My BPA Dilema

Back in 2008 it seemed like everyone had at least started to hear about the dangers of chemicals leeching into our kids' food through their bottles, sippy cups, cereal bowls and more. Europe had done away with the sale of baby products containing BPA and America was pulling items from the shelves as quickly as manufacturers could capitalize on the new trend demanding "BPA-Free" labeling.

Since I had returned to work from the birth of my second child I had become a dairy production line and the bottles to match the pump were kind of prerequisite.

I had seen the reports and checked the site of the manufacturer of my extensive baby bottle collection. The site explained that throughout the European market and the US the company had voluntarily removed products found to be harmful immediately in lieu of waiting for local legislation to catch up to science. So the solution was simple, replace the bottles switch out the pump, move on.


Not entirely. Upon closer inspection of the available product line I saw lots of new shippments on shelves of our local drugstores and markets all from my brand. But I noticed that not a one of the new packages had new labeling or even a post production sticker to mark that these were BPA-free (safe) products. There were new brands that seemed to have popped up overnight that could proudly proclaim that they were in fact BPA-free. At every store I asked the pharmacist and sales associates "Are these the new bottles WITHOUT BPA?" At everystore I was given a vague and totally unsatisfying answer, "Yes these are the new bottles from the company."

Why could nobody look me in the eye and proclaim these were the BPA-Free products that are safe for your children? Needless to say, I didn't buy a single one of these bottles. There was something hallow in the answers I was receiving and I was not pacified by these empty promises.

After much inspection and hounding of the UK company's local importers I turned up some shocking replies to my search for safe bottles.

When the rest of Europe and the US demanded that these products be pulled from shelves for what was perceived as an apparent threat for European and American babies, the Middle East was receiving the rejected shipments for local sale.

Yes, that's rights. When baby bottles were determined to cause toxic leeching into babies milk and formula, all the recalled shipments to Europe and the US were packed up and shipped to other nations throughout the Developing World with slow legislation and lax safety laws.

I don't know if I will ever be in a position to use bottles again for another child. But I can say very certainly that despite my usually brand-loyal consumerism, I will never trust this company again.

Immediately following this bottle incident I went into a house-wide plastic cleaning frenzy. The entire bottle collection- gone. Tupperware and saved food containers- out. Questionable toys- no more.

We strive to keep a plastic free house and it feels pretty darn good.

This post over at Blogher reminded me how angry I still am at this company in particular.

And this is a pretty good summery of BPA, what it is and why you should think twice about the convenience of plastics from a water appreciation site out of South Africa. The graphic "The BPA in You" is from their website which works for the promotion and appreciation of safe drinking water.

Where did I put that pasta Machine?

After three years of sitting dormant, buried under the kitchen mayhem and clutter of three home moves, I finally dragged that huge metal paperweight out and made use of it. I was a bit disappointed that the results were so simple, so quick and effortless. I had avoided the much wanted pasta machine for so long because I had built up an image of how terribly difficult and messy pasta making would be. Clearly it was no more trouble than of my other home projects.

It's not really a magic recipe but more like guidelines for getting your dough to work:

I used a 1:1 ratio of flour to egg for the first batch, kneading more flour into the dough as required by the extreme humidity of our area.

If it sticks, you need more flour. If it won't cut, you need more flour.

Let your pasta dry thoroughly and when ready to cook, toss it in a pan of boiling, salted water (I usually add a t ouch of olive oil to avoid the stickiness). When your pasta floats and is tender, it's ready.

No more mystery to the surprisingly heavy box that continues to move with us.

Next up Gnocchi!

The Barbie Bribe

Yes, I said bribe.

That is, the bribe I offered my daughter to relinquish all the dozens of Barbies and their Tupperware boxes full of accessories.

To be clear, these were my dolls as a child. I was a barbie fanatic. What can I say, she was magical. Those blond minions had been stored in my mothers home for years only to be discovered by my three year old on our last visit to the states.

Perhaps it is a bit hypocritical of me to say no to this seemingly harmless plastic plaything but I have been pretty rigid about plastic playthings in my home since day one. As a mother I can finally articulate what bothers me most.

Why does a small girl need a toy of a fully mature, albeit grossly disproportionate, developed woman?

I searched the crochet sites to find something that looked a little more age appropriate and found this great tutorial.

To be fair, the original doesn't look as crazy but it was my first full scale foray into amirugumi.

It took a while and the new "Dassi doll" has endless demands like new dresses, shoes and castles. The satisfaction of a pretend playmate who is age appropriate and created with love is worth all the extras Barbie will never have.

The Birthday Dilema

11:59 by SarainAkko 0 comments
Where I grew up, the birthday ritual for a child was pretty straightforward. Generally there would be a birthday party with a handful of kids from your neighborhood Games, cake and gifts. Perhaps you throw in a family dinner later that week.

There was even a time when we were kids when you would get to bring special treats to your classmates. Something home-baked, loaded with sugar, decorated with care and that took away just enough time from class work to make all 24 classroom birthdays really special. I have heard that most American schools have done away with this ritual for all the same reasons we enjoyed them so much.

*Let me interrupt this little story with an important detail, although my family has lived in this city for a few years, for all intents and purposes, I am pretty foreign to my surroundings.

When my daughter started preschool last September, I wasn't concerned with what I thought was the standard operating procedure. Mom makes lovely hand written invites to all the girls in the preschool class, prepares cake and party games and waits for the guests to arrive.

Much to my surprise, 2 girls attended my daughters first kid birthday party. They had a lovely time and ate a ton of cake, but I was completely caught off guard.

So what do you do for an Israeli kids birthday party?

My daughters birthday was the first of the school year and I was later told by the surprised parents of other children that the correct thing to do is bring goody bags to the classroom, the kids sing and eat a store bought cake from a package (although plenty of sugar crosses into this preschool much to my chagrin, no food from a foreign and possibly not kosher kitchen can).

I chalk this up to a lesson learned and have been preparing goody bags for months, both in my head and in my craft room. This birthday, I'll be ready.

Batik Onesies

11:39 by SarainAkko 0 comments

The Elmers glue batik tutorial is one of those brilliant ideas that made its rounds on all the superb mom-blogs recently. I finally had to give it a try for myself. I read through countless descriptions of how to get this project done right but it's pretty straightforward once you jump in. Simple enough for even your youngest crafters to help out.

The essentials are some white craft glue, cotton item to be dyed, and watered down acrylic paint.


Paint out your design on your onesie or t-shirt using your glue and allow to dry completely. I recommend using a cut sheet of cardboard between the layers of the onesie to stop the glue from sticking the front to the back.

Once your glue has dried, you can start using your watered down acrylic paint to create any look you'd like. Remember that the colors will dry several shades lighter than they appear when wet.
When you've finished your painting, allow the paint to dry completely.

Rinse out your item in a basin of warm water. Once the item has been soaked, the blue should start pulling up, if not use a scrub brush to get the last bits of goo off.

Tips: I highly recommend washing the item before giving away as a gift or allowing children to wear their super new t-shirt. We don't use fabric softeners in our household but it might help soften the fabrics a bit.

Also, I found that with certain designs, the glue had to be pretty thickly applied to be absorbed by the shirt, if the glue is just sitting on top of the fabric it won't create that resist to the coloring and while you might have a super looking tie-dye item, it won't be batik.

What am I doing back here

11:28 by SarainAkko 0 comments
I started this blog some months back as a facet of my job but mostly as a description of life around my neat little city. As luck would have it, I have found myself with more time to focus on my neat little family and what goes on around here in my home more specifically.

I hope to provide some tutorials of projects I've been working on and share some of my projects with anyone out there who's interested.