Thursday, March 31, 2011

Making applesauce from scratch

I recenty began feeding Hudson baby food. We started with bananas, then moved to peaches & now applesauce. Of course I can't just buy applesauce so I decided to learn to make my own. It was really simple. Here are the steps.

Fill a medium pot with water & bring to a boil. Using 4 large apples (this will make 6 jars of baby food) peel, rinse & remove core. Cut into 1" pieces. Boil apples in water until soft.

In a seperate large pot fill 3/4 full of water & bring to boil. Add the canning jars & lids to water for a few minutes to sterlilize them. Remove with tongs wearing an oven mit. Let dry.

Remove apples & place in a food procesor with a few tablespoons of the water used to boil the apples. Add a pinch of sugar & purée until smooth.

Add the applesauce to the glass jars & secure the lids, not closing them real tight yet. Place the full jars back in the boiling water and remain for 5 minutes. Remove & wait for the lids to pop & cool. Place in the fridge.
Feed to this guy asap.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

I adore these urban chicken coops from Seattle based Kippen House. The owner is a former architect that became obsessed with creating the perfect chicken coop. She was inspired by her Dutch heritage to create a modernized version of the traditional coop. They cost about $875.00 and can be ordered online at KippenHouse.

Once in a Blue Moon

The moon will be pretty incredible tonight according to NASA & a bunch of other really bright folks. It is called a super perigee, which basically means the moon will be bigger & brighter. This is pretty special considering the next time this will occur is in 2029 & the last time it occurred was in 1993. The best time to view this super charged moon is at sunset.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What do Disney & Dioxin have in common?

Did you know that 60% of what you put on your baby's skin is absorbed into his bloodstream within minutes?
Me neither. And yet I put lotions, oils, baby wipes, diapers & clothes on Hudson daily. I started to wonder each time I wanted to lather him up in his lavender scented baby lotion, what was I really putting into his chubby little body?

I needed to know. I decided to start by understanding the one thing he always has on. Diapers.Well, most of the time since he is an avid nudist. What exactly were in his puffy little white diapers other than the cute little Mickey Mouse on the front? 
According to Live Strong, the chemicals that are found in diapers range from polyethylene and polypropylene plastic with bleached paper pulp, AGM (a gelling substance), petrolatum, stearyl alcohol, cellulose tissue, elastic, and perfume.

OK, so what does all that all mean?

Most disposable diapers are bleached white with chlorine, resulting in a byproduct called dioxins. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and are listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic chemicals. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to dioxins may cause skin reactions and altered liver function, as well as impairments to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system and reproductive functions. (From Live

I really am still not understanding all of this.....diapers are for little tiny babies that we keep indoors for months after they are born so they don't get sick & rush to rinse of their pacifers each time it falls on the carpet. Why would their be a chemical as insane as Dioxin in this fragile little person's diaper? 60% of which is going to be absorbed into their blood stream. Surely diaper companies are not doing this. There is an entire government out there that protects & controls them, right? And what about ethics & mom's? I can't be the only one with these questions.
I went over to the Huggies website to prove this ridiculous notion was all just some eco-conspiracy. I looked for the ingredieants of the diapers, an explanation, something to understand all this. When I clicked on the regular diaper that I would normally not think twice off buying, this is what the description read;
  • Unlike other brands, HUGGIES® Snug & Dry Diapers have a SnugFit* waistband and unique tabs for a secure fit  
  • A unique layer to lock wetness away and help keep your baby dry  
  • Adorable graphics featuring Mickey & Friends Disney designs  
Disney Friends? Secure Fit? How about cancer??? Dioxin??? HELLO!!! Who gives a (insert a not so good word here) about Disney characters or a waistband? I was missing something, I had to keep looking. And then I found it.

This is the answer to all those crazy mom questions about chemicals, cancers & dioxin.  
A Caribbean Island vacation. 
This is what I need. Are you kidding me? They don't list the ingredients of their products but promote some ridiculous island vacation?  What is the big secret? What are they trying to hide?

