Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lead-free bathtub toys

If your kids are like mine, they love to bring ANY TOY you'll allow into the tub or shower. With all of the recent news on lead (and other potentially harmful chemicals), I stopped letting them bring "plastic" toys in the tub. Then I happened upon some really cute, SAFE toys designed just for bath use!

They come in three different sets - I bought all three (hippo, frog, duck, ladybug, octopus, whale, turtle, bee & butterfly)! :) My little ones absolutely adore these! Even my FIVE year old! And they're so easy to clean - every time you wash your towels, you wash these too because they're made out of terry cloth.

We also own this company's Tooth Fairy pillows that my girls love. It's a super soft, squishy pillow (about the size of an adult's hand) with a small pocket sewn onto the top for the child to store their tooth. :)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Is lead really in everything?

My good friend over at ChewyMamas Unite just recently blogged about lead in artificial Christmas trees. To be completely honest, I hadn't even give it much thought at all until she mentioned it. *sigh* Apparently many artificial Christmas trees have lead in the PVC used to create the foilage as well as lead in the wires for the lights. Here's why:

  • Lead is a flame retardant

  • Lead makes the plastic around the wires (lights, power cords, extension cords) flexible

  • Lead helps the plastic retain its color better

Unfortunately lead is toxic and can cause severe mental retardation. With all of the recent news on lead in kids toys, it's really brought to light the toxicity issue in general. People are paying a lot more attention to where their toys come from. Sadly everyone is mostly focused on just lead, because there are a lot more chemicals to be nervous about. But at least it's a start!

We have an artificial Christmas tree. I thought it was the better choice several years ago - not cutting down a real tree. We tried a living potted tree about 7 years ago and that was a pain. We potted it in our back yard, but what a mess... It was SO heavy and there was mud everywhere. Cut trees are beautiful, but why aren't there any bugs on them? Why are they so perfect? Because they're heavily sprayed with pesticides and fungacides. So what's the best solution? I don't really know.

There is one "lead-free" artificial tree making company that resides here in the US called They absolutely guarantee their tree won't contain lead. Unfortunately, there isn't a solution for the lights. I emailed the company and their lights to contain lead. They do not sell pre-lit trees because people want to avoid the lead lights, but they package them separately so people can choose to use them or not.

Another company called Living Christmas Tree has come up with a fantastic idea - renting living, potted Christmas trees. This is definitely an option I'd choose and it's not any more expensive than buying a cut tree each year. Unfortunately I don't know of a company doing this closer to my home. This company is in Oregon and does offer shipping to other states, but it is significantly more expensive.

Now the real quest? Find lead-free Christmas lights. If anyone has any leads on this, please share. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Scrappy Stockings

We have always had a mix of Christmas stockings. A couple of standard red and white fuzzy ones, some knit ones picked up at a drugstore that looked semi-handmade. I had one handmade several years ago, but unfortunately it didn't turn out the way I'd hoped.

I've become addicted to this wonderful website called where everything is handmade. I've met some of the nicest people from this website and the products have been fantastic. My latest purchase was a set of new Christmas stockings for the whole family. I chose this "envivronmentally friendly" seller because she uses scraps to make her products and the end result is an extremely unique item! Huge green thumbs up from me!

Spongetta (The Land of the Misfit Fabric) gets her materials from lots of different sources, such as a local seamstress who does alterations for bridal salons, discontinued upholstery samples from a furniture store, thrift stores, yard sales and rescues from the back of fabric stores. All of these materials would have been thrown out otherwise. I'm drooling over the patchwork pillows she has listed right now! :)

I received my stockings in the mail today and I am so pleased! I chose three out of her store and then had a fourth custom made for my oldest daughter who loves purple. They're a bit oversized, which is awesome for stuffing them full of goodies each year, fully lined and well-made so they should last for years to come.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Greening your house - CFL bulbs

It feels so good to make this small change in our house. We just replaced every recessed light in our entire house with CFL's (compact fluorescent lamps) today. Home Depot has a whole section dedicated to CFL's and Puget Sound Energy has $3 coupons PER BULB!!!

So if you buy a two-pack, use TWO coupons, saving $6. Woo hoo! Since we bought mostly small and large flood lights (for the recessed cans) which are sold in 2-packs, this was a fantastic savings! We also bought CFL's for our master bathroom's vanity strip of lights... Fluorescent lighting and makeup typically don't mesh well so we'll see how that goes... :)

The 4-pack for standard light bulbs (like lamps & things) had a separate 4-pack coupon that was different from the others.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Sea Salt - Iodine

A while back, I wrote a post on Sea Salt. Make sure to read that one first since this post won't go into the details of why it's so good for you.

While on vacation in the midwest, we almost bought some sea salt for hubby's grandmother... But we decided against it when we realized that was probably her main source of iodine since she very rarely eats fish or seaweed and who knows if she takes a good quality daily multi. At a MINIMUM, people should get 50 mcg of iodine per day. Recommended is 120-150mcg for proper thyroid function (improper thyroid function causes an enlarged thyroid - goitre). Worldwide it’s the #1 cause of mental retardation in children.

We don't worry about that in our household for several reasons. First, we take an extremely healthy liquid multi that contains 160mcg (106%) of iodine, cultivated from 9 different types of seaweed. We also eat fish at least once a week, either cooked or in the form of sushi with seaweed.

With everyone’s current “fear of salt”… many people are probably not getting enough iodine nowadays. I’m guessing most of America doesn’t eat as much fish or seaweed as we do. I was reading online last week... and it’s really sad… If a person is getting some iodine in their diet, but not ENOUGH, they won’t get goitre… they’ll just slowly develop hypothyroidism, causing dry skin, hair loss, fatigue and slow reflexes.

Pay attention to where your iodine comes from in your multivitamin and make sure it's not overprocessed. The less it's processed, the more "bio-available" it will be for your body to absorb. Although the overprocessed kind will still meet the recommendation for proper thyroid function. This is why I like the Liquid Health brand liquid multivitamins because the nutrients are more bio-available and it doesn't contain any sugar, starch, salt, wheat, gluten, casein, yeast, corn, milk or soy derivatives. Just vitamins, minerals and EFA's. :)

So when you make the switch to PURE sea salt (ingredients list should show ONE ingredient), be sure you're getting enough iodine from other sources. :) Those other sources are a much healthier way to get your iodine anyway!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More competition for Whole "Paycheck" Foods, Publix Supermarkets

I knew this would begin to happen. Do you remember Boston Market and how everyone thought they were the best thing ever for hot family style foods? Then the grocery stores realized they could easily remodel and provide areas in their stores for the same purpose, which killed BM's market share. The shares tanked and they ended up closing most of their stores after over expansion.

I love Whole Foods, Wild Oats, PCC, etc, but I'm sure you have noticed can very expensive to buy Organic from Whole Foods. In addition, Whole Foods and Wild Oats were two of the only national chains and for a while, were able to command higher prices. While there expansion has not been as aggressive as Boston Market, I think Whole Foods may have taken their situation for granted. I've told Ferbit that it's only a matter of time before the supermarkets begin to expand their organic sections. Plus, smaller stores like Trader Joes will begin to carry more organic foods to enter this hot market. I'm sure jitters about new competition is why Whole Foods stock isn't performing that well.

This article from CNN/Money is a further example of what I have been talking about. Publix, a large chain in the south is opening a smaller sized chain store called GreenWise. Even though it is a separate store, it can still leverage the strong buying power, shipping, and warehousing of Publix.

I would really like to see Whole Foods succeed and believe they made a great decision merging with Wild Oats. It was really funny to see people arguing during the merger that these two companies would form a "monopoly" in the organic foods market. Whatever!!

As Whole Foods grows, one thing that concerns me is the amount of money they put into their new stores in order to be green. It's great to be green to help the environment and save energy costs, but at some point it can get a bit obnoxious and waste unnecessary expenses. They also have a practice of paying more for stock items, because they want to make sure the supplier makes more money. It's really dangerous to set alternative prices (price floors) against the free market, even in the organic/local market.

Here are a few quotes from the article that says it all…

"Prices really draw in consumers. Most consumers can't go out and spend their whole paycheck on natural products," she said.

In recent years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), Safeway Inc. (SWY), Albertson's and other big supermarket chains have also expanded their organic offerings and other smaller supermarket chains including Kroger Co. (KR), Lund Food Holdings Inc. and Hannaford have become certified organic retailers.

"I can't wait," said Kim Jones, 40, of Jupiter, who only buys organic and often shops at both Publix and Whole Foods. "It will be nice to have one-stop shopping at GreenWise and hopefully their prices will be more competitive than Whole Foods."

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Many people who know I'm into nutrition automatically assume everything I buy is organic. Which is not the case. Buying local is way more important than buying organic. Milk is a perfect example.

