Friday, June 6, 2014

Julie Surprise: Laundry Basket Tip

I recently read somewhere online about a Mom who has all of her kids do their own laundry, even the really young ones. They all have their own basket and are responsible for washing and folding and putting away their own clothes.

Because I have a stacked washer/dryer I'm not sure that requiring them to climb up in order to reach the dryer makes a lot of sense for us right now, but I have been trying to figure out ways to give my girls more responsibilities and it occurred to me that in my Mom's house, all seven of us kids had our own laundry basket; where my Mom, or whoever was doing the laundry, would put our clothes for us to take upstairs and put away.  Granted, I think some of us just left the clothes there and only came to pull something out when the closet was looking bare, but for those who lived upstairs it was a convenient way to transport newly washed clothing easily.

At any rate, I have six of these bright green laundry baskets that I bought on sale at Smith's a few years ago (when they were on sale for $0.99 each!) they've been useful for sorting different colored loads, but I've found that I do tend to wash all my girls clothes together without separating the colors much, (they're mostly either pastel colors or hot pink anyway) so I realized maybe I should designate a couple of these baskets for my girls to have for their own. Also, since I've been trying to get them to help with putting away laundry for a while now, I thought maybe this new idea would add some novelty to something they tend to find rather dull.

Then the question became, how do I designate the baskets? My mom wrote our names on ours with a sharpie, but I kind of wanted it to be easier to see at a glance.
Suddenly it came to me! I realized that all I needed to do was thread a different pretty ribbon through the mesh in order to personalize the baskets for each girl. Yay!

 Interestingly enough, I already had a few ribbons that even matched the shade of green of the baskets. 
My four year old goes by the nickname Kitty, and she loves anything Hello Kitty, she even has some Hello Kitty clothing in her wardrobe, so it seemed pretty obvious which ribbon should be on her basket.
My older daughter, Lillian, is seven now and a bit more serious. She doesn't like Hello Kitty anymore because that's for babies, ya know? So I figured she would be fine with a shimmery, sheer, floral ribbon. Besides, she prefers to go by 'Lily' so something with flowers seemed appropriate.

So there you have it! A simple way to designate and personalize laundry baskets!
Hope this made you day a little brighter!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Golden Afternoon (A Theme for Flowering Vine)

This is probably my very favorite theme that I designed for the Flowering Vine Live Wallpaper App.

I started out wanting to do something that had at least all the primary colors so that it would feel rich and full and vibrant. I chose to make the background gold and tried to make it look as truly golden as possible with the parchment texture. I think it sort of looks like gold leaf. Then I made the butterflies blue and slightly transparent so as to contrast with the background. Then to round out the color scheme I made the flowers rich pink with dark green vines. Finally I added a purple haze for the vignette effect.

I just love the feeling of this theme. It seems warm and luxurious like a palace garden in India or something. The name I chose for this theme, of course brings to mind the song from Disney's Alice and Wonderland, but I chose it because it seemed to fit the gold theme and reminds me of a dreamy summer day.

If you want to have a lot of fun playing around with the app making your own themes, the app is available for Android and can be purchased here. Thor Media has a lot of other pretty live wallpapers as well. Check them out!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Personal Tooth Healing Experiment/Plan Thing

Okay, let me first state that I am aware of how much contradicting information is out there when it comes to people's opinions about what foods are healthful and what foods are really bad for you.

I confess I have a fairly large collection myself in my little "food opinion museum" that resides in my cranium.
So let me just preface this with the statement that, if some of the things I say about food seem backwards or crazy to what you think you know about food and being healthy, just know that the "stuff" that I have chosen to believe is based on my own experiences and research.
I will try to add links to supporting information so that you can at least understand where I'm coming from, but realize that the road goes both ways so maybe some of your ideas would seem wrong or crazy to me. In such a case, I try to take a step back and remind myself that your "stuff" that you have chosen to believe also comes from your experiences and what you may have been told or have read, so let's all be polite and respectful and if you think I'm crazy, you might want to do a few Google searches and see how many other "crazies" like me are out there. At least you'll see where I got my ideas from.

That being said; my intention is not to write a foodie fairy-tale. For me, this is real. This is my life and life is a journey. I didn't get where I am all at once, I've been led here slowly, a little at a time by taking different paths, opening new doors and doing a LOT of reading and questioning various health care providers.

I know it's June now, but for a moment I'm going to step back to the very beginning of the year and share my New Year's resolution. I decided that I only wanted to focus on one major resolution this year and here it is: This year I intend to heal my teeth.

There it is. I first heard of people healing their teeth probably two or so years ago and the idea of this possibility has been stewing around in my little cranial cauldron for a long time. (Yes, I appear to be on a mind metaphor kick today.)

So, after reading this article which was kindly shared on a crunchy Facebook group I'm a member of back at the beginning of December; it of course recalled to mind the little bits and rumors I'd seen in the past about how people have healed cavities, but this article gave a lot more information as to why certain remedies and changes work and introduced me to the danger of excessive Phytic Acid in our diets. This little anti-nutrient and others like it are mainly found in foods like grains, nuts seeds and beans.
WHAT??? That means all health food gurus whether eating vegan, raw or paleo not only have high amounts of this in their diet, it may be even more so than people eating processed food because they often replace things like dairy and wheat in their diets with almond, soy and coconut options which are even higher in phytic acid than their conventional counterparts.

At first this information seemed absolutely overwhelming. I mean, didn't I just spend the past four years of my life trying to replace all the processed crap with more whole foods? In all this time I've gone from buying the cheapest wheat bread available to going all out with Dave's Killer Bread: Organic, Non-GMO, and packed full of 21 whole grains nuts and seeds! I'll be the first to tell you, this bread is delicious and after a year or so of eating cleaner it soon became the only bread I can eat that doesn't give me massive indigestion for up to two days. Now I have to give bread up altogether???!!!!

