Friday, December 17, 2010

Clear MRI


Yes, that is right! My 3 month MRI is clear, which means no signs of any re-growth!! Woo-hoo!!
I felt pretty positive about this test; it is all the other MRI's after this one that makes me nervous. Duste, however, was a nervous wreck. We are both glad it is over and behind us—for another 6 months!

I did find out the Dr implanted some sort of marking indicators that would show up on the MRI so they can easily see the margins of the last tumor. He said everything was there that he expected and nothing was there that he didn't. The MRI machine that we used gave great pictures in just half the time so we are going to continue using that machine from now on. Which means traveling to Indianapolis for an all day event but I am all for it if it means clearer pictures!

Physical Therapy is going great and she is super impressed with my improvements during the two weeks I didn't see her. I would like to take this time to proudly announce I can once again sit "Indian style", for a little while anyway! I still haven't mastered walking up and down the stairs like a normal person but it is getting better! My knee is also starting to act right and we are doing a little more weight training to get it strengthen back up. I have to say, losing a muscle really isn't stopping me!

Also, this week Duste had to have a tooth surgically removed, a first for us both. She came through it ok and now is on the road to recovery. We have one more serious doctor's appt before Christmas and then we are on a break from all medical emergencies—at least if I get my way!


Top~3months after surgery #2
Bottom~sitting "indian style" creates an indent from the missing muscle











Happy holidays—from Duste and Talisa

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Changes

 Change can be good, change can be difficult but change always happens~change is necessary to grow!


I am wishing for changes in 2011. Changes in our personal life, changes in our working life and changes in our financial life! Financial freedom is something we all wish for and we have been working so hard to make this happen sooner rather than later. We have made sacrifices on short term happiness for our future happiness and soon the results we hoped for will be here! As I have stated several times in past blogs, we have been working hard to get our debt paid down and these past two pay offs have been massive, taking close to a year to pay off. But all our hard work will soon be over in the summer of 2011!! This will mark a huge milestone in our financial life as we will be close to debt free in our late 20’s and early 30’s! The only debt remaining will be our 30 year home loan. Another change we are hoping for is a career change for both of us. Duste is hoping to make a change to a very established factory that has better pay and better benefits. This will be another huge step in our future! I am so excited for 2011! I hope all goes well and I hope all these positive changes come our way. We deserve it, we are ready and we are hopeful!

Talisa, Nephew Keaton and Duste

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving


Holidays


Holidays are very stressful for me as I am sure they are to some of you. I am not sure when it became so stressful and why but they are none the less. I do not get stressed preparing my own Thanksgiving at my house but going to my families Thanksgiving stresses me out! I much prefer my own Thanksgiving. It is just a small gathering of my sister, her family, Duste's parents, Duste and I but we all love each other and are very close. We are not fake and we are not acting. I like that, it is real. The Thanksgiving with my extended family is a lot of acting. Now, I am civil to everyone but I am sure the ones I do not like are fully aware and I prefer it that way. It just kills me that when, the person no one likes but acts like it, leaves everyone talks about her. Poor girl really thinks my family likes her. Our family dynamics have changed dramatically over the years. My grandma is now sick and frail. My grandpa, the glue that held us all together, has been gone for several years now. My aunt, the life of the party, passed recently. So, the ones that are left are a little broken and it is almost like we don't fit together anymore. Maybe it is just me; maybe I am the only one that notices a difference. All I know is we were a little screwed up before the deaths and now we are severely screwed up—crazy families are only funny on TV, not in real life!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back to the same ol’ same ol’ plus Physical Therapy 3x's a week!!

As of November 9th I am back to work. I have mixed feelings about this. My brain is ready to jump back on the band wagon but my body, not so much. Part of me thinks I needed more time, but the longer I am off the harder it is to go back. I came back to some surprises--my work load had been kept up but my paychecks are on hold. Thank goodness we have a savings account that will allow us to still make our bills this month but it would have been nice to have had a heads up before I came back.

We are staying on track--we are staying the path, no matter what!

This month we start our very aggressive payments on my student loan and it will be paid off in 8 months! Duste also took the online test to get into a very established factory that her father has been working at for over 30 years--thanks dad for pulling some strings so she could take the test without going through a temp agency!! We feel very positive about the test results and we are sure this is the step we needed to get her foot in the door! The factory has wonderful household insurance--this means Duste can finally get some good coverage and she can insure me! It finally seems the big pieces of the puzzle are coming together!!

So yes, we can walk through Hell when we can see the other side!

Staying Positive and Staying the Course!!!
~One Month After Surgery~

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My recovery in Pictures~

My second surgery was a little harder than the first. I spent 3nights/4days in the hospital and two of those days I did not get out of bed. My days were filled with terrible headaches, dizziness and nausea. It seemed to me I was the only one in the hospital that was there to rest, as my roomates (3 in total had come and gone) always had company and seemed to be enjoying this time a little too much. I had a wet rag on my head, ear plugs in my ears, oxygen in my nose, and tubes coming out of my arm, back and bladder--not a pretty sight.  My body did not handle all the drugs as well as it did the first time and as I am blogging this I am with out pain medication. The side effects were worse than the pain so I am dulling the pain with Advil.

Here are some pictures of my new, soon to be scar....

At home after surgery....


 The first day I could shower and take the bandages off--not pretty.
Lots of dried blood and puckering from the swelling....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Two Desmoid Tumors and Counting…….


According to the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation, Desmoid tumors arise from connective tissue - the cells involved with the formation of muscle, fibrous and nerve tissue. Desmoid tumors, also called aggressive fibromatoses , are locally aggressive. This means that they can grow into and even destroy adjacent normal tissues, even bones. They do not, however, have the capacity to spread distantly (metastasize) throughout the body. Hence, most doctors consider desmoid tumors to be benign and not malignant. But regardless of the name, tumor-related destruction of vital structures and/or organs can be fatal. (http://www.dtrf.com/)

To me they are a life changing tumor that will take away your mobility and strength you once had.
 My Demoid Tumor Story begins back in 2007. That was the first time I noticed my upper right thigh giving me some trouble. It was winter and we were out Christmas shopping like we always do the week before Thanksgiving. This pain continued for weeks until I noticed a small knot. I watched the knot, treating it with a heating pad and believed it was a pulled muscle until the knot begins to grow. That is when I made my first doctor appointment. By this time it was early 2008 and one doctor lead to another, the knot all the while growing. April 2008 the doctor wanted to do a needle biopsy to find out what type of tumor this was. That was the worst pain I have ever been through. Weeks later it was confirmed, it was a Demoid Tumor. This doctor referred me to the only Indiana Desmoid Tumor doctor, Dr Wurtz. He is at IU Med Center. June 2008 was my first surgery.

