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Little Green Secrets





Updated: 2018-03-07T15:03:00.031-08:00

 



Little Green Secrets Has Moved

2009-05-05T22:32:20.001-07:00

I appreciate your readership and don't want to lose you, so please visit Little Green Secrets at its new home at http://www.milkandhoneymommy.com. I'm still fiddling around and trying to figure out what to do. WordPress.org is very humbling to an HTML-geek like me. Anyway, I'll figure out what to do. Meanwhile, please re-subscribe because the feed address has changed as well. I won't be back here, so please don't leave me any messages at this location.

Continue to laugh, learn, and live more green and natural with me.

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I am the Devil or Bad Mommy

2009-05-05T22:33:24.138-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]

I am the Devil…at least I felt that way after putting two stomach aching children to bed. Against my better judgment, I took my children to Burger King and well, I nearly killed them. Okay, it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but they have never responded in this manner after eating fast food.

As we were driving home, my daughter started telling me to never take her there again because the food smelled. I thought for sure she was kidding and decided to play along with her. She continued to talk and I gave her an occasional acknowledgement while listening to what I was sure would be recanted the next time we drove by Burger King and she wanted to go there. My oldest chimed in about how he didn’t like his food either.

By the time I put them to bed, they both were uncomfortable and feeling sick. McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. (fast food) has been crossed off their list of treats. I actually stopped participating in a playgroup because they had too many play dates at Burger King. I preferred my children meet and play at a park in the fresh air rather than jump around on an enclosed, feet smelling, play gym? Often, I felt bad about saying "no," when they asked for fast food and dreaded driving by one for fear of them asking.

One day, I had an epiphany. I’m the mommy! The reason I don’t like fast food is because it isn’t healthy eating. I love McDonald’s French fries, but feel bloated and sick after eating them and food shouldn't make you feel that way. Sometimes we’re caught without lunch and food on the go is convenient and necessary. Hungry people are grumpy and sometimes a little mean. Add tired too and you tend to make bad decisions.

I want to feel good after eating my food and I want my children to make good food choices. Fast food taste good and I don’t want them to get swayed by flavor before they really know what they are eating. It’s hard to stop eating something you’ve loved for years even after realizing how dangerous it is for you. I struggle now with a really bad sweet tooth. Recently, I was too tired to cook and I drove about 40 minutes round trip (sometimes living in the country ain’t so easy because everything closes a little too early) to satisfy a sugar fix. The cookies were disappointing and I experienced a miserable night.

Since I’m the mommy, our “fast food” choices now come from the likes of Whole Foods and Subway. I’m so happy Subway apologized for their gaffe because I love their sandwiches. My better judgment rules and we will not be eating fast food anytime soon.

Note: Everyone was fine in the morning. I ate some of the same food they had, so I don't believe it was food poisoning. Hopefully, it was just discriminating taste.

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Hangin' Out with the Crew

2009-05-05T22:33:56.221-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]

I am back and not much rested. My house is still a mess, but I can get to that later. It only gets messy over and over again. I started mopping my floors yesterday and I have yet to finish. Meanwhile, the children have managed to make the floor I did clean look somewhat questionable. So, I will probably do it again when I finish mopping tomorrow.

I don’t know about any of you, but I didn’t get much of a summer vacation and it’s time to start back to school. We did very little today with school. I am going to start them slow, but now so we can get a good start and be off running by the time September arrives.

The Little Green Secrets Crew (LGSC) has been off for the past few weeks. While I (image) took a break, they did too. A few weeks ago, the heat finally got warm enough for me and there was no denying it. It was time. We have lived in our home for about three years and it wasn’t until last year that we started enjoying the creek. There is a creek that runs through our property and it gets high enough for the children to play in, but not too high where we have to hold everyone for fear of them drowning. We are still cautious because we have “not quite able to swim yet” (image) children. Mommy also dropped the ball and we may make it through our first summer with no swimming lessons.

Our weekends have been spent down at the creek swimming in the almost pristine and clear water. We can even see the fish (they’re small) swimming by, without us (image) having to wear goggles. The children do know not to drink the water. We have a great time and it’s a wonderful way to bring the summer to a close and welcome the impending fall.

My husband says he can already sense it in the air. He can’t wait for it to arrive.(image) Why is it that we long for the summer in the winter because it’s too cold and then turn around and long for the winter in the summer because it’s too hot? Since living here, I’m not sure if it’s my age or the fact that I get to actually experience seasons, but they seem to be coming more quickly. I wonder why it’s that way.

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Winner of Food to Live By

2009-05-05T22:34:53.003-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]

Congratulations to Ruth M. for winning this book that is almost good enough to eat.



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I'll Be Right Back!

2009-05-05T22:36:17.508-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


I always considered myself a great multi-tasker. Well, right now, I'm not. Between homeschooling, preparing for Green Aware Fair, and writing for other blogs, I've run out of time for life (my house is a wreck and my husband got only a card for his birthday) and my children. I will be taking a few weeks off from Little Green Secrets. Until I return, you can keep up with me at Green Aware Fair, 5 Minutes for Going Green, and Busy Mommy.


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We're On Fire

2009-05-05T22:36:38.852-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


Eat fresh vegetables...check! Use organic toothpaste...check! Run three (3) miles...check. Inhale toxic smoke...ah, check? For the past few months, my state has been on fire. Every summer, it's expected there will be fires, but for some reason, it seems to be more devastating this year. I know that fire at anytime, regardless of the damage, is devastating.

