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!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Just A Blabbery Blog Post

My blog posts always have a topic. A reason. The more time that goes by, the more I find that a day, or two, or three will go by without an inspiration for a post. At least not one in the style I have been doing. Boy when I started, post topics and ideas poured through me, day and night! I had loads of ideas and I was anxious to write. I still love the idea of writing a post every day, but the inspirations are lessening. At least at the moment. And I don't push myself to perform here. Or maybe I do. But not too much. This blog is for me, about me, and can be whatever I want it to be. So far, that has been sharing my trials with trying to get healthier and become more environmentally conscious. But it also about finding balance in my life. Finding happiness. And I have come quite a way since beginning this blog. I understand and accept that achieving happiness is not really a goal, but a process, a journey, a lifestyle. So every now and then I just feel like updating. Just journaling. Why not?

So what's up with me? Well, I guess in every arena, I'm still working to achieve a place that I find to be good for me. I am working on eating and feeding my family better. It's harder than I thought. I am working with the Natural Health Improvement Center, and trying to follow their suggestions. It's not immediate, it hasn't changed my life dramatically, but it has encouraged me to make a few small changes each week, and I am reading and learning about these changes. I am truly understanding that it is not about cutting this or that out of everyone's diet forever. It's about replacing foods that are nutritionally empty and replacing them with foods that are nutrient dense. And not losing it if we eat poorly at a meal, because overall we're doing better. And overall we've always done ok. It hasn't changed the fact that cooking is a chore for me, but it does change the way I feel about what we put into our bodies, and how that relates to health and illness, mood, role modeling for our kids, and so forth.

I am continuing to exercise. Hubby and I continue to work out together, though we are trying to switch from night time work outs to morning work outs, which are challenging with the kids. I appreciate that he wants to continue to try, and I am proud of both of us for doing it in the first place. I cannot say that I crave exercise, or look forward to the workouts, but I feel good afterwards, and know that it is so good for me. I know that it helps my mood, my digestion, and so many other things. So... onward with that. And I finally got a Wii balance board, which is kinda cool. Hard to work out with other people with it, and the workouts aren't nearly as challenging so far as the other Wii exercise disc is, but maybe we haven't quite figured it out yet.

My mood is decent. I can't say it's better than that, and usually not too much worse. I'm plugging along. My friend's recent diagnosis of breast cancer has had sort of a double effect on me. On the one hand, it makes me upset and angry and feel helpless, and yes, even scared. On the other hand, finding ways to rally people to help her and her family during this time has rekindled the desire in me to help others. It has always been what has driven me. After leaving my last job before having kids, I was so entirely burned out from the work that I basically hated the idea of working, period, for a long time. After I got over that, it took me quite a while to stop feeling angry and resentful towards the place itself. Until the last couple of days, I haven't had feelings about it at all. Now I remember why I'm here. Now I remember that I can help others and I want to! And I know there are ways for me to do so in a positive, exciting, interesting and educating way. And I'm getting enthusiastic to start looking for my place again. Once DS is in school, it is basically an expectation that I return to work asap to help offset some of our expenses. With one in private school, and another possibly headed that way too, we're gonna need the extra income. No, being in the helping fields will not push us up too many tax brackets, but if I find a place that I am thrilled to be at, I can and will work my way up as high as I can go, and I will do so with energy and enthusiasm.

My health seems to be pretty good, though I have some weird things going on. For one, over the last couple of weeks, I become cold very easily, and I have trouble stopping it once it starts. Yes, I know, it sounds like a thyroid issue, and maybe it is. But it only happens at home, which is just weird. For weeks now I have been sneezing while downstairs in our home. And now my son's cheeks seem to turn red while downstairs. My daughter's too, but not as dramatically. So there's something irritating in the house. Could it be the not-quite finished basement, paint, plaster dust, and all that? It could be. I don't know!

And so that's it. I haven't been sewing too much since my friend's diagnosis. My mind has been elsewhere, and my need has been to research online on her behalf. And that's been ok.

I'm lonely, but that's sort of a constant. I am pretty much too busy to think about it much, but man I could use some folks to laugh with. Hubby and I are so entrenched in the job that is our home and family that we don't have much time to just be ourselves and to laugh and enjoy each other's company. He almost seems to be in the space that I was in when I started this blog. Easily angered, frustrated, unhappy. Hopefully the end of winter will change that. I have people in my life who are friendly and seem to care. But they are always sort of at arm's length. It's rare for someone to invite me out or initiate something or to invite me or us to a party or whatever. Perhaps I've created this. I probably have. But whatever. I'm content, and I plug along.

And I'm doing a pretty poor job with the purge this month (cloth stuff, clothing, old towels, sheets, etc.) though I have gotten rid of some. I had big ideas.... and today is the last day of the month. But I can still do cloth in addition to whatever April's purge focus is. I'll have to check.

Thanks for reading. =)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some Ways To Be Supportive To Those Who Are Battling Cancer and Other Illnesses

My friend was just diagnosed with cancer. I am going through the stages that a person who knows someone going through this might go through. I am just leaving the initial shock and anger stage, and I'm beginning the feeling helpless stage. I am trying to think of ways I could be helpful to this person, particularly, and to people in general who are either battling a serious illness, or to those who love someone who is battling an illness. I don't have the power to make her illness, her fear, go away. But maybe I can help her to feel that she is not alone, or help keep her spirits up somehow. While I search, I'll share with you all. I'll add as I find stuff, but here's what I've got so far:

Angels For Hope - An online organization that, through the volunteer efforts all people over the United States, sends crocheted angels, butterflies and smiley faces to those who need hope. I participated in this program for a while, crocheting and mailing angels. Anyone can request that a crocheted item be sent to someone, anyone can volunteer to crochet items, money or items can be donated to AFH, etc. Everything is free of charge. The volunteers use their own yarn, postage and mailing supplies.

Head Huggers - An organization I discovered when doing a search for chemo cap patterns. This organization makes and distributes hats to those who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, brain surgery, burn wounds, etc. There is a terrific page that lists patterns for hats that are crocheted, knitted, or sewn. You'll find that here.

My Chemotherapy Wig - I found this website while doing a search on what would make an appropriate gift for a person with cancer. This will link to a page specifically on appropriate gifts, but there may be more helpful information there as well. I have not read further at this point.

My Life Line - What a cool website! This allows people with cancer to set up a web page where they can update family and friends as they go through cancer treatment. As the person's page is updated, each person on their email list is contacted. Friends and family can leave messages and pictures for the person, too. There is a ton of information about different types of cancer, and some inspiration and humor in there, too. Very cool.

The Human Tribe Project - This is a website designed mostly for raising money for those undergoing some kind of crisis (mostly health) in their lives. The person in need, or a friend or family member, can set up a "tribe." People can then request to join the tribe (no charge.) Members can donate money to the person, or can purchase "team tags" (like dog tags) that have the name of the project and the initial of the recipient on them. Most of the money for the tags goes directly to the recipient, some goes to the website. Members can leave messages and blog posts as well. Money collected will be sent monthly to the recipient, and helps to offset the cost of treatment or whatever the recipient needs.

Of course there are loads of ways to donate money to raise money for research. My neighbors, Kiki and Brad, for example, are very active fundraisers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They help organize events such as this one:

ATTENTION ALL OF YOU WITH KIDS—bring the entire family out to see this talented and energetic young bunch perform a blend of popular tunes for audiences of all ages. Pizza, soda, popcorn, snow cones, prizes and more! All proceeds to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. $2 admission at the door.

