I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Question For Readers

I am wondering if those of you who leave comments on my blog receive notice if I respond. I doubt it...I'm not sure how that would work. But I do respond sometimes, and wonder if the intended reader ever sees it. Just curious.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Love Coffee But...

...I'm not sure that I could justifying purchasing one of these! Have you seen them? They are one-cup coffee makers. Kinda cool in their way. You get a fresh-brewed cup of coffee in 3-minutes time. The coffee (or tea or cocoa) goes directly in your cup, so there is no filter or decanter to clean. And it's sort of fun. You take one of these coffee/tea/cocoa singles. They are plastic with a foil top. You put one in the machine. Close the machine front, and the back pops open. (cool) Add water to the marked line, close the back, add your cup, and press the flashing button. Three minutes later you have your hot cup of whatever you choose.

Here's the thing. First of all, for each cup of coffee, you are throwing away non-recyclable plastic and foil, which ends up in the land fills. Each cup. Secondly, the machine pokes a hole in the top and the bottom of each of these little canisters, and hot water is poured through it, leaching whatever it can from the plastic on its way to your cup. Ugh! And thirdly, it takes away even the thought of composting the coffee grounds, as you never even see them. Wow. Talk about a green nightmare!! At the very least, the packaging that the over-packaged grounds came in was recyclable.

Did I have a cuppa? Yeah, I did. And did I enjoy goofing off with this machine? Yeah, it was sort of fun. But I'd never own one. And it's sort of a bummer that they are so popular. Alas, baby steps. Step one: awareness.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Montessori School - Update

Two positive things to report about the Montessori mission. One is that as of today I have a confirmed date to go tour the local Montessori school and talk with the head of school. I really look forward to that. The other is that (stick with me, here) the other day I was chatting online with my neighbor, D, who knows someone I know for the MOMS Club, P. D told me that P has a friend, M, who has a child in the local Montessori school. So D promised to send me M's contact information. Right after that I saw that P was online, so I chatted with her, and found out that M is also in our MOMS Club chapter, and I know her. (Not well, but I know who she is) SO...P gives me her phone number. Cool. So today I take the kids to the Y to swim, and who is there swimming with her two kids, but M! So I ask her about Montessori. We talked a lot. The basic gist of the conversation was that she LOVES the local Montessori school. So much so that she said her commute (15 min.) is worth it, and that she'd pay MORE to keep her child there if she had to. Wow. She invited me to contact her anytime to talk more about it, and said she loves to talk about it. She said that she's at the pool every Thursday, so we could meet there! Funny, and so encouraging. Very encouraging. =) If DD did go there, she'd be in M's son's class. (she'd be in 1st, he'd be in 2nd, but 1st-3rd is all together.) I hope I'm not getting over excited about this. I want to do the right thing. But everything seems to be pointing in that direction. I just want DD to be in an environment where she feels good about herself, self-confident, and comfortable.

Cut From A Different Cloth

Last night I went out to dinner.

 The occasion was the once-a-month outing of my local chapter of the MOMS Club. (MOMS=Moms Offering Moms Support) This is a group I have been a member of since just before DD was born. For the past year or more, I have continued to pay my dues, but I really haven't participated in anything. Then I received the newsletter, and the current prez. appealed to all members to give some thoughts as to why membership might be down, and to share why some members aren't participating very often. This hit home, and I wondered why I had stopped going. I vowed to get involved again. Fast forward to last night's MNO (Mom's Night Out)

So I went. Only the 2nd one I've ever attended, in 5.5 years of being a member. I was the first one there. I sat at the bar and ordered a beer, and felt foolish. I checked the door about every 10 seconds until two other women showed up, about 10 or 15 minutes later. We sat, and a couple others trickled in. There were five of us total. All of these women were familiar to me-long-timers. So I sipped from the bottle of my Amstel Light, while each of the others ordered wine, asking this question and that question, and referred to the wines as "cabs" and other names I don't remember. I don't drink wine. In fact, I hate the stuff. The reason has nothing to do with the fact that a glass of wine can cost up to $9.00 a glass. Yeah, really. The conversation opened with an exchange between two women about jewelry. I observed, but again, from afar. I wear jewelry. Plastic, for the most part. One bracelet that my daughter made for me for Christmas. Much of the shine and color has faded from being in the shower a number of times. One necklace from a beading kit of DD's. I actually made it, while she made a similar one. It has the first initial of each of our names: JEDS. Like this blog. The "chain" is stretchy plastic, and the beads are colorful block letters and round beads. I also don a Tiffany's heart pendant, a gift from hubby some years ago. I credit these kind women for oooing and ahhing over my blig!!! But it sets me apart, again. I tried to appear interested while they talked about their phases with this type of stone or that company or whatnot. I think stones are pretty, too. But I'm ok with looking at them, and passing them by. We did cover the topic of our kids' schools, something I have something to say about. But as we talk I observe that for the most part, while I have on what I had been wearing all day, jeans and a sweater top, these women had dressed up a bit. Not fancy, but chosen. Oh, and my hair, as usual, was pulled back. There were no other scrunchies at the table. And make up? I haven't worn it in years and years, and I am not likely to start. =) I'm not crunchy. I just don't care about all that. It's not rebellion, just indifference!

I ended up enjoying myself, and was proud of myself for going... All the others were gracious, and one was sweet enough to give me a hug before I left. =)

I still always end up feeling that something is inherently different about me. Like my X-chromosome is chipped or something. It used to upset me a great deal. Now it's just an observation, and a reminder. The fact is, it's my attitude as much as anything else. I see the differences, and do nothing about it. I want to be accepted and have friends, but not enough to start to wear blahdeblah-style jewelry and those cute boots or whatnot. So I realize that it's just a matter of being me while allowing others to be themselves, and going with it. Right? If I want to belong, I've got to GO to the outings, and BE at the play dates. So what if I don't have the gift of gab, or know anything about the current clothing or hair style, or the latest fitness fad. There are lots of kind people who will work to find a common interest with me if I am willing to work at it, too. And so. Time to make an effort. Not to change myself, but to allow myself to be me with other people and be ok with that.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recycling Improvements-Yeah!!

