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Showing posts from May, 2012

Organic Lettuce should cost $100

This week, I joyfully threw a carton of organic spinach into my cart and marveled at the $3.99 price. By my calculations, all organic lettuces (including things like spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, swiss chard...) should cost well over $100.

Which begs the question: why was I BUYING organic spinach? Hadn't I planted rows of spinach, swiss chard, and various lettuces?

This is what happened:

I'm sorry, but some aspects of organic gardening just suck. To be fair, caterpillars would come and attack plants whether you doused them in pesticides or not. But it's so devastating that those squiggly little plump a-holes can tear through your entire crop in a day.

Even when you kill every one in your sight (been there, done that!) a new batch seems to hatch before your eyes.

It's a modern miracle that cartons and cartons of organic lettuces and spinach can arrive (uneaten and unscathed) to supermarkets across the world. It's a marvel that they even survive the heat. Wi…

Get-Fit Guy's Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body Book Review

Just because your best friend can eat anything she wants and still stay thin, doesn't mean the same rules apply to you. Yes, this is unfair, but it's life. We all have different body types and that means we respond differently to diet and fitness approaches.

The Get-Fit Guy's Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body addresses those diet and fitness needs for every body type. I had a chance to read it and I think it would be helpful to most people that are struggling to find a diet and exercise plan that works for them.

These are the things I like about the book:

This book is quick and easy to read. It is from "Quick and Dirty Tips" after all.The test is easy to follow to determine your body type.The information seems accurate and easy to implement.It covers information for both men and women, separating the two appropriately. 

These are the things I think need improvement:

You may not find your "exact" body type and that might be frustrating.While the book giv…

Can You Make Your Own Bone Meal for Fertilizer

As an organic gardener (and a huge proponent of eliminating waste) I am always looking for ways to use things completely.
In the garden, I use Fish Fertilizer almost exclusively, but have also used bone and feather meals. Since I make a lot of homemade chicken broth, I have often wondered if I could use the leftover bones to make homemade bone meal. 
I've read about it and most people recommend burning the bones in a fire, then using the ash in your garden. Hmmmm.... I thought about it, but it would eventually mix with wood ashes that may be detrimental to my ever so picky blueberry plants.
So I decided to try it a different way. I made the chicken broth as usual, then gathered the remaining (and very crumbly) bones into a ziploc bag and smashed them with my hands. It was super easy. Like smashing graham crackers.





I smashed them all up then let them dry on the counter (you could do this in the oven or dehydrator) until it was dry and pebbly.

It's a little scary, but I'm b…

Dieting with HCG drops

Last year, I attended a party where the host had recently lost a ton of weight. Everyone commented and she finally said, "I had been watching my friends lose all sorts of weight losing hcg drops and I finally decided to do it."

Now taking anything to lose weight isn't something you should head into lightly, but if you do decide to use hcg drops, read up on it. My HCGSource is a site that sells, discusses, and blogs about losing weight with hcg. They even have coupons, frequently asked questions, and a way to contact them if you have questions.

Read up before you put something into your body and find out what's best for you.
The links in this post may be affiliate links and products are often received for review purposes. Read the full disclosure and the privacy policy.

When Life Gives you Asparagus....

When I was young, we would regularly explore the abandoned railroad that used to run through our town. We'd pick blackberries, dodge badgers, roll in the poison ivy (I never said it was all good!) and pick asparagus. 
For some reason asparagus grew like wild in the ditches around the railroad tracks. But we didn't look at it as a weed, we ate it. Lots of it. It was awesome! 
Eventually, my parents started growing it and we always had enough. I love asparagus. Let me say that over. I LOVE asparagus.
My parents had a hard time getting their asparagus started and always told stories of how tough it was to grow. So I never tried to grow it. But I looked for it everywhere. Finally, I found wild asparagus growing in a field behind our house. Wahoo!
One day later, we moved. But since I had seen it again, there was no stopping me. I had to grow it. My husband said NO. One year later, I saw asparagus crowns on clearance at the garden store. I couldn't help it.
I sneaked it home an…

Hello Oregano!

