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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday at the Cathedral

This past Sunday the Granola Catholic Family went to the Cathedral so that G could profess his faith and sign his oath of fidelity to the Bishop. The final step before his ordination as a Catholic Deacon.

Be sure to come back in two short weeks as we celebrate G’s ordination to the Catholic Deaconate.

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In My Neck of the Woods - Holiday Trip to Urgent Care

In My Neck of the Woods a holiday means something different. It means someone is going to get hurt/sick and need a trip to Urgent Care or heaven forbid even the ER, because even the Urgent Care is closed.  Yes they close early on holidays.
IMG_4806This holiday it was Pumpkin’s turn to make the visit. She was quite insistent about it too. She got an early start to the holiday trips too. On Thursday she looked like she had been ‘SMACKED’  with a branch across her face while romping in the woods.(1) Then at practice that night she tweaked her wrist doing back tucks. Possible sprain, but that is nothing new for her.  But wait that’s not all 

(2)The red mIMG_4764ark on her face became this a beautiful case of poison ivy. So after church Sunday morning off to Urgent Care we went. Steroids for Pumpkin, to calm her angry face down. Her face swelled up so bad this pic is as open as her eye would get. But wait that’s not all
Because on Memorial Day, she was putting puppies in the house and closing the sliding glass door. (3) She forgot to take her finger out of the door and slammed it closed on her finger. IMG_4794-2Did you know that frozen vegetables make great cold compresses? I thought we may be making another trip to Urgent Care but after some ice –corn  and some ibuprophen she was fine. Halleluiah

For more great In my Neck of the Woods stories check out The Real Housewives of Oklahoma

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Treating Poison Ivy Naturally

Peanut has come down with a good case of poison ivy. It just  would not be a holiday around our house unless someone ends up at Urgent Care. Thank God for Urgent Care.
IMG_4764What has started out looking like she was hit by a passing branch while walking through the woods has undoubtedly become a nice case of poison ivy. Until today when her eye started swelling shut we were using natural treatments for poison ivy. Today it was necessary to bring in the big guns. (the steroids). We like to avoid prescription drugs as much as we can here. Following the adage. First do no harm.

So how do we treat poison ivy naturally?
  • Wash the afflicted area thoroughly, some swear by Dawn dish detergent. But any good soap will do. Do this as soon as you suspect poison ivy.
  • Apply Aloe Vera to help soothe the skin
  • Jewel Weed , usually grows near poison ivy and can be crushed and applied to the skin. In our case Peanut got poison ivy from the dogs. So we are not sure where to find the jewel weed.
  • Rhus tox is a homeopathic remedy that people find success with. The stores around here are out of so be sure to get yours and have it on hand before you need it.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar makes a soothing wash and helps stop the itch – (what doesn’t vinegar work for?)
  • Tea Tree Oil –dilute it in a carrier oil like olive or almond and rub into affected area.
  • Oatmeal – make a paste it helps the skin heal. If the poison ivy is over a large area take a bath with oatmeal.
  • Baking Soda seems to help many who suffer from poison ivy
  • Cold compresses
  • Salt Water - an old fashion remedy for sure. My grandmother's favorite was to take someone to the beach and let them soak in the ocean. Since we live in the middle of the continent, the ocean is out of the question but a salt water treated pool certainly helps. 
So what did we do? We used all of these except the Rhus tox (did I tell you they are OUT of it all around town?). I will be ordering some. And since her eye started to swell shut we went to Urgent Care and she was prescribed a steroid, but wait. No pharmacy in town carried her dosage. They won’t have it for two more days. So we are continuing with the natural treatments until we can get her started on the steroids and she can see again. Poor child she is falling apart.