Dr Wurtz told me he would only be making a 1" incision to get Desmond the Desmoid Tumor out and that I would be able to go home the same day. Turns out he was wrong. I woke up with a 12" incision but was still allowed to go home. Recovery was hard and painful. The muscle spasms I had after the Biopsy were back followed by lightning strikes—these were because he moved my main nerve and cut several smaller ones. It took me 4 days before I was able to take myself to the bathroom. But a month later I was back at work. I would say the first few months were great! I had no pain and felt like I did before the tumor came into my life. But that all changed when winter came. Late 2008 my pain was back and was worse than ever. I could not clean the house without being sore for days after. I called Dr Wurtz about getting a referral to Physical Therapy but he did not feel I needed one. So, I took some advice from my friend and co-worker Lee, decided to start going to get some massage therapy. No, not that relaxing feel good massage that you are thinking but the painful at the time feel better later type of massages. By 2010 I was feeling great and was even back to doing Yoga and bike riding. Life was good!
Then the phone rang, Wednesday, September 15th. Since being diagnosed with a Demoid Tumor I had to get yearly MRI's. I went in for my regular MRI September 1st and thought nothing more about it. Until the doctor called and said it showed my tumor had re-grown, this time higher around my hip area. My world was crushed! I was so glad Duste decided to come home early that day and she was there when I got the call. We cried the rest of the day. The next day I had an appointment with Dr Wurtz and another MRI. By this time I was done feeling sorry for myself and was now mad.
I am mad at my doctor because he said the hip pain I had complained about before my first surgery was unrelated. When the large lump showed up and my hip pain returned he said it was scar tissue. I believed him. He was wrong.
Now I have to have yet another surgery on Monday, September 27th on a spot where the roots/fingers of my last tumor left off. The same spot where the large lump appeared and all my pain all this time has come from. I do not want to do this again. I do not want to lay in bed for a month. I do not want to wake up after surgery to the pain. I do not want this!
I worry about my future. I worry about what this means for my mobility.
He did say one thing this time that he had never said before. Something I am trying not to think about, something I am trying to ignore. He said if it comes back again he would like to treat me with some pills, radiation and chemotherapy. The pill would put me into early menopause, which means no children for me. But he said he could not guarantee, after all this, that the tumor would never come back. He also said the hormone increase you have during pregnancy could cause the tumors to re-grow. I am not sure what to make of those statements he made but I am not going to let some tumor decide if I have children or not and that is for sure. I'm 27 years old, if I am going to have children I need to do it sooner than later and people love to remind me of this. I will not let a tumor that may or may not come back anyway determine my future of being a mother.
So that is where I am in my life right now. My life seems to be a raging river at times and my boat does not have seatbelts but Duste and I hold on tight for as long as we can. This reminds me of that saying "what to hear god laugh, tell him your plans!" This was not in my plans but we will work through this and carry on with our plans! Oh, and I am thinking about naming this one Dezy the Desmoid Tumor!



Monday, August 30, 2010

Fight Acne Naturally


by Jaime McLeod | Monday, August 16th, 2010 | From: Healthy Living

acne is a part of life. Nearly everyone experiences acne outbreaks at some point during his or her life, particularly during adolescence. While most people's complexions clear up during their early 20s, some people struggle with acne well into adulthood. For others, acne flare-ups can occur during particularly stressful times. Though acne is simply a medical condition, like any other, many people feel embarrassed by breakouts. This social stigma can be one of the worst aspects of dealing with problem skin.
The most severe cases of acne will require attention from a dermatologist, but there are some simple household remedies for this most common ailment.
One of the most effective natural remedies for fighting acne is tea tree oil, an essential oil obtained from the narrow leafed tea tree, a member of the myrtle family native to Australia. Tea tee oil has bacteria-fighting properties that can help to cure acne and other skin disorders, such as dandruff and psoriasis. Unlike benzoyl peroxide, the most common commercial treatment for acne, tea tree oil won't cause the skin to dry out, peel, or flake. Just place up to 10 drops of tea tree oil into about a cup of warm water and use it to rinse off the face with a soft washcloth twice daily.
Here are some other effective home remedies to promote healthy skin



:
In the Kitchen
A number of everyday foods around your house can be used to help cleanse the skin and
fight acne outbreaks. One of the most popular is lemon juice, applied to the face with a tissue or cotton ball before bed. Many people also swear by rubbing raw garlic on their faces once or twice a day. Eating plenty of raw garlic – up to three whole cloves per day – can also cleanse impurities from your body to prevent future outbreaks. Be careful, though, because garlic, whether used internally or externally, can cause your body to give off a pungent odor. Pastes of either grated cucumber or tomato pulp, applied for about a half an hour before bathing, can also help.

In the Medicine Cabinet
Many
vitamins and minerals can help to promote clear healthy skin from the inside out. Among those most recognized to promote healthy skin are Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Zinc. The gel found inside the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant can also help to fight acne. Aloe Vera has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, to both fight the cause of acne and soothe the skin. Drinking Aloe Vera juice can also remove impurities from the digestive tract, which will in turn reduce the amount of bacteria exiting through the pores.

Other Things to Consider
Always drink at least 64 ounces of water per day and eat plenty of fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables. Be sure to get regular exercise and a full night's sleep every night. Find productive ways to manage stress. Avoid touching your face as much as possible, and keep your hair clean and out of your face. Never pick or squeeze pimples and blackheads. Avoid oily lotions or make-up. If you must wear make-up, keep it light and choose a brand that is hypoallergenic and/or made from natural ingredients.











Jaime McLeod is a contributing editor for the Farmers' Almanac. She is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including MTV.com. She enjoys the outdoors, loves eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stress!!!!


How do you deal with stress?
I would like to say I deal with it well—but I guess that depends on who you ask! Duste gets the short end of the stick when I am stressed because it usually comes out on her. For the most part I try to control my response to stress. If it is something I cannot do anything about I try to Breath and Let it Go. If there is something I can do about it, I try to fix it so I do not run into that situation again. Work stress, I think, is the worst. Work is something most of us HAVE to deal with, like it or not. It is my experience that you are not always going to get along with everyone at work all the time, especially when you work with all females. So, I do my best to deal with what I can by keeping my head down and my mouth shut, most of the time. Trust me that was not the easiest lesson to learn. Something in my character is always telling me to share my opinions and thoughts about everything with everyone, this is not always a good thing as you can imagine. That is why my childhood was so difficult, that is why life was so difficult.
Something clicked when I was in my mid-twenties that just made things make a little more since to me. I was making things more difficult than they had to be. I did not have to live, act and be the person everyone else wanted me to be. From that point on, I have simplified my life. Keep the things that make me happy; do away with the things that caused me mostly stress. This was a few years after my grandma passed and shortly after my grandpa that I learned life is too short to be miserable. If I do not put myself first no one else will. A few relationships ended because of my decision. Some I am trying to rebuild to a comfortable level, some I have chosen to do without. You cannot believe how freeing it was to make that decision. I am free to live my life and free to be me!
Recently my stress has revolved around a hawk! Yes, a hawk of all things. I used to love watching hawks as the soared through the air and even when they caught something to eat. Some say seeing a hawk is good luck. Well not if you are a poultry owner! It is bad, very bad!
I have had my four chickens a year now and never had an issue with hawks. Last week I added two 3 month old ducks to my flock. Two days later a hawk landed in a tree above our heads undetected. As he made his way down the tree closer to my chickens they noticed him. We happened to be sitting under the tree getting better acquainted with the new arrivals when we heard the hens make the strangest noise. Duste and I both noticed the hawk at the same time and she scared it way. It was so startled it almost hit the side of the house as it flew away. Since last Sunday our lives have been turned upside down. Anything and everything that can be done to deter a hawk we have done. We are also outside with the girls the entire time they are out—that is 6 hours after work, in the heat, watching the sky and walking around. We have not been able to relax since and my house is proof nothing else is getting done. All this stress because of a bird; a bird I am legally not allowed to do anything about.
I am told this is a stress that will always be. Hawks are a natural predator of chickens and ducks. Not what I wanted to hear. I am not giving up, there has to be a solution! So far we have been 4 days without a hawk sighting!
But the good news is my new ducks are doing great! They seem to like the hens more than the hens like them. We are still working on a few issues but overall they are getting along and doing well! In about 3 months from now we should be getting eggs from them as well!
Life is stressful right now but life is good and we are making it the best life we can, for each other and no one else!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Busy busy Summer


Hello, sorry it has been so long since my last post. Things have been so busy this summer.