(image) Homes and acreage are burning less than 50 miles away from me. This is the closest that I have ever been to a somewhat out of control fire. The National Guard has been sent in and firefighters across the country have come to assist the overworked and very tired California firefighters.

The air quality has been very poor for the past few weeks. It has been thick on some days, not enough to notice visually, but after being outside for a while, eyes start burning a little and I've noticed tiny pieces of ash in the air coming down. The air we're breathing is not what anyone should be taking into their bodies. I can't believe that for some people (firefighters), this is a regular day and we were having only a mild experience.

Today, I received a message warning suggesting we stay indoors regardless of whether or not our health was good or poor. My oldest looked out of the window and said, "Mommy, it's going to rain." That is how thick the sky had become. The sky was missing and visibility was reduced on the ground. There is nothing unusual about reduced visibility, but during this time of the year outside usually looks like the first picture shown above and we have 90+ degree weather. Today, it looked like this(image) and still at 90+ degrees, which only made it more unsafe to be outdoors.

We stayed inside and amused ourselves, which was a bit of a jolt in our regular schedule because the children have been spending most of their summer days outside. I was able to come up with enough to keep the children busy, but then they do a pretty good job of entertaining themselves. We still are looking forward to getting back outside, which hopefully will be tomorrow.

We can eat the proper foods, get the proper amount of rest, and take excellent care of our bodies, but there are some instances in life where we will be placed that are not healthy for us. That is even more of an incentive to take better care of ourselves. I'm not sure how these past weeks will later affect our health, but at least I'm doing my part to ensure that we eat well, make healthy life choices because you never know when you'll be placed in an environment that challenges your health.

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What I Found Wednesdays

2009-05-05T22:36:59.839-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


I have wanted to write about these crayons ever since I saw them at Megusta Baby, an organic baby and children's store. (image) They are really cool looking in their birch wood basket and are the perfect size for my 20 month old whose hands don't return the standard size crayon in the same condition they were before handling. We end up with alot of broken and sometimes unusable crayons for my older two children. I thought these would be perfect because they were large enough for him to handle, but thick enough that he could not break.

Inntrax™ Twig Crayons (image) are handmade coloring crayons from Poland. They are made of sustained wood from remnants of bushes and trees cleared for the environmental preservation of planned forests. These crayons are perfect for the dedicated artist to the 20 month old who loves to draw fantastic pictures. They are available in set assortments and can also be purchased in a gift basket of 60 crayons with included coloring books.

The crayons are a bit pricey and require a utility knife to sharpen, which is not too convenient for a parent or safe for a child. On the other hand, sharpening is not required as often because the crayon is really hard.

If you're looking for that unique, really cool gift, that most anyone would love receiving, then Twig Crayons may be for you. They also look nice just sitting on a shelf as a decorating accessory.

Get a deal on these crayons.

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Can You Spare 5 Minutes?

2009-05-05T22:37:25.506-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


Can you spare five (5) minutes? Have you got the time? Well, it may be worth your while. If you are a regular visitor at 5 Minutes for Mom, then you already know that it is a great resource for mothers, providing excellent information on being the best mothers we can be and offering support for one of the best "jobs" in the world.

This Thursday, 5 Minutes is not adding more time, but rather adding family members with a new look and the launch of four sister sites answering the needs of their readers. Their goal of "bringing moms together" continues as they add resource blogs/sites for special needs - 5 Minutes for Special Needs, books - 5 Minutes for Books, parenting - 5 Minutes for Parenting, and going green - 5 Minutes for Going Green.

I am a bit partial to the to 5 Minutes for Going Green because I am a contributing member of the Green Team, which is composed of some excellent mom writers who will bring green information, experiences, answer questions, offer tips and more because "green looks good on everyone," and that is regardless of the shade. So, stop by when you have a chance, or five (5) minutes, and see how easy it is to add green to your "wardrobe."

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Creative Sustainability

2009-05-05T22:37:51.497-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


My oldest and Daddy were busy this past weekend. If you remember, we cleaned up cut branches and leaves last week that had been cut from a tree damaged in a recent storm. When I looked on the side of our house, all I saw was a lot of work and a job that needed to be done. Fortunately, the LGS crew was available and ready to work.

I appreciate the vision and creativity of a child. As my children grow, it is exciting watching them learn as well as experiencing the development of their (image) personalities. They are all inquisitive as are most children and their desire to create is shown in many ways. I need to be more careful to not shut down that spirit because I don’t want “another mess.” For my oldest two, everyday is craft day. We don’t do crafts everyday, but maybe we should.

When I saw tree branches and little pieces of “stuff” blocking my way,” my oldest's vision was more clear and he saw the (image) gun shown above. This is one of the many reasons I love spending time with my children; the thoughts that run through their heads and the conversations that follow. There is no limit to their creativity and their logic and reasoning is sometimes good enough to convince me to live out of the "mommy box." I’ll have to remember that the next time they use the furniture and available blankets, that were washed and neatly folded, to build a tent or the continuous need for an explanation as to why we’re not having cookies for breakfast.

I wasn’t with them as they were working on this project, so you only get “after” (image) pictures. He collected the pieces for his project and gave the design information to Daddy who is now an honorary member of the LGS crew. Daddy told me that he received very specific instructions about what he wanted and how it was to be put together. It looks like Daddy has been a great addition to the LGS crew because it appears that we have a happy user of a sustainably made gun. Mommy came out of her box on this one.

