Come on in and take a load off. Want some lemonade?

Why a blog? Why my blog? Good questions.

Hubby's wonderful, the children are lots of fun (and work) to have around, and life is full. While not an exhaustive list, I'm primarily a mom, wife, teacher, writer, reader, student, chauffeur, Christian, friend, patriot, gardener, cook, housekeeper, organizer, nurse, counselor, and referee -- but not necessarily in that order. That means life is crazy-busy.

I am constantly searching and learning; a few specific topics are my main areas of interest (health & nutrition, gardening, organics, politics, and history), but I find myself curious about just about everything.

Also, I like to share what I know, what I do, and what I'm learning.

So, "Why a blog?" Well, why not?

Thanks for taking the time to visit with me. Come again.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Healthy brownies -- what?!?!

In support of our efforts to eat more healthy ("clean") foods lately, I spent some time yesterday searching online for "clean" desserts. I found this brownie recipe, and we tried it today as our first effort to bake with all natural and healthy ingredients (and there's no flour in this one).

By unanimous decision, I can state that the batter was simply delicious. :D C'mon -- you know you eat the batter, too, even with raw egg in it (though I do usually use organic eggs).

The dish is now out of the oven and, again by unanimous decision, and before they cooled for even one minute, they are a hit! We would definitely prefer them with some of Publix's organic vanilla ice cream, but that'll have to wait as I don't have any right now.

So, I encourage you to try this recipe. Let me know what you think and if you have a favorite healthy dessert recipe to share.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chia, juicing and smoothies, oh my! (healthy living)

You knoooow you remember the commercials from Christmases past.
Go ahead -- sing the jingle. :D Nobody's listening.


The trick, now more so than ever, is to avoid getting ill in the first place.

Look into chia seeds and add them to your diet.
I have some left over from when I've sprouted them before -- sprouts are good on sandwiches, in salads and in stir-fry recipes. We've just started adding chia seeds to our food and Amazing Grass smoothies without sprouting them. There's no taste. If you mix them with water and then wait 10 minutes they gel, which will then thicken whatever you add them to. The diehards just eat the gel, scooping it up by the spoonful. (I'm not there.) There's a lot of info on the Internet re: general use and also for athletes.

I originally ordered chia and my other sprouting seeds from Mountain Rose Herbs (which also has a lot of info & supplies re: sprouting, if you're interested), but I'm ordering more from Amazon HERE.

Re: the Amazing Grass smoothies -- IMHO, they are not "delicious" (not even the chocolate). They are healthy, green (again IMHO, translation = yuck) smoothies. I add ice, coconut water and plain kefir (which is healthier than yogurt and very good for you), which makes them somewhat palatable. You could also add banana, vanilla yogurt (though I highly recommend you stay away from the artificial sweeteners!)...whatever you like. Amazing Grass also offers the mixes in other flavors. (The chocolate are actually really tasty when combined with chocolate almond milk, vanilla yogurt and ice, but I'm trying to stay away from the sweeteners and boxed items. I will play a bit with the recipe for our tastes.) We use the meal and also the greens versions. Also, I get a better price shopping for these items at our local Whole Foods, and they sometimes have sales.

Re: sweeteners -- I'm hearing a lot of good stuff about coconut palm sugar -- I just bought some and will begin using that. When I baked at Christmas, I cut the sugar by half right off the top and nobody noticed.

I recommend that you watch the documentaries Hungry For Change, and their other movie Food Matters -- we've watched them on Netflix. We've also watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead on Netflix (Joe Cross is in the first 2 films I mentioned, but his journey is detailed in this one, which is his own documentary). Years ago, DS and I read and watched Fast Food Nation and one other (I think it was Supersize Me), which totally grossed us out about processed food and many farming conditions. Ugh. Sometimes we are desperate and do eat McD's, etc., but those are not the regular fixture or "treat" they used to be.


No more juicing or fresh-veggie smoothies for me -- too messy, too much refrigerator and counter space is needed, and they're not at all tasty. I suppose they would be if you added a lot of fruit, which I know some folks do, but I don't want to do that. (Again, sugar.) I'm going back to the Amazing Grass smoothies, and the kids and DH will continue to have their fruit smoothies in the afternoons, now with gelled chia and coconut water.

Oh! I also bought these. They are great. And they're not just for kids. :D

We eat a lot of salad with baby greens and spinach (we're not loving the taste, but I'm now adding parsley), plus we'll use even more of my chimichurri @ meal time -- yay! (let me know if you'd like the recipe), and lots of veggies, with as many servings as possible being raw or lightly cooked.

