July 2008

I’ve got a ton of posts nearly completed, and intend to get those finished and posted… someday. In the meantime, those of you who are parents of preschoolers, try this tip when you’re frazzled and need 60 seconds of silence:

Call Elmo and let your little one listen to Elmo Sing “Brush your Teeth”. To hear Elmo Sing call Toll Free 1-866-356-6847. It’s to the tune of Jingle Bells… “Brush your teeth, brush your teeth, brush them morn & night” Press 1 to repeat the message and hear Elmo sing again!

I can’t remember where I got this tip (from some other blog) but we tried it out today, and Jimmy loved it. I felt a little bad though when Elmo first came on, and Jimmy tried to engage him in conversation. He looked a little confused when Elmo kept talking and refused to answer him. The super cute song made up for not actually getting to talk to Elmo though.

Have you ever posted a comment on someone’s blog? Did you later go back and check what other comments were given, or how the author replied? If you utilize RSS (really simple syndication), it’s easy to keep track of these comments without the tedium of constantly rechecking a post. For information on RSS, check out this earlier post where I explain the use of RSS in tracking dynamic pages (blogs). Here’s the step by step on how to subscribe to a comment feed:

  1. locate the “comments” section at the bottom of the post that you want to track, and click. A new window should open up (one that contains the comments for that post).
  2. Locate the RSS feed icon in that window. It will likely be located in the URL bar, at the end of the address, but you may also find it elsewhere.
  3. Click on the RSS button. If you’ve already set up your browser to handle feeds in a certain way, you’re all set. You’ve subscribed and you’ll now be notified when new comments are posted. If you haven’t linked a specific reader to your web browser, see my initial post on RSS feeds here, and you’ll hopefully get things worked out. If not, just leave a comment at the bottom of this post, and I’ll try to help.

That’s it! Now you’ll know if your witty comment that you left on that friend’s blog was responded to, and you’ll be able to keep up two-way communication.

You know you’re the mother of an infant when you wake up at 8:45 in the morning and feel AMAZING because you got to sleep in so much. Oh, and your night went like this:

  • 1:30 a.m. – wake up and feed the baby
  • 5:55 a.m. – wake up and feed the baby
  • 6:15 a.m. – change the baby and hang out with him for 45 min.
  • 7:15 a.m. – crawl back into bed (after convincing the two year old to go back to sleep for just a little bit)
  • 8:15 a.m. – wake up, husband gets baby, try to go back to sleep
  • 8:45 a.m. – wake up, look at the clock and thank God for being able to sleep in on such a glorious morning 🙂

I am so thankful to God for HIS strength during these times of having a sweet little baby around. Sometimes I add up the hours that I’ve slept in the last few months and I’m amazed that I’m even walking around and making sense when I talk! But I feel good. I really do. There’s definitely some God action going on, because I shouldn’t feel as good as I do, but I really believe that HE sustains me. I think that’s a cool gift He gives all moms. One of those neat phenomenons that people can point to and say, “oh, yeah, that’s a neat coincidence”. But we know it’s not a coincidence, we know it’s a gift 😉

In the Tuesday edition of the Frontiersman there was an editorial that showed the online location of Alaska’s Division of Environmental Health inspection results. To check it out for yourself, venture here. Some of the spring 2008 results:

  • Carrs BakeryRodent droppings observed on floor in cake front section
  • Carrs Oriental Hot disp. case temp is unacceptable (a) vegetables (100F)(B) rice (100F)(128) Chicken. Heating element was adjusted and unit appears to be holding temp Corrected On site. Bags of chicken thawing in large sink (47F) Corrected On site.
  • CheposCook was not washing hands between cooking and touching uncooked foods
    Corrected immediately by management
    Corrected On site. Employees fail to utilize gloves or utensils when handling raw foods in facility. Retrained immediately by management Corrected On site. Cutting boards are scored and discolored. Repair/ replace cutting board to provide a clean sanitary food prep surface for preparing foods Correct By: 07/30/2008
  • Fred Meyer DeliPizza 3X(145 F) Gen tsao 132F Mac/ Cheese (138 F)
    All products should be held/maintained at 135 F until served

