Monday, December 20, 2010

Silver, Shimmery, Razzle Dazzle Doo!

I've been so busy lately! We've been getting ready for x-mas and I've got my craft cap on. This is the first year we are having x-mas in our home and we are excited! As a result I have dove into various crafting projects. I've been re-upholstering my dining room chairs, which is coming along but I think it's going to take me quite a lot of time to get through all six. The first one is almost done though, I'm just waiting for the piping to go around the rim! I know I'll get faster as I go.

My latest endeavor was to make a mantle-piece. Out in the garden, waiting for the dogs to pee one afternoon I noticed our cork-skrew plant had bought the dust. Looking at it's beautiful (dead) branches, I decided to immortalize it. So I clipped them off, spray painted, put a layer of spray glue on and then razzle dazzled it with glitter and fairy dust.

Next I had fun spray painting some smooth pebbles during the full moon and watching the light reflect off their shiny surfaces. I'm not a big fan of spray paint (it stinks and can't be good for the environment), but it did the job this time around. I'm open to alternatives if any of you have ideas.

My next tasks were to get some floral foam and stick it in a large terrcotta pot (that I had also spray painted silver), place the branches, add the stones, decorate with strobe balls, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Sunday, November 28, 2010

I love my bread machine!

Just throw the ingredients inside!

Wait a few hours! . . . .
and, . . . .


Home baked, whole wheat flax bread!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quick update, . . . projects are on the way!

I've been feeling very crafty these days. I have been taking on a lot of projects all of which are long and I am in the process of completing. A few things you can look forward to reading about in the upcoming months are, . . .

-Making pure organic lavender oil, I'm finally getting around to straining my lavender oil which has been sitting on my shelves for over a year.

-Re-upholstering: A new and exciting love in my life! My aunt is teaching me how to do my dining room chairs properly. I attempted to do one of them on my own last summer and it didn't last long (particularly in our house with a baby, two dogs and three cats). I am in the process of ripping out the old fabric, old staples and nails and picking new fabric, something I love doing! Here are some possible fabric choices, . . .

-Felt letter idea for the munchkin! I'm making a "blackboard" out of felt and velcro, it may take me a while, I'm only on an uppercase "M" and of course we need to do lowercase as well. Then comes the "blackboard" making.

So, . . . I've got my hands full. With the holidays coming up, things are even more busy. I'm also taking a yoga intensive course in the beginning of December, another deepening into my practice which I still claim has saved my life and my body. Yoga = amazing stuff. On top of it all, I'm missing my mom more than ever, they say all the "firsts" (first christmas, first birthday, . . .) are the hardest. So far it's definitely true, there is nothing easy about the process of grief. That said, I'm incredibly grateful for all I have, have had, and can do in my life. What a lucky chick I am! Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Love and Light

I've had some stuff brewing in my head lately. I thought it would be nice just to get it all out, plus you might get to know me a little better, . . .

In the last couple of years I've learned more about myself than I have in a decade of living. It's funny how things happen in your life that "wake you up". From becoming a mom and experiencing the love and bonds a parent has for a child, to losing my own mom and dealing with feelings of loss and even abandonment; there is no doubt I am processing a lot and taking on life in it's rawest form. Never mind all of he logistics I've had to learn, and fast, as a repercussion of these two events.

A few days ago I got all cozy on the couch and decided to watch Avatar for the first time. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Not only is it beautifully done but the message it sends is something that really resonates with my own heart. As I grow older and I come to experience life in it's different stages (i.e. happiness, sadness, pain, . . . ) I have begun to realize how connected I am to this earth, that in fact I am a part of the earth, that I, along with all the trees, the animals, the bugs, am one of mother earths creatures. As I live my life, practice my yoga, cook food, chase after Serafin, walk amongst the trees, give birth to creativity, I have finally begun to really feel mother earth and how alive she is beneath my feet.

In Avatar there is one scene in particular that stands out to me (if you haven't seen it you may not want to read on). In the final scene, Jake Sulley (the main character) lies under the Tree of Souls, surrounded by the indigenous people of Pandora who are chanting and praying for him to leave his human body and enter his avatar (see the picture above). You begin to see the earth latching on to him. In order for his soul to change bodies, it must leave his human body, travel through the earth to Eywa (the mother goddess) and then travel back to his new body if it is meant to be. I know it's only a movie, but it really drew home the fact that we are all just energy. That we are born, we live, we move, we feed our bodies, we rest, and then one day our energy leaves our body and goes somewhere else. Energy moves, energy can't die, it can only be released. To me, that is such a beautiful concept, true re-incarnation. The energy within us is not even "our" energy! It is only borrowed for a short period of time, a lifetime, and then given back to the greater cosmos where it then moves somewhere else.

