Sunday, August 29, 2010

The defense system

School has started and with that has come the arrival of the germ pool at the public schools. I already had two come home not feeling so hot but we nipped that in the bud overnight.

It is the season, the season of the passing of germs from little one, to little one and on to the bigger ones. For some, it seems like it never ends.

That is why it is time again to start amping up the defense system of the body so that it can fight what comes it way.

The regime has started at our house. Germs may come our way, but we never let them stay. I give it one night, tops. It has worked.

I start adding in the liquid D3 to their daily juice to help build the immunity. They don't get as much sun now so it is time to add that back in. They get the vitamin C chewables next to their breakfast plate and some allergy A & I tablets for kicking the allergies out. Allergies bring mucous and mucous hosts germs. Get rid of it.

If per chance they do bring home an unwanted germ guest; we hit it with the second line of defense: Spice of Life essential oils, Allimax liquid, Oreganol, increased D3, increased C and anything else I can think of at the time. It kicks it out, lays it to the curb, defeats its momentum.

I also clean my house almost entirely with Spice of Life in some water in a spray bottle. It kills germs, smells great and cleans wonderfully. It cleans my windows streak free, disinfects my countertops and bathrooms and deodorizes my air. It costs less than $1 per spray bottle when mixed with about 10 drops per 32 ounces of water. Way cheaper than cleaner. You could drink it and clean with it. Find that at the grocery store! My house smells cinnaminny fresh with no toxins to boot. Super duper. It stops the air borne germs that float around. Make sure you shake the bottle each use to keep the oil mixed in.

If you need to prepare your army of defense, I am ordering on Tuesday. Check out the Apothecary Shoppe and email any orders. You don't have to get sick this fall and winter. It isn't mandatory. Skip the flu shot and soup up your natural defense system. Such a better option.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rice and Bean salad

Bad photo but great meal. Thanks to Linda for sending me this recipe off of Mel's Kitchen Cafe blog. I changed it up to make it vegetarian and to give it a little more kick but it had a real good dressing and was easy as pie.

If I had more ingredients, I would have added some bell peppers and avocados. Next time.

Southwest Rice and Beans

5 cups cooked brown rice, cooled slightly
2 tsp. sea salt
4 cups beans of choice, either home cooked or canned
2 cups fresh or frozen white corn, cooked
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
3 roma tomatoes
avocados, peppers, chicken, etc.

**Mix all together and toss with dressing:


1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. sucanat or brown sugar
2/3 c. expeller pressed grape seed oil
6-8 pickled jalapeno pepper rounds from jar or fresh jalapeno
2 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt

Combine all ingredients and put in a blender until smooth.
Toss over rice and bean salad mixture and add more salt and pepper as desired. May also kick it up a bit with extra chili powder or chipotle seasoning. Serve on whole grain tortilla with a little melted cheese if desired or on a toasted corn tortilla or lettuce greens. Add salsa and sour cream to your liking. This is totally gluten free if the wheat tortilla is omitted. Check your vinegar first!


Monday, August 23, 2010


I had my first preschool "Playtime" class at my house this last week and fell instantly in love with these little two's and nearly three's. I had forgotten how much I love that age and miss their cute little voices and questions. It took me back to my own little munchkins at that age and how I was a mother to them.

In preparing for this class, I have thought a lot about the little minds of those tender years. They are sponges. They are soaking it all in and they crave information. They constantly ask questions and although it may drive a mother crazy, they are thirsty to know all the mysteries of life. It is our job to feed those little minds, to unload our knowledge into their inquiring minds as the window of opportunity allows. The brain of a child absorbs the most information from birth to the age of 7. After that, learning is different; slower. I am a firm believer in talking to your children all the time - pouring information into their cute heads. It is more than reading a story at bedtime, it is constantly feeding them words and mental pictures.

To create a captive audience of busy one, two's and three's, you need to form a bit of a distraction. When you change diapers, they are at your mercy. I would choose this opportunity to name the body parts with them. By the time they were out of diapers, they knew everything from where there ears were to the clavicle and sternum. Why limit them to eyes, ears and noses? They are capable of so much more if we allow it. When they are trapped in a car seat, they are ripe for information. Talk about the colors of the street lights; the letters of the stop sign, colors of cars, etc. Turn off the radio and cell phones. They should never be learning about colors for the first time in kindergarten. I am always surprised that in kindergarten, they have to teach colors during the year. They are 5 for pete's sake. They have had 5 years to learn that. Our jobs.