Saturday, April 24th

Goff Middle School Cafeteria
35 Gilligan Road | East Greenbush2:00p.m. – 5:00pm

Read about Brad's fundraising efforts here: Brad Wagner

I plan to look for emotional support resources, and will post some links as I find them. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eczema and Essential Oils - Trial Phase

Today is am trying essential oils on my skin, and DS's skin, for the first time. I read on this website that camomile essential oil could be used on kids, so I mixed two drops of Camomile German EO into about two tablespoons of Sweet Almond carrier oil. I applied it a few minutes ago. It's hard to judge what works with eczema because there are so many variables, but I will report how our skin is doing over the next few days. The website lists many EOs that can be used for eczema care, so if you're limited with what oils you have or have access to, there will likely be something for you on this list.

July 14th, 2010: I've got to remember to update these posts once in a while. =) It has been almost 4 months since I started using the oils on my skin, and I have not used my steroid cream a single time since then. (yeah!!) I use sweet almond oil in place of lotion, and sweet almond with Bergamot on my eczema patches. As time has gone along, I have needed the Bergamot blend less and less often. My skin is doing incredibly well. It is gradually improving on a consistent basis. I have made a couple of other changes as well, which I'm sure are contributing factors. I take fish oil supplements two times every day, and I take a probiotic once a day. I just switched (maybe three days ago) to a high-potency probiotic that is supposed to help keep the body's yeast in balance (another issue I was dealing with...see my post on Natural Yeast Infection Remedies.) Anyhow, things are moving in a very good direction for me. I hope it can work for you, too!

Friday, March 26, 2010


I feel like junk. Sort of. I started this whole journey toward wellness because I was feeling sooo depleted, and was feeling unhappy. I'm not feeling as bad as I was then. No, not nearly. But I have slid back over the last few weeks from the progress I had made. Why? I'm not exactly sure. Some thoughts:

I am very inconsistent with my diet. I eat very well for a meal or two, then purge on something not-so-good. For some reason, even though I had not touched them for a few weeks, I craved Doritos the other night, and have been eating heartily of them since.

Hubby and I have taken about a week off from exercising. This was due to illness and travel. We did exercise this morning.

I am TIRED. This was my main complaint, all the time, when I started this blog. What I don't quite comprehend is that when I was feeling better, it didn't seem to be quite as debilitating when I was tired. I was still pretty content. I could tell a couple of weeks ago, when I first started feeling really tired again, that it was one of the cycles where I just get more and more fatigued to the point where I pass out with the kids early, whether I want to or not. And staying positive and go with the flow becomes harder and harder. I feel as if I've slipped backwards, and I'm not sure why.

Despite all this, the Clinical Nutritionist I'm seeing weekly at the Natural Health Improvement Center informed me last week that I am improving. Hm!

My skin is starting to itch, which really hasn't been much of an issue lately. My son's skin is looking worse.

I am drinking more coffee. Another sign that I am in a fatigue cycle.

And  my mind is very heavy with my friend's diagnosis of breast cancer. Hell!

I realize that good health is a journey, not a goal. And so I move forward, one step at a time.

Hubby and I tried getting up early to exercise, because it has become hard to fit it n at the end of the day. (Partly due to the kids staying up later with the new evening/bed time plan) I told hubby that I'd need to go to bed earlier to compensate, which pretty much eliminates any evening time we have together. There are just not enough hours in the day! Today we got up an hour earlier than usual, and I grumpily made my way downstairs. I may not have had quite the pep in my step that I do in the evening, but darn it, I did it. The kids woke up during the workout, but were content enough to sit on the couch and watch.

I'm trying to do better with food. I am very lazy in this department, but I realize that I cannot improve (skin, general health, mood) if I don't try. So I'm trying to shop better, so I can't cheat at home. It's slow progress, but I want to keep trying. And doing it for the kids' sake makes me more motivated.

With the milder weather coming, we're spending more time outside, which is always good. Gotta get away from the tv and computer!!! Sucks me in.......

And my friend? I'm thinking about what kind of hats I can make her to wear as she faces chemo. But dammit, I'm still feeling angry about her diagnosis. Dammit.

Slugging along.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Summer With The Kids

The coming summer and all that it brings has been on my mind a lot. I will be home with both kids from mid-June until early September. That's a lotta lotta days. A lotta lotta HOURS. Sighs. Regardless, I have decided to do things differently this year. Last year I NEEDED DD to spend some at camp. For my sanity, and for hers. Though she is always reluctant to try new situations, it ended up being a good thing. For everyone. This year feels different.

For one thing, I am tired of trying to encourage DD to be someone she is not - a self-confident, outgoing kid who loves the opportunity to try new things. Some time ago I simply decided that she gets enough pressure from school, from social situations, from every day life. She doesn't need it from me too. Not more than what is necessary, ya know? So I'm stepping back, in several ways, and letting her be who she is, and experience new things when she's ready, and if she wants to.

Another reason for my rethinking this year is that DS is not a baby anymore. He wants to do stuff, too! He's still just a bit young for camp.

So, I'm foregoing summer camp this year. Does that mean I plan to just leave every day up in the air, to be whatever it is? Hell no! I know better than that. We all need stimulation of some kind, if just for part of the day.

I plan to set the week up with certain days for certain activities. Now I don't have it all worked out yet, but I know for sure that one day (or more) will be swimming day, and that we will rotate between the YMCA, the pool at our local park, and a lake beach we enjoy. I also know that we will be involved in a once-a-month nature program at our local park. And so forth. I hold a weekly play date at my home, and I plan to continue that during the summer. We could have playground/picnic day. We've got loads of playgrounds near by, and could rotate those. I am looking for programs that would accommodate all of us, too. Suggestions are welcome!!

Anyhow, I feel good about it. I know there will be days when I will feel overworked and underpaid (lol) but I think it's the way to go. Subject to change. =)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

NRT - Appointment #3 and "Food Demystified" talk

Visit #3 at the Natural Health Improvement Center was last Thursday evening. I decided this time to make my appointment at a time when hubby could watch our son. I wanted to see how the clinical nutritionist responded to me when I didn't have a child with me. She did appear to be more relaxed. I'm sure I was, too. As directed, this time I had brought with me all all of the supplements I was taking. These included multi-vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, a probiotic (Jarro-Dophillus,) and the supplement she had recommended (Lact-Enz.) I informed her of my gut issues over the preceding week. She tested me (one arm out, the other hand holding each bottle/box in turn) and agreed with my theory that the two probiotics (Jarro and Lact-Enz) were causing my intestinal issues. There was no shock when she told me to discontinue the probiotic I had bought for myself and continue the one she had recommended! She did tell me to cut back from taking 4 each day to taking 3. (I implemented this plan 7 days ago, and I have had no further issues.) She took a look at my food diary, which admittedly was kind of sad. (Goofy grin) I had given up on the dairy and gluten thing when she did not give me much direction with it. She advised me to try making one meal each day dairy-free, gluten-free, and without any processed foods. Ok, now that is a plan I can work with! What else did she say......? Hm. Oh yes. She told me to up my vegetable intake. No problem. Though I can't say I've done a great job of that, but today I shopped and bought a bunch of stuff. So was that it? Oh, she also tested me (arm out and so forth) to see if the one eczema spot she's sort of focused on (I have many) has improved. Her report? Yes, I have improved. (I haven't) She presses my out-stretched arm, starting at the wrist and heading up toward my elbow. She told me that there are 10 steps. If 10 is reached, that area is healthy. I went from a zero to a two on that rashy spot. Hm. Not sure about that. But if I'm going to see this through, I have to follow what she says, and so. Oh, and she asked me how the wheat germ in the belly button was going. I informed her that I never received wheat germ. I did this time! And I've been doing it. Voo-doo. We'll see.

