MyoBuddy Review

Whenever you purchase a property (farmland, house, townhome...) it should really come with a warning label....and a massage!! Home and land improvements are hard work!

We bought a farm last fall, and it has consistently kicked our butt every weekend since! So when I had the opportunity to review the MyoBuddy, I thought it was a great idea.

If you're like me, then you've probably tried every massage product available. Personally, I've had the most success with foam rollers and tennis balls - but that's because I'm pretty much stuck with my own two hands when I'm in need of muscular therapy and I really prefer deep tissue work.

The Myobuddy is best described as a belt sander - or auto detailer - for your body. It's powerful and able to cover a big distance in short time. 
The Myobuddy plugs into an outlet, but has a reasonably long cord so you don't have to be stuck to the wall to use it. It has multiple speeds, and (in my opinion) the top speed is best. 

It works and it works well. It's more on the line of a vigorous Swedish massage and not deep tissue, but that just so happens to be what my husband prefers. And I prefer using the myobuddy to spending hours wearing my hands out. It really worked great!

Even though it spins quickly, it didn't cause any hair pulling or discomfort. To be kind though, I wouldn't stay focused in any one area for too long - move it around! 

All-in-all, it was a great tool and one that I would recommend to others. 

*I received a complimentary MyoBuddy for review purposes. No compensation was received.

Making Your Own Chocolate Chips - a Head to Head Challenge

As I've grown older, my food knowledge has evolved. I've been a label reader for years, but it has taken me a long time to truly understand how the various "ingredients" effect our bodies and which ones to avoid. How scary is it that we even have to think about "avoiding" certain foods because their ingredients aren't good for us. Something is very wrong with that system!

And so....I have embarked on a renewed quest to "make our own" convenience food products. This week, I made chocolate chips for the first time. Next week, I'll be tackling tortillas.

The chocolate chips were surprisingly easy to make, and it was wonderful knowing what ingredients went into them and at what proportions! 

To make these - I melted 3 tablespoons of coconut oil (you could use cocoa butter or butter if you wanted) over a double boiler, then added 2 tablespoons of sugar, 6 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a sprinkle of salt and a splash of vanilla. 

I poured the mixture into silicone hot pads (they make great molds!!)

Then popped them into the freezer for a few minutes. Seriously, it was maybe 2 minutes and they were ready! 

The results:

I really liked them, but they were a bit bitter. They melted in your hands very quickly and were a nice chocolaty indulgence. The texture and consistency was just about right. 

In the future, I will keep the ratio the same 3T oil 8T dry ingredients but I will change the amount of cocoa powder down and add a bit more sugar.

This is all assuming you want to "eat" the chocolate chips (like candy). Actually, I made a few in a gummy bear mold that were awesome!! 

We usually use these for chocolate chip cookies, so I set up a head-to-head test with store bought chips.

I made the batter, then divided it in half. Then I measured out an equal portion of chips.
I baked them on the same pan at the same time so everything would be equal.
The homemade chips "spread" a lot more and did not hold their shape. But they tasted great. I could not tell a difference between the two cookies. 
Clean up was a little different story. The cookies with the homemade chocolate chips left more "oil" or "chocolatiness" behind on the pan. Is this a good or bad thing? It was a little messier to clean up, but I felt good knowing there wasn't random "soy" ingredients in my recipe.
 Absolutely worth making again - and much less expensive than store bought - plus I was aware of all the ingredients!!

Tortillas next....

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If you do anythign outdoors then you might want some #tiedownstraps

Over the past 6 months, we have been outside more than any other time in our life! That's because we bought a farm and have been busy fixing it up. Along with all that outdoor time, comes a lot of tools and equipment. The first thing we bought was a trailer and tie downs.

Tie down straps are essential! And they come in all different shapes and sizes. There are bungees, rachet straps, hook straps. This review is centered on these Tiger straps:

They are long and strong!! We usually use straps to tie down our atv, and this weekend we had to use straps to pull a bobcat out of the lake!! Holy smokes. For our usual work, we wouldn't need a strap that is as strong as the tiger straps (or as long) but I have found the perfect use for them. They helped us transport a huge corn crib (the length was awesome) and helped us cinch it back together once we found it's forever location. Awesome!

They are great straps. I would recommend them to others.

*I received a complimentary set of straps for review purposes. No compensation was received.

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What does your Bookshelf say about YOU?