My sister is taking evening classes at a local college, which leaves me with my little man Keaton Michael on those nights and just keeping up with the daily grind can be challenging. I am so blessed to have Keaton and my sister in my life. There was a time, before Keaton was born; that her and I were not on speaking terms and having Keaton Michael has really changed our lives and our relationship. It is amazing to think back on my life a year or so ago and how much things have changed. I now have a home that shows signs of having a little one and my back yard and both porches are the same. But I really wouldn't have it any other way. I am so lucky to have a sister that has allowed me to be such a big part of her and Keaton's life. When Keaton was born, is a day I will never forget, I spent hours at the hospital helping my sister; which soon turned into days, weeks and months after they came home. Keaton had a touch of Colic when he was born and nights were a challenge for all of us! I would take him on Tuesdays and every other weekend to give mommy a break and when my time was up I was exhausted! I am not sure how any of us got through those first 3 months but at month 3 he was a completely different baby. He was sleeping through the night, 12 hours most nights, and rarely fussed. Keaton crawled on time and walked at 9 months and is now a handful once again. He is so much fun and I cannot imagine my life without him! I never in my life thought I could love someone as much as I love that little boy. Words cannot come close to expressing my feelings for him! My sister Amanda and I are now best of friends and closer than we have ever been. It is strange at times because I find myself wanting to slip back into mommy role with her but I stop myself and back off. She is grown and has to make her decisions and learn from her mistakes. I am just lucky she is on the right path and doing her best for herself and her son. She has a wonderful partner as well. Poor David, not sure anyone else would have hung on this long! They are perfect together and do their best. Sometimes Amanda will say something I have preached to her all those years ago and I will just smile—she was listening after all!



On top of the daily stuff, working and keeping up with Keaton, I am still fighting to eat right and exercise. Some days these two tasks come easily, others not without a fight! I have lost less than 10lbs but of course not where I need to. My belly is still there but my butt and legs look great! Unfortunately I have noticed a little coming off my chest—something I have worked very hard at getting! But I will continue my fight and hopefully soon I will win the prize of being able to button all of my pants once again! I have been eating more fresh and organic thanks to our local Farmer Market.


Duste has talked me into take a trip this year. There was a time we were like gypsies--we traveled often and as far as our money would go! Since we have bought our 100year old house those trips have stopped and the maintenance and updates have begun. Our house is nowhere near finished but it would be nice to get a way again! So, we are taking a 4 day 3 night trip to the poor man's Florida—Kentucky Lake! We are spending one day on the boat, my favorite thing in the whole world, and the other doing who knows what! I have a feeling this is going to be our last trip just Duste and I and we wanted to make sure we get one more in!


So, that's been my summer—

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Some inches lost!

Yesterday, May 18th, I was able to get into my work pants! It is a small step but it is a step that was the point of all this! My pants still fit a bit snug but I am able to button them! Finally--Some results!

It has been hard to just eat half of what I normally do, especially when we eat my favorite foods! I will admit it is hard to make myself exercise with my Wii Fit on those days that work leaves me feeling exhausted but I am getting 3 days or more in each week!

My Wii Fit says I lost 3.5lbs, just as long as I can get into my pants I am happy! So, I will continue to do what I am doing and will try to get on the Wii Fit more! I am thinking a goal of 10 pounds is good. I would like to lose an additional 6.5lbs in 4 weeks--lets see how I do!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Some Pictures of my world!

Pictured is Duste, Talisa (me) and our nephew Keaton Michael

I thought I would share with you a look into my life! Home is where your heart should be, it should be a place you long to be. Home is always a safe and loving place, home is where I would rather be!


This is our Garden--it is 8'X24'. We planted Tomatoes (Small and Big ones) Bell Peppers, Spinach, Romain Lett, Broccoli and Cucumbers!
We have it fenced off because of the girls. (hens) The black trash can is a make shift rain barrel!

We also have a strawberry patch!







This is our outside extended chicken coop! They also have an inside coop that is in the heated garage. When we are at work the girls stay in the coop but when we come home they have the run of the yard! (The Roster on top is fake!) We cage them while we are at work because of the hawks and other predators.

This is my Chicken Proof back porch! Thanks to Duste and her Dad! I have trellis around the porch and a gate across the walk way.  I also have my new humming bird feeders up on hooks and a dinner bell that can be heard in the back 40~as Duste calls it! The hens are also in this picture but they are a little far away.

This is a better picture of the girls--also in this picture is my little man Keaton Michael and I.
Hope you enjoyed a look into my life!
Life changes fast, take the time to enjoy it and love the people in it!

Home Made Cleaning Products--Part two!



Dishwashing Detergent


What you'll need:
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
20 Mule Team Borax
Distilled White Vinegar

Here's what you do (read slowly because there are only two steps):
Step 1: Add one tablespoon of Super Washing Soda to the dishwasher dispenser
Step 2: Add one tablespoon of 20 Mule Team Borax to the dishwasher dispenser

You're done. That's the recipe for homemade dishwashing detergent. Now the recipe for removing the water spots that so frequently occur with automatic dishwashers:

Pour distilled white vinegar into the dispenser for the clear rinse gel.

My Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe - Version 2.0
1/4 bar Fels Naptha soap
1/2 bar Ivory soap
2/3 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

Very finely chop the soap and put it into a large pan over medium-high heat. Add 6 cups of water and, stirring often, heat until the soap melts. Pour 4 cups of hot water into the bucket. Carefully add the hot soap mixture and stir. Fill the bucket with water (about 22 cups more). Let the soap sit overnight to allow it to gel. Stir well. Keep in mind that the consistency of this detergent is different from what you buy at the store - it is a liquidy gel.

Use 1/2-3/4 cup per load (I use the top of an old detergent bottle!). Remember that this is a low-sudsing formula, so don't expect to see a lot of bubbles.


Fabric Softener
1 cup of plain white vinegar to the rinse cycle
5 drops of Oil for smell

Liquid Hand Soap
*Boil 16 cups of water--add 3 bars of soap--boil until dissolved--cool--pour in container.
*Revised version

In a pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, shave the bar of soap into fragments, or break up the already small pieces of left over soap. The smaller the fragments, the quicker they will dissolve in the boiling water.