We buy raw milk that the girls and I drink and then hubby buys pasteurized milk for himself. It's not that he doesn't love raw milk, but it's so extremely expensive, we try to keep a mix. We also buy half-n-half for our coffee. But we don't buy organic - raw or pasteurized.

Sadly, Horizon Organic (owned by Dean Foods) is the largest producer of organic milk. Notice their products are ULTRA-pasteurized? It's because their "organic" cows are being treated about as well as their non-organic cousins. They get a smidge more room and are fed organic grains, but they're still smashed into miles of open warehouses, stepping in their own rivers of poo, breathing in heavy amounts of ammonia (sad attempts to keep the place clean and cover the feces stench). Many of the animals are sick (from being fed grain when they need grass and then living in their own pathogen/parasite infested poop) and they have vets standing by to monitor their status. Factory Farms regularly give antibiotics (mixed into their food) because of their horrible living conditions to keep them alive. If you treat organic animals the same way, but cannot give them antibiotics, that breeds massive infection. So they must "ultra-pasteurize" the milk because it's so full of pathogens. The photos you see online of happy cows at pasture are BEFORE they're sold to Horizon for milk production. Horizon loves to highlight this to downplay what happens to the animals as soon as they step onto one of Horizon's facilities.

In this case, local is more important than organic. Sunshine Dairy is our favorite (second to raw). They bring in milk from individual farmers in the area - the individual farmers insure loving care and quality and most focus on sustainable farming practices. Antibiotics are only used to save the life on an animal. Once better, the animal is repeatedly tested for antibiotic residue before re-introducing it back into the herd for milk production. The milk is not ultra-pasteurized and from what I've read on their website, exceeds state guidelines. THIS is more important to me than any expensive USDA Organic label.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Being a Parent: Update

This is an update to my earlier post on Being a Parent. And I've really got a good update too! :)

My little sweetie has been working SO HARD for the past two weeks on improving her behavior. The magnets have been a huge success and every morning she picks out a new one. The first week, she had four fantastic days, but permanently lost her magnet the other three. This past week, she's kept all seven (lost it, but re-earned it a few times)! As extra incentive, my mom promised her a REAL PEDICURE if she made it the whole week. :)

So here's the photo my mom snapped of her earlier today getting her pedicure (sitting in a spa massage chair) at a little nail salon nearby. She used her cell phone so the quality isn't so great, but it's really cute. My mom said she intently watched EVERYTHING the woman did - filing, lotion, massage, painting, etc. She picked out purple polish and then they painted two little white flowers with rhinestones on her big toes.

The German immersion program starts back up Tuesday so hopefully her behavior continues to improve. I emailed with the owner (really small school) and she said she will totally support my magnet reward program and keep me updated each time when I pick her up.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A moment to remember Jennifer Dunn

So sad to hear Jennifer Dunn passed away yesterday from a sudden blood clot. Feel free to read the Fox News article for more details.

My prayers are with her family.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Mosquito Control - Gotta love Mother Nature

Thought I'd give everyone an interesting update...

The mosquito craziness is gone! It was the weirdest thing ever, but also quite fascinating. Because of all the little babies flying everywhere, it attracted more dragonflies. We always get a lot of dragonflies, but suddenly there were tons. There were also a lot more of those hover-flies (the ones that look like bees). Both predators absolutely DEVOURED my out-of-hand mosquito population!

So I actually have FEWER mosquitos now than I've had in previous years. WEIRD!


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Book Recommendations on

I've added a new section to my sidebar that's really fun. Amazon has an Associates program that I signed up for so I can personally recommend books (and products) and get credit when people click and purchase them from here. Yay!

So listed in my sidebar are nutritional, political and homeschool books that I highly recommend. The homeschool books will change to what we're currently working on. The politcal and nutritional books will just continue to build. :)


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Natural Deoderants SUCK!

Ok, someone please explain HOW natural deoderants are supposed to work. I've tried several of them with very little success. I keep reverting back to my old, toxic standby. :-(

I've tried the Crystal rock (the one you have to wet), the Crystal roll-on and Avalon Organics lavender deodorant. Those are the only three I've tried. I'd like to try Weleda's version next, but I'm hesitatant to throw my money away on another product that doesn't work.

Does it work similar to my post on sunburns??? That maybe better nutrition causes less body odor? Because I can be very careful about what I eat when I know I'm going to be in the sun all day (so as not to get sunburned), but deodorant is a whole different issue... If this is the case and nutrition does impact odor, then the only way to NOT STINK is to eat perfect 24/7??? Just a theory...

If I'm missing another huge part of the natural deodorant effectiveness, please share. For those of you who DO use natural deodorants, what brand do you use and how effective is it? Do I need to reapply it more often? This is one topic that I'd like to understand better because I hate that I'm continuing to buy this toxic brand.

Thanks for your thoughts!!! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bartuna Salad

Bartuna = Beans + Artichokes + Tuna *wink*

  • 2 cans tuna
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can artichoke hearts in water
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 2-3 T mayonaise

Combine all ingredients and serve with bread as a sandwich or in a bowl as is. I buy Whole Foods tongel tuna because it's extremely low in mercury (0.02 I believe). I also buy mayo from the refrigerated section because it's made with raw eggs. Both of my little ones fight for the first spoonful of this salad. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Being a Parent

I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is the fear of failure. My mom said the most brilliant thing to me the other day: "No one holds their tiny newborn in their arms and says, 'I can't wait to screw up your life.'" :) Most parents want to raise their children to be loving, caring, confident and happy adults. It's the raising part that's tough! :)

As a homeschooling mom, I believe children "should" be socialized by their parents. Most specifically, ME because I'm with them the majority of the time. The rest of their socialization comes from their dad, close family, close friends, daily outings to the store with me, swimming lessons and their German school (which they adore). I have more people say to me, "Well that's great they're in German school so they can get socialization skills." And I think that's absolutely backwards. I just politely agree and change the subject. :) I enrolled them for the language experience. I didn't do it to socialize them. I mean seriously, look at much of our youth today and ask yourself if that's really how you want your child socialized. Children can very easily be socialized to get along with people of ALL AGES. Does this mean I think all schooled kids are unsocialized? Nope... *wink* I just think parents can do it better.

For lack of a better way to put it, I'm hoping to raise two little mini-me's. :) They'll develop their own personalities and their own goals, but I want them to have my gigantic teethy smile. I want them to have my mannerisms and my humble (although opinionated) nature. I want them to be green republicans! :) I want them to have their dad's love for swimming, his 6th sense for things and his money management skills. I want them to grow up very frugal in a world that constantly wants MORE, no matter how much money they have. I want them to grow up knowing all about nutrition and living natural, healthy, Christian lives. Even non-homeschooled children can be like this if they spend ENOUGH time with their parents... to override the socialization they receive in school. Sadly for many, it's hard to find time like that after athletics, lessons, tv, friend's houses, etc. I want the girls with ME as much as possible.

But parenting is hard and it's even harder when others doubt your parenting skills. A few months back, the German school told me my oldest (she's four - turning five soon) was hitting, pushing and shoving and taking things from others (bullying) at school. I was mortified to learn it had been happening for months and this was the first time they'd mentioned it. We've been working on it like crazy since (printed rules was huge) and I really thought things were getting a lot better. She still bullies her younger sister (three years old) some, but it's gotten so much better... So I'd thought. I just found out that she's been bullying another child for a while... and get this... It's the first I'm hearing of it. JUST PERFECT I can't do anything about it if I don't know it's happening. Because it certainly doesn't happen in front of me! If it did, it would be dealt with. German school starts back up in a few weeks and I thought this problem was getting better!? *sigh* To top that off, I'm also getting my first big dose of disrespectful back-talk from BOTH GIRLS. Wow, has that thrown me for a loop. EEEK!

Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do.

Most people who REALLY know me, know I'm pretty strict. I come down quite hard on the girls (in a loving and respectful way) and I try to be rigidly consistent. But I try to stay positive as much as possible. Love the book The Power of a Positive Mom.

Sadly, I guess I "appear" wimpy since I remain calm. I absolutely refuse to discipline, chastise or yell at the girls in public. I just won't humiliate them like that. I wouldn't do that to any other person (adult or child) on the planet so I can't imagine why children don't deserve the same dignified respect. I semi-calmly remove them from the area and deal with it PRIVATELY. Even at family's houses, we go into another room. In stores or restaurants, we go to the car if it's necessary. ANYWHERE - I remove them from the situation first. I don't spank so most of the time they get time-outs and/or lose privileges for major offenses. If it's not a major offense, I just discuss it with them. This doesn't mean I don't get mad or upset - I do... But all of this is handled privately. I'm not going to stand there beating my chest like an ape, humiliating my child for everyone else's visual gratification. But I guess this comes across as weak parenting. *sigh* In the words of a good friend (she's in Heaven now)...