A look into my book basket
What does your bookshelf say about you? Recently, my husband was preparing for a job interview and he worried they might ask, "what's the last book you've read?" He reads a lot, but not in book form - so the question worried him.

I, on the other hand, am a book wielding fiend! I have read a zillion books  (see my faves here) and my book basket is currently full of gems just waiting to be opened. My kindle currently has 250 unread books!! OMG! There are so many great books to read and so little time....

FYI - you can get the kindle app on any device for free. I have it on my samsung galaxy tablet and my iphone. I can rent books from our local library and download books from amazon. Some are free or there are often discount coupons that make them free.

Most of my books center around sustainable farming, spiritual enlightenment, human health, food, raising children, and war history. What kind of a person does that make me?

The "A Beginner's Guide to Reality" with the creepy bunny has been sitting at the top of my basket for awhile. What do people think when they see it? What does it make you think? I'll tell you what it means to me - it means I'm open to alternate possibilities. The world is not black and white. It may not even be real. It's definitely crazy. I like to see what other people have to say. I am looking forward to reading the "creepy bunny" book soon.

And to working my way through my kindle library....

Clean up your Water - Zero Water Review

Ever wonder about what's in your tap water? It's scary to think about - but the answers are quick to find. Almost every major municipality keeps their records open to the public and are just a quick google search away.

If you have a well, then it's a good idea to buy an inexpensive water testing kit and have a look.

We happen to have both scenarios. We live in the suburbs with a municipal tap (loaded with chlorine and fluoride, but low on contaminants) and we own a farm with well water.

The well is pretty clean, but does have higher than wanted levels of nitrates. That happens in farming communities. Even still, I am not one to want to drink any contaminants - in trace or large quantities, so I was more than happy to test out the Zero Water pitcher. It's a pour through pitcher that filters tap water directly. We are using this in our farm cabin. It takes a while for the water to filter - no big deal if you fill it up and walk away, but a bit irritating when you want a drink instantly. Just be prepared and you'll be happy with it.

The filters change to pinkish when they are filled up. I found that extremely useful for knowing when to actually change the filter. I've never been "sure" with other filtration systems.

The capacity was good, but I think I might look at one of the larger capacity Zero Water pitchers to have enough water on hand for the whole family.

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Beekeepers Outfit - The Best Way To Sell Honey

What does a beekeeper look like? Do you have an image in your mind? Me too. The crazy thing is - we are all wrong! I belong to two major beekeeping clubs with hundreds of members. And the group is extremely diverse.

When it comes to the outfit - some people tend their bees with no hats, veils, gloves, or suits. They just walk out and open the hive. No biggee. A lot of this depends on the type of bees. Russian bees are rumored to be aggressive (I'll check this out over the next few years and report back!) and Italian bees are said to be so docile that you could disturb the hive without any sort of protection.

Okay - but what about when you want to sell the honey? When I attend Farmer's Markets, I want to buy from THE farmer. Not from their middle men. Not from re-sellers. I want to meet the farmer.

As a farmer myself, I can tell you that while we are working, we are dirty. D.I.R.T.Y. There is no way around this - but at the market you want to clean up and still look the part.

So this is my Farmer's Market Beekeeping outfit.

I just feel bee-ish when I wear this dress. I may even pin a fuzzy bee on the lapel to make it fun. I got this dress from eShakti. They provide custom women's clothes. For example - I liked this dress and the standard measurements fit me fine, but I wanted to raise the hemline to just above the knees. So I asked for that - and they delivered. No extra charge. If I checked the measurements and found that I needed more/less in an area, they would adjust it. It's the perfect women's shopping solution.

The dress fits great. I love that it has waist detail and pockets!! I hope it will help me bring in big honey sales when we bring our products to the farmer's markets.

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Clean up your Garage - Make it the perfect workout space!

This is my ideal garage set up. Heavy weights - pull up bars/rings attached to the wall/ceiling - benches - machines - plenty of space. This is not what my actual garage looks like.

Since we bought a farm last fall, our garage is full of equipment - farm equipment!! Plus all the usuals of life. I have a gigantic pile of clothes and toys waiting to go to Goodwill. There are gardening tools galore. Cars, lawnmowers, atvs, trailers!, and so much more. It's actually pretty stressful. When spring rolls around, a lot of these items will make their permanent home at the farm.

And then we will have a semi-clean garage again. But why stop there. Sure, there isn't space to create the workout garage seen above - but there are ways to improve.