When I lost my mother this last April, despite the fact that she is not here with me in her human form, I feel her in a different way. She lives on inside me. She lives on in my heart, in my memories. I see her in the flowers when I walk or in the sky during a beautiful sunset. Her energy is everywhere to me.

In a lot of ways dealing with the experience of loss and really feeling what I need to feel in my life has shown me how beautiful life really is. As the saying goes, "what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger." I miss my mom, and at the same time, I am incredibly grateful for the experience she is giving me now. Since she passed, I have become more rooted in myself. I have less fear of dying. I feel stronger. I feel! I have begun to really look at my life and make decisions about what is important and what is not. What is serving me and what is holding me back. Really, it has been an amazing experience. At times I feel pain and it can be difficult, but then there are other times when I feel very full of love and open to this world.

I am blessed to be alive. I am blessed to have every second of this life in this beautiful body that is serving me well. Thank you body. I am blessed to have all of you in my life. You are my teachers. I learn something new all the time. I am simply blessed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Favorite Soup!

Fall has kicked into gear and since it was drizzling outside today I thought I would make some chicken soup. As I was cooking I was reminded that on more than several occasions I have been asked for this recipe. So, par my sister in-law's idea (thank you Laura), I decided to finally blog it, that way you can all enjoy this hearty soup.

Let me start by saying, I LOVE this soup. This is actually one of my favorites. It's healthy, it's super yummy, it very filling and it's easy to make. Despite the fact that it seems like there are a lot of components to this dish, it's really more of a mesh of whatever you happen to have in the fridge. That's why it's so great, you get to use the veggies that need to get used.

This recipe cooks a huge pot of soup, probably about 8 servings.

The ingredients (subject to change depending on what you have in your fridge!):

-3 bone in skin on chicken breasts
-Olive Oil
-1 package of Turkey bacon (or regular bacon if you prefer)
-4 Chicken apple sausages (or whatever sausages you enjoy)
-1 onion
-2 boxes of chicken broth
-Large can of tomatoes
-1 cup of any grain (I like to use pearled barley), sometimes I use rice or oats
-A leafy green veggie: I love using dinosaur kale, I love how it cuts down and I feel like I'm filling myself up with vitamins and minerals. One thing I learned from one of the various cooking show I watch is that if you use a knife to cut kale the leaves a metallic taste on the kale itself, it's best to pull it off the stalk and the rip it into bits. Isn't it beautiful?

-Other veggies! Seriously, whatever you have in your fridge will work. If you experiment you'll figure out which combos you like the best. One of my favorites is to use different squash and carrots, sometime I add potatoes, even cauliflower. It's literally kind of a, "hmm, let's see what needs to get used and what might be tasty in a soup" kind of thing.

Getting started:

First you've got to cook the chicken, I like to cook the chicken separately, it's so tasty this way and it means the chicken won't overcook.

-Put chicken on a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil, rub with salt.
-Stick it in the oven at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
-Take it out and let it sit to cool down.

-Get everything that's going to go into the soup ready, . . . Chop up sausage, bacon, onion and any other veggies, rip up kale, rinse grains, open can of tomatoes.

In a large pot:
-Heat a couple of Tbs. of olive oil
-Add sausage and bacon, cook till browned
-Add onions and carrots (or other hard veggies), cook till softened
-Add soft veggies (not including leafy green)
-Add chicken stalk, about 8 cups, plus a cup or two of water
-Add grain
-Bring to a boil and the let simmer for 30 minutes
-Meanwhile, take skins off chicken (give to dog or cat) and pull chicken breast apart into small bite size pieces
-Check soup to see if grains are fully cooked, if they are, . . .
-Add leafy green, tomatoes and chicken
-Cover and let simmer another 8 minutes (till greens cook down a little)
-And Voila! Bon Appetite!

The munchkin loves this soup too! I blend it for her and she gobbles it up.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Canning Extravaganza!

