Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Everything!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. May you have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones.

In case you've been hiding under a rock and haven't seen/heard this yet... this song from Straight No Chaser is a goody!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bah, Humbug!

It's a gorgeous day outside. I should be taking the pupdog for a walk along the creek... but it's just not going to happen today. I am cleaning like a maniac and hopefully baking up a storm later this afternoon in preparation for my in-laws arriving tomorrow. Sorry Koda, but you will be getting a bath today, YAY! Hmmm, she doesn't seem to be as excited as I am...

Koda says, "Bah! Humbug!"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Drunk Monkeys

I'm not sure if this is sad or funny! I found the article "Humans Brought Monkeys to St. Kitts and Inadvertently Turned Them Into Alcoholics" on treehugger and had to share. I'd never heard of, or seen drunk monkeys... until now.

Leaving Your Mark

While moving in and getting settled into our new home, I have been finding these little green beads, or well balls (there isn't a hole through them for stringing) all around the house - inside and out. Pictured to the left are the ones I found in the room we plan to use as a guest room. They were scattered through out the room, closet, and bathroom. Since moving in I'd guess I have picked up, vacuumed up, or raked up at least 50 or more! They have been found in every nook and cranny you can imagine. Lets see... behind the refrigerator, in the basement, in every room and closet, on the staircases, on the back deck, in the flower gardens, and in the landscaping rocks. I wish now that I had not thrown them out, but kept them to see how many I could collect. Though really, it's been much easier to just vacuum them than crawl around on the floor and pick them up.

I have a theory about these little tiny green balls... OK, with the odd yellow or blue ball thrown in here or there. The family that lived here before us had 5 kids, or was it 7... I can't remember but I know the mom was one of 8 because we met her mother. Anyways, my theory is that one or more of the kids was sad to be moving out of this house, and decided to leave something of theirs behind. To leave their mark on this house that was their home for however long... and to annoy the people moving into their house. I have a feeling I will be finding these little guys for years to come (I can almost hear a child snickering). It's a little late in the game, but I have decided to start a collection.

Anyone have any idea what these teeny tiny balls are for?

Monday, December 14, 2009

What's for dinner?!

PIZZA! Tonight I made pizza for dinner and it turned out so yummy (it usually turns out yummy, but tonight it seemed better than usual). I used this Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough recipe (made in the stand mixer) and topped it with caramelized onions, sauteed zucchini, turkey pepperoni, and mozzarella cheese. I was really happy with the dough! It was so easy to make and was not a sticky mess that my other whole wheat dough can be... but this one does have all-purpose flour in it with the whole wheat flour (my other recipe does not).

Oh. So. Good.
I heart my pizza stone!

NOTE: I updated my previous post to include pictures of the ornament wreath I made...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

THE Ornament Wreath

UPDATED! Pictures of my wreath added (scroll down)!

It's beginning to look like Christmas... it's snowing and more is coming over the next few days - YAY! I'm glad we were able to get our Christmas tree yesterday before the snow arrived. It's huge (to me) at 10 feet tall and about 4.5 ft in diameter at the base [Update: It's actually 6ft, my hubby measured and wanted me to set the record straight]. It didn't look huge when we picked it out, funny how that works. The guy at the farm stand in a parking lot was really nice and loaded it in the back of their pick up truck and followed us home. Then helped John lug it inside and put it in the tree stand. Which took a while because it's not very stable. I am so thankful because I don't think we could have managed it on our own... but who knows... we are the couple that moved an elliptical machine from a room upstairs, to the main level, to the basement by ourselves. While the entire time I kept telling John "this is not a good idea" and "this has Darwin Award potential". But we did it and survived... I still have bruise marks but John was unharmed. We haven't been able to decorate the tree yet but hopefully tonight or tomorrow. Anyway, getting back to the topic of this post...

So I've been seeing gorgeous ornament wreaths all over the this one from Thrifty Decor Chick,

And this one on Just a Girl,

They are everywhere really, but those are my favorites. Until I made my own of course! Though I love the warm brown/cream colors, and pastels... I'm such a traditionalist with my Christmas decorations - red and green please! So, you want to see pictures? Like ones of the piles of ornaments, hanger wire half strung, and of the finished wreath?

Too bad. So sorry. I really really want to show you but...

When I tried to download them to my iMac, it told me the memory card files were corrupt and the card needed to be reformatted *cry*. Nevermind that the card had pictures from our old house on it, and ones from my work good-bye lunch and happy hour... My hubby is going to try and save the pictures, my fingers are crossed. I really hope to update this post soon with the pictures! If nothing else, I'll eventually get my hands on my husband's fancy camera and post pictures of it hanging above our mantle.