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Have you ever tried to do too much?

2009-05-05T22:38:14.882-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


I think I'm there right now, but I won't admit it. That is okay being here, because I can already see my way out and the end is near and clear. I have a tendency to try to do too many things at one time and usually am pretty successful, but it’s the meantime, while in the moment that makes my head spin. In a peculiar way, it’s pretty cathartic having a list of things to do. I’m sure if analyzed by a professional, their analysis of me would be much different from mine.

In the last two months, I have been preparing for Green Aware Fair, (image) which is being hosted by our company. I have also been blogging over there too, which has totally “messed up” my blogging schedule at LGS. Writer’s block (or should I say blogger’s block) is a cruel state to be in. My day of relief will be Sunday, August 24, the day after the event. I’m looking forward to the fair, but, “Oh my goodness!”

I also launched my new blog Homeschool Roster, which is already a lot of fun,(image) but again GAF keeps creeping in. Organization is the key to success. This will be our first”official” year of homeschooling and I will be journaling/blogging about our experiences, homeschool issues, and topics of raising your children. This will also be a great resource to me when my children are grown, moved away, and I’m wondering where all of the time went and how it went.

As I mentioned, we’re homeschooling, well, I have to plan, organize, and figure it all out. This is actually a lot of fun because there is so much to teach my children, but there is only so much time in a day, week, or month. So, I’m doing the best I can to plan what we will be studying and learning. Having already had a practice year, I’ve learned that planning one month (and sometimes that is too far) ahead, is plenty for me.

Oh yeah, and then there is the family. The days have become a blur and I must admit that there has been a little more television watching and as long as I can hear them, I figure they’re alright. I have been able to break away to push one or two in a swing, create something, and read a few books.(image)

Where is the summer going? I’ll let you know when I find out. Right now, my daughter's picture pretty much sums it all up.

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What's Cooking? Peanut Butter Sandwich

2009-05-05T22:38:42.520-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


When I was younger, my mother would always (she did serve other food) make me peanut butter sandwiches, no jelly, just peanut butter. I don't think I missed the jelly because all I knew were peanut butter sandwiches. Later, I moved up to tuna fish. I ate the former and was filled and never wanted for another type of sandwich. One thing I did do was promise myself that I would never eat another peanut butter sandwich when I became an adult.

Then came the college days and as many of you know and can remember, when you're hungry, you will eat anything. My dad was faithful in sending care packages and among all of the other cool things he would send, peanut butter and tuna fish (I'm really only talking about peanut butter) (image) were always included in my package. So, there I was, an adult, breaking a sacred promise I had made to myself, and eating peanut butter sandwiches.

Now that I am older and a little wiser, I've come to realize that peanut butter is pretty cool. If a hunger pain hits me, then one spoonful (I usually prefer it with bread or a cracker) of peanut butter will calm the grumbling stomach. It's like magic! Peanut butter is the "hunger patch." As far as divine, culinary cuisine is concerned, you probably won't see peanut butter sandwiches on the menu, but I bet there may be one recipe, or two, that contain peanut butter.

It has gotten a bad rap lately because of the rise of people, especially children, who have peanut allergies. Because some of these exposures have resulted in deaths, a peanut butter sandwich is not as appealing as it used to be. One of my sisters is in the "peanut allergy" club and has, on more than one occasion, experienced life threatening exposures that have sent her to the hospital. There really is no clear cut reason as to why some people are allergic and others are not, which is why I waited until my two older children were two years old before introducing peanut butter into their diet. My youngest had his first peanut butter one month ago (at 19 months), and now they all eat it often. I don't know where the age of two came from, it just seemed "safe."

My sister, like so many others have learned how to manage living with peanut allergies and have made it not the primary focus of their lives. They know what to look for and avoid and also some substitutes which are also quite yummy. Food allergies are another great reason to cook at home because you know what ingredients are used in your food and there is less chance of someone forgetting or accidently adding that allergy reacting ingredient. Don't ask my sister about the time I served her pesto. Oops! Don't worry, she's okay.

Now, if you're up for it Peanut Butter Sandwich is What's cooking?" this week.

