Toxins, Toxins, Everywhere!

Cancer From the Kitchen. We all know by now that non-stick is bad, right?? But how about your food containers. Are you still using plastic? I have transitioned to mostly glass for anything hot. I store items like cookies or cold things in plastic, but anything warm goes in glass. Click through and read the article, it's worth it.

Here's To a Healthier New Year

I thought I would pass on what I read in one of Dr. Mercola's email alerts today, mostly for the benefit of my family who won't click through to a link. You know who you are :) Also because I want to keep it where I know where it is. It assumes you realize that doughnuts, chips, and fries are on the "No" list :) They are talking about real foods that we may not consider to be health risks. It is taken from an article on Yahoo Shine and it's worth clicking through to read the whole thing. It's titled:

Avoid These 7 Foods and You're Off To a Healthier New Year

  1. Canned Tomatoes. Whoda thunk!! Item number one prompted this post. I would not have dreamed that a top food to avoid would be canned tomatoes. Apparently "the resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Acidity -- a prominent characteristic of tomatoes -- causes BPA to leach into your food."
  2. Corn-Fed Beef. No surprise here. We have been eating grass-fed beef for a while now but our proclivity for eating in restaurants is like shooting ourselves in the foot. The article says, "A recent comprehensive study found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium."
  3. Microwave Popcorn. Yep, knew this one too. It's the stuff that lines the bag the gets ya. It's linked to infertility, as well as liver, testicular and pancreatic cancer. It vaporizes with the heat and leaks into your popcorn.
  4. Non-Organic Potatoes. "Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting." I was struck by this comment in the article, "I've talked with potatoe growers who say point-blank that they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.
  5. Farmed Salmon. "Farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT."
  6. Milk Produced With Artificial Hormones. "rBGH or rBST increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers." I would go further and say that only organic raw milk should be consumed. Cheese is another issue, you need to search out cheeses that use clean milk. I think Tillamook is still good.
  7. Conventional Apples. "If fall fruits held a "most doused in pesticides contest," apples would win."
Mercola then adds his additional input. I knew canned foods were the least healthy choice when compared to fresh or frozen, but I didn't realize that one can of some items contains more than the current US guidelines for "safe" levels of BPA. Look for glass jars! He includes the following facts:

Non-organic meats have up to five times more pesticides than non-organic vegetables.

Non-organic butter can have up to 20 times as many pesticides as non-organic vegetables.

So when prioritizing your purchases, look for organic meats, eggs and dairy products before anything else.

And he adds that we should never consume unfermented soy. Soybean oil...Bad. Strongly linked to thyroid issues and various cancers.

We should make our own choices about what we eat and feed our families. I just think we should have the facts about what is being done to our food. I don't know why it has to be so hard to get through the grocery store!



My internet connector thingy mabob died. Again. At our last house we couldn't get dsl and opted for one of those wireless cards that lets you connect anywhere. Sort of. Unless it's cloudy, or raining, or Tuesday, or a full moon. You get the picture... It's been really frustrating. And my laptop is pretty new and I always wondered if it was really that slow or if it was just the connection. Because it would take me 30 minutes to load a 3 minute U Tube video, if I could download it at all.

But yesterday the little connector card died and I am without access until I figure something else out. But I needed to balance the bank account and pay a few bills so I headed to Starbucks. I'm not really supposed to be blogging. The baby is at home. But I just had to share...IT'S NOT MY LAPTOP!! Web pages are flying open, there is no waiting. I bet I would watch a whole concert on U Tube. Anyway, I'm pretty excited. Just wanted to share :)

Oh, also found about $500 of charges from someone who is not me. Looks like my information has bee stolen, so I'm off to the bank :(


Food, Sort Of

So we watched Food, Inc. the other night. Not news exactly, but disturbing none the less. I can't believe how difficult it has become to get truly nutritious food. Actually, given what Obama and company are doing to our country I can believe just about anything, but I'll spare you my conspiracy theory diatribe. (Is it still a conspiracy theory if it's true??)

Anywaaay. We are two steps forward, one step back in the healthy eating department. But we are on a forward trajectory right now and trying to get back into the swing of things :) I really want to avoid high fructose corn syrup as much as possible. This requires pretty diligent lable reading and just skipping a lot of things because it is in EVERYTHING! Pickles - check, ketchup - check, bread - check... But it's important, so we're working on it.

If you want to read a little about why it's so awful for you, and especially for your kids, you can start here.

One line in Food, Inc. really stuck out to me. There was a poor, hispanic family being interviewed. They worked long hours, on the go a lot, usually resorting to fast food in the car. The husband had deveolped diabetes and the wife said, "Before he got diabetes we never thought about whether something was healthy. We thought all food was healthy." Now they struggle to decide whether to spend their money on presciptions or vegetables. So sad.