According to this article written by T. Washko at Diaper Jungle, even if you need to know what is in the diapers due to a health concern for you baby you still have to fight to know. He writes,

"Even when contacting them to determine if your child might have sensitivities to the "ingredients" in their diapering products, you will not get any closer to the truth. Instead, they tell you that this information is proprietary due to the prevalence of diapering spies out there and that if you want further information about the contents you must submit a letter from your doctor explaining what allergies or product sensitivities your child might have and they will either confirm or deny. The extent of the security that exists around the contents of a diapering product is not only baffling but alarming".
I need my doctor to send a note to figure out what is in the diapers that I am buying? Seriously? What are they hiding?  This is the letter thatT. Washko wrote as if the diaper company had to really respond to the consumers.

Dear Customer,

Our diapers are made from a variety of non-child friendly products including bleached paper pulp, petrolatum, stearyl alcohol, cellulose tissue, sodium polyacralate, and perfumes. Some or all of these ingredients may cause adverse reactions to the wearer, including reduced respiratory function, so please exercise appropriate caution when using our product.

Our products are not biodegradable or environmentally friendly and they may contribute greatly to environmental pollution. Although recycling disposable diapers is a possibility, we do not, at this time, use any of these available methods as the monetary costs are too great. Thank you kindly for using our products anyway.

A Large Disposable Diaper Company

Chemicals are in lots of things and nobody ever really gets hurt. SURE. Come to find out, lots of people get hurt. So much so that Sodium Polyacrylate (the gel in diapers) was removed from tampons becuase too many women experienced toxic shock syndrome. If a baby happens to ingest Sodium Polyacrylate, they could die. Death in humans have occured when just 5 grams were swallowed. Parents & others have reported the following problems with diapers to the Consumer Protection Agency;
  • Chemical Burns
  • Noxious Odors
  • Babies pulling diapers apart & putting pieces in their nose & mouth
  • Choking
  • Plastic melting onto skin
  • Skin ink staining                                                                                Courtesy of The Birth Source.
OK so maybe these are in extreme cases. I can see that. But if there were 5 ways to drive to the store & one of those ways had the possibility of totalling my car & killing my family, then I would simply avoid that option. That's how I feel about diapers now. Maybe it wont burn Hudson's skin or give him cancer, but what if it could or does? Why would I even risk it? For convenience. Yeah, that's a good answer.

Sorry Hudson, you can't play soccer cause you have to get chemo. Mommy was super busy when you were a baby & even though I knew cancer was an option, I decided to play the odds. 

His 5 year old response would & should be. You suck mom. 

Now onto finding out about cloth diapers.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Detoxification...yes please!

I love ridding my self of toxins. Before this whole organic lifestyle thing I thought getting a massage was the best way. I understood how your body gets stressed out & forms little knots of tension & a massage works out those knots by increasing blood flow to the area, breaking up toxins & b asically making you feel better. I also knew that it really important to drink lots of water after a massage because all of those toxins that were attached to parts inside your body are now floating around & the water will flush them all out.

Now I am learning about all the internal detoxiffications you need to do because of the chemicals in food, the environment & all that Taco Bell I ate in high school. According to Natural Awakenings Magazine, here a a few symptons that may mean you need to detox your body.

  • Chronic tension in the neck & shoulders
  • Feeling Tired & sleepy after eating
  • Waking between the hours of 1 & 3 am
Did you know that without at leas one bowl movement a day waste remains in the intestines & the body reabsorbs some of that waste causing headaches, fatigue & foggy thinking. A bowel movement if your body's way of flushing out toxins. You can do this daily by adding a few things to a routine.
  • Deep breathing for 10-15 minutes twice a day
  • Increase vegetables, fruits, & whole grain to add fiber to increase bowel movements.
  • Exercise so your skin can secrete toxins. Skin is the largest organ of our bodies! Who knew?
  • Drink lots of water so you are constantly emptying your bladder
  • Each morning for 2 weeks drink hot lemon water. The antioxidant D-limonine in lemon thins bile & is helpful in breaking down fat trapping toxins.
  • Sip on cran-water - about 64 ounces a day. Mix one ounce unsweetened cranberry juice & seven ounces of water & drink through out the day. Cranberry helps to balance PH, suppress hunger & combat cellulite & water retention, while drawing out fatty wastes by targeting lymph (a secondary circulatory system beneath the skin that works to rid the body of toxic wastes, bacteria, heavy metals, dead cells, trapped proteins & fat). Sipped daily, this antioxidant helps reduce bloating & melt fat from hips, thighs & waist. 
I am starting all of this right away. As I type I have been sipping on cran-water. Bring on the melting & untrapping!