Also that evening at the Center, a talk was given by a young woman called Food Demystified. I missed some of the talk due to my appointment, but caught some. She had given a hand-out which included such things as a Good Foods List. She went through this with the group. (I can elaborate if there's interest - I could even photograph the page. Let me know.) The packet includes a small list of foods to avoid, including fairly obvious things such as fast foods, sugars and junk food. There were also suggested meal ideas and menus. (Which I especially appreciated!) I felt the talk was good, and I felt that it helped me to begin to get my $'s worth out of this whole ordeal, ya know? I will attempt to attend all such talks as I'm able. They are free. They strongly request that members bring friends, as this brings them business, of course. They give members incentive - each referred person results in the referring member receiving a free office visit. And so forth. Anyhow, I was glad I went. I did, in fact bring a friend, who says she enjoyed the talk. Cool.

I have mellowed myself into the idea of gradual change. I find that the easiest way to help myself make dietary changes is when I'm shopping. If I buy healthier items, that's what we have here to eat. I have bought some foods that were recommended by the CN at the Center, including Chobani yogurt. DS just devoured a container of it. I tasted it, expecting it to taste terrible, but it didn't. It was good. And not very expensive. Ok, cool. I also bought a package of red quinoa. I don't like quinoa, but I am going to try it again, and try it on the family. Why not?

Next appointment, Thursday eve.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Essential Oils - Peppermint For Sinusitis

I have been suffering from daily sinus pressure for a number of weeks now. It's worst when I've been home a lot. I am reacting to something in the house. In the last couple of days some other symptoms have added themselves to this: exhaustion, scratchy throat, sneezing. Well, sneezing isn't new. But anyhow, I caught DD's slight upper respiratory infection. So I decided to pull out the oils.

My little pamphlet from Young Living states "Topical Use - (dilution may be required) - Rub 1 drop on the temples, forehead, over the sinuses (avoid contact with eyes), and on the back of the neck to help soothe head pressure."

Good enough. I tried it. Neat. Wow! It's like putting Ben-Gay on sore muscles. You definitely feel it. I don't know how to explain the sensation, but it feels almost cold. Whether or not it aids in the sinus (or other head) pressure, it certainly distracted me from that discomfort, and in a good way. It did not last for a long time, but for an hour anyhow. I have used it twice more so far. I will say that putting peppermint oil near the eyes can cause your eyes to water. It's strong stuff! You may want to dilute it (almond oil, or another carrier oil) to put it on your face.

It's been hours since I started with this experiment. Maybe 9? I've applied it three times today. I no longer feel the pressure in my sinuses. I have also been away from home since this morning, which may be helping, too.  But I would definitely use it again for sinus pressure.

*Update... ok, it's nearly 10pm, and I have reapplied the peppermint oil a couple more times. I have gotten braver about spreading it around more, and wow, what a difference it is making! Previous times I had forgotten to put the oil on my forehead. The last couple of times I did. And I spread it a little further around the back of my neck. I am cautious on my sinuses because the oil is strong, and it does create a vapor that I don't want in my eyes. But man, I love the over all effect this has! It does need to be reapplied every couple of hours, but it feels great and seems to work well. I can definitely tell when it's wearing off. But I'm officially recommending it. Give it a try!

>Just a quick note...I would recommend washing your hands after applying the oil - this one or any one. You don't want to accidentally get these oils in the wrong place. They are super concentrated, and they're strong!

The Parent Learning Curve 1

I am not a perfect parent. Not even close. And I'm not always clued in to my own emotions and reactions. So when I'm grumpy or impatient with my kids, I always try to follow up afterwards and apologize for being "off" or try to explain what was making me edgy, if I know. So when my kids are emotional or short-fused, although I am not always patient, I try to be understanding, or try to figure out what might be going on with them.

I have become very clear on one effect of stress in my kids. When I am tense, they are tense! Boy, what a responsibility! Sometimes I can try to force myself to remain calmer than I feel, for their sake. Other times, and more often than I care to admit, I don't hide my tension, and the result is that my anxiety spreads like wildfire. It so happens that hubby, who always tries to be supportive of me, takes on my tension as well, which often leads me to switching gears just to ease the increased tension in the room. Ultimately, the only way I can see to reduce tension in me and my family is for me to find ways to reduce mine. No one is suddenly going to burst into the room and take over, settle things down, and send me out for some decompression time. It's up to me, time and time again.

Basically, that is what my mission is all about, and why I started this blog.

This is just a lengthy lead up to an interesting and surprising discovery I made the other night. Tuesday night, as usual, I had taken the kids upstairs to get ready for bed. And, as usual, I started the process grumpy, prepared for a battle. My kids are pretty good about going upstairs when we say it's time, though they often will say they're hungry right before-hand, and shortly after dinner. (aggravating) Once we're upstairs, DD engages herself in games and drawing in her room while I sqwawk at her to get undressed, get her pjs, brush and floss.... My son also enjoys playing at this time, but he's a bit easier to get through the evening routine. DD finds joy (or perhaps it's her expression of anxiety...) in running away from me, or saying that she wants to do this or that first. I start off annoyed, and just become more so as the time goes on. Once the kids have gotten ready for bed, then the battle becomes about getting into, and staying in bed. DS is easy in this regard. Once he's in bed, for the most part, he stays there. DD, on the other hand, finds every reason under the sun to delay getting into bed, and then to get up again and again. It drives me mad. (Though I am just like her so you would think I'd be more understanding...) I had become so aggravated by this process night after night, that hubby had started to come up to help me with the whole process. Add to this the fact that DD doesn't want hubby to do anything with her, and  UGG. I was ending up angry and frustrated every night, and everyone knew it very well. (sighs)

So, Tuesday. I found myself sitting in our bed, yelling, angry, focused on my plight. I was pissed. (Sorry for the language) I wouldn't let it go. I was going to make DD suffer for my state of being. And I did. And she dug in her heels, and focused completely on her hearts desire, which at the time was a styrofoam easter egg that was downstairs. I was tired of her getting out of bed, then back in, then out, then in..... Often when she gets up, my son then finds a reason to get up.....ARGH!

But, as usual, I felt terrible after they went to sleep. Awful. I questioned my reasons for getting upset. I questioned my parenting. I questioned everything. And I made a decision. As I keep saying, the way to get rid of a battle is to get rid of the battle ground. And that was up to me. I discussed my plan with hubby, who was supportive.