There are two truths to gardening. One - you will never have enough space. Two - anything can happen. Since I always feel like I need more places to garden, I added an indoor herb garden. Well; herbs, aloe, and some miscellaneous house plants.

I planted the herb garden with basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, and catnip. It's an odd sampling, but they are all plants I use on a regular basis and they're beautiful in their own way.

Every week or so, I use up all the basil. And I routinely have to remove the catnip. Kitty is happy about this. My thyme, parsley, and oregano is us much more sporadic. In fact I haven't used the oregano at all. So I decided to make a something where oregano could shine.

Before I could use it, I noticed the plants were forming flowers. Hmmm.... The flowers were looking mighty familiar and not at all like oregano.

They opened a day or two later, and they were not oregano at all! They were petunias! (See above photo!) I'm letting them grow becaus…

Methods to Enhance Male Health

Women and men both experience changes as they age. Men lose their strength, their energy, and their libido. 

Alot of men need help enhancing their sexual functions. It's something that eventually needs addressing and both men and women are happy that solutions exist. Enzyte has been available for male enhancement since 2001. It's the original supplement for natural male enhancement and millions of men have used it.  Now, there’s Enzyte 24/7, an advanced formula capsule for peak performance. Enzyte 24/7 is  a premium blend of natural herbs and extracts that is taken just once a day with results that intensify over time, giving you confidence to perform when the moment arises.* Enzyte 24/7 not only supports erectile function and promotes critical blood flow, it also guards against nutritient deficients that may impact volume and potency.

Do you remember their old commercials. Do you remember Smiling Bob?  There is help out there if you look for it.
*These statements have not bee…

Bettering your Skin with Plant Stem Cells - #EclosBeauty Review

Stem cells are absolutely fascinating, but did you know that there are products available using plant stem cells that may minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and tired skin? They used to only be available in specialty brands at department stores, but now éclos Skin Care is bringing this Stem Cell technology to mainstream stores (I recently saw it at Walgreens.) éclos features Apple Stem Cells extracted from a rare Swiss apple which have shown tremendous ability to stimulate skin stem cells and encourage your skin to act younger. It contains extracts, vitamins and anti-oxidants that combine with the Apple Stem Cell technology to help minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and tired skin. I was sent a sample kit of éclos beauty and had the chance to use it for the last 2 weeks. The sample kits contains small sizes of the complete product line: Facial Cleaner Skin Prep, Cellular Activator Face Serum, Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream, Restorative Eye Cream, Insta…

Enter to win a 7 day cruise for 4 from Norwegian Cruise Line

This contest has ended Summer means fun, and what's more fun than taking your family on a cruise to the Caribbean or Bermuda? We went on a cruise a few years ago, and it was tons of fun. But in all honesty, cruises are met for families. There are so many great activities for kids and adults, and the worry-free atmosphere just makes it that much more enjoyable.

Right now Norwegian Cruise Line and The Children's Place are joining together to bring you The Children's Place "A Place in the Sun" Sweepstakes. You can enter to win a 7 day cruise for four to either the Caribbean or Bermuda (your choice!) This prize includes roundtrip air transportation, cruise ship accommodations for seven days and six nights in a  Balcony stateroom, and an all-inclusive meal plan for four!

Can you say awesome? Having been on a cruise myself, I can tell you how important an Balcony stateroom is! Especially if you're bringing your kids. And you will not be disappointed with the amount…

Organic Gardening with Fish Fertilizer - Updates

Last year, I used Fish fertilizer in my garden for the first time. You can read all about the origin of my Fish experience here. I have been gardening for a long time, and I have to tell you that using Fish Rich has changed the productivity of my garden tremendously!

It's almost night and day. Actually, I'm embarrassed by how poorly my garden performed in the past. If you want to see proof - check out the post I wrote last fall titled "Berries + Fish = Wow!!" Yes, that's a lame title, but it pretty much explains it all! I have never had so many berries.