Today I glanced out the window when I heard the recycling truck making its way around the neighborhood. The company collects the recycling every other week, and we are always overflowing. I am always so happy to see all of it go. Some months ago I asked the company, County Waste, for an extra recycle bin, and we always fill both plus and extra card board box or two.

So today, I see two trucks. One is collecting the recycling, the other is taking the blue bins away, and replacing them with a trash can sized recycle bin. Very cool. It'll be much easier to move one large bin back and forth. I had been using the kids' wagon to transport the recycling to the end of the driveway. The new bin came with paperwork. (Unfortunately, the paperwork was tucked inside a large plastic sleeve, but...baby steps!!) This is the exciting part. The company will now be accepting a whole lot more than it has been. I am thrilled. To date we have not been able to recycle junk mail, and we thrown tons and tons of it away. I was seriously considering asking the post office if I could bring our junk mail to the local office, as they have bins there. They will now accept junk mail, envelopes, copy paper (yahoo!) , plastic containers #1-7 (yippeeyippee!!!) and lots of other stuff. I am SO happy about all of this. Oh, and they will be collecting recycling every week, and it all goes into one container! All good things. =) Now if we only had curb side compost pick up!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Montessori School

Since DD was born, I have been interested in Montessori education. When a Montessori school opened just a few miles from us, I went to an open house. This was a couple of years ago. I remember at the time being unimpressed by the large class size, and being informed that conflict resolution by the children is encouraged. Not that I'm against that, but when you're talking about little kids, or big kids for that matter, I think some guidance is needed. Anyhow, I left the place and turned my attention elsewhere.

Recently, I have been become interested, once again, in seeing what is out there for DD education-wise. My renewed interest comes after seeing that DD's anxieties, which are pretty overpowering sometimes, continue to surface fairly frequently despite her having been at her current school for pre-k and now Kindergarten. Not that I expect them to go away - I don't. She faces the world the way I do, with trepidation and hesitation. But I feel that at least looking into other environments is warranted. I add that she is thriving where she is - I truly believe that - despite the fact that she often refuses to eat at school, she flat out refuses to use the bathroom there if I'm not there, and she won't throw things in the garbage. That is clearly DD's way of taking control the only way she feels she can. And that's not good enough. If she can thrive in an environment in which she continues to feel out of control in, I'd love to see what she would do in an environment in which she feels more relaxed and in charge. So.

I have read a little bit about Montessori education. I was overwhelmed with the blurb I read about academics, and how they are force-fed from the age of three. I maybe shouldn't put it that way, but that is the impression I was left with after reading a blurb online. And I have been talking to people. Then last week I went to a preschool open house, and cornered the head of school of our local Montessori school. She left me with the impression that much of the day-to-day learning is child-led. A child is allowed to pick his/her task, work on it alone or with other students, and complete it at his/her pace. I asked her how they would handle a situation where a student refused to eat, or didn't speak up in class. (DD's current school has made a big issue over the fact that DD is too shy to greet the other students at the morning meeting) The answers she gave were, in turn, that the students prepare the morning snack, and can eat, or play, whatever they choose. They do eat lunch together. She said that the students are free to raise their hands and speak up in class if they choose, and not if they don't. The students are also free to observe rather than participate in an activity if that's what they choose. Hmmmm. Although I will miss an open house at the school this weekend, I was encouraged to call to come for a tour, and told that I can come observe the classroom. Let me add that Montessori is multi-age, and if DD were to go there, she would be grouped with 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. (Her current school is multi-aged as well, and I can't say enough about the benefits of that.)

Ok...so. Here are the pros and cons as I see them so far:



student-led learning
each student learns at his/her level
each student works at his/her pace
academics introduced early, but at child's pace
monthly themes
parents invited to observe classroom throughout the year
4 miles from home - 7 minutes drive
I went to Montessori school from 2 1/2-5, and have mostly good memories of it.


Tiny play yard (outdoor play very important to DD)
large class size (21 in one class this year)
DD has to make new friends (she is very timid)
very expensive
adjust to new teachers

Stay at current school:


familiar with school, teachers and students
familiar with routine
huge playground area
smaller class sizes (13 this year)
she has made tremendous progress with bonding with other kids, working with other authority figures, gaining confidence


10 mile, 17 minute drive each way - DD would have to take the bus at least one way
pressure to perform in areas where she is intensely uncomfortable. Some pressure is necessary, perhaps, but give me a break about talking in front of the entire school every morning! I'd run away!

Anyhow, I'll add to the list as I think of things, but I would LOVE to hear from anyone with any information or experience with Montessori education!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

oxygen Bleach - update

That's what I'm talkin' about! Muuuuuuch better. =)

If you didn't catch my other posts about oxygen bleach, I tried using it twice before, but I put it in the bleach drawer thingy. It didn't make it to the laundry...it turned into bleach stones. For this load I chucked the powdered bleach right in with the clothes, and it worked great. So here's my plug for a great green product. Oh, and even though the bottle clearly stated otherwise, I chucked colors and whites in together. Like I said before, I ain't looking for perfection, just clothes that look and smell clean when they come out of the dried. So I'm pleased. By the way, I bought Biokleen oxygen bleach, but I imagine there are other brands. Let me know if you've used any others.

Soap Nuts and Coconut Scrub Pads Giveaway

Click this link to enter for a chance to win a free bag of soap nuts and some coconut scrub pads!

Soap Nuts & Coconut Scrub Pads Giveaway

2010 - February Plan

February Plan and (eventually) Results:

Purge plan for February:

Kitchen purge #1 Get rid of all cooking items that aren't currently being used (pots/pans/small appliances).