So every year I usually get tons of produce from my parents garden up in the wine country. We get everything from peaches, nectarines, strawberries, tomatoes, squash, cucumber and sooooo much more. I usually end up with boxes of stuff and if I don't get rid of it quickly, it will end up going bad in a matter of days. In order to make the most out of this yummy fresh produce, about five years ago my mom taught me how to can. It's so satisfying to open a jar of tomatoes in the middle of winter knowing that it was picked and processed by my own two little hands.

Since little Serafin has been born, it has been difficult for me to
find the time to can, but when one of my best friends took a canning class, it in
spired me to pull out my canner and get back to work! Plus it was a perfect blogging topic! Since I was a bit rusty, she and I decided to do it together, and thank goodness, because I learned that some of my ways were not so, um, well, shall we say, . . .
fit to protocol. Although to this date I still haven't contracted Salmonella poisoning (knock on wood), I do recommend getting a good book and being sure you know what you are doing (even if grandma insists that it's kosher). There are some essential steps needed in order to ensure yummy healthy food.

I'm not gonna give you a blow-by-blow of our evening, that would take forever, canning is a long process, but here's the outline of our evening!

The goods, . . . since the tomatoes were still green in the garden, I decided to get some from the farmer's market, they looked so nice and juicy, I couldn't resist.

Here's a picture of all our gear. Between the two of us we had three canners and about 30 jars.

Since I only have one of those halogen stove tops, we decided to do it at her place, she has a five burner gas stove, I highly recommend it, canners are big!

While jars sterilized, we blanched tomatoes, removed their skins, and cut them to get them ready for the jars. Four boxes of tomatoes is a lot. More than a lot. In fact, I WAY overestimated on the amount of tomatoes we would need. I kept looking over to see how much we had finished and the tomatoes just kept coming. We didn't even get to the last box. We did, however, have the perfect amount of jars for three boxes of tomatoes. We packed them in with lemon juice, the acid keeps bacteria from growing and preserves them for longer.
Wipe the rims, add the tops and you are ready to put them in the canner!

Canning away!

And the results, . . .

Dinner the following evening, . . . stuffed tomatoes and peppers, who would have thought?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Blog Is Carbon Neutral, . . . Yours Can Be Too!

How cool is this? Click on the "my blog is carbon neutral button" in the column to the right and follow the steps to offset your blogs carbon footprint! I got this from a fellow blogger's website and I thought it was a wonderful way to spread the green. I've done it, . . . now it's your turn!

What a fabulous way of getting rid of some of those carbon eating points. Plant a tree! Just think, if we all planted a tree the world would be so much more lush, have better air quality, there would be more habitats for the animals, more trees to hug! In fact, don't just plant one! Plant two! Or three!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Change Starts With Your Underwear!"

Isn't that exciting?? Who would have thought?

In our house we eat probably 95% organically, use organic products for our body and use all natural house cleaners. Living organically is a big commitment. It feels good knowing that I spend my money where I believe I am not only making a difference to the health of my family, but to the health of our planet.

Since I don't really foresee myself buying and wearing ALL organic clothing, a very expensive feat, why not wear organic clothes where it counts. Where does it count you ask?? It counts where my clothes are closest to my skin and where they rest near my sacred reproductive organs. Yes, that's right! I am promoting the use of organic underwear!

A few weeks ago, I was in Nordstrom (cringe) trying to find something to purchase using a gift certificate I got last December. I went and asked a sales clerk about organic underwear. Her eyes looked to one corner, her mouth scrunched to one side, "hmmm, I don't think we have a huge selection." I followed her and she led me to a rack of hideous looking granny underpants. Since I'm not 70 yet, I decided to forgo the granny underwear and continue my shopping. I continued to peruse the racks where I did find another style of organic underwear, only these were of the type that give you the "forever wedgie", yes, the thong--again, not really my thing. I wanted normal, comfortable, cute looking organic underwear.

I got home and started to look on the internet. After a little while I came across a San Francisco based company called PACT. Needless to say, I was very excited. Here is a picture of my purchase!

Aside from having cute organic underwear, 10% of the money from your purchase goes to one of the various causes that they support. They support a broad range of organizations, to name a few;

ForestEthics-helping to protect and preserve our precious forests and wildlife

Global Green USA-promoting and encouraging the global shift to sustainability for our future and the future of our kids
826 National-an organization that encourages and mentors young writers

This was it! Excitedly, I made my order. When the underwear arrived, a few days later, it was packaged in a compostable shipping bag (as seen below) and each pair of undie had it's own little cloth bag which can be re-used to hold other precious goodies.

