Friday, August 9, 2013


recently received a package of Woolzies dryer balls through a blogging promotion to try and review. Though I received the product in question free, this review is my own thoughts and feelings!

My only other experience with wool dryer balls is the homemade ones I made with wool yarn I found on clearance. Frankly, I wasn't sold. And then I sold my dryer because we were moving - and forgot my dryer balls! It was a tragedy for sure.

Then my Woolzies came in the mail. When I opened them, I was impressed. They're quite a bit bigger than the ones I made and they're a lovely shade of off white. They're also completely smooth and springy feeling. They would make excellent cat or baby toys! But, into the dryer they went.

First lad, I could tell a distinct difference in the softness of my clothes. But, at the same time, I also started putting a bit of apple cider vinegar in the fabric softener cup of my washer, so I still wasn't convinced. Next load, I left the vinegar out and relied on the Woolzies to do the work. My clothes were still super soft!

Here's a secret: I've been fibbing to my partner about our laundry. I told him I started using fabric softener again, because he noticed that the towels weren't stiff anymore. He's very much not crunchy, and thinks I'm just too cheap to buy 'real' stuff, but he completely believes me. That's how great these are!

Woolzies retail for 33.95 on amazon, for a pack of six. They are guaranteed to last for 1000 loads, though I think they will last much longer than that. (In comparison 40 loads of Downy is 9.94 on Amazon. It would cost 248.50 for 1000 loads. Even with coupons/sales, its still way cheaper to buy Woolzies!). Add to cost the fact that you don't have any plastic packaging, far less production cost, ect. These are definitely a winner in the Eco friendly category!

To really test them, I washed three old pillows. I assumed they would come out lumpy and ready for the trash - they were already flat, so no real big loss. I was right about one of them - but it's tag said do not wash. The other two came out looking better than they went in! Thanks, Woolzies!

You can like Woolzies on Facebook, here:

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You can also find them at!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013


So, I use Ibotta to save money for Christmas for my little.  We're on a pretty tight budget as grad students, so it helps that I can save money while buying things I can use or items I can get for free with coupons anyway.

If anyone wants to do me a solid, the can join Ibotta using my referral link.  Ill get extra money and you can check it out! Help buy Nibs Christmas.

Packing Outgrown Baby Clothes, Consignment and Memories

Today, I've been packing up parts of the house, so I decided to go through the Rubbermaid tote that I put all of Nibs clothes in when she outgrows them.  It's a bright pink tote, perfect for a little girls cast aside things, and it is stuffed full.  The top layer is the infant inserts to her car seats - those hold nothing for me, but I'm keeping them incase I need to pass along her seats in the future, so I tossed those aside to see what else was in it.

My real reasoning for going through this tote was to set aside the things that I can put in the upcoming consignment sale so that I can put that money towards winter clothes for her.  I've done this for the past two years in order to keep the cost of clothing her down, but I do set aside some things that I'd like to keep, whether for a possible future baby or just for sentimental reasons.  The pink tote is reserved for those sentimental and keep items, but I thought that perhaps there were a few things that should be sold, that I no longer had an attachment to.  (There were, but that's not really interesting, is it?)

There are the usual sentimental outfits - the onesie she wore for her first birthday (the tutu I made is framed in a shadowbox and hanging on her wall), her first christmas onesie, the outfit she wore home from the hospital - but there are other, different outfirst that I had no idea would make me feel so nostalgic.  There's a little white dress with bloomers, and orange and yellow flowers on it.  It is an outfit I never would have picked out, the colors too bright, bought by my mother in law.  I remember holding Nibs, dressed in this tiny perfect dress and marveling at how beautiful, even as a tiny, tiny baby she was.  How much she looked like her dad, but so undeniably girly.

At the bottom of the tote, there was a yellow pacifier with a bee imprinted on it.  Nibs never took much to pacies, prefering her BoBos to anything made of plastic.  But this one, she liked sometimes, would suck it deep into her mouth and smile around it.  I have a picture of her, lying on our couch fast asleep, wrapped in  a blanket with this paci  in her mouth.  It is, quite possibly, my favorite picture from those days.  I remember watching her sleeping, loving her more than I have ever loved any one thing in the whole world.  I thought then, I better take a picture, in case I don't remember this.  I did, but it turns out I didn't need to.  I'll never forget.

