30 March 2011

Good morrow dear friends

After we went to see the children's production of Robin Hood last week, Jack was keen to read the story, so I downloaded Howard Pyle's retelling and we've been reading that for our bedtime story. It's a good tale and we're enjoying it!

But may I admit? Best of all is that Jack saw the play and immediately wanted to read the book. I had a Scholastic kids rendition, and he read that in a few hours then went back to badgering for "the real book". Of course, once he's finished reading the book, I expect he'll also want to see the movie, so I am researching who has done Robin Hood movies -- maybe, if we can get them at the library, we'll do a serious one and a funny one. (Maybe Errol Flynn and Mel Brooks?)

In reading, I have just finished reading "Plenty: A Year of Local Eating" and had started on the similarly themed Animal, Vegetable or Miracle. I found PLenty captivating and a quick read that left me inspired. Kingsolvers Animal, Vegetable or Miracle is an interesting book. I have liked what I have read so far, but for some reason it hasn't been pulling me back in like Plenty did. I've checked it twice now and I am going to have to give it back before I'm done. It's good enough to check out again, and if I owned it, I'd persevere, but I think that what has be hooked in Plenty that is missing in ANM is the sense that this is an "everyman" project. Kingsolver and her family may not consider themselves wealthy, but they have far more resources at their disposal than the average family. If they think it needs to happen, they can make it so. Alisa and James are on the same tight budget most of us know so well, and even so, they make it so. Like us, they learned to look past the obvious, expensive ways to become self sufficient and found innovative ways to feed themselves.

I am not quite as set on "eat local" as either Alisa and James or Barbara and her family. I love the idea of harvesting everything we can either here or at local farms and preserving it for later. I love the idea of eating in season from only the produce at its best. We have learned to make out own ketchup, barbeque sauce, chili powder, mustard, and mayonnaise. I would like to be able to grow most of what I need -- but I can't grow coffee, chocolate, pepper, pineapple or bananas and I am fine with importing them. That said, I have scheduled time over the coming season to go out and pick every kind of fruit that we can get our hands on. I have expanded considerably the sorts of vegetables we will be growing, in hopes of buying far fewer groceries over the summer and maybe even over the following winter. But if it doesn't grow here...well, I think we'll be cutting our dependency on oil quite a bit without going all the way. If we all only bought what *couldn't* be produced locally, I think our food chain would be a lot closer to really sustainable. (And while sustainability is important, I have to admit that nutrition and taste is far more convincing to me.)

As far as gardening is concerned, I will be starting seeds later this year. The plan has them going in the weekend of the 9th. Starting at the equinox is a good idea, but we keep the house too cold. I think the plantlings will be less stressed if we way a few more weeks. Maybe I won't lose as many baby plants. I will also be scouting the garden for volunteers and counting them in my tally. Since we didn't get the garden cleaned up, there could be quite a few. :)

I'm not sure what triggered it (for the moment I'm blaming Connor) but Jack has become obsessed with the periodic table of the elements. I printed out a small poster to put on the wall and ended up having to print two -- one for Rod and one for Jack. Jack's is on the wall...and I keep hearing his voice echoing out from the bathroom where he is reading it and explaining it to Rod and demanding Rod 'guess' the atomic weight of everything on the chart. I may have to print another or Jack is going to spend a week in the bathroom. Periodic table of the elements? Where have I gone wrong? ;)

Good morrow dear friends, may your today be all you had hoped and your tomorrow better still.

29 March 2011

Jack's 365 Project: day 11

Spring has come again!!!

23 March 2011

Hey, howdy!

I think I must be feeling better -- I've been blogging and snapping "the perfect photo" in my dreams at night! Finding time during the day has been pretty difficult, though. (I'm blogging as I do my morning chores, while the boys are at the dojo.

As Rod has gotten healthier, all hope of my 'quiet mornings before the guys wake up' has faded into the far distance. Having my honey healthy is very much worth it. ;) He's feeling so much better that he has even ventured into the occasional night without his CPAP. That's much quieter than it once was, so maybe one day -- but for now, he still stops breathing which is way too scary.

I am pretty sure I mentioned that I had started taking an iodine supplement about four months ago. That has gone very, very well. When I'm not fighting corn toxicity, I feel much better. My hair has stopped thinning and I have a halo of two inch hairs growing in. And I don't need three cups of coffee just to start the day! One is more than enough. (Of course, after 30 years of needing at least three cups -and sometimes as much as 12 -- resisting the second and third cups isn't always successful, and for the first time since I was 12, I have been having a reaction to too much caffeine. Hmmm.)