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Neat Finds at a Green Show

2009-05-05T22:39:44.726-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]This past weekend, we spent a day at a green show where fellow green entrepreneurs came together to share their wares and green information. We were promoting our green education and the products we sell as Shaklee independent distributors. I’m not typically a lover of trade shows, but at many of these green shows, you see the neatest things. One thing I have to admit about green products is that they are “way cool!” There are so many innovative and creative minds behind the new products that are now available on the market. Some of the items you see are regular products made green and others are ones you never thought of and thanks to some individuals who cared enough and whose mission is more green than I may ever be (I’ll consume what they create), we have new products that are quality, eco-friendly, attractive when necessary, and affordable. What more can you ask for in a product and or service?Like computer and technology shows use to be on every corner in California, green shows and events are now the popular place to be. A lot of the shows are still technology based, but every once in a while you get to see small businesses with big “green dreams.” I enjoy seeing products created by regular people, like moms and dads, whose motivation is fueled by their children or a genuine desire to help people by making their lives easier.Munchie Mugs is a product made by a company with big green dreams. The Munchie Mug is manufactured by Witty Works, which is a northern California based company. Created by Phil, a precision machinist by trade (and a fulltime grandfather), and marketed by his children and their families, the mug has resulted in becoming a “100% BPA free,” safe kids’ cup of convenience that is also environmentally friendly. This nifty, snack carrying container enables children to conveniently carry and retrieve their snacks while providing a spill-proof experience, relieving mom and dad from clean up duty. The cover protected top also provides some what of a game to the child having to reach inside the lid and pull out the “prize” or treat. If you’re tired of cleaning up after snack-time, then the Munchie Mug may be just what you need.My youngest is 19 months old and I’m enjoying what I’m sure are the last few months of the honor of breastfeeding him. The intimacy has been a pleasure, even though I’m sure I’ve been “used” quite a few times, but I encourage any mother who has the desire to nurse to do so. I believe I gave up too early with my first son, and I actually had to wean my daughter (and myself) who was over two when she stopped. I’ve enjoyed the quiet time together, the comfort he gets from being close to me, and the enduring connection that started at his conception.When my son was younger and we were out in public, I usually tried to be respectful whenever hunger/nursing pangs would come over him. Often times, full body covering wasn’t available and I had to satisfy him at THAT MOMENT regardless of the lack of privacy available. “That moment” may be inconvenient, offensive to others, and leaves a mom no other choice with a hungry baby in her arms. Nonie Veccia stepped up to the plate with her desire to make life a little bit more comfortable and peaceful for mother and baby with the “birth” of her organization “Mom’s Breastaurant.” Providing a shaded, quiet, and comfortable area where babies can nurse, receive diaper changes, and older siblings can be entertained while waiting has been a blessing to many mothers attending outdoor events, which is usually where Nonie sets up her booth. The organization was personally bankrolled at start-up by Nonie, but recently received non-profit stat[...]



Win a copy of Food to Live By

2009-05-05T22:40:08.603-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]I've got a secret and I want to share...Cooking has become an enjoyment (I won't say passion, yet) and I love cookbooks and pretty pictures of food. They inspire me to cook and as a result, my family has been eating more healthy for several years. We have tried many a meal based on a picture I saw. Reading a recipe title doesn't always work for me. Now that I think about it, I don't try a recipe unless there is a picture attached. I also don't make anything unless I have a recipe because I need to know exact measurements of ingredients. One day, I hope to be skilled enough to grab a spice container in each hand and shake away with no recipe reference at all. Until then, I'll to have to use good cookbooks with pretty pictures and recipes that “look” delicious.Myra Goodman inspires me to cook. When reading through Food to Live By, you too may get inspired. Myra and her husband are the owners of Earthbound Farm, the “world’s largest grower of organic produce.” You may have even purchased their organic salads, fruits, and vegetables from your local grocery store or been treated to them at your favorite green or vegetarian restaurant. Reading their story may even send you running outside, rake in hand, organic seeds in the other ready to start planting your own organic vegetable garden.I would like to give one lucky winner the opportunity to be inspired and cook Food to Live By and also be inspired to cook. Little Green Secret’s secret revealed is Food to Live By the book (if you haven’t figured it out yet). If you can already have visions of raspberries, fresh spinach, crisp carrots and are not wuite sure of what to do with them, then read how to qualify:What is your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable and how do you prepare it? You can share a recipe if you would like.Earn One Entry Submission for each of the following (total of two entries)1. Leave a comment at Little Green Secrets about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable and how you prepare it. You can share a recipe if you would like.2. Mention this post on your blog/Web site and link back (http://greenandnaturalmommy.blogspot.com/2008/07/win-copy-of-food-to-live-by.html )to it.Earn Two Entry Submissions1. Add the I've "gotta" secret button, shown in the left column of the blog, to your blog/Web site and tell me. Just copy and paste the code shown below the button.You can earn a total of four (4) entry submissions through Thursday, July 31. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, August 1, 2008. This contest is open to U.S. residents only.If you want to increase your chances, then visit Earthbound Farms and register for one of their three daily book giveaways.Congratulations to Melanie S. for winning the subscription to Cottage Living magazine.[...]



Cleaning Up After the Storm

2009-05-05T23:59:01.568-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]Okay. I know what you're thinking. We're running a house of enslaved children. No, they really enjoy the work they do. Any parent knows when you get a determined child, then sometimes (only sometimes), it is better to allow them to explore where their interest is leading them. Dad is a little more lenient when it comes to allowing them to use really sharp tools. Actually, Dad gives them good training, and fortunately he does have good judgment as to what they can and cannot handle. Sometimes, mom does have to leave the room or go inside because I don’t want to watch.Recently, a hard storm blew through our quiet little town. Our experiences are far from what the people in the Midwest are experiencing. My heart and prayers go out to them. I can’t imagine the devastation that has occurred as well as the daily battle of trying to salvage what little they can of their lives against continuing floods.This second time around, we were not so lucky. Actually, it wasn’t that bad, but we had to cut a limb off of one of our trees that shades our home. My husband was going to climb a ladder and cut the limb, but we decided it would be better to call a professional in case it became an insurance issue. After all of the cutting was done, we were left with a large cleanup job. Once again, the LGS mission crew was ready to get to work.At first, my husband was going to climb a ladder and cut the limb, but we decided it would be better to call a professional in case it became an insurance issue. Our house is surrounded by a few trees, which is great because it helps keep the house cool during the summer months and we don't have to use the air conditioner as much. We are currently in the hot, hot months here. It is not hot enough (for me - the children have been ready since winter) to go down to our creek where ICE COLD water flows, but it's getting there.My husband is literally a “Jack of all Trades.” He has experience in landscaping, construction, is a fabulous cook (just to name a few skills) and confirms everyday that I married well. His experiences have also been useful for his contribution to homeschooling. I expect our children will be able to wield a really mean hammer and screw driver when they get older.Tools in hand, everyone was ready to get to work. The plan was to cut and stack the extra wood and to haul the leaved branches and other "stuff" down to our wood pile/dumpster drop site where three years of Christmas trees, excess grass blades, etc. have been placed. We are hoping to build the world's largest compost pile. The crew was happy to use the cutting tools. Believe me, they were well supervised and are actually very cautious with how they use the tools.Safety is first, so all baby was able to do was look cute. Maybe, after he turns two, he will receive his first hand saw...just kidding. He was happy to help pick up branches and other wood pieces. The mission is complete and now we don't have to walk through branches, etc. when on that side of the house. Fortunately, the cut limb did not cause a loss in privacy and you cannot really tell that the tree received a trimming. Hopefully, this will be the last we see of any damaging storms in the future.[...]