[Update] So... couldn't save the pictures... :( but here are ones of the mantle with the wreath hanging above. I still haven't figured out a nice way to hide the string. Actually, I kind of forgot about it after my initial attempts didn't work out right.

Anyhoo, the wreath is pretty simple to make though it can be tedious. Here's what you need:
  1. Wire hanger
  2. Hot glue gun with glue sticks that fit into your model of hot glue gun (for example if you get a mini hot glue gun, that means you need the mini size of the sticks - somehow this detail escaped me when I was at the store the first time)...
  3. Pliers
  4. Ornaments - I used about 70 I think... I got them at 50% off at Hobby Lobby when the Dollar Tree failed me.
  5. String and Ribbon to hang the wreath
  1. Shape wire hanger into a ring first, then untwist the hook to open the hanger.
  2. Hot glue ornament toppers to ornaments (trust me, and all who have come before me)
  3. String ornaments onto wire hanger
  4. Re-twist the ends to close the wreath
  5. If you're crafty and gifted, hang wreath with ribbon. If not tie string to hook (that's been closed with pliers) and hang, then try to cover with ribbon
That's it! I do have some useful tips that I got from others or found out the hard way:
  1. If you're like me and hate wire hangers and don't have them in the house, go to a local dry cleaners and ask nicely. I got mine for free :).
  2. Hot glue the ornament topper thingies to the ornaments first.
  3. Use pliers to pull the toppers off the ornaments if they are difficult.
  4. Use pliers to hold the topper while applying hot glue - this saves your fingers from burns that others talked about in their blogs. I thankfully had a burn free experience!
  5. Don't pull too hard on the tops with the pliers - the cheapo ornament top/loop can break easily.
  6. Hot glue the toppers to the ornaments.
  7. Some of the fancier ornaments have toppers with wire hoop thingies that are inserted through them, that have a spring action to stay inside the ornament... figure out a way to hot glue those to the topper too. Because if you don't, when you string your ornaments and they all get clustered together and you're trying to "randomly" arrange them - the hoop can pull out of the topper. This causes the ornament to fall and break into a million little pieces.
  8. Hot glue toppers and topper hoops together and to ornament.
I had a hard time figuring out how hang this sucker to the wall, and how to hide the hook of the hanger all pretty like. You can't use the hook, like I had so naively thought... I was going to hang it with the hanger hook and cover it with ribbon. Sounds simple, but no of course not. I ended up tying string to the hook and using a drywall S-hook. I tried covering the string with ribbon a few times but couldn't get it to look right. So for now, it's just plan string to a hook. Ideas?! This would be easier if I could show you pictures, right? Right.

This post is linked to:

Household uses for Vinegar

Thought these were some useful tips to pass along.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Powered by Wind - Parking Lot Lights!

On my trip back to Hobby Lobby to pick up the correct size glue sticks (another post about that later)... I snapped a couple of pictures of these neat-o parking lot lights that are wind powered! Again, sorry about the low quality...

I know I'm a dork... but these are kewl.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My 5: Thanksgiving 2009 Edition

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's been a while since I've made a "my five" list, and I thought it was a perfect time to blog it since I have so much to be thankful for this year. It's something some friends and I have been doing randomly (not just for Thanksgiving) for years, and I don't even remember who started it... This year I was reminded by another friend - thanks ACQ!
  1. My family and friends.
  2. Living in beautiful, colorful Colorado. What a difference it makes to live in a place you love!
  3. Our new house that is becoming home more and more each day.
  4. My pupdog Koda, she is my sunshine.
  5. My husband - for all his love, patience, and getting a job here so we could move to CO!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day with their families and/or friends!

Note: This was supposed to be published yesterday but somehow I forgot to hit publish... so it's a day late. Oops.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Where is your milk from?

One of the many, many great things about our move, (besides moving to the great state of Colorado!) is that we live close to a Whole Foods now. This could be dangerous...

My hubby and I make an effort to avoid buying foods that are overly packaged, and when available choose glass over plastic. BTW, do you know how hard it is to find ketchup in a glass container?! It's hard, and I bet you can't find it in your local grocery store... we finally did at Whole Foods. So, you can imagine how psyched we were to also find milk in returnable glass jugs from a local dairy - Morning Fresh Dairy Farm. Their products are 100% all natural, and they are in the process of becoming certified organic. They have everything from skim milk to whipping cream, including chocolate milk (from brown chocolate cows of course), seasonal eggnog (sooo yummy), and other dairy products. We tried our first 1/2 gallon last week and it was great. So today I traded in our empty/rinsed glass jug for another, and also picked up a quart of eggnog for my man. We expected it to be expensive (um hello, it comes from Whole Foods) but no, it's only $2.49 for a 1/2 gallon plus a $1.50 refundable deposit for a total price of $3.99! When you return the glass, you get the deposit back. It's not only cheaper than other organic brands of milk, it supports the local community, has a smaller carbon footprint, and I don't have cartons of milk to curb recycle every week. Oh, and did I mention that it tastes better?! I just wish we were on their delivery route...