The power of Lavender

I met this girl named Jacks at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia that is studying herbs. She was working at a shop called Herbiary and began to educate me about, yes, you guessed it, herbs. I really didn't know what I was in for but I ended up leaving with 2 oils, one called "Chill Out" & another for Hudson's stomach issues as well as dried lavender, chamomile & 2 all natural teas made for women going through postpartum or monthly PMS symptoms. And some white sage to burn in the house.

We immediately burned the white sage after praying together as a family. White Sage is an ancient practice in several religions and civilizations used to remove negativity from one's environment. I started drinking my tea and adding drops of oil to water. All these things seem to be adding a sense of calm & peace to our house. That & the TV is hardly ever on. As a family we have been sleeping better, laughing more & talking to one another more. I needed to find out more about all these herbs. It all seems very logical. Why would God make thousands of species of plants if not for some reason? I decided to start somewhere and picked lavender to begin studying up on. I was amazed at all the things this super herb can do. I began using it in the bath, placed it around the house in little containers, made sachets & put it in all our pillows. I borrowed this list from Herbal Med's Online. It contains the various things that lavender helps with. 
  •  Place lavender in pillows and bedding to assist restless people to fall asleep.  
  • Scientific studies have now proven that aromatherapy with lavender slows down the activity of the nervous system, thereby promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality. 
  • Massage with lavender essential oil increases mental capacity and creates a more stable mood in people suffering from anxiety.  
  • Adding lavender oil to a pre-bedtime bath can soothe your nerves and help you to relax.

  • In certain European countries, lavender has been approved as a tea to relieve restlessness, insomnia and stomach irritations.

  • Lavender essential oil is used in inhalation therapy to relieve headaches and exhaustion, and when added to bathwater, it has been proven to relieve muscle aches and pain.

  • Gels containing lavender extract are commercially available and bring relief to people suffering from the pain of rheumatic conditions.
  • Drinking lavender tea helps alleviate gas and bloating and calms an upset stomach quickly.  Pregnant women often drink lavender tea to relieve morning sickness.

  • Linalool, which is a volatile oil in lavender, relaxes the bronchial passages, thereby reducing allergic reactions and inflammation. 
  •  Lavender is often included in herbal remedies to treat asthma, coughs and other respiratory illnesses.  Linalool is also considered an expectorant and an antiseptic.

  • Topical uses for lavender include soothing burn wounds and relieving the itching associated with allergic skin conditions. 
  •  People who suffer from eczema also find relief when applying lavender creams to their skin.  Insect bites and stings are soothed by applying lavender creams.

  • Outer ear infections are soothed by rubbing lavender oil gently into the outer ear area.
  • Adding a few drops of lavender oil to your bathwater will soothe mild sunburn.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Buying real milk from real cows on a real farm.

 We took a 30 minute drive to check out a non-profit historical farm estate I discovered online. I was going to buy organic dairy & learn about a new local farm, but my real reason was to see the green house. When I clicked on their website & saw the very first photo of the green house, my jaw literally dropped. It is this beautiful intricate structure made of glass and painted white wood and reminds me of Paris.
  The Lands at Hillside Farms is a 412-acre, non-profit educational sustainable dairy farm and is in fact the last remaining processing dairy farm in Luzerne County. We tried the ice cream, which was phenomenal and baked in home made cones. 