We received a small fasttrack basket to review. It will be very useful for organizing small pieces together and keeping them up off the ground. To really kick your garage into gear, you would need the rest of the fast track pieces. They have unique systems to hang up bikes, shovels, and of course workout gear. I am looking at some of the pieces for the shed we are building at the farm. That's the one major benefit of starting from scratch - you get to design the whole thing!

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Best Women's Holster for Concealed Carry AND gardening!! #mothersdaygift #womensholster #2ndamendment #rights

A garden pruners in the gun "spot" - works great for both!!
I spent a long time searching for the "perfect" gun holster. My husband prefers to wear a gun at the side of his hip, but I have never found hip holsters to be comfortable. I bend at the hips, and I bend a lot - so it never works out. 

Then there are the underarm and bra holsters.  They are unique - and work well. But it's inconvenient to get at your weapon. You have to dig into your shirt - under your arm or into your bra!!!  

This fall, we bought a farm, and I needed to pick up the pace on my holster hunt. We have black bears, coyotes, foxes, ground hogs, a lot of wildlife. I need to carry in case one of the bigger animals gets feisty! That's where the Belly Holster comes in. 

If you've ever worn one of the hip bands - to hold your phone, credit card, etc - then you probably have some concerns. I loved wearing my hip band all summer long because it meant I could go out in the world without having to carry a purse, and that means I had 2 hands at all time! Woo! But, since I do so much hip bending, the hip band would ride up my chest and become uncomfortable. It would ride up my back while driving and that was annoying.

The belly holster does not move around. It stays tight on my waist - always.

I have worn this with a few different guns and I have a strong opinion about what works and what doesn't.

What works:

  • The band stays tight and is fully adjustable so it fits comfortably even if you are tiny/big.
  • It fit my S&W shield, 38 special, and Ruger LC9
  • I could bounce around, do sommersaults, dance, roll, bend all over and the gun stayed put
  • It can be worn under a shirt or over a shirt
  • It's comfortable - at least on my body type (see photo above)
  • It also has room for a full size cell phone (mine is an iphone 6), a knife, a gun, and a credit card/ID/cash
  • It can be multi-purposed. I use it while gardening (see the pruners in the photo above!,) shopping, at theme parks and more. Think of it as a WAY better fanny pack
  • Everything stays in! The phone stays in, the knife stays in - everything! And it's easy to get them back out. My hip bands were always an awkward pain to get the phone back out.
What doesn't work:
  • It is not able to hold a full S&W M&P or larger guns. It is heavy when you wear a Shield size gun. But who really wants to carry a big gun.
  • It is awkward to walk around with extra weight in the front for Shield and heavier guns
  • The snap can fall in the trigger area depending on the gun used - to remedy this, I do not use the strap unless I am holding gardening tools. 
  • It prints - a lot. At the farm, I don't care who sees my weapons. It's a good reminder to leave me alone! But in public, you need to wear a really flowy top or coat to hide the weapon. This is better with the smaller guns like the 38 special and especially the LC9 (or LCP)
  • The band will get hot and sweaty in the summer. I haven't worn this in the summer yet, but since I've had a hip band for years, I know that tight bands make sweat....

All-in-all, this is the best holster I've ever used!! It's also great for gardening. I can not tell you how awesome it is to have a pruner/scissors/knife/phone with at all times but have it safely stored and the freedom to move (without having something fall from your pockets) and to have both hands free at all times! Priceless. 

If I didn't already own one, I would ask for it for Mother's day! 

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What is the REAL secret to weight loss and health? A trip down the rabbit hole

Health is always on my mind - and I wonder if it's something the majority of people even consider. As the chaos over the election continues to grind through our society, I can't help but wonder about the intelligence of my fellow citizens.

Health means Wellness. Wellness encompasses your physical, mental, and emotional fitness. Surely, those rioting in the streets and babbling incomprehensible tag-lines can not be mentally fit. They cry about inequality but how many of them have actually witnessed or inexperienced what that really looks and feels like. Do they know how to fix it!??

Poverty does not cause illness. But people who live in poverty are generally weak in spirit - meaning they often lack the knowledge or motivation to gain the knowledge to better their situation. That is cultural, generational, and nutritional. It is a learned and conditioned experience. I grew up in extreme poverty and saw full generations of it's effect. It's not about the money. If you throw money at people conditioned to live poorly, they will spend it quickly (on the items they've been conditioned to want!) and remain poor.

