Find the Lead

The Chicago Tribune conducted some lead testing in toys. I’m not sure how these things sneak into the country, obviously the testing agency are idiots or maybe someone isn’t telling the truth when reporting the lead contained in each toy.

If you are really concerned, Consumer Reports has a list of some home lead-testing kits that you can purchase and how well they work.

Also, the DailyGreen has a list of 250 lead-free toys. I can’t believe you actually need a list!

Thinking you should ban Made in China toys from your house? Well, Palm Bay, Florida is trying to ban all made in china products from the entire town. I doubt it will succeed but it will be interesting to see how far this goes.

This Year’s Toys, Next Year’s Trash

Before you go out and buy the latest and greatest toys for your kids, head on over to WiseBread and read why this year’s hot toys are next year’s trash.

The tech toys are the worst, you probably will need plenty of batteries and accessories. Plus, by this time next year they will be in the bottom of the toy box or even broken. Save yourself the hassle and try and get timeless toys that aren’t one dimensional.

Dressing Children like Children

Check out this article in the New York Sun about how skimpy clothes with names that would make our grandparents blush are being marketed to a younger and younger crowd.

We headed for our favorite department store, ready to take that leap into the world of 7–16. Bye-bye, 4–6X, I thought to myself with a tug of sadness. My baby was growing up.

And apparently into a prostitute.

Read on for more hilarity as one mother ponders just what is going on with her daughter’s clothes.

Garden Ideas, Part 2

Another summer garden crop that we have had much success with is tomatoes. I usually spend all spring thinking about fresh tomatoes. And I usually end up planting too many tomato plants. (We also get fresh tomatoes all summer from our local CSA farm.) We get the tomato seedlings free at the local university open house in the spring, so we don’t even pay for the seeds/seedlings! And I forget, every year, just how big the vines can get! They usually end up overshadowing whatever I have planted close to them.

Cherry tomatoes are a huge hit with The Boy. I will often find him out in the garden, eating juicy, red cherry tomatoes right off the vine. Of course, by the end of the summer, I am giving away bags of them to everyone in the neighborhood.

The regular tomatoes, though, I am a little more frugal with. What we don’t eat fresh (on pizza, sandwiches and just plain!), I like to freeze. I freeze tomatoes whole, without cooking them. I don’t know if this is the ‘right’ way to do it, but it works for me. I cut off the tops, put several in a freezer ziploc bag and ‘suck’ as much air out as I can before sealing it. I label the bag and pop it in the freezer. Freezer tomatoes are great to use in sauces and such later on. Take a bag out of the freezer and allow it to thaw a bit in the refrigerator. Empty the tomatoes into a microwave-safe bowl and finish thawing. The skins slip off quite easily and the tomatoes can go right into the pot or the pan.

Another way to save your excess tomatoes is to make spaghetti sauce and freeze that. If you live in an area that will support the growth of tomatoes all summer, try growing some yourself and save some $$ on fresh tomatoes all summer and sauces throughout the winter!