Wednesday night we went upstairs as usual, and the kids got "listed" as we call it. (Evening list) Hubby then went downstairs for his evening break. I explained the new plan to the kids. I spent a few minutes in DD's room playing with them, then went into our bedroom. I explained that I would be in their reading, and that I'd be happy to read to them when they were ready to go to bed. Not a long time later, my son came in and curled up with me for some reading. He soon fell asleep. I gently informed DD that it was getting late and she might be tired in the morning if she stayed up too late. She came in shortly after that, and fell asleep quickly. The next night was a repeat of that night. The third night was similar, with just a reverse order of who came to bed first. Calm, no stress, happy. What really struck me is that two nights out of three, after the kids went to sleep, I went into DD's room to find that she had CLEANED UP her stuff!!!!!!!!!!! DD is not a neat person, and typically requires about 600 reminders and help with cleaning up the simplest project. I was amazed. And what a difference in the atmosphere!! Neither kid has taken too much advantage of the freedom. They are getting into bed a bit later, but are falling asleep faster. I go downstairs a few minutes later than I was before, but I am going downstairs calm, and the kids are going to bed calm. Completely worth it.

*Here's an interesting thing. On the second night, while lying in bed, I asked my daughter how she felt about the new evening plan. She informed me that she doesn't like it. She said she wants to go back to the way it was!!! Totally surprised, I processed this a bit with her. She said she might like it if we compromise between the two. Let her stay up a little while, then start to call her to the bed. Weird!! Not a chance. =)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Montessori - DD's Visit

Today is the day DD went to visit at our local Montessori school. I admit, I have been anxious about this visit. My daughter is very shy, very self-conscious, and very stubborn. This combination means that in any new situation it is pretty much guaranteed that 1) DD will hang on to my tightly, to the point where she will literally climb up me. She will hide behind me. 2) If anyone speaks to her, she will bow her head down and turn into me. 3) She will refuse to engage in any way. I have lived with her all of her life, and know this about her. So I informed anyone who would listen over there ahead of time that it was very likely I would not be able to leave during her visit. I wanted them to know so there would be no surprises on that front. DD did not disappoint. She clung to me, she hid behind me, and she didn't respond when the teacher greeted her. Nobody responded to this in any way. The teacher did inform me that it would be idea if I was able to sit aside and observe while DD joined the group, and I told her I would try. That never happened. The teacher realized right away that I was going to be part of this visit, and that where I went, DD went. No problem. The kids, for the most part, ignored us. We were not formally introduced to the group. The teacher, after a few minutes, brought DD an "art bin" as she knew that DD enjoys drawing. I took the initiative to run with this, and got her some paper and drew with her. A short while later the teacher rang a bell, indicating it was circle time. I informed DD that it would be nice if she joined the circle while I watched. No go. I sat in a chair close to the circle and DD sat on the floor, at first on my feet, then next to them. I observed that as circle time went on (teacher read a story and discussed rain forest animals with the children) DD became more relaxed, and leaned away from me a bit while watching the group. I also observed that one of the students did not come to circle time, but instead wandered around the room and did something on a piece of paper. When I later asked about this, the teacher said that this particular student sometimes comes to circle and sometimes not, but it is the Montessori policy to have the students go with their own flow, and so they allow him to do what feels right at the time. I later pointed this out to DD. After circle time the students went back to their work (each doing as he/she pleased as long as it was on his/her plan for the day) and we chose then to draw on the carpet where circle time had been. DD continued to stay close, but did engage in her drawing. After a while, three girls walked slowly in our direction, obviously looking to say hello. When they saw it was fine with us, then came up, and began to talk (with me.) They showed interest in DD's drawing, and praised her work. =) We chatted with them for a while (I chatted, DD listened and drew) and I asked them some questions about their classes. It was wonderful to have the kids show interest, and in such a gentle and calm way! They then returned to their tasks. The teacher approached me and informed me that she typically "interviews" perspective students, but that she really didn't want to pressure DD, and wanted her to have "fun" on her visit, so she thought she would chat with me instead. (Huge brownie points for teacher!!) She asked me a couple of questions about where DD is academically, and asked what she enjoys doing. DD interjected, in my hear, that she loves gym, something I didn't know! We chatted for a couple of minutes, and the teacher informed me and DD that as a kid in school, she herself was timid, and was very uncomfortable being called on, and that is part of the reason she sought out Montessori education as a teacher. (More brownie points!) She then folded herself back into the classroom, and DD and I continued drawing and observing. Shortly after this, DD got up, walked a little distance from me, and actively watched the other kids in the room. We said our goodbyes, and walked to the car. I asked her what she thought. On the ride home, she said, "I could like Montessori." Then a minute later, "I like it." After getting home, she said she would have liked to have recess there. Wow!

PHEW. I could feel her anxiety dropping the whole time we were there. The teacher invited us to come again to visit at the end of the summer. She said, as I knew, that the classroom would be in a different part of the building, so things would look a bit different. She said also that DD would have a cubby by then, as well as her books and such, so she could see that stuff before school started. Awesome.

I am hoping to maybe connect with the mom of one of the girls in the class who is also going into 1st grade next year, and who seemed so sweet. I think between having met the teacher, having seen what the day is like, and connecting with one of the kids, we could have a pretty smooth transition in the fall. Wouldn't that be something.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Messy Me - Today's Project

The motivation for this declutter project is not my drive to be a neater, more organized person (at least not just that) but a need to discover what the heck is making me sneeze. I have blamed everything, but I have come to discover that I always sneeze when I'm on my computer, so this is where I need to focus. And once again, dear readers, I am using the fact that you are kind enough to visit my blog from time to time to keep me honest! Sighs, I have my work cut out for me, as usual.

Ok, I didn't get as far as I had hoped with this, but the wine rack is cleared of all things except that which it is supposed to hold! (It was truly amazing what I found in there....rubber stamps, scissors, pens, clorox cleaner for my robot vacuum (I don't use the stuff, which is why it's been sitting around the house since I bought the vacuum, a long time back....) And so forth.

More tomorrow...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sewing Book Giveaway

For those who love to sew, as I do, here is an opportunity to win a sewing book called Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. The giveaway is happening at Jane of All Trades' blog. Check out the blog, and browse in Jane's brand-new Etsy shop! Lots of ways to enter to win. Check it out!


I found out about this giveaway from my friend. Please check out her blog as well:

Calico Prairie Goods blog

NRT - Reaction To The Supplements?

Just a quick update on my experiences with the Natural Health Improvement Center.... As I mentioned in a previous post, the NHIC counselor I am seeing has put me on Lact-Enz supplements. They are allegedly whole food supplements that are designed to help my body "heal" and become healthier.

Perhaps this is a coincidence, but twice in the past week I have woken in the night with roiling guts. Without going into too much detail, I've needed the rest room at odd times, and with a displeased digestive system. Both times I had a gassy belly with diarrhea throughout the morning. The first time I figured it was the Indian food I had eaten for dinner. It was a dish I hadn't tried before, but it was predominantly rice, so that shouldn't cause it. But Indian food is often cooked in ghy, or clarified butter, which could have been the culprit. But the second time I had eaten vegetarian chili with rice. Hm.

Anyhow, it could be the supplements. I had, in fact, asked the Clinical Nutritionist, who suggested them for me, if anyone had stomach or gut reactions to the supplements. She said on the contrary, they help the gut. Hm. Then there's this paper that came home with me from the center that reads, "Please keep in mind that our nutritional products DO NOT cause 'side effects' as they are not drugs. Occasionally after starting a nutritional program, you may feel a temporary worsening or even feel 'sick.'" ... "Sometimes these 'flare-ups' are actually a 'Healing Crisis' which indicates your body is starting to heal by throwing off toxins that have been keeping you sick. By fine-tuning your program, we can help you get through these types of situations much more smoothly, if they even occur...." And so forth.