Green plan for Feb:

3. Choose natural personal care products and cosmetics
4. Go for recycled, naturally bleached toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues

Holistic Moms Network Green Plan:

I honestly don't remember where I found this, so until I find it again, I can't work on it!


Friday, January 22, 2010

oxygen Bleach - update

Ah ha. The issue with the bleach is that it is a powder, and it is not washing through the bleach cup with the water into the laundry tub. In fact, it turned into solid bleach rocks! Bizarre, but ok. I guess the bleach cup is only intended for liquid bleach. The next test will be to put the bleach directly into the tub with the laundry. Hm. I hope the bleach-water will wash out. I hope it's not plugged with mini-rocks..... Stay tuned...

Oxygen Bleach - update

I just discovered this morning that about half of the oxygen bleach that I added to the bleach cup of the washing machine was still there. Hm. That would explain why I didn't see great results with the laundry yesterday. I don't know why it didn't wash into the tub, but I am trying again now. I've removed this plastic partition thingy, which I hope doesn't do anything bad. It just seemed that some of the wet powder was underneath it. We'll see.....

Holistic Moms Network - local chapter

This past Tuesday, the new local chapter of the Holistic Moms Network held an open house at the local library. Being a new member of HMN, I have been looking very forward to this open house. Here's what it was like:

I walked in to the room, and saw a circle of chairs in the center, all facing each other. (oh no!) I am timid by nature, and this sort of set up is very intimidating to me. Oh well, I was going to stick it out. I signed in, donned a name tag sticker, and grabbed a seat. After a few minutes of waiting as others arrived, a young woman introduced herself as the group's leader, and gave a brief outline of her plan for the evening. I had figured the open house was going to be drop-in, but the leader actually had a 2-hour meeting planned. Wow. Ok, so ... She began by having us do a minute of "centering" when we sat quietly, while passing around a small bottle of rose oil. She then discussed her reasons for wanting to be involved in this group. She then asked us to introduce ourselves and discuss our reasons for seeking out HMN. I hate this sort of thing, being very self-conscious, but regardless, I prattled on about my desire to feel better and more centered. I talked about my blog, and how my friend saw it and recommended the group, etcetcetc blahdeblah. After everyone finished, the leader asked that we all give input as to what we want to see the group do, and so forth. I left after about an hour.

It's hard to know what will become of the group, but I am hopeful that after a few months we'll get into a groove. Oh, and I am under the impression that I either am the only local member so far (other than the leader) or at least the only one at the meeting. Hopefully more will join. Play dates may come out of it, which would be ok. The next meeting will involve a visit by an herbalist, who will prepare foot baths I believe? Sounds lovely. Anyhow, I will update in the future.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oxygen Bleach - update

I did a load of wash, heavy on the socks, using Biokleen oxygen bleach. Hm. Well, I guess the socks have gone from coming out of the wash looking dirty to coming out of the wash looking clean but stained. That's an improvement. Perhaps they will get closer to their original color after several washes? Or perhaps because they were washed and dried before I introduced oxygen bleach they will always be stained. I don't know. Or perhaps I need to soak them in the wash? The trial continues. Here's a close-up...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oxygen Bleach

My newest "green clean" adventure. I have yet to try it, but I'll keep you posted. I got this because although I love using soap nuts in the laundry, our socks are coming out looking dirty. I don't go crazy trying to make clothing look brand new, not by a long shot, but I would like the socks to look a little whiter. So I'll give it a shot. Of course, oxygen bleach is completely natural and biodegradable. You have to keep it out of the reach of children, not my preferred type of thing to have around, but I'm gonna give it a try and see if it's worth having around. More soon.

Oh, and if anyone has any experience with this stuff, I'd love to hear about it. Thanks.

Another fleece hat! (sewing)

I have gotten really into making these silly hats! That's the way I am when it comes to sewing. I get really into making a certain thing, then I'm done and move on. But this week, I'm enjoying the heck out of making these fleece hats! I have found a number of patterns for them, so of course I have to try all of them. =) My sweet DD has told me that she wants to keep them all. I told her that whatever ones she doesn't like will get listed in my shop. She said she doesn't want me to do that, she wants to keep them all! =+) They sure would make easy and fun Christmas presents for this year.

Intervene? Part 2

I'm not sure if this is something I should blog about, but then I think, it's important, and perhaps getting some ideas from other people would be helpful. So here I go.

My husband and my daughter have an interesting relationship. They are at once very loving and caring and enjoy each other's company, and at the same time very critical and demanding of one another. So one minute they are laughing and engaged in some activity or other, and the next one or the other or both is speaking harshly to the other in utter frustration. It goes both ways. I'm in the middle much of the time. Both often want me to do something about whatever conflict has come up at the time. And the focus of the conflict is not the issue typically. It's the way they communicate about it. I will often hear DD saying, "BAD PAPA!" to which hubby will respond, "I have done nothing wrong!" to which DD will respond, with more conviction, "BAAAD PAPA!!" To which hubby will respond, with more conviction, "Don't talk to me that way!" And on and on. They both fuel the fire. So there I am, shaking my head, again, wondering what to do with it all. I know, for example, that our daughter is getting something out of the reaction she gets from him. She enjoys knowing she can stir him up. He seems unable to stop himself from becoming aggravated, and so the cycle continues. SIGHS! Much of it is harmless  - I mean a little bickering never hurt anybody. But sometimes it gets ugly, and then I worry. (Not physical, just loud) On DDs end I see that she is truly disrespectful sometimes, and that's not ok. Hubby is an adult who deserves, and truly earns, that respect most of the time. He is an authority figure, and she would do well to learn to respect authority figures from a young age. On hubby's end, he is modeling poor conflict resolution and stress management. He is telling DD not to be obnoxious and disrespectful, but he not modeling ways for her to stop. And just to make this abundantly clear, I am NOT the perfect parent. I am guilty of yelling out of frustration. I am guilty of expecting more from my kids than they are capable of. I am guilty of expecting my poor husband of reading my mind. So I am not trying to give the impression that I do things perfectly and those two should model after me. I am just stating that I am an observer of a less-than-always-harmonious relationship, and I wonder if something should be done to make it more harmonious. I think that in most situations, as long as things are not too tense, they should be left alone to figure things out between them. After all, we all need to learn to get along with all sorts of people and personalities, and it is very helpful to be able to do so from the beginning if possible. But ... when do I intervene? Or do I not? Or do I initiate some other type of intervention? Your thoughts are appreciated!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Another fleece hat =) (sewing)