What they need is a change of conditioning. And that's not something the powers-that-be want to happen. It would  mean less consumers for their cheap garbage (food, clothes, music, trinkets, name it.) It would also mean less chaos and trouble to antagonize the rest of us with - to keep us in a constant state of distraction - so that none of the important work of improving the quality of our character can be fully executed.

Along those lines - it is important to constantly divide us. Women versus Men. White versus black. Russian versus American. Old versus Young. Christian versus Muslim.


We are not separate from each other. None of us. How we are different is in our programming - how we have been conditioned to behave, our level of awareness, willingness to work/change, and our inherent skills (which vary by interests/innate abilities - not race or gender.) All of these things can be changed!

We all have the potential to do better and be more. Emotional and Mental health can not be understated, but are so personal to our experiences (and the people that have shaped our lives) that they must be tackled individually.

Physical health is so important that it drives a substantial amount of our overall health and it's effects (good or bad) can spill into all other areas. And this is the issue that predominates so much of our daily news and conversations.

How can we have optimal physical health? This is where the rabbit hole begins. If you start to really ask this question, you will find yourself on a multi-decade quest through dubious science, conflicting information, and down-right sabotage.

It seems as though the "system" we have in place is designed to keep us from being physically well. I have been reading through this information for years and have learned to never read headline news or pay attention to "fads." I do, however, read many published studies. As a biochemist and former employee of the pharmaceutical industry, I know what to look for. Where are the scientists cheating? Fudging? Where are the biases? What are the intentions? It's nasty out there. And sometimes there's really good science.

If you want a peek at some very interesting takes on the science of physical health - I suggest you take a peek at a few of these blogs:

Denise Minger
Marks Daily Apple
Ray Peat
Free the Animal
Weston A Price Foundation

The reason I suggest these blogs is not because they have all the answers - but because these people are free-thinkers. They challenge the status quo - look into the science, and try their best to encourage better wellness for all. You will gain much by reading any of these sites. Keep in mind that we all start "somewhere." If you read through the history of these blogs (meaning, start at the beginning and keep going forward) you will see the evolution in each of these writers. They each started in different places, but they constantly progress.

You will never have all the the answers. You will never "solve" the issues of health & wellness, and you  may find a lot of conflicting information (even in really well designed science!) But you can derive pretty good hints at what's key.

I've been at this for years and have progressed in different stages. I do not have all the answers, but do know enough to have really good/continual wellness. I'll give you glimpse of my "keys to solving wellness."