It will be interesting to see what she has to say when I see her Thursday. Thursday evening I will also be attending a talk at the center called "Food Demystified." I am going mostly because it is included in my treatment, and I feel that it will help me to feel that I am getting closer to getting my money's worth. Secondarily, it is strongly recommended. Once form actually says that attending at least one program within the first hour weeks of "treatment" is required, though I'm not sure how they can "require" anything. But anyhow. I'll let you know what that is like!


Introduced in 1988
Standard Process Fundamentals

Lact-Enz is a gastrointestinal support product that combines digestive enzymes with normal intestinal flora. The combination of these ingredients assists in the breakdown of macronutrients and maintains a healthy intestinal environment.†

Here's a more thorough explanation of what Lact-Enz is and what it does. LINK

Sunday, March 14, 2010

YL Purification Essential Oil Blend For Room Deodorizing and Insect Bites

I have had the opportunity to use one of my new Young Living essential oil blends in two ways in the last couple of days.

It's called Purification, and it contains citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, lavandin, Melaleuca alternifolia, and myrtle.

>As a room deodorizer: Our bedroom, which hasn't been aired out all winter, and has four people sleeping in it every night, really needed some air freshening. Following the directions in the pamphlet that came with my Young Living oils, I put a couple of drops in a Q-tip (they suggested a cotton ball-I improvised) and put it in the room. The pleasant scent diffused into the room, but wasn't overpowering at all. (I am sensitive to scents) I left the Q-tip in the room, and it still smelled nice the next day. I emphasize (because it would be important to me) that the scent was mild, pleasant, and wasn't irritating. It  successfully deodorized and refreshed the room. Because it was still diffusing, I moved the Q-tip to a bathroom. =)

>As a bug bite soother: My hubby has an area of skin that he said was itching him like crazy, and felt a little swollen, "like a bug bite." Again, following the directions in the YL brochure, I put a small amount of Purification oil directly on his skin. I asked him about 15 minutes later if his skin still itched. It didn't. Cool!

I'm starting to enjoy using the blends.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Craft Show Goal

There is increased talk between hubby and me about how and when I will return to the work force. While it is still a while off, with DS home at least until a year from this September, I am thinking about what I will do.

Sometimes I muse about the idea of trying to earn an income doing what I enjoy - sewing. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I could do it from home, and my schedule would work around my other duties, which would be ideal. On the other hand, I really don't want to make my fun my work, as I don't want sewing to become a drag. It's fun for me, and it's my escape from my reality when I need it.

I have an online shop, but lost interest in putting in the work needed to make the shop really work. To turn an Etsy shop into a business, you really need to list items as often as possible. Every day if you can do it. And I just don't want to spend all of my sewing/free time making stuff to sell. It's more fun and far more rewarding to make stuff for my family and myself. But I still have the bug to see if the stuff I make could sell. So I've decided to compromise with myself.

I am planning to try selling my fleece hats at a craft fair in the fall. I don't know where, and I don't know when, but I will figure that out as time goes on. If I aim for August (or thereabouts) I figure I can create hats here and there, and not feel pressured to be constantly working on them. I figure with about five months to get my inventory together, I ought to have time to come up with enough interesting stuff to sell, and still have plenty of time to sew for us. I also figured that rather than have the hats just collect in the house, I could list them in my shop. No, it's not really fleece hat buying time as we head into Spring, but it doesn't cost much to list them, and perhaps they'll get a little attention along the line. It's also incentive for me to keep creating them, and to make them better and better. I took some time today to see what other fleece hats are offered on Etsy, and that also keeps me motivated to create better and better stuff.

I'm writing about this mostly to motivate myself. Having you read it keeps me honest, so to speak. I will share the hats as I create them, and will try to make them interesting. Perhaps you could give me some advice or suggestions. I'd appreciate it. And who knows. If I meet this goal and get a bunch of hats together, and follow through with finding and joining a craft show (something I've always wanted to try but haven't had the guts to follow through with) perhaps I will sell something. And perhaps I could make a little extra money. Will it put my kids through private school? Not a chance. But it would make me feel good. And it could help a little. And it's something I can work on now, even with my little guy at home.

Here's my first: not too creative yet, but a start. It's one color, with bells on top. My kids love these hats.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Montessori - On Our Way

We have made the decision to switch DD from her current school to our local Montessori. She has been positive about this switch. Well, that was until I told her that we'd be going next week to have her visit in the classroom. Then she became very emotional and stated that she hates school. She also told me that I shouldn't have told her. I know her pretty well and I feel that telling her a week ahead of time would give her time to get her head around the situation and be prepared. But shoot. Anyhow....

I accepted an invitation for DD to spend two hours in the classroom next Wednesday. Along with my email acceptance, I informed the head of school that DD transitions slowly, and is likely to be uncomfortable with my leaving her there. I told her that I would, in that situation, either stay with her or remove her, but that I didn't want to leave her there in great distress. I suggested that perhaps allowing DD to meet the teacher ahead of time would help ease some of her anxiety around the visit. To their great credit, they've invited us to come after school the day before to meet the teacher and see the classroom. Great. I informed DD of this yesterday (with some trepidation) and she seemed to take it in her stride. She actually asked me a little bit about the teacher. Cool.... I am taking DD out of school for the day on Weds. Though maybe it would be better to have her return to her school for the afternoon, I sort of think that have her focus on one school at a time makes more sense. (Tuesday will be an exception to this, but it's just a brief visit...)

Anyhow, I'm constantly questioning our decision these days, and am so hopeful we've made the right one. My personal challenge at the moment is to keep myself focused with her at her current school. In my mind, we've already made the switch! But she's still got three months at her current school-a lifetime to a 5-year-old. A meeting this morning with her current teacher which focused on goals for the remainder of the year has grounded me some. But I am anxious to move on. Time to settle down and be with her where she is.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NRT - Interesting Pricing Info.

The first person to tell me about muscle testing informed me that she had paid $45.00 for her initial visit. I paid $125.00 (for me, and again for DS.) I emailed the practitioner I had seen to ask her about this. This resulted in our receiving our next appointment free of charge. 

Today I received a letter from the Center in the mail. It was basically a welcome letter, but mainly encouraged me to talk others into going to their practice which is quite busy, so I'd better encourage them asap. (yeah, right) Anyhow, I was sent two cards with which to refer my friends. If said friends make their appointment within one week of the date on the card, they receive a 65% discount on their first visit. This means they pay FORTY-FIVE dollars. The letter also suggested that every person is referred by another person. It was true that the staff asked me again and again how I found them. So because I found the place on my own, I paid a great deal more than if someone had told me about it. Does that seem right?? I mean, I can see benefiting the person who did the referring.... Anyhow, just thought I'd share! 

If anyone locally decides to look into this, FIND someone who goes there already! It's worth the search. And the referring person gets a coupon for one free office visit, which is worth $35.00. 

I'm not sure where their priorities are, but at the moment it seems to be financial............