For my little playtime class, I pulled out the old tricks. It is no secret that two-year-olds have ants in their pants. To get them to sit for a few minutes and learn is always tricky. I pulled out the little, round bean bags and passed them around to each child. I put it on their heads and told them to hold out their arms and balance it. They thought that was a great game. Now, they were still. Their eyes were on me and they didn't move so the bean bag would stay in its place. We then looked at letter flash cars and colors. They repeated with me what they saw. At the end, I performed my greatest stand up act ever; the dramatic sneeze which flung the bean bag off my head with gusto. They giggled hysterically like I had just told the best joke ever. They all did the same thing and we had to '"sneeze" several more times. Little did they know that it was all just a ploy to get their attention. Great trick.

Constantly naming items, labeling their colors, beginning letters of the word and counting objects all help their brains process and learn. It helps their brains start to see words instead of just seeing a picture. For instance, when they see a toy car, if you have labeled it with them many times and given it the letters, C-A-R, when they see that toy, they will see the letters in their head. This will help them read when it is time and give them that advantage later. I learned in a speed reading class that our mind can see a word and know it instead of having to look at each letter and think about the sound that it makes. By knowing a word, you can look at it and instantly know what it means. When you are old enough to know lots of words, you can just look at a whole sentence at a time and know what it means without looking at each individual word. Try it sometime. When I learned that, I could read a book in about 1/3 the time and completely comprehend what I read. That saved me in some college classes. Teaching little ones this trick early on can dramatically help their reading skills and we can start this by teaching them how the word looks by labeling their world around them. They do this with autistic kids all the time since their minds work a little differently. You will often find an autistic classroom with labels everywhere; a light switch, a door, a table, etc. --- all with words spelled out and attached to the item. Most of the time, we wait to teach children how a word is spelled until they are ready to read. Why not teach them early on so when they are ready to read, they already know a multitude of words?

I think we undersell these little minds. If we feed them in abundance when they are little, they will have a much bigger appetite when they are older. They will crave information and they will learn how to process it.

How I miss a little two year old in my home. I am so glad I get to have a play date once a week to get my fill. Thanks for sharing them!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Blueberry Corn Breakfast Cake

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day and I eat it like a queen. I fill up in the wee hours of the day to kick my metabolism into gear. Skipping breakfast is one way to sabotage any weight program. Don't skimp but keep it whole grain and healthy. This is actually a low calorie breakfast and
one of my favorite breakfast cakes served around my house. You can make it as healthy as you want. Here is the basic recipe then you can step it up for better health per instructions:

Blueberry Corn Breakfast Cake

1/2 C. Yellow Corn Meal
1/2 C. minus 2 T. Whole Grain Flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 C. buttermilk or kefir
1 egg
4 t. oil
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 C. fresh or frozen blueberries

Stir ingredients together except for blueberries. Pour into greased , round cake pan. Use a 9X13 if doubling. Top with berries and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake at 425 for 25-30 minus or until lightly golden.
Serve with whipped cream.

****For better nutrition, you can soak overnight the flours and buttermilk or kefir or use sprouted flour. The corn can also be soaked in a pickling lime found in canning sections. You can use sucanat for the sugar or other preferred sweetener. I used sprouted Kamut flour, a personal favorite.

You can also make this gluten free by using a gluten free flour blend and adding 1 tsp. xanthan gum. It tastes great!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


If you aren't signed up for Groupon yet, go check it out and start raking in the deals. They email you daily deals. Today's deal is buy a $25 card for the Gap and get $50 store credit. They have all sorts of restaurant deals , stores and services as well. If any of you aren't using Amazon and Groupon to do your shopping, your spending too much money. Best part, for Amazon you don't have to leave your house! My kind of shopping.

Here is today's Groupon deal:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reducing the Risk of Autism

I have an amazing Dr. for Tate who speaks around the nation on autism and how to cure the disease. She is passionate because she has two children on the spectrum. She has a lecture on how to reduce the risk of autism in the unborn child and I thought I would share her list with you.... just in case you are cooking up a cute little bun in the oven or are entertaining the thought.

