Exploring our surroundings: Lockhart trail

5 06 2012

Just a few steps down Trillium Trail, across the road, we found Lockhart Trail. We were not planning to go there, but it seemed just as good as any other trail, so we put the baby in the carrier and after a short reconnaissance look we just walked ahead.

Lockhart Trail is a very nice trail, different from Trillium Trail in its difficulty, this one is more challenging, but still easy enough as for me to do it no problem with a one year old on my back. It starts with a steep slope going upwards but soon levels off, there are multiple areas in which there are slopes, sometimes presenting steps. This trail was not as plentiful in wildflowers, but nevertheless we saw enough impressive flowers as the Ghost Plant (or Indian Pipe) a parasitic flower that has no pigment at all, or Squaroot, also a parasite.

The nap said that it was the same length than Trillium Trail, which is roughly 3 miles taking all the loops, something we did in about 45 minutes. However, we found this not to be the case. The main loop is longer than that and there are multiple inner loops that will add up to the trail. I couldn’t tell how long it is, but it took us about 2:30 hours to complete it (inner loops included), yes, it was a tad more challenging, with the slopes and springs, but we didn’t find that our pace was too slow.

One thing you should consider is that the loop is interrupted. We arrived at a private driveway flanked by walls, fences and gates, and we thought we were lost, so we just turned around and walked our way back. Later we found a man who is familiar with the trail who told us that we were not lost and that there were small paths hidden to the sides of the gates and walls, so you could actually complete the loop if you wanted. We just tracked back. Also things to consider: It is a fairly transited trail, so you will not be all alone, and people will be there to give you directions if needed. People walk with their dogs, it is a dog-friendly trail, including hours of unleashed dogs allowed. The trail was interrupted several times by fallen trees and brushes, we just ducked and kept going.

We really enjoyed this trail and would love to come back to do it in the early spring when more flowers should be blooming. The difficulty was a nice middle point, and the slopes made the walk work great as an excellent cross training exercise!

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Exploring our surroundings: Trillium Trail

9 05 2012

Trillium Trail is a lovely hike area a few minutes from Pittsburgh, it is located in Fox Chapel and it is a wonderful spot for wild flowers. I have been wanting to do this trail for some years now, but for some reason or another I found that the spring time would pass and I would have not gone. The recommended time for seeing the best flowers coverage is the first week of May. We went on the 5th, but the prime was past, probably because the beginning of Spring was so warm! However we got to see an amazing sight of blooms and had a wonderful time.

Red deer had decimated the Trillium in the past, one plant takes years to recover from loosing its flower. Fortunately efforts are being made to keep the deer away and the trail is starting to look glorious once again. When you go you will see a lot of fenced areas, these are to protect the plants.  There are three trails: Trillium trail which is the one that h as the most amount of trillium and wild flowers, it is easy for the most part but it has some mild slopes, Zen trail runs parallel, with a stream of running water, it is easy and gentle and connects to Trillium trail in two spots. Lastly, there is the Falls Trail which is steep and more challenging, but nothing major, however I would not recommend this one to people who have a hard time with steps and slopes. All this is about 3 miles  long and should take about one hour to walk leisurely.

Trillium Trail is just a great area very close to home! If you have not checked it out, do yourself a favor and go spend a lazy hour among the trees and blooms!





Bacon roses.

27 04 2012

I do eat healthy, I swear I do!! But every once in a while I don’t. And every once in a while I like to do something naughty… as eating bacon.

Actually, this was for my husband. For valentine’s day I thought that the perfect way of telling him “I love you” was by giving him a dozen roses… bacon roses! And because Laura wanted to know how to make them, here is the step by step:

This is the easy way of doing them, I read about this way of doing it in which you have to basically drill your cup cakes pan… and I am not about to do that. SO my lazy and easy way of proceeding was by using aluminium cups and skewers, you will also need bacon, tooth picks, and a tray to receive the grease.

Stuff you will need.

Pierce the cupcake holders with the skewer.

piercing close up

Get one bacon slice and roll it up. Use a tooth pick to hold it in place, then put the ‘rose’ in the cupcake holder.

Roses preparation

I used two skewers to place the roses on top of them, you need the grease to drain, so this was my way of keeping the base of the holders to be in direct contact with the tray.

ready to go in the oven

Then you just pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350F, keep an eye on them to see if the grease is draining, if not, you can pick the cupcake up a bit and let the grease pass.

