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Monday, January 23, 2012

Cleaning Gardener’s Hands

image credit
What to do when your Hands Look Dirty Like This
I am an avid gardener, both vegetable and flower beds. One consequence of this avocation is that my hands dry out easily, they are in dirt a lot and with the constant washing it tends to dry them out more. Over the years I have tried a variety of things to alleviate this dryness and rid myself of the ground in dirt that seems to be constant on my hands. Some of these remedies work better than others but I bet they include things already i n your home.
  • A little liquid soap. I will coat my hands with a little liquid soap, like Castile Soap, but a non-allergic liquid dish soap would work well too. When I started doing this I noticed that it not only made my hands easier to clean because the dirt was on top of the soap, it helped to cut down on the contact dermatitis.
  • Olive oil and honey. I like to use this after I come in from gardening after rinsing the castile soap and dirt off my hands I will continue to wash them with a mixture of 50% olive oil 50% honey. The oil helps to emolliate and cleanse at the same time, while the honey helps to clean, act as an antibacterial and  humectant, thus sealing in the moisture.
  • An olive oil sea salt scrub, I just mix a little olive oil and sea salt on my hands and work it in, rinse off when you feel you have removed the dirt. Alternatively you can use oatmeal or brown sugar to scrub with.

I tend to open my cupboard and see what is readily available to scrub my hands with. It is not too important to me what I use as long as it is something I would eat it is safe for my skin.

How do you like to get your hands clean after working in the garden?

this post is linked up with Seasonal Celebrations at Natural Mothers NetworkHomestead Blog Hop

Friday, January 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes

It is Friday so I am linking up to Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes.

This week I got an opportunity to embarrass my teenager. I did not mean to embarrass her but nonetheless it happened. You might remember last week I wrote about the upcoming auditions they had for the school musical.  My oldest. Pi was to sing Do-Re-Mi. I happened to be in the classroom next to the drama room during her audition, and since I was doing some tutoring I was lucky enough to hear her sing through the walls, so I stepped out and peered through the closed door, just in time to catch my daughter sit down and see me. She was a little embarrassed until I told her it was hard not hear her as she was able to project her voice. – No microphone necessary for that one.
American Idol has started back up. When Pi was little she wanted to go on American Idol and be famous. As it turns out we happen to have a less than 6 degrees separation with a famous Idol winner. It turns out that all 3 of my child have had as the best kindergarten teacher the must wonderful sister of Carrie Underwood. That is right, our brush with almost fame.
Do you ever play the game 6 degrees of separation? For us this is a fun game. We usually start with my sister in law as our first step or the kindergarten teacher. It really is true. You can be only 6 steps away from just about anyone in the world. In fact I have run into people in the most amazing places, only to to find out we had a mutual friend. Quite often we will be traveling or off for the day and run into someone that either my husband or I know. We have our children convinced that they can not travel in the state of Oklahoma or many other states without running into someone that knows their parents. I would like to keep it this way.
Seriously it is hard for my husband or I to go places without running into someone we know. I was in college on Spring Break in the Bahamas at a remote resort. The only person I knew, or so I thought, was my college roommate who went with me. One day, a voice from the pool called out my mother’s name. (People often called me by my mother’s rather unique name.) It was someone from my hometown, someone I had not seen since I was in 6th grade.  My mother was once in Germany and ran into someone she had mutual friends with.
My mother in law who was in a car accident last month finally got to leave the hospital after a month in the ICU Trauma, now the therapy can begin. She has already made more progress than doctors even thought possible. Thank you everyone for your prayers Miracles truly do happen.
We are moving into a season of simplicity for us here. I have been striving for more simplicity for years. Sometimes living simply is not easy, it means giving up things, things like TV time, material possessions, over burdened schedules, but in return I receive more family time, well rested kids, and a quiet candle lit evening to reconnect with my husband. What aspect of your life would you like to simplify? Why wait start now?
Two weeks ago I started on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live program. I would like to report that except where I slipped up and had some Nutella, I have had great success. Losing weight effortlessly, more energy and auto immune issues clearing up. Much to my dismay Nutella has diary, and dairy is a no-no on the Fuhrman plan but more importantly, the dairy causes me problems. I guess I will have to find another way to get my chocolate.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Praying for a Miracle