So anyway, check out your local grocery (it's worth a try), or local farmers market and see if you can find a local dairy! But do your research first, not all are created equal.


OK, off my soap box now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The not so pretty, yet tasty Rum Cake

This week is John's birthday week! For weeks I asked what kind of cake he wanted me to make for him, and he finally decided on Rum Cake. So here's a picture of the not so great looking, but very moist and tasty Golden Rum Cake I made (minus the nuts). We found the recipe on I had a hard time getting it out of the bundt pan. I have no idea what the deal is lately... the last few bundt cakes I've made have not come out well and it doesn't seem to matter how well I grease and flour the darn thing. Oh, and just in case you're wondering this is no where near clean, I made it according to the recipe since I didn't want to experiment with his birthday cake!

Forgive the bad picture... it was taken with my iPhone because it's just handier than digging out the "real" camera.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Burn of a Poblano Pepper

Peeps, I have a somewhat funny story that I have to share with you. For those that don't know, I'm recently unemployed (my husband was relocated for a new job) and embracing being a job searching house wife for a while... So here's the deal - I unpack/organize/care for the house and take care of preparing meals while my husband works and "brings home the bacon". I have to admit, I like unpacking. I love organizing and putting everything in it's place but the sea of boxes has been somewhat overwhelming!

Yesterday, I finally felt like I made a breakthrough since the kitchen was almost entirely unpacked and put together, so I decided to cook my first meal in our new house. I had been dying to try the Three Bean Chili Con Turkey recipe from the Clean Eating Magazine email newsletter I got last month. So I'm making the chili - chopping, dicing, measuring like the engineer that I am - and I think it's a little odd that the recipe calls for 1 cup each of dried black, pinto, and kidney beans but does not require them to be cooked. I even mentioned this to John the day before (once I set out the dried beans to soak overnight) and said I thought it was going to take a lot longer than 45 minutes to cook the beans. Well, I get to the point where I think I'm done and decide to check the recipe again because I didn't think there was enough liquid to cook the beans, when I see this at the top of the email I kept for the recipe:
We apologize for any inconvenience but we have an update to yesterday’s Three-Bean Chili Con Turkey recipe. We assumed that readers would know to soak their dried beans overnight, but it should be clarified. If you have the time, soak your dried beans in water overnight, or for at least one hour. Boil the beans, according to package directions, then add them to the saucepan. In a real hurry? No problem. Although we encourage readers to choose dried beans over canned whenever possible, canned are fine in a pinch – just rinse them well before using.
AUGHHH!!!!! Are you kidding me?! I just thought the text at the top was newsletter chatter and just scrolled down the page to the recipe. Really, I should have known better. I do know better, but I am such a recipe follower... not trusting of my own cooking skills. So what to do what to do... everything was mixed together. The garlic, onions, celery, poblano pepper, spices, turkey, and dried beans... Well. I cried a little. Then I sucked it up and started picking out the beans a spoonful at a time. 20 minutes later I took my pots (the chili pot and pot for beans), sat at the kitchen table so I could sit and watch/listen to TV, and continued to separate the beans from the chili... for 2 hours.

Yes. I. DID.

Then I cooked the beans and added them back into the chili and cooked it according to the recipe. Which ended up drying out. So I had to add more broth, then once John was home and started helping we added more broth, water, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. By this time I was swearing and just sick of looking at this chili. I didn't even taste it. By this time it was ~8:30 PM (I started at 3:30 PM) and I realize that my middle, ring, and pinky fingers of my right hand were really burning, along with my right thumb under the finger nail. I couldn't remember burning myself and it started out as a mild discomfort and got worse and worse. I put my thumb in my mouth for something and when my mouth started burning I figured out that I had gotten pepper stuff under my nail. I washed my hands really well with soap and put some aloe on my fingers. It did not help, in fact it got worse. What the heck, it was just a Poblano Pepper! They're supposed to be fairly mild, it didn't even occur to me to wear gloves though I was careful with how much I touched it and had washed my hands right after handling the pepper. Desperate I googled hot pepper burns and found this treatment on ehow.

How to Treat a Hot Pepper Burn
  1. Wear rubber gloves the oil can seep through latex gloves.

  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap to get all the oil off your hands. Use a fingernail brush to scrub nails with dish soap.