Stir the soap into the boiling water until the soap completely dissolves. Once the mixture is cool, pour it into your old soap dispenser. You will note the mixture is not as thick as store-bought soap (if consistency is an issue for you, use less water and more soap). However, you’ll find the watery hand soap mixture works exceedingly well in creating a lather and cleaning your hands
 
Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Sprinkle bowl with baking soda and drizzle with white vinegar. Let soak 30 minutes, and scrub with toilet brush. For tough stains, let soak overnight.
 
Homemade D.O.

In a container that is easy to reach your fingers inside:

1 TB olive oil (does not have to be EVOO)
to 1 TB cornstarch
to 1 TB Baking Soda
12-15 drops essential oil

Mix well. If the mixture separates or hardens, you can remix it before using. Rub 1 scant teaspoon in each armpit daily.

Essential oil variations:
Sweet Tart: 6 drops grapefruit, 6 drops orange and 4 drops sweet basil essential oils
Chill Out: 10 drops lavender essential oil and 5 drops roman chamomile (or just do all lavender)
Man o Man: 4 drops ylang ylang, 6 drops cedarwood, 5 drops grapefruit or lemon
Fresh and Clean: 10 drops tea tree and 5 drops orange
 
Shaving Cream

I made half of this recipe, and it made enough to fill an 18 oz container-
Half
1 Cup Grated Lavender Soap
1/4 water
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Butter
Half--¼ Vegetable Glycerin
5 drops Lavender/Tea Tree Oil
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil

Whole Recipe
2 Cup grated Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap
1/2 Cup Rose Water (or Water)
2 Tbl. Cocoa Butter
1/4 Cup Vegetable Glycerin
5 drops Essential Lavender Oil
5 drops Essential Tea Tree Oil
1-2 Tbl. Coconut Oil

I did not make my own rose water, as the recipe instructs. I just purchased rose water, and used it to soak the castile soap for several hours. (I began the soaking process in the morning, and then whipped up the rest of the recipe that night.) You can also just use regular water, if you prefer not to use rose water (some husbands might appreciate that less-girly option!), or as a substitute if you don't have any rose water on hand.

I discovered that a blender did not give the desired results for this recipe. It quickly created a foaming-looking result, but re-liquified after a few days. The handheld mixer does appear to be essential, in creating a fully-emulsified, permanent cream consistency.

The resulting product was too thick to pour into a narrow-necked bottle, as I had originally planned, so I keep it in a flat, plastic food storage container, in our shower. The cream tends to solidify in our chilly bathroom overnight, but softens up quickly from the warmth of your hands.
 
Hand Sanitizer:

1 bottle of Aloe Gel--4 cups
4 teaspoons Witch Hazel
16 drops Peppermint
16 drops Tea Tree

Things You'll Need:
100% pure aloe vera gel
Witch hazel
Tea Tree Oil
Peppermint Oil

Instructions
Step 1
Place about 1 cup of your pure aloe vera gel into a bowl.
Step 2
Slowly mix in 1-2 teaspoons of Witch Hazel. You do not want the consistency of the gel to become too thin.
Step 3
Add 3-4 drops of Tea Tree essential oil, and 3-4 drops of Peppermint essential oil. Slowly stir ingredients together.
Step 4
If you find the consistency to be too thin, add more aloe vera gel a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
Step 5
Store in your desired container. Use as you would any other hand sanitizer as necessary.

All of the ingredients in this mixture are safe and natural to use on your body. Witch Hazel, Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint all have antiseptic and astringent properties to them, which make them great for killing germs and also healing small cuts and wounds. The aloe vera gel will help soothe skin and keep skin from dryingout.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It appears I may have gained weight…….

(This is not me in this picture, its not this bad yet!)

Great—I haven’t tried to lose weight in years. I think I have forgotten how or where to start! I don’t own a scale so I can only judge my weight gain by the way my pants fit.

A few years ago I decided I was happy with my weight for two reasons; 1. I was happy with the way I looked. 2. I didn’t want to buy any more clothes of a different size. So, I just worked on maintaining. I did this by portion control. I ate half of anything ordered from a restaurant and only made half sizes at home. I watched how many chips and other things I ate by reading the back and measuring out or counting a correct portion size. This worked great! I did manage to lose a few pounds 5lbs or under but over all my clothes still fit well.

Here are my excuses:

Then in 2008 I had surgery on my leg for a desmoid tumor. In doing so I lost a few more pounds, 10+lbs. Now, my clothes fit lose and looked awful. So, I thought that meant I could snack and eat as much as I wanted. This seemed to be ok; I slowly started filling out my pants correctly.

Then December 2009 my office burnt down. 2010 started off with a lot of stress of getting the office back up and running. This meant working lots of Saturdays and Sundays. I found I was always hungry and eating everything, mostly junk of course. Then my aunt passed away and that really added to my stress eating.

Facing the truth is hard to do:

Now it is May and I have notice my pants will no longer button and the ones that do are terribly tight. So, here I am. Realizing how this got started and now seeing what I have done wrong. Sure I am a normal girl, coming to the realization that I need to lose weight is over whelming, sad and disheartening but feeling sorry for me will not fix the problem. It will be hard for the first few weeks, getting my stomach shrunk back to where it got full on half sizes but what can I do. I did this to myself and now I need to fix it.

Here is the plan:

I will control my portions. I will only eat half of what I normally eat. I will follow portion guidelines on the back of everything I eat. (Cereal and so on) I will banish junk food from my house. I will only drink One Caffeine Free Drink a day (pop) and I will choose healthier snacks to eat at work. My before bed snack will no longer be a half peanut butter sandwich with strawberry milk, instead it will be a cup of strawberry milk and one piece of toast with butter. I am going to increase my activity level. Go on two walks a day at work and a few exercises on my Wii Fit in the evening.

Duste thought we should no longer eat Fast Food. So, that is being banished as well. When we eat out it is going to be at a set down type restaurant, which cost more so we will do it less.

I have no clue how long it will take before my pants will button again but this time I am going to stick with it!

Anyone care to join me in this challenge?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sgt. Jeremy McQueary

Sgt. Jeremy McQueary





Died Thursday, February 18, 2010, during a combat offensive in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. He was a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps for seven years.

He is survived by his wife, his infant son, his mother and stepfather, his father-in-law and mother-in-law, one sister and her husband, his grandfather, five nieces; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

We have lost 90 soldiers already this year and it is only May. Now is not the time to get into how pointless this war is. But, I do think former President George W Bush should be required to attend every soldier’s funeral. He should be held accountable!

Friday, April 30, 2010

How to make Homemade Cleaning Products~part one


Furniture Polish:

This is the first one I made and I am not too wild about it. I made it in bulk and keep it in the frig. The problem is it gets too thick and you have to set it out early and shake the it well to remix everything.
1 Cup Olive Oil
1Cup Vinegar
½ Cup Limon Juice

Makes 2 Cups in Spray Bottle

Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar, and 2 tsp. lemon juice and shake well. Dip a clean and dry cloth into polish and rub wood in the direction of the grain. Refrigerate any remaining polish.

