December 31, 2010

Stuck in my Pajamas

   I was sitting at my kitchen table eating breakfast and watching my boys play the Wii, in the pjs they've been wearing for the last few days.  It then suddenly occurred to me that I too had failed to change out of my pjs for the second or third day in a row.  Of course now I've started thinking how often am I too lazy to get dressed in the morning, since I'm not leaving the house.  I now hang my head in shame, knowing I'm lazy about getting dressed far too often.  And I'm teaching this laziness to my children by not having them get dressed and not setting the example.

   Getting dressed from head to toe each day is also about helping yourself to feel good.  As a WAHM you'll gain confidence and posture from being dressed head to toe.  I know most likely no one but the husband and kids will see you, but if you're the makeup wearing kind of gal, put a little makeup on too.  Just this simple act can change your day around.  You'll go from "Oh great, another day I have so much to do."  to "I feel Great!  I can't wait to meet today head on!"

   Some of my SAHM friends tell me they don't bother to get dressed just to do house work.  It makes sense that you wouldn't want to get your nice clothes dirty while taking care of the house.  But I still think SAHM's should get dressed from head to toe each day anyway.  So go ahead throw on your jeans and a t-shirt, add a little make up and feel good about the day ahead. 

   It's so easy for us mom's to forget about ourselves with everything else we need to do for our family.  One thing we can do for ourselves is dressing head to toe each and everyday.  This small little bit of "Me" time will help in so many ways.
  • You'll feel more confident
  • You'll feel pretty
  • Your kids will notice the good example your setting (They may never tell you, but they'll know)
  • Your spouse will notice (He may tell you with actions instead of words)
  • You'll reduce your stress by feeling good about your self
I'm going to challenge all you mom's who are home full time, to get out of your pajamas, get your clothing out of the closet, and get dresses from head to toe everyday!

December 24, 2010

My Morning Joe

I am one of those people who can't function with out my morning cup of coffee.  My children can even tell the difference between "mom before coffee" and "mom with coffee".  My oldest daughter even buys me a new mug for Yule every year.  As a WAHM I usually brew my own coffee at home.  Some days after the kids are off to school, I'll head out to my local D&D (my favorite) and treat my self to a cup o' joe.

Recently I had a friend point out something very interesting, my coffee comes in a styrofoam cup!  We are both very green gals, but here I am drinking my coffee from styrofoam,while she's using a paper cup.  Very embarrassing moment for me.  Well of course now I bring my own travel mug for a re-fill.  It's better for the environment and less expensive.  But I started to think about not only the environment, but how safe is it to be drinking out of a styrofoam cup?  Time to do some research, and I'm shock at the information I found.

Interesting fact that I don't think many of us know:  Styrofoam cups don't exist.  Styrofoam is a trade mark name for the foam material made by the Dow Chemical company.  They don't make any kind of food packaging.  So what are we drinking out of?  Polystyrene cups, commercially manufactured from petroleum.  Styrene (the basic chemical component) can leak into you food or drink and then into you. 
Studies suggest that styrene mimics estrogen in the body and can therefore disrupt normal hormone functions, possibly contributing to thyroid problems, menstrual irregularities, and other hormone-related problems, as well as breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Foods that are higher in fat and hot drinks can cause Styrene to leak faster.  This means coffee and tea can have more Styrene in them.  Also to-go foods like soups and chowders will have a higher amount of Styrene in them.  Branching out from our morning drinks and lunches on the go, you purchase items at the grocery store in Styrene containers.  Meats and cheese will have higher amounts of Styrene leaked into them.

Here are some safer options to consider.
  • Use ceramic cups and mugs.  Or go with paper cups.
  • If you work outside the home, share washing duties with your co-workers.  This will save on hot water usage.
  • Paper cups do create waste, but they are biodegradable, unlike Styrene cups.
  • Consider transferring food items bought at the grocery store into non-plastic containers, until ready to be cooked.
  • When getting take-out or "doggie bags" ask to have your food wrapped in foil.
Every where we go we are faced with Styrene containers.  Limiting your exposure and making safer choices is the best way to go.  Next time you head out to your favorite coffee shop, be safer and bring your own mug.

Note to Self: Buy a ceramic to-go coffee mug.

Enjoy you next cup 'o joe!

December 14, 2010

Scents of the Season

I love the scents of the Holidays!  Gingerbread, pine trees, pies and cookies baking, cinnamon, cranberry, and vanilla just put me in the holiday spirit.  I buy scented candles so the yummy aromas fill our house and add the light and warmth of the season.  What I don't love are the toxic fumes that candles produce.
Think about what popular candles are made from.
  • They are made of paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum. When burned, this candle wax can be a respiratory irritant.
  • Scented candles typically get their aromas from artificial fragrances made with phthalates, which can affect the hormonal system.  They also release toxic chemicals (such as formaldehyde and benzene – both of which are linked to cancer) into the air. These toxins may trigger or aggravate asthma and allergies, and may cause headaches.
  • Some candles have metal core wicks made of lead or lead-containing alloys. When burned, they may emit airborne lead and present a lead poisoning hazard to young children. Lead is toxic to a baby's brain.  These candles are now banned in the United States but may still be found rolling around in drawers, and imported candles may still have wicks with lead.
I now buy soy or beeswax candles.  They burn longer than traditional candles and release less soot from the wick.  Soy candles are also renewable and biodegradable.  And the best part is they don't release any toxic chemicals into the air.  Another way to bring Holiday aromas into your house is to make your own natural scents.  Try boiling cloves and cinnamon sticks in a pot on the stove.  You can also use citrus peels, cranberry juice/extract, nutmeg, or plant or flower petals to create other aromas.  Be sure to keep it out of reach of little hands.  Poking cloves into an orange creates a wonderful holiday scent.