Easy Black Bean Rice with Mango and Snow Peas

We try to eat healthy at the Granola Catholic home. But it is important that it is quick and easy too.  This dish uses leftover brown rice. I always make a big batch so that there are leftovers, frozen mango and canned organic black beans
  • Organic Canned Black Beans – rinsed
  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • sautéed onion
  • Frozen mango- it is easier to cut than fresh and readily available at most supermarkets
  • Snow Peas

  1. Dice and Sauté onions in olive oil.
  2. While onions are cooking drain and rinse the black beans.
  3. Dice the mango, the chunks will be a little large
  4. Remove the strings from the snow peas
  5. Mix all the ingredients
  6. Enjoy.
total prep time about 10 minutes if using pre-cooked brown rice.

For more great Real Food Recipes check out  Traditional Tuesday's, and  Real Food Wednesday Beauty and Bedlam Tasty Tuesday Traditional Tuesday'sThe Local Cook

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What you need to know before you go–Memorial Day

Many of us are heading out to celebrate with friends and family today, lots of food, swimming and fun . But before you go here are some things you should know.
  1. Drowning does not look like what you think

2. Bacteria does not take a Holiday.
Any food you transport needs to transported at the right temperature. For uncooked meats that is under 40 degrees. Use a separate cooler with plenty of ice. For fully cooked meat it needs to be chilled before transporting.

3. The Sun Does not take a Holiday and you can still get a Sunburn even if it is Cloudy
Even if it is cloudy you need sunscreen for your family.  There has been quite a discussion lately over on Growing a Green Family about which sunscreen gives you the most bang for your buck. But the best sunscreen in my opinion is a physical one. Use clothing as a sunblock. Hat, SPF cover up. Even a light weight long sleeve shirt.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

It is not just a day for picnics, barbeques  and pool parties.  The holiday has it origins after the Civil War as decoration day. Take a moment today to remember the reason for the day, to honor those who have fallen protecting our freedoms.
flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields
Col. John McCrae.

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Perfect Pairings

“Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.  They do not work or spin.  But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them."  (Matthew 6:28-29)

for more perfect pairings go to Perfect Pairings at That's Baloney
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baptism What do Catholic’s Believe?

family pictures 075
My  extended family is gathering this weekend for a blessed event in a Catholic Family the baptism or christening of my new nephew. How I wish we could be there. It is a cause of celebration in the life of a Catholic Family. Many baptisms are celebrated in the context of the Mass. This extends the celebration to the church family too.
Why do Catholics Baptize?
  • Christ Himself ordered His disciples to preach the Gospel to all nations and to baptize those who accept the message of the Gospel. In His encounter with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), Christ made it clear that baptism was necessary for salvation: "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." For Catholics, the sacrament is not a mere formality; it is the very mark of a Christian, because it brings us into new life in Christ.
  • Baptism erases all sins (both original sin and personal sin) and their punishments. If one were to die immediately after Baptism, he would go straight to Heaven
  • Baptism marks a person as belonging to God, it initiates him into the life of the church.
  • Baptism infuses sanctifying grace, supernatural gifts, and virtues making us true adopted children of God.

So why do Catholics Baptize Babies?

  • Simple: to remove original sin. Because of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace all humans are born with the mark of original sin. The sin of Adam and Eve. Baptism gives a baby a clean slate to start life.
  • Because of the greatness of the eternal gift that is received during the Sacrament of Baptism, the Church does not desire to see anyone die without receiving this Sacrament.
  • Because infant Baptism is a long standing tradition of the Church. Baptism and  has been practiced from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning when whole "households" received baptism, infants may also have been baptized," (Acts 16:15,33; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16).
  • Since baptism removes both the guilt and the punishment due to Original Sin, delaying baptism until a child can understand the sacrament may put the child's salvation in danger, should he die unbaptized.

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In my Father’s Garden


This weeks in my garden is a salute to my Dad. He would have ben 73 this year. In addition to raising three kids, having a successful business and building his own house, he and and my mom landscaped a beautiful yard. He was always going off on adventures and finding new plants and trees to put in the yard. He was a fan of rocks and when each one of his kids moved into their very own homes he made sure we all got our rock. My own yard still shows signs of him. Happy Birthday Dad.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Choosing Sunscreen for the Family.


