Thursday, July 30, 2009

To Veg or Not To Veg?

I'm considering becoming a vegetarian. I haven't totally committed to it yet because I'm having a hard time making the culture change. I'm a foodie, and love to cook. Depression set in when I realized how much my range of ingredients would be limited by this choice.

But I'm overwhelmed by the way my body has decided NO MORE. I'm not sure what NO MORE is, but I have been eliminating a lot of things right now to try and figure it out. Wheat, red meat, dairy, and lately, pork and poultry too. I'm also overwhelmed with the responsibility of ensuring that I'm a good steward of the Earth that our Creator entrusted us with. Do you think He would nod and smile at mutilated chickens crammed into a smelly barn, never to see the light of day, only to produce meat and eggs for us until they die?

I go around and around with this because I want to be healthy, and to feel good about what I eat. Some research indicates that we were meant to be omnivores, and need the nutrients we can find in animal products. Other research indicates that vegetarians are healthier.

I have no answers right now, only questions. A LOT of questions. When I asked the Lord what to do, He reminded me of this passage from Matthew 6:

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. [emphasis mine]

The part that jumped out at me was in verse 32. I don't want to run after the latest trends, or the most current research, spending all my time trying to figure out what I should be eating. I just want to respect God's creation, and care for my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is. I guess this thing will have to be led by God, because it's too big for me to figure out.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Power of 15 Minutes

Have you been feeling overwhelmed by something that you despair will never get done? Maybe it's cleaning out the hall closet, weeding your flowerbeds, or clearing the pile of clutter off your dining room table.

In one of my desperate searches for tips on how to get organized, I discovered the Power of 15 Minutes. You can get a lot done in 15 minutes. Take a small project, or a piece of a bigger project, set a timer, and get as much done as you can. Then sit down with your book and cup of tea and congratulate yourself for accomplishing something that you have wanted to get done for a while.

When I tell myself that "it will only take 15 minutes", I am much more likely to get it done than telling myself "I'll do it tomorrow when I have more time." And I don't know about you, but getting things done makes me feel pretty darn good. I get a lot more accomplished in pieces of 15 minutes than any other way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baking Soda is Your Friend!

I don't use shampoo anymore. Yes, I do wash my hair - every day, in fact. But I use baking soda instead. The concept is called "No 'Poo" and if you Google it, you will find many converts to this age-old wisdom.

The way I understand it, and feel free to do more research than I have, is that shampoo is a detergent. Detergents strip not only dirt from your hair, but everything else too, including the natural oils your hair needs to stay healthy. Thus the need to follow up with conditioner.

What you've bought into then, is a complicated, often expensive, system to clean something that can be easily, thoroughly, and cheaply cleansed with humble baking soda. Since going "no 'poo", my hair has become shinier, healthier, and has actually encouraged a lovely natural curl that I've always wanted. And don't get me wrong - I'm an avid hairspray user (when my hair grows out long enough, we will be weaning ourselves off of that one too) and the baking soda removes it much more effectively than shampoo ever did. With no buildup.

I simply mix about a tablespoon of baking soda in about a cup of warm water, pour it over my wet hair, rub it around a little (but not necessary), and rinse. It works beautifully! Then, to soften and shine (and reduce frizziness and static), I mix a splash (about a tablespoon?) of apple cider vinegar in about a cup of warm water and pour again over my wet hair. Rinse, and beautiful soft, shiny, detangled hair is the result.

I have very fine, non-colored hair. I cannot guarantee what the results would be like on chemically-treated hair. I gave up coloring my hair a while ago because I couldn't be bothered to keep up with it. (We'll see if I change my tune when the gray starts to appear....) But I do know that my hair has never looked better and that I love that I don't need to use over-priced, over-marketed, unknown chemicals when there's a simpler, cheaper, healthier way.

Something to keep in mind, is that if you are considering going on the "no 'poo" adventure, that your hair may need to go through a transition period before it stabilizes into its ideal. But once your oil glands have understood that you're not stripping them with shampoo anymore, they get all happy again and produce their natural oils the way they're supposed to.

So, get your lonely box of Arm & Hammer out of the back of the cupboard and dust it off. Try out a natural way to care for your hair, but don't stop there! Baking soda makes a really good gentle facial scrub cleanser too!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Doggie Training Tip: Shaker Can

We have a Wire Fox Terrier who likes to stand at the corner of the chain link fence, let those who approach know she's there, and chase them, barking all along our wood fence along the sidewalk.

Needless to say, it was getting seriously annoying.

So, I borrowed an old trick I learned a long time ago. The shaker can.

I took an empty pop can, rinsed it out, put 3 pennies inside, and taped it shut. Then I let Cleo out, sat nearby and waited for the inevitable. It didn't take long before someone walked by and I banged the can and tossed it at her feet. It worked so well that she was reluctant to even go near her "barking corner" for a few days. I only had to shake the can a little bit after that if she happened to forget.

Don't get me wrong, I think a dog should be allowed to bark and be heard. It was the yapping and fence running that needed to be stopped. I think we've achieved a happy medium. The other day, she let out a couple of woofs, started toward the fence, then stopped herself and looked at me, the "Assassin of Fun". She then plodded over to me to be rewarded for her good decision.

And by the way, it worked on the cat too, when she decided all of a sudden that she wanted to be outside as well. She's 15 years old and we live on a busy street. You do the math. I shook that can and she decided the outside world was too scary to explore. All in all, a good result for something that took about a minute to make.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


After cleaning out Sabrina's bedroom again lately, I was disappointed by the amount of plastic toys and junk I hauled out of there. McDonald's toys, dollar-store toys, trinkets from loot bags, the sources are endless.

So, after a plastic toy is no longer usable, where does it go? Yes, it can be recycled, given to thrift shops to sell, and regifted, but you know where it will ultimately end up. The garbage dump. How can we in good conscience continue to fill our houses with a crazy amount of plastic that we cannot recycle? Is this the gift we want to leave our children and grandchildren with?

I started to research toys made from natural, recyclable materials, or fibers that could be composted, and discovered amigurumi. I've started crocheting a little clown and Sabrina is so excited that I'm making a toy for her that she is constantly asking me to work on it. Thankfully, these projects are simple and small and can be worked up in a few hours to a few days.

I'll post a picture of the finished product when it is done. If it goes well, I have a "kitty in pajamas" and a frog that I also have patterns for.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Mom Who Works

Let's face it: if you're a mom, you're a mom who works. What I'm talking about is referring to myself as a "mom who works" instead of being a "working mom". I choose to put the "mom" before the "work".