Cleaning Up After the Storm

2009-05-05T22:40:39.087-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]Okay. I know what you're thinking. We're running a house of enslaved children. No, they really enjoy the work they do. Any parent knows when you get a determined child, then sometimes (only sometimes), it is better to allow them to explore where their interest is leading them. Dad is a little more lenient when it comes to allowing them to use really sharp tools. Actually, Dad gives them good training, and fortunately he does have good judgment as to what they can and cannot handle. Sometimes, mom does have to leave the room or go inside because I don’t want to watch.Recently, a hard storm blew through our quiet little town. Our experiences are far from what the people in the Midwest are experiencing. My heart and prayers go out to them. I can’t imagine the devastation that has occurred as well as the daily battle of trying to salvage what little they can of their lives against continuing floods.This second time around, we were not so lucky. Actually, it wasn’t that bad, but we had to cut a limb off of one of our trees that shades our home. My husband was going to climb a ladder and cut the limb, but we decided it would be better to call a professional in case it became an insurance issue. After all of the cutting was done, we were left with a large cleanup job. Once again, the LGS mission crew was ready to get to work.At first, my husband was going to climb a ladder and cut the limb, but we decided it would be better to call a professional in case it became an insurance issue. Our house is surrounded by a few trees, which is great because it helps keep the house cool during the summer months and we don't have to use the air conditioner as much. We are currently in the hot, hot months here. It is not hot enough (for me - the children have been ready since winter) to go down to our creek where ICE COLD water flows, but it's getting there.My husband is literally a “Jack of all Trades.” He has experience in landscaping, construction, is a fabulous cook (just to name a few skills) and confirms everyday that I married well. His experiences have also been useful for his contribution to homeschooling. I expect our children will be able to wield a really mean hammer and screw driver when they get older.Tools in hand, everyone was ready to get to work. The plan was to cut and stack the extra wood and to haul the leaved branches and other "stuff" down to our wood pile/dumpster drop site where three years of Christmas trees, excess grass blades, etc. have been placed. We are hoping to build the world's largest compost pile. The crew was happy to use the cutting tools. Believe me, they were well supervised and are actually very cautious with how they use the tools.Safety is first, so all baby was able to do was look cute. Maybe, after he turns two, he will receive his first hand saw...just kidding. He was happy to help pick up branches and other wood pieces. The mission is complete and now we don't have to walk through branches, etc. when on that side of the house. Fortunately, the cut limb did not cause a loss in privacy and you cannot really tell that the tree received a trimming. Hopefully, this will be the last we see of any damaging storms in the future.[...]



Don't Hate Me Because I'm (not) Green

2009-05-05T23:59:41.204-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]I love good conversation, but I don’t always initiate. I also love to argue, but I’m not antagonistic. I do sometimes wonder why I never became a lawyer, but remember that I don’t hold them in high regard (I guess until I need one). Good conversation and an interesting debate were had between Nature Mom and Green and Clean Mom last week. I enjoyed reading the posts and also gained a new comfort level in where I fit in all of the “greenness” that is going on online and offline. The conversation was very opinionated, became a little heated, and then ended quite friendly because in the blogging world we agree and disagree, but at the end of the day it’s opinions that are the life-blood of the blogging world. If there were no opinions, there would be no need to blog. We would all agree and spend our days basking in the sun as it shined all day long.If you are going to blog, then be prepared for someone to disagree with or question you and get over it (checking the thickness of my skin). Living more green and natural isn’t a religion for me because I have another religion (I thank God), but rather a way of life. I’m not disciplined enough to say that I walk above the green line wearing a crown nor do I ignore an opportunity to be a little more green and natural. I’ve figured that “I’m alright.” I’m not the greenest of green because I’m still learning and thanks to my fellow bloggers, I get some great information, learn of valuable resources, learn from personal experiences, and read opinions that offer the opportunity to consider (or not) another path on this green and natural journey. As far as green goes, for now, here I am, I know where I want to go, why I’m going there, and how far I want to go (at least I think I do).So, this is where I am now. If you check with me in six (6) months, then maybe something will have changed. Until then, "Don’t Hate Me Because I’m (not) Green."1. I love long hot showers, but I wash my clothes in cold water.2. I drive an SUV, but I go to town/drive usually only two days a week because I schedule to save gas, time, and money. Also, the SUV is a perfect size for our large family and everything that comes with one.3. I love buying a bright, shiny, new book to read, but I've reduced my magazine subscriptions from four to one and our library cards are used frequently every month.4. I use probably more toilet paper than I should (Is this a women thing?), but I have tremendously reduced the amount of paper towels we use, which I buy recycled.5. I will wash a piece of clothing in a minute, but wash large loads and use natural and non-toxic cleaners.6. I still occasionally buy bottled water, but use well and filtered water when at home and will finally be buying reusable, BPA free containers next week. Don’t ask me why it took so long. Also, we recycle the bottles because I am determined to buy me a Cagoule hat.7. I leave my computer on ALL DAY (please be kind), but don’t watch a lot of television and do listen to a lot of radio.8. I still use conventional feminine products, but Nature Mom has made me curious enough to look into trying alternatives to disposables which I may actually do. I never knew of such until I read it there. See, I'm learning.9. I, like Green and Clean Mom, have a child who has Asthma, which requires Albuterol treatments, but have found natural alternatives resulting in, I believe, a healthier child. Having been in the trenches a little longer has provided opportunity to find out what works best for him. I was determined for my son to not go the route of “daily, doctor[...]