  3. Take an over the counter pain killer as directed

  4. Soak fingers/hands in a bowl of cold milk. The fat in the milk helps soothe hands better than ice water.

  5. Apply an ointment to treat and soothe burns such as aloe vera or hydro cortisone cream.
  6. Repeat the milk soak as needed. It will not harm your hands, so do not hesitate to soak as often as necessary

  7. Put on gloves to clean the area where you cut the peppers. Use a cleanser with bleach to rid your counter tops, cutting boards and knives of any residual oil.
The only milk in the house we have is skim and 1% so I did the soak in the 1% which felt good while my hand was in it, but as soon as it was out it was burning again. Then I tried lowfat yogurt with the same result. Now it's after 10PM and I'm cursing the chili again and debating running to the store to get either full fat milk or burn cream or both. Finally it dawned on me to try butter... 30 minutes later the burning completely stopped. Butter - thank you thank you, I love you, and will never talk badly about you again!

I had a bowl of the chili for lunch. To my surprise it turned out great! Which makes me feel a teeny bit better about yesterday's ordeal. I topped it with colby jack cheese and had yellow corn chips for dipping. Yum-O!

The recipe instructions and ingredient amounts were way off... but I was able to pull it off. I used 2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth, and probably a cup of water or more. Hopefully if you try this recipe (which I do recommend) you will have a better experience than mine!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Right Now

To say life is crazy right now would be an understatement. It would be down right funny! But things finally calmed down for a moment at least... I've seen this "Right Now" series on a few blogs and thought I'd give it a go.

Watching... my work computer monitor

Smelling... Bedtime Yogi Tea, yeah it's not bedtime but it is calming

Reading... an equity request form (for house closing)

Enjoying... dreaming of our new house in a new state (#6 for me)

Listening... to the chatter in my mind

Knowing... this quiet moment will not last long

Drinking... Yogi Tea

Embracing... the transition coming my way

-- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Lair O' The Bear

I am in beautiful Colorado. I love this state! This morning I went on an easy relaxing hike along Bear Creek at Lair O' The Bear Park. It was the perfect trail for me, considering I have a cold - which is such a bummer for this trip. Here are some pictures I snapped with my iPhone (that got no service by the way...), I will add more or replace these with ones from my digital camera when I get home.

I think it was after taking the picture above that we came across a garter snake, ~1 foot long, sunning along the side of the trail. We stopped to check him out and I took a picture with my "real" camera. Then a runner came along and scared the little guy away.

After this picture we were chatting and walking along when suddenly we came across the largest snake I've ever seen that wasn't behind glass. It was at LEAST 3 inches in diameter! We startled the poor guy and it moved quickly out of our way. By the time we realized he was there, what he was, and how BIG he was, he was gone and we were half running down the path! Our hearts were racing! Once the shock wore off, I walked back to see if I could see him in the grass, and get a better look. And before you freak out at me - I didn't go after the snake (I'm not crazy!) - just went back to see if I could observe from a distance but he long gone. We only saw him briefly but noted that he had gold/orange and brown stripes, with some kind of markings, and about 4-4.5 feet long (maybe longer)! We did not hear a rattle. It was exciting/cool/scary.

I just realized that I didn't take any pictures of the wild flowers with my iPhone but they were everywhere, and so pretty.

This was such a relaxing hike (minus the large snake encounter) with the sound of babbling creek, and the tall grass swaying in the breeze.

I highly recommend this park for families. There were picnic benches in the shade with charcoal grills for grilling, people fishing, areas for wading, and the path was smooth and flat. Though we were there between 10 AM and noon, it wasn't crowded at all. I would definitely go back. I have to add that I felt a little guilty enjoying this hike without Koda. I wish I could have brought her with me. There were so many doggies on the trail and happily jumping into the creek (on leashes).

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, August 07, 2009

Flush Puppies

Has anyone tried these?

They are pricey... Wonder if I could find them online cheaper. Sorry for the blurry picture, it was taken with my iPhone on the plane!

Do you know that doggie poo run-off is bad for streams and rivers? I know, you'd think it would be a natural occurence you wouldn't have to worry about! I read an article about this issue recently that explained it really well, if I find it again I will update this post to include the link.

Thankfully, our pup dog Koda only does her business in our yard (we didn't purposely train her this way but we like it). We let her poo deteriate in the grass. It really hasn't been an issue for us since compared to other doggies we know she doesn't poop as much (we're convinced it's because we feed her Purina ProPlan). Obviously when we travel we have to clean up after her... But from what I've learned recently we should be picking up her poo all the time. Ugh.

I am selfishy posting these pictures of Koda because she's just a cutie and I miss her! One of her favorite things in the world is fresh cut grass :). I had to drop her off at the kennel today and it was harder than usual because I could hear her whining in the back... probably because she could hear me talking to the girl at the desk about her fear of thunderstorms.

Would you a) use Flush Puppies and actually flush them down your toilet, and b) pay $2 for 15? How do you manage your dogs/pets poo? Really, I wanna know!