Hope you enjoy these wonderful holiday aromas as much as we do.

December 7, 2010

Reducing Your Holiday Stress

As a work at home mom I know how important and stressful managing your time can be.  With work , kids activities, taking care of your home, and family time.  Around the holidays it seems like we have even less time for everything.  From Thanksgiving through New Years the time just seems to fly!  Our lives become crazy and even more stressful.  Here are ten ideas for helping reduce that Holiday stress.

  1. Take time for you.  Making time each day to do something you enjoy is important to your mental well being.  Because we all know that if Mom's not happy, no one is.  So go ahead and indulge; read a book, watch a movie, take a bath, take a walk, do some yoga, or just sit back with your feet up and relax.
  2. Keep the kitchen clean.  This is actually something I learned from my mom.  Nothing makes me say "grrr" like seeing the sink overflowing with dishes and the counter tops a mess.  I know I'm going to have a good day when I wake up and walk into a clean kitchen.  So if during this crazy season, you're unable to find the time to keep your house spotless, at least make sure the kitchen looks nice.
  3. Lists are a life saver.  Sometimes I feel like my brain is made of swiss cheese.  I write down everything that needs to be done.  If it doesn't go on my list it doesn't usually get done.  During the holidays this is super important to stay organized.
  4. Enlist the kids.  You've have more going on during the holidays, so get your kids to help out.  They can pick up an extra chore, help you decorate, and help with baking.  Older children can help out with wrapping presents.  Even toddlers and preschool aged children can help with simple jobs.
  5. Stick to the rules.  With your busy schedule it's easy to relax the house rules.  Now it's more important than ever to keep things the same.  Kids need structure and rules, so they know what is expected of them.  When you let them "get away" with breaking the rules during the holidays because you're busy, they don't know what to expect.  This makes your job as mom harder.
  6. Prioritize holiday invites.  It seems if everyone you know is having a holiday party and you're invited.  It's impossible to make every party, especially with kids or finding a sitter.  Our family tries to split our time between both sides of the family.  We usually decline other holiday invites or stop by for a brief appearence. 
  7. Stick to your budget.  Kids want every new toy that comes out.  We have our kids make wish lists, which we share with family who like to buy for them.  The kids know they won't get everything on their list and we can work with our budget to get items our kids will like.  If you have a large family on one side or both, setting up a "Secret Santa" or Yankee Swap helps everyones budget.
  8. Sleep.  I know how hard it is to stick to a regular sleep schedule when you have extra things to do during the holidays.  But if you're not getting enough sleep at night, you'll become cranky, irratable, and run down.
  9. Laugh, dance, and have fun.  Laughter is a great stress reducer.  Play with your kids or sit down together and watch a funny holiday movie.  Throw some holiday music on and dance around with your kids.  Little ones love to play and have fun and they often do the funniest things.  My older children make me smile when I can tell they're enjoying family time (even if they didn't want to).
  10. Remember the reason for the season. And teach it to your children. The holidays are not about how much stuff you can buy for others.  It's not about who's house has the best decorations or how many parties you go to.  Be thankful for everything you have and help others who are less fortunate than you.  Family is important, so enjoy the time you have with them (even the ones you don't really like). 
I hope this holiday season you and your family are happy, healthy, and have lots of fun!

November 23, 2010

Just wanted to share

I stumbled upon this while doing some research.  I had to re-post and share with all of you.

The purpose of this email is to educate, my friends and family, about the toxins in your home. I don’t think that most people are aware of toxins or how much they can affect your health.

* The air in your home can be up to 70 times more polluted than the outside air. Most people spend about 90% of their life inside.
* Between 1950 and 1990 lung cancer has increased 364% despite that smoking has declined every year since 1950.
* Turn of the century (1900) cancer rates were 1 in 50. Today about 1 in 3. Within the next several years it is expected to be 1 in 2.
* 2,983 chemicals in personal care products were analyzed. 884 caused cancer, 314 caused biological mutations, 218 caused reproductive complications, 778 caused acute toxicity, 148 caused tumors, 376 caused skin and eye irritations.
* EPA doesn’t require manufactures to put harmful chemicals or their harmful effects on the container. FDA can’t regulate a personal care product or require safety testing until after it is in the marketplace. They also can not recall harmful products from the marketplace.
* Some of the long term effects of using toxic products include allergies, asthma, birth defects, cancer, central nervous system damage ( MS and Alzheimer’s Disease), infertility, learning disorders ( A.D.D. and A.D.H.D.), and miscarriage. All of these are on the rise.
* The three ways chemicals enter our bodies are ingestion, absorption, and inhalation. Even if a product has a lid on it or has never been open we are still inhaling the toxins.

Here are some harmful chemicals found in store brands. Chlorine, Dioxin(Commonly known as Agent Orange. Exposure is a key factor in cancer and fertility issues), Phenols(linked to breast cancer, allergies, asthma, and A.D.H.D.), Lye, Bleach, Ammonia, Formaldehyde, and Phosphates.

Toxins can be found in air fresheners, window cleaner, all purpose cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, dishwashing detergent, carpet shampoo, laundry detergent, fabric softener, shampoo, hair spray, bubble bath, mouthwash, toothpaste, cosmetics, perfume/cologne, and baby wipes just to name a few. All of the ingredients do not have to be listed on the container. The ones that are listed may be disguised by what is called a "trade name".