W H A T E V E R ! :)

I know I'm doing a good job so that's all that matters. :)

Today we've starting a new reward system to help combat the bullying. We bought a bunch of really cute magnets and are using them on our dry-erase calendar for good days. I will always give her the benefit of the doubt so she gets a magnet on the current day, first thing in the morning - start the day off positive. But throughout the day, she can lose and re-earn it with her actions. If she earns her magnets for the whole week (Sunday through Saturday), she gets $1. She's about to begin 1st grade math (homeschool) so she does understand money a bit and is THRILLED about it. I'm still working out how to divvy out the money because having ONE bad day would throw the whole thing off... Maybe the week will be worth $1 but each day without a magnet deducts from that... ??? I'll figure it out. :) I'm just glad she is THRILLED over the idea.

Now don't anyone read too much into my mention of spanking. I was spanked as a child and I'm FINE. :) I'm not scarred for life and actually think I turned out quite well, as did my siblings. I don't have any philosophical problems with spanking either. If you choose to do so, then I'm glad it works for you! I just personally can't do it. I've definitely thought about it, but can't bring myself to actually hit either of the girls. So consistent time-outs, privilege-loss and "talking" works for me. :) Everyone parents in their own way and I fully respect the way OTHERS choose to do that. For those of us who don't say, " I can't wait to screw up your life."... our kids will turn out wonderful! No matter how we choose to discipline and parent our babies! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Immune System lesson for a 4-year-old

My 4-year-old (almost 5, actually) learned a good lesson today about how nutrition impacts her immune system - dramatically. LOL As I'm typing this, she's standing here reading what I'm typing saying (with a smirky smile), "Don't blog about me, Mommy!" :) But her experience makes such a fantastic example that I can't help myself.

Over the weekend, she caught some sort of little sniffle. Nothing major, just a slight cough/stuffy nose. We've been letting it run its course, knowing full well her immune system would take care of it. Until hubby decides to bring home leftovers (from a work thing) white-flour cheese ravoli and meatballs covered in sauce (that most likely contained sugar or HFCS). I warned her ahead of time that eating junk would probably make her cold worse. :) But hey, she's FOUR. :)

So she ate it, all the while I'm glaring at hubby for even bringing it home in the first place. Then a few hours later, he gave her some MORE because she was hungry again. I would have protested more, but with this back/neck pain, I am absolutely worn out and it wasn't worth the fight.

She woke up this morning coughing so hard! Her nose is stuffier than ever and she coughed herself silly for over an hour. *sigh* I KNEW that was going to happen! But ya know, I'm not stressing over it. A crummy full-blown cold won't kill her and it was a good lesson for her to experience first-hand. I've pumped her full of good stuff this morning so hopefully she'll recover quickly.

Just two teaspoons of sugar will drop your immune system for HOURS. I've heard various numbers, but the latest said five hours. Sugar or any overprocessed junk (bleached white flour or worse, enriched bleached white flour, bleached white rice, pasteurized, filtered honey or even 100% no-sugar-added fruit juice) lowers your white blood cell activity within TEN MINUTES. And as most of you know, your white blood cells pulverize anything bad that enters your body - which is good for a healthy body so living in an antibacterial, germ-free world doesn't give them any practice. They're your inner military and if you don't keep them strong, they can't keep you healthy. Proper sleep is also extremely important in keeping your immune system strong.

Chewy-Mama emailed me some great articles if you'd like to read more on sugar's impact on the immune system.

And then one of my favorite articles is found on, written by Nancy Appleton, PHD, author of Lick the Sugar Habit. This link includes references too.

TWO TEASPOONS is all it takes.

      Toxic Necessities?

      As much as I try to buy non-toxic products, it makes me cringe to purposefully buy a product that is full of chemicals. I mean, I know I bought toxic products for years, but I've been making a conscious choice in the past two years to look for natural alternatives.

      Last week, I fell down our deck stairs and really banged myself up. Hardwood is really slick when wet and I skidded down six steps on my tailbone and forearms. Ouch... It was a really bad fall, which totally threw my neck and back out. I had my very first experience with a chiropractor, which has helped tremendously but I'm still in a lot of pain. I absolutely cannot sleep at night and wake up in sheer pain every hour or so. Ugh... Luckily my wonderful husband has been working from home and helping me take it easy. The lack of sleep is so exhausting that I went out and bought a Tempur Pedic pillow.

      OMG, it's sooooooooooo smelly from the manufacturing process! It even has a sticker on it that reads, "Tempur material may have a slight odor remaining from our unique manufacturing process. It is completely harmless and will dissipate over a short time with regular use." Gross! So what is this wonderful product made from? 100% Polyurethane Foam. And I knew it when I bought it, but it IS amazingly comfortable for side sleepers. I absolutely cannot fall asleep on my back. :-( So I'm using it at night and then bringing it outside to air out all day on our deck. I'm tellin' ya, the smell almost knocked me over when I went in for a good sniff. I'm still not even sure if I'm going to keep it...


      Friday, August 17, 2007

      Non-toxic Products

      This is a list of non-toxic products and items recommended in Mercola's latest book. I'm posting this list more for myself so it's available online. I keep going to the store and then I forget what brand to look for! Especially the air quality house plants. :)

      As much as I like Method products, they're not totally non-toxic. They're environmentally friendly, but they do contain sulfates and other ingredients I'd rather not put on or in my body. I think they definitely have a great niche though - many people who buy toxic products would be wise to switch to Method. It's a good alternative to mainstream. But in my quest to become more green, I'm finding myself looking for something crunchier (Chewy-Mama defines the crunchy/chewy lifestyle quite well).

      So enjoy my list! Mecola's latest book is AWESOME! Thoughts on any of these products would be greatly appreciated! :)


      • Ecover
      • Earthrite
      • Bon Ami
      • Homemade - 2 cups borax powder, 2 T distilled white vinegar or lemon juice, 3 drops eucalyptus or lavender oil, 2 cups hot water. Optionally add 1/4 cup Dr. Bronner's liquid soap and place all ingredients in a spray bottle

      Air Quality Plants:

      Laundry Detergent:

      Shampoos & Conditioners:

      • Aubrey Organics
      • Weleda
      • Logona
      • Add shine to hair by adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil to conditioner (Ferbit: just bought some peppermint oil the other day to try this!)
      • 1/2 cup raw apple cider to remove build-up


      • LeCrystal roll-on (Ferbit: trying this product now - mixed feelings on it)
      • Nature DeFrance French clay
      • Weleda sage deoderant
      • Homemade - two parts pure water to one part apple cider vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil and or lavender oil in a spray bottle

      Liquid and Bar Soap:

      Toothpaste & Mouthwash:

      • Peelu toothpaste
      • Ecodent toothpowder
      • Weleda pink toothpaste
      • Xylifresh toothpaste
      • Homemade toothpaste - 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and a dash celtic salt
      • Logona herbal mouthwash concentrate
      • Weleda mouthwash
      • Xylifresh mouthwash
      • Homemade mouthwash - 2 drops tea tree oil or peppermint essential oil with 1/2 cup pure water. Rinse 60 seconds.


      • Dr. Hauschka
      • Ecco Bella
      • Aubrey Organics
      • Gabriel
      • Larenim mineral make-up

      • Hemp Organics


      • Henna (made with henna, chamomile, walnut and black walnut)
      • Ecocolors
      • Naturetint (not best choice, but better than mainstream)


      • MyChelle (Ferbit: trying their Fruit Enzyme cleanser - love it so far, smells amazing)
      • Arcona
      • Dr. Alkaitis
      • Trilogy
      • Aubrey Organics
      • Homemade
        • strongly brewed green tea and raw milk. Apply to skin to add luster and tone to skin.
        • 1 tsp fresh ginger juice, t 2bsp watercress juice, 1/2 tsp lime or lemon and apply with cotton to promote skin circulation, maintain clear skin, and speed up the healing process.
        • For dry skin, make a cleanser with raw cream combined with freshly squeezed orange juice and work into skin for 60 seconds. rinse with tepid water.

      Saturday, August 11, 2007

      Organic Hemp Shoes - Too Cute

      Ok, how adorable are these??? And the price is awesome!

      Tuesday, August 7, 2007

      Do you know what's in your pet's food?

      We have just recently switched our two cats to Wellness brand soft cat food. I considered doing this last year, but was too overwhelmed by all of the dietary changes I was already making in our own diets. BABY STEPS! :)

      But I finally got around to researching pet food and I'm glad I did. Did you know it's not uncommon for the protein in pet food to come from euthanized pets (HELLO? pentobarbital withstands very high heat...)??? Did you know roadkill is ground into pet food? Yes, wild animals eat roadkill (including wild cats and dogs), but that is different compared to what manufacturers DO to the roadkill before it's ground into pet food. Did you know pets weren't meant to eat grain? Did you know animal diabetes is on the rise right along with human diabetes? For the SAME REASONS too! Here's a great article on what goes into pet food.