I am now off the walker and even off the cane. I still occasionally feel the world rocking, and I still feel kind of breathless and wobbly (probably from the corn in the decongestant that I took to get past the worst of the ... corn reaction. Ironic, no?) but I'm functioning again. Thanks to the lovely young man at the compounding pharmacy, I hope never to get that sick again. I wasn't able to find a single decongestant that didn't contain some corn in one form or another, so he's making up a safe batch for me to keep on hand. If I can take that immediately on the first sign of ear congestion, I can probably keep the massive dizziness at bay. Better still to avoid the corn, but that's quite a trick. I keep encountering in places I thought were safe. (My favorite brand of dark chocolate suddenly has both milk powder and vanilla (corn) in it. Ick.)

I must be getting old. Most of my posting lately is about our various medical conditions. :(

Oh well, it was time I hit the shower anyway. The kitchen is clean(ish) the dishes are done and the laundry is washed. I have just enough time to scrub the old bod before the guys get home from their exertions.

Maye I'll get some great photos today and find something to talk about. :) See you tomorrow, I hope!

21 March 2011


In looking over my attempts at photography over the last couple of weeks, I am struck that there is a reason I had been unable to get a usable shot.

I couldn't (can't) stand still. I sway a lot lately, as I spin with my head in an attempt to not fall over. And even when I am propped against a support, my hands are trembling.

So, as my head clears, perhaps I wil get better photos. (I hope.)
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19 March 2011

Non Toxic Self Care

A few weeks ago, I gave a Free Skool pressentation on Non Toxic Self care. I thought, since I'd done the research, that I might as well share it here. I ope it helps you.

As it happens, non-toxic self care is not only healthier, but also can be a lot less expensive than using manufacturers offerings. I prefer to avoid those anyway, because even if you painstakingly select a product from a reputable small manufacturer with known safe ingredients, the product’s ingredients can and may change without any notice. Mega-corp tries not to let the word get out when they buy out a green” competitor – they’re buying that good reputation and they don’t want to spoil it. But then they feel free to change the ingredients to make it less expensive...often making it more toxic at the same time.

Many of the ingredients they are likely to put in to reduce cost without hampering effectiveness are linked to cancer, birth defects, reproductive disorders, heart disease, liver disease and lung disease. Several are also endocrine disruptors.

They include:
Butyl Acetate: keeps nail polish from chipping
Butylate Hydroxytoluene: prevents colors from fading and changing too quickly
Coal Tar: dissolves dead skin cells and controls itching used in shampoo and hair dye
Cocamide/Lauramide DEA: causes foaming in shampoo and bath products
Formaldehyde: disinfectant and preservative in deodorant, nail polish, soap, shampoo,
Diazolidinyl Urea: helps the disinfectants (like formaldehyde) work
Ethyl Acetate: liquid in nail polish, mascara, tooth whitening, perfume
Parabens: preservatives that don't allow bacteria to grow in your cosmetics
Petrolateum (Petroleum): makes lipsticks shine, creams smooth, and softens skin
Treithanolamine: keeps cosmetics from clumping
Triclosan: prevents bacteria from growing in your cosmetics, soaps, or deodorants
Toluene: liquid part of nail polish and hair dye makes it stick and look glossy
Talc: absorbs moisture and prevents powders like eye shadow, blush, deodorant from clumping
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: helps the cosmetics stick to your skin
Propylene glycol: keeps products from melting when it is too hot or freezing when it is too cold
Phthalates: keeps color and scents dissolved in the nail polish, perfume, hair spray and others

I focused on the top most used 15 cosmetics, which include:

Body wash/soap, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, toner, acne cream, body lotion, face moisturizer, sun screen, hair de-tangler/conditioner, deodorant, and toothpaste.

Some of these recipes I use. Those I have marked with an asterisk*. Others I have no need for, but since I was teaching a class for young folk, I included some recipes I'd found on line for their concerns.

Body care

Body wash
Use a pure castile soap* or castor oil with baking soda

Shaving cream

Use pure castile soap

Body lotion
2 parts coconut oil 1 part jojoba oil 1 part olive oil (for dry skin or winter) *
Essential oils (optional)

Essential oils: lavender* or rosemary, dissolved in a bit of jojoba oil

Dental care

Baking soda* and hydrogen peroxide

I still use a sensitive tooth toothpaste, but I use baking soda once a week or so to really clean my teeth

Mouthwash/pre-brush rinse *
1 cap water
1 cap hydrogen peroxide
1 drop tea tree oil for prebrush or peppermint for mouthwash
Swish for a few minutes before or after brushing. Make this up as you go because the peroxide loses effectiveness after a while when combined with other things and exposed top light and air.