-Dove Beauty Bar has Quaternium 15 ( this is formaldehyde).
-Johnson’s Baby Shampoo also has Quaternium 15 and FD&C Red 40 (causes cancer).
-Crest Tarter Control Toothpaste has Saccharin which can cause cancer.
-Clorox has sodium hypochlorite (corrosive) and sensitizer this can be fatal if swallowed and is also an respitory irritant ( People with a heart condition or asthma be very careful).
-Cascade is corrosive (Test: Place a quarter size amount of liquid cascade on some tin foil and place over a bowl or sink let it sit for awhile and come back to see what happened.).
-409 & Fantastic ingredients damages central nervous system, kidney, liver, and damages blood and body’s ability to make blood. Listed as a pesticide.
-Lysol has dioxin, also know as agent orange, in it which causes cancer.
-Cheer & Tide are corrosive, cause cancer and can be a respiratory tract irritant. Powder Tide has fiberglass in it.

I have heard too many tragic stories of children and adults dying from toxic products. A three year old suffered and died after ingesting 3 ounces of hair conditioner. A seven month old crawled through a puddle of laundry bleach. It gave the baby 3rd degree burns on half of his body. The fumes burned his lungs. The baby suffered four days before dying.

For more information on toxins visit:

I hope you are all a little more aware of the toxins that are in the products you use everyday. When you use these products you not only effect yourself and family, but wildlife and the environment. Where do you think those toxins go after they go down the drain? What about the toxins we use on our lawns? There are safe natural alternatives available. They cost less and are more effective than what you have now. I set up customer accounts for one of these companies so if you want safe alternatives for you and your family please contact me. I want to help you get rid of the toxins. I encourage all of you to help others become educated on toxins. Please forward this to everyone you know and print it out for those without email.


November 22, 2010

Toxic Beauty

Women (and men) everywhere are trying to make themselves look and feel younger and more beautiful.  But the products in use are more harmful than helpful.  Have you ever really looked at the ingredients in your personal care products.
...the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did something amazing. It issued an unprecedented warning to the cosmetics industry that it was time to inform consumers that most personal care products have not been safety tested.
This statement was issued back in 2005.  So why does the FDA still not require pre-market safety testing, review, or approval for cosmetics and personal care products.  The toxic chemicals that go into our shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics are often main ingredients.  What makes this so scary?  Everyone uses some type of personal care product.  In fact many of us use 15 or more personal care products in a single day.  Think about how you start your day off.  You take a shower, using soap (or body wash), shampoo, and probably conditioner.  You shave using shaving cream, put on lotion, and brush your teeth with toothpaste.  Ladies are putting on their make up; foundation, blush, eye shadow, lipstick, etc.  And many of us use some type of hairspray or gel to keep our hair in place for the day.  These are just a few things we do to be ready for the day.  That's Eleven different personal care products!  And many of these products don't just sit on our skin!  They are absorbed into our skin.

What can we do to protect ourselves from these toxins? 
  • Shop for products that have the fewest ingredients. 
  • Find out what ingredients are in the products you use currently.
  • Switch to safer products that don't contain toxins.
Here are some everyday products and the toxins they contain:

DOVE BEAUTY BAR - Quaternium 15; Formaldehyde-Carcinogen. Causes cancer, dermatitis, neurotoxin, and sensitizer - poisonous, irritant to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Butylated Hydroxytoluene, (BHT) Carcinogen.JOHNSON'S BABY SHAMPOO - Quaternium 15; FD&C RED 40: Carcinogen and causes dermatitis.

CREST TARTAR CONTROL TOOTHPASTE - Saccharin: Carcinogen, contains Phenol. If you accidentally swallow more than a pea-sized amount of this, you must contact the Poison Control Center immediately. This warning does not appear on the tube.

OLAY REGENERIST - Ethylparaben, methylparabe and propylparabe; hormone disrupters. polyacrylamide, triethanolamine; carcinogens.

CLAIROL HERBAL ESSENCES SHAMPOO DRY/DAMAGED HAIR - CI 17200, CI 15510, CI 42053, CI 60730; cancer-causing dyes. cocamide MEA can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane; a hormone disrupter associated with breast cancer.

LISTERINE TEETH AND GUM DEFENCE - 21.6 percent alcohol; alcohol dries and changes the pH of the mouth and throat and in long-term use increases the risk of mouth and throat cancers. Fluoride; in quantity is poisonous if swallowed.
Some of the long term effects of using toxic products include allergies, asthma, birth defects, cancer, central nervous system damage ( MS and Alzheimer’s Disease), infertility, learning disorders ( A.D.D. and A.D.H.D.), and miscarriage. All of these are on the rise.

I hope you are all a little more aware of the toxins that are in the products you use everyday. When you use these products you not only effect yourself and family, but wildlife and the environment. Where do you think those toxins go after they go down the drain?  There are safe alternatives out there.  Many of them cost less and are just as (or more) effective than what you are using now.  Please educate your self and your loved ones about the effects of toxins in our health and beauty products.
I set up customer accounts for a company that makes safer products, so if you want safe alternatives for you and your family please contact me. I want to help you get rid of the toxins.


October 22, 2010

Thoughts for today

I was on a training call a couple days ago and wrote down a few quotes I wanted to share.

Get out of your own way.
Too often we are the biggest problem when it comes to achieving our goals. Everybody has the ability to reach their goals and beyond. Some of you will, and some of you won't. For those who won't, it will be because you get in your own way.

Ignore the voice of doubt.
We can live with doubt – and forever limit our actions.  Or, we can learn to ignore the voice.  Shout affirmations and your voice of doubt will whisper.  You will have success in whatever you desire.

Keep moving forward.
Life can come at you hard.  It’s about having the will to continue in spite of the obstacles thrown at you. 
"Around here we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things. – Walt Disney
Staying out of stuck.
Life is too short to stay stuck in a place that doesn't work for you.  Step into your dreams and don't let the road blocks of life get in your way.