I inspected my new garments carefully and noticed another cool factor, printed on the inside lining of the underwear was the organization that you had supported, in my case, "Oceana"--an organization committed to protecting our beautiful oceans. It couldn't have been more fitting (no pun intended) considering the gushing wound that continues to spew forth oil in the gulf.

So people, it is possible to find cute organic underwear! PACT also does undies for men! My next mission now is to get my hubby into a pair! To visit PACT, go to

As a final note, I am reminded of a quote from Eva Longoria, . . .

"It's shapely and has served me well [on her butt]"

Monday, July 12, 2010

For Her Eyes Only, . . .

Sorry guys, but do you really want to hear about periods and menstrual pads? If so, kudos to you, but don't say I didn't warn you!

Aren't these beautiful (I've posted a link below)?? I've talked about cloth diapering and how important I think it is to use re-usable materials on my darling daughter, so why would it be any different when it comes to me and my yoni? Well guess what, . . . it's not! During my moon cycle, I wear only organic cloth pads. Although wearing cloth pads is a little more "work" compared to wearing, say, a tampon, I can think of quite a few reasons why cloth pads are better.

1. Cloth pads are obviously better for the planet! They are made out of natural materials so when they eventually do get tossed, they won't be sitting in our landfills for hundreds of years. Can you imagine 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons being thrown into the landfills each year (a rough estimate according to Yuck! Cloth pads also only have to travel from the manufacturer to your house once, instead of once a month for 30 years.

2. Cloth pads are better for your yoni! Why put synthetic, bleached fibers near your yoni when you can use organic natural fibers? Even though you can find chlorine free, unbleached pads, they still have some petroleum based product in them. They need to in order to be water resistant. Wool is a natural water repellent which lined on some of my cloth pads. Not only are they soft, but doubled up with the right kind of liner, I rarely have leaks!

3. They are cheaper! You don't need to buy cloth pads very often. I bought my first set of cloth pads about 4 years ago and they are still in good condition, mind you, I take very good care of them and have my cleaning system down pat.

4. They are WAY more comfortable. No more sticky tape pulling on those yoni hairs! Isn't that the worst? Cloth pads snap around your underwear with a button. They are soooooo much more comfortable. Wouldn't you rather have soft cotton or wool next to your sensitive skin rather than a crinkly, bulky disposable pad?

5. They are pretty and more fun! Why stick with boring old white when you can have bright colors and pretty prints (i.e. the cloth pads above)? When my daughter grows up we will celebrate her moon cycle by letting her choose her own set of pretty moon cycle pads.

6. They are easy to clean. Despite the myth, cloth pads are simple to care for. There are a couple of ways you can do it. Personally, I believe the easiest way is to do a wet soak. When you are finished with you pad, soak it in water. When you are ready to do a load of laundry, drain the water and throw them in with whatever you are washing. I soak mine in a watering can so that I can drain the water onto my house-plants which LOVE moon water (not for everybody, I know). You can also rinse them out with soap and water immediately after use and hang to dry.

7. I feel more connected to my body. I can actually track my blood flow now. When I used to just put a tampon in, I couldn't even really tell whether I had a light, medium or heavy flow. It was almost like I used a tampon so I wouldn't be inconvenienced by a completely natural and beautiful cycle my body goes through. So cloth pads may inhibit me from going to the local swimming pool or do some heavy duty exercise, but to be honest, I like to use this time for a little R & R considering it is a time when my body is losing blood and expelling toxins.

8. I feel more connected to the earth. Our menstrual cycles are supposed to be aligned with the lunar calendar, hence the term "moon cycle". Our world today is functioning at a very high frequency and a lot of our conscious connection with the earth gets misplaced by our love for TV, computers, cars, work, . . . the buzz of our lives. Being more connected with my body and flow has in turn allowed me to have more of a connection with mother nature, after all, our cycles ebb and flow just as the tides do.

9. My overall yoni health is so much better! I used to have chronic yeast infections. I even had grade III cervical dysplasia. I do the best to care for myself and keep my health strong. Wearing organic cloth pads is one way I can help. Knock on wood, so far so good. I haven't had a yeast infection in years and my cervical dysplasia has not been a problem since.