Voila! Ready to serve. Take them out of the oven when the bacon looks done, I like it very well done, can’t stand raw meat, but I guess doneness will depend on your taste. Once they are cold, take the tooth pick off of your roses. You can stab a skewer on their base to make a tall bouquet. I chose to display them on a bed of lettuce, so I used half a tooth pick to keep them in place.

Display your bouquet!

 

 

 





Buns Up Baby cloth diaper review and giveaway.

10 12 2011

I feel I must warn my readers that Buns Up Baby has vanished, me and other people cannot contact the owner or find her Facebook page. Be aware that some people placed orders but have not received them and have failed to contact Amber. I have no idea what happened and just can pray and hope that she and her family are safe, but be aware that it might not be a good idea to order diapers from her at the moment.

Guess what did my mom get me?

Hey, getting ready for Christmas and the end of the year? I am! And because I wanted to give you a gift for this season I am throwing an awesome giveaway sponsored by Amber at Buns Up Baby.

I learned about Buns Up Baby through another blog and decided to try my luck and email Amber. I was ecstatic when she accepted to send me a diaper to review and host a giveaway! She told me to head over to her webpage and choose a diaper I would like to test and basically demanded that I had fun testing it! How nice of her!

I chose a lovely Cow Patty minkee diaper for Ignacio because he is a Taurus and I thought it would be cute to see him wearing a cow print diaper 🙂

Surprise!! She got me a fun Cow Patties minkee diaper by Buns Up Baby!!

The review:

Amber and Buns Up Baby:
Buns Up Baby is a new company created by Amber in March 2011. She is a Canadian mom in Ontario that was not quite satisfied with the cloth diaper options out there: pockets are either really pricey or very low quality, so she decided to get her own designs made (yes, she is that cool!). After testing her designs with a manufacturer that she liked she decided to get started with her own company. To keep her prices lower than the big companies she has her diapers made in China (she regularly makes sure that ethical work conditions and quality are met) but also takes a smaller profit per diaper sold. After all many of the big brands are made in China too, the difference is that Buns Up Baby’s goal is to keep quality diapers affordable because Amber really wants to do something to save the planet.
Amber has some great plans for the near future, there is a new diaper on the making that would have an extra row of rise snaps, bamboo insert, and have colour coded waist snaps. There would also be another row of inner gussets making it as convenient as a disposable diaper but cloth. This diaper would cost more but she promises that she is trying to make it as affordable as possible!
Because she is really cool (as I mentioned before) she gives a free diaper on large orders as a way to thank her costumers, she even includes a diaper pail liner from time to time. And if you live in Canada you can check with her to see if she is going to be on the road so you can deliver your diapers and save you the shipping!! So green and sweet of her!

The diaper:
These diapers are pocket, one size, this means that through the adjustment of snappies you can make the diaper fit the same baby from eight to 35 pounds. They have an inside of microfleece that wicks moisture away and they have an outer layer PUL coated to keep the diaper water proof. The pocket is on the back side and the diaper is stuffed with inserts made of three layers of microterry.

My impression on the diaper:
This is the first minkee diaper I ever touch, and it is so incredibly soft! Besides that… it is absolutely adorable!
I was very impressed with the quality of this diaper. When I received it I thought that it was going to be a “good diaper for $10” but the truth is that it is a good diaper. Period. Yes, there are some really good quality diapers out there for over $20, but for less than $10 you will find that these diapers are very competitive quality wise.

Neutral:
The area between the legs is broader than in other pockets, like Charlie Banana or Fuzzibuns, but this didn’t seem to bother Ignacio. He is not mobile yet, so I don’t know how this would interfere with crawling or walking, but you can see from the photos that he is comfortable and does not mind.
The pocket has no flap to cover the opening, as in Charlie Banana, but unlike other brands it has an elastic that prevents the insert from poking out. It also makes it easy to stuff because, well, it has no flap.
I cannot give an opinion about messes because Ignacio did not poop while using this diaper, besides we are past the crazy poop mess stage now that he is on solids, so I will have to leave that question unanswered 🙂

The diaper is broader than others between the legs, but at the same time the adjustment for size is barely noticeable.