  • We are all unique. Nothing works for everyone. Low-carb/Low Fat may help your friend and be detrimental to you. 
  • You must be open to experimentation. Try things. If they work, keep them. If they don't, ditch them.
  • Real Food should make up the majority of your intake. Real food is food that has not been changed from its original form. Potatoes versus potato chips. Milk from cows versus soy milk. Fruits versus fruit snacks. 
  • Make food that was grown under ethical standards (and in line with the organism's natural way of life) a priority. Pasture raised animals are raised in better accordance with their natural inclinations - and there are big differences in the macro/micronutrients of their flesh. Plants grown in mineral rich soils without the use of pesticides/herbicides/artificial fertilizers may provide better nutrition to your body.
  • Avoid pollution, concentrated chemicals, heavy metals, toxic fumes.
  • Move your body EVERY day. Motion is lotion for joints. It keeps your lymphatic system operating, and it keeps your mitochondria active!
  • Lift heavy things - and keep lifting heavy things for the rest of your life. This can mean weight lifting, body weight exercise, lifting beehives, gardening, and more! Make it fun and don't over do it. You do not have to constantly progress to higher and higher weights. You do need to lift heavy enough to maintain your strength - both bones and muscles!
  • Get outside. Get sunlight. Sunlight is important for eye health (see the studies in Thailand where children were exposed to sunlight in order to cure/reduce myopia!) Sunlight is important for skin health. Sunlight is important for hormone regulation, mood, muscle/bone mass, and so much more!
  • Laugh and Have fun!
  • Remember why you are HERE in the first place. Get out and experience life. Want to do something - then do it! 
  • Do not harm other living things. Choose your actions carefully to enjoy your life without impeding the life of others.
  • Always be learning. Your brain is much like your muscles - USE IT OR LOSE IT!
  • Most disease is caused by "inflammation." In fact, most diseases are just different symptoms of inflammation. They were classified into different diseases so that we could be sold drugs to treat them. Read up on the history here: Western Diseases Their Emergence and Prevention.
  • Find your purpose - what do you love? What makes you unique? Head in that direction and things will more easily fall into place.
  • Pay attention to vitamins and minerals. Read up on the most mineral/vitamin dense foods and include them in your diet. Do not take supplements except for short term gaps/needs. Most are not what they say they are and having excess of any one supplement is apt to do harm.
  • Massage yourself regularly. You can do this with a foam roller, hard tennis ball, broom stick (painful, but effective) or through the use of your hands or those of a loved one.
  • Find "your people." These include people that love you no matter what and those that have similar interests - that you are happy to spend time with!
  • Get rid of things you don't need and resist buying more of them. Determine what you really need versus want. Determine why you "want" them in the first place.
  • Never read fashion magazines. They are garbage. They recycle/rehash the same tired material from year to year. They are full of commercials and images designed to make you feel bad. And if you feel bad, then you will seek out a remedy. Like a new outfit. Like a new perfume. Or any other garbage they are trying to convince you to buy!
  • Never stop working. This does not mean working forever at a job you hate. It means, never stop working. Have hobbies, interests, side jobs for the rest of your life. If you stop working and do nothing, you will degenerate. Our bodies are always in a state of growing/decaying. Eventually, age takes it's toll, but you can slow the decay by keeping up the growth (intellectually, physically, mentally, and spiritually!)
  • If you eat animals, eat all of them. Do not be wasteful. Eat the organs, the skin, the bones (in the form of bone broth or marrow.) This is how our ancestors kept their health - by eating all things in proportion - not just the muscle meats. 
  • Eat "less" meat. Meat is healthy for us and provides vitamins/minerals we can NOT get from plants. But it should not be all we eat. If you want to eat less meat for ethical reasons -consider eating larger animals like beef, bison, elk, venison, pork. These animals generate more meat per animal. What this means is - you are responsible for less death per pound of meat. I can feed my family of 4, 3 full meals using one chicken (and I use ALL of it.) I can feed my family over 300 meals with one cow (probably more!) Assuming we eat 1 meat meal every day - that would mean one cow would last my family almost or maybe an entire year. Over 100 chickens would need to die to feed my family for a year. Think about it.
  • Think about food in it's natural form before you eat it. For example, grabbing an apple to eat is more in-line with it's natural form than eating applesauce. Keep this in mind, especially for things like vegetable oils and flours. In nature, you would have to gather thousands of wheat seeds to grind enough flour to make cakes, crackers, and breads. Think about how many seeds have to be pressed to make vegetable oil. Is that something you could have naturally done without industrialization? 
  • Give back. Plant trees for the next generation. Clean up garbage when you see it. Help someone who is hurting. Share your skills. Share your time. Spend time with the people that matter to you. Give of yourself.
  • Eat food you enjoy. Do not waste your life eating food that tastes horrible or makes you feel bad. Yes, fast food might be "fast," but how does your body feel after eating it? Make most of your food "good food" and choose your treats carefully. Make them worth eating!
  • Do not medicate yourself with alcohol, drugs, over the counter medication, or prescriptions! Keep them all out!
  • Do not let others peer pressure you into doing anything you know is wrong. Wrong for you like a job you didn't want or wrong for you like drinking because everyone else is doing it.
  • Think for yourself. Read about how the horrors of World War II actually happened. Read about what happened to the Chinese at the hands of the Japanese. what happened to the Polish people in the the concentration camps and what happened to the Germans after the war. Read beyond what you've been "taught." That scale of evil can ONLY occur when people join together in "group think" and go along with the crowd. Independent thinkers would not stand for it! Do not let yourself be swept up in the rioting masses. Do NOT follow blind authority. Always THINK for yourself. Always choose the right thing - no matter the costs.
  • Get off the screens. Yes, the internet is amazing for getting information and for speeding our efficiency. But it's also taking us out of reality. Get out of the screens and really live every single day. See your friends. Look at them. Listen to them. Enjoy things with them. Never, ever eat while watching a screen. Enjoy the food. Enjoy your conversations. Live and enjoy your life.
  • If you are eating unprocessed food, do not limit your salt intake. Eat salt when it feels appropriate unless you are on a restricted diet for some reason. 
  • Don't forget your minerals. We traditionally got our minerals from the sea, our drinking water, and from eating mineral rich animals/plants. This has all changed. Be mindful of it and seek quality information on how to remedy this.
Best of luck!! 

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