For those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook you know that our family suffered a setback. Back in December my mother in law was walking across the street when she was hit by a pick up truck. She has extensive injuries. Doctors and nurses are cautious in their prognosis.  At this point there is not much that can be done, she has made it through multiple surgeries and is recovering from them well, but there is still a long way to go.  My husband has found renewed hope in Blessed Fr. Francis Xavier Seelos.
We have decided to take some holy dirt from Chimayo New Mexico down to see if that helps. Chimayo is called the Lourdes of America, the dirt from the back room is said to cure physical and spiritual ailments. Deacon G and I traveled there some time ago, and stumbled upon the church, not realizing how special a place it was. We had been camping in New Mexico and were taking the scenic route to Santa Fe.  When we happened upon this old church we got out to explore. When we learned of the miracles and of the holy dirt we rushed back to our car to find a receptacle for the dirt. We have kept that same dirt in the original baggy in a vase we bought on that trip on a book shelf.  It is that same dirt that will be brought down to my mother in law.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes

I am trying out a new to me diet, in an attempt to clear up some health problems and potentially lose weight. (Which I seriously need to do). If you have not already read about it here you can do so. But in a quick summary it is a gluten-free, dairy free vegetarian diet. Now I have been vegan before and I have been eating gluten free for some time, but never at the same time. After a week of dipping my toe into this diet, meaning I did not know all the requirements I have lost 2lbs without even trying or ever being hungry. I KNOW! I am aiming for a 6 week reboot on this program that, that will be enough to change detox my body. For some it is not and I will have to go to the next step; Juicing for Life.
Thanks for all your prayers for my mother in law, Judy Stice. She is slowly improving. The doctors are not that positive but only time will tell what sort of recovery she will make.
Keeping my mother in law in mind, my husband has ordered some relics from Blessed Selios and has her on a prayer list at the shrine. He has been attributed to some miracles lately. Now is the time to pull out the big guns. She was strong enough to make it this far, through 4 surgeries now we need her mind to get strong.
My daughters are auditioning for their first musical, at school. Right now I have two songs stuck in my head, at the same time. So to get them out I am giving them to you. My youngest is singing this song. It is so appropriate for her personality voice and the fact that even though she is 11 she is still very much a little kid.

Narnia–The Call
Now if my little Peanut can just get past her bashfulness. It would be easier for her to perform on a stage in front of an audience than to audition in front of her friends. And she has a perfectly lovely voice when she can find it.


Pi has a beautiful voice and when we were looking for songs for her the best choices were blues or classical. Think church music or Adele. Yup my 13 year old sounds like that. In looking for churchy music that would be sellable we settled upon The Sound of Music. My oldest is now s going around the house singing Do-Re –Mi from the Sound of Music, she is doing her best Julie Andrews impression there too. But what gets me going is that she does not sound like a little kid, she has a full voice and knows how to use it . I on the other hand sound like a dying frog when I sing.  An interesting fact. My sister in law’s aunt was once the personal chef for Julie Andrews. Yup, we are hoping to get an introduction one day.
As I write this is is Friday the 13th. The first of 3 this year. Are you superstitious? Many people have a real fear of Friday the 13th.  There are so many legends and superstitions about Friday 13th. instead of going into them here I am just going to avoid walking under a ladder while carrying a black cat. How about you, how do you feel about Friday the 13th?
I am a happy flea, today I took care of those little things that make me happy, like getting the oil changed in my car and getting a cord of wood delivered. For those who do not know I heat my house with wood.  Of course, now that I have had the wood delivered the next week will be in the 60’s and 50’s.
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pretty or Hot? What do You want your Girls To Be?

 A while ago a friend sent me a link to this blog post at the National Catholic Register.  The Death of Pretty.  In it Pat Archbold of Creative Minority Report  defines pretty as “ a mutually enriching balanced combination of beauty and projected innocence.” He laments the disappearance of pretty. Girls no longer want to be a pretty princess. They want to be HOT.  Just last week I heard two little girls singing the Pussy Cat Dolls Song “Don’t You Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me?”  and they knew the all the words.
One upon a time ago little girls wanted to be a Princess now they are bombarded with media images that are of a different sort.  When I was a girl We had toys that looked like this.
/Now Holly Hobby  and her friends look like this.

