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. :)


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