I also highly recommend:

  • Organic produce if at all possible. Also organic dairy products.
  • Healthmaster -- Yep, an infomercial! This is great; better than a juicer because you keep the pulp & skin (and so the nutrients), and it will gently warm the veggies into a soup, which is much more tasty (says me) and doesn't kill off all the healthy enzymes that cooking does.
  • Coconut oil, in place of other oils and kind of as a condiment. Not necessarily that brand, but I have used that one before. Look for organic and as unrefined as possible, as well as being a bright, pretty white and with shreds of coconut. (This is a great way to cut mayo in tuna salad, it's tasty on a baked potato instead of sour cream, and it's what I use for sauteing a lot of the time because olive oil goes rancid at a high heat. That's just a few ideas to get you started.)
  • Vitamin C -- THIS version. Daily. More frequently if you're sick.
  • Krill oil -- THIS version. Also daily. They have three versions: regular, tiny (for kids), and with extras for the ladies.
  • Books by Raymond Francis -- he's the Beyond Health/Vitamin C guy, above.

I may get this, because then he'll finally make me smile, but I digress.

That's it. Except for my disclaimer, because ain't life grand.

Disclaimer:  Because I'm not a doctor or a lawyer, and because the FDA (or is it the FTC?) now makes it a crime to state that anything other than prescription pharmaceuticals cure, treat, or prevent disease, and because everything now is classified as a "disease" for that very financially-lucrative reason, I emphatically state that I do not here, or in any of my online or other formats, attempt or intend to offer professional advice in an effort to cure, treat or prevent any illness or disease. I also don't offer advice about things like how to perform brain surgery, fly a helicopter or parasail. In all things, I offer my opinion and I expect others to do their own homework and to make their own decisions about what's right and legal and appropriate for themselves and their dependents. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

White sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, sugar substitutes, and now corn sugar? Ugh.

Let's see, there's regular sugar (that's the white, "refined" variety), then brown sugar for baking special stuff, and "raw" brown sugar -- because that makes me feel better about things, substitutes (which I have used in the past but I haven't bought for years -- have you read about saccharin, aspartame or the others?), high-fructose corn syrup, "healthy" stuff like brown rice syrup and agave, and now, apparently, we will soon have corn sugar.

Come plain, old sugar really that bad for us? And chocolate...what about chocolate?!?!

What is a sweet-a-holic to do? It's bad enough, the guilt associated with wanting, having and then enjoying treats. But then the consequences of a sweet tooth are reported to be damaging and lifelong. Well, that sure takes the fun out of things.

Ever the investigator, I do my homework and then I do my best to help spread the word. Like in my article from this morning about high-fructose corn syrup being called "corn sugar," because that new name makes it all better -- right?

On the other hand, ever the overwhelmed and busy stay-at-home-and-work-at-home-and-homeschooling mom, I sometimes fail miserably at implementing what I learn and avoiding things that are bad for me.

I love Dr. Joseph Mercola's Web site and his evaluations and recommendations. I even love and buy a few of his products (the krill oil, for one). It is my understanding that inflammation is the underlying cause of disease and illness, and since I struggle with a few things and our DD was born brain injured and with lots of medical issues, and now has an autoimmune disease, I pay attention to these things.

Nutritional supplementation, avoiding toxins and refined foods, and eating organic foods, and as much raw organic produce as possible, just makes sense to me. Then again, so does the PACE workout and the Six-Week Body Makeover program, but I have trouble consistently applying those things to my life as well.

I'll keep learning. And trying. And likely struggling and failing. How about you? What do you do to keep healthy? Are you even healthy to begin with? What are your struggles and what do you find helps? I'd love to hear about it.

For me, for now, it's radiation and non-stick cookware health-related issues be damned! DH finally fixed the microwave and I bought a new big Teflon-type pan. (We still use the hot-air popper and the enamel-coated pots, though. Bonus points for that, I figure.)

And I'm going to put forth every effort to spend some time on myself. That's not easily done. (You men may scoff, but you women/mothers totally understand, don't you? I knew it.) After Seminary ends at about 7AM, I'll have to remember to eat (also not easily done -- amazingly), and then exercise before I head to my cave (otherwise known as our school room/office). Cooking ahead is another necessary to-do item. I'm hopeful...we'll see.

The kicker is:  I don't even really like most of the treats and sweets and the quick-let-me-grab-something-because-I'm-now-starving food that I eat. It's apparently a sugar addiction. That's another thing I've learned recently. I'll have to remember to post on my reading list the name of the book I read. It was kind of new-age-thinking, but parts of it really clicked with me. The biggest point being that you have to eat in a "present" state -- no mindless eating. Take the time to eat, eat whatever you want, but then pay attention to what you're eating, what you're doing (don't drive or watch TV, for example), and to how your food tastes. Most importantly, pay attention to how you feel -- do you like it, are you even hungry, are you now full and can stop? -- stuff like that. Interesting. I'll update this when I come back with more information to share. Soon.

In the meantime, I have to step away from my computer and get some other things done today. Though I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here, it's definitely time to move on.