The following is a list of precautions Dr. Schneider feels that women should take before, during and after pregnancy to optimize their child’s neurological development:

Avoid mercury—this means fish, silver dental fillings and vaccines containing thimerosal
Schedule a visit with your OB/GYN prior to conception to discuss any precautions or testing you should consider
Get nutritional testing before pregnancy—measure vitamin D, B-12, folic acid, zinc, and omega-3 essential fatty acid levels. Vegetarians and women with gastrointestinal diseases may require more comprehensive testing.
Use supplements to address any nutritional deficiencies
Have a dental examination and cleaning prior to conception
Consider using methyl folate instead of folic acid and take at least 1000 mcg daily, starting at least 3 months prior to conception
Take omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements
Make sure any medications you are taking are safe in pregnancy or try to find safer alternatives
Avoid alcohol and tobacco
If there are allergies in the family, consider a gluten, casein, and soy free diet and take a high quality probiotic
Go organic to limit exposure to pesticides
Drink filtered water
Avoid soda, caffeine, food dyes, artificial sweeteners, and fluoride
Don’t use pesticides in your home or yard
Don’t dye your hair and avoid nail salons
Use green cosmetic products (shampoos, deodorants, nail polishes, etc…)
If you are painting the nursery, use zero VOC paints
Rule out any occupational exposure to toxic chemicals, radiation, or other hazards
Only get medically necessary ultrasounds—no one truly knows how safe ultrasound technology is
In most cases, breastfeeding is the ideal choice. Women with a high total body burden of toxins or those that require medication may, however, be wise to provide a hypoallergenic, non-dairy formula instead.
Maintain a healthy nutritional intake
Get 8 hours of sleep nightly
Avoid stress when possible
Become educated about vaccines prior to delivery. Consider the risk versus benefit of each vaccine as it relates to your baby’s individual circumstances and health.
Keep your home as toxin free as possible

** If you are in need of any methyl folate, I now carry that product which I highly recommend over folinic acid. Folate is so crucial in the early development of the fetus. That is probably the most important thing I have learned in the development of these little souls. We simply don't get enough in our diet today. It is cheap and worth every penny.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Bear to the Mama Bear

Thank you all for "being there" in my moment of trial with the little bear. Thanks for all your kind words and support that only a mother can give.

Just a little update.....

The second night, after I typed my blog, I went to bed and prayed out my soul that I would know if this was the right place for Tate and what I needed to do. I didn't feel inspired. I wasn't sure what I should do. I took him to school the next day and felt uneasy the whole way there. I wish I could just have some comforting feeling to tell me he would be just fine.

Then, out of the blue, my cute little bear in the backseat said, "Mom!"
I looked in the rear view mirror and this cutest ever little bear said, "happy." He had the biggest, cheesy grin on his face and was pointing to his teeth to show me he was happy. He kept it on is face until we pulled into school. He got out and ran to his friends.

I was thankful that the Lord answered my prayers through this little guy. He gave me the reassurance I needed to know that he was happy. That he would be fine and that his world was secure.

Since words are very few for this little man, that little word, "happy", said more than two paragraphs combined.

I love that word and with that, this mama bear is..... "happy".

He ate his bananas and almond butter at lunch. He still had a wet pull up but he had a great day.

It's going to be ok and I went to the movies while he was at school. Peaceful and assured.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Emotions of the mother bear

My little buddy started all day kindergarten this week. My last chicken in the coop. I didn't want all day for him but there isn't another option out there. I was so concerned that for 7 hours a day, someone else would care for him the way he needed. I asked several times if he would have someone eat with him as he needs a little prodding to eat anything substantial. I told them about his special diet and my concerns. I wanted them to understand that even though he can't communicate well, he is very intelligent and can get onto Google earth and get to the beach all by himself via satellite since I won't take him there right now. I want them to love him like I do and do all the little things I do for him each and every day.

I sent him off. He was so excited to go. He waved goodbye and threw me a kiss. He was ready. I went home and thought about him throughout the day. 7 hours was a really long time.

I eagerly went to the school to get him and waited forever for them to bring these little special 5 year olds to their mama's. He came and gave me a big hug; still a big smile on his face. I got in the car and looked in his lunch box and then the mother bear came out. The only thing missing for an entire day was a couple of chips. The drink was even still there. He did not eat. He wasn't changed. I called 411 right there in my car to get the school number. I got the teacher right on the phone and asked why in the world this child didn't have food or drink all day. She told me it was a crazy day. I get that but there are basic needs. Food, drink.

I don't know this school. I don't know these women who are caring for my son but I couldn't stop thinking about this all day. I am sure they are fine teachers. I am sure things will get better but by the time my husband came home at 10 at night, the tears were flowing.