      From what I've researched (haven't done gobs of research, just some), cats don't typically need any carbs at all in their diet. They're primarily protein eaters. While dogs on the other hand do need carbs along with their protein. The other big eye opener was VARIETY. I felt so stupid standing there in the pet store last week picking out all samon flavored cans, when the store owner says to me, "Ya know, it's a good idea to mix and match the cans so your cats can get nutrients and vitamins from many different sources."


      It seems so obvious, but I never really thought about that! Humans try to eat a variety of food for that reason, why wouldn't animals? So now I buy a mix of different protein sources. My cats haven't been THRILLED over the variety, but they eat it regardless. LOL They don't care for the chicken... so they stare at it for a while first. LOL If they didn't eat it at ALL, I'd stop buying that flavor, but they do eventually give in and eat it.

      Wellness (owned by Old Mother Hubbard) and Nature's Variety were the two brands Dr. Mercola highly recommended on his website because they are whole complete nutrition, mostly grain free and the protein sources are exceptional and perfectly acceptable for human consumption. Not suggesting you should eat it, but you COULD. :) I decided to go with the Wellness soft food and then I give them some Nature's Variety salmon crunchies later in the day. I just bought the crunchies yesterday so I haven't had a chance to see how much they like it yet.

      Both of my kitties (about 10 years old) are in good health, but the yellow one is quite overweight. I'm hoping this diet change will help her get back down to a healthy size. I've worried over the years that when "the time comes" she will be the first to go... But maybe if I can get her back down to a healthy weight, both of my cats will live for another 10 years. :)

      Monday, August 6, 2007

      Green Carpet Cleaning

      So excited! We've hired a local "green" carpet cleaning company called Alpine Specialty Cleaning.

      They should be here in about an hour and I'll be sure to report how they did on our horrible, builder-grade, white carpets. *sigh* Previous owners put in new carpet to sell the home... grrr... It's that situation where you ask yourself, "Why replace brand new carpet, even though it's crappy carpet?"

      This company uses BioKleen products as well as another green, botanical product to clean the floors. :)

      Sunday, August 5, 2007

      Where Do You Blog

      United States of Motherhood recently posted about where she blogs. Her post had more to do with flowers, but I liked seeing where she does most (notice I said MOST, not all, LOL) of her blogging. Incidentally, this particular blog was written in the um... on the pot... but MOST of her blogs are written at her kitchen table overlooking her garden. So I thought it would be fun to show where most of my brilliant, neurotic blogs happen as well. :)

      I usually sit at our kitchen table, looking out at my deck and part of my yard. :) I have a perfect view of the girls playing in the back yard (they usually stay on this side because it's shady), my hosta garden, bamboo, two of my hummingbird feeders and most of my annual impatiens, freesia and hanging baskets. It's peaceful. :)

      Thursday, July 26, 2007

      Help! Mosquitoes are taking over!

      We just had twenty cubic yards of bark dust and garden soil delivered the other day. Along with the bark dust came hundreds and hundreds of baby mosquitoes. OMG the horror... I already despise our existing mosquito population... but now hundreds upon hundreds of new residents????? I have at last 10-15 bits on me right now. My natural repellent is helpful, but was no match for THAT MANY at once. *sigh* They're so small that they can fit through our screens so I couldn't even cool off the house last night (we don't have A/C). I had to wake up at 5:30 this morning to cool it off while the little winged vampires were sleeping.

      I did some research last night on natural repellent/exterminator products and found a really interesting one. It's called Mosquito Barrier and it's made with some super-duper strong garlic juice that disolves their exoskeleton and kills the larvae. Anyone have any experience with this product??? I read their testimonials and none were from Washington state. Several from Texas and Arkansas though and they seemed very pleased.

      After some of that research, I also read that cinnamon oil works quite well so I went running to my spice cabinet and grabbed my big Costco container of cinnamon. I know it's not cinnamon OIL, but I was freaking out over the sheer number of mosquitoes outside. So I went running outside at 9pm (being bitten in the process) shaking cinnamon all over the beautiful, newly spread bark. Smelled wonderful! LOL And to my total amazement, it seems to have worked a little - I was able to go outside for an hour this morning and didn't get bitten once without any repellent on! So it must have killed some of them, although I could see more swarming where I hadn't put cinnamon.

      I'm not desperate enough to use DEET though... I'd rather get bitten and risk getting West Nile Virus than spray neurotoxins anywhere near my body, yard or children.

      Suggestions please!!! :)

      Friday, July 13, 2007

      "Made From Sugar, So It Tastes Like Sugar"

      While trying to create a new insecticide in London, sucralose was discovered. It was accidently created while mixing sulfuryl chloride into a sugar solution. Once they realized the mixture was sweet, they experimented with hundreds of other chlorinated sugars before finding the perfect one. The chemical name for sucralose is "1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-beta-D-fructofuranosyl-4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha-D-galactopyranoside."

      According to Mercola's research, this is how Splenda claims sucralose is "Made From Sugar, So It Tastes Like Sugar."

      Sucrose is tritylated with trityl chloride in the presence of dimethylformamide and 4-methylmorpholine, and the tritylated sucrose is then acetylated with acetic anhydride.

      The resulting sucrose molecule, TRISPA (6,1',6'-tri-O-tritylpenta-O acetylsucrose) is chlorinated with hydrogen chlorine in the presence of toluene (toluene is produced in the process of making gasoline from crude oil).

      The resulting 4-PAS (sucrose 2,3,4,3',4'-pentaacetate) is heated in the presence of methyl isobutyl ketone and acetic acid.

      The resulting 6-PAS (sucrose 2,3,6,3',4'-pentaacetate) is chlorinated with thionyl chloride in the presence of toluene and benzyltriethlyammonium chloride.

      The resulting TOSPA (sucralose pentaacetate) is treated with methanol (aka wood alcohol, paint remover) in the presence of sodium methoxide to produce sucralose.

      Mmmmm.... sounds yummy, huh?

      Monday, July 2, 2007

      Applegate Farms Organic GRASS-FED beef hot dogs!

      Applegate Farms is now selling Organic, GRASS-FED beef hot dogs! So excited! I just bought a pack yesterday and I'm about to make them for the girls.

      Applegate Farms Grass-Fed Beef hot dogs

      There has been a little confusion over the nitrates/nitrites issue since Consumer Reports came out saying even the brand above contains them. This freaked me out at first because Applegate Farms is a wonderful, honest company. They respond to emails and honestly care a lot about their animals and the products they produce. It really stunned me to hear about the nitrite report. Luckily Chewy-Mam put my mind at ease by finding a thoughtfully written letter by the CEO of Applegate Farms regarding this topic.

      Tuesday, June 26, 2007

      Aspartame cancer risk getting new attention

      I've heard about this cancer link and Aspartame before, but didn't know a lot about the details or how much Aspartame was fed to rats to get those results. I recently read an article/study about the subject and surprisingly, it doesn't take much to put yourself at risk.

      The new study found statistically significant increases in lymphomas and leukemias in rats that were fed as little as 20 milligrams of the sweetener per kilogram of body weight—an amount that’s in the ballpark of what some people consume.

      The article says this amount is equivalent to a 50-pound child drinking 2½ cans of diet soda per day, or a 150-pound adult drinking about 7½ cans of diet soda per day. You might be saying to yourself... "I don't drink that much diet soda each day!" However, if you are also consuming a lot of sugar-free products, many of those are also made with Aspartame, which could easily add-up to the same amount.

      I wonder if Coke noticed this study and that's why they are planning to use Stevia. It might not be long before Aspartame generates more negative press and possibly banned.

      If you can add Stevia to your drinks like tea and coffee, that's great and much better than using Aspartame based products. The article also says Sucralose is safe, but remember Splenda is not 100% Sucralose from what Ferbit has discovered recently. If the ingredients say Sucralose, then that's the safer ingredient than seeing Splenda.

      Saturday, June 16, 2007

      What goes on the body... Not nearly as important as what goes in it...


      What goes on the body... Not nearly as important as what goes in it...

      is McDonald's slogan for the Happy Kids - Happy Moms - Happy Meals campaign. I've been meaning to write about this for quite some time, but kept fogetting. It all started with that ridiculous commercial showing the little girl dressed as a princess. The commercial points out that the mom doesn't care that the little girl is wearing princess dress-up clothes because what goes IN the body is WAY more important than what goes ON it.

      This is true...

      But then the mom takes her little girl to McDonald's to get a Happy Meal. You know, because is's WAY more important what goes IN her body. So the little girl chows down on:

      chicken nuggets made with factory farm white meat (healthy dark meat has more nutrients and flavor), salt, enriched bleached flour and a bunch of other ingredients, FRIED in trans fat and some anti-foaming agent (eeeeeeewwwwwwww!).

      dipping them in:

      bbq sauce where the NUMBER ONE INGREDIENT is high fructose corn syrup, then water, then a bunch of other ingredients including "natural smoke flavor" and "natural flavors" - Can you say hidden msg???