Enjoy your weekend. I'll do the same.

Take care.

Disclaimer:  Because I'm not a doctor or a lawyer, and because the FDA (or is it the FTC?) now makes it a crime to state that anything other than prescription pharmaceuticals cure, treat, or prevent disease, and because everything now is classified as a "disease" for that very financially-lucrative reason, I emphatically state that I do not here, or in any of my online or other formats, attempt or intend to offer professional advice in an effort to cure, treat or prevent any illness or disease. I also don't offer advice about things like how to perform brain surgery, fly a helicopter or parasail. In all things, I offer my opinion and I expect others to do their own homework and to make their own decisions about what's right and legal and appropriate for themselves and their dependents.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The one productive thing I've done this morning

In doing homework about writing as a job and blogging for fun, or just cruising the Web in general, I come across all types of sites.

Sometimes my visit is brief -- the site's not applicable, not interesting, or not appropriate at all (yowza!) for me, my target audience and those I love -- so I move on.

Sometimes, though, I post. Like this morning.

Now, however, at this very moment I vow to immediately upon publishing this post turn off my computer so that I may accomplish at least one or two other productive things today. Clearly I'm addicted and I need to take drastic measures. (After I check my email real quick.)  ;o)

WordPress defined: Yet another thing for me to learn

For the um-teenth time this week, someone has just regaled the wonders of WordPress. I mean, I've heard of it before -- I don't live under a rock, after all. I'm curious by nature, so when I'm on a Web site I look everywhere -- and I mean everywhere -- and I do see "WordPress" listed a lot of the time.

OK, so I have yet another thing to study. Not merely read, but stuuuuu-deeee. Yay, me!

DS#1 will enjoy that, though. I know that he secretly enjoys when others (namely me) suffer the torment of studying, note taking, etc. Misery loves company, you know.

I'm actually looking forward to learning WordPress. I don't know when or how I'll do it, but I did anticipate this. I had already picked up my copy of WordPress for Dummies from the library; it's been on my coffee table for about three weeks now. Clearly it moves to the top of the pile -- soon.

BTW, "um-teenth" is, in fact, a word. I know this because my mom used it all the time when my rotten brothers and I were kids. As in, "I've told you for the um-teenth time:  Clean Up Your ROOM or I will come in there and Do It FOR YOU -- and You WON'T Like It!" (Note: Mom sounds intense here, but she was -- and still is -- a total pushover with a sweet spirit. She had to try to scare us, though -- it's in the Mom Rule Book.) FYI, the number umteen comes somewhere between 19 and a bazillion.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If I were as weird as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, what symbol would I be?

A smiling question mark.

That's it. That's all I wanted to say.

(Yes, I do, regularly, think about nonsense like this.)

Business, writing, marketing, and other ideas

Some alternative titles that I considered for this post are:
  • Tropical storms and brain storms in the wee hours of the morning
  • Things I do when I should be sleeping
  • Why my eyes are bloodshot this morning (totally G-rated), and
  • Oh,'s already time to get up?!
Well Tropical Storm something-or-other began to roll into town yesterday. For me, it climaxed at about 2:30 this morning with all of the telltale sounds of, what else, a summertime tropical storm, compounded by the oh-so-poorly-placed plastic storage bin (with lid -- that's the important point) directly underneath the rain gutter's outlet, which is perched about 2' above the ground and just outside my bedroom window. The overall effect was that of being awakened by the pervasive and not-at-all-pleasant sound of fairly loud drumming combined with Chinese water torture that is being dispensed in a fashion similar to a waterfall.

(Note: I say "climaxed" totally anticipating that this storm will be a non-event and will move on to points far away from me and anyone else, leaving no real damage in its wake.)

(Another note:  I just checked -- in the spirit of accuracy and being quasi-anally retentive -- and according to the National Hurricane Center this is Atlantic Tropical Depression 16. I'll update this post should good 'ole 16 get a more proper name.)*

So, here I sit at almost 6AM, I'm about to begin teaching my early-morning Seminary class and I've been up for 3 1/2 hours (with many more hours still to go today).

On the upside, I have come up with some great ideas for a friend's product she hopes to market (yes, I've already emailed her) and, thanks to the notepad and pen I keep beside my bed, I have about 30 potential titles for List My Five articles. Not so much on the upside is that I realize how much I've left undone lately -- in my best Winnie the Pooh: Oh, bother.

(Note to self:  Find and buy another pen that lights up when I write, so that I may, once again, write clearly and then eventually read legible notes-to-self written in the wee hours of my mornings.)

Happily, I see a nap in my near future. YAY!, yet again, for homeschooling.

Happy Wednesday, all.

*Update 9/30/2010:  The storm later officially, sadly, became Tropical Storm Nicole and went on to cause damage, injury and death. My heart goes out...