September 1, 2010

First Day Jitters

The excitement of school has been in the air for the past couple weeks.  We have gotten everything ready from school/homework supplies to backpacks and lunch boxes.  My kids were so ready to go back that they began counting down the days two and a half weeks before the start of school.  I thought I was ready too.

Turns out that I'm the one with the first day of school jitters.

I couldn't sleep the night before.  I kept running check lists through my head to make sure we really did have everything ready.  It got so late, that I became concerned I wouldn't wake up in the morning. 

Everybody woke up on time or early, including me.  I made a special first day of school breakfast, a tradition we started when my daughter was in first grade.  Of course everything was ready, it's been ready for days and we all followed the morning schedule perfectly.  Kisses, hugs, and reminders about good listening and sitting on the bus nice were given just as the bus pulled up.  Our morning couldn't have been any better.

So why then did I spend parts of the day wondering if they would be ok?

My daughters are in their second year of Middle School.  They have figured out how to survive.  I've watched them grow into young women over the summer.  One of them wants to dress and be like everyone else, so she can feel accepted.  The other wants to be as different as possible, so if she's not accepted "it's ok" because she's different.  I won't even start talking about the subject of boys.  It seems to be all about socializing and their peers.  I just hope they'll do well in school and have fun with their friends.  Why can't Middle School be more like kindergarten everyone mostly likes everyone else, unless you take their toy/crayon/book.

My older son is in his last year of Elementary school.  He's at the top and proud of it.  I just hope he will remember to be nice to his little brother.  He's excited his two best friends are in his class this year.  I hope the boys don't fool around in class too much.  He's ADHD and has been doing amazing lately with paying attention and trying to stay calm.  I hope that his teacher, himself, and I can work together and make this a good school year.

Oh the little guy, my baby, that right there is my problem.  I have to remember he's in first grade now and not a baby anymore.  I feel like I'm a new parent all over again.  He is super excited to be starting first grade, in a new school, with his big brother!  But I just sat at home wondering if he would be ok.  It's a new, bigger school.  He's a quiet guy and doesn't always speak up for himself.  I'm concerned he'll get "lost in the crowd".

This is why I have the First Day Jitters.

Thankfully I also have my fiancee, Glen.  He reminded me the girls are growing up and know how to take care of themselves.  And that we'll always be here for them when a "disaster" strikes.  The older son will watch out for his little brother.  He knows what he needs to do well in school and how to apply it.  The youngest is growing up and not a baby any more.  He will figure out how to speak up and his teacher will be there to help him out.  And before I know it the kids will be home with tales to tell us about their exciting first day of school!

Trish Hanson

This is the story of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago

This is an email I received from my aunt.  Although my posts are generally about family and being green, I thought it was important for us to remember what women have done to give us the freedoms we have today.

Another struggle we often forget about......

Never knew it was this terrible. Just to get the right to vote.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
(Lucy Burns)

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

(Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

(Alice Paul)
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because - why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown, New York)

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

(Conferring over ratification [of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution] at [National Woman's Party] headquarters, Jackson Pl[ace] [Washington, D.C.]. L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.  The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk, Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, 'Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.')

History is being made.
As I said, this was passed on to me and I think it's important to share this story of these strong and courageous women.  I know a lot of my inner strength comes from my mother and grandmother.  These women were mothers and grandmothers too, perhaps they will inspire us not only to vote, but to stand up for a cause or belief that is important to us too.

August 29, 2010

Less Waste Lunches

With the school year starting just around the corner, I needed to find some new healthy snack and lunch ideas for my kids. What it didn't expect to find was how much waste lunches create. 
"the New York State Department of Conservation has estimated that a child taking a disposable lunch to school generates an average of 67 pounds of trash per school year."

That's almost twice as much as my youngest weighs!  Its so easy for us not to think about how all those snack wrappers, sandwich bags, juice boxes, napkins, not to mention uneaten food adds up day after day.  Home-made lunches are definitely healthier and more cost effective, now it's just a matter of packing smart.  I thought I'd share some of the things we do to make healthier, cost effective, echo-friendly lunches.

  1. Buy some reusable plastic drink containers.  I use juice box size/shaped ones.  We have been using them for the past couple years.  I fill them half way with juice, lemonade, or water and then freeze it over night.  In the morning I fill them up the rest of the way.  This helps keep their drinks cold until lunch time rolls around.
  2. Stop buying individually prepackaged snacks.  Sure it's easier to grab the little bag of chips, yogurt, fruit cup, etc. but the 'convience' costs you a lot more.  Get regular sized packages of snacks and put a serving size portion in to a reusable container.
  3. Use reusable plastic containers for everything from sandwiches to snacks.  They keep foods from being 'squished', are better for the environment, and more cost effective.
  4. Make home-made snacks.  There are lots of internet sites out there; so use them to find your kids favorite snacks that you can make at home.  Buying the ingredients cost less, cause lets face it you're really paying for the name brand packaging.  You can also make it a fun activity to do with the kids.  One of our family's favorites is Rice crispy treats.
  5. To save time in the mornings, pack lunches the night before and store them in the fridge.  Also get the kids involved.  My six year old helps put everything in the lunch box, where as the twelve years olds make their own lunch.  This is great in two ways; having the younger ones help teaches them responsibility and the importance of a nutritious lunch and the older ones doing for themselves saves you some time.
  6. Make the most out of your left-overs.  We often turn a dinner from the night before into a healthy lunch for the next day.  The kids like having something different than the same old sandwich day after day.
"the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s estimate that 16 percent of children and adolescents ages 6-19 years are overweight."
Now that we're packing smart and getting our kids involved, what foods should we be putting in their lunches?
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.  Kids should be eating 3-4 servings of dark green, red, and orange vegetables and 2-3 servings of fruit daily.  Try finding recipes that you can add fruits or vegetables into.
  • Whole-grain breads, crackers, rice, pasta, and cereal instead of white varieties.  Kids should be eating 6-8 servings from this group daily.  Whole grains provide lots of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein.
  • Beans, nuts, poultry, fish, and lean meats.  Kids should be eating 2-3 servings of protein foods daily.  Avoid meat products from animals that have been treated with hormones and antibiotics.
  • Yogurt and cheese.  Kids should be eating 2-3 servings of dairy products daily.  When packing keep these items closest to the icepack to avoid spoiling. 
"Children who eat well and exercise regularly experience less fatigue, more energy, and better concentration. They are more fit for sports and other physical activities, and they have lower obesity rates."
With just a little thought and planning we can pack lunches that create less waste and are healthier for our children.  It's also important to get our children involved.  Talk to them about the changes in their lunches, whether it's the food or the packaging.  Teach them about reducing waste to help the earth and how eating nutritious meals helps their minds and bodies.