      Then to add to this craziness... Their LATEST commercial shows a kid eating apples. Yay for Micky D's, right? Except that the poor kid is dipping them in their disgusting caramel sauce! God forbid kids eat plain apples... No, they NEED to dip them in corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, salt and artificial vanilla flavor.

      Mmmm Mmmm Gross...

      Monday, June 11, 2007

      Moose Poop Ice Cream

      :) Girls picked the name. LOL

      I made the yummiest dessert today that I just had to share with everyone. I sort of made it up as I went. We decided to call it Moose Poop. Moose, because we were explaining to the girls the three different uses for the word moose/mousse. Poop because... well, once finished, it totally looks like poop. LOL LOL LOL But it's so yummy!

      Moose Poop

      • 1 can organic coconut milk

      • 1 dropper full of Vanilla Cream Stevia (or regular stevia with vanilla extract)

      • 1 tablespoon local raw honey

      • 1 rounded teaspoon cocoa powder

      • 1/3 cup raw almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice - macadamia nut butter would be wonderful)

      Warm the can of coconut milk by setting it in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes. It will liquify quickly. You'll probably need to do this to your natural nut butter too.

      Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix thoroughly. Blob into a container of your choice and freeze for about 4 hours. If you freeze it too long, it turns as hard as a brick so only make what you will eat right away. 3-4 hours is perfect though.

      Friday, June 8, 2007

      Stevia in Coke? Good for the sweetener industry...

      My hubby brought up an interesting topic last week about Stevia being used in a future Coke product. Although I will probably taste it, I still don't recommend anyone drink much soda pop. Sparkling Mineral water is much healthier. Pop is NOT just about sugar or artificial sweeteners. There are a lot of different reasons soda pop is bad, but I won't go into that now. Also, because stevia greatly enhances the taste of other sweeteners, Coke might do a MIXTURE of sweeteners (artificial or not) in their new product. *sigh*

      The biggest WIN here is that Stevia will be made an official SWEETENER!!!!!!! Stevia is still only considered a dietary supplement. But now that the Coca Cola Company has petitioned the FDA to approve it as a sweetener, companies can use it in all sorts of products! So if Coke succeeds (of course they will), we'll see a flood of new products like yogurts, beverages and desserts made with stevia!

      Woo hoo!!!!!

      Sunday, June 3, 2007

      Stevia in Coke? Ok... I'm listening

      I ran across this article while connected to wifi here in Vienna. Sounds pretty cool eh? Well... I'm outside at 9:30pm under a tent in the pouring-down rain. Not the most romantic evening, but hey... I'm in Vienna!!

      Anyway... we use Stevia a lot in our house. It's a great natural herb that's also VERY sweet. We use it in tea daily (excellent in Yerba Mate) and give it to our girls with lemon water, which they love and avoids them drinking sugar-water fruit juice. ;)

      It doesn't surprise me that Coke is trying this since "healthy" is in. I'm anxious to see what they come up with. On the surface it sounds great, but knowing "Big Soft Drink," they might screw it up with some blend that will defeat the purpose. ;) We will still not give soda-pop to the girls and I only drink pop occasionally, but when I do at least it could have a better sweetener than aspartame.

      Read the article on and we'll see what they create.

      Saturday, May 26, 2007

      Nuked edamame??

      NUKED edamame??? EEEEEWWWWW! We went to a sushi restaurant last night - conveyer-belt style in Issaquah. *sigh* It's one of the only times I eat white rice. No one can be perfect 100% of the time! LOL Anyway, we don't normally get edamame because it's SOOO bad for you, but I just had to comment on this. As we're sitting there, the owner is near the back NUKING little bowls of edamame and then putting them on the conveyer belt.

      This is a fricking RESTAURANT! Can't they COOK THEIR FOOD properly??? Have restaurants gotten so lazy??? Ugh, I know that seems trivial, but it just royally grossed me out. Why can't they BOIL or STEAM them?

      I'm not totally against microwaves... They have a purpose... sometimes. I do try to avoid using it though. It just creeps me out knowing what it does to food and how it heats it.

      If we remodel our kitchen though *fingers crossed*, I will hopefully get rid of it completely and replace it with a nice convection oven. However, since there is a microwave in my kitchen now... I use it to heat water or re-heat left-overs. I never use it on fresh food. I know left-overs aren't much different than fresh food, but I'm ok with that. LOL I keep telling myself that somehow makes sense. LOL Can't wait to get a convection/turbo oven. Mercola recommends a counter-top style turbo oven, but I'm hoping to find one that can be installed and not just be another appliance to clutter my counters...

      That's all for now!

      Wednesday, May 16, 2007

      Who needs to walk when you can roll???

      I tell ya, it just floors me that these shoes are so popular. Walking is so important to child brain development and every new invention for kids always seems to be something that hinders that. Many of you already know how much I HATE strollers. I owned one, but very rarely used it. I mostly used it to push my youngest SO I could take my oldest running. It was impossible to run with her otherwise. It's sad though... They even make ATTACHMENTS for existing strollers so big kids *gasp* don't have to walk and can ride along. Ugh!

      Anyway, I could ramble on and on about strollers so back to the roller shoes. And no, I'm not talking about rollerskating or rollerblading. I'm talking about the new everyday sneakers that have a wheel (or two wheels) built into the heel...

      These awful contraptions are so popular right now. Kids effortlessly rolling everywhere - not walking in a cross pattern at all. And God forbid they get some exercise!!! Cross pattern walking/running plays an ENORMOUS roll in organizing the developing brain. The other bad thing about these ridiculous shoes is they don't allow for natural foot movement. So if the child isn't rolling into a tree or mowing someone down, then they're walking funny because of the wheel and the stiffness of the shoe itself.

      Bad for foot development, bad for muscle development, bad for brain development.

      Thursday, May 10, 2007

      I'll have 153 grams of non-trans fat per serving to go please

      Isn't this just sick!? I found this article about food choices at Burger King. Part of the article was trying to make it sound better (by calories) to order small fries versus the king size fries. The title of the article was "Drive Thru at Burger King Without Driving Up The Fat." Nice.

      Suppose you arrived at the drive thru window and ordered a Triple Whopper with cheese, a King size fries with a King size chocolate milkshake. This meal packs in 3090 calories and 153 grams of fat, which is over 1.5 times more calories and fat than the typical American needs in a whole day! Even if you chose a King Coke instead of a milkshake, which would cut your calories down to 2220 and fat down to 115g, you'd still get more than required for a whole day.

      Related to this... have you heard the recent news about KFC removing trans fat from their cooking oil? I heard about this several months ago and thought "good for them" for removing trans fat. I still won't eat there due to the chickens they use, but was happy they removed the trans fat.

      GET THIS!! I was watching TV the other night and saw a KFC ad that featured cooking with no trans fat oil. I quickly shouted to Ferbit "hey, they are advertising no trans fat now."

      Then the shocker... " with zero grams of trans fat per serving!"

      Just when we thought one of the big chains got rid of trans fat, they too fell into the same scam and loop-hole as the chip makers and others by saying "per serving."

      Today I found this stupid article by ("the drive-by media" as Rush calls it) ABC News totally falling into the trap thinking KFC is so wonderful for doing this and don't actually investigate further and realize there is still trans fat.

      I'm sure if the average person ate food daily that said "no trans fat per serving" they would end up eating about 10-20 grams of trans fat per day. Do yourself a favor and be careful about what you see. Read the labels and look for hydrogenated oils. That's trans fat no matter what the company says on the package.

      Wednesday, May 2, 2007

      It IS possible to have a healthy kids birthday party!

      My youngest just turned 3 last weekend and I'm proud to say we had a very fun, HEALTHY (except the alcohol, LOL) birthday party for her. Here's how we did it:


      • Organic, blue corn tortilla chips with organic, natural salsa (no HFCS)

      • Veggie Bootie


      • Salad greens and sprouts with choice of three organic, healthy dressings (my 3YO and 4YO both go crazy over broccoli sprouts!!)

      • Natural, pasture-fed Silver Springs Cattle Company hamburgers served on Rudi's organic, unbleached hamburger buns.

      • Applegate Farms preservative-free, natural hot dogs served on Rudi's organic, unbleached hot dog buns.

      Dessert (Strawberry Shortcake - sort of *wink*):

      • PCC Angelfood Cake (only $4.99!!!!!) made with organic unbleached flour, crystalized cane juice and Stiebers Farms free-range egg whites, topped with...

