got a carpenter friend? ...hit them up!

we have a carpenter friend, I love those kind of friends, each time he comes over I have a list of things to fix in our house.... but hey...nobody cooks a great dinner like nonchalant mom to make up for it! no really, our friend garret brings over his leftover scraps from his woodshop and it's endless fun for the kids! they both go crazy...and the last time he brought six boxes of scraps...I wanted to build a dollhouse with it! but sander got to it first and made a wonderland of incredible inventions! cars, a rain collector, a boat, and this list goes on like this...one thing after another. right now we are using tape (I get colorful artists tape from pearl paint), but soon I am sure he will be moving onto nails.

honestly, it's great for both worlds...he spends days on end working on projects, and I really like to just leave him to it and not get involved, he rarely asks for help but once in a while there is the difficult tape project. we save the inventions on his shelf or keep them in his 'keep box' and it's all good fun, for no cost, no plastic, and just his imagination! so, next time you meet a carpenter, saddle up, make him dinner and you never know what you can get in return!


bug bites, itching...here's help!

it's just about that time of year...along with the fourth of july comes bug mosquito and bug bite time. I got this wonderful trick from my friend Karen who lives in switzerland, she happened to use it today so we know it works!

summer = bug bites

The perfect and natural cure to an irritating bug bite is onion. As
soon as possible after the bite, apply raw onion for 10 minutes. It
draws out the poison and leaves you with little to no itching. I find
it particularly effective for red ant bites which usually swell up,
spread and can leave you scratching for more than a week.
Try it!

around our parts in Rhode Island we get mosquitoes, and however you try to stop them there are always a few itches that drive you crazy...we have found that Bach rescue remedy cream (just a little dab) will take the itch away. I know it's not made for this but it happens to work...I use Bach rescue remedy for so many things and it's really helpful (...sunburn!).

write in comments about your favorite bug-bite remedy!


tomato basil pasta - many ways!

my sister sent me a recipe today for tomato basil pasta and you know how sometimes when you make something just about every week your forget to share those things...well this is the case, so I am going to present to you my sisters recipe, because her version is interesting, and then I will give you mine and some additional things that I like to add...

Linda's recipe (very quick and simple):
Here is a simple crowd pleaser for dinner tonight.

Cut in half some cherry or grape tomatoes. Put in a bowl.
Whisk together some balsamic and oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tomatoes.
Chop some basil fine. Put on top of tomatoes.

Let it sit on counter for a few hours or all day. Put a sushi mat over the bowl to keep bugs out.

Boil some pasta, I use spaghetti, using directions on box, drain and pour tomato marinade on top of pasta.

Crumbled goat cheese on top makes it wonderful.

It is a very refreshing and colorful dinner, everyone will love it.

ok...here is my version: (it only takes about 15 mins, plus pasta cooking time!)
put water on for pasta (and cook to directions)
cut cherry tomatos in half
chop up basil
cube mozzarella (a ball is good or slightly less...give some plain to kids!)

when pasta is ready grab a cup of pasta water in case you need it
do a quick strain and throw into your serving bowl
add all above ingredients (add a little pasta water if it seems dry)
drizzle some really good olive oil over pasta
add salt and pepper
we love it with toasted pine nuts
you can add cooked shrimp (my kids love this)

make up your own additions and please share them with us by commenting, but it's a really great and easy (fast!) dish!


more cleaning tips...

I got a bunch of emails on some cleaning tips and thought it might go well with the laundry idea. Many of you had such fun way of getting your kids to help with the cleaning and I am excited to try them for myself!

1. fill squirt guns with a solution of a gallon of water and a squirt of dish soap and let them go at the windows, most kids like to wipe them off as well! so they get the whole job done (well, theoretically!)

2. make it a game! give kids tongs from the kitchen and see who can pick up the most toys! my sister and I used to play this card game called 'spoons' (ok this is for the older kids)...it's a little foggy but you sit in a circle and put one less spoon out than the number of people playing, the dealer just keeps picking up cards and handing the ones that they don't need to the next person and then that person either keeps the card or passes one on, etc. the first person to get four of a kind takes a spoon (without anyone seeing) and the person without a spoon looses... well, instead of the spoons you have to run to your room, clean up five things and put them away and then run back and sit down in your chair, winner is first! (my sister sprained her ankle in this came so it can get vicious!)

3. put on some loud music and dance and clean...yay!!

4. this ones comes to me from maids.com, and I thought it was pretty funny! put old athletic socks on your kids hands and arms and squirt a little vinegar and water solution on them and let them dust away! (YOU clear off the breakables first and let them go at it!)

5. you can also do this trick...send your kids to Montessori School!!...an added benefit (besides all of the other wonderful things about Montessori School) is that your kids will magically clean up after themselves because "that's the way we do it at school" as my son says! the first time it happens you may be a little shocked, but for them it's just all in a day at school! ..no biggie!