A home-made lunch may take a bit more planning and an extra ten minutes a day, but given the obvious benefits, it’s well worth the time and effort.

~Earthy Mom

August 28, 2010

Thought for today

It is easy for us to get caught up in looking at how far we have to go in reaching our goals instead of celebrating how far we have come.Joyce Meyer

August 24, 2010

Save More and Waste Less

Here's some tips to stretch your money, save time, and help the environment.

  1. Power Down - Plug electronics into a power strip, and turn off everything before bed with a single switch.  Saves money,  time, and the environment.
  2. Recycle Greeting Cards - Remove the message portion and use the front panel as a postcard or for a child to make in to a collage.  Saves money and the environment.
  3. Home Grown - Make your own garden.  Garden fresh veggies taste better and cost less than store-bought.  You can freeze extras to enjoy in the winter.  Saves money and the environment.
  4. Save Your Scraps - Toss fruit and veggie remnants into a compost pail.  Bonus use to fertilize your garden.  Saves time, money, and the environment.
  5. Before Grocery Shopping - Search online for printable coupons.  Check out the store's website or circular, and plan meals around sale items.  Saves money.
  6. Reusable Shopping Bags - You can gets these at almost any store for just a few dollars.  Plus some stores offer money off your total for using these when you shop.  Saves money and the environment.
  7. Tired of Waiting for the Handyman? - Invest in a home repair book and learn to fix simple things yourself.  Find a neighbor or friend who has handyman skills and trade their time for something you can do for them. (ex: childcare, dinner, job or personal skill)
  8. Cyber-Swapping - Trade for school supplies, car repairs, clothes, and other gently used items with other families.  Saves money and time.
  9. Use Smart Products -  Shop for safer household, bath & body, and personal products that don't contain the toxic chemicals found in name-brand products.  There are many online stores that sell safer for your home products.  Save the environment, money, and time.
  10. Washer-dryer - Set your washing machine's water temperature to cold.  When weather permits line dry your clothes.  Saves money and the environment.
  11. Weekly Veggie Meal -  Once a week serve a meat free meal with lentils or tofu for protein.  Saves money.

August 14, 2010

School starts in only 17 days! Were did the summer go?

I guess this means it's time for us to start getting organized and back to a schedule.  The school lists have almost all come in, so next week there will be school supply shopping to do.  I need to clean and dust off our school shelves.  I am so happy we started this system several years ago, it has made keeping track of the kids school papers and homework so much easier.
I set up a small set of selves, one for each child, right next to our backpack and shoe cubby.  On each shelf I put a "in box" tray and a pencil box.  The tray is for any papers that come home for me and a place to keep homework that isn't due the next day.  Each child has their own pencil box with several pencils, box of crayons/collored pencils, erasers, glue stick, and a pair of scissors.  This cuts down on the time spent looking for these items for homework and arguments over who lost such-and-such item.  This year I've decided to cut out several bookmarks from heavy paper for everyone, so they aren't constanly looking for one/dragging their feet at bedtime.
I get very focussed on work so I really have to set up and stick to a schedule, or else the kids might noteat dinner till late.  I've been working on and tweeking our schedule from last year to work better this year.

6am - Make sure girls are getting up.
6-6:30am - Go for am walk
6:30-7am - Online time for business (posting, emails, etc.)
7:10am - Girls go out to school bus
7-8am - Wake up boys, get them ready for school, baby gets dropped off
8am - Take boys down to the bus stop
8:10-9am - Take care of baby and settle her down for a nap
9:15-10:15am - Make morning calls
11am-3pm - Open for appointments
12:30pm - Lunch time for baby
1:30pm - Nap time for baby
1:30-2:30pm - Afternoon calls
2:30pm - Girls come home from school, snack, start them on homework
3:30pm - Baby gets picked up and boys come home from school, snack
4pm - Start boys on homework and make sure dinner is in the oven.
5pm - Dinnertime
6-6:30pm - Evening calls
6:30-9pm - baths, reading, getting everyone to bed.
9-10:00pm - finish evening calls, check emails, finish up business or house work
10-11pm - Time for me and then bed.

Color Chart
Family time
Me time

When I right it all down I have a pretty packed day.  With the kids, the baby I take care of during the day, and our business.  I make sure to put in some me time at the beginning and end of the day, to destress and relax.  I'm also lucky that I don't have to do this alone, my fiancee works our business with me and does more than his fair share of keeping our family running.

August 13, 2010

Vacation Blues

We are home from vacation.  It's nice to be home, but I wish we had a couple more days just to sit back relax and enjoy being together.  The children of course loves swimming in the pool.  And surprisingly they all had a great time at our Letterboxing event!  Some of them even asked when we are going to go another Letterboxing event.  Luckily there is an event in September, A Mystical Event, in Mystic, CT which will be going to.  My son is very excited because he met a boxer that is also going to be at this up coming event!  Perhaps we will even get the kids out on the trails a couple times before the school year starts.