      • ...sliced local organic strawberries (gooey from soaking in Rapadura all day)

      • ...Alden's organic, all natural vanilla ice cream (the only ice cream I've found sweetened with dehydrated cane juice rather than sugar)

      • ...and homemade organic whipped cream (whipped with cinnamon, Rapadura & vanilla).

      Introducing Horus

      I just thought I'd take a quick moment to introduce my wonderful, supportive, die-hard republican, nutrition-crazy, nationally-ranked-swimmer hubby. He's been posting more frequently in the past month. His username is Horus and mine is Ferbit. To see who's written a blog, look just below the blog where it says "POSTED BY...".

      Bee killer could damage food supplies

      I have been hearing about this, but didn't realize it has hit National news. I found this article today on about something killing off the Bee colonies. Before jumping to conclusions that it's human caused, I will continue to follow the topic.

      From Fox News:
      Honeybees don't just make honey; they pollinate more than 90 of the tastiest flowering crops we have.

      Among them: apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash and cucumbers. And lots of the really sweet and tart stuff, too, including citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and other melons.

      The parasite hypothesis has history and some new findings to give it a boost: A mite practically wiped out the wild honeybee in the U.S. in the 1990s. And another new one-celled parasitic fungus was found last week in a tiny sample of dead bees by University of California San Francisco molecular biologist Joe DeRisi, who isolated the human SARS virus.

      There is also history of this happening before so there might be some sort of cycle involved:

      First, the National Academy of Sciences said pollinators, especially America's honeybee, were under threat of collapse because of a variety of factors. Captive colonies in the United States shrank from 5.9 million in 1947 to 2.4 million in 2005.

      The article didn't say it, but my guess it's only a matter of time before the libs blame Bush for the bees dying and relating it to Global Warming.

      Monday, April 30, 2007

      Benefits of buying local, there are many!

      I've been talking about this topic lately with friends and family, but really haven't seen an article yet until now. I noticed this article today about Whole Foods and how they promote local products; not just for supporting the local community, but for many reasons, including:

      • Fewer or no chemicals to preserve the food

      • Less packaging and package waste

      • Lower shipping costs, which uses less fuel

      • Promotes/supports the local community

      • Personalized service (it's great to know your local seller)

      Here is a small snip from the full article:
      Chains have long sought local suppliers to keep distribution costs down. But the influence of top chefs, farmers markets, Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivore's Dilemma," and concerns about the environmental effects of shipping food long distances have raised shoppers' interest in buying local. The U.S. Department of Agriculture listed 4,385 farmers markets nationwide in 2006, up 18 percent from 3,706 in 2004.

      Small local growers often cannot offer lower prices than large-scale operations that benefit from economies of scale and cheaper labor. But fuel costs for shipping food are less for shorter trips, which in turn often require less packaging to preserve food. Buying local also shortens the time it takes produce to get to market, preserving nutrients and freshness, the Center for Food & Justice said in a December report.

      We buy weekly from a great company called Pioneer Organics. The prices are very competitive and they strive to buy from only local sellers and the food is very fresh. We've needed to adjust our deliveries lately, because they normally deliver so much food each week, it's difficult to eat all of it. We enjoy getting their delivery where they pick the products, so you get the best in-season foods. We like everything so it's great to get the variety.

      It's nice to buy products from Whole Foods and Pioneer Organics, not only for the good local produce, but we know who we're buying from so we can ask questions, offer suggestions to improve service, and the personal attention is awesome!

      I highly recommend everyone research and try-out a local seller or store that offers local products. You'll be amazed how much you'll enjoy the local products, supporting the community, and getting to know your local businesses.

      By the way... if you wanted to know how to find locally grown produce ANYWHERE, check out Local Harvest. They have a great map to narrow down the search criteria and have many categories if you are looking for something specific.

      Wednesday, April 25, 2007

      Conserve water AND recycle sticky containers

      Why waste water hand-washing glass or aluminum items with sticy residue? A typical container can be quickly rinsed and thrown in your recycle bin, but then there are the peanut butter jars... or honey jars... You-name-the-sticky-substance and it takes you 10 minutes to wash and scrub it out (or soak it) just so you can recycle it. Not to mention the time it takes for the water to warm up since cold water does NOTHING! LOL

      Toss it in the dishwasher! You were planning to run it anyway (I run mine every evening - I'm a very pitiful FlyBaby), so if you have room, let your energy-star, efficient dishwasher do all the work. Once it's done, toss it in the recycle bin or find a clever use for it. :)

      We use glass containers to hold crayons, markers and kids silverware. They're also great for SMALL amounts of bulk products like bulk raisins, dried pineapples, lentils, Sundrops (healthier alternative to M&M's), strips of nori, etc.

      Monday, April 16, 2007

      Natural Home Magazine

      I subscribe to a wonderful "green" magazine called Natural Home.

      It's filled with fantastic info on making your life green. I just can't recommend it enough. Unfortunately the issue only comes out every TWO months, but it's so worth it. Surprisingly, one of my favorite things is the ADS! It's fun looking at all of the natural products available even though I can't afford half of them.

      My most recent issue just came the other day and I read it from cover to cover within hours! I was so upset when I read the opinions section because some reader wrote in complaining about the last issue. It featured a green remodel for a larger home - obviously the people had money. I thought it was a wonderful article. Regardless, the woman went on about the home being too big (let's spread misery evenly, right?) and how their efforts weren't good enough because they tore the old house down and built new using green products. Rather than paraphrasing, I'll just put her comments here:

      The Not-So-Small Home

      Why do you insist on showcasing homes that are too big? In the September/October 2006 issue, the home in "Standing Tall" was described as "not-so-big" at 2,700 square feet. "A Sociable Home" is called "cozy" at 2,700 square-feet. Both households consisted of a couple and one child, and both dwellings were twice the size of most houses built in the 1950's.

      "Standing Tall" was brought down to its foundation - so, to build green, they threw away most of the resources used to build the original home? It's hardly "building green" when you destroy an existing home so you can use green products to rebuild another.

      Please showcase families who are building small and green, such as the "Natural Home Kitchen of the Year" (Septerber/October 2006).

      The environmental movement would make a bigger impact if it approached building with a completely different mindset rather than just swapping out regular building materials with green ones.

      -Leslie in Idaho

      Ugh, this drove me up the wall. Another opinion even went on to say people should live in homes with 500 sq ft per person and limit offspring to two. Way to push an agenda. *eye roll* So I emailed the magazine a response and they're going to put my comments in their July/August issue!!! Yay! So here is the response I sent them:

      RE: The Not-So-Small House
      I'm writing in response to an "opinion" I saw in this month's issue from Leslie in Idaho (page 12).

      A 2,700 square foot house isn't THAT huge. It's all based on perspective and we need to keep that in mind. My house is close to that size, but I'm surrounded by neighborhoods with 4000 sq ft homes. 4000 sq ft seems excessive in my opinion, but to each his own. :) Not everyone WANTS to live in a small space. Many people don't have a choice, but those who do, have the right to live in whatever size house they choose. Whether they NEED that much space is irrelevant and none of anyone else's business.

      What they do IN that space is what really counts.

      I'm proud of your magazine for showcasing this home's green efforts. I think people can be environmentally friendly at any level. I love the fact that your magazine highlights green efforts from all walks of life.


      Saturday, April 14, 2007

      Seasonal Allergies - Homepathics - Local Honey

      I'm one of those lucky people who gets hit hard by allergies each year, right about NOW. I think it's the cottonwood trees. Anyway, about a week ago mine just exploded overnight. *sigh* Coincidence this happened right after PIGGING OUT ON UNHEALTHY FOOD at Easter Brunch??? Hmmm..... Noone is perfect... Even I eat junk on occasion. *wink*

      Boiron Sabadil Allergy homeopathic medicineFor the first time ever, I decided to TRY handling allergies naturally with homeopathics. In years past, I always relied on Claritin. So I dragged my sneezy, stuffy, red-nosed self over to Whole Foods and begged the nice employee in Whole Body to put me out of my misery. :) She was so helpful and recommended several brands. In the end, I went with her favorite and chose Sabadil by Boiron.

      I also let her know that we buy only LOCAL RAW HONEY (in Washington, I recommend Anna's Honey) and that I had increased my intake of that lately - which she totally agreed with. Local honey exposes you to local allergens and pollen in low doses and in a way your body can handle. It's a great way to help combat allergies. If you travel, make sure to purchase LOCAL raw honey at your destination too. Most honey is pasteurized, which kills all of the natural enzymes and good stuff found in honey. Make sure you buy RAW honey. Sometimes they don't specify raw on the packaging so make sure to ask a sales associate. Anna's honey is one like that. I know their honey is raw because it says so right on the home page of their website even though their packaging doesn't specify.

      Back to my story... As I staggered out of Whole Foods, I immediately dissolved two tablets and waited for a sneezing miracle... You know - medicine is supposed to work immediately!!!