What's Cooking? Hummus

2009-05-06T00:00:02.923-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


First off. Forgive me because I like using my own pictures, but until I get one, this will have to do.(image) I love hummus (I love chick peas). Who would have known? I stumbled upon it one day, somewhere, but I don't recall when and/or where. All I know is that I could actually eat it as a side and be happy. Of course, some seasoning would be required. I am an "accidental cook." Sewing used to be my forte, now I have moved to computers, and cooking (especially baking) is running a close second. I do like things quick and easy, but for some reason, I would rather make from scratch than to buy prepared. I used to buy packaged hummus. I had never thought about making it until I picked up a copy of "Something Extra," which is the coolest freebie magazine in the world published by the grocery chain of Raley's/Bel Air/Nob Hill. If you can get your hands on this magazine, then I highly suggest you do so. I think it is a west coast print and distribute (sorry), but I have heard of some people managing to send some to "the outside." It is just that good. The pictures make you want to cook.

If you are challenged in the kitchen, then the recipes and tips are right up your alley because all of the ingredients for the recipes are items carried by the store (pretty smart). They do almost everything, except take you by the hand and walk you up and down the aisles, telling you in which department to locate each ingredient. Alot of the recipes have meat, but I just exclude, and every once in a while, they have a few vegetarian or fruit dishes throughout.

Back to "What's Cooking?" I still have my Spring 2006 issue that contains a really, really easy hummus recipe. I love it and make it alot. Hummus is "What's Coooking?" this week. It is great as a spread, a side, a dressing, a dip...should I keep going? If you haven't tried hummus before (or you may have and not known it), then give it a try. You can season and flavor in so many different ways that it can have many tastes. It is a multi-purpose (a word not often used regarding food - or better versatile) food. Also, it is extremely nutritious.

recipe: E-mail me for Hummus

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Try Walking In My Shoes (dm)

2009-05-06T00:00:35.919-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]I own three pair of shoes. I’m not making a green statement or promoting frugal living or suggesting that if you own more, then you need to immediately clear your closet. I'm just stating a fact. Actually, I do have more, but only three that I wear on a regular basis and at least one of those pair needs to be thrown away. When the treads on the bottom of a pair of running shoes is non-existent and the fabric holding the shoe together is doing the best to keep its original form, I believe that it is time to toss them out. Not only can damage result while running from not having proper support, but it doesn’t fair well for my “cat walk” stride when I do the weekly grocery shopping and decide to wear them as accents with my sweat pant outfit. Since my family is running together now, I am taking my running shoes more seriously, so I will be buying a new pair of shoes.The luxury of affording a new pair of shoes is probably not something you think about everyday. Our shoes become worn and pushed to the back of the closet to make room for their shiny, new replacements. If you donate your old or “gently used” shoes, then that is great. If not, then consider this a lesson in sustainability and an opportunity to help others who wouldn’t mind “walking in your shoes.”The mission of Soles 4 Souls is simple, “to impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes.” They are “Shoe People Helping the World™.” In less than five (5) years, Wayne Elsey’s Soles 4 Souls has managed to provide more than three million shoes to victims of natural disasters like the 2004 Asian tsunami (the event that birthed this charitable organization), Hurricane Katrina, and just people in need. Through donations received from "footwear companies, retailers, churches, nonprofit ministries, civic groups, schools, and individuals" of new and “gently used" shoes, Soles 4 Souls not only aides people abroad, but doesn’t forget about the people in need here at home. Just last week, during Barefoot Week, they provided more than “130,000 shoes” to disaster victims in Atlanta and New Orleans.The organization has also started a running team called SolesInMotion™. If you are not a runner, then don’t worry because walkers, slow runners, and anyone interested in supporting the mission as well as getting in shape are invited to participate. Some of the perks for being a team member are personalized marathon or half marathon training (you may surprise yourself at what you can do) and the satisfaction of knowing that you are improving the life of another while also meeting a personal goal of getting in shape.There are several ways to donate and help as well as many drop-off locations throughout the country making it easier for you to make shoe donations. We will be collecting shoes around our house and heading to our local drop-off location; my running shoes are headed to the trash (our donations will offset). It is a great way to make a positive difference, another opportunity to teach my children about sustainability and helping others, and clearing clutter and making more closet space isn’t too bad either.[...]