10. They are fun to collect! I don't know why, bug I enjoy trying a few different types out and seeing which ones work best for me. It's like trying on a bra, or new underwear. If you're going to do it, why not experiment and have a little fun with it?

So there you have it! 10 good reasons to try out cloth pads. I love mine and will never go back to the "old ways". I'm a better person because of my cloth pads! If you want, click on the link below to see some fun pads to start out your collection.

For the gorgeous pads pictured above (who knew pads could be gorgeous?), try out this etsy shop, they are also very well made and shipping is fast:

These ones are also a favorite of mine, very soft hemp/cotton fleece with an outer layer of wool:

Have fun celebrating your moon cycle!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What's going on??

So people, . . . it has been a long long LONG month and a half. Time moves very differently when you are faced with intense emotional "stuff". I have been feeling a few articles brewing in my head, especially since the BP oil spill (my god, don't get me started just yet!). I can tell I'm finding some sort of equilibrium amidst the hardship of dealing with the loss of my sweet mom. I just wanted to give an update.

For all those that are wondering, I am doing ok. It's amazing the amount of support and love that has been pouring out from friends and family. Thank you all. Losing my mom has definitely been one, if not THE, hardest thing I've had to face. I am just in the beginning of comprehending what life will be like without her. The shock has worn off. She is not here. I have moments where I just want to sit down and bawl. Then other moments where I relish in the beauty of life's cycles. I recognize that in my moments of pain, that this too shall pass, and that there is also beauty in feeling and accepting that pain. Life is beautiful. It's amazing how I really do feel my mom's essence all around me.

Serafin has been a little speed demon! In a good way of course. She is crawling all over the place, climbing steps, figuring out how to charm us all, as well as yell and scream to get what she wants. It has been a completely new phase and needless to say, I am EXHAUSTED! In fact, I don't think I have EVER been this tired. But we are getting through it one day at a time and when my little munchkin looks at me and smiles my heart warms and I forget how tired I am.

Once this month is over there will be less on my mind and also a little less to do--after my mom's memorial on May 30th. We are expecting somewhere between 150 and 200 people at the party. We don't really know actually. My mom had a lot of people that loved her. I am looking forward to seeing people that I haven't seen in ages. The food is all planned out. We are going to have some good wine and just have a lovely day. On a side note, of course I bought all biodegradable plates, cups and utensils! Gotta keep with the green! I also ordered 150 lavender saches to give away as a little gift in memory of her. She would have loved that.

Three weeks after my mom's memorial is Serafin's first birthday. It makes me feel so alive to really celebrate birth and death so close to each other. In fact, this lesson has showed me that birth and death, should, in fact, be celebrated every day! To truly live, we must be in the moment!

On the home front, despite the fact that this has been an exhausting time, we have been quite productive. Weeded the entire garden. Planted some Echinacea, sage, purple and orange plants. Cleaned out our hot tub. Got a new tattoo (in honor of my ma)! Cooked, cleaned, laundry, bla bla bla. One of these days I will get to writing a bit more, when I'm ready.

Love you all and that's all for now!

I picked the picture above because I really loved being surrounded by all those flowers, they were in my mom's garden in Napa. I felt I wanted to share the love with you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In Memory of my Loving Mother


Rest in Peace my sweet mother, you are forever in my heart.
You taught me so much and now I take with me all the wisdom and strength you gave me.
You were the head of my woman clan!
The stronghold of the triple Goddess!
Our sweet Serafin will know you through me, I promise that.

Thank you for your strength and courage.
Thank you for holding my hand.
Thank you for taking care of me when I was sick.
Thank you for taking care of me when I was not sick!
Thank you for being here.
Thank you for your love and kindness.
Thank you for understanding!

I will miss the calls.
I will miss the hugs.
I will miss the dinners.

The shared looks of understanding.
The laughs.
The stupid baby voices.
The beeps, the snarls, the funny faces.

Now, I speak out loud to you, . . .
or I write to you in my journal, . . .
I pull a medicine card, . . .
or I talk to the pendulum and ask you questions, . . .

I know you are still here.

You are all around me, . . .
inside and out.
You are not here, . . .
but you are everywhere!

My beautiful mother!