We enjoyed our short time, over the weekend, at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick, ME.  Then we moved to Meadowbrook campground in Phippsburg, ME.  The pool was heated to a nice 75-85 degrees, so we swam during the day and evening.  The sites are nice, with lots of trees around.  We were very lucky and only had rain (with thunderstorms) one night.  And of course what camping trip isn't complete without having S'mores every night!

The unpacking has been done and everything put away!  And we've moved on to getting the house back in order.  I will start working again tomorrow.  I am hoping to have my self booked up through the beginning of next week.  Not to mention the tons of email we have to make our way through from this past week.  We have a big promotion going on this month and next, so I need to get rolling.  I can feel that these next several months are going to be big ones for our business!

August 9, 2010

Super Yucky :P

My family is on vacation, camping in Maine. We forgot our dish soap at home and had to buy some at the store. This may sound weird, but back in December we switched stores and started shopping for safer products without the harmful chemicals in them. So I haven't been down a cleaning supplies aisle at a store in a long time. The smell was so awful that I had to cover my face. It even burned Glen's eyes and made them water. We wouldn't even let the kids come down the aisle with us.
Lesson learned - Never forget dish soap (or other cleaning stuff) at home again.

July 31, 2010

Happy Saturday!

Wow!  What a busy week it's been!  My daughter was in a play last Saturday and had an amazing performance.  I had an appointment set up about an hour before the show, and used my cell for work that day.  One of the things I love about being a WAHM is working my business on the go around my family and where ever we are!  We also spent the beginning of the week out at the grandparents campground.  With this heat it's so much fun to go swimming everyday!  And of course enjoying the great outdoors and sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows.  The kids are enjoying spending time playing with their cousins from North Carolina.  And I even got to fit in some business around all our fun. 
My dad, who's been in the hospital for the past two months, just came home on Tuesday!  We are all so happy to have him home and starting to feel better.  He has spent the past two months lying on his back, because of two hematomins on his brain caused by fractures in his spine.  The fractures cause the spinal and brain fluid to leak out.  After several surgeries, he's finally on his feet again!  My mom is definitely going to have her hands full helping him with walking, physical & speech therapy, and getting him back to normal.  (Not to say he was actually normal to begin with ;D )  With all that we are just thankful to have him home and with family.
It feels like our family is always on the go and super busy with something.  And the next couple weeks are no exception.  Tuesday will be our annual family trip to Lake Compounce!  Wednesday and Thursday will be spent packing for our yearly camping trip!  This year is super exciting because we are camping in Maine for the first time and attending our family's first Letterboxing event ~ Maine's Nautical Past.  I'm going to have to really schedule my time to get everything done. :)

July 22, 2010

Search ANY Product

Did you know you can search ANY product at the following link and it will tell you the level of toxicity and toxins rated 1-10.

May 24, 2010

Survivors and Thrivers

One of the most-watched television shows of the past several years is Survivor. We admire those who survive! We tune in every week to see who makes it next. But even better than being a survivor is to be one who thrives!

What are the differences between someone who survives and someone who thrives? Here are a few:

A survivor gets by, a thriver gets ahead. Do you feel like you are just getting by? You don’t have to. You can actually get ahead! You can be out front! You can thrive!

A survivor is tired at the end, a thriver feels full of energy. When you are finished do you feel tired? You can thrive and be filled with energy! You can thrive!

A survivor has barely enough, a thriver has an abundance. Do you have more month left over at the end of your money? You can have more money left over at the end of your month! You can thrive financially!

A survivor is always on the edge, a thriver is on firm ground. Do you feel like you could fall over the edge at any time? You can get back on solid footing! You can feel firm about where you are. You can thrive!

So how do we shift from being a survivor to becoming a thriver? Here are a few steps to put you on your way!

First, start with some good input. Subscribe to as many good magazines and e-zines that will change your outlook and inspire you to thrive! And don’t just subscribe to them—read them. Devour them. Get great audios and videos and listen to them and watch them. The principle here is to renew your mind to become a person whose mindset is one of a person who thrives.

Second, get around people who are thriving. Join clubs and groups filled with people who are already thrivers. Develop friendships with them; take them to lunch or coffee. Pick their brains and learn from them. Mimic their habits of thriving.

As you commit to these first two, you will see the time you spend watching and listening to junk go out the door. You will see that you are spending less and less time with those kinds of people who just want to survive. This will be the launching pad for your success.

Third, make a personal evaluation of your skills. What areas do you need to grow in? Now, get to work on those skills. Skills are what take you to the top. An old quote says that the race isn’t always won by the fast or the strong, but that’s the way to bet! I’ll take the person with skills to be the one who thrives every time. It won’t work like that every time, but it will most of the time.

Fourth, make a commitment to a long-term, tenacious outlook. We have to do this in order to turn the ship around. If you are just a survivor, you can be a thriver, but it may take some time. Remember, this is for the rest of your life. There will be times of weakness. There will be times of hardship. If you are tenacious, you can, and will, thrive!

Fifth, understand that thrivers are almost always people of methodical discipline and order. They know that they have to have order in their lives and the order is what produces the ability to thrive. They thrive financially because they discipline themselves to save and invest rather than spend. They thrive physically because they are disciplined in what they eat and in how they exercise. Discipline will make you thrive!

Yes, you can THRIVE! Take the above and get to work. Make these principles a part of your life and they will create in you an ability to thrive in everything you do. You will no longer just survive. Instead, you will thrive! And that is going to feel great!

by Chris Widener

May 17, 2010

Be DEAF when people tell YOU that you cannot fulfill your dreams!

Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs.... who arranged a running competition.
The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.

A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants....
The race began....


No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.

You heard statements such as:

"Oh, WAY too difficult!!"
"They will NEVER make it to the top."


"Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!"

The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one....

Except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher..
The crowd continued to yell,  "It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!"

More tiny frogs got tired and gave up....

But ONE continued higher and higher and higher....
This one wouldn't give up!

At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?

A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal?

It turned out....

That the winner was DEAF!!!!

The wisdom of this story is:
Never listen to other people's tendencies to be negative or pessimistic....
 because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you -- the ones you have in your heart!

Always think of the power words have.

ALWAYS be....

And above all:

Be DEAF when people tell
YOU that you cannot fulfill your dreams!

April 28, 2010

Eat the Frog!

Recently, I heard a funny story of a woman who died and went to heaven.  When she arrived at the pearly gates, St. Peter was there to greet her.  She said, "Is this really heaven and do I get in?"  Upon which St. Peter replied, "Yes it is, and your entry is dependent on your ability to spell one work correctly."  The woman asked, "What word?"  "You can choose any word; you decide." replied St. Peter.  So, she thought about it for a few seconds and said, "Love, and it's spelled L-O-V-E."  St. Peter smiled and said, "That's correct.  You an enter Heaven.  However, you must now take my place and do the same thing for the next person to come to heaven.  Then, pass the gatekeeper job onto them."
 As the woman waited, lo and behold, along came her ex-husband.  When she saw him she said, "What happened to you?"  He said, "I had a heart attack.  Is this heaven and do I get in?"  Upon which she said, "Only if you can spell one word correctly."  "What's the word?"  He asked.  She paused for a long moment and said, "Czechoslovakia!"
Well, that's kind of how life is.  It's the difficult things we do, like spelling, that give us the big rewards.  However, for man of us, the most difficult things to do are usually the things we put off doing the most.
Consider this example: People often set a goal to lose weight, but when the alarm sounds at 6am on the following day, it's just too hard to get out of bed and get to the gym.  It's too easy to put it off until tomorrow.  We naturally procrastinate doing the difficult things.  But if we can rise up and get to the gym each day, our weight loss goal is likely to happen.
Mark Twain said, "Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."  Imagine going to your pantry in the morning to find food for the day.  There you see several options.  However, at the end of the shelf is a live frog.  You know you have to eventually eat it, but it's not appetizing at all!  So, you put it off and off.  Well that's exactly how thing never get done.
In the book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy talks about doing the most important activity in our business each day first.  He says when we "train ourselves, through repetition and practice, to overcome procrastination and get our most important tasks done," we will succeed.
With Work At Home United, we can "eat the frog."
We have Seven Critical Business-Building Activities.  They are:
  1. Keep Building Your Contact List
  2. Set Appointments
  3. Make Presentations
  4. Hold 48-Hour Follow-Up Meetings
  5. Celebrate Success
  6. Always Be Involved with Fast Track
  7. Lead By Example
If you were to ask me, I'd much rather make a presentation or celebrate success than set appointments.  But we have to eat the frog!  That means we need to work our contact list and set appointments each day and prioritize them ahead of the other critical activities.
Imagine if you "ate the frog" each day before you did any other activity.  Imagine if everyone on your team was working their contact list and setting appointments every day.   Your business would consistently grow each month.
Frank has invited everyone to make one contact for an appointment every day.  These contacts are not emails.  They're done in person or over the phone.  Now, making one contact a day doesn't mean every day we're successful at setting an appointment.  Once in a while, we will get a "no."  Regardless, each day we'll be making a contact leading to an appointment.
On some days, you'll do more than one contact or set more than one appointment, but the goal is to do at least one contact daily.
Most of all, commit to one contact for an appointment each day.  If you'll do this and "eat the frog" daily, you'll have an endless number of customers coming in to your business!
Written By:  McKay Christensen

April 23, 2010

Just changing the words

“There was a blind man who sat down on a sidewalk beside a beautiful city park to beg from those who passed by. It was a lovely day in early May.

On a piece of cardboard, he crudely wrote in chalk, ‘I’m blind. Please help me.’ He set his hat in front of him. By noon, he had collected only a few pennies.

A businessman, walking to lunch, peered at the meager offering the blind man had received. The businessman stopped long enough to write another chalk message on the backside of the cardboard sign, and then continued on his way.

The blind man held the new message for others to see. Then something strange happened. The blind man’s hat quickly filled. After lunch, the businessman returned and remarked on the difference.

‘What did you write on my sign?’ asked the blind man.

‘The same thing you wrote,’ replied the stranger, ‘but with a few different words.’”

You may wonder what the businessman wrote.


April 7, 2010

How many "boxes" are you going to open today?

I just had to share this awesome mind-set that one of my partners came up with ! It is a fantastic way of looking at calling leads.

How many ‘boxes’ are you going to open today
I Love Calling Leads

It's Like A Present Each Time You Dial a New #

Sometimes the Box Is Empty
( wrong # & disconnects)

Sometimes someone used way too much tape and you can't even get in!
(the no-answers and the answering machines) :)

Sometimes You Get something you would like to return
( people who are not interested or didn't request info)

Sometimes You get a Gag Gift
(the no shows )

But Sometimes It is Exactly What You've Been Wanting
( the ones that get it and want it )


I Hope that this helps when you are making your daily calls
to think of things this way. It works for me

Enjoy Your Day

“There is a difference between interest and commitment. Interest is doing something when circumstance permits. Commitment means you accept no excuses, only results.”