As a parent, I spent a lot of mental energy trying to come up with new and interesting ways of entertaining my children. It is especially true when I'm tired, as I really need the five seconds of time that outside entertainment affords me. Today I was reminded of something important. I really wanted to put off turning the tv on as long as I could, because the kids have been watching a lot of tv lately. This morning, without argument or hardly a thought, we all turned into the playroom area instead of the living room, where the tv is. For 3 1/2 hours we ate, played, and splashed in the tub just because. My daughter created a house out of cardboard, and had us all making puppets out of paper bags. I simply encouraged, and followed her lead. What a concept! She is incredibly creative, and truly enjoys coming up with projects for us. So while I'm buried in Family Fun magazine and online searching for the fruits of someone else's mental energy (probably a kid's,) I actually have the greatest source of ideas right here. How cool is that? It is my job as a parent to encourage my children's creativity, and I wonder if I don't do just the opposite by getting caught up in my own agenda and responsibility. What she sees as a great project in the works, I often see as a big clean-up job for me. Or as as a complaint from hubby later in the day. But as I mentioned in a previous post, the neater the project environment is to begin with (which is my job ultimately) the less overwhelming and stress-producing DD's project is. So maybe I should try to redirect my thinking from aggravation to gratitude that my kids are so capable of finding entertainment, and looking for ways to encourage it without it causing me stress. Hm. I'm always saying, "When the h** did I become the parent? I want to be the kid again!!" So it's time to stop feeling like the wet blanket on it all, and create an environment thats fun for them, and me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hat Day (sewing)

My daughter's school encourages the kids to work together to form committees. The committees come up with ideas for the entire student body to participate in. The first was movie day. The kids each brought in his/her favorite movie. The kids took a vote, and two movies were played during the lunch/recess period. Dear daughter just brought home a form from the "hat committee" saying that Jan 22nd will be hat day at school. Each kid is to make or buy a hat. All of the students will vote on all of the hats. There will be a number of categories to vote on. I immediately knew that making a hat was in my immediate future. I google searched a fleece hat tutorial . DD chose the fabric. Here is the hat! I dunno, I'm thinking my shop might need a couple of these!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I know this is something that every parent goes through, and each finds his/her way of handling these situations. It's fairly new to me.

My daughter has made great friends in Kindergarten. She has gotten especially friendly with one little girl. It seems that this girl, who I'll call Libby, kind of took my shy daughter under he wing. DD told me several times at the beginning of the school year that "Libby is mean, but not to me." Fast forward to the beginning of this week, mid-January. DD has gotten to be very friendly with several of the other kids in her class by this point. DD tells me that she doesn't like Libby anymore. She says that Libby is mean to the other kids, and she likes the other kids. I commend her for sticking up for them. So a couple of mornings ago, DD's teacher reports to me that DD has bonded with another student in the class. Great! I respond enthusiastically to the teacher. Then the teacher informs me that Libby is feeling left out as a result and is feeling sad. She, in fact, trying to physically wedge herself between the other two. I tell the teacher what DD has told me, and also tell her that despite all of this, DD still asks to do things with Libby. "Oh good," says teacher. "The relationship is salvageable then." Are you kidding me? think I. They're 5!! They'll be over it in a day and move on most likely. I don't say this. My big dilemma is whether to discuss this with Libby's mom. We have visited with the kids and each other a couple of times, and we've gotten kind of friendly with each other. Would it be good to give her a head's up? Or would it cause more stress than the situation warrants? Or more intervention than is needed? When do you leave it to the kids, or really to the teacher, to deal with? I can, and have, spoken with DD about it, but honestly, not at great length. I think it's admirable that she has chosen to steer clear of the conflict ultimately. I don't feel that she's angry with Libby, just choosing to remove herself from the conflict. I think she's managing herself in the situation just fine. Why mess with that? I'm really not sure what the teacher was asking me to do, but I think I've done my part. Do you?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ask For What You Want and other life challenges

If my days are going to start in the middle of the night, I am going to have more than one brain-stream. Sometimes. So here is #2 for today.

If we want something, we should ask for it.

Why is it that the simplest concepts are the hardest to master? It's true. Eat well because it's good for you. Wow, do we, as a species, have trouble with that simple fact! There are many of those. But one I really, really struggle with is, if I want something, ASK for it! I rarely do! Why is this on my mind today? Because this morning my darling son woke up (and therefore I woke up) at 2 a.m. One thought was sort of an amazement that I didn't feel worse. Sometimes when woken up like that I have to go through a series of curses and self-pity before I accept my fate and face it with a (sort of) grin. I credit this to having gone to bed early the last two nights (9:30 p.m. and 10 pm respectively) The other thought was that it was going to be an incredibly long day for me. Darling son would likely wait until it was time to drive dear daughter to school before he napped. Or just before, after DD woke up. Either way I would not be able to nap with him. And if he napped then, he wouldn't nap again. Probably until it was time to pick DD up again. Argh! So I stewed in my own self-pity, and when hubby got up, I looked piteously at him, which got me what I hoped for, sympathy. =) And then the announcement that he was leaving for work in three minutes. I was back to feeling sorry for myself and looking ahead to a looooooooooooooong day. Hubby commented about the possibility of my getting a nap, and I said what I said above. Not likely. Then I said, looking as pathetic as possible, "unless you pick DD up from school...?" He thought briefly, and said, "I'll do it! I'll pick her up." YEAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Whoo-Hoo! My entire day changed in that second. Not only did I only have to drive while dangerously tired with my two little ones one time today, but I may actually get to nap! Wow! While my brain turned from sour to sweet, hubby discussed with DD what she would like to do after school. DD later told me that they are going ice skating and out for ice cream! Wow! That gives me hours to sleep or whatever, plus it will get me out of taking the kids swimming at the Y after school, something I've been promising for three days. And all it took was me asking for what I wanted. Which I never do. I need to work on that!

