Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'll Be Right Back!

[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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Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're On Fire

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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.

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 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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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What I Found Wednesdays

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I have wanted to write about these crayons ever since I saw them at Megusta Baby, an organic baby and children's store. 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 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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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Can You Spare 5 Minutes?

[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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Monday, July 7, 2008

Creative Sustainability

[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 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 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” 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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Friday, July 4, 2008

Have you ever tried to do too much?

[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, 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, 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.

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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Thursday, July 3, 2008

What's Cooking? Peanut Butter Sandwich

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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) 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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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Neat Finds at a Green Show

[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 status allowing her to accept tax-free donations. These donations have allowed the organization to grow and continue to improve the already great services the breastaurant offers. Many of the events attended by Mom’s Breastaurant have been on the west coast, but Nonie has provided mommy and baby services as far a Louisiana. If the breastaurant sounds like a great place for your event attendess to eat, then contact Nonie at Mom’s Breastaurant. I’m sure the babies will rave about the great food they ate your event and tell others.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Win a copy of Food to Live By

[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 Submissions
1. 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.

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