1 tsp of baking soda to 1 cup of water
Pour over wet hair and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse. Follow with vinegar hair rinse. If you use only one, use the vinegar -- baking soda is too alkaline and will ruin your hair if not neutralized.

Hair conditioner *
2 tbp of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water
Essential oils (optional): 1 drop
Pour over wet hair and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse.

Hair detangler/ Conditioner*
2 tablespoon jojoba oil
2 cups of water
10 drops Ylang Ylang 10 drops rosemary (for dark hair) or lemon (for blondes) essential oil.
Pour into a spray bottle that has a fine mist setting and spray on as needed.

Hair spray
Boil 1-tablespoon sugar in one-cup hot purified water, adding three to five drops of essential oil. Store the hair spray in a spray bottle in a cool and dry place and use within a week. Wash the nozzle of the bottle after each use to avoid clogging. Do not touch your hair until the spray dries.

Hair Mousse
Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon plain gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Let sit at room temperature until slightly set. Rub into hair (dry or wet), and blow dry.

Moisturizing hair mask
Mash together 1 medium avocado and 2 tablespoons of honey.
Massage into your hair and cover with a shower cap and a warm towel.
Leave for 20-30 minutes.
Rinse hair thoroughly with warm water and then with vinegar.

Facial Care

Face wash
Dry skin 1 part castor oil 1 part olive oil 1 part jojoba oil *
Oily skin 2 parts castor oil 1 part jojoba oil “
Normal skin 1 part castor oil 1 part jojoba oil

Pure witch hazel* tisane (no alcohol) or mild vinegar and water

1 part coconut oil
1 part jojoba oil
½ part olive oil (for dry skin or winter)
Essential oils (optional): lavender, neroli, myrrh, frankincense)

Facial mask
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons honey
10 drops of almond oil

Whip the ingredients together until a creamy consistency is achieved.

Zit cream
whip egg white with a drop of myrrh oil.
When it’s stiff, put a bit on the pimple and let it dry.
For black heads, peel it off.
For whiteheads or pimples, rinse with warm water.

Sun screen
wear a hat!

Facial scrub*
baking soda and water or castor oil

Lip Moisturizer
2 parts coconut oil
½ part jojoba oil
½ part olive oil (for dry skin or winter)
Essential oils (optional)

Essential Oils for Facial Care
Normal Skin
Carrier Oils: almond, apricot, hazelnut Additions: borage seed, evening primrose, jojoba Essential Oils: carrot, German chamomile, geranium, fennel, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, lemon, neroli, palmarosa, rose

Dry to Normal Skin
Carrier Oils: almond, apricot, avocado, olive oil, wheatgerm Additions: borage seed, evening primrose, jojoba
Essential Oils: carrot, German chamomile, geranium, lavender, neroli, palmarosa, patchouli, rose, rosemary, sandalwood.

Oily to Normal Skin
Carrier Oils: almond, apricot, grapeseed, hazelnut Additions: borage seed, evening primrose Essential Oils: carrot, German chamomile, cypress, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, palmarosa, pettigrain, rosemary,

Antiaging essential oils to combat wrinkles: carrot, German chamomile, clary sage, fennel, frankincense, lavender, lemon, lime, myrrh, neroli, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, rosemary, thyme

Antiaging Additions: borage seed, evening primrose

Essential Oils for Hair Care

Normal Hair
Carrier Oils: almond, borage, evening primrose
Essential Oils: carrot, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, rosemary

Dry Hair
Carrier Oils: almond, avacado, borage, cocoa butter, jojoba, sesame
Essential Oils: birch, carrot, geranium, lavender, palmarosa, rosemary, sandalwood

Oily Hair
Carrier Oils: borage, evening primrose, sesame
Essential Oils: basil, birch, cedarwood, clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, rosemary, sage, thyme

Hair Loss Essential Oils: basil, birch, carrot, Roman chamomile, clary sage, cypress, lemon, palmarosa, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, ylang ylang

Dandruff Essential Oils: basil, birch, carrot, cedarwood, cypress, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, lemon, rosemary, sage, tea tree, thyme

