Taking Care of Ourselves, our Families & our Environment

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dr. Dan Philips - Creative Houses

Dan Phillips (Dr. Dan) is pretty amazing and brilliant to boot!
In grad school I was in his Philosophy Class and couldn't believe it took that long to finally have the quintessential college class. He taught in a way that made your mind explode with ideas and insight. He challenged us, helped us learn to love learning, and he encouraged us to keep learning. 
This man was pivotal in my college years.
• I still wear the cat bone earrings he made. 
• My appreciation for eclectic "found" furniture started because of Dan and his wife.
• My love of classical music was nurtured by him. 
• My decision to homeschool hinged on the importance of helping my kids love to learn
(something I experienced in that philosophy class)
• My bookcases 
• My career in helping people get rid of toxins paralleled his move out of restoring furniture because of the toxins
. . . . thank you Dr. Philips!
Special notes about the Ted Talk:
@ the 5 minute mark, he dives into some light philosophy and it's luscious! 
@ the 6.50 mark he mentions Nietzsche and a very cool explanation of Apollonian and
Dionysian perspectives as it applies to design and what we find acceptable, beautiful, pleasing.
@ 9:15 " Labor is disproportionately more expensive than materials." True or false? Dan gives
a great answer along with a good story.  "Do the math!"
@ 10:25 he explains how Plato may still be having his way with us!
His notion of "perfect form" is mentioned
@ 10:50 he brings up mobile homes and lays down some very important fact leading into the
TOXICITY of those things @ 11:11 (out gassing of formaldehyde)
@ 11:45 He pulls it back together by mentioning the Apollonian Platonic model and the self
fulfilling prophecy that keeps us on treadmills
@ 12:20 I love the carbonated prune juice cracks
@ 12:45 Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre mentioned!
@ 14:25 I love that he calls it like it is. We are just like middle schoolers in our wanting to be like
the group we identify with
@ 15:00 We have confused Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. So true!
We need to reconnect with who we really are.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Oh, Those Dandelions!

Vitamins in Dandelions

Only in the twentieth century did humans decide that the dandelion was a weed. Before the invention of lawns, the golden blossoms and lion-toothed leaves were more likely to be praised as a bounty of food, medicine and magic. Gardeners used to weed out the grass to make room for the dandelions. 

In my work with WoodlandsMamas I am learning more about natural approaches to life. I am starting to routinely ask myself, "Why did God make this?" and "Is there a way to do this/make this/fix this that does not use chemicals?"  Today the journey lead me to dandelions.

 Dandelions are among the most expensive items in the grocery store. The roots are dried and sold as a no-caffeine coffee substitute – for $31.75 a pound. Dandelions out-price prime rib, swordfish and lobster. They appear in produce and other sections, and even at the liquor store. 

You can enjoy a complete meal, from salad greens to dandelion quiche, followed by dandelion ice cream, washed down with dandelion wine. If you over-indulge, a cup of dandelion tea is the perfect remedy, since dandelions help the liver flush hangover-inducing toxins from the body.
This resilient, nutrient dense plant actually has great medicinal value

In traditional herbal medicine, the root and leaves are used to treat: liver disease, constipation and poor digestion.   Dandelion is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels. It functions as a mild diuretic, and contains many nutrients, including vitamins.

A time-tested herb long used for the treatment of various ailments, the dandelion is generally recognized as safe to consume. However, it may cause mouth sores in some individuals and interact with other herbs and medications. Consult a health care provider for advice before using any alternative supplement.


They have more vitamin A than spinach, more vitamin C (19mg per cup)  than tomatoes, and are a powerhouse . The dandelion also has folic acid, B6 and trace amounts of B1, B2, B3 and B5.   To balance the bitter taste of the dandelion, it can also be added to green salads, teas and soups. The French have a well-known soup called creme de pissenlits (cream of dandelion soup), which is easy to make. 
My grandmother made dandelion wine -- that works for me! LOL

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are important nutrients. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which are lost when heated, fat-soluble vitamins are not lost during cooking and are stored in the liver and fat cells for future use by the body. 
According to HealthRecipes.com, the leaves of the dandelion contain more vitamin A than the equivalent amount of carrots. One cup of dandelion greens can yield 7,700 IU of vitamin A. Other notable fat soluble vitamins in the dandelion include vitamin E and vitamin K.


The dandelion contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These nutrients are important for bone health. One cup of dandelion leaves contains 103mg of calcium and 20mg of magnesium. Potassium, another mineral in the dandelion, is needed for healthy kidneys; one cup of dandelion leaves contains 218mg of this vital nutrient. Trace amounts of zinc, copper and selenium are also present in the dandelion.

Dandelions have sunk their roots deep into history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. Dandelions probably arrived in North America on the Mayflower – not as stowaways, but brought on purpose for their medicinal benefits.
Dandelions were world-famous for their beauty. They were a common and beloved garden flower in Europe, and the subject of many poems. In the terrifying New World, the cheerful face of the dandelion would have been a sweet reminder of home. In Japan, whole horticultural societies formed to enjoy the beauty of dandelions and to develop exciting new varieties for gardeners. 