Pain in the neck - literally

I posted previously about an ache that has developed in the back of my neck. I have been doing some research on various practitioners and methods of pain relief. I've read about chiropractors, reiki, massage therapy, acupuncture, healing touch, and on and on. I tossed some ideas out to the Holistic Moms email loops. Quite a discussion resulted, focused mainly on chiropractic. There is definitely a chiro positive team, and a chiro negative team. The skeptics question the need for constant chiropractic care, up to three times per week. The pro team argues that it is simply maintenance, arguing that we go to the dentist every six months to take care of our teeth, why not our spine? And so forth. Reiki, a totally new concept to me, involves energy flow in the body, and comes with its own pro team and skeptics. Wikipedia reports that "There is no scientific evidence for either the existence of ki or any mechanism for its manipulation, and a systematic review of randomized clinical trialsconducted in 2008 did not support the efficacy of reiki or its recommendation for use in the treatment of any condition.[7][8]"
Hm. But it's not hard to find practitioners, who manage to stay employed... Massage is a fun idea, but does it heal? The woman I spoke with yesterday at a holistic practice seemed to think so. Though she used to be a massage therapist, so... Acupuncture. I haven't researched this too much yet. It is not my first choice. I'm a little squirrelly about people touching me anyway, and to stick little needles in me...well, I just don't know if I could deal. Even the thought makes me squirm. But I know people who feel it is a good thing. Healing touch has something to do with helping people to deal with emotional issues through touch....no thanks. Then someone I know was telling me about kinesiology. I had heard that word before, from the Holistic Moms loops, as something that some chiros practice. But this person was telling me about kinesiology as a practice all its own. She had seen someone for fibromyalgia pain and other stuff. She found this treatment, provided in a woman's home, to be more helpful, overall, than any other she had received. And she says she's "done it all." Hm.

They can all sound wonderful, and they can all sound questionable, depending on who you ask. So what is the result of all this?

I'm back to square one, confused by it all, and unable to pick a direction to move in. So I'm going to divide myself into practitioner and client. And give myself a treatment plan.

Dr. Me: What has brought you to yourself today?

Client Me: Blah de blah ache in my neck blahblah two kids blah de jump on me yaddayadda body hurts blah lack of sleep yadda

Dr. Me: Oh poor you! You work SO hard and you're terribly depleted. You deserve a week-long caribbean cruise! I'll write you a prescription right away!

Client Me: Blad de blah attachment parent blah don't like to be away from my kids for too long yadda

Dr. Me: Oh! You're one of those self-sacrificing types.

Client Me: (humbly) Yeah...

Dr. Me: No brainer. You need good sleep, exercise, outdoor time every day (sun exposure combats seasonal affective d/o and generally improves the mood,) yoga to ease sore muscles and release stress, time to yourself alone and time with friends, a healthy diet.

Client Me: I like the cruise idea better.

Dr. Me: Alas.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Benjamin the Boo-Boo Bunny (sewing)

Just thought I'd share my latest. I tried to make him the first listing in my new shop, but I wasn't able to open a new shop with the same email address... so he's listed in the current shop, DydeeDaze.etsy.com.

So...this is a boo-boo bunny. He holds an ice cube in his middle for when the kids get boo-boos! He soothes and comforts while icing that bump. =) He absorbs the water as the ice melts, too. Groovy, what?

I Hate/I Love

When I'm tired, I hate cooking. Actually I hate all aspects of meals. Planning, shopping, cooking, balancing, cleaning up. When I'm well rested, it's fun.

When I'm tired, I hate that I'm constantly picking up the messes that my kids make. When I'm well rested, I help make the messes, and don't mind the clean-up.

When I'm tired, I can't deal with my children being tired, punchy, short-fused, upset, rude, rebellious. When I'm well rested, I'm understanding, caring, loving and sympathetic.

When I'm tired, I hate getting all bundled up and facing the cold, bright, grey wintry world. When I'm well rested, I initiate it.

When I'm tired, I hate having to leave the comfort of my house. When I'm well rested, I look forward to getting out.

When I'm tired, I can't wait until the children fall asleep at night. When I'm well rested, I enjoy a relaxed evening routine.

When I'm tired, the idea of exercise kills me. When I'm well rested, it thrills me.

When I'm tired, housework overwhelms me. When I'm well rested, housework overwhelms me. (oh well!)

I'm tired of being tired.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Privacy - Update

I presented hubby with the idea of him watching the kids for five minutes in the mornings in order to give me five minutes alone to get cleaned up and dressed. It was received just about as I expected. The initial look of shock, as if I'd asked him to watch them while I go away for a week to the Bahamas. Then quiet, for hours. Then, "I'm totally ok with that." Presented, received, processed, accepted. I had a mental process, too, which was also pretty predictable. Anxiety over presenting the idea, anger over the way it was received (even though I am familiar with the process) and relief when the process was complete. So this morning my son woke up at 4 a.m. (could be worse) We all got up. A short while later, hubby said to me, with a grin, "I think you could take 10 minutes today!" LOL!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Car wash vs. hand wash

In a "green" book a friend leant me, I just read that using a car wash instead of washing your car yourself saves water. Lots of water. This is very surprising to me. But what about the soap? I'm sure it's not eco-friendly. So what's the greener option?