A Basic Self Care Kit can be built with: Baking Soda Apple Cider Vinegar, Jojoba oil, Castor oil Coconut oil, Witch hazel (look fore an alcohol-free brand, or make your own), Hydrogen peroxide, Essential oils (optional) Eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, lavender are our standbys

Learn more:

Skin Deep Cosmetics databse: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/

Campaign for safe cosmetics: http://www.safecosmetics.org/

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics DIY recipes http://www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=233#face

Eden Organic Beauty Recipes http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/browse.php?categories_id=4

17 March 2011


The photo not withstanding, it seems spring has arrived. It got up to 65F or so today, the box elder beetles are getting aggressively annoying, and we have our seeds, so yes, spring is here.

Sadly, I haven't been well placed to appreciate it just yet. It's a pity--as I saw signs of spring approaching, I so wanted to get out there and capture the transformation for my 365 project.

On Monday, though, just before spring arrived in earnest, I got hit with the same overwhelming vertigo that made such a mess of my summer two years ago.

I called Rod to rescue me from work and then I barely made it to the ladies room in time to avoid making a real mess. I later had cause to ponder the fact that if there is any advantage to giving birth in a hospital, it is that it cleanly removes any modesty one may have harboured up until then. It came up as a knelt in the grassy median in front of Kroger and a whole lot of traffic, losing everything I had eaten to that point. Ick. But I noticed wrly that I felt sick, but not embarrssed.

At first I was worried that it would get as bad and go as long as it did in '09, but this time the queasiness was spaced to allow me to take something to clear the congestion in my ears. By Tuesday I was able to get around again. I am still on a walker when I leave the house, but I think the worst was over almost immediately.

Jack and I both wondered at about the same time whether this is some extreme reaction to corn. That's my suspicion since I had no signs of viral (or any other) infection.

However my pain is gone and I am recovering my balance, so if the small amount of corn in the medicine doesn't cause a setback, I hope to get back intom photography, blogging, and life tomorrow. (It's Ostara this weekend, so I have tomorrow off work.)

Good night everyone! <3

Misti's 365 Project: Day 62

Misti's 365 Project: Day 61

14 March 2011

Corn allergies

I came across a t-shirt recently that I think sums up the problem with corn sensitivities pretty well. On the fron, it says "What's the problem with corn sensitivity?" and on the back, it has a long list of the naes unsder which corn can appeear on pingredients lists.

I also want to post my list of souyrces for informatio about corn sensitivity. If you know of others, please add them in comments.





13 March 2011

Pancakes and dinner biscuits

1/3 cup coconut flour = 56g = 2oz
1/4 tsp salt = 1g
1/4 tsp baking powder* = 1g
1/4 cup coconut oil (melt if solid) = 56g = 2oz
1/4 cup maple syrup* = 125g = 4.4oz
4 large eggs (233 g or 8.2 oz without shells)

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder thoroughly in a small bowl
Whisk eggs, oil, and syrup together in a medium sized bowl
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk thoroughly.

We use a small 1/4 cup ladle in a medium-hot well-oiled skillet to make 8 pancakes. Your regular pancake instincts will tell you when to flip them. (Basically, when the top side has ceased to look runny -it is still shiny though- they are ready to flip... the air bubbles may or may-not make it through.... haven’t worked out why yet.

They are not quite as durable as their wheat-based cousins, but they are good eating. *We use half the syrup (2 tablespoons) because that’s plenty sweet enough for our palates. We can and do swap syrup for honey on occasions.

I’ve included weights because I always work better with weights.

Coconut Pancakes

Paleo Dinner Bread

(pictured above)
Preheat oven to 405°F (210°C)

1/3 cup coconut flour = 56g = 2oz
1/4 tsp salt = 1g
1/4 tsp baking powder* = 1g
1/4 cup coconut oil (melt if solid) = 56g = 2oz
2 tbsp Honey = 63g = 2.2oz
4 large eggs (233 g or 8.2 oz without shells)
1 cup almond flour = 113g = 4oz

Mix the coconut flour, salt and baking powder thoroughly in a small bowl
Whisk eggs, oil, and syrup together in a medium sized bowl
Add the coconut flour mix to the wet ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Place (dry) stoneware cookie sheet(s) in the oven 5 minutes before your batter is done.
Add 1 cup almond flour to the batter (keep adding ‘till batter is fairly firm)
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and oil it.
Dollop batter onto hot, oiled cookie sheet (about 6 per sheet)
Bake for about 10 minutes (until the edges turn dark brown and the top is dry).
You’ll need a spatula to lift these from the sheet. Serve hot.

*baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp arrowroot flour

Getting in a gardening groove

The seeds should have been ordered weeks ago, but they weren't, so in amongst everything else this weekend, we're selecting seeds and poutting together our soil amendments order.

We're taking a slightly different approach this year. We're rearranging the beds again, and now that Rod sees the point to the amendments, we're going to try to do our best by all of the beds rather than having one or two brought up to my standards and the rest getting just a taste of nutrients. Fortunately, many of the nutrients don't need to be applied every year, so I can focus on the weakest beds and just add the every year stuff the the older, better nourished beds.

Valerie, you had asked about what we were using, so I figured I'd give our list for this year:

Azomite rock dust
Planters II rock dust
Kelp meal
Blood meal
Bone meal
Worm castings
Fish bone meal
Green sand
Soft rock phosphate

*Compost and alfalfa make up the bulk of the amendments and the others are applied in a much more limited amount. The procide both minerals and organic matter to keep the soil thriving.
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12 March 2011

My new dress

Got a new dress from Lakehouse Loft! I love it -- as I do al of Julie's designs.

Oh, and life isn't bad anymore. Just busy. Maybe tomorrow?

09 March 2011

Sara at almost two weeks.

Can you tell why Grandma is completely in love?

Still out...

I thought I'd be back by now. Sadly, I'm not.

Damned corn is everywhere and I am in so much pain I can barly walk.

Last week, after I switched back to the safe vitamins, I started to feel better -- and then I felt worse. Much worse.

Come to find out, two more of my "not from the doctor" vitamin tablets had corn in forms I am less familiar with.

Coincidently, my work computer was down most of the day yesterday and I spent a lot of time sitting at my desk, trying to stay (or at least look) busy while I waited for it to be repaired.

My eyes happened to alight on the corn toxin list I keep posted above my desk. (But don't use as often as I should.)

I had casually checked all of my vitamins when I discovered the corn in the vitamin D, but I didn't see any corn that I recognized in any of the others.

Yesterday, in gazing at the corn toxins list, I noticed a whole bunch of calcium sourced in corn -- including the one in the calcium tablet I have been taking. So, I checked more carefully. Come to find out, the garlic tablet also has an unfamiliar form of corn.

No wonder I hurt!

But I have stopped poisoning myself and I should feel better in the next three or four days and be able to get back to blogging and photography.

I'm glad I gave myself permission to get back on track with my 365 project if I missed some days. I'm a week behind, but if I give up, I stop learning. So, I am going to download the photos hiding on my camera and get back out there...as soon as I can walk without agony.

On the bright side of life, I have gotten some pictures of Sara and Corey. I am thrilled to have them and to see more of sweet Sarana -- and eager to print them up and start scrapbooking them!!

I hope to post more tomorrow - at least photos. If I can think clearly and stop whinging, maybe even a real post.

Meanwhile, I hope you have GREAT day!

02 March 2011

Welcome, March! Glad you're back!

We just got word from Makita that she and Joel are expecting twins on September 18! Twins run in Makita's side of the family, so it's perhaps not as surprising as we first thought -- and since Makita's mother has been there, she probably has lots of good advice.

Being twins, and being as they are due before her 21st birthday, Rod and I are speculating that they'll come in August sometime. Hurray! Congratulations Joel and Makita (and Tjamu Rod!).

I'm a bit behind on the 365 project again-- I have taken a few photos, but the one I posted is the only usable one. That's the problem with trying to grab the occasional one as I rush from hither to yon -- most are out of focus and too dark. I'll have to really focus on that for the next few days. What I need to do is go for a walk at lunch time and get some unhurried photos while there is still light -- but I haven't been.

Meanwhile, I have started playing with Adobe Elements. Playing with the light and contrast really made the roots stand out in this one. I like that! Now I have to find some tutorials in written, not video, form.

The seed catalog is open and a gazillion pages are marked. We starting to get our order ready and plan this year's garden. I had planned to do a lot of winter sewing, but...oh well. In three weeks, I will start my seeds under lights -- now to decide what we'll start! (Exciting times!)

Oh, and to my close friends, my e-mail is down for the time being. I'll be back in a day or two. Meanwhile, try my gmail if it can't wait. ;)

Misti's 365 Project: Day 54