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Link Between Cosmic Rays and Climate Change?

I stumbled upon this article, and the subsequent browsing brought back some memories of my Space Physics class that was several years ago. I remember this being a great topic of debate back then, seems like it still is... here's a clip from the ScienceNOW article by Phil Berardelli - "Do Clouds Come From Outer Space?"

ScienceNOW (8/5, Berardelli) reported, "Most of Earth's clouds get their start in deep space. That's the surprising conclusion from a team of researchers who argue that interstellar cosmic rays collide with water molecules in our atmosphere to form overcast skies." A new study by Henrik Svensmark of the Technical University of Denmark found that over the past 22 years the five strongest coronal mass ejections from the sun, which would block cosmic rays from reaching the Earth, corresponded to a 7% decrease in cloud cover. "Svensmark argues that the findings suggest a link between cosmic rays and climate change. Because clouds...reflect light from the sun, fewer clouds would mean a warmer Earth." However, Jón Egill Kristjánsson of the University of Oslo noted that there has only been a "slightly upward trend" at most in cosmic rays. "That would mean either no increase in cloud formation or a slight increase--neither of which would warm the world."

Further reading if you're interested:
Study shows strong evidence that cloud changes may exacerbate global warming

ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE: Cosmic Rays, Clouds, and Climate

*Random fact about me: I have always been fascinated with climate/weather, and for a while I dreamed of working for NOAA. It's still my back up plan (I have many plans - A, B, C, & D).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Zucchini & Banana Bundt Cake

I recently have become a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman, thanks to my friends who introduced me in their own blogs. Well, PW just launched a new site called Tasty Kitchen, a community website where users can search/browse all kinds of recipes, upload their favorite recipes to share, and rate ones they try out themselves. I love it! Last night I spent 30+ minutes browsing - drooling over recipes - and adding ones I wanted to give a try to my "recipe box". Since today I have the day off, I decided to jump right in this morning and put to use the beautiful zucchini sitting on my counter. I tried out this Zucchini & Banana Bundt Cake, with a few modifications to make it healthier. Usually when first trying out a recipe I follow the instructions to the T... but I was feeling it this morning and went for it. It came out really well, very moist and tasty - husband approved! The original recipe is by bakeaholic and can be found here.

Here are some pictures I took of mine... I had some trouble getting it out of the well greased and floured, non-stick bundt pan *rolling eyes*, so I'm grateful that it looks as good as it does! My modifications are listed at the bottom of the post.

So yummy!

Here's a list of the substitutions/modifications I made to make the recipe mostly "clean":
  • 1 cup vegetable oil = 3/4 cup apple sauce, 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar = 1 cup organic sucanat, 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour = 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • I added 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Curry, my new found love...

A few months ago, I was re-introduced to curry... I first tried it a couple of years ago, and I have to say I wasn't too impressed. It wasn't bad, just OK... I didn't understand my friends who raved about it, so I stuck with my favorite Thai dish - Pad Thai. Turns out, I wasn't trying good curry. Now I LOVE it! My husband and I got on a kick this past spring and just couldn't get enough. I think in one week we had it 3 days in a row. So now I will try any dish that has the word curry in the name!

Last week, my friend N mentioned a Curried Spinach-Potato Soup she made, and I begged for the recipe. She thankfully shared the recipe, and now I have a double batch in my fridge! Some people may scoff at the idea of eating hot soup in the summer, and I might agree... if I wasn't working the night shift in a room that might as well be a meat freezer this week! It really has been the perfect meal to take to work, and I have enough to last several days (I'm going on day 3 and I haven't gotten sick of it yet). I wish the soup had a slightly thicker consistency (I'll hold back on the broth next time), but other than that I really am enjoying every cup. The recipe was easy and consists of leeks, potatoes, spinach, veggie broth, milk, and curry (of course) - very simple ingredients, healthy (clean), and tasty! I'm not sure where the recipe is from, so I'm hesitant to post it here... but if you're interested, email me and I will send it to you.

If you haven't tried curry, give it a try... or a second try! It might surprise you.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Blog here, blog there!

So did anyone notice that my last post was published from my iPhone (note the note at the bottom of the post)? Pretty neat-o if I do say so myself! Yesterday, while chillaxing on the drive out to the caverns, I was thinking about how out of date my blog was... and the idea struck that possibly I could post a quick blurb from my iPhone. First I tried posting from, but for whatever reason I couldn't type in the box meant for drafting the body of the post (that was annoying). I have been scoping out blogging applications on and off for a while, so I just popped onto the app store, browsed a few blog apps, and bought BlogPress ($2.99). SCORE! Total time from picking an app, purchasing, downloading, writing yesterday's post, and publishing was about 15 minutes! I'm estimating there because I wasn't paying attention to the time.