To top it off, Discovery News is highlighting an interesting development in the field of rubber. According to new research being done in Ohio, dandelion root sap could be made into a rubber of equal quality to traditional rubber from trees, at a lower cost!
Take another look at those little yellow plants!  WoodlandsMamas sure is!


Recipes for Dandelion Wine:
Recipe for Dandelion Soup:
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/295557-vitamins-in-dandelions/#ixzz1MGL1UnZt
Graphic of boy: Paul Viant/Photodisc/Getty Images

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wide Legged Pants Tutorial (EZ Pattern)

You need:
  • 2 metres (2.2 yards) of fabric, we used a nice flowy rayon
  • pins
  • elastic to fit your waist
  • scissors
  • thread
  • a pair of wide leg trousers or pyjama pants to use as the template.

How to:
1. Cut your fabric into two pieces lengthways. Then fold it on half. Place the long edge of your trousers on the folded edge of the fabric, as shown below.

2. Cut around the other side to mirror the crotch of the trousers. Do this again so you have two pieces.

3. Pin your pieces together along both curved edges.

4. The pinned product will look like this.

5. Now for the sort of tricky bit. Switch the outside seams around so they are in the middle of the garment and facing each other. Then pin the leg seams together on opposite sides.

Once you’ve done all the pinning your basic trousers will be created.

6. All you have to do next is to sew the pinned seams, sew the hems and then do an elasticated waistband using this method (fold over the sew down the waistband casing and them thread with elastic). Too easy!

Cover the waistband to give them a polished look. Dress the finish product up with some nice accessories and no one will be the wiser about how easy (and inexpensive) these are.

This amazing tutorial can be found here: 

Another link that demonstrates the same process (but for shorts) is here: http://apairandasparediy.com/2012/07/diy-sequin-shorts/

I have copied and pasted in case the other website ever shuts down. 

Full credit goes to Geneva Vanderzeil @ A Pair & A Spare

Finished product photos by Bryant Lee.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


It’s almost time to dig out your gardening gloves and tools to prepare for spring planting. Whether you’re a beginner gardener or someone who’s been at it for years,  tips always help to make gardening easier.

  • Place egg shells around the bottoms of plants to add calcium to the soil. The shells also discourage pests and small bugs.
  • Garden markers can help you easily identify what’s planted where.

  • Make your spring gardening chores easier with a DIY watering can made from a half gallon plastic milk jug. Heat a strong needle and poke holes through the plastic cap. It’s a nice size for watering seedlings and small plants.

  • Start your seeds in eggshells. By starting your seeds instead of buying plants that have already begun to grow, you can cut your gardening costs.

  • Plastic forks inserted stem side down into the ground can help keep little critters (like bunnies) away from small plants. 

  • Epson Salt! Because it is rich n magnesium ad sulfate, it is great for plants. a) You can mix it into your soil to help seeds germinate better. b) You can mix a couple of Tablespoons into your watering can once or twice a month. c) Tomatoes and peppers benefit the most because they both tend to grow well in a magnesium rich soil.
  • Save veggie cooking water. Let it cool, and then use it to fertilize your garden.
  • Not everyone has the skills, tools, materials, or time to make a raised wooden garden bed. How about a cinder block bed?

and http://www.listotic.com/20-insanely-clever-gardening-tips-and-ideas/8/

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

12 Habits to Make You Healthier

Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol isn't just terribly dehydrating, it's also either filled with gluten, sugar or both, which drastically speeds up our aging process. This leaves the skin looking dull and extra pounds feeling much too at home.

Cut back on meat.
Not only are our factory faming methods wreaking havoc on our already fragile environment, but meat is very hard on our systems. Meat is the hardest of all foods to digest (starch coming at a close second). The harder something is to digest, the more fat will be stored in our bodies.
If you choose to eat meat, try cutting back to a few times per week, and always choose local and organic. This way, at least you won't be ingesting hormones and god-knows-what. Quick food for thought: some of the biggest, sturdiest animals on earth (elephant, cow, gorilla) eat plant-based diets, and they're doing just fine!

Ditch caffeine.
Caffeine of any kind wreaks havoc on our system. It causes the stress hormone cortisol to be released,
making it very difficult to shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy balance.

Honor your digestion.
Good digestion is typically overlooked and is one of the key factors to feeling and being your healthiest. Practice eating things in their proper order, chew thoroughly and notice how much better you start to feel during and after your meals. Bloating should go down and energy levels should go up.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Drink a lot of water. Divide your body weight in pounds by two. This number equals the amount, in ounces, you should be drinking, which will efficiently hydrate you without drowning the nutrients out of your system. Try infused water for a bit of diversity without any extra harmful ingredients.

Pretend you're allergic to dairy.
Dairy is one food group that should be avoided at all costs, especially when it comes from the local supermarket. Puss, blood and antibiotics are only a few of the terrifying ingredients in our highly processed milk, cheese and yogurt these days. Not only does milk actually leach calcium from our bodies, but dairy causes us to form mucus and is terribly difficult to digest.

