Party 'til Your Teeth Fall Out

This past weekend, I felt like the universe was sending us a message.
Like "Don't have any more crazy parties."

Truthfully, it's probably more like:
"Don't eat carrots from the relish tray at your crazy parties!!!"
Yeah, it was pretty horrific. But, I tried to be a good sport. I even posed for a picture. Nice, huh?

Since the whole fiasco happened on a Saturday, I had to get it on with my big bad hill-billy self for the remainder of the weekend. Fortunately, I wasn't in pain. I was just... well... ugly.

I tried to paste the crown back into my mouth with some dental adhesive. But, that didn't work so well. The tooth would stay in for about 2 hours and then fall out again. So, eventually, I gave up.

When I went to the dentist on Monday, they pulled my tooth and provided me with a handy-dandy temporary bridge.

At this point, you can hardly tell that I'm a hill-billy. But, we all have our secrets, right?


The Diaper Bag Diva: Interview and Giveaway

*** This Giveaway is now CLOSED ***

Even though we don't have children ourselves, we're surrounded by friends and family who have great little broods. And we're always on the look-out for snazzy gifts to give them.

A couple of weeks ago, we came across a great new Web site called The Diaper Bag Diva -- which carries designer diaper bags and baby gear that definitely won't break the bank. I exchanged a few emails with the "Diaper Bag Diva" herself, Ms. Kaydee Ivers, and I found out that she's a really cool lady -- with a great vision for both her life and business. She has three ADORABLE children. And she creates the best bags (honestly -- I'm tempted to buy one for myself!)

We love it when we can give a little boost to great little independent businesses who seem to be carrying a superior product for a fair price. So, we decided to give you a little more information about Kaydee's business. AND Kaydee has generously offered to host a giveaway. One LUCKY READER will receive an item(s) worth up to $40 from Kaydee's site absolutely free.

How do you enter? You MUST do three things (incomplete entries will NOT be chosen).
  1. Read our interview with Kaydee below to find more about her business.
  2. Visit her Web site, The Diaper Bag Diva. Check out the products and find your favorite bag or accessory (under $40).
  3. Come back to this blog post and leave a comment telling us about the product you chose and why you think it's the best thing ever! If you do not have a blog with an email address listed (or we do not know you personally), please include your email address with your comment/entry so that we can contact you if you are a winner.
Extra Entries:
  1. Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to link back to this post. After you've tweeted, come back here and leave the link to your tweet in a separate comment. You may do this once per day until the end of the contest.
  2. Announce the giveaway on your blog; be sure to include a link back to this post. Then leave a separate comment (with a link to your blog) letting me know that you posted!
  3. Subscribe to this blog's feed. Or you can follow "News From Peef & Lo" through Blogger or subscribe via email (widget is on sidebar). Then leave a separate comment telling me you did so.
This giveaway is open to U.S. addresses only. You do not need to be a blogger to enter, but you must have a valid email address and be age 18 years or older. If you enter anonymously and do not include a valid email address in your comment entries, I will not be able to notify you should you win this random drawing.

We'll accept entries for the giveaway until Friday (7/31) at 10pm CST. The winner will be chosen by random drawing and announced on or before Sunday, August 2nd.

Lo : How long have you been in business?
Kaydee: I started this business around the first part of June, this year.

Lo: What inspired you to start your own business?
Kaydee: I have always wanted to stay at home with my kids; but during this economic climate, I felt that it would be great to contribute to the family finances. So I figured starting my own business presented a great option which allowed me the freedom to do the two things I love at the same time!

Lo: What makes your products special/different from the competition?
Kaydee: It seems to me that diaper bags range from one end of the spectrum to another in everything from price to style. My goal is to offer stylish diaper bags that you won't be afraid to spill a little milk on :).