What could be improved:
There is one thing that I wish all CD companies did, including Buns Up Baby, and this is to label their inserts. When each insert looks almost like the other one, and you pull them put of the washing machine, it is cumbersome to try to identify them by comparing them side by side and try to remember how each of them looked… and all of them are some shade of white microterry…
The cloth of this diaper is very soft, as in lacking firmness, so the lateral wings of the diaper are a little floppy and poke out of the waist. If you tuck them behind the waist there is no problem, though, they remain there. I think this would be fixable with a different snappy configuration (says she who knows nothings of sewing!) Actually, I am kind of divided whether writing this one as a neutral, though, because that same ‘floppiness’ of the material makes the diaper hug the baby really well and conform to his body very comfortably.

Awesomeness:
The diaper is so soft! It is super soft in the outside, but most importantly, it is super soft in the inside. I do have several brands of cloth diapers at home, and this is I think the softest one yet. Apart form that, the elastic is very gentle but yet supportive, so my baby did not end up with red marks around his legs and waist, even after 12 hours, which happens to him with Fuzzibuns.
I am surprised too at how this diaper works at becoming smaller for smaller babies, while the fully expanded diaper is larger than many and the waist is high, when you adjust the snaps for the diaper to become smaller there is almost no bulk! I mean it! Just take a look at the photos and see how streamlined it becomes. In my experience with other diaper brands and systems this always has been an aesthetic problem, since the diapers end up looking like bubbles around the baby’s bum, but not these diapers, they look just awesome!
The diaper is crazy absorbent! I used it during the day with no wicking whatsoever. My baby is a heavy wetter and wicking is my bane, so I first used it for 2 hours, and when I changed the diaper I actually called my husband to come and touch the microfleece interior of the diaper. He looked at me like “yeah, right…” but when I insisted he humored me and was surprised to note how dry it felt. That means that my baby, who hates being wet, did not feel any discomfort at all!
I tried this diaper for nap time, and it held! Ignacio slept well, no leaks or wicking at all.
I then tried it for night time. I stuffed two cotton/hemp inserts into it, additional to the one that Amber sent with the diaper and it worked wonderful for almost 12 hours. It did give up after 10 hours, which is a very long time, given that Ignacio is normally soaked and wicking by 5 hours.  Now, before you say something like “yeah, well, but you added more inserts” let me tell you that I do this with every diaper I use for bedtime, and they do not work this well. The great thing is that it still felt dry against baby’s bum! I think that Buns Up Baby’s next diaper with gussets will probably take care of this, since the wicking did come from the legs.

These diapers are super soft and comfortable, listen to my mom!

The Giveaway:

If you are a cloth diapering mom or if you are considering to get started, this is a perfect diaper to try. You can buy these diapers from Buns Up Baby or you can win one in this giveaway! Head over to Sensibly Green on Facebook* to enter the Rafflecopter and fill your entries!

If you do buy a diaper from Amber during the time that this giveaway is running, don’t forget to tell her that you are coming from Sensibly Green, this will give you extra entries! Just write “sent by Sensibly Green” in the paypal comments/special instructions area and she will let me know!

As for me, I am planning to get me a few more diapers from her, the Giraffe print is adorable and it sells like hot cakes! So make sure to get yours as soon as you see it available!

This giveaway will run from Dec 10th to 20th 2011, after that I will verify the entries and draw a winner 🙂 Do tell your friends, the more the merrier!

And now excuse me… I am going to learn some more about cows…

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*Wordpress does not support the Rafflecopter application so I have to run it over there!





Matthew Languille Charlie Banana Blackbeary! (Holy names, Batman!)

18 10 2011

Cloth diapers are not only awesome for the environment and your wallet, they are super cute too! The CD industry has done it right, using fun colors and prints, but now they are going a step further releasing designer diapers. Charlie Banana has released a new line by designer Matthew Languille and they are throwing giveaways like crazy. I was lucky enough as to win one diaper of this new collection and I want to tell you all about it! But it will have to wait, because having a teething baby does not leave me with much time, especially since he has not been sleeping much lately.

However, in the meanwhile I will show you what I mean by “super cute”!

Guess what diaper mommy chose for me?

The BlackBeary! Because I loooove pandas!

The BlackBearys are quirky and fun. Yay, she made me matching leg warmers!

Ping is my best friend (Thank you auntie Suzie!), we hang around a lot. And now I can look like him! ❤

Fun in black and white.