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

NRT - The Follow-Up Appointment

Today DS and I went to the Natural Health Improvement Center for our follow-up appointment. We met with woman A who went over the findings report with me. This report basically informs you if you are or are not a good candidate for NRT (I am.) It then identifies the "Nutrition Response Reflex Points." For me, those are "blocked/scars" and "skin/hand/feet." It lists my "Clinical Nutrition Supplements Needed" as "wheat germ oil" and "Lactenz." The report goes on to explain the steps toward achieving health through this system. The are "Fine Tuning Your Program," "Natural Healing and Observation Period" and "Maintenance Phase." It was explained to me that the first phase involves weekly visits for 3-6 weeks, the second takes about 12 weeks, and the third involves months visits for about 4-6 months, with follow-up visits every few months as needed. A fee schedule and review of a "family plan" follows. The final page is a print out from my first visit, and I don't much understand it except that it reports that my fitness level is pretty poor. (How they determined that, I can't imagine...) It says I'm in the green, or normal level, but I'm much closer to the yellow, or below normal than I am to the blue, or athletic zone. I have to chuckle at this! I did no fitness test of any kind while there. Interesting. Anyhow, the rest of the visit...

We were then seen by woman B, the Clinical Nutritionist who saw us last time. She did a shortened version of the test she did last time, with the wheat germ oil bottle in my hand, and pushing down on my other arm. She briefly tested DS the same way as last time, with me holding him. She gave me a metal "flashlight" for lack of a better word, and instructed me to shine in into my belly button for 4 minutes. (If I wasn't so incredibly under control at all times, I would have cracked up....ok I'm not that in control, but I didn't laugh out loud.) She informed me that I would need to prick a wheat germ oil capsule every day and rub the oil on my belly button. (oooooohhhhkaaaaaaayy) She had me hold one, then two, then three, etc up to five tablets which I presume were the lactenz tablets, and by pushing on my arm with each "dose" she was able to tell how many my body needs. She informed me that I need to take 4 every day, divided up with my meals. (2 at dinner, the biggest meal) She tested Sean to see if this amount in me would also work for him, with positive results. I asked her about our diets, because I've kept us off of dairy and gluten for 1.5 weeks now. She didn't give me any direction with that, so I said that I might as well drop the diet. Then she told me not to do that, but to gradually turn the kitchen into a healthier one. She did tell me to reduce our sugar intake.

On the way out, we were given, to the tune of $39.00, a bottle of lactenz supplements. No wheat germ oil, but I didn't think at the time to ask for it. They gave me the appointment free, as I had emailed to say that I was surprised at the cost of the initial visit, and asked if the follow-up was included. So yay me.

I told them that I wasn't sure I was going to continue to have DS as a patient, as I feel that he'll benefit from whatever changes I make. They didn't disagree with this, but will see him again in a month for a couple of months. Fair enough. I go back in a week.

Supplement one taken with lunch today. I added slightly less sugar to my afternoon cup of coffee. ;)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

All Natural Reusable Feminine Hygiene Products

I wasn't sure I wanted to post about this, but I feel that it goes along with my journey in general, and others may want to know about this stuff. I will share my experiences in this area without sharing too much! ;)

Cloth Menstrual Pads:

About half a year ago I switched completely from using disposable feminine hygiene products to using cloth menstrual pads. I can't imagine going back. The reasons are many. They are more comfortable (nothing on them to stick to your clothes....or you,) they snap on so they don't shift around, much less expensive over time (usu. about $4/pad, but that varies, plus I am able to make my own, which reduced the cost even more,) more interesting to look at as you can use or buy whatever fabric prints you want, etcetc. They are as easy to care for as your regular laundry, and are discreet between washes as you just fold them up on themselves and snap them closed. Easy.

For those interested, check Etsy out. Lots of folks make them for very reasonable prices. (http://www.etsy.com) Check out also Glad Rags. I'm sure there are loads of other places. Do a search online. I've never seen them anywhere but online, but those on the other coast may have....

Sea Sponge Tampons

I haven't had any interest in trying any of the internal feminine hygiene products as they just seem weird. People swear by them (testimonials I have read online, I don't know anyone personally who has shared that kind of information with me) including the Diva Cup (popular with folks on the Holistic Moms Network) and sea sponge tampons. I believe there are other options as well, but I just don't know. So a few days ago when my daughter started pestering me to go swimming, I simply said that I couldn't at the moment. Does a 5-year-old give up that easily? Anyone who has one or has had one knows the answer is NO! Anyhow the long and the short of it is that I went to our local natural food store and inquired, and was given Sea Pearls Sea Sponge tampons. Here is some info about them. This was taken from the brochure enclosed with the tampons:

I don't know if this is readable, but I'm happy to share any information I have.

Although I don't really feel like drawing out the details of my experience with these tampons to share with all the world, I will say that I today I had a very positive experience with them. They're easy to use, easy to care for, and all natural, biodegradable, reusable, and come from a renewable source. I will answer any questions anyone has about my experience, and I will share another blog post I found on these tampons which helped ease my mind before using them myself: LINK This person is not as shy as I!

Monday, March 8, 2010

NRT - The Appointment

Sean and I went for our initial visit at the Natural Health Improvement Center today. I turned in paperwork for each of us, which reported our basic reasons for seeking their help. I had to list what we had eaten over the last 2 days. And anything we take every day-vitamins and the like. We were taken into a room, and a strap was attached around my rib cage, and some wire clipped to my shirt. I was told to lie on the table without talking. I had to "relax" for four minutes. Then I stood facing the wall for four minutes. After the test was complete, something printed out of the printer in the room. We were then ushered into another room. A different woman (who seemed a little unsettled at having a 2-year-old in the room) told me that she was going to quickly explain what she would be doing (with a sideward glance to DS) and explained that there is an energy flow between the systems of the body, and the energy flow can be broken when part of the body is weak. She asked me to hold a small glass bottle that contained wheat-something capsules. I held my other arm out. She placed her hand on my head, and the other pressed down on my arm. She asked me to resist. She said that when the body system is healthy, the energy flow is good, and the arm resists. When the energy flow is broken, the arm can be pushed down. To show me how this works, she placed the backs of her fingers on my head, and pushed my arm down. She then proceeded touch various areas, and said she was checking my organs. (fine) She asked if I had any scars, as from a c-section, episiotomy, ear piercings. She had me touch scar areas while she pushed on my arm. She touched areas of my skin that are currently broken out with eczema, and pushed my arm. When it was Sean's turn, he sat on my lap, I continued to hold the wheat bottle, and still held out my arm. She would touch various areas on him (organs, rashy areas) and push MY arm. His test was very quick. She then handed me a folder of info, asked me to keep a record of everything we eat, and asked us to come back on Wednesday (today is Monday.) She said that diet is definitely related to my issues. She also told me she would be emailing me some more information to read prior to our next visit. Something had not printed out yet...

The paperwork I was given to take home includes a food log for each of us, some information entitled "Scar Tissue and Disturbance/Interference Fields", a form called "Natural vs. Synthetic Vitamins", some bio information on the practitioners, a "What Our Clients Are Saying" form, a "Good Foods" list, and three pamphlets: one for the center, one on NRT, and one called "Designed Clinical Nutrition." Should make for interesting reading.

Oh, and this appointment, for the two of us, cost TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY BUCKS.

Nutrition Response Testing

I have made an appointment for today for Nutrition Response Testing, for both me and my son.