Hailey and I took an overnight trip to Ojai for some good food, good conversation, and good memories. We had a great time and had the opportunity to talk of the weightier things that require the kind of time and environment that has been hard to come by lately :)

I also made her smile for the camera:)

This is the old Ojai jail. When it was built the railroad tracks ran between it and the park, it was built on "the other side of the tracks." It was used into the 1970's! We read that a few men actually spent upwards of a year here.


In Which Bingley Has a Very Bad Day

*Disclaimer* It's Yucky

Sunday afternoon we all piled in the van and as Mike started it there was this big thud. He turned it off as quick as he could and we looked at each other. It was NOT a good sound. He got out and started looking under the hood and under the van. He kept looking, and looking at me, but he didn't say anything. I finally got out and saw something dripping under the van. I thought it was coolant. But in a moment I realized it was blood splashing onto the pavement. The blades of the engine fan were lying broken next to the pool.
We couldn't see anything under the hood, but we could hear raspy, labored breathing through the grill. A quick look around revealed two kitties, Janey Cat and Darcy. No Bingley. UGH

I was totally beside myself. I didn't know what to do. Soon Darcy was sitting under the van yowling. Not long after, Jane joined him. It was...awful. We were certain there was nothing we could do, he had been sucked about a foot back and couldn't be seen. We knew he was dying, kids were crying, I was crying, we couldn't just sit there so we piled into the other cars and left.

At dinner Eli reassured us all that it wasn't Bingley. He says he saw Bingley with Darcy. "No, Eli. That was Jane, we couldn't find Bingley. Bingley is his cat and as that sunk in his eyes welled with tears. Then he shook it off and declared that he was sure he was around somewhere.

We were gone a few hours and when we got home it was dark and Mike decided to handle "the matter" then while everyone was safely inside.

About 20 min later, I hear a frantic "Michele!" Ohhh, "he's not dead" I thought. And I rushed outside to find a bloody and battered little kitten in a plastic tub. He looked a mess, but he was clearly alive. And we had left him there for hours. I was just sick. We quickly decided we had to take him to the emergency vet in Bakersfield to have him euthanized. So all the kids were ushered out for final goodbyes and we left.

They immediately take Bingley back and we settle in for the wait. After waiting an eternity to be called back into the little room we are ushered in for the vet. And she cheerfully tells us that he's the best looking engine cat she's ever seen and she thinks he'll be just fine. And it's not even going to be expensive, only about $600 We just couldn't say, oh no we just came for the shot! So we signed on the dotted line and I scaled back my home improvement wish list :)

One testical had been ripped out, so the neutering was completed. He had quite a bit of head trauma, but all he really needed was time, rest, and pain meds. He is feeling quite chipper now, and he even looks mostly normal :)

And that is that story of Bingleys very bad day, and ours too for that matter :)

What Happens When

You get smacked in the face with a 2x4 that has a big ole rusty nail sticking out of it :(


Baby Time

On Saturday Mike took the kids to Whitney Portals for a fun day of fishing and hiking, and Annaleise and I got to spend a quiet day together. Because my husband is just that cool. It was lovely.

We spent a little time at a park taking a few pictures when I wasn't trying to keep other peoples kids from jumping on her, over her, and around her, and taking her attention off of me :)

She was a little tired and not entirely in to the picture thing, she mostly wanted to suck her thumb, eat her blanket, and watch the other kids. But I got a few shots that made it all worthwhile.

Here are two of them.

Which one do you like better?

I played with the color a little on the second shot, the first one is SOOC (straight out of the camera). I don't know much about doctoring my pictures. I think I actually prefer the un-touched one. I'd really like to learn how to make the eyes pop a little more. So much to learn, so little time :)

I also forgot to button the back of her outfit, so it is a little floppy at the neck. It's really apparent in some of them.

Seriously though, don't you just want to eat her up!?


Obama - Change You Can Believe In

There are so many reasons to object to Obama's upcoming speech to schoolchildren, and many people in the blogsphere are talking about it. This is the best article I have read, and at the Common Room she has some great ideas for our own kids :)


The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Rules the World

Michelle Duggar is pregnant again. This will make an amazing 19 children! They are certainly not your average family, and I am sure that when she and Jim Bob married they had no idea what God had in store for them. I'm certain that if you had asked either of them if they thought they could "handle" 19 children they would have thought you were mad. But God doesn't give you the grace to walk through something until you are walking through it. It's a day by day, moment by moment kind of thing. I surely never thought I would have 9.

What I thought was really interesting is the article I linked to. I've talked to so many people anxious to "do something for God." They want to delay marriage and child-bearing in order to do "Gods work". Or they limit their children in order to be better able to minister. I've talked to women with several children who wonder what their calling is... But Alex Leo gets it. He seems to be writing from a secular perspective, but he sees the power in what the Duggars are doing. Can we really say Michelle hasn't done anything but have babies??

It's so easy to forget. It's so easy to think that because we are at home, wiping noses, rocking babies, making meals, and doing laundry, that we aren't involved in ministry. That we aren't doing anything to advance the kingdom of God.