I give 2 thumbs up for BlogPress so far! It works seamlessly with Blogger. It's super easy to use, able to upload multiple pictures, and editing the format with text and pictures seems to work well. Granted I haven't uploaded multiple pictures yet. I'll let you know how it goes. Oh, and you can type posts on landscape keyboard.

Here's a picture from yesterday of our pupdog Koda checking out the deer in the backyard. She kept barking at them - even after we explained to her that is was OK, they were friendly deer. Later, after this picture was taken a deer ate bits of carrot right out of the palm of my hand.

Have I told you lately how much I love my iPhone?

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day! Thank you to all the active and retired service men and women! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend.

We are on a mini vacation visiting family in San Antonio, TX. Holy crow is it HOT here! Yesterday we spent the day melting at SeaWorld. Despite the heat we had a great time and tried to take advantage of the splash zones at all the shows. We said hello to Shamu, Seamore, the Belugas, and dolphins, and rode a couple of rides including the new Atlantis water ride and The Great White loopy roller coaster (my fav).

Today, I tagged along to a Tea Party, my first protest. It was interesting, and peaceful... not too rowdy at all. I call myself "independent", being more of a centrist.... so I was just taking it all in. Now we're on our way to play in some caves, specifically the Natural Bridge Caverns! Whoohoo, caving is right up my ally, but this will be a touristy guided tour. I'll take what I can get. They do have an adventure tour which is more of a caving/spelunking experience that I will have to come back and do on our next visit!

I updated this post to include this blurry but documentary picture (and a link to their website):

Have a great, safe 4th of July!

--Post From My iPhone

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Green iPhone Apps

Have I told you lately how much I love my iPhone? Here is a ZapRoot video covering a bunch of iPhone apps that can help you live more "green" (the first half anyway). I use the Good Guide quite a bit actually. I keep meaning to get iGas... will have to do that and try out greenMeter too!

I heart my iPhone!

Friday, May 08, 2009

How to protect the oceans

This must watch video of TED prize winner and legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle's speech is 18 minutes long... it is definitely worth the time to watch, to contemplate her message, and hope her wish comes true! Before viewing this video, I hadn't heard of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference that is held each year in Long Beach, California. TED's mission is simply defined as "ideas worth sharing", and the talks (a broad range of topics) are available to view on TED's YouTube page. But before you go explore the talks, you have to watch this first!

To watch in high quality click here.

So how can WE help protect the oceans? How about -
This summer Project Kaisei will begin, and I'm looking forward to hearing of their findings and progress!
"Project Kaisei consists of a team of innovators, ocean lovers, sailors, scientists, sports enthusiasts and environmentalists who have come together with a common purpose. To study how to capture plastic waste in the ocean and how to capture, detoxify and recycle it into diesel fuel. This first research Mission, scheduled for the summer of 2009, will be critical to understanding the logistics that will be needed to make a successful clean-up operation possible as some of the technology required for such a feat has never been utilised under oceanic conditions."
Read all about their planned 70 day expedition to the "Plastic Vortex" this summer, and how you can contribute here.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Healthy Babies & Kids!

Today Shaklee opened orders for their new Shakleebaby and Shakleekids product lines! I'm so excited about these new products and already plan to gift these to some of my friends who are having baby showers (sorry, now you know what you're getting!). The new Shakleebaby products are pictured below (left to right) - Soothing Lotion, Gentle Wash, Massage Oil, Diaper Rash Cream, and a Multivitamin & Multimineral Power.

Did you know that babies' skin is 5 times thinner than adult skin, making them more susceptible to toxins? Or that out of 81,000 chemicals registered with the EPA in the past 30 YEARS, fewer than 20% have been tested for toxicity? Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy... or not. One thing you can know for sure is that Shaklee (a leading natural nutrition company for over 50 years) is -

Always safe:
  • Clinically tested
  • No parabens, 1,4-dioxane, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, or phthalates
Always gentle:
  • Pediatrician tested
  • 99% natural ingredients
  • 76%–99% organic ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic
  • pH balanced
Always healthy:
  • No synthetic fragrances
  • No artificial colors
  • Packaging is free of bisphenol-A, phthalates, and toxic inks
  • Mighty Smart™: World’s best 100% natural, ultra-pure DHA for brainPOWer!
    • helps support concentration, memory, and vision
  • No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives
  • Naturally sweetened with xylitol, which does not promote cavities
  • Gluten free
  • Packaging is free of bisphenol-A, phthalates, and toxic inks
  • First kids’ chewable multi in the U.S. with immune-supporting power of lactoferrin!—Helps kids’ immune systems stay supercharged
  • 23 Essential Nutrients—Needed for proper growth and development
  • Vitamin POWer!—100% of vitamins C and E, plus all eight B vitamins
  • 600 IU of Vitamin D3, plus calcium, vitamin K, and more!—Support for strong bones and teeth
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or would like more information! You can order here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mercury & Fish Debate