I have no privacy in my life. Zero. This morning I asked hubby if he'd watch the kids for a quick five minutes while I went upstairs to get cleaned up and dressed. Mind you I'm not asking for a full cleansing shower with eucalyptus soap and hair washing-just a quick cleansing so I feel as if I'm starting the day fresh. About a minute and a half into said cleansing my dear 5 peers in, then walks into the room. Ok, I don't hide from my kids when I shower or dress or whatnot, but once in a while, having this time to myself would be nice. I'm not saying this is anyone's fault. I need to ask for what I need. But when I think through my day, I really have no privacy. First thing in the morning, I am woken by the kids. We sleep in the same bed, so .... it's really, really first thing. Now before you American traditional parenting types jump all over that, I LOVE sleeping with my children, and wouldn't change it. I've done so for 5 1/2 years. I am an attachment parent. I was one before I knew there was a term for it. Again, I wouldn't (couldn't!) change this fact. So I choose total immersion. That doesn't mean I don't need me time. What I do need is to create it for myself. Changes in our way of doing things may cause waves, but the seas always settle down and everyone adjusts! I think I will start by asking hubby to plan on watching the children for five minutes each morning to allow myself time to dress and whatnot. To date, hubby has remained pretty detached in the morning, taking his time upstairs to get ready. (This morning it was almost 30 min.) He puts himself first. Good for him! For a while I resented that fact. Even on weekends. Every weekend. He'd wait for us to get up and go downstairs before he'd even get out of bed. I should say that in the present tense. But it does no good to be resentful. So that's another thing I'll change. One morning will be his, and one mine. I do anticipate disappointment.....however, the seas will settle! We have implemented taking turns with breaks on weekend mornings, and that has been great. I posted about that a while back. We turned highly stressful, un-fun Saturday mornings into relaxed, fun ones. As always, it comes down to me figuring out what I need and making it happen for myself.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Crisis cleaning blues

I am so tired of the need to crisis clean/organize every time we invite someone over. And the anxiety and headache that comes with it. (Every time!) And the mood my daughter then picks up from me and begins her day with. Ohhhhh. And I love having people over. I'm a people person. But it is a simple fact. The only way things are gonna change around here so that preparing for people is a less stressful proposition is to get rid of stuff. So there is my motivation to keep moving with my plan for the year. And I've had a good start. I'm keeping track of my progress, and honestly, that helps. Blogging about it all helps, too. I like to be able to go back and remind myself of what I've accomplished. I also notice that the less clutter there is around me, the less I stress it if the kids make a mess. It feels like no big deal to handle their mess if the surrounding around is neat and clean. Hm. Seems as if it's a no-brainer. So what the ... has taken me so long? Anyhow, it's easy to write about, time to try to walk the walk. (siiiighhhhs) Perhaps I need to keep a record of my DAILY accomplishments for a few days....boring for you, maybe, but helpful for me. Ok....so here's today: (to be updated throughout the day if and when I accomplish something....)

Feeling really down. First of all, I don't know how to stop this from underlining. What a pain. Secondly, but really firstly, I have been picking up around here since my son fell asleep, about an hour ago. The place still looks like crap. It's so frustrating. Makes me hate myself. =( I hope our visitors this afternoon are forgiving. ......... Well, our guests were great, and the house was ....ok.... One of my books on Amazon.com sold today, so that's nice. I'm plugging along. :/

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I never thought about how structured and routine my life was until I had children. They immediately taught me that I had become very rigid in my routine. How shattering it was to have my routine abruptly interrupted, and time after time! Has this reaction changed over the past 5 1/2 years that I've been a parent? Yes and no! It still comes as a shock when darling son wakes up at strange times during the night (1:30 a.m. today...) It still boggles my mind when dear daughter finds it necessary to draw a picture or whatever else strikes her as we're walking out the door to go somewhere. Perspective! Darling boy has no concept of time. What he knows is that he's awake, so it must be time to get up. Dear little 5 knows only that, although we are going out, she just wants to draw this one thing while she's thinking about it, and she needs mom to get the stuff for her, then she needs to stop and process anything that comes across her radar throughout the process. What I know is that school starts in 20 min. and I've been up since 1 or 2 or 3.... This morning, around 2:30 a.m. or so, the kids asked for pancakes. Hubby said no, that they would have to wait until breakfast time. I didn't care, but knew that wouldn't change the fact that they were hungry, so I gently suggested that they'd need something to hold them over. When several minutes had passed and they had no food and were still asking for pancakes, the kids and I went and made some. I know hubby didn't really care - it just didn't fit the normal routine. Of course having a routine makes things much easier. Knowing you can rely on certain things happening at certain times is comforting. And practical. Knowing when I'll be able to relax and recharge is critical to my mental health! But it really is eye-opening to be reminded of just how stuck in our routines we can get. Perhaps an occasion reminder of this is a good thing. Why not nap at 8 a.m. when everyone else is just getting up for the day? Why not go for a drive during the night? And why not eat pancakes at 2:30 a.m.?

Friday, January 8, 2010


I realize that when I have nothing to say, it means it's time for me to DO something. Hm. What can I purge.......................

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Boo-Boo Bunnies!

I was talking (messaging with, actually) my SIL, and we were talking about reusable bags. Somehow or other, we got on to boo-boo bags, and she mentioned boo-boo bunnies. I did an online search, easily found a tutorial for making them, and did so. =) You stick an ice cube in the back, et voila! They may have to be the trial items in my yet to be opened eco-shop.

Ok, the bottom picture is what they should look like!! LOL. Leave it to me to leave out a step! Yeeks. The first ones had no bodies!


This blog could be combined with the last one. Kinda.

