Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to avoid buying GMO's

There's been a lot of hype lately on GMO's short for genetically modified foods.  The Huffington post recently had an article that stated GMO's caused organ failure in lab results, and this food is very quietly interlaced in our grocery stores. The World Health Organization (WHO) also has a very firm stance on genetically modified foods. Be sure to check it out.

It's an infuriating reality that our government allows this untested food into our stores, but the informed consumer can avoid them if they are careful.  The first step is to make sure you buy certified organic foods.  Organic foods cannot intentionally contain genetically modified foods.  You may or may not be aware though that cross pollination happens, often times accidentally.  Monsanto has taken many farmers to court because of this, trying to put his neighboring farmers out of business.  Nice guy, huh.

There is an organization called the Non-GMO Project.  Since the US does not require GMO labeling, some food makers are taking it upon themselves to enroll in this organization so they can then label their food as Non-GMO.

For more information please check out the Non-GMO Project's website for a list of brands enrolled in their program.  You can also check out the Non-GMO shopping guide.

Want to take it another step further.  Contact your local congressman or senator and tell them what you think about GMO's.  I found a copy of this letter here.  We stopped SOPA and PIPA by standing together as a nation against something. We can do the same with GMO's.

Dear Honorable (name here)
I believe that genetically engineered food poses a threat to the wellbeing of my family's health and the health of the world's population and environment. These foods, which have not been adequately tested, are increasingly difficult to avoid, both because of cross-pollination, and because of the FDA's refusal to approve labeling that allows us to know exactly what we're eating.
This is after all, the United States. We're allowed freedom of speech. What about freedom to choose the foods we eat with full knowledge of what they contain, and guarantees that they are safe?
I implore you to work on initiatives to ensure the safety of all food consumed by the American people and the world's population, by thorough testing of GMOs and GE food products, and by putting into place a "full-disclosure" labeling policy.
Thank you.
Your name

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Leafware Disposable dinnerware

Last week I was asked to do a review for Leafware's disposable dinnerware plates.  After checking out their green efforts, I was thrilled to give their products a review.

They sent me a sample package that contained a few different size plates and bowls.  Disposable usually isn't in this green household's vocabulary, but this one is definitely worth a second look.

Their company's philosophy is one that has called to me for years, it's Ghandi's quote "Be the change you want to see in the world."  They make their disposable dinner ware from fallen palm leaves. 

They really did their homework with these.  It doesn't get more natural then these bowls. When your done, toss them in the compost, and they break down.  They are only leaves after all.  On their website they sell them in large quantities, which would be perfect for a restaurant, or for someone hosting a green wedding or a party (I'm talking 400 plates here).

They give links though to other stores where you can purchase less quantities, perhaps more appropriate for families.  They are a bit on the pricey side, for my budget but I believe you get what you pay for here. A chemical free, disposal, compostable, dinnerware.  Well done Leafware, thanks for inviting me to experience your awesome product.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

This is week three for me and my primal diet, week 2 of my full on no cheating diet.  So far, I've lost about 4 pounds, this was on top of the previous 20 that I lost last year.  I'm pretty proud of this grand total, but sadly, I'm not done loosing.

This week, I've been very tired of cooking.  I have to make meals that I like and that will keep so I can just have kitchen free days.  There is a TON of cooking involved it seems, and there isn't any convenience food for me to go to. There's no primal microwave meals at the grocery store..ha!!

Anyway, here's a plan for this week and a few yummy treats thrown in.

Monday: Broiled Salmon with Terragon, Lemon, and butter
Tuesday: Tuna Salad
Wednesday: My best friend's Chili Recipe
Thursday: Leftover Chili! cooking.
Friday: Enchiladas
Saturday: Potluck, and I'm supposed to bring bread?! How's this instead?
Sunday:  I'm eating out...I'm tired of cooking!

Treats: Primal Almond Butter Pumpkin Brownies

For more menu plans, check it out here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Video Friday -- The Solar System

This week's lessons with my kids have been talking about the moon and it's rotation around the earth. And as homeschooling does, it landed to more questions about the bigger picture. I don't always use videos to teach my kids, but they really enjoyed this one. Plus, being a music teacher I love that it's being taught with a song. Enjoy, and share with your kids if they're interested in the solar system. :)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

My grandmother

This morning, I received news from my dad that my grandmother had died in her sleep last night.  She was 91 years old, and had been in grave condition for the last week.  Winters can be hard on the elderly.  This post will not dwell though on my loss, but on who she was as an individual, and the strength she brought to this family.

Here's a picture, probably from the 1950's.  She's holding my mother there, and sitting next to my grandfather...the love of her life.

This one here is from the early 1980's.  That's me on my grandfather's lap there, and my brother between the two of them.  My grandfather passed away 6 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter.  I'm saddened sometimes that he never met her, my mother and I were the twinkle in his eye, and I know my daughter would have been the same.

This is how I remember them both.  This picture is from the 1990's, and was probably taken when I was in high school.  They both were still healthy enough to get around then.

Here she is now, a widow and a great-grandmother.  My mother with her, and my two children smiling up at me.

She was a feisty lady, who was strong and independent.  Up until last week, she lived alone in her house. She spoke her mind, even when you didn't want to hear what she had to say.  She introduced me to gardening, and homesteading.  Told me what she knew about canning foods, and how to cook.