Dusting Spray
This sounds a lot easier!
Combine
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cup baby oil
Put into a spray bottle~

Glass Cleaner:

I use this mostly for glass and my All Purpose Cleaner for everything else because it smells so good!
1 Cup Vinegar
1 Cup Water

Combine 2 cups of white distilled vinegar and 2 cups of water. Use on counter tops, kitchen floors, windows, mirrors, and any other hard surfaces. For tough jobs, warm the cleaner in the microwave.

All-Purpose Cleaner

I love to clean everything with this because it smells so good!
2T vinegar
1 t Borax
Hot water
a few drops of a mild dish detergent
10 drops of essential oil, optional

In a 16 spray bottle put vinegar, borax and hot water. Swish around until borax has dissolved. Add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Add the essential oil (I like using jasmine or lavender).
 
 Homemade Floor Cleaner
I put mine in an old shampoo bottle and sprinkle on the floor as I go!


½ Cup Vinegar
1 cup Water
5 drops of oil--smell (I use lemon or orange)

For Linoleum, Tile, Stone and Laminate floors:
Mix 1 C White Vinegar to 2 C water. Put in a spray or shampoo bottle.
Wet cloth, wet floor.

Fabreeze:

I saved the best one for last! This is better than the store bought!
simply mixing equal parts of vodka and water in a spray bottle and lightly covering fabrics. add 10 to 15 drops of your favorite essential oil for every 2 cups of water. I use Jasmine for the spring/summer!

Organic Produce--what is worth the extra money!

The new Dirty Dozen:
12 foods to eat organic and avoid pesticide residue

By Dan Shapley

Fruits and veggies are an essential part of a healthy diet, but many conventional varieties contain pesticide residues.

And not all the pesticides used to kill bugs, grubs, or fungus on the farm washes off under the tap at home. Government tests show which fruits and vegetables, prepared typically at home, still have a pesticide residue.

You can reduce your exposure to pesticides by as much as 80% if you avoiding the most contaminated foods in the grocery store.

To do so, you need the latest info from the why the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of foods most likely to have high pesticide residues. Since 1995, the organization has taken the government data and identified which type of produce has the most chemicals.

This year, celery takes the number one spot and both blueberries and spinach make an appearance (displacing lettuce and pears).

The best way to avoid pesticide residue on foods is to buy organic produce -- USDA rules prohibit the use of pesticides on any crop with the certified organic label.

Here's a closer look at the 2010 Dirty Dozen:

1. Celery

Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals (64 of them!) that are used on crops. Buy organic celery, or choose alternatives like broccoli, radishes, and onions.

2. Peaches

Multiple pesticides (as many as 62 of them) are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit.

3. Strawberries

If you buy strawberries, especially out of season, they're most likely imported from countries that have less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and pineapples.

4. Apples

Like peaches, apples are typically grown with poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Tests have found 42 different pesticides as residue on apples. Scrubbing and peeling doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely, so it's best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, bananas, and tangerines.

5. Blueberries

New on the Dirty Dozen list in 2010, blueberries are treated with as many as 52 pesticides, making them one of the dirtiest berries on the market.

6. Nectarines

With 33 different types of pesticides found on nectarines, they rank up there with apples and peaches among the dirtiest tree fruit. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include, watermelon, papaya, and mango.

7. Bell peppers

Peppers have thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They're often heavily sprayed with insecticides. (Tests have found 49 different pesticides on sweet bell peppers.) Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include green peas, broccoli, and cabbage.

8. Spinach

New on the list for 2010, spinach can be laced with as many as 48 different pesticides, making it one of the most contaminated green leafy vegetable.

9. Kale

Traditionally, kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include cabbage, asparagus, and broccoli.

10. Cherries

Even locally grown cherries are not necessarily safe. In fact, in one survey in recent years, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries. Government testing has found 42 different pesticides on cherries. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include raspberries and cranberries.

11. Potatoes

America's popular spud reappears on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list, after a year hiatus. America's favorite vegetable can be laced with as many as 37 different pesticides. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include eggplant, cabbage, and earthy mushrooms.

12. Grapes

Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Remember, wine is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides. Can't find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and raspberries


This is so depressing isn't it?! Ugh!

Reusable Products Unsanitary----really?!

So, it was brought to my attention that some small minded people think my reusable products are unsanitary, particularly my reusable tampons and toilet paper. I was a little shocked by this accusation because I feel this is no more unsanitary than your underwear, your silverware and your plates!

As a woman, accidents happen around that time of month and when this happens you don’t just throw your clothes away do you? No, normal people wash them and wear them again—the same concept I am using with my reusable tampons and toilet paper! It is sad that this is the mind set of everyday average Americans. We are a wasteful society but I never realized how wasteful.

Here is an eye opener about tampons—

Tampon and Sanitary Product Fact Sheet
By Angela Hywood, N.D.
Oct 23, 2006 - 11:39:00 am

The mucosal lining of the vagina is one of the most sensitive and absorbent areas of the body yet each month women expose themselves to a variety of hazards through the use of tampons. The average woman may have as many as 400 periods in their lifetime, and can use up to 15,000 tampons during this time. This is a very large number, and it is important to consider the health implications involved in the products that women use to capture the blood during their periods. It is also interesting to note that the testing for the safety of these products is usually conducted by their manufacturer and not by an independent body. The vast majority of women will opt to use either sanitary pads or tampons, or a combination of both methods. Let us consider each separately.

Tampons

Most commercial tampons are made up of cotton grown according to the modern-day standard agricultural processes involving the extensive use of pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals. This cotton is then subjected to a chlorine-bleaching process which produces the dangerous chemical dioxin as a byproduct. Tampons may also contain rayon, a synthetic product made from wood pulp which also contains dioxin. The final tampon products may also have chemical fragrances added to them as a deodorant. This buildup of chemicals in the tampons can readily enter the bloodstream upon application of the tampon through the vaginal walls, which contain some of the most absorbent tissue in the body.

Dioxin

Dioxin is present in all tampons which have undergone a chlorine bleaching process, and unless the tampon is specifically labeled as non-bleached you must assume it has undergone this process. It is also present in rayon, a synthetic fiber which is often found alongside cotton in tampons. Although the levels of dioxin in tampons are quite small (and the tampon companies will readily point this out) they are still dangerous as dioxin accumulates in the fat stores of the body and can add up to very dangerous residual levels over time. When you consider the average number of tampons used by a woman in her lifetime, you can start to imagine that the buildup of dioxin in the body tissue will actually be quite significant. Dioxin is linked with the following effects in the body:

• Endometriosis
• Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
• Breast cancer
• Ovarian cancer
• Estrogen dominant conditions
• Birth defects in offspring
• Immune system damage
• Sarcoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma
• Hormone dysfunction
• Miscarriage
• Impaired fertility
• Lowered concentration ability
• Diabetes
• Impaired thyroid function
Pesticides, Herbicides, Defoliants

The many pesticides, herbicides, and defoliants sprayed on cotton crops, and in particular the group of chemicals called furans, remain in the cotton long after it has been harvested and processed into tampons. They can also easily enter into the bloodstream through the direct contact of the tampon with the vaginal wall. These have been linked with the following effects in the body:

• Birth defects of offspring
• Low birth weight
• Infertility
• Hormonal disruption
• Thyroid malfunction
• Diabetes
• Endometriosis
• Depression

26% of the world’s pesticide is sprayed on cotton. These pesticides have been shown to affect the health of wildlife and humans in a devastating way, and as a result, more and more people are worried about the use of pesticides in farming and choose to buy organic produce wherever possible. Conventionally grown cotton is sprayed with many pesticides that release toxins, including dioxin, into the environment, leaving residuals in the cotton. Cotton is grown around the world, and in many Third World countries, up to 70 per cent of farm workers include children aged five and many teenagers are actively involved in pesticide spraying. In addition to the practice of spraying, 50% of the conventional cotton grown in the world is genetically modified.