6. as in the picture above, when you clean your car take out all of your kids trucks, dolls, whatever and have them clean their toys while you clean your car! (double whammy!)

please send more ideas in as comments so that you can share them with other parents!! --thank you for all of your help keeping our house clean!


chores, chores, chores....

sometimes I think we over compensate for feminism with our kids and forget the beauty in the small things that life is all about. the other day, I came home from my store to find my mother in law and my daughter on the front porch...hanging out laundry! they had rigged up a clothes-line between two pots, and a bucket of soapy water and there they were doing laundry...franny was as happy as could be and so very proud of herself to look like mommy and hang out her laundry (all her dolly clothes!...even some hand-knit doll sweaters...yikes!) but it was the cutest thing and so simple...'nana' said that they had been at it for hours!
hanging, washing, hanging, washing!

just a simple summer idea!


lucky fish...it's beautiful here!

If you are in the California area you are lucky enough to have the chance to see the work of Jann Cheifitz (Lucky Fish) so don't miss this chance and get your but down there Saturday, June 14th - Lost and Found Gallery - 6322 Yucca Street in Hollywood! :: what a lucky fish! ::

don't miss this and I wish I were there!! :: good luck Jann!!


some great information on milk!

monday is the day that I usually take a moment to read through the treehugger website, they had a wonderful story today on milk that I would love to pass on to you. I know that I have told you that my kids don't drink milk on a daily basis, but I feel that I should say that I do this because I simply think that after my kids had my breastmilk, they didn't need to drink cows milk daily because they are not cows...it just seems weird to me, but we do eat yoghurt! (ok everybody...now send me emails about being a hypocrite...) I think that if you are interested in milk for it's values you should know this information!

Brit Study Says Organic Grass-Eating Cows Give Healtiest Milk
by April Streeter, Gothenburg, Sweden on 05.31.08

The debate still rages whether organic or conventionally handled foods are better for us. Don't believe it?

A new study (from Newcastle University) gives reinforcement to the idea that organically-produced milk is healthier than regular milk. The study showed organic (summertime) milk had 67 percent higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants, and 60 percent more conjugated linoleic acids than regular milk. It also had higher levels of good Omega-3s and lower levels of Omega-6s than conventional milk. The key was the grass factor - organic cows tend to get a lot more grass and clover, conventional cows get more grain. Now this may seem like a "yeah, duh" but after the study came out, the British Goverment's watchdog Food Standards Agency felt compelled to say there was little evidence to prove organic was better. It plans to study the Newcastle study. With food prices rising, it's good to get a little reinforcement that organic purchasing does offer tangible benefits.

link to article here.

there you have it...ok, now let's all comment, I know this is a touchy subject!!!


Domino...we love you!!

isn't life crazy...Domino recently published a story about our home in Rhode Island, so if you want to get a closer look into our home-life...just open the June/July issue! they did such and amazing job and I could be more excited about being in my favorite magazine! Our life looks so wonderful I want to live those days EVERY day...instead, our water heater broke down yesterday, my employees just fell apart on me (we are getting it back together again) and the last thing my son wants to do is go to school (but I remember that from the last few weeks of school when I was a kid!). so here we are, taking showers outside (something that domino didn't share with you!), packing boxes like crazy, and getting calls from the nurses office asking me to pick up my son who 'somehow' has a fever?? (how does he do that!).

But we love the article and the life that Domino shows that we had for those few days when they photographed our house (it was so much fun!)...the Domino team are some of the nicest bunch of people I have ever met in this business, throughout the entire process it was kindness, fun and graciousness...with everyone taking care of each other, by everyone involved, so thank you Domino!

But for now we are left with cold water until my husband decides whether to fix the heater or get a new one??...and in the meantime I am working hard on my Nonchalant Kids Spring collection, making some lovely summer necklaces for you'all and having some summer fun with the kids (just like in the photos!)

you can also see the Nonchalant Mom Domino article here.

(that's the outside shower off to the right...lately it's been cold and raining which makes it extra-'fun'?!)


knitting... in the summer?! YES!

have you ever thought to yourself...I could knit that!...but I don't even know how to knit! well, if you have a new baby, or are waiting for one, and even with little kids it's a good time to start. because these little guys wear small little sweaters and therefore you only have to knit small little things! it's pretty darn easy and a good way to get started on knitting ('hooked' shall we say!). another great thing about knitting baby clothes is that they are so tiny you can just throw them in your purse and do them anywhere on the run, subway, dentist office, waiting for your kids karate to finish, there is never a dull moment in a knitters life! Ha!