Thank you for giving me this precious life!
Thank you for teaching me the most valuable lesson, . . .
to LIVE!
You will always be in my heart.
Love and light.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Craigslist = BFF

Want to get rid of a door? Or maybe some old pillow stuffing? How about a kitchenaid mixer that's been around since the 40s? I may be exaggerating just a bit with the above title, but I do think Craigslist can be handy. In the past year I have made close to $700 just trying to get rid of stuff that's been sitting around our house for ages. Not bad eh? I've posted everything from books, to cloth diapers, to much larger items such as a stroller and the kitchenaid mixer mentioned above. It's amazing what people will take. While I'm mentioning craigslist, I may as well plug my latest item "for sale", . . . does anybody want this stinky baby butt? It poops and smells a whole lot!

Just kidding Serafin, Mommy loves you no matter how much aroma comes from that big old diaper butt of yours!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Bye bye VHS tapes, I hope you become something new and exciting!"

Ok, so I'm really starting to see the difference between certain recycling facilities. In an attempt to get rid of two boxes of old VHS tapes I made a bunch of calls and was referred to this place by Waste Management. This facility, which shall remain nameless, was in East Oakland, and although they seemed to be doing their job, I wasn't very impressed-- I should have taken the hint when their web-link popped up a warning for Malware on my computer.

That morning, I was all excited to learn about a new place. I packed the car full with the VHS tapes and some other items that hadn't made it out of the house during the first round of E-cycling. First of all, to put a damper on the experience, I got totally lost going down there, and for all of you Bay Area natives, you know East Oakland isn't the best place to get lost in. I ended up parking the car at International and 92nd and calling the hubby to map it out for me and give me directions. Finally, after 45 minutes of driving around, I made it, but admittedly, was kind of cranky at that point, nothing to do with them, but more due to the fact that my butt was sore from all that driving.

Anyway, back to the story, this was another lot, but 10 times bigger than the last, and for good reason, they recycle so much more; plastics, cardboard, metals, . . . I found myself wondering if maybe this is where my recycled goods went to when they get thrown in the bin at our house. There was a huge fork driving around the lot, lifting pallets around, I'm sure there was a method to the madness, but it all looked like a big mess to me, which made me kind of uncomfortable at the thought of leaving my stuff there. There did appear to be some organization of cardboard and plastics, however most of it appeared to look like one huge junk yard, almost like a landfill, everything mixed in with eachother! Do they really go through and organize all that stuff? Unfortunately, although I brought my camera, it was a bit drizzly out and the guy that I spoke to didn't speak very good English, so I felt kind of awkward making too much conversation with him, plus, I had Serafin in the car and didn't want to subject her to the rain by wandering around and taking photos.

After a brief interaction with him, however, I did learn that the "goods" do get organized and then get shipped over-seas, probably to somewhere in Asia, an assumption I am making considering the company has Chinese characters all over there website, again, that's just an assumption. So that was about all I managed to get out of the guy. He did help me unload the car which was nice because one of the boxes must have weighed about 50 pounds. Although I gave them the VHS tapes, I kept the other stuff. I will be going back to the ACCRC for that, I would prefer to do my best to keep my trash in California.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

E-Cyling Bonanza!

So Gary and I have been trying to de-clutter our house (a long and slow process!). We finally managed to gather our e-waste together for our first trip to the Alameda County Computer Resource Center (ACCRC). Wooo whoo! The ACCRC is an organization that recycles most e-waste, if it can be plugged in, then there is a good chance that they will take it. Their fees are minimal, and they pride themselves on recycling all of the material locally. If they can't fix it, they take it apart and send bits and pieces to local refineries or recycling centers. They even take care to recycle any precious metals such as copper, which is sent to a copper smelter. So cool!

It's so exciting when you find a place that will take your "junk" and not just throw it in the landfill, but instead, find a way to re-use it! I had been looking for a place that recycled more than just computers and TVs, we had stuff like speakers, phones, wires, a fax machine, and computer printer. There is still more, but this was a start! It's amazing how much stuff you accumulate over the years.

When I got there, there were two men sitting in a cluttered shipping crate, which seemed to be a make-shift office. They appeared to be hard at work, when one man got up and came to help me unload.

As he took things out of my car he began to put sort them into piles.

Items are then further sorted and placed on pallets to be taken elsewhere. Check out all the TVs and Printers waiting to go, . . . and NOT to be dumped in our landfills!