Not only is it Holly Hobby but if you have not watched cartoon lately and you have little girls, or even little boys you should at least check them out. Dresses are getting shorter, and bodies are curvier.

So what does this have to do with pretty?

Girls of all ages, yes from 3-33 emulate those images that they see in the media. It is up to us to educate our son’s and daughter’s as to what is appropriate. When my girls were young I used to define appropriate clothes to go to town or church as those that were not stained or torn (We do live on a farm.) Now we discuss hem lengths and how people perceive you when you dress in particular manners
After reading the  post in The my daughters and I had a discussion as to what is popular attire today. We picked the Khardasians vs. Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.  In Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn is iconic and considered classy by today’s standards. While she is scheming and trying to find a rich husband she still exudes a certain innocence.
audrey hepburn
Lets compare that to the Kardashians.  They seem to be dressed a bit more proactively even for daily appearances.  In 50 years we have gone from Audrey Hepburn to Kim Khardasian?

Kim Kardashian

What can We Do?
We can talk to our daughters and our son’s and let them know what is appropriate dress not only for Church but school, running errands and     . Talk to your daughters about how beauty important but more important than beauty is how they act. Dressing nicely does not mean you have to spend a lot of money for clothes, it means dressing in a way that does not embarrass your family,
Do you have standards on how to dress for your children or how to dress for yourself? If you are interested in further reading Here are some great resources.
Clothed Much – a great Fashion Blog by a young lady you shares modest clothing
Pigtail Pals – a blog dedicated to Redefining Girly and Keeping our little girls little girls
 Does It Matter How you Dress for Church
Why I Wear Dresses and Skirts
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Trying out New Diets

veggie body

I believe that I have tried just about every type of diet out there. From Whole Foods, to High Protein, to Gluten Free to Vegan.  Now I have decided to embark on perhaps the most dramatic of all dietary choices I have undertaken thus far.
For the past few months I have been researching various diets trying to find one that might help me with some health issues I that have been plaguing me. I have looked at diets ranging from GAPS, to Specific Carbohydrate. I have settled on Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live Program.
I feel as if I have tried parts of this diet. For me it is a coming home of sorts. Back before I had kids I was vegan, but I perhaps did not follow a very healthful diet. I ate white pasta and not enough of the slow carbs and vegetable proteins.  I have dabbled in it since adding whole grain foods but did not eat beans enough. Now with years of playing around with different food combinations I have the ability to combine food in a way that will be healthy for me.
I have committed to doing a 6 week plan, even though Dr. Fuhrman says that those who have auto immune issues should give the diet several months. Thanks to dietary changes I have made in the last year my symptoms have improved dramatically to the point that this week I was able to push back my appointment with the Rheumatologist 4 months, but I am hoping to heal my body even more.
Will it work? I don’t know but I have been inspired by Joe Cross who lived the experience of Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, I figure if he found success I might have a chance. Sure beats being on medication the rest of my life.
Bearing all that in mind I have started on the plan already but will be making the alterations for those with auto immune issues, for me that means in addition to eating
  • 1lb of fresh Veggies
  • 1lb of cooked veggies
  • 1 cup of beans
  • 4-5 servings of fruit a day
I will NOT be consuming any of the following,
  • meat
  • dairy
  • wheat
This diet while restrictive in that it is vegan, dairy free, gluten free and sugar free, is quite liberal in that it allows for almost as much fruit as I could want, and I love fruit of all types, especially fresh fruit in season.
Now do I recommend this diet for everyone? While some may consider it extreme for me it is a chance to reboot my body and enjoy some health I have been sorely missing. If you want to see exactly this program entails in its entirety check out Dr. Fuhrman

Monday, January 9, 2012

Minimizing Your Wardrobe

simple closet
January for many is a time to clean house, to declutter a fresh start for many. For me this is especially true.  While I am intrigued by the 3/33 movement.  I am not ready to go that far.  I do have a core wardrobe and it is liberating not to have too many clothes, but I am always looking for the hole in my wardrobe and looking to fill those up.
I will not be doing the 3 33 challenge anytime soon but I am doing one that is much simpler. I am turning my hangers around backwards in the closet. If in the course of the next three months I do not wear that article of clothing I will then reconsider that article of clothing. Now I understand that there may be some items that are not in season, but I am working on building a truly season-less wardrobe, one that I can wear year round.
As my wardrobe shrinks I am enjoying the ease at which I get dressed in the morning, Having just 3 pairs of jeans means much less laundry, having just 4 skirts gives me more options believe it or not. My dresses are mostly sleeveless because I can pair them with a jacket or sweater for cooler weather or wearing them sleeveless in the summertime.
Is your closet overstuffed? Do you feel that you have too much clothing but never have anything to wear? If you are like me and not ready for the 33 Challenge, then you might try the backwards hanger trick. If anything it will challenge you to find ways to wear those clothes you thing you like but can never figure out how to wear.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