Lo: What IS a “Diaper Bag Diva”?
Kaydee: Ha ha, this question makes me chuckle. To be honest, I am probably the farthest thing from a "diva" even a diaper bag one. Forgive me for my honesty, but I chose the name because it is catchy, but I think that it is important for moms to maintain a sense of style and not lose themselves in the middle of motherhood. Motherhood is hard. It's truly rewarding, but difficult. So, if you can have one fun piece that makes you feel a little bit more "stylish," then life may get a little softer around the edges. On the other hand, if you are one of those "already hip mammas," these bags will accent your already fabulous style

Lo: What did you do before YOU became the Diaper Bag Diva?
Kaydee: Pretty much the same thing I still do, with a little less time on the computer. I have three beautiful, high energy children (need I say more)? Well, since this is an interview, I guess I will, I do laundry, dishes, sweeping, mopping, diaper changing, etc. . . Prior to that, I graduated Utah State University with a B.A. in Elementary Education, and my husband and I have owned several of our own businesses including a couple pizza restaurants and a home flipping business.

Lo: What is the next step for your business?
Kaydee: I would love to increase my product line, but I want to keep the business end of it personal. I love hearing what women want, the products they like, and what they don't like, after all, am in the same boat most of my customers are in, and I never want to alienate myself from that.

Lo: What are your secrets to balancing work/home life?
Kaydee: I am still working on that! For me, work always comes second. I don't know if that is the best thing to say in an interview about my business, but I have to put my family first. They are who I am doing this for, and if it means that I can't take the time to meet their needs, it isn't worth doing. My balance comes between 1:00-4:00, NAP-TIME!


Speaking of Growing Power: Urban Farms for Urban Schools

Milwaukee Public Schools Division of School Nutrition recently partnered with Growing Power to provide farm-fresh produce for MPS students throughout the school year.

The Milwaukee Recreation Department recently filmed a video describing the program and illustrating students' responses to this innovative concept.

Check it out!

This isn't the first time that Growing Power has joined forces with MPS. In 2008, the program paired up with Bradley Technical High School to build and urban agricultural training space atop a "green" garage in the Riverwest neighborhood in Milwaukee. Plans for the garage included a year-round roof-top garden. Solar panels on a rooftop shed were planned to provide energy for heating water and soil for winter food production in the rooftop hoop-houses.


True Growing Power: Will Allen and the Good-Food Movement

I absolutely LOVE it that Will Allen and Growing Power made it to the New York Times Magazine last week. And it was no "small potatoes" article either.

Now, this isn't the first time that Will Allen has made the headlines. Last October, I wrote about Growing Power as part of my Blog Action Day article. Allen had just received a $500,000 MacArthur Fellow award to support his work. And the New York Times published an article about his accomplishments. But, judging from the content of the July article, people are really starting to take notice.

If you're not familiar with Growing Power, I'd encourage you to do some reading. And check out their Web site. This humble non-profit organization works 24/7 with the mission of providing equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. GP is part of what's been called the "good-food movement." And their vision has helped countless people across the country to establish systems of growing, marketing, and distributing food in sustainable ways.

Their farm produces produce which is grown and distributed locally ALL YEAR LONG (which means I can buy locally grown lettuce and sprouts even on the coldest February days!). If that's not exciting enough, Growing Power also manages programs like the Market Basket Program, which works similarly to a CSA to supply (affordable) sustainable produce year-round to interested families. They even operate a subset of the program at Marquette University -- ensuring that interested college students can benefit from fresh produce, even while living in college apartments and dorms.

Growing Power has to be, hands down, one of my favorite local organizations. Not only because Will Allen and his staff produce such amazing produce (they do!), but also because they do it with such vigor and incredible passion. These are people who REALLY care about what they're doing. And it shows.

Allen predicts that because of high unemployment and the recent food scares, 10 million people will plant gardens for the first time this year. But two million of them will eventually drop out, he said, when the potato bugs arrive or the rain doesn’t cooperate. Still, he was sanguine. “The experience will introduce those folks to what a tomato really tastes like, so next time they’ll buy one at their greenmarket. And when we talk about farm-worker rights, we’ll have more advocates for them.” (excerpted from NYTM article)

Growing Power isn't about real food for rich people. It's about real food for ALL people. And isn't that the point?

Thankfully, we're not the only ones who are excited. Read what Food Renegade has to say about this article. And check out all the great posts at Real Food Wednesday.