So for all of that, I payed a total of $11, that's really not a lot, and I really hope people see the worth in this type of thing. In my research, I did not find one place that recycled for free, which is unfortunate, because I'm sure this would be a deterrent for some--"Why spend spend time and money to take my trash somewhere when I can just throw it in my garbage for free?" To all those that feel that way, and probably none of you are reading my blog, it IS worth the time and money! We need to do what we can to help sustain our world instead of deplete it! Do it for your grandchildren! Ok, sorry, rant over!

To learn more about the ACCRC check out their website at

Peace, . .

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Footprint Experiment; Part I

I AM a lover of the earth, but am I REALLY? Do I live in a way that would sustain our planet and it's population? Lately I've been really interested in learning what my impact is this planet and how I can contribute to the overall health of our world. The first step in the process is to become aware of how much damage I personally am doing.

After doing some digging, I found a few carbon footprint calculator's that I liked, and yes, I tried MANY . . .

The Global Footprint Network has a fun little cartoon that creates a virtual story as you answer the questions. They also emphasize the importance of buying local and sustainable foods, which has a huge impact on one's carbon footprinting, and an aspect which not many calculators go into detail over. In the end, when they show you your results, they don't just give you a number, they put it in perspective. You can imagine my surprise when I read that "if everyone lived like you (me), we'd need 3.8 Planet Earths to provide enough resources"! To support my current lifestyle it would take 16.7 global acres of the Earth's land, . . .what's scary is that we thought that we were pretty good about being sustainable! We have a lot of work to do! We aren't major meat eating jet-setters, but there are things around our house that are huge energy eaters and things that we can re-evaluate.

Has a neat little calculator as well, this one breaks down your footprint very clearly into transportation, housing, and shopping. It also compares your results with the average of others in the same economical status, an interesting little comparison. However my results were still alarmingly high, with a carbon footprint of 60 metric tons of CO2/year, equal to others in my income bracket, and much higher than the world average which they calculate as 10! Holy cow!

Last, the Nature Conservatory, has a simple calculator that also compares your results to a national average and a world average. The quiz is more detailed than others and even asks questions about steps that you taken to conserve which I liked because I felt that it took some of the considerations we've already made towards a greener living into count. As you answer the questions, you can actually see the calculator subtracting C02 figures. With this calculator our results ended up being 41 tons of C02 against a national average of 80 and a world average of 17. Slightly better, but still alarmingly high.

This little experiment has really opened my eyes. Gary and I are conscious about our impact, but apparently not enough. We both want to do what we can to contribute to a sustainable future for us, our daughter, her children and so on and so forth. For now, we have decided to try and make the following changes and see how this will change our carbon footprint, . . .

1. Get our hot tub better insulated. A biggy! Twehe reason we got solar panels is because our hot tub uses tons of electricity, however, our bills are still higher than we want them. We got the solar panels hoping we would balance it at 0 and we are a far cry from that.

2. Change ALL of our light bulbs--we've changed many, but now we will change them all.

3. By locally--period! This will be the hard one. We've given ourselves each one luxery item, for Gary, it'll have to be Marmite, his staple from home, for me, I'm not quite sure yet. We by most produce from local farmers, but now we want to extend that to all corners of our pantry.

So that's what we are starting with. Admittedly, the task of eating only local goods is a bit daunting to me. I was at the grocery store today and when I went to reach for the bag of bagels I thought to myself, "well shit! I don't know where the flour comes from or anything else in that bagel for that matter!" Next I looked at the organic chicken I usually buy and found out it had been shipped from Colorado! So I guess this is where the research begins! Let's see what happens!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lanolizing wool covers

So in my cloth diapering adventures I got attracted to the wonders of wool. I had been told that a wool diaper cover, when prepped right, is a leak free solution during the day and even at night. Finally after learning how to lanolize my covers correctly, my little babe can sleep through the night in her cloth diaper and wool cover and be completely dry in the morning. It took me a while to figure out how to lanolize though, I actually ruined three diaper covers before I figured out the right combo--not a cheap mistake. I figured I would spread the love and for those of you that are interested in trying it out, you can follow my little tutorial here, . . . .