This is in response to DS's skin breaking out in dry, rashy areas on his torso. Eczema. Shoot. I have seen very small patches on his skin from time to time, all of which have been easy to resolve without using steroid creams. (I used a very tiny amount two times on one patch that looked very uncomfortable) In any event, I would really like to find a way to get rid of his rashes, and if I can resolve my own, well, that would be miraculous and amazing. I have been to doctors and dermatologists uncountable, so I am going the natural route this time. It just goes along with everything else I've been experimenting with lately. I'm nervous....I'm always nervous before an appointment, especially for something I'm not yet familiar with. But here is what I know of it so far....this is a link to the Natural Health Improvement Center I found locally. Just scroll down on the page to read about NRT.

Nutrition Response Testing

A bunch of hooey? Maybe. But I think of it this way. At the least, it is another attempt at managing (and resolving?) my skin issues that I can cross off my list, and it gives me something to try to help eliminate DS's skin issues. At best, it works, and his skin rashes go away! It's non-invasive, so all we really lose by trying this is a little money and a little time. So....fingers crossed.....

To be updated!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I have never been a fish eater. Today I started. Why? Because I've read too many times to ignore, the benefits of getting those omega-3 fatty acids. As I previously wrote, I bought myself some fish oil capsules, only to find out, a day and one dose late, that they are filled with PCBs. I feel that I no longer have any excuses. I've got to eat the stuff. So I encouraged my hubby, who loves eating fish, to start cooking it. Tonight he grilled salmon, and made lots of yummy side dishes. I ate some. It may have ultimately only amounted to about 1/2 square inch total, but I ate it! And my darling son ate it with gusto! Good boy! My daughter, who has discovered that food is weird (think about it, it really is) wouldn't touch it, even though she loves lox. But it's a start. And I encourage him to prepare fish often. We'll get used to it! And we'll be better for it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fish Oil Supplements Found To Contain PCBs

After reading for years about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and the benefits of taking fish oil supplements, I finally bought some. This morning I took my first capsule. Then my husband saw this news reel from Yahoo.com and sent it along to me. Wow. I guess I'll learn to tolerate fish, instead!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I am constantly reading, on the Holistic Moms loops and other places, that people take probiotic supplements for health and immunity. In my efforts to become healthier and more natural in my approach, I shopped for and bought some probiotic capsules. They are not inexpensive (!) but the ones I found at my local natural food store were much less expensive than those I've looked at online. As there were many to choose from and I don't know one from the next, I asked the advice from a man who worked in the store. This is what I've come home with:

What does it do? Well..... it is a blend of bacteria, each of which does its own thing. In a nutshell, the idea is that the bacteria will help the gut keep healthy. It claims to be able to possibly help people who have trouble digesting lactose, for example. Probiotics supposedly help children who have eaten foods too early in life and have developed "leaky gut." (ew) That just means that things go through the weak stomach lining that aren't supposed to. And it can help adult bellies heal, too. They claim to be helpful with irritable bowel syndrome. One strain "has been clinically proven to stimulate immune response..." and so forth. Anyhow, I got them, and I will try them out. I have convinced my husband to try them, also. (What a good sport!) I'll keep you posted if there's anything to follow up with. I plan to start with a half-capsule, because someone on HMN reported getting stomach cramps when starting probiotics, and another said her system had to get used to it. I think I'll try to avoid that problem if possible..... Isn't that the opposite of helping the gut??

Am I nuts? Maybe.

Someone just told me that probiotics may be able to help with eczema.... that would be good news, indeed.

The following information came from HERE:

"Studies suggest that babies at high risk for allergic disorders such as eczema have different types and numbers of bacteria in their digestive tracts than other babies, and that probiotic supplements taken by pregnant women and children may reduce the occurrence eczema in children."

It said also that it may help kids who already have eczema. What about mommies? 

Well, it's March 4th, and I just took my first probiotic. I also took my first fish oil capsule. I don't feel any different. lol. =)

Hearts Sweatshirt For DD - Sewing

My latest. DD was under-enthused. She said she thought she was getting a crafty something. She said she wanted to put it with our newly forming collection of dress-up clothes. =( She did say she'd wear it to school tomorrow, though. (Anyone have a girl in a size 4 who loves hearts?!)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Soap Nuts - Allergic To Them?? - Trial

For the past several months, I have been reacting to something on the first floor of my home. I sneeze a lot!! I occasionally get a scratchy throat. I feel sinusy. I fear it may be the soap nuts. Everything you find on soap nuts says that using them will eliminate allergy symptoms. I may be the 1 in a million who has allergy symptoms because of them. Yay me. I will be testing my theory over the next week or two.

Step 1: Obtain an alternate all natural laundry detergent.

Done. Trying Planet 100% biodegradable hypo-allergenic detergent for HE and standard washers.

Step 2: Eliminate soap nuts from the house.

Done! I put all of the stuff in the garage.

Step 3: Use the replacement detergent for one week. Keep track of sneezing, sinus pressure, throat.

DAY 1: I sneezed in the living room this morning, and in the kitchen while typing this. Why? Who knows. I have post-nasal drip, which effects my throat. My son complained, for the second day in a row, that his throat feels funny. Hm. Bug? Or allergy? I am now doing laundry with the new detergent, but have quite a bit of laundry to be folded that was done with soap nuts. DS sneezed in the kitchen while having a snack. I sneezed late this morning while cleaning the stove with castile soap and baking soda....... If the soap nuts trial doesn't prove that soap nuts is the problem, castile soap will be the next item to test. The problem definitely seems to be focused in the kitchen/living room area. One random sneeze upstairs this afternoon. No other sneezing since this morning, and I've been home for a while.... could it be that simple? I've been doing laundry today, too. With the new stuff, of course. Hm.

DAY 2: Sneezed this morning while folding laundry. The clean at this point is a mix of that done with soap nuts, and that done with Planet detergent. I sneezed out in the garage while playing with DS. The soaps are being stored in the garage. I also felt my throat getting scratchy and my nose got itchy and runny. It's evening now and it's been sneezy throat scratchy day. ??

DAY 3: I have been sneezing all morning. It's still early, but I am definitely reacting to something. What the....

DAY 4: Sneezing and feeling like crap when I'm in the house, which has been all day today. Kinda looking like soap nuts are not the problem. I guess I'm glad about that... But I'll continue the test for a day or two more to be certain. I've been doing tons of laundry, so the majority of the stuff has been done in Planet I think...

DAY 5/6: Not sure I'm feeling any better while at home. I guess I'll continue to do laundry with Planet for a couple more days, then bring the soap nuts back in and see if I have any reaction to it. I'll follow up in a week or so.

UPDATE: Ok, this post seems to get a lot of attention, so I will update. It is now August (oops!) and I have been using soap nuts again for some time. I am convinced that it was NOT the soap nuts that were causing me to sneeze. Probably essential oils, and definitely our new kittens. And dust, and who knows what else. But I'm confident that soap nuts are not the problem, and are likely a GOOD thing to have, considering how sensitive I have become to environmental stuff.


I have eczema. (atopic dermatitis) I have had it all of my life, even as an infant. Over the course of 41 (yes, shocked folks FORTY-ONE years, I have learned to live with it. I've learned what irritates, and what doesn't. I have tried elimination diets (as a kid) and been to dermatologists endless times. I have used many different (gasp) steroid creams, and non-steroid lotions, creams, etc. I have tried oatmeal baths. And so forth and so forth.

Now I have a child with eczema. Damn.

I would like to treat his skin in an unAmerican way - treat the issue, not just the results. (grin) So....that being said...