And it didn't stop with last year. My black raspberries went wild! They multiplied like crazy and are full of flower buds. They basically sat there and did nothing for 4 years straight, now they are all over. 

My blueberry bushes sent up new branches for the first time in 4 years, my tomatoes were the only ones in the entire neighborhood that didn't get blight, and I was almost successful at growing corn. 

It …

PopPhysique Exercise DVD Review

Who says you can't get a good workout at home? Not me! I've been working out at home, on my own, for the last 4 years (6 years if you count my wobbly start to fitness) and I'm here to tell you that it can be done.

I've worked out with all sorts of equipment, DVDs, and body weight routines, but since I haven't set foot in a gym in more than a decade, I hadn't heard of Pop Physique.

Pop Physique is a studio workout designed to get your butt in gear - termed "butt school" - and it's highly sought after. Of course, not all of us can get to the studio, so it's now available in DVD format - newly launched by Watch it Now Entertainment (WIN.)

I read a little about the classes before I got started with the videos and was pretty sure I was in for a "ballet inspired" workout. So I did what any ex-ballet gal would do and dug out all my old leotards and skirts from college. Yes, I saved a few. And I put one on, then popped in the tape.

Bad idea.…

Pack BloodSTOP in your to-go bags

It's summer, and every mom knows what that means - cuts, scrapes, bruises, breaks. I recently had the opportunity to review a great new product (newly available at area drug stores) that stops bleeding in 60 seconds.

BloodSTOP is FDA approved and until recently, was reserved for hospitals and Operation rooms. I had never heard of it before, but it sounded like a great idea for cuts and scrapes.


I have ran to the hospital more than once to have doctors sew up gaping wounds on my children's faces, legs, arms.... I even cut my own thumb down to the bone. At that time, I tried to super glue my skin closed (something I once saw a physician do to a scalp that had been torn open) but there was too much blood. BloodSTOP would have been an excellent alternative and would have made getting to the hospital a whole lot easier, and way less messy.

In fact, I may not have even needed to go. It's that good! 

So I patiently waited for an opportunity to give BloodSTOP a try. After only a few d…

Cardio Core 4x4 Review

Are you looking for the next hit Celebrity workout? Even though Jay Cardiello does train celebrities (including rapper 50 Cent,) he's the first one to tell you to skip the fads and stick with what works.

In the book, Cardio Core 4x4, Jay gives you an all around approach to a healthier lifestyle. As a whole, I really like the book. It's an easy, quick read and all of the advice is solid and easy to follow. I especially like the emphasis on prehab - preventing injury and keeping your body healthy and strong.

The book briefly covers nutrition, mindset, lifestyle, and overall health tips.

Then there's the meat of the book - the workout plan. At first, I didn't see how I could ever do the workout. I'm not making excuses; it's just that I was convinced I'd have to rip the pages out and lay them on the floor in order to the exercises, and I refuse to rip books!

The workout is set up so you can do it anywhere (literally!) and you only need your own body. Every mov…

Let the Good Times Roll....

This year, I had a fantastic Mother's day. I broke out my inline skates for the second time in 8 years and we went for a family ride. My kids are both finally old enough to ride bike for miles, so my husband and I can skate. Woo!

Then I skated again today! The weather is so beautiful, there's no excuse to drive and pick her up from school. On the way there, a neighbor came out of her house to talk to me. She said, "Are you going out for some skating?"

Then she saw the scooter and helmet strapped to my back as I told her I was going to pick up my daughter from school. "You are just so active. It's so motivating."

That was really nice. She went on to say that when her youngest is finally old enough, she hopes to be as active as I am. I just wanted to go out and have some fun, and in the process I inspired her to be more active (and to be hopeful for a more active future.)

And of course, the other pick-up moms noticed as well. They had seen me walk/ride in…

Make your child's jeans into a skirt!

When your little girl wears out the knees on her jeans or outgrows them altogether, don't throw them out! You could repurpose them into shorts or a super cute skirt.

My kids have little waists (so skinny they could still wear baby clothes if it weren't for the length!) so their jeans have the potential to last a long time.