Here's what you will need:

Wool wash--I use Eucaline
Lanoline: you can use Lansinoh (the same stuff you put on your sore boobs) or any liquid lanoline
Jar with a top
kitchen towel
Big towel
Boiling water
Large pot full of tepid water

1. Put the kettle on to boil
2. Fill a large pot with tepid water
3. First combine a teaspoon of wool wash in with an inch of Lanoline (if using liquid lanoline, use 3/4 teaspoon)

4. Poor boiling water into jar, fill jar up just a little, like an inch above the bottom
5. Put top on, HOLD JAR WITH KITCHEN TOWEL (or else you will burn your hands) and shake to mix wash and lanoline

6. Add mixture to the pot with tepid water

7. Immerse your covers in the water, pulling them inside out and GENTLY massaging them with water. Treat wool like you would your hair, wool is very sensitive and can shrink if it's tampered with too much.

8. Let covers sit for 15 minutes
9. Take covers out and put in the center of a thick towel

10. Roll the towel up and gently squeeze water out of the covers DO NOT ring water out of or directly squeeze wool covers

11. Take wool covers and dry flat or hang dry--many people advise not to hang dry because wool can change shape and become deformed, I have not had a problem with this as the covers I have chosen are pretty sturdy. The covers also dry faster when they hang up.

12. Be sure to pull covers inside out every 4-5 hours to make drying process speed up.

13. Put diaper on baby tush and pull on cover--now your baby is ready for bed!

"Good night!"

Cloth Diapering Isn't that Hard!

I can't tell you how much I love cloth diapering! Putting all natural fibers against my baby's sensitive skin is such a wonderful way of taking care of that silky soft tush. Disposables can be good for trips, but even when I put the disposable on my little girl, I don't like it--I can actually smell the chemicals permeate through her clothes. I much rather deal with a poopie cloth diaper! Here is my set up!

Honestly, I don't judge. What works for one mom, won't work for another. I am a full-time stay-at-home mom, I have the time to do it, and for some reason I don't get too grossed out dealing with stinky diapers. Cloth diapering is really not that difficult. For some reason they get such a bad rap. Maybe this is because we are a society that is on-the-go. Cloth diapering does take a little bit more time, but not a lot! In fact I do a diaper load every 3-4 days, isn't that reasonable? Plus, it feels good knowing that I'm not contributing to our landfills in that way.

We did end up purchasing a new washer and dryer. The day they came I couldn't wait to get started and see what these new mega machines could do--you really know your life has changed when you get excited about a washer and dryer ;) We had an old top loader which was a water guzzler--not good here in California! Our dyer was old and most likely using way too much energy. Once I started washing our diapers in the new machine, the process went faster and they seemed to get cleaner.

All in all, it has been an interesting learning curve for me, you wouldn't believe how many different types of cloth diapers there are out there, pre-folds, fitteds, All-In-Ones, flat diapers, Pockets, the list goes on and on. And different ways to put them on too--snaps, pins, snappies, velcro, side snaps, front snaps, . . .! What has been important has been learning what works best for me and my babe. And, . . . there is nothing cuter than seeing your little babe wander around with a huge diaper butt!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making Baby Food Is Easy!

It's realllllly not that hard to make baby food. I will walk you through it. Let's make Kale cubes! Mmmmm!

1. Buy 2-3 bunches to fill one ice cube tray, it cooks down quite a bit, so you need a lot.

2. Wash your Kale and rip then stems away from the leaves.

3. Take your leaves and put them in a steam basket. Cover and steam for 8 minutes, leaves will have a hint of emerald green in them, but won't have any crunch if you taste a bit. Be careful not to over cook.

4. Now it's time to get the old food processor out. You know, the one that has been sitting in your closet since you got married. Throw the cooked leaves in and blend till it's the consistency that's right for your baby. You won't need to add any water, the moisture from the leaves is enough.

5. Spoon puree into an ice-cube tray, don't fill it to the top as the leaves are full of water and water expands.

6. Get the tray ready for freezing by covering the kale with wax paper. Gently push down so the wax paper is actually touching the kale cubes. Now cover tightly with plastic wrap. By doing this, you prevent oxygen from getting to the cubes which will keep the cubes from getting freezer burn. I have tried using freezer bags so that I didn't have to waste loads of plastic wrap every time, but I couldn't get the freezer bags tight and the top of my cubes got covered with freezer burn. Now freeze!

7. Leave for 24 hours and store in a freezer bag. I also put my bags of food in a tupperware container to keep them extra fresh. When you want to use one for the morning, take a cube out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge. And then voila! You've got yummy kale ready to serve the next morning!

8. Bon Appetite!! You can also make carrot cubes, asparagus cubes, spinach cubes and many other yummy veggies this way!