Well, as you can see, this is why it took me a month of mulling it over before I began to wrap my head around the possibilities. For one thing, every bit of information you receive, be it from the internet or your neighbor or you health care provider, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. (Lol. Sorry, I think there might be a lot of food related expressions in the future of this post.)
Anyway, my point is, I've learned that with any new idea; instead of freaking out and immediately turning my life up-side-down for every new food fad or health tip--or conversely, completely disregarding it as B.S. because it seems so new and foreign--such new information needs to be (yes, I'm going to say it.) PROCESSED! Hee, hee . . . Okay, in all seriousness though . . . It's a good idea to step back and look at yourself as objectively as possible.
If something really shakes you up it's a sure sign that questions need to be asked. Questions lead to understanding. Once you understand something you can either take it or leave it, but it's the state of 'not understanding' that breeds fear or anger in our intellectual selves. This is how all forms of human controversy start. This is at the root of racism. Think about it. When something or someone seems too different from what we're accustomed to, all too often we not only don't understand it, but our reaction is to either attack it or run away from it. Fight or flight, you see?

However, if we can use our big human brains to overcome our animal instincts we begin to ask questions, and explore this new and foreign thing which eventually will lead to at least some new level of understanding. As I stated before, once you understand something to the point that all fear is gone, then you can choose whether this new thing is going to become part of your life (in science that's known as adaptation) or you can choose to move on to the next thing.
Growth and change are inevitable. Even people who try to avoid change of every kind can't avoid it. It will happen no matter what you do or don't do. Even if you think you're comfortable where you are right now and don't want anything ever to change, chances are others around you will probably create new relationships, or choose to go new places and adopt new life styles, so while you strive to cling to life as you know it, you can't control every aspect of the world around you. Eventually what you know as reality right now will slip through your fingers and change into a new reality. Sounds kind of depressing right? Well, it might be if you just let it happen to you and strive to cling to what can't last, but if you accept growth and change as inevitable and make active choices about where your life journey will take you, life becomes an exciting and invigorating adventure!

Oh, boy. That was a major tangent.

Anyway, so I read the article, mulled it over and decided if nothing else, the tooth healing diet would be an interesting experiment. I did a ton of additional research and looked more into what this whole phytic acid issue was all about and I re-read the original article again and realized that it says "cut back" on food containing phytic acid, so that's not an absolute "cut it out" command.  It also has been extremely relieving and helpful to realize that one can reduce the amount of phytic acid in any of these foods by properly preparing them. In other words, soaking, fermenting or sprouting can all help.
Even so, just becoming aware of this information made me realize how much people now days really, really do eat an excessive amount of grains nuts and seeds. The crazy thing is, that one might ask, "so what's the big deal, we have all depended on grains and breads in particular since ancient times, right? Wrong actually. This article was extremely eye opening for me. Apparently, what we all have assumed to be the history of food is not quite accurate.

So, now armed with this new knowledge, it really has taken me some time to rethink what I might have once considered a normal meal or snack. Probably even more so than when I was cutting out processed foods. Even though I am aware of how to make them a bit better, and I know that I don't have to completely eliminate them from my diet, becoming aware of how easy it is to fall back on the grain, nut and seed fillers has made me quite determined to use them as little as possible, simply because I know how hard it can be to avoid them under certain circumstances. Therefore, whenever I am tempted to have something like that, yet still have another option, I've made myself go with the other option. This is mainly because occasionally I really don't have another option, or sometimes I even risk hurting someone's feelings, like my Mom or Mother-in-law on my birthday. Luckily for me, my birthday was in February so I could allow myself some freedom to eat cake and other rule breaking treats provided they were made as cleanly as possible (Clean because despite wanting to avoid making a big deal out of things, I still don't want to be sick on my Birthday.) and I was still kind of figuring out how to implement the whole tooth healing diet that early in the year anyway.

So the adapting the diet was the first stepping stone toward this goal and by March I finally was feeling like I had a better handle on the meals that will work for me. I also finally had a little extra moola (Birthday money!) that enabled me to invest in some fermented cod-liver and butter oil capsules; supplements that are a major part of re-mineralizing the teeth.

Also in March my husband found this article and shared it with me just about the time that my capsules arrived in the mail. Therefore, I also started oil pulling at the same time that I began taking to cod liver oil supplement.
It has been two months since I started oil pulling and taking the capsules. Though I've not noticed any major results, I took a picture the other day to compare to the one the day I started taking the capsules and I can see that one of my teeth that was starting to look kind of black in the center has lightened considerably.
I'm excited because I feel like my efforts toward realizing this goal are finally gaining momentum. The next step will be to figure out how to implement more organ meats into my diet.
It has been surprisingly challenging to find organ meats of any type in any of the my local stores. I bought a whole grass fed chicken at Smith's Marketplace back in February to use it to make crock pot chicken stock and happily it came with a few giblets, though not much and they were so tiny that the recipe I used to make liver pate didn't yield much in the end. Still, I thought I'd maybe just start freezing the giblets as I buy chickens so I can make a bigger batch. Sadly, the next time I went to buy one they didn't have those ones anymore, just conventional ones with no giblets. So, now I need to figure out some other way to incorporate organ meats into my diet.

Anyway, as it stands, this year has already seen a lot of subtle changes in my diet and I intend to start sharing some of my favorite recipes in the next few weeks during summer vacation. Let's hope I can manage to do so, not only to help others who want to remineralize their teeth, but also because the food is yummy and I'm finding that I'm missing the grains nuts and seeds less and less as time goes on.