I am going to put us (at least DS and myself) on a food regime with much reduced dairy and gluten. Much to my poor hubby's chagrin! I asked for advice on the email loop of the Holistic Moms Network, and got several kind responses. Most agreed that dairy should be minimal (I've always thought so, but didn't follow it much) and some suggested eliminating gluten. Others suggested some natural creams, which I may try out. But for now I will continue to use Sweet Almond oil on his skin, and sometimes Aquaphor. (Which I'm trying to phase out) I will track our progress here.

Day 1: Accidentally gave DS some yogurt and a small amount of butter this a.m. It will take time to become accustomed to avoiding everything! I've done better this afternoon. We ate tuna, mixed nuts, stuff like that. I have to figure out what to make for dinner...

Skin: DS has uninflamed dry, bumpy skin on his torso on the sides of his body. He has a more inflamed, but not open skin, rashy area on his hand. Today it is not red, but is rashy looking and feeling. It's a small area, about the size of a dime.

Skin: My skin is as it has been for some time. I have some mildly rashy areas on my fingers on both hands. My elbows and knees have been a bit rashy lately as well. On the tops of both feet I have rashy patches that have been there for quite a while. I have a basically healed area on my neck. I use a steroid cream every night before bed. A very little bit on each area. I use Aquaphor and sweet almond oil also, and Burt's Bees on my hands.

Misc: I did a little reading about gluten-free eating and about a book that recommends eliminating grains. Yikes! I feel that there is an argument out there to eliminate any food you can think of. What's a person to do??

Day 2: Doing well with our "diet" today. I went to the grocery store to load up on some gluten-free items. I was starving, having not eaten much for breakfast. I bought some gluten-free peanut butter bars that are high in protein. It wasn't until I got them home and opened one that I thought to look at the label. Shoot. Dairy! Argh... this isn't easy! Ugh, and I just realized that my coffee had half n' half in it this morning. I didn't even give it a thought til hubby pointed it out later on. Shoot! But I did pick up a book of gluten-free AND dairy-free recipes from the library today.

DS Skin: He is not too inflamed today, though he commented on his "bruise" which is the patch on his hand - the one that does get red sometimes. I discovered another patch under one knee....rats. Ugh! This evening my hubby put both kids in the tub. I was told later that they were taking a castile soap bar (eucalyptus) and rubbing it on their bodies and faces. My son got soap in his eyes, and for obvious reasons, freaked. I joined the situation at this point, and took him out of the tub. I put sweet almond oil everywhere except on his face. (As usual, though I do sometimes put some on his cheeks) Fast forward to dinner time, and his face, cheeks, chin and upper lip, are bright red and warm and dry to the touch. What the??? Hubby filled me in on the soap on the face deal (I knew about they eyes, of course) and the obvious conclusion is that his skin is reacting to the soap. Or is it? I also had put lavender oil in the water for DD, who is experiencing growing pains. He has been in the tub with lavender before, so I don't think that's it. I know that eucalyptus essential oil is not good for use on kids, but I didn't worry that much about the bar.... but the kids haven't rubbed it all over their skin before, either. I would rub a small amount on a cloth to clean them with, if I used any. I keep the bar for myself, and have a castile bar with no scent that I bought for the kids specifically. Alas....

Day 3: So far so good with diet, but I realized the nutrition drink I've been giving my kids has dairy in it. I didn't give it to DS today. I did well with meals today until dinner when I had a beer. Duh. This is hard. I was told today that there is a gluten-free STORE not too far from here. Wow.

DS Skin: His cheeks are back to normal (phew.) I washed his face last night with water only, then put sweet almond oil on it. The pink started fading right away. Contact reaction. His rashy skin looks pretty mild today with the exception of his hand patch, which is still red after being in the bath last night. Less so, but still red. I put a little steroid cream on it last night... Sweet almond oil again and again and again. His skin has looked pretty uninflamed today. The hand patch looks less irritated as the day progressed.

My Skin: The usual. A little itchy today. Used steroid last night as usual. Using sweet almond oil after my showers. Using very little Aquaphor these days.

DAY 4: Chicken for breakfast - lol.

DS Skin: The skin on DSs torso looks slightly red today. Sighs. Could this possibly be from me drinking a beer last night? Seems doubtful. But what else? Maybe it's time for muscle testing?? Maybe I should persevere and see what happens. I don't know.

DAY 5: Pretty good with the diet. I scheduled NRT - Nutrition Response Testing - for both of us for Monday.

DS Skin: Looked worse today.

My Skin: Felt like crap today. Mine felt worse after being around MIL's cat, which has been the case in the past.

DAY 6: Persevering with the diet. Hungry all the damn time! Frustrating. Making more meat than usual.

DS: Looking less irritated today.

My Skin: Feeling pretty good.

DAY 7/8: Diligently following diet until late this morning. DS really wanted some cheese. I gave in, as I, too, have been HUNGRY! He doesn't usually go for these mozzarella cheese sticks, but he devoured two of them! I have otherwise kept us on the diet. It will be interesting to see if his skin reacts. DS got Nutrition Response Testing today (see post on NRT and NRT - The Appointment.)

DS: Definitely looking better today!

My Skin: Also looking better today. Weird. I also had NRT today. No results or recommendations yet.

*Update: After my second NRT appt at which I had counted on getting dietary recommendations and for the most part didn't, I got frustrated, and eased back on our gluten/dairy diet. Not entirely, but a little. As a result, perhaps, my son's skin has gotten worse. So I am going to redouble my efforts. I'm not going to refuse any gluten or dairy ever, but I am going to try to make my home as close to free of those things as I can.

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 - March Plan - Results

March Plan Results!

Purge Plan - March: Linens (anything cloth!)

3 baby blankets given to a friend for her kitty, who is preggo. =)
A few random things chucked...
Hubby has given me a few of his shirts to use as fabric to make other things
One bag of clothing to be donated to a local community center. It took the month ending for me to get moving with this. 

Green Plan: 

*Use unbleached coffee filters for a dioxin-free cup o' joe

I have used a plastic reusable coffee filter for years. My plan is to sew some reusable filters out of unbleached muslin to eliminate the plastic. But here it is April, and I haven't even bought the material yet. Sighs...it's a process.

*Install a water filter

We have one on the fridge that broke a long while back. We have a pitcher water filter, but the water was tasting bad with the last filter, so we've been drinking tap water..... I put another pitcher filter in, and that's what we're using for now.

Holistic Moms Network Resolution #3: Get a New Bag  
"Want to help save sea turtles and reduce dependence on oil atHMN Shopping Bag the same time?  Then commit yourself to using nothing but reusable bags - not just at the supermarket, but at the mall, the convience store, the farmer's market, and everywhere you go and shop!"

I've been using cloth bags for a long time, but I often, almost always in fact, forget to bring them. HMN suggests having cloth bags everywhere...in your car, your purse, etc. I think this is a good idea and will work in that direction.

I did actually put more bags in my car, but I'm not sure it has helped my brain to remember to bring them in the store more often, but I continue to try, and I often will refuse plastic bags even if I've forgotten my cloth bags, so ....

Overall this month was not as productive, purge-wise, as I had expected and hoped, but life just gets in the way sometimes. As always, I can continue to purge linens in April even though my main focus will be else where. I am getting rid of things, and ultimately, that is the goal. So, progress, progress, progress!