So my son and daughter disagreed about what tv program they wanted to watch. My daughter did not complain when I put on my son's choice. As a special treat for being so easy-going (and I don't like to use crap as a treat, but....) I told her I would give her a candy. She was happy, no shocker there. She was too impatient to wait for me (I was nursing) so she took some chocolate out of the fridge. She wanted a certain part of the chocolate. I wanted to break it up so the pieces were small. Darling son caught on quickly and wanted in on the action. Daughter was in such a hurry to get the piece that she wanted that she started grabbing before I had finished breaking it up. My mood started to change right there. I told her the piece she had chosen was too big, and asked her to wait while I broke it. She continued to grab at that one, and more. I got angry. She didn't care. I pulled the chocolate that was on the counter away (as she was grabbing) causing her to drop the pieces she had, and begin to cry. (For the love, the girl is 5. What drama!!) I concluded at that exact moment that candy leads to nothing but unhappiness. I allowed them the chocolate, and gave each a small piece of candy stick, and told them to enjoy it because the rest was going in the garbage. And it did. I left a very small bag of chocolate gummy bears b/c she had been talking about them all year as something that Santa brings her. The rest, a collection that has been very slowly doled out, went in the garbage. I figure if it makes us all miserable before it's even consumed, and we know what it does to us when it is consumed, it's only causing unhappiness. So out with it. If only I could do that with Doritos! (It's a process)

J-j-j-j-jitteryyyy Me!

Today a neighbor of mine came over to visit. I made a pot of coffee, and proceeded to drink a cup. Every day I make and drink two mugs of half-caff. coffee. Once in a while I'll have more, and every time I regret it! Today was no exception. Even though the third mug of coffee was half-caff. I ended up feeling jittery, nervous, scattered, and unable to focus on any one task. I literally found myself walking in circles! Crazy. It is a big reminder of how diet directly effects our mood, how we feel physically, how well we can concentrate.... I have been trying to feed us better, and it's nice to have incentive. The more I work on feeling better, the more aware I become of the need, and the more momentum I get. Cool.

Plastic Purge Phase 1

Part of my January Plan is to "ditch the plastic," meaning replace all plastic water bottles with alternatives. I also want to greatly reduce the amount of plastic we have in our home in general. So here is phase 1. This is a purge of our plastic water bottles, sippy cups, and regular plastic drinking cups. (wow!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Folks are telling me that they are trying to leave comments on my blog posts and some are not able to. A lovely lady (who IS able to comment) gave me some direction, and I may have fixed the problem. Please leave a comment to this post to test it. Thanks! (fingers crossed)

By the way, if it doesn't post the first time, push the button again. That happens to me sometimes, and it always works the second time. Thanks.

Eco shop?

I have an Etsy shop. I really enjoyed it for a while, and would like to get into it again. I started out by selling cloth diapers, thus the name DydeeDaze. But I got very tired of making diapers that took a while and were great quality only to have to sell them at competitive prices, which meant I made barely more than materials cost, and definitely did not make anything for the time I put into them. It was fun for a while, then suddenly it was not. Just as quickly I stopped listing anything, and took several months off. I had lost my passion for it. A couple months before Christmas I decided to list some diapers and other things that hadn't sold, then made a few scrunchies to throw on there as well. I have been noodling with the idea of combining my love for sewing/creating with my passion for being kinder to the environment to start a new shop (or just refocus the one I have) with a focus on eco-friendly products. Hm. Everything I listed in the current shop has been eco-friendly (cloth diapers/diaper covers/cloth wipes/scrunchies) but it might rekindle  my interest in the whole thing, and it would tie together my desire to learn more about living holistically and always finding more ways to be green. I could enjoy that. I wouldn't be focused on one product, but could constantly be finding fun new stuff to create. Hm.....

Reusable zip-top bags?

Last night I was teasing my mother-in-law. She is not green. Not at all. She told me, as she has before, that she uses zip-top plastic bags for everything. She said, in fact, that she "uses them like water." I use them to. (I say, ducking the bullets) It's a major thing I need to change. Anyhow, so I was teasing her. I said I would need to create a reusable zip-top bag for her. I mused out loud, in a joking tone, about how I would do it. I've been pondering it ever since! Of course the green thing to do would simply be to find alternatives that are safe, reusable, and so forth. But you can lead a horse to water.... It would be a lot harder, I discuss with myself, to refuse to try something if it is basically the same product only safe and reusable. HM! Maybe waterproof diaper bags that people use for holding soiled cloth diapers when out and about. I dunno. This has become a challenge I may just take on. I happen to have some PUL (water-proof) fabric in my stash. Is that safe for food? I'll need to research that. The best way to influence people is to teach by example, so maybe I'll see what I can create for myself, and if they work, I can slyly introduce them to MIL and others. =)

I might try this tutorial , if PUL is safe for food. I would be using PUL instead of the plastic this calls for. I have PUL in my stash, for one thing...

Just a quick online search on PUL safety for food storage has me believing that it has not been approved. Darn.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ow! Yoga vs. chiropractic or other intervention

In the past few weeks, I have developed an almost chronic pain in my upper back/neck region. It feels like muscle fatigue, but it's hard to say. I tend to hold my tension in this area as well, but I'm ruling that out as I'm not terribly tense. (Or at least I'm not aware of being terribly tense...) My tendency is to turn to yoga for this sort of thing, and that usually does the trick right away. That's what I've done this time, with good results, but if I skip a DAY the ache finds its way back. My shoulders are uneven, and have been for years upon years. I blame this on carrying terribly overloaded back packs on one shoulder (left) for year after year after year. (that's a topic for another day - kids have TOO MUCH STUFF to carry around for school!!!!!) I also have either carpal tunnel syndrome or scalenus anticus syndrome (sp) depending on who you ask. Either way, if I do any repetitive motion stuff with my hands, I get tingling in both hands, sometimes pain during the night, and occasionally stiffness in the morning. So I'm starting off with a deficit to be sure! However, I've never encountered a pain that I wasn't able to ultimately manage and make go away. I am wondering what to do. I have been considering seeing a chiropractor. I have never been. I have been curious for a long time. An MD who I trust and adore, my father, does not feel this is the way to go. But so many others swear by this kind of treatment. I just don't know. I carry my kids every day, I don't get enough exercise, I never sleep perfectly (though recently very well, thank you children!) Perhaps I should try daily exercise and yoga first. But ouch. =(