With Memorial Day and a long weekend upon us many are making plans to go out to lakes, beaches and pools most will be packing some sunscreen along. So what is a concerned mom to do? How do you know what sunscreen is best and how do you choose one for your family?  Just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend EWG (Environmental Working Group) has come out with it’ new sunscreen recommendations for 2011. Though the jury is out on the effectiveness of sunscreens still and the question is still  should you use sunscreen? 
Check out the new recommended list from EWG. At least check to make sure your current sunscreen is NOT on the The Hall of Shame List.
Did you know that manufacturers recommend using a shot glass sized handful – 1 oz.  each time you apply sunscreen. And that you need to reapply it every time you sweat or swim? A normal sized bottle would not last my family a day at the lake or pool or beach by those recommendations. SPF rating are NOT true either. Some studies have shown that people commonly apply only 1/2 to 1/4 of the amount recommended to achieve the rated sun protection factor (SPF), and in consequence the effective SPF should be downgraded to a square or 4th root of the advertised value.
So what are you to do this weekend? Everyone wants to kick off summer and do so safely.
EWG recommends as do I recommends
  • AVOIDING  products with
    • oxybenzone
      Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
      Added insect repellent
  • Instead LOOK for products with
    • Zinc
      Titanium dioxide
      Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX
  • Don’t waste your time on  sprays and powders, the nano particles can get in your lungs or SPF above 50+(the have not been proven more effective). Instead look for creams, sunscreens with UVA and UVB protection. You want a product that is water-resistant for beach, pool & exercise and preferably a SPF 30
  • When in doubt cover up. Everyone should have a good swim cover. long sleeves is best. Sun protective clothing is always a good bet for those active outdoors family members. But an umbrella or a tent at the beach is better.
  • Small children can go inside during the peak sun hours. With infants be sure to follow recommendations for sunscreen. 
  • Be sue to test your sunscreen. Many kids are allergic to one or more components in the mix.  Sun protective clothing is always a good bet for those active outdoors family members.

Pretty Happy Funny Real

This week was our first week of Summer Break.  To start the week off we went downtown to a couple of Art Festivals.


T-town had some pretty clouds that day that later became storm clouds over Joplin. IMG_4603IMG_4572IMG_4580

I really thought these sculptures were funny.
. IMG_4562


G and I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time. I like to use the good wine glasses.  G – well take a look and see.
Go to Like Mother Like Daughter to see more

round button chicken

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Dozen Frugal and Green Birthday Party Ideas

Family Pictures - 11-09 013
We have a lot of spring birthdays here at the Granola Catholic House. So I have been in full swing of party planning for the last 2 months.  Two kids parties, down one to go.
So how do we keep it frugal and green at the same time? Well it is not hard. Often the two go hand in hand. Here are some tried and tested ways to make your next birthday party a green one without spending a lot of green.

Twelve Great Frugal and Green Birthday Tips 
  1. Have an experience day birthday. Take the birthday child out for lunch a movie or concert. No packaging no wrapping paper.
  2. Give the attendees refillable water bottles. I recently found BPA free aluminum water bottles at a dollar store. I let the kids decorate their water bottles with stickers so they could tell who’s was who’s.
  3. Avoid the individual serving juice boxes and water bottles. For a recent party at the park I used one gallon water bottles and made the lemonade in the bottle
  4. Have the kids make their own favors. No plastic crap to take home that will break in a day.
  5. Wrap any gifts in newspaper, bandannas or cloth. The cloth and bandana can be reused several times.
  6. If you must use disposable plates and cups have the kids write their names on the cups so they can reuse the same cup. (Sharpies work real well for this) Or better yet use compostable plates and utensils Just be sure to throw in the compost pile afterwards and not regular trash. 
  7. Use online invitations Evite  is a great source. Or make your own at home
  8. If having an at home party vs. at the park use real plates, cups and silverware. You save money while reducing your environmental footprint
  9. Cloth tables are a nicer and classier alternative to paper or plastic ones. If you can’t find one you like can buy cloth to coordinate or a bed sheet. Twin size sheets work well on most table sizes.
  10. Have a smaller birthday party, If you school permits it you don’t have to invite every kid in the class. This will cut down on the waste you produce
  11. Bake your own cake at home, you can really customize the cake, from ingredients to frosting to decorations.
  12. Don’t fuss over theme parties, most kids are just happy to have a cake, play a couple of games and open presents.  (Summer Parties are made easy with the addition of water- Pumpkin lucks out with a pool party most years- easy entertaining for me too.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What to know before you go to the farmer’s market.