      For a full 24 hours, I followed the directions exactly and was almost ready to return the product. Then all of a sudden it started working! It took a little time, but it did work. Slowly since yesterday, my symptoms have COMPLETELY vanished. I feel wonderful today!

      Yay for homeopathic remedies!!!

      Friday, April 13, 2007

      There's Trans Fat in Butter, Cheese, and Beef!!??

      This article points out (in my opinion) how the Trans Fat hysteria has gone a little too far. There is a difference between naturally occurring Trans Fat and the heated, processed, and altered hydrogenated oils in foods.

      Since many restaurants and even Starbucks are switching to no trans fat foods, they don't realize that many foods contain natural trans fats. In the article, a baker supplying Starbucks is having a hard time finding trans fat free substitutes for butter and switching to non-trans fat margarine (yuck!!), which is about as bad as using the old hydrogenated oils.

      Several things need to happen in the laws for trans fats including getting rid of the stupid loop-hole of .5 grams per serving or less of hydrogenated oils equaling no trans fat (whatever!!). Also, after reading this article, the law should be clear about naturally occurring trans fat versus hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils. There are too many scams, too many loop-holes, and we're suffering because of it. I feel like I have to be such a freak reading labels and I shouldn't need to.

      Thursday, April 12, 2007

      Move without hitting-up the local grocer for boxes!

      I noticed this article today about "moving green." Considering that I've been spending much of the past two weeks moving family members, this looked like a great idea and easy too!

      It's a service that rents large plastic crates for moving. What I like best about this is they deliver them, they are same size, easy to stack, easy to carry, and easy to load-up on a cart. Boy... I wish we had this service here in Seattle. It would have made moving a lot easier and it's cheap too!

      I'd like a glass of sugar water, please.

      This is what you're essentially asking when you order a glass of juice.

      And I AM talking about the 100% juice, no-sugar-added types too. When fruit juice says "no sugar added" it just means no refined white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup has been added. Fruit juice is pure fruit sugar (fructose) which is just as dangerous as refined white sugar. Without the fiber, the fructose is absorbed too quickly (and released into the bloodstream) and not digested properly. Because it is pure fruit sugar, it causes insulin imbalances. When insulin is irregular, children are more susceptible to ear infections, allergies and obesity. Fruit juice is extremely dangerous for adults as well if they are overweight, have high blood pressure or high blood sugar. Any kind of fruit juice just isn't good for you at all. An 8-ounce glass of commercial fruit juice contains about 8 full teaspoons of pure fructose sugar.

      A piece of real FRUIT and a big glass of pure water is so much healthier.

      I had a nice wake-up call about a month ago. My little ones are homeschooled, but they do attend a language immersion school twice a week since I can't give them that experience at home. I knew the school served fruit juice so when we signed up, I made sure to say something to the owner. Unfortunately that info was never passed on to the girls' teachers and they have been drinking fruit juice since.

      My 4YO is a little version of me and can talk anyone's ear off about nutrition. But she's still 4... So when I asked her weekly if she said no to fruit juice, what do you think she said? "Oh yes, I always tell them no apple juice." *sigh* And I believed her because I'm a dork and had no idea eyes that adorable could lie so convincingly. LOL Not only were they both catching colds left and right (which was unusual)... The wake-up-call happened when, for the first time EVER, both of them got ear infections! They had NEVER had them before and they were BAD infections. :-( Luckily I contacted our naturopath and both of the girls healed naturally with out the need for antibiotics... which was awesome, considering the severety of their infections.

      Needless to say, after a very detailed discussion with the teachers, the girls do NOT get juice anymore.

      Tuesday, April 10, 2007

      Green Linens

      So I was chatting about blankets yesterday and realized I should post some of my favorite linens here. I am always cold, while hubby is always warm... So for the longest time, I've had a small, twin-sized electric blanket added to my side of the bed. I never plugged it in, but it was enough to keep me warm during the winter.

      Even though I never plugged it in, it seriously bothered me to be sleeping under all of those wires... every night... Anyway, I subscribe to the magazine Natural Home and loved looking at all of the natural linen choices. But man is that stuff expensive! So I set out to find some less expensive alternatives and here's what I found.

      Hammacher Schlemmer WASHABLE Merino Wool Blanket has been WONDERFUL! It's thin, it's a natural fiber and it breathes. It keeps me warm when it's REALLY cold outside and when it's warmer, it makes a nice light cover. I keep it under my big comforter. I've only had it for about 6 months, but already I can see how it would work perfect into the summer after I remove my regular comforter. Also, I wear contacts so wool can be annoying... This blanket doesn't bother my contacts at all and isn't itchy. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! Did I mention they're on sale right now??? I think I'm going to order two smaller sizes for my little ones.

      Bed Bath & Beyond Pure Beech Jersey Sheets, 100% Modal are so soft! You'll feel like you're sleeping on silk sheets! I set out to find bamboo sheets, but everywhere I went they were blends and weren't that soft. Bamboo or Modal would have made me happy since both are sustainable and neither need chemicals to grow. Anyway, once I felt these sheets I was hooked. They are so soft and stretchy. Not all BB&B stores carry them so make sure you call ahead.

      I'll post more later!

      Tuesday, April 3, 2007

      Splenda packets are 99% High Fructose Corn Syrup!?

      I don't use Splenda, but in my latest Mercola newsletter he talked a bit about it. And THANK GOD I don't use it!

      Seriously... O...M...G...

      Splenda studies were done on pure sucralose, NOT on the little packets that everyone uses. Since sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar, they have to use bulking agents to manage the sweetness. Those bulking agents are dextrose and maltodextrin, which come from high fructose corn syrup (pure sugar). And not just a little bit... Since sucralose is SOOOOOO sweet, 99% of the powder in those little Splenda packets is bulking agent.

      And the lovely loophole in the law says if there is less than 1 gram per serving, they don't have to claim calories and can put 0 calories when in reality there are 4 calories per packet.

      I'll say it again...

      99% of your Splenda packet is PURE SUGAR.

      Monday, April 2, 2007

      Who's the one needing carbon offset credits?

      Take a look at this description of two homes belonging to famous people we all know. If you're familiar with the whole carbon credits scam, you'll see one of these homes needs a lot of them. ;)

      House #1
      House #1

      A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.

      House #2

      House #2

      Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.)
      heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

      ... and the carbon credit Oscar goes to ...

      World renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore!

      Don't believe me?.... check out the truth on about this article. Below is most of the details.

      According to the Associated Press, the Gore's 10,000 square foot Belle Meade residence consumes electricity at a rate of about 12 times the average for a typical house in Nashville (191,000 kwh versus 15,600 kwh). While there are mitigating factors, this is still a surprising number, given that the residence is approximately four times the size of the average new American home.

      The ranch home owned by George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, (dubbed "the Texas White House") was designed by Austin architect David Heymann, an associate dean for undergraduate programs at the University of Texas School of Architecture. While its precise size isn't known, scuttlebutt has it that it's about 4,000 square feet, all on one floor.

      The ranch utilizes an efficient geothermal heating and cooling system that pumps ground water through a heat exchanger to warm the house in the winter and cool it in the summer, a system that expends roughly one-quarter the energy of a conventional heater/air-conditioner. Water used by the house is reclaimed, treated, and reused, and rainwater funnels from the home's gutters into a large cistern, which holds the water for garden irrigation.

      Ever heard of Carbon credits?

      Now... I don't have all of the intricate details, but to put it simply... Let's say you have a nice house and use more power than the "average American" (whatever that is... I'm sure Liberals can determine how much you really need). You can "offset" the extra power you're using by buying "credits" to compensate.

      Carbon credits sounds really important doesn't it? Well... it's basically a sheet of paper saying you have purchased or invested in environmental programs in an attempt to offset (code for "make you feel better") the extra power you're using. Carbon credits don't reduce anything and the same amount power is still used.

      Why can't people invest in something simply because it's good for the environment? For example, I recycle like crazy (more than my weekly bin can hold) and buy green products whenever possible (including organic groceries), but I don't need to buy stupid carbon credits to get that feeling of environmental equality.

      If you want a little more than my opinion, take a look at a couple of these links. While you do that, I'm going to take a drive in my SUV to nowhere special. ;)

      Boring wikipedia article
      Carbon Credit collapse
      Feel like throwing money away? Buy now!!

      Tuesday, March 27, 2007

      Stiebrs Farms - TRUE Free-Range, Organic Commercial Eggs

      After searching, I have finally found the perfect eggs that meet all of my criterea. For those of you here in the state of Washington, look for Stiebrs Farms Organic Free Roaming Eggs. They call them Free Roaming because it's more of a huge grassy yard than an actual "range" but I would definitely consider these Free Range.

