talk your desperate toddler off the ledge! (I know no children’s book worth $45!)  We even tried bribery and when we got desperate we just flat-out said no.  (That was when BK cried so hard he almost threw up.)

Ultimately, I think it was a combination of a few things:

1. We had started eliminating it in stages.  He was never really allowed it when he was awake, but we eliminated it from nap time, then we stopped bringing it to preschool, then we took it out of his mouth right after he fell asleep at night.

2. BK was already getting ready.

3. Lastly, and what I feel was most important for closure for BK, we said goodbye.

BK gets very attached to things.  He has slept with the same blanket since birth and had his bff “Ducky” since his first Easter.  His binkie was no different.  We had to find a way to give it a proper goodbye, or else it would be hard for him to let go.  I give all credit to his pediatric dentist who recommended we tie it to a balloon and send it off to the binkie fairies.  THAT MAN IS PURE GENIUS!  And so, a story, not unlike the tooth fairy was born.

We explained to BK that there were babies out there waiting for binkies (this was a hard concept for him to understand, since his little brother sucks his thumb and has no interest in them.)

It was our job to tie the binkies to balloons that would send them off to the binkie fairy.  It was the binkie fairy’s job to distribute them to new babies who needed them.  For his efforts, he would be awarded by the binkie fairy with a small treat under his pillow:

BK stared at me with silent 3-year-old doubting eyes.  I wondered if he would go for it.

“Why do the new babies need binkies?  Why can’t they suck their thumb like [LK], or why can’t their Mommy’s and Daddy’s buy them binkies?”

Crap.  “Well, not all babies like to suck their thumb, you didn’t.  And remember how we talked about how not everyone has a Mommy or a Daddy?  Those babies need binkies too.  Sometimes families don’t have the money to buy new binkies.  Those babies also need binkies.”

BK paused for a moment.

“We will take you to the store to pick out your own balloons to send them off.”

More pausing.

“Ok.  Let’s do it.  Those babies need binkies.  But, Mommy?  Can the binkie fairy just leave my prize on the kitchen counter?  I don’t want her to scare me when I sleep.”

“Sure, hon.” Yessssssssssssssssssssssssss!  [Internal Mommy dance!]

We collected all the binkies and went to the store and picked out a very unique bunch of balloons.  BK chose one that had a duck on it and said “It’s a Boy!”  Maybe for the babies.  Maybe for the duck.  I don’t know.

. . .

We also picked out a “keep” balloon, a simple red Mylar star for him to hang onto, so he had one after he released all the rest.

This is where we got hung up: It takes an enormous amount of balloons to lift a binkie!  More than you would think.  So we wound up attaching two binkies to six balloons, one Mylar, the rest latex to get maximum lift off.  The remaining binkies I collected and disposed of later.

We took BK out to our quiet street and my bff documented the whole event.  It went surprisingly well!

BK kissing his binkies goodbye

. . .

Almost time for lift off

. . .

Goodbye Binkie, My Old Friend!

BK waved when we released them, then began to cry, the pictures are really precious.  But it turned out he was crying because he wanted the balloons!  Which goes to show you he was really ready.  He asked about them occasionally, but that soon faded.  And he was delighted when he found his Spiderman puzzle from the binkie fairy on the kitchen counter just as he asked!

In fact, since it was so close to his 4th birthday, our good friend and artist put the moment on paper as a birthday present:

BK and his "keep" balloon

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Laundry Soap Revisited

Here is my original laundry soap recipe post.

Compared to the batches with fels naptha

However, I have been tinkering with it over the last few months and find this recipe works a little better for me.  Fels Naptha was a little harsh on my nose and the recipe now is vegan friendly* which means my carnivorous self can give it to anyone without worry of offense!  In addition, I find Dr. Bronner’s creates a nice even white soap, so it’s a nice powdery product at the end.  Lastly, my friend, Chelsea, encouraged me to up the Borax and Washing Soda used to stretch the amount made.  It seems to work really well!  Thanks, Chels! ~

*Side note: I always want to say vegan-free, which cracks me up! This laundry soap is made without any added vegans. I bet they’re happy about that.

1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s (I love lavender and citrus!) – Can be found at Super Supplements and Central Market

3 cups 20 Mule Team Borax

3 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

If you so choose, swap the following ingredients list and follow the steps listed on the original post.


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Easy Apple Cider

. . .

Well, despite the sweltering (to me) 80 degree weather, BK had been begging all week for some apple cider!  I think he inherited my love for autumn and me putting in movie after movie of family friendly Halloween movies didn’t help any, either!