AND if you want your kids to have something warm for the winter now is the time to start! this will give you time to learn, practice and start your very own sweater for your kids (or yes, if you are really industrious for yourself!) my neighbor Angela, started with kids sweaters, hats, mittens, now...you have no idea..she is such a professional! (this is one of hers above and more below) and she whips things up that you and me just drool over!

where to begin...I found this website called Bella Knitting that is really sweet and I think it's a good place to begin, they sell patterns or if you are just starting out they have complete kits with yarn and everything! this is a terrific and helpful way to start so that even if you don't have a knitting shop in your neighborhood, you can feel like you have some guidance along the way. I knit freehand, without a pattern, and I don't suggest this, things come out pretty wacky sometimes, but this comes from years of working in knitting factories, writing lot's of spec sheets, and measuring LOTS of sweaters! but it also can be fun, less stressful and completely calming (if you are the kind of person that doesn't have to have everything perfect that is!)
So good luck and start now on your winter wonderful goodies!

Angela has these suggestions for websites that are helpful:
knitting help and patterns - ravelry
anything for getting started - purl soho in NYC (and GREAT inspiration!!)


Ichigo Daifuku - kice kice recipe

I got this amazing recipe from lesley at kice kice, and although it's a little bit complicated the result is so much fun! (and it's one of those things that when you do it once, it will be a breeze the next time) so I wanted to share this great Daifuku recipe...lesley took these helpful photos to get you going. your kids will love these yummy tasty treats! and I think this is a wonderful way to introduce new treats to your kids (and get away from candy).

Ichigo Daifuku (or strawberry rice cakes)

-2/3 c. water
-1/4 c. sugar
-1 c. mochiko or shiratama-ko (this is sweet rice flour-mochi rice flour)
-1/2 c. anko (sweet red bean paste-I had a hard time finding this online but lesley thinks you can find this in any asian food store, it comes in a can or you can make it here)
-6 strawberries washed with stem removed
katakuriko (potato starch) for dusting
*optional raspberries for pink daifuku

Heat water, add sugar, stir until dissolved.

Turn heat to low add mochiko stir for about 5 minutes (it should form
into a ball). Turn off burner and let dough cool for 15 minutes.

If pink daifuku is desired cook raspberries down until they are mostly

Sprinkle work surface with katakuriko knead dough. Make sure you coat the dough with katakuriko and hands as it is very sticky. Add more katakuriko if it becomes sticky. Divide dough into 6 pieces. If you want pink daifuku add juice from raspberries and knead until dough becomes pink.
Add dough to a steamer basket in a pan, steam dough for 10 minutes.
Remove dough pieces from pan. Sprinkle work surface and dough with katakuriko. Roll each piece of dough until it is flat and big enough to go around a strawberry. Add anko paste to the middle of the dough, put a strawberry on top then cover with more anko. Wrap the dough around the strawberry. Pinch at the top until the dough is covering the strawberry. Flip over so the smooth side of the daifuku is up.
Repeat this process with each piece of dough. Refrigerate or eat!

*kids can possibly choke on the mochi if not chewed well. It is best to
keep an eye on them when they are eating.

Lesley and her sister Karen and the twin sisters of the collection Kice Kice which I have here at nonchalantmom, don't miss their new summer collection, it's super cool and sweet!


lucky fish...the mystery solved!

I distinctly remember the day that I found Lucky Fish, it was a bright summer day (just building the story!) and I walked into 'A detacher' in NYC (on mott street, another favorite store!) and there it was...a tunic printed with the lion print and also some funny panties...it was all great! and I had to have them...and I really wanted to know more, already curious, then one day I walked into Tracey Feith (on Mulberry Street) and they had kids t-shirts...I didn't even HAVE kids a the time, but I knew when I did I would want them to wear these t-shirts, and I bought two! I 'heard' she had a studio on White Street...but it was still very illusive...'who was this Lucky Fish?'

Well I am here to break her story, the creative guru behind Lucky Fish and these wonderful prints is Jann Cheifitz, she is from South Africa and Capetown educated. We went around NYC a few weeks ago and she gave me a mini-education on the amazing artists of South Africa, it was fascinating. I really consider Jann an artist and one of these days we are going to get her to make some of her prints into more art than wearable art...and I can't wait to see how she will execute this, so let's stay tuned. but in the meantime we can wear her work each day and aren't we 'lucky' for that!

Just about 13 years ago she made her way to New York City with her family and ended up in Brooklyn, she printed in a few crazy places, garages, what have you and where ever she could... she has always used this medium to convey her very unique form of art. what I like about her is that she isn't after the fashion and I promise you she is never in a frenzy, she is sincerely into the creativity of it all and the message of South African inspired art, and that is that. when I first started working with Jann, I used to order things and I really didn't have any idea of what was going to arrive, but it was always, ALWAYS, right on the money!

Thank you Jann and keep surprising us with more of your wonderful work!
you can see her work here at nonchalant mom...
visit her website here