When my kids get holes in their jeans, I've mended and patched them, but I prefer to chop off the legs and turn them into (FREE) shorts or skirts.

My daughter had a ton of jean shorts (some with cute ribbons or lace sewn into the hemline) so I took the last two pair she outgrew and turned them into skirts.

It's really simple to do.

This is her favorite skirt. It's made from the legs of her other jeans:



This one is made from jeans and the bottom of a top I no longer liked.
So before you toss it out, think about what you can do to reuse it. You just might be surprised.

Make your own Homemade Dog Food

Have you ever wanted to make your own dog food? I wish I would have made Homemade dog food when we had a dog. Instead, I bought the most expensive discount store brand and she suffered with allergies her whole life. The vet recommended another high priced, corn based diet, and the allergies continued.


It doesn't have to be that way. I've learned a lot since then and even make raw food for my cat on occassion. Of course, cats are different from dogs. Dogs may be easier to feed. But both of them deserve excellent (more natural) nurition. And contrary to popular belief, that doesn't mean it has to be expensive.
Feeding your pets the right types of food can save you money (dog and cat foods at the store aren't all that cheap) and can save you and your pet a lot of heartache because your pet will be in much better health. And it can even be fun.
You can find information (lots of great FAQs and advice) plus a video for an Easy cooked dog food recipe at homemadedogfood.com. It&#…

Organizing the Garden Chaos

In 2011, I had an organized garden for the first time. I had planned in advance where things would go, I had adequate walkways, I felt good about what I had accomplished. But as I was planting this year's garden, I looked back at old photos and realized I was wrong!

Take a look at the rat hole I created:

What a gross spectacle. I should never have crowded my blueberries with nitrogen stealing plants. And knowing what I do now about lettuce bolting and 1 itty bitty seed becoming a whole head of lettuce, I am planting things much more judiciously. My other beds were crowded but still underutilized.

So...hopefully learning from the past, I am attempting a clean, mess-free garden this year - while still trying to pack in as many vegetables as possible, of course.

Here is what my garden looked like yesterday.

 Everything has been planted. Early!!!!!!!!! But I have plans in case the frost decides to return....

Things always look sparse in the beginning but everything is growing and wil…

Increase your Black Raspberry Yield

Seeing lots of green always gets gardeners excited. Myself included! But if you want more berries, sometimes more green isn't what you're after.

If you want to improve the yield of your black raspberry plants, then there's 3 simple things you can do to ensure you get more berries.

Head out to the garden in early spring (before the leaf buds break open) and pull your raspberry canes up to see how tall they are. Cut the tops off so that the plants are about 3 feet high. If you are between 5'2" and 5'4" that's about chest high.  This will encourage lateral growth and more berries. If your laterals (side shoots, horizontal growing branches) get longer than 2 feet, trim them back.)Fertilize them with a good quality fish emulsion or product formulated for tomatoes (to encourage more flowers: more flowers equal more berries) in the spring once the leaves start popping out. Cut out and remove the old canes at the end of summer. This keeps everything clean and…

Slimmer - The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight

When we think of French or Italian people, we mostly think of gregarious, healthy people. People that eat fresh food and walk everywhere. I love that image. But according to Harry Papas, that's they way the Mediterranean used to be.

Big processed food companies have made big profits in the US and overseas, so now the world of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and other lifestyle diseases are a global phenomena.

Harry wrote Slimmer - The new Mediterranean way to lose weight for the people in his home country of Greece. It became a bestseller. Now it's available in the US.

I had a chance to review an advanced copy. Having read a ton of health/fitness books, I have pretty much heard it all, but I'm always looking for something new.

Slimmer starts out with an overview of the clinical data surrounding the Mediterranean lifestyle and which characteristics are most important for health. I agree with all aspects of this part of the book and found the emphasis on the "slower"…

Sprouting Your Own Seeds

It was inevitable that I would eventually begin sprouting. Not baking sprouted wheat products (yet...) but actually growing sprouts.