- Ken Blanchard

April 5, 2010

Weekly Thought: COMFORT ZONE

I used to have a comfort zone, where I knew I couldn’t fail.
The same four walls and busy work were really more like jail.
I long so much to do the things I’ve never done before.
But I stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.
I said it didn’t matter that I wasn’t doing much.
I said I didn’t care for diamonds, furs and such.
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside the zone, but deep inside I longed for something special of my own.
I couldn’t let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath and stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strenght, I never felt before.
I kissed my comfort zone good-bye and closed and locked the door.
If you are in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and word of praise can make your dreams come true.  Greet your future with a smile, success is there for you. 

March 29, 2010

Persistent Toxic Chemicals

Persistent toxic chemicals (sometimes referred to as persistent bioaccumulative toxics or PBTs) include dioxin, mercury, PCBs, lead, PBDEs, and many others.
They represent a specific class of chemicals which are:
  • Persistent — they are long lasting in the environment, wildlife and in peoples’ bodies.
  • Bioaccumulative — they increase in concentration as they move up the food chain.
  • Toxic — these chemicals are extremely toxic, even in tiny amounts, and they cause health problems in humans and wildlife, such as birth defects and cancer.
Because these chemicals are very persistent and break down very slowly, they are found virtually everywhere in our environment. They are circulated through our food chain, our oceans, and our atmosphere, so that they are even found in wildlife and people living in remote Arctic regions. Persistent toxic chemicals are passed to children in the womb and through breastfeeding, impacting them at the most vulnerable time of their lives. 

Where do these chemicals come from?

Consumer Products - Persistent toxic chemicals are released from the use and disposal of many consumer products like toys, electronics, batteries, light bulbs, chemically treated textiles and furniture. Flame retardant chemicals (polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs) are used in a wide range of products, including furniture, electronics, and cars. PBDEs are chemical cousins of the now-banned PCBs and have been found to cause health problems in laboratory animals, including memory and learning impairment.
Cosmetics and Personal Care Products - Many of the products we use on our bodies every day - such as shampoos, body lotion, make-up, and nail polish - contain a variety of potentially harmful chemicals including phthalates, acrylamide, metals, parabens, and formaldehyde.
Medical Products - Many medical devices and products are made of plastics which can leach out harmful chemicals over time, creating risks for both patients and health care workers. Materials of particular concern are polyvinyl chloride plastic (also know as PVC or vinyl) and phthalates, such as DEHP, that are used to soften PVC.
Building Materials - building materials made from polyvinyl chloride plastic (also known as PVC or vinyl)
Industrial Sources - Persistent toxic chemicals are released into our environment by a range of industrial sources, including: pulp and paper mills, mining facilities, cement factories, refineries, incinerators, wood-treating plants, and other industrial sources.
Environmental Exposures - As a result of consumer and industrial activities, persistent toxic chemicals are in our air, our water. and the food we eat.

How serious are the health and environmental risks posed by persistent toxic chemicals?

Many scientists and government agencies have concluded that levels of persistent toxic pollution in the environment, in wildlife, and in our bodies can cause health problems including reproductive failure, hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, as well as learning and behavioral disorders.
Consider the following:
  • According to the National Academy of Sciences, 60,000 children each year may suffer brain problems as a result of exposure to mercury in the womb, affecting their ability to learn, remember, and pay attention.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that as many as one in one thousand people in the United States will develop cancer from exposure to dioxin, with the current average daily intake of dioxin at more than 200 times the amount considered safe by the agency.
  • Puget Sound’s declining orca whales have become one of the most contaminated marine mammals in the world, in part because of PCBs found in the Puget Sound food chain. PCBs are known endocrine disruptors, which become highly concentrated in the fatty tissues of top predators.
For these reasons and many others, persistent toxic chemicals are among the most dangerous substances on the planet.

How are we exposed to persistent toxic chemicals?

There are several ways in which people are exposed to persistent toxic chemicals. For example, these chemicals accumulate in the bodies of fish and animals, where they are stored in fatty tissues. They are passed on to humans when we eat fish, meat, or dairy products from an animal that had been exposed to or consumed persistent toxic chemicals during its life. These chemicals are passed on to children while in the womb and through breast milk.
Recent studies of dust have revealed the presence of persistent toxic chemicals in our homes, schools, and offices. This suggests that we breathe or ingest some persistent toxic chemicals from the ambient environment.
Children's exposure to persisten toxic chemicals is of particular concern. Kids receive a higher dose, or body burder, of chemicals due to their lower body weight. Small children inhale or ingest more contaminated dust or soil because they spend their time closer to the ground and they tend to place their fingers and items in their mouths frequently.
The Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition conducted a "body burden" study of ten Washingtonians to determine the levels of some of these chemicals in their bodies.
Washington State PBT Program
After many years of work by member organizations of the Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition, the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) has created a first-in-the-nation policy and plan to eliminate dioxin, mercury, and other persistent toxic pollution.

What can you do to help eliminate persistent toxic chemicals?

  • Educate yourself: Explore the websites of coalition steering committee members to read more about persistent toxic chemicals, how they affect our daily lives, and how we can prevent their harming our environment and our health.,,,,,,
  • Visit our Pollution in People web site to learn more about toxic chemicals in our bodies.
  • Be a smart consumer: Purchase products which do not result in persistent toxic pollution, such as chlorine-free paper, non-PVC plastic, and mercury-free thermometers. See our Pollution in People web site for tips on safer food and consumer products. see Safer Alternatives
  • Join our coalition: If you work with a public interest group, a small business, or local government, consider supporting our coalition as a member or being an ally.
  • Volunteer for the coalition: Write or call if you would like to volunteer your time.
  • Donate to our campaign: If you can’t volunteer your time, help make our work possible by donating to the organizations leading this campaign.
  • Contact us: Call or email Margaret Shield, Toxic-Free Legacy Coalition Coordinator, for more information, 206-632-1545 ext. 123.