In my family the going to the farmers market is an adventure. But what do you need to know before you go?

What to know before you
  • Be sure to take cash small bills work best. Most vendors don’t take credit or debit cards. Although they will take SNAP benefits at our local markets.
  • Bring your own bags, some vendors have bags but don’t count on it. It is better to have a big bag to put all of your purchases in.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Weekend markets can be quite large and entail a bit of walking
  • People will bring their dogs so don’t be surprised. Remember you are outside
  • It is okay to ask for samples, in fact many vendors are trying to give you one.
  • Have an idea of what you want to buy but keep an open mind. Today we bought garlic scrapes. Peanut was eating them raw while walking through the market. I put them into my homemade tomato  sauce.
  • It is okay to ask vendors how they like to cook the vegetables, if you have never bought that particular vegetable it is a good idea to ask for ideas.
  • Have an idea of what you want to buy, but be open to surprises. Like the strawberries that were there today.
  • Have a sense of adventure. Think about the farmer’s market through the eyes of your child. My kids think it is about as fun as any festival. Usually it is. Saturday markets may have musicians, the local news, freebies for kids and samples.
  • Speaking of kids – let your kids help pick out some of the purchases. This is a great time to teach them about quality, vegetables, or just get some insight into what they may be interested in eating.


Even for early in the season there was still plenty to get.
I was so happy to find early garlic today. And Pumpkin asked me to get Rainbow Chard. He wants to try it raw. The snow peas will probably be eaten raw straight from the fridge. And I can’t wait to cook up our grass fed ground beef. Such a good price too. $3.00/lb.  You will have to come back to see what I made with all these goodies.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I gave the camera to  Pi  took off with my camera this past Sunday. We were downtown at the Cathedral for  a confirmation mass. So we took advantage of that and went to a couple downtown arts festivals. Stormy Skies were brewing,. They  make great pictures, so does Art Deco Architecture. Put the two together = magic. Unfortunately.  these storms brought great destruction. While we were able to enjoy the beauty of these storm building storm clouds others were witness to the destruction.  By the time we got home and turned on the news to check the weather we found out that tornadoes were already bouncing around the area. Within a couple of hours an F5 (the strongest type with winds in excess of 216 - 318 mph) For a girl from the coast who is used to Hurricanes this wind speed is inconceivable.
If you are interested in donating or helping can go here  to help those affected Catholic Relief Services and Joplin Mo Tornado Recovery American Red Cross


My Neck of the Woods

In my neck of the woods we decided to get a coconut.
It was a very pretty coconut.
My two youngest wanted to open it. So G know just how to do that. OIMG_4438f course it involved power tools. He drilled a hole it in. We tried to drain the juice/milk. But it was all dried up.  Now we had a coconut with a hole it in. But we could not open it. So what do you think my family did next? They did what any right minded family would do. They took it outside to throw it at the patio.


It was Moldy on the inside. Yuck!
Did I mention that I had bought this coconut before Easter?
So what did my kids do with the coconut? They gave it to the dogs to play with. Coconut Shells make great chew toys- they last forever. Well much longer than any other toy we give the labs.


For more great In My Neck of the Woods stories head on over to the great ladies at The Real House Wives of Oklahoma


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