Some pics...

Tupperware makes good hats.
Cuddles with Donkey

His "funny face."

Banana Muffins

What better way to use overripe bananas
than in this super-easy recipe!


4 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (flour white or whole wheat)


Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg and butter together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Mix wet and dry ingredients together. Pour into greased or silicone baking cup lined muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees F oven for approximately 20 minutes.


Eating Defensively

A few months ago when I watched too much tv when we were sick I saw a commercial where a mom asked her daughter if she wanted to bake muffins. She then proceded to take out a plastic tube and scoop some gloopy stuff out of it into muffin pans and then bake said gloop. Although the commercial was bright and cheerful, (possibly to make people not think about how gross it is) I couldn't help but be grossed out by it. Several questions come to mind after watching this ad. 1. Why are people teaching their children that food comes out of plastic tubes? What happened to real food? 2. Why aren't people taking the time to bake with real ingredients with their children? Seriously, it takes a few more minutes to make real muffins than gloop muffins. It's not that hard.

Anyways, speaking of real food, I like this blog post from Anna at http://www.freshorganicliving.com/:

It used to be that just finding enough food of any kind to eat was the human dilemma. It still is for billions of people today. But in most affluent nations, having too little isn’t the problem; having too much and, in particular, having more food-like items that aren’t either very nutritious or safe, is becoming an increasing problem.

If you look at the layout of a typical supermarket, the produce is usually on one side, the meat on the opposite side and in between, there are acres of canned, packaged and highly processed items that humans were never exposed to until recently. Today, highly refined, chemical preservative and pesticide laden, nutritionally poor and genetically modified food-like substances are grossly over represented in most large scale food stores. How this has happened is that these food-like substances typically don’t spoil, are made from ingredients heavily subsidized by our government and have a much higher profit margin than real food. Plus, worst of all for parents, they taste good.

My hero of this issue is Michael Pollan. If you haven’t already read his books: In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, (winner of the James Beard Award), and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, (named one of the ten best books of the year), then may I suggest that they will forever transform how you view food. His new book ‘Food Rules’ is now in bookstores and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

One of his comments about how to choose a healthy diet was so elegant that I must share it with you. I’m paraphrasing here a bit, but he says that if the food you’re considering wasn’t around when your grand parents were, then it’s probably not a good choice to eat. For me, my grandparents, who lived on a farm in Germany, that excludes virtually any packaged, processed or commercially canned food. For younger people, they may have to look back to their great grand parents to reach the time when humans were eating a non-commercially modified diet.

With the recent information about the dangers of BPA and it’s prevalence in commercially canned food, now you have to worry not only about the quality of the food that you buy, but how it is packaged. Bisphenol -A is a chemical that is used to make plastics hard, clear and resistant to breakage. It is also used in the lining of canned food products. It leaches into liquids in canned food and at present, there is no real alternative available. BPA is linked to breast cancer, male reproductive dysfunction, autism, obesity, infertility, miscarriages, prostrate problems and cancer.

To be safe, I’ve switched to glass containers for tomatoes, juices, using dried rather than canned beans and making my own soups from scratch. My larder now has rows of glass jars filled with colorful beans, lentils, peas, whole grains, oats, nuts and flours. If you still drink canned or bottled soda or juices, there are dangers of BPA leakage in those items as well. The good news is that frozen fruits and vegetables are nutritionally superior to canned and sometimes even to fresh. The long distance that most fresh foods are shipped causes a dramatic loss of vitamins, whereas most frozen foods are packaged within hours of being picked and their nutrients protected. I’m also finding more organic fruits and vegies available in frozen form and sometimes they are a better deal than buying what’s fresh in the local market.

Another great book to help us figure out what we’re up against is “Genetically Engineered Foods: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers” by Ronnie Cummins and Ben Lilliston. Genetically Engineered food is a huge subject and one that deserves careful scrutiny by all of us, but I urge you to seek out the facts yourself. As far as I can tell, genetically modified crops have not fulfilled their promise of providing greater yields with fewer pesticides but have increased our reliance on pesticides and ‘chemi-culture’. Sterile GE crops have been accused of contributing to the global food crisis and also contaminating non-genetically engineered crops world wide.

Perhaps the worst fact of genetically modified food is that there still is no legal requirement to inform us when GE ingredients are being used. Without this information being tracked, there simply is no way to know what the long term health consequences are. In Robyn O’Briens powerful book “The Unhealthy Truth” more of the consequences of our genetically modified diets are exposed. She examines research that links genetically modified foods to multiple health disorders and the increased prevalence of serious childhood illnesses. It begs the question, how can we protect ourselves from dangers that aren’t even acknowledged or made public?

It seems we do need to eat defensively, and shop with a view of protecting our families from unwanted chemical contamination. To learn more of what you can do, check out a favorite blog of mine at Healthy Child Healthy World.


Pancake Syrup


1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. water
1 tbsp. butter
Dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla


Mix brown sugar, water, butter, and salt in saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few weeks.


What's On Your Skin?