    Correct By: 03/19/2008 (2) re-surface/replace cutting boards Correct By: 06/30/2008
    Mat-Su Family Restaurant
    Cook observed preparing final foods ready to eat with barehands. Barehands are not allowed for use on foods ready to eat to prevent contamination of foods. Operator corrected issue prior end of inspection. Corrected On site. Plastic cup left in sour cream and bottle of dressing left in lettuce. As these utensils are exposed to touch, the potential of contaminating foods increases. Operator agreed to correct by May 21, 2008. D-Con rodent poison noted near hole in wall near front refrigerator. Only pesticides approved for use in a food facility is authorized to prevent contamination of foods. Operator agreed to correct by MAy 21, 2008.
  • Mekong ThaiMouse droppings on shelves in rice storage areas and floor under rice storage areas. Management agrees to remove droppings/ remove rice and wash and sanitize shelves before utilizing for rice storage again
  • Peking Chinese – Numerous violations (some repeat violations) with regards to food temperature and prep.
  • Pizza HutBeetle in food resiude behind defunct refrigerator. pests must be excluded from facility. Operator agreed to clean area and get pest services. Areas behind ice machine, under pizza cutting area, on pizza warmer, behind tables and catch areas (corners) have food residues. Non-food surfaces are required to be clean to ensure contamination does nto occur. Firm has agreed to shift atttention to these areas as well.

There are many other businesses listed, but these were just a few that we have gone to. There were many others that passed inspection with flying colors. One that stood out to me as getting exceptionally great comments from the reviewer was Taco Bell.

As indicated at the beginning of the inspections site:

Remember that any inspection report is a ‘snapshot’ of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day a restaurant could have more or fewer violations than noted here. An inspection may not be representational of the overall, long-term cleanliness of the establishment. Also, at the time of the inspection, violations are recorded but often corrected while the Environmental Health Officer is still at the establishment

So, does any of this matter? There’s more weight to a series of inspection problems, rather than the recent problems I listed above. If you frequent a particular restaurant, you may want to look at their past inspections to see if there are any reccuring violations. Most of the violations above don’t bother me too much. Except for rodent droppings and improperly thawing poultry. Icky. I can’t be too hard on the businesses above, if the Division of Environmental Health visited my house, I’m sure they’d have some complaints! But, no rodent waste here. At least I can say that for my kitchen 😉

While reading a blog (can’t remember which) last month, I came upon a great post that described a company that allows you to create a postcard, and send it for free (including shipping). I love free stuff, so I checked out the site, Hippopost, uploaded a picture of the newest little Maxwell, and sent out a test postcard to Grammy. You have to register to send postcards, but it’s quick and easy, and then you’re allowed to send up to two free postcards per day. Wow. That rocks.

So what’s the catch? The postcard is printed with a small (inch by inch-ish) advertisement under your message. Mom showed me the postcard over the webcam, and the ad really was barely noticeable. Everything looked like it printed great. The other negative is that the shipping is pretty slow (at least on my first try). I uploaded the picture and completed the process on June 18th, and it arrived on July 12th. Actually, two of the exact same postcard arrived. Wierd, but I’m going to chalk it up to user error. On July 9th I sent out a second test card, so I’ll update with a comment when that arrives at the recipient’s address. With this second postcard, I was able to choose which advertisement would be sent with the card (out of three choices).

The post that informed me of this service had also suggested that a person could upload photos while on vacation and send out postcards (way cooler than the generic overhead view of a cruise ship/super old cathedral/totem pole postcards). That is, if you don’t mind your friend getting the postcard three weeks after your actual trip 🙂

Editor’s Note: The second post card, sent on July 9th, arrived at it’s destination (SE AK) on July 19th, so just over a week. A much better pace than the earlier card.

One of the blogs I read regularly, Handprints on the Wall, had a post this morning that linked to the Cosmetic Safety Database. This database, run by some organization called the Environmental working group, contains a giant list of makeup, skin care, hair care, baby care, and similar categories. Within the database are brands of products, and lists of the possibly harmful ingredients they contain. Each product is labeled with a number (from 0 to 10) which describes possible hazard to those who use the product. There are links to each hazardous ingredient which gives more detail about why they have been labeled as such. For example, Kirkland Baby wipes have been given a hazard of 5 (moderate), due largely to their containing 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1 (which has been labeled as the site as 10, or a high hazard). We’ve been using these for a couple of years and like them. I’m not about to dump them in the trash just yet (heehee, they’re wipes!) but I do have some questions.

My question to you: do you think there is reason to be concerned about some of these products, or does it not really matter? If the product works for us, should it matter if there are some ingredients that some would consider hazardous? Is it worth switching to “less hazardous” brands just in case? And finally, do you think this is just some marketing ploy to get consumers to change brands?

Check out the site, plug in a couple of your favorite products, and let me know what you think.

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