Indoor Summer Fun

2009-05-06T00:00:55.667-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]A no fail fun "toy" for children is play doh. I don't remember playing with it as much when I was younger as I do now with my children. It is kinda cool and fun until pieces of non-play doh get rolled and flattened into it or it dries out and becomes really hard. The former had already been thrown away leaving us with the remaining almost crunchy pieces that were pretty much useless for real fun. Our stash was not enough to distribute among three children and it was time to buy more.I am trying to be more conscious about the type of toys that I now buy. Fortunately, my children don’t require a new toy every time I turn around. I wrote about that in a previous post for which I got in trouble for offline. My Dad is still trying to figure out how to submit a comment regarding that post. Since he can't yet figure out how to leave a comment (I don’t think I’ll show him), I get the comments whenever I see him. He won’t be buying his grandchildren any used toys. He may have a point. Parents are so wise. After all, I’m one and I want my children to believe the same thing.It would have been so easy to run to Target (my favorite mom store – I’m not sure how that happened) and buy more Play- Doh. Well, I was recently visiting Green Mom Finds where Cristina posted a recipe for play dough which she found at Cooks.com. I took it as a sign and here we are making play doh.All of the ingredients are staples for us, so that made making it even easier. As always, my Little Green Secrets mission crew was in ready formation. I made the mistake of telling them earlier in the morning that we would be making play doh, so they worried me until we were ready to start. The recipe is straight forward and very, very easy. We doubled the recipe, so the one (1) cup of salt caught me a little off guard, but no worries. There was no clumping, icky gooey, or real mess. The flour even wasn’t a nightmare after adding the water.Because you know it’s going to happen…I didn’t have to worry about the baby sampling along the way since all of the ingredients are edible. He actually (they all did) found it tasty. I’ll have to believe them.My oldest said the color was boring, but they are still playing with the play doh late in the afternoon. I am going to prepare another batch and have it ready for when it's time to replace what we made today. I'm not sure when that may be because, it “doesn’t dry out.” At least I’ll be ready for when non-play doh pieces get rolled or flattened into it, which really grosses me out.[...]



I Think I've Found My Calling

2009-05-06T00:01:24.656-07:00

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While attending college, I was several majors (in my head) before I decided on and finally finished with a B.A. in English. I had no idea what I was going to do with that degree, but I knew that it was a great foundation for many graduate areas, and plus everyone should know how to write a complete, coherent, grammatically correct sentence. Well, I never pursued a masters degree (sorry Mom), but have had careers in retail management, technical writing, Web design, and now I'm finally getting the opportunity to do what I have always wanted to do which is write (blog?). That is the beauty of the Internet. It can make dreams of becoming a published author come true with the click of a button (mouse? - Who thought up these words? - blog?...mouse?). Whether or not I have an audience is a different story. Hello? Are you out there? I'll just believe that you are and I will keep on writing (blogging) to my heart's content. This is a lot of fun and I'm learning so much about green and natural living that I want to share.


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What's Cooking? Taco Salad

2009-05-06T00:02:13.348-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]


Anything Mexican gets me going. I believe it is my love for carbohydrates. Shamefully, I must admit that when we lived closer to a city, many a family meal was eaten at Chevy's. I would blame it on the kids if it weren't for their yummy salsa which I absolutely love. Are chips and salsa a viable meal? Since the drive is a little futher now (try one hour, instead of ten minutes), I've had to rely on my own creativity and a few good recipes to get us through our "Mexican-meal-fixes." (image)

This is my version of a taco salad, minus the meat, of course. You want meat, then toss it in as I do for my husband. I could eat this salad a few days in a row. Taco Salad is What's Cooking?" this week.

recipe: E-mail me for Taco Salad.

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Go All the Way

2009-05-06T00:03:06.524-07:00

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If you are going to clean green, then why not go all the way? Here is just a taste of a few green and natural products that you can use to clean while practicing being a little more eco-friendly. You may end up spending more(image)
time in awe and curiosity (How did they do that?), while trying to figure out how a wood chip becomes a sponge soft enough to clean delicate surfaces, yet abrasive enough to remove caked on food from last night’s dinner plate. These sponges are made out of a product called viscose, which is very absorbent, effective - think sheepskin (but no dead animals) - and softens with each machine wash allowing you to "wring out and use to dry again and again". If you are a little nutty, then you may prefer the Sponge With Walnut Scrubber, which is made from "50% post consumer recycled materials." Just remember, don’t try to eat it.

Sponges are no good without cleaners. Continue your green cleaning with high performance, concentrated cleaners, stain removers, and cleaning supplies that also include an organic, all-purpose cleaner that is Green Seal certified.

(image) Gain more green points with a recycled mop and a sustainable handle made from 80% recycled bottles. Natural fiber and organic dish towels are one way, but if you can't seem to get away from the paper, then why not try recycled paper and go all the way?

Are you excited about cleaning yet? If anything, cleaning will be a little more interesting. Still not sold? Consider hiring a cleaning company for periodic or regular services. Any telephone book contains pages of cleaning services, but look for ones that use green cleaners and if possible follow green practices.

You can now cross cleaning off of your "To Do" list.