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Paper napkins

Sometimes I go to fast food restaurants. I know, I know. But I do. Sometimes. And every time, I receive a stack of napkins. It doesn't seem to matter how much food I order. I receive an obviously quickly grabbed stack of paper napkins-way more than I need. It's such an obvious waste of paper. What's worse is I have seen, and on more than one occasion, a person grab a handful of napkins to wipe his or her mouth! Or use what he/she needs, but toss the entire bunch away. Agh! I collect them. (My own, not others!) I have them in the glove compartment of my car, my husband's car, and in the house. I use them when we're driving and the kids are snacking. I use them for those in my life who have trouble adjusting to cloth, even while visiting my home. I use them when we run out of cloth napkins. (We've been without a functioning washing machine for a while now.) I remember a former co-worker of mine once talking to me and others about an article she read. It discussed how people use far more paper toweling to dry hands than is needed. She went on and on about it, about how she is being more conscientious about it as a result. At lunch time this same woman grabbed napkin after napkin after napkin to wipe her mouth and hands! (No, I didn't point this out to her, but chuckled and rolled my eyes internally) People are people after all! But geez. And it's not just fast food places of course. It's everywhere. I guess the answer is to appeal to the restaurants themselves, or in some way have a dispenser so people can take what they need (prob not very helpful, but maybe) or something. It just seems like such an easy way to reduce waste. Thoughts?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Woah! Interesting laundry info.

This is interesting! Our washing machine kicked the bucket. It came off its bearing (?) The repair man said IT IS BECAUSE OF HIGH-SUDS DETERGENTS. He saw the empty bottle of non-h.e. (high efficiency) detergent (I had saved from ages ago with the thoughts of storing home-made detergent in it) and said that front-loader machines should only use h.e. detergents because they are low-sudsing. I say it's just another reason why switching too all-natural, plant-based laundry soaps has been a good thing for me! The cost for this repair would be over $600.00. !!!!! We are opting for a new machine, which will be treated with due love and respect from day 1.


I have gotten really in to sewing. It's my peace after a long day. I belong to a fabulous online group called Sewing Mamas (sewingmamas.com) and someone(s) there suggested having a monthly Christmas sewing project to help everyone complete all they want to throughout the year, instead of waiting until the last minute. I love the idea of a monthly assignment, so... here's my first completed project, made completely from stuff in my stash. (Another new year's plan, to use what I have on hand whenever possible.)

All-purpose reusable gift bags

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 - January Plan - Results!

Results for January:


Reading Material Purge:

Magazines purged: 39

I am liking the idea that I have been able to pass some of these magazines on to others to enjoy before they are recycled. I sorta wish people were more into sharing periodical subscriptions...

Newspaper purge: At least one each day

Book purge: 1 book sold on Amazon.com. 12 more listed. In the meantime they will live in the garage! 17 books thrown away (many were old text books.) 4 donated to the library. 2 offered back to MIL, who leant them to us years ago! 1 offered to HMN folks - to be donated to library in 1 week...(1/12-19) 12 to be donated to library or DD's school - will sit in the car meanwhile. Gone from car - donated. One bag of kid's books given to a friend, two more to be given/donated. One in the car, one on its way to the car.

Easy Green Living book-RESULTS:

Clean Kindly:

+Rejected soap nuts liquid for the dishwasher. Replaced it with 7th Generation power which has been great.

+Soap nuts liquid for kitchen clean-up is good. Really like to use castile soap for general household cleaning.

+Bought myself a bar of castile soap scented with Eucolyptus oil. Very nice! Suds a lot (which is not important to me, just a comment) and smells very nice! Aromatherapy while you shower. Unusual for me as I buy unscented stuff due to my skin issues, but this is all-natural, I'll see how my skins deals. So far so good!

+At my daughter's insistence we bought some "all natural" hand soap yesterday. Grapefruit and pomegranate scent. I have been sneezing ever since. I have run into this before with orange scented natural cleaners and have removed them from my life. Must be all citrus scented stuff. Weird. DD loves to pick hand soaps, and doesn't like to be limited to my castile soap concoctions, even when I put it in the foaming hand soap dispenser.... perhaps if I try using scented oils in it?...... She might enjoy making it with me...

Be Wise With Laundry:

+Soap nuts liquid in the laundry has been excellent. I started using Biokleen oxygen bleach this month, with good results.

Holistic Moms Network Green Resolutions: RESULTS:

#1 Ditch the plastic. Replace plastic water bottles with alternatives that are reusable, recyclable, safe

I have already gotten two stainless steel water bottles (Christmas present, thank you dear hubby!) I ordered two stainless steel water bottles for the children. I have thrown away a bin filled with all of our plastic bottles, sippy cups and plastic cups. (See photo in Plastic Purge Phase 1) .....The kids' bottles have arrived, and they started using them right away. They are the perfect size, and they have sport-bottle tops that are safe. My plan is to wash and fill them with fresh water every morning. So far it's worked great. The kids are drinking more water, which is good.

Exercise - RESULTS:

snow shoe/sledding adventure, kid-style: 1
neighborhood walk: 2
yoga: about 9 times
Joined the Y mid-Jan. swim with the kids: 4
hike w/family: 1
Wii sports: A few minutes most days beginning mid-Jan.

Beautify House-RESULTS:

Adding once again. Beautify house. I am officially really embarrassed to have people see our house. And now that DD is having play dates all over the place, I need to get my act together. Progress so far? NONE. Perhaps this will kick in in Feb.

I am very pleased with myself for having done all of this. I hope I can keep the momentum up for Feb! The results are good motivators.