Organic cotton avoids the practice of spraying crops with these pesticides, and organic standards do not permit the use of genetically modified cotton.

Fragrances and Deodorants

These substances are added to the tampon product during processing. Although they can also enter the bloodstream in a similar way to the pesticides and dioxin, they can also have an effect locally in the vagina and cause allergies and skin reactions.

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is not caused by the chemicals discussed above, but rather from an overgrowth of staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the vagina which causes a release of toxins and poisonous substances into the bloodstream. These toxins can cause a sudden fall in blood pressure and death. The presence of the tampon in the vagina for prolonged periods of time can encourage the growth of the staphylococcus bacteria, as can the use of synthetic fibers in tampons. The occurrence of these symptoms in conjunction with tampon use may be a sign of toxic shock syndrome:

• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Sunburn-like rash
• Dizziness
• Confusion
• Cold and clammy skin
• Fever

Pads

Sanitary pads are subject to the same considerations above in terms of the chemicals in the cotton used, the bleaching process, and the use of fragrances. Although they are in less contact with the internal vaginal wall they are still in contact with the external mucous membrane and chemicals on them can enter the bloodstream this way. Pads are also often made with a dry-weave plastic cover which can cause irritation and localized allergic reactions.

Safe Alternatives?

The good news is that there are many alternatives available which are better for you and for the environment.

• 100% organic cotton unbleached, chlorine-free tampons and pads- make sure to change tampons often to lower the risk of toxic shock syndrome. An internationally available brand is NatraCare (available from health food stores)

• Reusable vaginal cups- these are easily inserted and held in place by the vaginal muscles and can last up to 12 hours before needing to be changed. If you are allergic to latex make sure that the cup you buy is made of an alternate material such as silicone. Can last up to 10 years.

• Washable cloth pads- these are often held in place on the underwear by Velcro straps and can be washed by hand or in the washing machine

• Sea sponges- these are inserted into the vagina like a tampon would be and changed at roughly the same interval as you would change a pad or tampon. They can be washed by soaking in vinegar, and will last about 4 cycles.

And other about toilet paper—

Author: Michelle Janosi
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Canada duty tariff

Toilet Paper and the Environment

Did you know that with every tissue roll that’s used, we’re signaling the death of yet another tree and in a virgin forest? Yes, plenty of you may not know about this troubling fact but here’s the truth about where our toilet paper comes from.

Softest Toilet Tissue = Swaths of Virgin Forest

Unfortunately, the soft toilet paper you may take for granted is actually manufactured from millions of trees in a virgin forest. Soft toilet tissue is not from just any virgin forest either as the forests of Canada are the main supplier of American toilet paper. Even the fact that these are farmed forests, the lumber of which could be used for more worthwhile causes like building homes, does not mitigate such an act of atrocity against the environment, all for the sake of a tidy bottom.

Here in the United States, there is much emphasis on using the extra-soft, multi-ply quilted toilet tissue. Supposedly, it makes for a better wiping experience, thanks in part to the aggressive marketing promotions of toilet paper manufacturers.

When more people use recycled toilet paper, more virgin forests will be saved. Just think of the environmental benefits it can bring – less soil erosion and less ozone layer destruction, to name just a few.

Now, this is not to disparage the American public. On the contrary, this is to make the American public and the rest of the world know that a lesser quality toilet tissue will do the job just as well. It’s not exactly sandpaper, if you must know and your butt won’t care whether the toilet tissue used is not extra-soft, floral-printed and finely scented either.

Pick Your Recycled Toilet Paper

Now that I made my pitch for recycled toilet tissue, the next step is to educate you about the right kind of recycled tissue paper. The best pick is the unbleached kind because its processes are more eco-friendly. This is because the bleached kind has to go through a de-inking process where chlorine is used to make it whiter. Only then will it be subjected to further processes like pulping. Keep in mind that chorine-based chemicals can produce toxic compounds like dioxins and organochlorines.

Among other health problems, dioxins can lead to decreased immune response, cancer, learning disorders and diabetes. Is wiping your bottom with virgin forest soft tissue worth all these risks? Definitely not. So, again, always opt for toilet paper with labels that say “chlorine-free”, “bleach-free” and “unprocessed”. If your grocery store doesn’t stock these types, then you should definitely ask them to.

You do also have the option of using water to tidy your bottom. It’s cleaner and it’s cheaper, not to mention that fastidious people do it with a bidet.

Do you have an iPhone? Greenpeace created a new iPhone app that helps you find the best recycled toilet tissue. Essentially, the app gives iPhone users a quick and handy guide to finding the greenest toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and paper napkins sold at the supermarket.