Eat the rainbow.
Make sure especially to consume LOTS of dark, leafy greens. Add as many different colored fruits and vegetables as possible to your diet.

Break up with sugar.
I'm sure you've heard tons of preaching on this subject lately. I'm going to contribute to that. 
Sugar leaches minerals and nutrients from our body and turns straight to unhealthy fat when digested. Work on conquering that sugar addiction and use healthy sugar substitutes like raw honey, organic maple syrup, organic stevia and coconut nectar as much as you can. Remember, choosing artificial sweetener is actually WORSE for you than sugar, so please don't go there.
Use only coconut or grapeseed oil for high-heat cooking.
Not doing this will deprive your body of the nutrients it craves and will actually allow carcinogens into your system. Otherwise, enjoy other healthy oils such as olive oil, hemp oil and avocado oil, as well as coconut and grapeseed oil, in the raw.

Our bodies are made to move. We aren't meant to be sitting in a chair all day long. Many of us don't have much of a choice in that, but we do have some control. Get up and do some stretching at least once an hour. Move any way that your unique situation allows. Clean the house, do the dishes, walk to a restaurant, do a few standing jumping jacks — whatever suits you. On top of that, do a more intense workout at least three days per week (e.g. go to the gym, take a movement class).

Use natural beauty and home products.
Non-organic beauty products (everything from makeup, nail polish, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, candles and cleaning solutions), when applied to our skin, leaches dangerous toxins into our bloodstream in a mere 26 seconds. Whether applied topically or through the air, these toxins will make us age faster, can make it impossible to shed extra pounds, can cause disease and can totally confuse our hormones.

Practice gratitude. PRAY
Above all, remember to be grateful for all the positive aspects of your life! It takes work, which is why it's called a practice. Remember to offer up the good and the bad.
" . . . you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good . . . "  Genesis 50:20

Thursday, February 12, 2015

8 American Foods Banned In Other Countries

You have heard, "innocent until proven guilty," right? It is an approach that works well for our justice system, but it is not a good approach for our diets.
Thinking that things are safe just because they are on a store shelf, allows dangerous chemicals to permeate our food supply. Because most people expect organizations like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect us, it is surprising to learn how many everyday foods contain additives that have been banned in other parts of the world. 

While the human body is resilient, the fewer known carcinogens and toxins you can expose your family to the better - especially when there are so many healthy and affordable alternatives readily available. My company has been a Godsend to us because we learn about these things before the mainstream public. I am passionate about getting the word out. People have a right to know!

Here are 8 products you should eliminate from your home and diet.. 

Finding substitutions
Giving up products your family loves might be easier with a few recommendations. Here are some substitutions on which you can rely.
1. Wild Salmon
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines offer several sustainably harvested choices for salmon lovers including wild-caught Alaskan Salmon, Washington Salmon, and Oregon Salmon. 
2. Soda
Try a natural soda like Zevia or make your own seltzer and add fresh organic lemon or organic lime juice
3. Bread
Many commercial bakers, including Best Foods, Inc. (maker of Arnold, Entenmann’s, and Orowheat brand breads and rolls), Pepperidge Farm, and Pillsbury, have switched to bromate-free processes. In addition, some supermarket chains, like Giant, do not use bromate. Bromate is listed as a carcinogen in California, and Proposition 65 requires baked goods sold in California to bear a store-level cancer warnings if they contain dangerous levels of bromate. As a result, most California bakers have switched to bromate-free processes. Many breads throughout the United States are now being labeled bromate-free. If you do not see a label that makes it clear a product does or does not contain bromate, try to avoid products that contain “enhanced flour" to be safe. 
4. Jello 
Love Jello but don't want the artificial dyes? Mama Natural offers her DIY organic jello recipe using juice. 
5. Chips
Go to any natural food aisle and you'll find a host of olestra-free and artificial dye-free chips. Some of our favorites include Terra Chips (made with vegetables and dyed with juice), Stacy's Pita Chips, and Good Health Avocado Oil Kettle Chips.
6. Cereal
Cereals are another product category with dozens of delicious toxin-free options - including "junk food" cereals that kids love like Cinnamon Harvest Kashi and Gorilla Munch. Make your own corn tortilla chips!  They taste better and they have no preservatives.
7. Milk
When it comes to milk, look for milk that specifically states it is rBGH-free or buy organic (which has to be rBGH-free by law). It is more expensive, but worth the extra cost if you can afford it. Try almond or coconut milk -- you might just love it!
8. Chicken 
As with milk, the most "natural" (a.k.a. containing the fewest chemical additives) version of chicken is organic. For ethical reasons, you should also consider buying humanely raised meat and poultry when possible. 
By keeping an eye out for some of the most dangerous chemicals, and making a few substitutions next time you shop, you can reduce your family's exposure to dangerous chemicals and help support companies that are working to provide safer and more sustainable food. 

Thank you to Green Mom and her guide for the succinct organization of the basic info!