I just read this article and browsed some of the links within the post. It contains interesting information about the controversy between the FDA and EPA on how much fish is safe to eat, and if the hazards of mercury content is outweighed by the benefits of Omega-3 fats and other nutrients.  Did you know,
"the EWG recommends that women of childbearing age and children under 5 not eat albacore tuna at all, because a significant portion of albacore tuna has very high mercury levels. People eating this tuna will exceed safe exposure levels by a wide margin." 
Granted I think they mean Albacore and not Light Tuna but it makes you go hmmm... The funny part for me is that I just started liking canned tuna... for years I couldn't eat it without gagging!  Do you know how much you can safely eat in a week? Check out the EWG tuna calculator here. They also have a safe fish list for women.

OK, mercury or not, I'm craving sushi!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Photo credit: NASA
Every day should be Earth Day. I mean really, does designating one day make a difference? What is sad is that so many businesses take advantage of Earth Day and greenwash their goods. I'm beginning to hate the word green… I do think it's great to have a day set aside where everyone focuses entirely on planet Earth, but the actions have to become part of a person's daily routine to make a real difference. I like this header from the article "Grist Tries to Explain its Screw Earth Day Campaign"...

See NASA's view of Earth on their Earth Day page which has all kinds of fun and interesting stuff - like 10 Things You Never Knew About Earth!

Are you considering making changes to better your health and the planet's? Check out Planet Green's How To Go Green Guides which are loaded with helpful information and cover everything from recycling to fashion to gardening to home renovations!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Calling all Moms!

I am so excited about Shaklee's new line specifically for babies and kids! These new products will be available May 1st, and you can check out their online brochure here! I should be getting more information about Shakleebaby and Shakleekids soon... let me know if you're interested and I will pass it along. Ordering is easy through my Shaklee Independent Distributor website.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Not as cuddly as they look!

Seriously, what was this woman thinking? I know Polar Bears look all cute and cuddly but they are very aggressive - never mind that they are wild animals. She jumped over a fence, pushed through a thorny hedge, and over a 3 foot concrete wall to jump in the habitat's moat. I'm glad she's okay, but I have no pity for her.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Granny's recipe for Sore Throat

I've been sick with a cold the past few days... it started with a sore throat that kept getting worse. No one likes being sick, but I dread having a cold or sinus infection because I can not take anything that contains Pseudoephedrine, and just about every cold/flu medicine has it as an active ingredient (Sudafed, NyQuil, cough syrups, etc.). Pseudoephedrine makes my heart pound/race and keeps me awake. It's what I would guess taking speed would be like... I didn't figure out this sensitivity until a few years ago, and then I had to start looking into other options for finding relief - there aren't many! I always try to head off a cold by taking Zicam at the first signs of getting sick which works most of the time. Not this time...

Surprisingly what works best for me, to heal a sore throat is a gargle recipe that my Granny used to make for me. It really does do wonders, though it took a couple of decades for me to catch on that it really does work. Here's the recipe, though I never measure it out so these amounts are guesstimates.

Salt Gargle
1/4 cup warm-hot water (microwave 35 seconds)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp honey

The salt helps reduce inflammation, and the honey soothes. I make roughly this amount and gargle it (don't swallow) until it's gone. I do this a few times a day - usually in the morning, right before bed, and in the middle of the night if needed.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I found this in my draft email folder... am I the only one that saves things as draft emails when I want to go back to it later - whether or not I plan to ever send it as an email? Anyway, I came across this Desiderata by Max Ehrmann and it completely changed my outlook for the day! Just thought I'd share it with you.

Desiderata - Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Clean Banana Bread

So what do you do with 4 overly ripe bananas? Make Banana Bread of course! We wanted to try a recipe out of Tosca Rena's new book The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids, and this was the perfect opportunity. It came out a mess, as you can see below... but it was very tasty! Here's a picture of the results after trying to transfer it to a rack for cooling, and eating off of it...

Not very pretty but it is really good - and clean! We will be trying this recipe again. I'm still not convinced my husband greased the pan... The picture is not nearly as nice as my husband's but hey, it's not bad considering it was taken with my iPhone.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Home Roasted Coffee Beans!