Well, thanks to some rain clouds and some nice wind, tonight I thought I could fathom the idea of a hot cider after dinner.  We make this every Fall/Winter, but this is definitely the earliest I’ve ever done it and the first time I let BK help.

I usually throw in what looks good (except for cloves, I hate cloves) so these amounts are just an estimate.

  • 1 whole lemon (sliced)
  • 1 whole orange (sliced)
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon allspice (depending on your preference)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 4 quarts apple juice

After years of spooning all of this out I recommend using a pot with a steamer insert and investing in some cheesecloth and string.

Put sliced citrus into steamer basket of pot.

In a square of cheesecloth put cinnamon sticks, all spice and zested nutmeg and tie off into a little pouch and toss in to steamer insert of pot.

Pour in juice and simmer on low for 1-2 hours.  You can choose to simmer it longer, but remove the pouch, as the cinnamon can get bitter.

Put your feet up and enjoy any of the following cheesy fall family movies while willing the leaves to turn outside:

Halloweentown (any of the first three)

The Good Witch (both of them)

Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown


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. . .

(Know of any other family friendly fall/Halloween movies?  Send them my way!)

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We are currently traveling on the outskirts of the Olympic National Forest. Though mainly Douglas Firs, the deciduous trees along the road are begining to change. Yellows, oranges and reds licking the tips of the leaves like little flames, beckoning fall. My stomach flip flops in excitement. I can’t wait!

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More jamming done today. Strawberry-Rhubarb and Raspberry-Blackberry.  All were grown local at purchased at farmer’s market.  The blackberries in particular were picked by a local forager who went to some clear cuts in the Olympic Peninsula to pick native berries.  (Those big ones you see by the freeways are Himalayan and an invasive species.)  I was so impressed with his wares and effort to obtain them, I bought some to add to my raspberry jam!

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It was relaxing and it reminded me that

fall is right around the corner!


. . .


Plus I got to use my new typewriter!  The labels were made with some cardstock scraps I had, stamps that I have around the house and the my typewriter, thrifted last week for $20!  It’s in excellent condition and a cute green color!  I’m in love!


A Remington Riter - Quiet Riter, circ. 1950's. Fairly common, but very cute!

Even Stinky Pete approves!

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Plastic – In Our Lives

I have begun a love affair with glass.  It began with my second son being born when we decided to use glass bottles instead of plastic.  Then I began canning and using old jars I found for art projects.  As my love affair with glass continues, my disdain for plastics increases.  Though I understand their undeniable necessity and convenience, there is no denying that within the very small timeline of their existence, they have made a very big impact.

Now BK has begun to wrap his four-year old head around plastics and litter as a whole.  We were at Hobuck Beach in Neah Bay for Independence Day this year.  BK and I took a walk along the beach to see the sights and he asked why there were so many fireworks in the sand.  This is when I explained to him what litter was.  He understood it, as well as a preschooler can.

Photo by Amy Swank

“Mom!  Look!  Litter!  If I ever saw someone litter, I would punch them in the nose!  Me and Spider-man would catch him, because he would be the BAD GUY!”

As we walked the beach he asked lots of questions like:

Where does the litter come from?

Where does it go?

Who put it there?

Can’t we just pick it all up?


. . .

More recently, on our trip to Golden Gardens we were walking along the beach collecting rocks, just he and I, and he shouted, “Mom!  Litter!” As if the world would end!  I looked and saw a plastic bag, wrapped up in seaweed, slowly being taken out to sea with the waves.  I ran out and grabbed it.  As we made our walk back to our spot, we used it to pick up the litter we saw.  For a very short walk, we had a very full bag.


. . .

More recently, I was out without BK, in Commencement Bay at the mouth of the Puyallup River aboard the M/V Indigo.  I was teaching some kids about water quality testing (salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, etc.)  When we approached the mouth that was flowing into the sound, it was brown with river dirt and carrying wood and natural debris from the river.  But it was also carrying aerosol cans, plastic bags, bottle caps and that was just from my side of the boat.

Why am I rambling about this?  Because this topic is an important one in our family.  My son is getting to the age where he asks where things come from and why they are here in the first place.  I’m hoping that if I continue to give him the best answers I can, maybe he can be part of the a generation that makes things worse instead of better.  Here is a group of local families trying to do the same:

Plastic is Forever: Bainbridge Island Watershed Council

Take the 11 minutes to watch the documentary, it’s really good.


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