I'm all about natural skin and body care. Especially during the past few years I've really been reading labels and looking into the safety of products my family and I use. Ever wonder what that strange-sounding ingredient in your face cream is?
There are many suspect chemicals found in personal care and household products. This list is from the Fresh Organics website.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Most commonly used foaming ingredient in shampoos & toothpaste
Can cause damage to the immune system
Commonly contaminated with carcinogenic dioxane
Can cause permanent eye damage – without getting in eyes
Denatures skin oils – skin irritant with serious drying effect
Penetrates to systemic tissues such as heart, liver, brain

Methyl, Ethyl, Propyl or Butyl Paraben

Most widely used preservatives in Personal Care
Accumulates in the tissues of the body over time
Mimics the action of the female hormone estrogen
Detected in human breast tumors
May affect development of the male reproductive system

Imidazolidinyl Urea and Diazolidinyl Urea

The most commonly used preservatives after the parabens
Primary cause of contact dermatitis
Releases formaldehyde (see below)

Bisphenol (BPA)

Found in certain hard plastics and is released into any liquid that comes into contact with it.
An endocrine disruptor that mimics the body`s own hormones and can cause permanent reproductive harm.
Builds up in the body so that long term low dose exposure can induce chronic toxicity.


Used in synthetic rubber and are also released by certain preservatives used in cosmetics.
Has been linked to Alzheimer`s, Parkinson`s and Type 2 diabetes.
Is a known carcinogen, linked to bladder, brain and spinal cancers

2-bromo2 nitopropane 1,3 diol (also known as Bronopoll)

Can break down into formaldehyde
Can form nitrosamines which are carcinogenic


Not listed on labels but released by the following preservatives:
* 2-bromo-2nitropropane-1,3-diol
* Diazolidinyl urea
* DMDM hydantoin
* Imidazolidinyl urea
* Quaternium 15.
Also found in:
* Permanent press sheets
* Mattress foams
* Nail polish and hardener
* Building materials
Known carcinogen and neurotoxic - linked to leukemia, pancreatic, skin, lung, and liver cancer; banned in Canada and Japan but determined safe to use in U.S. cosmetics
Skin, eye and respiratory irritant
Can cause insomnia, coughing, headaches, skin rash, nose bleeds and nausea

Cocamide DEA

Foaming agent
Clear evidence of carcinogenicity
Disrupts hormone balance
Causes yeast infections
Causes contact dermatitis and skin irritations - Dandruff
Produces cancer-causing nitrates and nitrosamines
Note that all of the following may contain DEA:
* Cocamide MEA
* DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
* DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
* Lauramide DEA
* Linoleamide MEA
* Myristamide DEA
* Oleamide DEA
* Stearamide MEA
* TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
* Triethanolamine


Not listed on labels but present in many artificial colors and fragrances. Also present in PVC plastics - especially flexible pvc sometimes used in teething rings.
Known to be a hormone disrupter for both sexes
Associated with diminished fertility and genital birth defects
May have links to breast cancer

Triethanolamine (TEA)

Often used to adjust the pH
Causes allergic reactions
Severe eye irritant
Drying to the skin
Reacts with nitrites to form carcinogenic nitrosamines

Petroleum Bi-products (Mineral Oil, Petrolatum)

Inexpensive oil substitute
Reduces the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins
Interferes with the body’s natural moisturizing system
Passes through liver & sequesters fat soluble vitamins
Known to be comedogenic – acne causing
Increases photosensitivity - promotes sun damage
Accelerates aging

Propylene and Ethylene & Polyethylene Glycol

Solvents, also a kind of alchohol
Many industrial uses including anti-freeze
Used in personal/baby care, hand sanitizers, toothpaste & cosmetics
Also used as a carrier for artificial fragrance
Can cause allergies, dermatitis, drying to skin
Reported to cause kidney and liver damage
Linked to throat & tongue cancer in mouthwash

PEG’s (Synthetic Polyethylene Glycol)

Powerful solvent - dissolves proteins
Accelerates aging
Potentially carcinogenic

Isopropyl, Ethyl, Cetyl or SD 40 Alcohols

Severely drying to the skin
Changes Ph balance
Accelerates aging
Can cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression.

Artificial Colors - (FD&C Colors)

Made from coal tar and petroleum
Often contain impurities like lead acetate
Toxic to the nervous system.
Known allergens, irritants - some known carcinogens.

Artificial Fragrances aka parfum, perfume...

Made from coal tar and petroleum
Can involve as many as 600 separate chemicals, some of which are carcinogenic, such as methylene chloride
May contain or release formaldehyde
Can cause allergies, skin irritation, headaches and nausea
Musk fragrance, xylene, is hormone-disrupting
Can trigger asthma attacks


An antimicrobial agent used in many hand washes
Registered as a pesticide with EPA
Hormone disrupting agent
Produces chloroform when mixed with chlorinated water
Interferes with reproductive and sexual functions


Animal derived lubricant
Often causes allergic skin rashes
Can be contaminated with pesticides such as DDT, dieldrin and lindane which are carcinogenic and diazinon which is neurotoxic

Octyl Dimethyl PABA (Padimate-O)

A sunscreen
Can cause formation of nitosamines
Carcinogen suspect


Most common ingredient in baby bath & dusting powders
Is a known carcinogen.
Has been linked to ovarian cancer.

Aluminum (Pure Aluminum Powder)

Linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease;
Causes birth disorders in animals

Aluminum Chloride

Human endocrine disruptor linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
Causes brain disorders in animals

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a non-aluminum based deoderant that works for me. Any suggestions?

Wondering about the safety of that ingredient? Try EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.


Fun Pics

C-note loves it when Daddy makes a fort!
This guy's been coming by once in a while...

Doing homework

Telling Hailey what to do.

Talking on the flyer phone. "Hello? Hello? Nope, no one there."

Little artist