Even when I look at outfits she wore not that long ago - the outfits that start to become little girl outfits, not baby outfits anymore - I wonder, next year, will I be able to get her to wear footie jamjams?  Will she still want to fall asleep on my lap?  Next month, next year, I will be sad when these things that frustrate me so much in the moment are gone.  Ten years from now, when I have to sneak into a little girl bedroom to watch her sleep, when there are no more early morning, milk-breath smiles and cuddles, I will wish wistfully for one more lap-nap, for one more tug at my tank top to nurse.

So, tonight when she crawls up into my lap to sleep, I will not get frustrated with her when she doesn't fall right to sleep.  I will try not to get mad when she wants to pat my chest, when she needs to breathe my smell to sleep or when she wakes in the middle of the night seeking me out if only to flop her legs across my back. I will smile and hold her tighter.

I'm trying, baby girl.  I really am.

Packing the Bookshelf

As a writer, I have a ton of books.  I have a five shelf bookshelf that lives in my bedroom that is cram packed full with three types of books: books I have had to buy for classes, books I buy because I think they may come in handy some day when I'm a professor, and pleasure books.  (Okay, sometimes the books fit more than one of these types.)  So packing up that particular bookshelf is always a pleasant walk down memory lane.

In my undergraduate career, I was blessed to have many professors that I loved and was able to bond with. I can remember exactly which books I bought for which classes and why I loved them, or at least the many pleasant memories that each of those classes has.  I can pick up the book that one of my favorite teachers, and favorite writers, signed for me and I remember very well sitting in her classroom, goofing off with one of my friends - and remember that she is the reason I'm on the path I am today.  Inspiration is always best when it's a person who has succeeded at what you want to do with life.

And then I picked up Lolita.  It was shelved with almost every other book from the same class, but Lolita is special for me.  It was reading it that really taught me to slow down a savor a novel, not just for what impact it could have on my writing, or for whatever deeper meaning other professors might want me to be able to dig out of it.  But  to really enjoy a book for exactly what it was - for carefully chosen words on paper that have stood the test of time.  Thanks, Pamela.  Thank you for teaching me that.  (Re-teaching, perhaps, because surely this is what a reader does in the beginning?)  Thanks for everything.

Best wishes,

Friday, July 5, 2013

Zucchini bread in the bread machine!

Recently, while we were home visiting, my partner and I found several Mennonite farms that sell produce on their porches.  It was an awesome day! I've always been fascinated with the Amish and their off-shoots, and it was very neat to pull up to houses and buy fresh from the garden produce.  They even had pickles and jams and one very nice lady had handmade soap!

I wound up buying a cabbage - turned it into kraut, which is still fermenting in the kitchen - as well as a ton of squash, a bar of citrus soap for the kitchen, and one very, very large zucchini.  Problem is, I had no idea what to do with it.  I like grilled zucchini, but we are currently without a grill, so that was out.  So I decided I was going to make zucchini bread! Here's the recipe I used, I found several online and took what I wanted, added a few things, and made it my own.

1/2 cup of applesauce/oil - I use mostly applesauce and a splash of olive oil and it turned out perfect. Next time, ill try all applesauce.
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp allspice - next time, ill probably use more
Nutmeg - I just grated it straight over the pan, not sure how much.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/3 cup walnuts - I actually put more than that, a very heaping 1/3 cup.

Add ingredients in the order listed to the bread machine and select quick bread.  With my machine, there are no options with quick bread, but I think 1 1/2 lb loaf would be right if yours does.  Mine beeps when it's time to add the walnuts, but you could add them at the beginning or after the first mixing.  I also took mine out about fifteen minutes before the machine cycle was over, I don't like super browned bread!

It turned out delicious! It's not too sweet, and the walnuts are perfect.  It's great warmed in the microwave with a little (real!) butter.  So yummy!

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