Two years ago I decided to buy an espresso machine (the Rancilio Silvia if you're interested). I researched models, did the math, and figured out that in the long run it would save money to make my own cappuccinos and lattes. The funny part about this is that my husband John was not a coffee drinker but would enjoy the occasional latte with milk and flavored syrups - yet within a couple of weeks he became quite the barista! We have espresso (usually lattes) every morning, and I'd say he makes the espresso for us both (split double shot) about 85% of the time. I love it! And yes, we officially became coffee snobs! Every once in a while I'll get in a mood for straight up coffee, so I'll just grind the beans coarse (espresso is ground fine) and make some up in my French Press.

After about a year of pondering, John decided to take things one step further... and ordered a coffee bean roaster from Sweet Maria's which came with 8 lbs of green coffee beans! Here are some pictures he took of his first roast. Aren't these pictures great? My husband is so talented!

Measuring out the green coffee beans...
The roaster.
Load 'em up!
Let the roasting begin!
Watch the temperature.
Roasting nicely.
The cooling process...
The finished product, at home in their vacuum pumped container!

John only roasts the amount of coffee beans we need for 1 week. So we always have fresh, great tasting coffee! So far he's only roasted an espresso blend he created himself. I've already put in my request for a roast for straight up coffee. Mmm... The only down side to roasting our own coffee beans, is that it stinks up the house! The first time he roasted them in the kitchen under the stove vent and p-ew. The second time he roasted them in the garage and though some of the smell lingered inside, it wasn't nearly as strong. Until he rigs up some contraption to incorporate with the stove vent, roasting is banished to the garage. I do wonder what our neighbors think - no comments so far!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Ant

I have no words for this - it speaks for itself! Scary true, isn't it?

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by phildavi

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I have been wanting to experiment with making a healthier version of chocolate chip cookies for a while now. Today I finally searched for some recipes and pieced my own together that is fairly "clean" (relatively speaking). I'm so impressed with the results, and so is my husband! Here are some pictures of my Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies...

Here's the recipe I pieced together:

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup brown sugar (next time I will try half honey, half brown sugar)
1/2 cup butter (I used Smart Balance)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 generous cup old fashioned rolled oats (I read somewhere that regular rolled oats are best for chewy cookies, and quick cooking oats give you wimpy cookies)
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cocoa)

Cream the butter and brown sugar (and/or honey) together. Add the egg, vanilla, and milk and stir until it's all combined and creamy. In a small bowl, stir all the dry ingredients together and then slowly add them to the wet batter. Mix, then add chocolate chips, and mix again. Spoon cookie batter out on parchment paper lined cookie sheet (cheating I know, but so much easier). I used a generous tablespoon per cookie. Bake at 350 degrees about 12 minutes, until the cookies are nicely browned.

Mmmm... so so good, and I don't feel guilty for eating them!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

That's not Tang...

This video, which had me crying laughing is about NASA's Water Recovery System on-board the International Space Station that turns urine into drinking water... There is some bad language so consider yourself warned!

It is very "green" to recycle sweat and urine into drinking water! It is also very economical for NASA considering it costs thousands of dollars to ship a pint of water to the ISS. You can read more about this on NASA's website.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Have you seen a pink dolphin?

Wow, at first I didn't believe what I was reading... I had to check and make sure I wasn't on The Onion. Check out this blog about a PINK dolphin. Image below by birdologist on flicker.

Here's a snipbit from the blog:
"The young dolphin, which was first sighted as a calf in June 2007 and photographed a few weeks later, gets its brilliant pink color and bright red eyes from blood vessels that lie just below its layer of blubber. This pink color is masked by pigments in the skin of normally-colored gray animals."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why I Prefer Daisies Over Roses

For Valentine's Day this year, my husband got me the prettiest arrangement he's ever given me... the pictures really don't do it justice (taken with my iPhone). He finally listened, and believed me when I said he didn't have to buy me the traditional dozen roses! I like roses, they are beautiful and delicate, and I can appreciate why some women would prefer them... but not me. I prefer daisies, and my favorite flower is the Gerbera Daisy. They just make me smile and feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. I have no idea what the pink and white large flowers are in the arrangement but I love them. I'm still trying to find out what they are - if you know please enlighten me by leaving a comment! I think they are in the daisy family.

Another reason I prefer daisies is that they last so much longer than roses! By day 4, the roses were wilted and drooping. The Gerbera Daisy - the single red one in the center - hung on for 8 days. But check it out, it's day 12 and look at what the remaining flowers look like now (I just took this picture)! Love it! 12 days later and they are still making me smile every time I look at them.

So I can't resist... I have to post this picture of my wedding cake. Our florist decorated the cake exactly how I described, in my eyes it was perfect! I was so excited over this cake, and was so sad when we had to cut it - if you were there you probably remember the look on my face!

And my attendant's bouquets:

What a great trip down memory lane... it was the perfect day with rain and all! And I still do not regret one cent we spent on flowers!

You can go here for all the information you'd ever want to know about Gerbera Daisies.