But in wiping noses, rocking babies, making meals, and doing laundry, we are worshiping our God. As we lay down our lives we take up the cross. And what we're really doing with those children entrusted to us is discipling them. As we live our lives in faith, we teach them to do the same. They are arrows to be sent out as weapons for Christ! If all we do is welcome all of the children the Lord has for us, whether it be one or twenty-one, raise them in faith, and send them out, and if all they do is the same, in just a couple of generations we will once more live in a christian nation! Raising children in the fear of the Lord is powerful. It is humbling and awe-inspiring. It is hard, and nothing will have you on your knees more often.

It's encouraging I think, that the Duggar's oldest son was eager to have children upon marrying. Being the oldest in a home with so many children would mean a lot of responsiblity would fall on him. He has spent his life helping to care for children, and yet he is eager to care for his own. This is a family that has passed on their vision. And their faith. That is my prayer.


It's Our Anniversary

12 years, a lifetime and a moment :) When I look at how much has changed during our life together it seems it's been much longer than twelve years, but it seems like only yesterday we were planning our wedding. Well...maybe a month ago :)

I am so blessed to have this man as my husband.

As time has gone by our love has deepened and matured and I can honestly say things are better all the time :)

We went to dinner together a few days before our anniversary to my very favorite place. And on the special day we loaded up all the kids and headed to Lake Isabella. Mike's recent trip there with Ezra reminded us of what fun it would be with all the kids there.
And it was! Warm and lovely, utterly relaxing, a Very Good Day.

The girls thought it was even better than swimming in a 8 foot pool :)


Party Time

We had a little family party to celebrate the boys birthdays. I was too busy visiting to take many pictures, but I did get a few of the gift opening and cake. It was a very nice day, we don't get together often enough. The presence of those who couldn't make it was missed, but those who came were appreciated :)

Ty wasn't much into presents in the beginning
But things improved once he got the hang of it. Ezra didn't let Ty bring him down though :)

Whew! What a day.

Ty Courage is 2!!

Titus culminated our big birthday month by turning 2 on the 18th. Sometimes he is still the adorable, melt-your-heart, sweet boy that he was a few months ago. And other times he is all willpower with no restraint. In other words, he is OFFICIALLY two :)

Daddy and Ty went to the park, then got ice cream and took a little walk around town. They had A Very Good Day together.

Ezra Turns 6

Ezra celebrated his 6th revolution around the sun this month. It's so hard to believe he is 6 already. Time goes by so quickly.

In honor if his special day daddy took him to Lake Isabella. They had a lovely cove all to themselves and had a grand time. The kids all enjoy this special time out so much. And the rest of us look forward to going out to breakfast before they leave :)


Let Them Eat Cake

August is a big birthday month in our house. Chance turned 23, Kirstyn turned 19, Ezra turned 6, and Titus turned 2! Time it marches on, doesn't it! Last year Hailey made a Candyland cake for Eli as her present to him, and this year she decided to do a dragon cake for Ezra and Ty.

She made the whole thing from scratch. Well, not the decorations, but the cake and the frosting. She is getting to be quite good in the kitchen :)

After spending a large part of the day in Bakersfield, we got a pretty late start on the cake, which had her decorating at 9 0'clock :) She made an extra layer because she wasn't sure there would be enough cake otherwise, which was nice because then Sierra got to decorate too. She tried her hand at lettering for the first time, and decided it wasn't quite as easy as it seemed!

The finished products came out terrific though, and they tasted great too!

Cutting out the parts

The layer broke, but Sierra camoflagued it with frosting :)
Making the back scales
Ahh, now he's coming together
Lookin like a dragon!

Ready for decorating
Great Job Sierra!
All done, isn't he fabulous!?!

So Big

She weighs 13.4 pounds now. I know this because my very generous sister sent me a really cool baby sacle. For which she has still not been properly thanked :0

PS Doesn't she look just like Sierra in that picture!?


Kitten Fun!

Because we are bad cat owners who thought that crossing our fingers would prevent loose morals in Miss Jane, we are now the proud?? owners of 5 little kittens. The children were thrilled to learn that kittens ought to stay with mum for 12 weeks, to prevent neurosis. You know, to prevent them from turning into the type of grown cat that is forever kneading your belly, sucking on your shirt, and generally showing signs of missing it's mommy. So, they figure they have 3 full months in which to convince their father that all of the cats should remain.

He's not having any of it.

But for now at least, we have kittens! They were nearly birthed in Reeces' alfalfa, but Mike discovered her just in time to get her into a box in the garage. Actually, a series of boxes as we kept deciding the current one was too small and interrupting her labor to move her to new digs.
They are about 3 weeks now and have just begun venturing out of the garage where Janey will let us play with them without too much stress.

And so, we introduce....

Mrs. Bennet

Darcy, looking ferocious

The other one is Mr. Collins, poor thing. But I couldn't get a good picture of him.