For the last 4 years since Tate was diagnosed, I have fought to bring a quality to his life that would give him happiness in this world. I have had the opportunity to care for him, to feed him, teach him and love him completely. Now, I have to turn him over for 7 hours a day. That seems a little too much to handle. It all boiled down to the fact that I was loosing control of him. It wasn't all up to me anymore and the fear set in.

I also watched him walk in line with the other special 5 year olds with their disabilities and I think I , for the first time told myself that this was Tate. He is special. He will not grow out of it. He is like the other kids in his class. I don't know how much more I can fix him. I don't know what else I can do. I feel helpless. I cried more tears. My husband listened as I poured out my concern for this little soul.

He told me how wonderful I was. He reassured me that I am doing a good job. He is a good husband with all the right words. I just want my little guy to be happy. I want him to be able to talk. That's all.

I went to bed and woke up to pack his lunch all over again. One I hoped he would actually get to eat. I resisted the urge to keep him home and never let him go but I dug deep and drove him to school.

He got out of the car and with a huge grin , ran to the teacher and to his new special friends. He was happy. That was the goal. He likes being with the special kids. He is content in his world. I need to understand that. I need to let him go a little and enjoy his adventures. I need to realize that I can't control everything in life and that it isn't all up to me.

I still feel like I don't know what else to do for my little Tate. I pray for guidance. I pray for knowledge. There are no manuals. No list of instruction or magic pills. I know that Tate doesn't need this life for a test like we do, he is here for our testing. He has a special place in the next world and he will be able to do all I ever desire for him. I know that. But, the mother bear in me wants to fix it. That is our role. It is overwhelming at times but thank goodness we have father bears to tell us we are doing just fine. For now, this mother bear just needs to love the moment. Someday I will have to face Junior High with this sweet, innocent child and junior high kids can be real mean. How will I ever face that day? One day at a time.

Today he ate a cookie and a juice box.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A little light reading

I don't read fiction very often for a couple of reasons: A) time and B)I can't put it down and become an absentee mother.

I read the whole Twilight series in 4 days. Serious problem. I even made an entire dinner while reading over my shoulder. It even turned out.

So, those are my issues and that is why I stick with the not so addictive reading of non-fiction.

However, it was beach time and I decided to go for a little recreational reading. After the prodding of friends and family, I picked up the Hunger Games, fully expecting it to not be my genre. I am more of the Nicholas Sparks type. However, I became absorbed. I read it in under 24 hours while looking up now and then from my lazy beach chair to give the kids little affirmations that I was still their mother.

It was sooooo good. My husband read it. My son read it in under a day and my other kids are starting to read it. I went for the second book, Catching Fire and also read that in a few sittings. It leaves you hanging and lucky for me, the final book is out at the end of the month, just in time for my next beach trip. Can't wait. Until then, I will stick with my non-fiction so that I can still be a good mother. However, I think it is good now and then for my children to see me absorbed in a good read. None of them really love to pick up a book unless prodded although they are all excellent readers. They rather "do" then read about it. Totally my fault. I was never a big reader to my children when they were little. I too would rather "do" but I want them to understand the power of words; how we can be carried away into another world by opening a book.

Some days I desperately need that.

So, if your kids are off to school and you have a few moments to be carried away, read this book. Fantastic.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lunch Box Time

It is time to pack the lunches up again and send the little ones back to school. (I am smiling right now) For me, it now means 5 lunches to pack each morning. A couple of them with special diets, one with a huge 16 year old appetite, and one who is a new High school student and doesn't want to look "uncool" with a dorky lunch. Whatever that means.

Now, add that into the mix with me wanting lunch box systems that are A) free from Lead, Vinyl and other chemicals that leach from almost every cheap store bought lunchbox out there B) A system that would negate the use of plastic baggies and any BPA containing plastics and C) a system that would allow me to pack a healthy variety of food.

I found these and have been totally excited about them. The Snapware + Built Gourmet Lunch Kit. Even sounds fancy. The special features I loved was that it came with several containers that are BPA free and are leak free to boot. They keep food from getting squashed and save me the 20 + ziplocks I use each week. The lunch bag it comes with is Neoprene which is tested to be lead and vinyl free and can be thrown right into the wash. It is made from the same material as a wetsuit so it keeps food hot or cold for up to 4 hours and is stretchy so you can get all kids of things in there. I still use an ice pack for extra security! I can't find anything telling me Neoprene is unsafe so if you have info, just let me know. I know there are better eco friendly choices and probably even better options that don't use rubber but I feel pretty safe since I am using the BAP free containers as a barrier as well.