      The chickens sleep in a hen house (to keep them safe from nightly predators) and every morning their eggs are collected. As the owner put it, it's easier to collect eggs IN the hen house then all around the yard!!! LOL Yes, I emailed the owner and she was so friendly and helpful! :) Anyway, once the eggs are collected, the chickens are free to roam all over the grassy yard. This is the perfect environment so the eggs have the right balance of vitamins and trace minerals. Definitely an excellent nutritional choice!

      Stiebrs Farms

      Thursday, March 15, 2007

      Are All Eggs the Same?

      This is a follow-up post to "??? Free-range, organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, pasture-fed, vegetarian-fed, fertile, natural EGGS ??? which I posted some months ago. I still stand there in the grocery store trying to figure out which eggs were produced by animals who get to eat bugs. LOL But in my Body Ecology Diet newsletter this morning, they answered my question. :)

      Organic. Organic chickens eat feed and grains that were not grown with pesticides. The animals are not given hormones or antibiotics, but "organic" on the label does not tell us if the chickens were able to exercise, nor does it tell us what they were fed.

      Free range vs. Cage free.

      Free-range chickens usually have a covered shelter and access to an outside scratch yard. They are pasture-fed and can get worms and bugs, which is the ideal feed for health and strong immunity.

      Cage free chickens do not live in cages but typically live inside a hen house without access to the outdoors.

      Vegetarian eggs are not necessarily good for you. Chickens need protein to develop properly (that's why bugs are a part of their natural diet) so chickens that are vegetarian may be fed genetically modified soy and other unhealthy grains.

      White vs. brown eggs. There is no difference between white and brown eggs. White eggs come from hens with white feathers while brown eggs come from hens with red feathers.

      Conventional eggs. These eggs come from chickens fed conventional food, which includes GM (genetically modified) grains, GM soy and pesticides.

      The toxins from pesticides and herbicides are stored in the fat of these chickens and their tightly packed living conditions make exercise difficult. It's no surprise that these chickens are unhealthy and can harbor diseases like salmonella.

      Antibiotics are often needed to rid conventional chickens of diseases.

      Conventional eggs have abnormally high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. High levels of omega-6 fatty acids may increase your risk for cancer, obesity and heart disease.

      Putting it all together: Look for organic, free-range (NOT cage free)or pasture-fed (but most don't specify this) eggs for the most health benefits.

      -Donna Gates - Body Ecology Diet

      Read the full text of this article.

      Monday, March 12, 2007

      The Great Global Warming Swindle

      Thanks to my brother for sending this video to me. Enjoy! 1 hour 15 minutes

      Sunday, March 11, 2007

      Michael Savage - Healing Children Naturally

      Yay! Michael Savage (a.k.a. Michael A. Weiner) just published a new book titled "Healing Children Naturally" that comes out the end of March/early April! Michael is not only a fantastic political guru (I subscribe to his podcast!), but he is also an expert in nutrition, following most of the principles that I follow. Politics and Nutrition in one book! I can't WAIT to order it!

      And since I'm on the topic of books...

      The Global Warming book great, but it's SOOOOOOOO BORING. While I totally understand that side of the issue (that global warming is natural, nothing to get worked up over and happens every 1500 years), does the book have to be so DRY? OMG... I usually read in bed before going to sleep and can barely make it through an entire page without nodding off. So maybe it'll be a while before I post another Global Warming blog - who knows when I'll finish that book! But I do love what I've read so far - love the FACTS and SCIENCE that backs up the theory.

      BTW, here is Michael Savage's info on Global Warming. He's even holding a "first ever" Global Warming skeptics conference!

      Monday, February 26, 2007

      Sprouted Grain Cereal???

      Too cool!!!!!

      And how ironic that I just posted about how much I hate traditional cereal in my last blog. I was at PCC today and much to my surprise, they carry Food For Life, Sprouted Grain cold cereal! I've bought this company's cinnamon raisin sprouted bread before and it's wonderful, but I had no idea they made cereal.

      I have tried making sprouted cereal myself here at home and it turned out so-so. I sprouted some bulgar in a bowl of plain kefir for 24 hours and then slowly baked it. Then I added in some coconut shreds, Rapadura and raisins. It was ok, but it was a little chewey rather than crunchy because my oven can't heat it at a low enough temperature. It needs to bake, but not much above dehydration temperature.

      Anyway, back to the point of this post. Because the grains are sprouted, all of their nutrients are available and they're much easier to digest. Remember, sprouting grains neutralizes phytates and enzyme inhibitors that naturally occur in all grains. So I bought a box of the Cinnamon Raisin cereal (after the initial price and size of the box shock, LOL). It's not bad! Both of the girls had a bowl of it and if a 3 and 4 year old will eat it, that's saying a lot! It reminded me a little of Grape Nuts (which are not healthy, btw), but with a lot more depth and flavor. And it smelled good too!

      It's definitely worth a taste and will satisfy that crunchy cereal craving we all have every now and then. ...or more often than we'd like to admit!

      Thursday, February 22, 2007

      Why I hate Cheerios - even the organic versions...

      Or any other dry, mass-market cereal product out there.

      Over the past few years since my little ones were born, I've been criticized (sometimes openly, sometimes silent eye rolls) for not feeding them Cheerios. Especially as babies since "every mother" gives their babies Cheerios as a first finger food, right? Well, every mother except me. Yes, I know. I'm a bit of a freak. :)


      WARNING: My next paragraph may be very offensive because every parent tries to do their best and how we nourish our children is a touchy subject. Even I have fed my little ones cereal on occasion because it's easy (no one is perfect and I don't pretend to be), but I do try to avoid cereal just like I do candy and refined foods (aka, junk foods). You have been forewarned. This is MY OPINION and this is MY BLOG. *wink*

      My original reason, before knowing much about nutrition, was the simple fact that they're empty calories. It's a sad way to amuse and distract a small child while adults do something else. It also acts as a babysitter when the child gets fussy. The bad part is, it fills them up with empty calories and then they don't eat as much at mealtime. Why not just teach the baby patience and to wait for dinner? Because that's harder to do. It's easier to slap down a hanfull of empty calories that will easily keep a 9-month-old baby happy for at least ten minutes.

      Ok, enough of my opinion... moving on. The main reason why I avoid buying cereals is because nutritionally, they're toxic. It is well known that diets of puffed grain cause rapid death in test animals. Animals fed only the cardboard box that the creal came in lived longer than those fed the cereal. EEEK! So it's not just malnutrition, they're actually TOXIC.

      Below are some excerpts from various authors that explain why. Enjoy!

      Whole grains are very important, but there is an important way to eat them. Phosphorus is tied up in the whole grain in a substance called phytic acid. Phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. Whole grains also naturally contain enzyme inhibitors, making digestion difficult. Soaking and sprouting grains neutralizes phytates and enzyme inhibitors.

      Whole grains that have been processed by high heat and pressure (extrusion process) to produce puffed-wheat, oats and rice (typical cold cereals - organic or not) are actually quite toxic and have caused rapid death in test animals. Rice cakes are absolutely horrid. Breakfast cereals have been slurried and extruded at high temperatures and pressures to make little flakes and shapes should also be avoided. Most, if not all, nutrients are destroyed during processing, and they are very difficult to digest. Studies show that these "extruded" whole grain preparations (rice cakes, typical cereals, granola) can have even more adverse effects on the blood sugar than refined sugar and white flour! The process leaves phytic acid intact but destroys phytase, a natural enzyme that breaks down some of the phytic acid in the digestive tract. It also causes fragile oils to become rancid and renders certain proteins toxic.

      -Sally Fallon - Nourishing Traditions

      As for the process of making cereals which are shaped like little O's, crowns, moons and the like... The machine used for making shaped cereals, called an extruder, is a huge pump with a die at one end... The slurry (of grains) goes into the extruder, is heated to a very high temperature and pushed through the die at high pressure. A spinning blade slices off each littel crown or elephant, which is carried on a stream of hot air past nozzles which spray a coating of oil and/or sugar on each piece to seal off the cereal from the ravages of milk and give it crunch. This extrusion process destroys much of the nutrient content of the ingredients, even the artificial chemical vitamins (enriched). The amino acid lysine, a crucial nutrient, is especially ravaged by extrusion. Yet the only changes made in the dozens of variables in the extrusion process are those which will cut costs... regardless of how these changes will alter the nutritive value of the product.

      -Paul Sitt - Fighting the Food Giants

      Since World War II, the food industry has gone a long way toward ensuring that their customers (just about all of America's children, as well as a good proportion of the adults) do not have to chew breakfast. The bleached, gassed, and colored remnants of the life-giving grains are roasted, toasted, frosted with sugar, embalmed with chemical preservatives, and stuffed into a box much larger than its contents. Fantastic amounts of energy are wasted by sales and advertising departments to sell these half-empty boxes of dead food - money back coupons, whistles and toy guna re needed to induce refined women to lift these half-empty boxes off the supermarket shelves.

      -William Dufty - Sugar Blues


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