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It Takes a Few Minutes

2009-05-06T00:04:11.543-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]Are we made to waste paper? Is it our nature to waste paper? Will there ever be a day where we “paper-waste” no more? Possibly, not really, maybe respectively. We may never live in a society where paper waste is non-existent, but the least we can do is use it more wisely. We use money wisely, we use timely wisely, but using paper wisely?Merriam-Webster dictionary now includes “junk mail” and “junk E-mail” as additional definitions for the word mail. When the concept of a mailbox was created, certainly there was never consideration to the fact that something other than personal, wanted mail would ever be placed in the box. Today, collecting mail from a personal box, whether it be postal or E-mail, requires a garbage can in tow or a quick finger on the delete button. We could blame it on the government and say we are “government controlled,” when you learn that the USPS is fighting to keep your mailboxes full of junk-mail because “standard” mail (JUNK MAIL) “has become the lifeblood of the U.S. Postal Service and that jobs depend on it.” Hmm. The end of junk mail will jeopardize the jobs of thousands. In hard economic times like these or in any time, the loss of a job is not preferred. So, keep the junk mail coming?Unless your child is disciplined beyond his years, a trip to the bank or post office involves picking up several “paper souvenirs” including brochures, deposit slips, etc. If these items make it to the car, the next stop for them is usually the garbage can. We start early with how we treat paper.There may never be a day where paper waste doesn’t occur, but there are several things we can do to promote better uses (or none at all) of paper. If you are tired of receiving catalogs from “Bob’s Meat Shack,” when you’re a vegetarian or home decorating catalogs when your best piece of furniture is a tattered couch hanging on from your college days of 17 years ago, then make a choice and decide “what gets in.” If catalogs are not the problem, but regular junk mail is, then you can “get paid” to reduce it yourself or pay Green Dimes to do it for you.All it takes is a few minutes to dispose of your paper in a recycling container so it can be recycled. If you do not have curbside pick-up, then you can always find a local recycling center. If you work outside your home, then hopefully, your office already has a recycling program. If not, then learn how to start one and become a ”green trend setter.” Many schools are already participating in recycling programs and it is a great way to involve children in the recycling process and educate them on consumption reduction.As far as junk E-mail, if anyone comes up with ways to reduce if not eliminate, then please let me know.[...]



The Tree That Started it All (I Hope)

2009-05-06T00:03:45.091-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]We had so much fun completing this mission that we will be planting more trees later this year. I was also inspired to go ahead and start another herb garden of which I'll write more about later.As usual, I had three willing and eager workers who were ready to work on and complete this project. They were already making plans for the "fruit of their labor."We picked up a Fuji apple tree at a local nursery. Fuji apples are a red, mixed breed (Red Delicious and Rawls Jennet) apple with a sweet and crispy taste. The Little Green Secrets (LGS) mission crew go through many of these apples in a week when they're in season.Dad also joined us and we appreciate his "heavy and very strong hands" because there was alot of digging. We send a special THANK YOU! to Dad for his help because we were able to find every tool except the one he needed to dig the very deep hole. Dad had to flex his muscles and work really hard. This mission took a little longer than expected. I bet if we had let them continue to dig, then they would have dug a large enough hole by themselves. I will put that hard work to use next week to pull weeds. Somehow, it will become a school lesson. I manage to turn anything into a school lesson.Once the hole was ready, the tree plopped right into place. A lot of hard word for a simple finish. After that, the LGS mission crew finished up with organic soil and water to give our new tree a healthy start.We are quite pleased with our little tree. All of us are looking forward to enjoying local and pesticide free apples from our tree by walking outside to our backyard. Now, how to keep the deer from doing the same? [...]



Behind the Vegetarian Learning Curve

2009-05-06T00:03:26.160-07:00

[I've moved to http://milkandhoneymommy.com/. Please visit me there!]It is finally here! My copy of The Vegan Lunch Box - FIRST EDITION.Yes, first edition and it does matter when there are copies being sold for more than $100. No, I am not one of those who paid the “new retail” price, but I did pay more than the original price of $22.95 and I’m happy to own it. I still can't get over the fact that I am just now reading the book, as well as the blog that started it all more than three years ago. Jennifer blogged about the vegan meal creations for her son, James Henry, who was entering the first grade. She wasn’t worried about picking out the popular notebook, colorful #2 pencils, or making sure he was dressed in the latest fashions as he started back to school. Jennifer was more concerned with what her young son, who had grown up eating a vegan diet, would eat and want to eat while being surrounded by new and tempting “food” that was less nutritious and being offered in his school cafeteria.Those concerns were eventually proved unnecessary and you will see why as you read through her blog (which works for me as a companion to the book), which show pictures (yea – I love pictures) that may convert even the hard core carnivore, a write up and summary of the meal, and James’ “critique” of what mom prepared for lunch that day. The meals are packed and served in traditional Bento style which has been popularized in recent years by Laptop Lunches, a company that promotes waste-free lunches.As a homeschooling mom, my children will not be tempted by the possible less than nutritious offerings of a public school cafeteria, but they could be tempted by the same if I fail to offer them healthy foods at home. Because I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian (I do eat fish occasionally), my children get more fruit and vegetables by default because I don’t know how to cook meat, other than baked chicken and scrambled eggs, and I cook and serve what I know. Fortunate for them and easy for me.I was a little disappointed because I was hoping there were more pictures, but I’ll settle for the pictures Jennifer offers on her blog. My oldest starts his first official school year (more on that later – another blog) this fall and we will use as many of the meals as we can. There are quite a few recipes I can't wait to try and some of them will be served as dinner meals.An updated version of the book is due to be released within the next month, so you won’t have to worry about locating, and paying the price, for a first edition copy to learn how to create your own vegan lunchbox.[...]