I also have double insulated, stainless steel thermoses for hot soups, burritos, etc. The 16 year old nixed all this. Didn't want to get beat up. He is sticking with the old school system. I get it.

I bought these 3 black kit packs from Costco at a steal for $18.99. They sell on the internet for over $30. I bought my daughter a cute neoprene bag on Amazon and she will use some of the extra containers since they come with so many extras.

I found the best prices for the bags from this little place on Amazon:

(This is the cute one my daughter will be sporting)

There are also some great lunch box solutions called Bento Boxes. Expensive but great, chemical free ideas.

Now, I just need to get the lunch menu's down. I am determined to get some variety in the lunch department this year. I am always so motivated for the first month. We'll see how long it lasts. But, at least I have the equipment this year. I don't want to spend so much time and money on getting them good, organic, chemical free food and then let the lunch box leach it all back in. So counter productive.

I'll let you know how it goes. Anyone have some great lunch box ideas?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I need two more little people for my afternoon Playtime class in order for me to open up that second class. Please let me know if you for sure want to add your child to the list asap. It is on Thursdays from 12-2.

Also, don't forget to check out the Full Pantry button on my sidebar for great deals of the week! It's a great way to kick our year supply into full gear.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sweet Potato Love

Sweet potatoes were on my "yuck" list since I was little. It probably had to do with the fact that the only sweet potatoes that I was exposed to as a child were the mashed up, baby food looking sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving topped with marshmallows. It triggered that little gag reflex kids are so good at producing.

That was pretty much where I left it until a couple years ago. I learned that sweet potatoes, when cooked under the right circumstances, are little pieces of manna. I simply cannot get enough. I ALWAYS have one in my potato bin to use at my every whim. They go in enchiladas, soups, stir fries, etc. There are no rules. No one ever told me that. THEY said they were only for Thanksgiving. How sad that I have been living under that lie for so many years. I truly missed out on something so wonderful. I crave them all the time. In fact, I had my husband take me out to the beyond wonderful restaurant, Liberty Market in Gilbert so that I could order one thing; a cup full of cold sweet potato salad. TO DIE FOR. My friend Kara Bagley recreated this recipe perfectly so go check her out to get that recipe here. Divine.

Anyways, the other night I needed a quick, fresh, summer meal. I had some leftover Naan bread I made the night before for our Greek pitas and some garden veggies I needed to use. The combination I came up with was so delicious that I can't stop thinking about how much I loved it. I served it to my kids and after taking a bite, a couple said, "wow, this is actually good." Which meant, "this looked like it would be really bad but after trying a bite, it really isn't so horrible." They ate it all up. It's all in the spice, baby.

I will call this a Jamaican Jerk Veggie Pizza, grilled.So easy.

I stir fried some sweet onions and 1/2 inch chunks of sweet potatoes in some olive oil until just about fork tender. Then, I added some different colored bell peppers, chunks of zucchini, chopped fennel and fresh white corn from the cob. I stir fried it a little longer while pouring on a generous amount of Jamaican Jerk seasoning from The Spice Hunter until the flavor was exploding. (Got it at Sprouts, save and order it from Amazon on my side bar) It is a perfect seasoning. I added a little salt to finish it off. I sauteed it until all veggies were barely fork tender but not mushy in the slightest. When they are just about tender, I turn up the heat to caramelize them a bit for a little texture. Be careful not to burn.

Then, it was time to grill. I took the Naan bread and put olive oil lightly on one side. I put that downside on the grill. I then sprinkled a little mozzarella on the top and put a generous layer of the veggie mixture over the cheese. I closed the lid on the grill and let it melt. Keep the heat low so the bottoms don't char. Watch carefully.

When the cheese has melted and the bottom side of the pizza's are lightly golden, it is time to eat.

We had a delicious salad and some fresh fruit to go with it. The sweet corn, sweet onions and sweet potatoes were more than my mouth could handle. Jamaican seasoning should be a holiday food by itself.

Sweet potatoes are so healthy for you and taste even better than carrots when eaten raw. I just got hungry again. Good thing I started running.

Items of business

My Playtime class if full but a couple moms are asking if I will also do an afternoon class. If I can get a few more interested moms, I would do a class on Thursdays from 12-2 as well as my morning class.

Please email me if you are interested at If you would like more information on what this class is, I will be happy to give you all the details. It is for little ones from about 2 1/2 to 3.

Also, I am placing orders today for the Apothecary shoppe. All New Beginnings orders are 10% off until 3 today. I am also ordering oils as well.