I really love sprouts in sandwiches, egg rolls, and Asian dishes. But I'm not a fan of the price or quality of sprouts at the store. It's kind of like buying "fresh" herbs at the market versus picking them out of your own window or garden. There is no comparison for freshness or convenience.

So I ordered a huge pack of sprouting seeds on Amazon. For $15 (with free shipping -woo!) I got what turns out to be enough seeds for my lifetime. No joke! You'll see in a minute how many sprouts just one tablespoon of seeds created in less than 3 days (and they are still growing!)

All you need are the seeds, water, and a mason jar. You can get fancy with the lid (and you might want to) but that's really all you need to create tasty, nutrient rich sprouts, without preservatives, chemicals, dirt, or anything else. The seeds come with easy to …

Fit Moms for Life Book Review

Becoming a mom changes everything about your body, and getting your "pre-baby" body back is harder than you'd expect. But that doesn't mean give up!

I just finished reading Fit Moms for Life, and I would recommend it to any mom trying to get her body back in shape. Actually, I'd recommend it to anyone planning to get pregnant. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...believe me.

I agree with everything in the Fit Moms for Life book. Everything. But I was hesitant to accept it for a book review because it's written by a guy. A young guy. Now, I get a lot of fitness advice from male authors and trainers, and think they have amazing advice. But they're not focused on "mom bodies."

It was a real turn off to see a young guy smiling on the back cover and know that he'd be talking about pregnancy, breast feeding, and raising kids. Guys (even dads) have no clue.

But the truth is, all of his advice is sound. And beyond that, his approach is…

Clean up stuck-on dishes in 5 minutes

Back in my dating days, I once watched a boyfriend fight with his sister over whose turn it was to empty the dishwasher. Ugh! Someone so lazy, had to go. I grew up in a family of 7, with no dishwasher. In fact, I didn't even get a dishwasher until I bought my first house.

So I know a thing or two about cleaning up gunky stuck-on food messes. Sadly I do. But what can you do about it really? I mean, we need to make tasty things like lasagna, bacon, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs. Why do scrambled eggs always stick anyway?

In our childhood home, we were allowed to let pans soak overnight, as long as we remembered to wash them the next day. But my whole soaking and forgetting philosophy changed forever when I went to college. My roommates at the time would have nothing to do with pans soaking on the counter. Or in the sink. Or on the stove.

I had to learn to apply a lot of elbow grease. Mad, ferocious elbow grease. Today, I still try to tackle the dishes right away. My new housemates ap…

Fighting Stains

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Triad Retail Media for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine. Every time I fold laundry, I pull out clothes that are too stained to wear, and they become cleaning cloths. As much as I like having "green" cleaning rags, I really hate throwing out clothes. My kids are stain magnets, and even when I try to catch them before they end up in the laundry, sometimes it just isn't enough. That's why I'm excited to try Shout® Trigger. My kids usually end up with food and dirt stains. They spend a lot of time outdoors, and they get muddy! And no matter what we eat, it ends up on their shirts and pants. As for me - I get a lot of bloody noses (stress, yay!) and end up needing to remove blood stains. So we need stain fighters that can tackle the whole gammit of stains. Shout® Trigger is a Triple Acting formula that is packed with stain-fighting ingredients and enzymes. In my opinion, enzymes make all the difference in remo…

Get Your Power Back - Book Review

Are you happy with your life? If you're answering honestly, I bet the answer is "no." Most people smile on the outside, but live a very miserable existence. I'm not just pointing fingers. I lived a big chunk of my life in misery.

It took me almost 30 years to "figure it out," and I'm still learning. The book Get Your Power Back  is everything that I have finally learned and changed, plus more. The truth is, I figured out the solutions in this book over the last few years, and they really, really work for improving your quality of life. Your happiness.

Do you  really want to be happy? Maybe the answer is "no." A lot of people (myself included) derive a large portion of their self identity with unhappiness. But that doesn't have to be you. I would greatly encourage you to pick up a copy of Get Your Power Back. You can rent it from the library or pick it up for around $10 on Amazon.

I appreciated this book because I've found everything i…