Light up my life…

July 31, 2007

One thing that is still unsettled for my daughter’s new room (besides actually painting and putting everything together – I’ve got as lot still sitting in boxes) is a nightlight. Currently, we use this wall-mounted moon from IKEA. This light is nice, but… even with the lowest wattage bulb we could find, it still gives off a lot of light.

We’re hoping we can move her to a much dimmer light in the new room. And I’ve narrowed my choices down to four:


1) Offi – I love these Offi Dachshund lamps. Low voltage (12v), with replaceable bulbs, they give off a soft glow, and are available in several colors (many of the cooler ones not available until September). I have no idea how these are turned on and off. But they are pretty cute. Drawback – they generally go for about $59.


2) IKEA – Similar to these, IKEA offers their SPOKA nightlights. Supposedly “ghosts” (like I’d tell my daughter this), they can be turned on and off by pressing. Having played with these a bit, I am not sure how easily they can be turned on and off by a three-year-old. These lamps give off a softer glow, and, like the Offi, sit on a table or other flat surface. Unlike the Offi, they are just $14.99. However, the bulb is not replaceable, which means, you could eventually spend more on the SPOKA than the Offi.


3) Candeloo – the Candeloo lights are pretty sweet, as well. I got to see some of these “in the wild” over the weekend, and they really are pretty nice. That being said, they are more for kids to navigate their way around at night than they are for use as a nightlight. They sit on their rechargeable base, and automatically turn on when removed from the base (or in the event of power failure). There are no exposed contacts, and you get two of them. They are about $50. One other drawback – they are recommended for ages 6 and up. Not so good for a three-year-old.

egg lamp4) Uhmm… You know, when I started this post this morning, I definitely had 4 night lights in mind, but now I am not sure what the fourth one was. The only thing I can thing of is my several-year-long lust for the J Schatz Egg Lamps. These ceramic beauties are egg shaped and project “stars” on the ceiling and walls. I’ve always had a personal desire for a “star” lamp myself. The drawback of these, for a three-year-old, are (a) it is ceramic, and (b) they are $125. They are available in 10 colors. If you aren’t interested in a night light, the egg birdhouses and birdfeeders are pretty sweet, as well.

So there are my choices. Of course, like most choices, I haven’t run any of them by Ms. Kaz yet, but I’d have to say the dachshund lamps may be the front runner. I’d ask my daughter, but, well, I’m afraid she’d choose the egg lamp.

Anyone else found some kick-ass night lights?

Once bitten, twice shy

July 27, 2007

Last night, I yelled at my daughter louder than I’ve ever yelled at her before. Possibly louder than I’ve ever yelled before.

First, a little background…

Earlier in the week, after picking my daughter up from Big Girl School, I was emptying her lunch bag. I came across a note, and opened it up.


Oh, crap.

Apparently, she had bitten one of the kids at school. And left a mark.

I asked her about it, and she told me she bit the child’s shirt. I told her no, she bit him, as well. And left a mark. And hurt him. After a bit more talk, she said she understood (a) not to bite, (b) not to retaliate, and (c) the possible consequences, such as being asked to leave school (which I think scares us more than it scares her).

I thought we were good.

(Find out if we were after the jump… though I think you parents already know the answer) Read the rest of this entry »

This is planet Earth

July 25, 2007

… you’re looking at planet Earth. Bop bop bop bop bop bop bop bop…

Welcome what I can only assume are aliens looking for planet Earth. I’ve been getting pounded (well, for me, anyway) by people searching the internet for “Earth” (or “earth” or “EARTH”). Not sure why. I’d take you to my leader, but, well, I think he’s an alien, so you probably already know him.

Anyhow, I haven’t posted in a while, so you’re probably wondering if I’ve been kidnapped by aliens. Well, no. But I have been pretty busy. Especially at work. Except for today, when our network was down for, like, 3 hours, and I had to play about 20 games of bubble hockey (yeah, at work… cool, eh?).

Here’s a few things happening:

  • I’m still preparing my daughter’s new room for painting. We’re still on target for purple. She told someone recently that I was going to paint her windows green. Uh, wha? I think she is thinking of our discussion about green curtains.
  • Oh, and it is still, in her mind, a “Tinkerbell bedroom”. I’m searching now for some small, subtle Tinkerbell wall decals I can discretely sprinkle around the room.
  • And I am leaning toward Sherwin-Williams’ Harmony (low- and no- VOC paints). Possibly “Kismet” for the color.

Okay, that was an update entire composed of moving my daughter into her Big Girl Room. Not much else going on these days, other than avoiding coming up with a boy’s name…

What’s new in your world (Earth, or otherwise) ??

Ciao Time

July 23, 2007

Okay, we are on the Pottery Barn Kids mailing list.

Okay, I peruse the catalog now and then because, well, I think some of their stuff is nice looking.

I also like to check out what the “hot” kids names are these days. As defined by PBK, at least. I just want to know what names to avoid.

I also like to find interesting details in the catalog. If you got the most recent catalog, see if you can spot the page where they Photoshopped just one section of a shelving unit. You can tell because, while all other items in the unit look fine, one section contains a stack of books where the titles are all backwards (as if looking at them in a mirror).