7 Quick Takes for the New Year

I have been so lax lately at writing on here. For those of you who keep up via Facebook and twitter thank you. We have had an intense Christmas Season this year.  Just as school was winding down and I was going to take a day to enjoy with my sweet Pi, my oldest, 13 year old daughter, who happens to be smart and was exempt from all of her finals; we get a phone call. You know the type. The life changing phone call. My mother in law had been in a car accident and my husband was now headed straight to the hospital, two hours away, to see her. So instead of heading off on a day of pre Christmas fun, my daughter and I started packing over night bags for everyone. My mother in law, Judy Stice. pulled through two transfers one to the hospital and one to the regional trauma center, she pulled through the first surgery to repair internal injuries to organs and pelvis. She has pulled through two more surgeries since.  There has been a lot of hand holding and praying.  Each day she is with us has been a miracle. The Doctors are cautioning us to be realistic in our expectations. But what does that really mean? 
Thank you so much everyone who has been praying for her and the family. Your prayers mean a lot.
It is a New Year and that means resolutions, but I don’t do resolutions. I just do. So far this year I have committed to a run a month with the family. We have already done our January Run. New Year’s Day. My son and I did a one mile fun run. (not so fun for me, as I am woefully out of shape), while my daughters did a 2 mile run with 4 Polar Bear Plunges. I would post some pictures. but we have not figured out the new camera that I got for Christmas.
I so love my kindle fire. Best Gift ever from the best husband ever, not only that he got me a new camera.I am watching Sense and Sensibility as I write this. {Insert happy noises here} My old camera is still in decent shape, but it was lacking in the telephoto department and the flash was not as strong as I wanted. I am so hoping the new camera lives up to expectations. I will let you know once I have it figured out.
Back to New Year’s Resolutions (which I don’t do, but this falls under that category for many)
After some deep research, I am embarking on a Nutritional Journey. Last fall I did a sugar detox. I am taking that back up again Starting tomorrow. If you would like to join me you can get your own eBook with all the instructions. Simply follow the link.
Not only am I doing the Sugar Detox, but along that I am doing a whole body detox. Some of you may remember that I have problems with Psoriatic Arthritis. In an attempt to clear it up, reverse it and get rid of it and stay off heavy medication I have been cleaning up my diet now for over 2 years. Along the way I have given up wheat, and adopted a gluten free diet, started eating pasture raised, grass fed animals  and added cultured foods like Kombucha to my diet.
Now I am going to start a 6 week detox program that will most likely supersede the sugar detox. I am going to be following Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live, this diet will be a vegan diet. Now this should not be too hard for me. I have reduced the amount of animal product I do eat and have been slowly increasing the amount of vegetables the last two weeks.  But folks I do not know if I am ready for eating 1 lb. of raw and 1lb of cooked vegetables a day. That my friends is a lot of food. But if it helps me get rid of the infernal rashes I will do it. I have already seen improvement on a gluten and sugar free diet, and 6 weeks is really not that long I managed to survive longer than that on the sugar detox.

Since we have decided to do a road race a month I have taken up my walking again, I have enjoyed our mild winter weather and gone out walking after school with my son each day. He is quite the talker when he gets you alone, that is without his sisters.  Who says boys don’t talk? And to think when he was 2 I was worried he would never talk.
Radom piece of information. I am so glad that braids are in style right now. I love braids, for me my daughters anyone. A braid is a quick fix to just about any hair problem/situation and looks nice on women of all ages.
Friday is the Feast of the Epiphany and in true Catholic form my tree is still up. We have undecorated it but it is still up and all the decorations are sitting outside the closet under the stairs door waiting for the lights to be taken off. I wonder how long we will keep the tree up?


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