Help save ancient forests by downloading the Greenpeace guide to recycled tissue iPhone app at the iTunes store.

~~~Or you could use cloth like we do! Saves money Saves the environment!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Homemade Mouth Wash

Duste swears by this stuff! She has had teeth problems and bad breath and this mouth wash has changed all that. After just a day or so of using this she noticed a huge difference.
Bonus--she no longer had bleeding gums! She was starting to get a sore tooth and that has gone away also!

So, this mouth wash is worth giving a try--If you can get past the salty taste this will do wonders for your mouth!

2 cups Warm Water
1 teaspoons sea salt
10 drops Tea Tree oil
10 drops Peppermint oil
Mix Warm Water with salt--stir to dissolve salt--add oil--stir again--pour into bottle.
Add mint leaves if desired!

Hippie Granola

This is an old Hippie Granola recipe from way back~
Super Yummy and Super Easy!
















2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup peanuts or toasted almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ (I often omit this ingredient, as I tend to forget to buy it)
scant 1/4 cup cooking oil (not olive)
1/2 cup honey

--Add After Baking--

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried fruit (dried apricots, craisins and dried apple are all delicious choices)


Mix the oat, nuts and grains in a large bowl. Measure oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around before pouring into bowl. Then measure out the honey in the same, unwashed cup. The oil will help the honey exit the cup. Toss everything together until evenly coated and then pour out into a baking pan. I use a large roasting pan, as it keeps everything contained. A cookie sheet with a lip also works, but you have to stir it slightly more carefully if you use that.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, turning it with a spatula every ten minutes or so. You want everything to be an even golden brown. When it is finished cooking, returned the baked granola to the mixing bowl, add the raisins and fruit and stir to combine. Stir gently several times as it cooks, so that it doesn't clump together too much. Enjoy

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Documentaries

 Documentaries you should see--a mixture of uplifting, thought provoking and concerning eye openers!


The Dirt on Farmer John / Food, Inc / Fast Food Nation
 King Corn / Go Further / Gender Rebel / Modify
America the Beautiful / The Natural History of the Chicken
Commune / No Impact Man / Capitalism: A Love Story 
Crazy Love / Dear Zachary / The Business of Being Born
51 Birch Street / Capturing the Friedmans / Dark Days
The Bridge / My Kid Could Paint That / Born into Brothels 
Sicko / Jesus Camp / The Beautiful Truth

Do you recommend one that is not on this list? Please leave a comment with the title and I will check it out! Happy watching and learning!

Food, Inc.

Did you catch the TV debut of Food, Inc on PBS last night?
If not, then I would recommend you see it!

It is a lot like the other documentaries I have recommended--an eye opener for what "they" don't want us to know. It also brings to light how out of touch we are with our food. That boneless skinless chicken breast was a living and breathing chicken!! I know it is easier not to know sometimes but that is a childish approach to things. It’s our responsibility to know where our food comes from. We can not trust those pictures on the label. We can not trust that the FDA has our best interest at heart because they don’t. Now everyone is motivated by money. It is amazing how low the food standards can be for the right price. Our Fast Food Companies are running our food supply and that is a terrible thing. They want food fast and cheap and they don’t care about quality. Quantity over Quality is bad, especially when it comes to our food!
Sometimes I feel everyone is asleep but a handful of us. No one can be paying attention or this would not be happening! WAKE UP PEOPLE!! This is what you are feeding your children, family and friends! This is why we have an over weight issue, this is why diabetes has taken over; this is the reason behind many health issues! Our food should not be engineered by scientist but grown by farmers! It is not natural for food to last months or years on our shelves or in our refrigerator—those are chemicals keeping that food from spoiling. Chemicals you are ingesting in your body with out knowing the consequences!

That chicken in your frig right now has been thru so much abuse before getting to your table. It lived in a chicken house with no windows or fresh air with thousands of others. It could barely walk after eating a diet of growth hormones and corn. In the middle of the night people come and throw it in a small cage with several other chickens and that is that. Its life is over after only a month, never seeing the sun or the chance to peck in the grass. Cow and pigs aren’t treated any better. Forced to eat corn and growth hormones and never getting to graze. You don’t realize what is taking place when they are butchered or what exactly is in your meat and that is how they want to keep it. If people demanded to know then maybe all this would change. Ignoring this will not make it go away—educate your self and then let’s do something about it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Change didn't happen over night!

That is right--we did not make all these changes over night. We started, I would say, late 2007 with something easy, Recycling. I set up a recycling sorting area and we recycled paper, plastic, glass and cans. This was it for a few years. Then in 2009 we went to an event in Greensburg, Indiana where we met Jana Bass with Bass Farms. We bought some lotion, hand sanitizer, shampoo, conditioner and body wash. We LOVED it! Like I have said before it made a huge difference in my hair and I thought it was healthy before! Then my little nephew Keaton Michael started to crawl. That is when I wondered what was in these cleaners I was using? So, I did some research and found out how easy it was to make my own. Making this cleaner led to making that cleaner and before I knew it I was making everything! From there I was hooked!

Then in 2010 I decided to eat healthier. At the same time got into more documentaries, which led to how our meat lives before getting to the super market. From there I found Schacht Farms, a local farm that treats their animals right by allowing them to graze and feeds them what they were to suppose to eat. Then we decided to look into cloth diapers, that led to reusable tampons and the family cloth.

So, my point to all this is going "green" is a process. It takes time, research, trial and error. I have learned to never say never because you don't know how "green" you will or can go. When I first ran across Reusable Tampons and Family Cloth I thought no way--but here I am and it isn't that hard or gross. Everything I do is easy, cheap and do able for anyone. I do not mean to come off as preachy and what works for us might not work for you. But every little change helps and it is fun to see how "crunchy" you can be. (not to mention how much money you can save) So, good luck in finding how "green" or "crunchy" you can go~

The beginning---where all my craziness started!

The Frist Blog I posted on my Facebook in March 2010------

Well, one day while doing our budget I wondered what else I could cut back on and decided to research homemade cleaning products. After checking out a few websites I found my favorites and bookmarked them. Reading everything I could I made my own list of which ones I would try. Well, making this homemade product lead to making that homemade product and before I knew it I made everything I could possibly find how to make! The internet is a great thing--how did we ever live with out it! Then I put them to the test--I cleaned my house with every product I made and was shocked to find the things I made cleaned as good if not better than the things I bought at Walmart! And to think all the money I have spent on making my house clean and smell good and it really doesn't cost that much to make myself!

So far we have spent a little over $100 but of course that is start up cost--maintaining cost will be far less.
So our dependence on Walmart is depleting!
We get our shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotions from a wonderful women who makes all natural products--her website is www.bassfarms.com ---Her stuff last longer and works better than anything at walmart!

Next our meat--we discovered a new natural whole food store on Central Ave that sells Organic Grain Feed Beef. Which led me to BrothersBeef--www.brothersbeef.com -- they sell beef that was Grain Feed and allowed to graze the fields like cows were meant to. There are no hormones, steroids or antibiotics used. The meat is healthier and leaner. We have watched lots of documentaries on the cruel and unhealthy treatment of our beef that is being sold in grocery stores around the world and restaurants. Ever noticed the girls are getting younger and younger and their bodies are maturing at a fast pace--could it be the hormones in our beef? I am so glad Columbus, IN has farmers that give a hoot! And if you must eat meat people it is your responsibility to eat Happy Cows!

And guess what else, that leads me to Organic Milk--will this ever stop! Do you know what is really in the milk that you buy at the store because I have no clue! But Walmart does offer Organic Milk so for that I will continue shopping--not to mention their Organic frozen lunch food options the offer!

So, by this summer I would like to have all meat in my house to have come from local organic farmers. I will go to the local farmers market to buy my fresh produce until my own home grown have come in and maybe I will try to can this fall! Have I mentioned we are now beginner Composters? Yes it is true, Talisa and Duste are going back in time! I may have gone off the Hippie Deep end but I think my body will thank me!