We shopped in their little store for 8 variations of milk, including strawberry & chocolate, butter, sour cream & cheese. All of the dairy is made at the farm & is rBGH free. If you don't know what rBGH is then here's the very simple version;

  • It's an artificial growth hormone that is pumped into cows to get more milk so companies can make more money. 
  • RBGH creates IGF in our bodies & IGF helps form tumours, increase risk of breast, colon & prostate cancer. 
  • The FDA says it won't do you any harm but most of the people that work for the FDA use to work for the big corporation, Monsanto that makes the drug. 
  • There is no need for the chemical other than money. The US has more milk than it can handle. So much so that the government has to buy up the surplus to keep the price from dropping.
  • The company that makes this hormone, Monsanto, is called "the Mafia" in most farm communities cause they sue farmers, force legislation & are currently on the fast track to control the entire US food supply. Oh, and they made Agent Orange back in the day.

The glass milk containers require a $1.50 deposit. That's so inconvenient and expensive, right? It can't be as inconvenient and expensive as chemo though.

Their Mission Statement: (I Love This)
The Lands at Hillside Farms is a non-profit, regional educational center and historic farm estate. Our dedicated mission is to present aspects and benefits of the region's land, history and promotion of lifestyle choices which are healthy, conservation-minded and practical. Each mission component will be demonstrated through family-friendly educational programs, sustainable agricultural activities and living.
Check out their website, make a donation or go get some ice cream! Go to The Lands at Hillside Farms.

Our 1st Big City Farmers Market - Philly here we come

I grew up in Texas around a bunch of cowboys. My cousins and most of the family lived there while my parents raised us in Las Vegas. Two different worlds that would collide each summer when I would return home & sure enough be ridiculed for some city-ish thing I either did, bought, wanted or thought. So as I was pulling out of the driveway with my husband, daughter & 4 month old baby, I couldn't help but hear a little country voice saying, "Your gonna drive all the way to Philadelphia just to buy some groceries?".
Yes. We were. First on my list, snap a photo of where we parked.
We happened to come across a cup cakery on the way.

Patrick & Mae enjoyed the day walking together & kept forgetting to help me carry Hudson's stroller over the puddles.
The market is in an old train station & we happened to visit during the opening day of The Flower Show.This meant lots of crowds & waiting in line for over an hour for lunch.

Cute picture minus the ugly trash can. There was tons of fresh produce though & lots more good stuff.

Organic bakery inside the market aptly called "The Flying Monkey". Way cute place with all kinds of organic sweets! We already had our sweet quota so we just looked & dreamed.
Next up was a great little Farm Fresh Shop full of all kinds of fresh cheeses, meats, produce & breads.

Yes we had to buy the organic milk in the glass bottles. Later in the week we kept the bottles and poured our store bought organic milk back into the bottles. 

We laughed all the way back to car in the rain and drove around downtown to see a few sights.

These are the famous "Rocky" steps. Trust me. Trying to take photos while driving stick shift in the rain is not so great.

The cost of cheap convenience

If you have not seen this movie yet then go watch it. NOW. If you don't have Netflix then sign up for a free trial & watch this film. This will shock you out of this world of craziness & lies that most Americans live in. We have been sold this sub par way of living that says,
 "Hey hard working American person, you deserve cheap convenience. You keep working hard & we will worry about the details in getting you all that cheap convenience. What we wont tell you is that while your Wal Mart grocery bill saves your family $50 each visit, you are buying food that has been genetically altered, pumped full of chemicals & produced by really poor and or immigrant workers & made by giant corporations that are creating a monopoly of the food industry.  Oh lets not forget how great chemical filled food really tastes, as if you would know.
  And with that $50 saving you are helping 5 corporations that control the worlds food supply make billions & do whatever they want to your food, oh, and you are putting thousands of farmers, small businesses and countless communities out of existence.
 When your son is diagnosed with ADHD or your 8 year old daughter gets her period or you get breast cancer, it will have absolutely nothing to do with all these chemical we use. When your friends begin to loose their jobs cause big box retailers are trying to become everything or you watch your sister struggle with fertility or an aunt join the club of most obese nation, we will of had nothing to do with that. There are hardly no studies to support that we do anything wrong, and if they do exists its just from a bunch of liberals trying to control your freedom.
 That's what the FDA is for, to protect your rights, and no it is pure coincidence that the same people that run the FDA use to work for giant food companies & own stock in those companies. You just keep on saving that $50 and believe that organic food which really means "made from farmers free of chemical" is for hippies in places like Seattle & Southern California. Like I said, watch this film.