The last 6 years for her have been unkind.  I know now she is at peace, reunited with the love of her life.  I'm sure if I don't carry myself correctly, she'll be the first one to smack me when I get past those pearly gates myself.

Until then, she'll be missed.

Get in free at National Parks

This weekend is one of the few weekends a year that you can enter into the national parks free of charge.

Hopefully you don't live in a region as cold as mine, not so sure if we'll venture out this Saturday for a little picnic or a hike.  It depends on the weather.

Here are the dates for the rest of the year in case this weekend is too cold for you too.

Free National Park Days in 2012
  • January 14-16
    Martin Luther King Jr. weekend
  • April 21-29
    National Park Week
  • June 9
    Get Outdoors Day
  • September 29
    National Public Lands Day
  • November 10-12
    Veterans Day weekend

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homeschool -- planning resources

It's a beautiful sunny afternoon (and cold!!), and I'm sitting at my kitchen table with books and time to plan the kids school work for the week.  My son's birthday is Monday, and as a gift to him, we'll be enjoying most of the day with maybe only one or two lessons. The first resource I use is a free planner offered by Donna Young.  Donna Young's website is one that I used a couple years ago when my son was doing first grade at home, and I'm happy to go back to her again for a resource.

I'm still waiting on my daughters Christopherus curriculum to arrive, so in the mean time I'm supplementing her work with free worksheets and other books that I had laying around the house.  I didn't realize I had so much, but this isn't my first round of first grade done at home.

Here are some links to help supplement your kiddos:
Kaboose has some winter crafts and other worksheets that we'll be adding to our mix this week.
The Math Worksheet Site is invaluable for creating personalized worksheets just for your kiddo. My son still seems to need at least one worksheet a day, and here's one of my resources.

I'm so excited to get into a groove with my kids and our own way of homeschooling.  We now have the freedom to do as we see fit, and it's so incredibly liberating.  Ahhh!!

This beautiful photograph was taken by Kevin McNeal. Please support the arts by checking out his photography.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My primal menu plan

Today is my son's birthday, so I have to adjust a bit to my own primal diet because there have been requests made for pie and spaghetti dinners.

I will be making said pie and spaghetti dinners, so the week won't start so so strongly.  However, after Monday it's primal very strongly.  I'll be detoxing the carbs, and saying no to grains for good.

Here's my plan for the week:

Monday: Chicken Parmesan
Tuesday: Pork Chops with sweet potatoes and Apples
Wednesday: Leftovers!
Thursday: Shawarma Salad
Friday: Fish Friday! (what ever is on sale is what we'll make!)
Saturday:Coconut Crusted Chicken Fingers
Sunday: Crock Pot lemon chicken

For more menu plans be sure to click here

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Resolution

I normally have New Year's resolutions, and mainly they are little goals.  Like, one year I stopped drinking soda.  Being a kinder person, and being detailed in my mind about what that meant.  Last year, my goal was to be more outgoing.  I did it.  I met a lot of fantastic people.  I realized that most people are uncomfortable being outgoing, and are generally warm and receptive when you take that burden away from them.  Pretty neat, huh.

This year though I have made a big goal.  Earlier last year I was diagnosed with Intracranial Hypertension and was put on medication to help control my condition. There isn't a lot known about my disease, it's rare so there hasn't been massive research put into it.  Some science has shown that weight loss can help, while some science has shown it doesn't help.  I always thought negatively of weightless goals, thinking that people shouldn't wait until the new year to better themselves in such a way.  I don't think I'm falling into that though.  Last year, I lost around 25lbs, and I started mid-year after my diagnosis.  I still require medication...I've tried going off it, and it just made my brain hurt (literally).  I don't have a number of pounds I want to shed.  I have excess chub, and I want to be healthier.  My body will work better, and perhaps my IH will go into remission. My goal isn't for vanity, so I can look better.  It's so I can resume my holistic life with out medication...

I'm making this goal knowing that I can loose 50lbs this year, and still need to be on medication.  I know there are thin people with my disease.  What I also know is that there are many causes to this disease, and that perhaps different body types have different reasonings.  If it doesn't work, and if I've done all I can by the end of the year and still require medication I will at least be in a better place then I am now.  Perhaps diabetes won't be in my future, or heart issues or anything else on top of the issues I already have.  So, I know it won't be a complete loss (except of fat!).

So what are your goals?  Are they big, small...or do you think resolutions are bunk like Calvin does?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday -- New Year's edition

Happy New Year to all my readers!!  I hope you had a safe and enjoyable weekend.  Mine was filled with lots of laughter, and children.  My best friend visited, and we resumed our yearly tradition of spending New Year's together.  It's been a couple years since we've been able to do that.  It was so nice to have a low key..quiet, friendly new years with some of my favorite people.

This week's menu I will start implementing some primal meals that will go along with some of my goals for the year (which I will post about soon!).

I hope everyone has an enjoyable first week of 2012!

Monday: Roasted Herbed Chicken and Broccoli (with some cheese on top!)
Tuesday: Protein Salad Dip (you'll have to scroll down on your link to find the recipe).
Wednesday: Baked Salmon and Asparagus
Thursday: Egg Spinach Frittata (same link as Tuesday!) to reheat while I'm at work.
Friday: Home made Pizza, and yummy side salad
Saturday: My son's birthday party!  Cake!
Sunday: Lemon Haddock on a pile of veggies!!

For more menu plans be sure to click here!


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