They also have some interesting educational toys, such as the Triangle Puzzle, the Color Wheel, the Alphabet Puzzle, the Additional and Subtraction Puzzle. Oh, and my person favorite, Learn Language Circle Puzzle.

pbk puzzleThe circle puzzle has several “layers”, if you will, which represent words. There are also “slices”, which represent languages. There is a slice for English, for Spanish, for French, for Germany, and for Italian.

For example, the outer layer represents “Hello”. Easy in English. In Spanish, kids learn “Hola” for hello. “Bon jour”, of course, is French. Get to Italian, and you learn that hello is…

Now, I am not the Italian one in our family. My wife is Italian. Well, at least 1/2 Italian, but Italian halves tend to crowd out any other halves. But, I have learned a few things. Like a love for food, garlic, and wine. And, you tend to pick up some words along the way.

So, of course, “hello” in Italian on the Language Puzzle is… uh… “chow” ?? (click on the photo for a larger version)

Ok, like I said, I am not Italian. Maybe “chow” is an acceptable alternative to “ciao”. Better run it by Ms. Kaz. “Maybe they are spelling it so kids can pronounce it?” she counters. Well, that wouldn’t explain “Arrivederci” or “Per Favore”.

I even checked with some (okay, one) Italian at work. They also attempted to defend PBK.

The only defense I can figure is that the photo is Photoshopped, and the entry-level graphic artist just didn’t know how to spell it. I’ll have to get to a store to see how it is spelled on an actual puzzle.

Unless there’s someone out there than can tell me this is an acceptable spelling..?

Update: Finally, an explanation. Linda Phillips writes in the comments that, had I been more careful in my reading, I would have noticed that the reverse side of the puzzle pieces contain the words spelled phonetically. I just knew there was a good explanation, I just never thought it was my own carelessness!


July 22, 2007

I used to post on weekends.

I remember reading that it was one way to increase blog traffic, since most of us slackers take the weekends off (or, like Clare’s dad, take a whole week off).

And, I always intend to, but, well, time always seems to slip away. Just like I always intend to post lots of tips about how to be a Green Parent. Yet, I can never keep up.

I mean, we’ve got one kid and another on the way. There’s no way I could post of whole list of Green tips, let alone post one on the weekend!

Oh, wait. Damn that LA Daddy!!

(I’ll get him. Ms. Kaz is reading that new Harry Potter book (I think it is called “Harry Potter VII”) — I’ll tell LA Daddy the ending!)

Green Baby Announcements

July 20, 2007

When you have a baby, and are trying to raise a green family, your first challenge could very well be how to announce your new arrival. Okay, it probably won’t be your first eco-challenge, but one of the first you may face after the birth of your little one.

Everyone wants to know, so you gotta let ’em know. Sure, you could e-mail an announcement, but good luck walking
Grandma through the steps of checking her email a month later when you ask her how she liked the announcement, and she says, “What announcement?”

birth announcmentsWell, thanks to the folks at, I found out about these really nice eco-friendly announcements from Fine Moments (those Babble folks do surprise me now and then).

There’s a gazillion (that’s a word now, right?) choices, and I like them all. You can add your own photo, and inside message. No wood is used anywhere in the manufacturing process, according to their website(I guess they don’t put the paper on wood pallets…) Anyway, the key is, they are printed on 100% recycled paper (unlike that Harry Potter book you are going to buy).

No word on eco-friendly inks, so I assume traditional inks.

These could very well be the front runners for our baby announcements in a couple months. Relatives only. The rest of you can read it here.

(100% recycled paper birth announcements from Fine Moments, starting at $3.85 per — good lord, is that what announcements cost these days??)

Something going on this Friday??

July 19, 2007


So, apparently, there is some book coming out this Friday. Hairy Porter? Harry Petter? Something like that. I guess they expect a lot of copies to be sold..?

That’s right, it is the riveting final installment of Harry Potter’s Magnificent Adventures in the School for Wizardly Wonder (a.k.a. Deathly Hallows).

And, hey, all you Green Parents should be happy — it is being called the Greenest Book Ever. And just look at all the trees and resources they are saving! Scholastic’s US printings are creating this savings by printing on paper which is 65% certified ancient forest friendly. Err…

And we find out Harry Potter is dead! Dead wrong about just how green this book really is.

Is this really a case of The-More-You-Spend, The-More-You-Save? The resource savings is likely driven to such high numbers due to the sheer volume of books produced. But could you not also say that because of this volume, this book has the potential to also be the least eco-friendly book ever..? As TreeHugger points out, this book could also use more trees than any other book published this year.

(Read more @ EcoGeek, via

Maybe I am being a little too hard on them – I mean, Scholastic could be doing a lot worse. I am always happy to see company’s taking steps (every little bit helps, right?). But they could also have used 100% recycled paper, as per Ms. Rowling’s request(those of you in Canada are getting a much greener version of this book).
Still, your best bet is to get it from the library, or borrow it from a friend when they are finished reading (you may have to wait until Saturday morning to borrow one). If only there was an electronic version available. If only. Ahem.