The Ranting Continues..........Part 2 (What is behind all the Craziness!!)

Hello again!

I have made two more homemade products--mouthwash and shaving cream! Finally I found a use for the handheld electric mixer! ( I mash taters with a hand masher) I am in love with all the homemade products--it is fast, easy and cheap! CHEAP!

Ok, so you want to know the reasoning behind all this craziness--I am all for eco friendly things. I get it we need to be good to the earth but add that to saving me money and I am all in! I feel I would be more crazy to not want to save the earth and a little money! And I admit I like things that are fast and easy--the reason I do not make my own lotions, body wash and shampoo--so all these things I have made are just that fast and easy!

So, why did I start on this journey you ask, because I want to save money silly! I am all about saving all the money I can because like most of the time I have a plan! If I could spend less money then I could work less which means I will be happier--see it is a win win situation!

I have been working on our budget now for over a year to get things paid off as fast as possible. At first the pays offs came in a few short months now we are working on the larger debts and the payoffs take a little longer. By next month I will have my credit card debt paid off, then on to the heating and air debt. (we had to buy a new furnace and central air in 2009) That will be paid off in Oct. That is when we start on my student loan. We should have that paid off June-ish 2011. At this point most of my income will be extra every month!

I have battled with the electric and gas company to get my monthly charges down. We have insulated the basement beyond belief and had a wood stove installed. I think my record low on my gas bill has been $12 for the month of December/January! I have unplugged and installed energy efficient everything. We rarely use the air because our windows are lined up just right to get a good breeze through the house and we have ceiling fans in every room!

In the near future Duste wants to have geothermal and Solar Panels installed! That way all our electric will be paid for and the electric company will owe us! It is a great investment and thanks for tax credits you get over half of it back on your taxes! Another Win Win Situation!

See, I have a plan and a goal! My happiness is more important than money and I am so thankful Duste supports me in my craziness!

Happy Meat!!

Do you know how/where your meat lived?

We do because we buy our meat from Schacht Farms. www.schachtfarm.com
Our beef, pork and chicken are raised healthy and happy eating what they are meant to and grazing on the land. Good meat that is Good for us!

It is everyone’s responsibility if you must eat meat—eating our animal friends is wrong—the least you can do is eat the ones that had a healthy and happy life!


Chickens
Chickens are allowed the freedom to walk around and peck at bugs and plants all they wish. They are not confined to cages with 6 other chickens, no room to walk or spread their wings and cages stacked on top and under them. This is exactly the condition of most store bought meat and egg laying chickens. The chickens on Schacht Farm are fed local grown grain and organic kelp. No hormones for these chickens!

Pigs
As is the case with all their animals, the pigs are in an environment that most allows them to display their species specific habits, which in the case of pigs means grazing, rooting and wallowing. The pigs graze over
pastures, taking in large amounts of grass and legumes. They also get a daily treat of whatever is in season including pumpkins, hickory nuts, walnuts, seconds from the garden, wind fallen apples and so on. Locally grown grain and organic supplements are also provided for the pigs.

Cows
Cows are give access to many pastures. Because of this they thrive without the use of chemicals of any kind. They are fattened on pasture by grazing, not in a feedlot being fed grain. Most beef you buy in all stores are from cows crammed in a small space, unable to walk, with no access to grass. Instead they are offered grain feed 24 hours a day. This insures they will get big and fat faster and turn over for these companies are quicker. But because these cows are only fed grain and not allowed to graze they are sick, which is where the chemicals come in. They are also fed growth hormones to make them bigger, which mean more meat and more money. If they are not butchered as quickly as they are they will get sick and die. Their muscles break down making standing impossible and their organs begin to fail. All of this because America wants their beef fast and cheap. There are no studies showing the lasting effects on our bodies from eating this meat with all of these chemicals and hormones.

I recommend watching the documentaries: The Natural History of the Chicken, Fast Food Nation and King Corn.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Did You Know?

Do you know where your Milk comes from?
At 15 months old, a female calf is a cow. Cows reach maturity in about 12 months. That’s important to the dairy industry. To make sure a cow makes milk, it is kept pregnant its whole adult life. We would like to think of a dairy cow peacefully munching grass in a meadow. But that is not how most dairy cows are raised. Most cows have a number, not a name. Almost all dairy cows are raised in factories where they’re fed a surplus of corn and soy—not the grass that is a cow’s natural food. A cow is built to digest grasses, with a stomach divided into four parts, which we call being a ruminant. Eating corn and soy and being crowded in a factory makes for problems for a cow. Factory cows get more diseases, so they are medicated constantly. Their food includes drugs like antibiotics and hormones. They also get gas, which can hurt their 4-part stomachs. Factory cows live from 3-4 years before they die. Cows that eat grasses in meadows live and produce milk for up to 20 years. They’re ones farmers name and don’t number.

Cows that are in a factory like setting are so over milked their utters get sore and infected. That is why when you buy milk from these companies, which is mostly what you find at convenient stores and Walmart, it has pus and blood in it. Ewww!

I currently drink Horizon Organic Milk but I am looking into buying from a local dairy farm because I have trust issues with people and places I can not see. It is a fact most companies slap on the Organic label just so they can charge us more money—and I don’t like to spend money. So, if I am going to spend more for something then I better have proof it is the real thing. I will keep you posted on my finding!
I recommend everyone watch Go Further!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Reusable Toilet Paper and Reusable Tampons and Pads--Because I do not like to throw my money away or flush it down the potty!

Yes, I did just go there! Ok, Ok, I know the Family Cloth can be a little far from some people's reach. We thought the same thing. Then, like most things on this journey,  before we knew it we were all for giving it a try. For those of you who are new to reusable TP it really isn't one cloth that the whole family shares--at lest not in our household. We bought some cloth especially made for this use--perfect size and things--from http://www.moocowmomma.etsy.com/ Barb is great and her products help to make the transition to a greener life easy! We have started with around 50 pieces varying in sizes and absorbencies and a wet bag trash can liner. The plan is to no longer use Toilet Paper, although we will still have it for our visitors, instead we have cloth pieces next to the toilet and a special trash can for our used pieces. On wash day or when we get low on cloth I am going to empty the wet bag in the washer, throw the wet bag in as well and wash! Since I do not like to use my drier I will hang these out to dry as well! We have used these for a few days now and it isn't as big of a step as I thought.

Now on to Reusable Tampons and Pads. I did my research as usual and came up with a few options, two of which Duste and I decided to try. Duste is using the Diva Cup--a reusable cup that collects the menstral flow that you empty and reuse. She has used it for two cycles and loves it. You only have to empty it every 12 hours and she said it is super easy to inset and remove. I (Talisa) decided to use reusable tampons and panty liners. So back to http://www.moocowmomma.etsy.com/  I went! She offers tampons in all absorbancies. I bought 10, five in two sizes, to start off with. After talking about it sounds like I need double that but this will do for now. I am excited to give these a try but sadly I will have to wait till next month. The plan is to never buy tampons and panty liners again. I am going to use my reusables and when I need to change at work I have a small wet bag and piece of cloth. When I am at home I have a wet bucket--also used for cloth diapers--that sits next to the toilet. I will drop the used ones in there and empty the water a few times a day till I need to wash and reuse. We bought an old mino bucket from http://www.dalescuriosityshop.com/ (local) put some water in the bucket and can lift up the middle part to access the tampons. Also, when we change the water we don't have to worry about tampons going everywhere! The perfect solution thought up by Duste!
I love saving money! And can you think of a bigger waste of money than Toilet Paper and Tampons--something you can use only once, sometimes with barely anything on it and your just throwing it a way? Nope, that will not work for me! Not to mention all the terrible things they are doing to our environment to create that Toilet Paper and ask yourself what is in those tampons you are putting inside yourself--trust me if you knew you would run away screaming! Plus, for our dear old house having no toilet paper in the septic tank is best. After all we are not sure where the access is or when the last time it was emptied!