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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Busy Person's Guide to Making the World a Better Place:

The world’s been looking a bit shabby lately...

Here’s six quick and easy ways to make the world a better place:

1) Do some surveys for charity!  After you sign up you can do quick surveys that will contribute .50 per survey to the charity of your choice.


2) Amazon Smile.   If you’re shopping anyway (hello, addicted to Amazon) you might as well sign up to Amazon Smile, who will contribute 0.5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice.  

3) Ask for donations for your birthday instead of gifts.  I just signed up to www.charitywater.org and aim to raise $38 (my age if you MUST know this July) and I will do 38 push-ups on camera if I make it to my goal.  That gives one person access to clean water - 100% of proceeds go to the water project and they will send me an update after 3 months of my donation, and a final conclusion about 15 months after that.

4) Plant a flower.  Or a herb.  Or a fruit.  Or a vegetable.  Making your own yard a prettier place not only benefits you but anyone who happens by.  (Not to mention the bees and those pretty butterflies…)

5) Have compassion for yourself.  Once you’re filled up with love its hard to keep it from spilling on others. 

6) Donate old clothes to charity.  You don’t THROW OUT old clothes do you!?  No, no no!  There’s always people who will need used clothing at a discounted price.  Like ME, ha ha.  Just kidding.  Not really.  I especially love buying used jewelry.  You go ahead and pay $40 for that necklace.  I’ll buy it from the second hand shop in three years when you’re bored of it for #5.  I’m cool with that.  Think about donating some socks too, apparently the homeless need socks more than anything else.  

*You can also donate used dog leashes, collars, food dishes, and yoga mats to animal       shelters for an easy 'feel good' errand.*

7) There's usually a bin for food banks at your local grocery store, it doesn't take a lot of money or effort to buy an extra jar of peanut butter and drop it in on your way by.

Feeling good yet?  Did you know some studies that look at brain activity when people are giving show the same areas lighting up as when we do drugs and eat chocolate?  It’s true.  That good feeling isn’t just in your head.  Well, it is, but it’s real.  

Next time you’re feeling down, look around to see what you can do for someone else.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by, well, the pleasant feelings that arise.

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to leave the world a better place, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson.









Sunday, March 19, 2017

Parents Survival Guide 1.0

What to do when your morning starts and you’ve already been up for hours with a screaming, teething baby?

1) Hide in your room until your toddler starts scream crying.  Crying is ok.  Screaming is ok.  Once it hits scream-cry level though you better go throw some cheerios at her.  Or let Nana who’s visiting worry about it, whatever.                             

2) It’s ok to mix Prozac, Red Bull and melted chocolate chips you’ve culled form the couch cushions into your morning coffee to get you through the morning.

  1. TV may rot their brains but think of all the trauma you will avoid by not losing your sanity and going totally fruit loops on them.   
        1. Positive affirmations:
    Teething is temporary
     Sleeping is overrated
     Toddler tantrums will eventually go away, although they will be worse on the days you haven't slept more than 20 mins.
     There is Kindergarden
     There is wine

3) Don’t make any decisions right now.  They’re too hard.  Just wear pajamas to bed that will double as ‘going outside clothes’.  Bonus if they’re not crusty with spit-up and broken dreams.

4) If nana and papa are around, tell them you’re going to pee, sneak out the back door and then RUN LIKE HELL.  Come back a few hours later and pretend you thought they knew they were babysitting.

5) Sugar is back on the menu.

6) Dessert after breakfast is back on the menu

7) Ipad during breakfast is back on the menu

8) McDonalds is back on the menu

9) PBS is supposed to be watched for hours on end, if not someone would have told you.

10) Lastly but not leastly, don’t let them sense your wretched exhaustion.  They can smell weakness and will pounce on that like a lion one meal away from starvation.  Fake it.

There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”
Ralph Waldo Emmerson.











Saturday, March 11, 2017

Holding Your Kids Above the Swirling Waters of Your Flaws...one minute at a time

Welcome to my new regular session called “You Know You’re Having Fun When..”

Your four month old is teething so you’re carrying him everywhere in an effort to keep him calm (but he’s crying anyway) and you’re trying to put the groceries away one handed (and you’re clumsy enough with TWO hands) and the blueberry container falls to the floor and spills open scattering plump juicy blueberries all over your kitchen floor and your two year old is stomping around singing ‘squish, squish, squishing the bluueeeeberries…’’  While grinding them into the kitchen floor.

My life is a bliss cupcake on top of a triple layer awesomeness cake.  

And sometimes it’s a carnival freak show-slide where I’m bracing against the slippery sides of an inevitable drop.

I thought my week couldn’t get any worse until the battery died in the truck 45 minutes from Galveston this weekend in the pouring rain.  Why we wanted to go in the pouring rain in the first place is besides the point.