Oh, yeah, apparently these books encourage kids to read and turns their souls over to Satan.

Holy Cow! Moo Stickers!

July 19, 2007

I remember reading about Greg’s love affair with Moo Business Cards and then Moo Note Cards over at daddytypes.

They were pretty cool, taking your Flickr images (I think they work with other sources, as well), and creating some nice looking cards from them. Did I really have a use for them? Meh. Not really. But they were cool looking!

Moo stickers!Well, now they are making stickers! And these are pretty sweet looking. 22 mm (yeah, I had to check, too — about 7/8 of an inch), and printed on scratch-proof vinyl. You get 6 per sheet, 15 detachable sheets per book. $9.99 a book (that’s less than $10 a book!).

And.. and.. well, go check the link and you’ll read all about them.

My daughter’s at that age where she has a love of everything stickers. I may just have to finally give in and get me some Moo.

And my parents and in-laws still go ga-ga over anything grandchild related. I could slap these on some letters (you know, cards and stuff – no one writes actual letters anymore).

(via BoingBoing. Sorry, all the free sticker books have been claimed.)

Birthday Buzz

July 18, 2007

At her birthday party, my daughter got many toys. Most of them, while nice, are unremarkable. Or at least, unblogable, because I have nothing really to say about them other than they were nice and she likes playing with them.

Unfortunately, the one she likes playing with the most, or, I should say, she likes making me play with the most if this game called Honey Bee Tree.

Honey Bee TreeThe game itself is pretty much Kerplunk! but for younger kids. Instead of very swallowable marble, you have ever-so-slightly-less swallowable bees. Instead of sharp little sticks you could poke your eye our with on each end, you have sharp little sticks you can poke your eye out with on one end, with a leaf on the other end.

My daughter doesn’t quite get games yet. She doesn’t really understand competition too much. If we race the cat down the stairs, she’s happily tell me that the cat beat us. If we race, she doesn’t mind losing, or she’ll just say she won anyway. And yes, I do try to let her win. For now.

Apparently, she is still into sharing. I guess I am happy about this, but it makes playing games a little difficult. For example, our friend, The Honey Bee Tree… Read the rest of this entry »

Who are you people??

July 16, 2007

I can not have a post for several days, and yet still get what for me is a decent amount of hits.

That means either people are getting here via search engines for important product information, such as double strollers, organic products, or their hate for home depot, or “something to wear that starts with k” (dude – kimono), or, more recently, “I don’t want my daughter to be a bird”.

Or, you all are just curious to see if I survived having a birthday party for a three-year-old at my house (not sure yet).

Man, I wish I had some good stories from the party. But I don’t. I don’t understand – it isn’t like I wore a shirt that said, “I am blogging this”… I mean, you’d think this would be a perfect thing for some good stories. But, no, we remembered all the food – unlike the year we bought a giant ice cream cake, forgot to put it out for people, then attempted to take it back to Buffalo (6 hr drive) in just a cooler with a couple ice packs (doesn’t work, don’t try it).

There was no break-down — Timmy was probably missed, but not while my daughter was distracted by all the kids. There was no nap-time break-down. Despite all the excitement, my daughter managed a 1/2 hr nap.

About the only eventful thing is that I went 9 hrs without food Friday due to a visit with a potential client and traffic on the Merrit Parkway. Then I crammed a whole plate of greasy french fries in my stomach and proceded to get sick several times the night before the party (don’t worry, I recovered in time to have pizza and beer).

Things went well. And my daughter seemed to have a lot of fun. I am still recovering a bit, but I promise to be back in full-swing soon(ish).

Oh, we did wind up with a lot of left-over pizza, if anyone wants any (you “New Haven Pizza”, “a-beetz” and “Sally’s Apizza” searchers, I’m looking at you)…

What? A Year Already?!?

July 13, 2007

So, as of tomorrow, I will now be doing this a year (My response: “Holy, crap! A year already!? How did I find enough stuff to post about for a year???” Ms. Kaz’s response: “Really? Only a year? It seems longer.”). One of my goals was to present information to help parents be more responsibly green.

I can’t say I’ve been a runaway success with that, but it hasn’t been a failure.

That being said, I wanted to point out a great discussion over at DaddyTypes about reponsible toy makers. This is beginning to come down to which ones make toys with lead-free paint, environmentally conscious woods, and free of chemicals.

There are some great suggestions there. Check it out, and if you know of a great toy company, please add your comments.

Or add them here if you don’t want to head to DaddyTypes. But if you’ve never been to DaddyTypes, you should…

The Parenthood Rollercoaster

July 13, 2007

I tell ya, being a parent can be a real rollercoaster ride.

One minute, you are listening to your kid in their room calling out for you when they are supposed to be sleeping, and you are trying to get things done, and you’ve already gone back in for another song and round of questions a couple times.

You start to mumble under your breath, “Why won’t she just $#!*@! go to sleep?!?”

Then she quiets down a little, but you still her tiny, sad-sounding voice saying something. You listen closer. You hear, “i wish mommy and daddy would come and sing me a song…”

And your heart melts.