Luckily (or unluckily…) we were at a McDonalds so I gathered the kids and waited inside drinking bad coffee and eating soggy pancakes.  Bill opted to wait outside (in the rain) trying to flag down someone to give us a jump.  After about an hour he managed to jumpstart the truck and then lock the keys inside.

Yes.  Locking the keys in the now running truck.  One step forward, two steps back.

The ONLY reason I don’t have a picture of him shoving a straightened wire coat hanger into the door in the pouring rain while a kind stranger pried open the top with a crowbar is because…my phone was locked in the truck too.

And THEN…Ellie got sick.  Again.  And Ben started teething.  (Cue drooling, gnawing on anything he can get in his mouth, and epic crankiness…)

And then I found this 5 minute meditation on the Insight Timer app I use and it said EVERY MOMENT we have a purpose and we can live with integrity and courage.  Every moment matters.  For some reason that comforted me.

And THEN the fortune in my fortune cookie was…’Heroism is endurance for one moment more’.

And THEN I thought…is parenting heroic?  I never thought so, the most mundane of things isn’t it?  To be a parent?  Parents are blessed, certainly, but are they hero's?

You know what?  YES.  There IS a heroism in striving to hold your temper, your patience, and your good humor when you’re lacking sleep, a good hot meal, and everyone (even the dog) is crying and you’re just trying to put THE DAMN BLUEBERRIES IN THE FRIDGE ALREADY.

So, yeah.  There is a heroism in parenting because there is a striving.  You’re trying to be a better person than you really are, in the hopes eventually you can stop faking it and BE that person.  You do this for your kids.  Because you hope they won’t have your flaws.  

And if, like me, you’re not sure if you can make it through one more day without losing your cool, the good news is, you don’t have to.  You just have to make it through the minute you’re in right now.

I also believe that parents, if they love you, will hold you up safely, above their swirling waters, and sometimes that means you'll never know what they endured.  Mitch Albom.












Sunday, March 05, 2017

Almond Milk Myth Confirmed and Other Odd Things I'm Up To

Experiment: Make my own almond milk at home and see if it's true what I've heard, commercial almond milk has more water than almonds.

Data:  It takes 40 almonds to make a half gallon of almondmilk.  (Says the HEB organics unsweetened vanilla flavor almond milk I usually buy at HEB).

My almond milk recipe called for one cup of almonds to 4 cups of filtered water.  So, 104 almonds (yep I counted) and that made 16 OZ of milk.

Myth:  Commercial almond milk as more water than almonds.  CONFIRMED.  

I’m not great at math but 40 almonds for 64 ounces vs 104 almonds for 16 ounces says….yep this myth be confirmed as fact.

So, next step is to check the price on the almonds verses the price of the milk.

It TASTED much better.  Like a milkshake vs regular milk.  And as someone who doesn’t really like milk (and milk doesn’t really like her) almond milk is a perfect alternative.  Creamy and sweet without the poo issues after.  (Yes poo issues!)

Also, I’ve been watching documentaries again.  And although I won’t be turning into a vegan a-la the documentary Vegucated, I did find out some things that make me pause. 

FIRST let me say ice cream is my favorite food.  I love ice cream like Trump loves drama.  That’s a LOT.  

So, apparently, and why I never really thought about this before amazes me, in order to get milk from the cows, the cows have to be pregnant.  So, every three years or so they get a milking cow pregnant, after 48 hours TAKE AWAY HER BABY and then attach her to a machine so she can make milk for us.  If they wait to take the calf any longer they get 'trouble from the cow'.  Well, yeah.

So.  If I hadn’t been feeding MY OWN BABY milk at the same time I was watching this, maybe it wouldn’t have affected me so much.

And I know what most people will say - they’re just animals.  Some might even say they’re put on earth for us.  But, they’re sentient beings.  And I’m taking away their children so I can eat ice cream.

I think, back a hundred years ago most families had a cow or access to cow.  And once they had their baby, we could take milk for our families too and there’s plenty for everyone.  

Same goes for killing chickens for supper and eating their eggs for breakfast.  On a small farm, you could do these things humanely.

The problem, at least in my humble view, is when we try to force these processes into a commercial factory - a factory process made for efficiency and mass productivity.  

Then the process becomes cruel, inhumane, and really just awful.  Its awful for the living, breathing animals stuck in a process made for mass producing car parts and lawn equipment, and awful for the people they draft to work in the slaughterhouses, in the dark, suffocating chicken coops.

Anyway, will I never eat ice cream again?  I can’t imagine a life without ice cream.  So far I have not.  I am looking for alternatives.  If I can find a dairy-free ice cream alternative I like just as much, and where I know I don’t have to participate in the awful process of separating a living being from their offspring, that would be best.

Maybe I’ll get my own cow and make my own ice cream…

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”  Paul and Linda McCartny.