The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

day 30 of 30 days of thanks!!

Wow! November flew by! I can’t believe that tomorrow is December. Eek! So without further ado…

(drumroll please)

I am SO thankful that November only has 30 days! Seriously. Although the month flew by, it feels like I have been thankful foreeeeeeeeever. Kudos to everyone who stuck with their 30 days of thanks because believe it or not, it is challenging!

After having this month to really reflect on what I am truly thankful for, I realize how fortunate I am. It has opened my eyes to do my best not to take things for granted. I know that sometimes I am guilty of just counting on people or things being there without much consideration. My new goal is to be more thankful for them every day of the year.

In conclusion, I am thankful for you, November, for giving me 30 days (and only 30 days!) to focus on the many things that I have to be so thankful for. Until next year…

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day 29: 30 days of thanks

Today I am thankful for being able to cook. I love cooking and I really wish I could do it more often. Schy is starting to take interest in what’s going on in the kitchen these days. I get so excited when I think of her helping me prepare dinner or bake cookies. I can’t wait to teach her what I have learned over the years.
I have to admit that all of those years in the restaurant business really helped. I owe most of my knowledge and confidence to experiment to some of the great chefs that I have worked with over the years. On the other hand, I also learned a lot of ‘what not to do’!
I’m thankful that I have always (for the most part) been pretty successful at concocting healthy and delicious food. It is so fascinating and fun to learn as I go and I hope my mind will always be open to learning new and interesting things in the kitchen.
Oh yeah, and this…

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avoid getting sick with one simple step. true story.

So, you don’t feel like getting sick this winter, eh? Alright, great! Neither do I. Especially when I have an active toddler to chase around. Well, you’ve come to the right place. And I have to warn you, if you haven’t ever tried this you may be skeptical. But, trust me on this. This is a tried and true way to avoid getting sick.

I have one word for you. Garlic.
Ok, here’s a picture, too.

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If you’ve been following along, you already know about my recent discovery of garlic as a natural bee sting relief. Seriously, is there anything that garlic can’t do?? This super food has unbelievable healing properties and is much easier on our systems than antibiotic medications.

Garlic is the ultimate super food. When garlic is crushed or cut, it releases a sulfur compound called Allicin, a powerful amino acid. Allicin boosts and stimulates the immune system when ingested. It is also gentle on the digestive system and does not disrupt the natural balance of bacterial flora like typical pharmaceutical antibiotics do. Not to mention that garlic is proven to have more powerful antibiotic properties than penicillin and tetracycline. Really.

So, does it work? Yes. It works. I have been taking garlic at the first sign of illness for months now. Whether I wake up with a sniffle or a slight sore throat, garlic practically stops the illness dead in its tracks. I have just started to take it preventatively. Right now I am taking one clove a day with a tall glass of water. In the past, if I woke up feeling a bit ill, I would generally take it three times a day for a couple of days to give the ol’ immune system a super boost. Worked every time.

Sound gross? It’s really not. You don’t need to chew a clove of raw garlic, although if you’d like to, by all means. Have at it. You may just want to avoid any conversation for the remainder of the day. I chop one clove into pieces that I can easily swallow, about half the size of a vitamin. They can be larger, but just remember that the edges aren’t all smooth and rounded so it may hurt a bit going down. Just swallow your garlic chunks like you would swallow pills, with a big swig of water. I try to drink a nice tall glass per clove.

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I have never experienced any stomach sensitivity afterward, but it is possible. My husband fully chewed the clove the first time he ever tried it and it bothered his stomach. When he started swallowing chunks, he didn’t have any further problems. If your stomach is on the sensitive side, you may consider taking it before or after a meal. I’ve never experienced any odor ‘side effects’ either, though that is also entirely possible. The swallowing method does seem to eliminate the strong garlic breath.

So there you have it! How to avoid getting sick in one super simple step. I will follow up after winter and fill you in on how the preventative method worked out.

What do you think? Have you tried this? And if you haven’t, would you?

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day 28: 30 days of thanks

I am so thankful that my family and I have always had access to health care when we’ve needed it. I know that there are plenty of people in the world who have not been so lucky. Tomorrow is Schy’s 15 month appointment and I am thankful that she is able to see her pediatrician regularly. It gives me comfort as an overly paranoid first time mom that her doctor is just a phone call away, no matter the time of day or night. I’m thankful that this is something that my parents were always able to provide for me and that we can now provide for our little one. Here’s hoping we’ll only ever need routine visits.

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day 27: 30 days of thanks

Trees!

That’s right. Today I am thankful for trees. Trees are just amazing. They are fun to climb, they bear delicious fruits and they make the earth beautiful and interesting. And, hello, photosynthesis?! I mean, come on!

We are so lucky to have so many grand trees on our property. They really make it feel like home.

I have also been thinking a lot about Christmas and how much Schy is really going to enjoy the tree this year. We always have a real tree since they are renewable and all. We have a little family ritual of thanking our Christmas tree each year. We give it thanks to welcome it into the house. We also give thanks when we remove it. Sounds corny, I know, but it’s just something we do and something I plan to teach Schy. Trees are such an essential part of life in so many ways and it is important to teach love and respect for them.

There are just so many reasons to be thankful for trees! Now go hug one!

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Today’s thankfulness for trees was inspired by the ‘tree’ prompt for #fmsphotoaday. I got up close and personal with one of our stunning trees, seen in photo. I mean, look at that thing! Isn’t it just amazing?!

(If you are into photo-a-day or would like to try one out, I’d love to invite you to participate in the big green 365 challenge, starting January 2013! Feel free to contact me for more details.)

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day 26: 30 days of thanks

Today I am expressing my gratitude for music. It’s such a beautiful thing. Music has a way of reaching right into your soul. It has the power to change the way you feel. Or to embrace the way you feel. It is just such an amazing powerful thing. I love to watch my 15 month old dance and really feel the music that she hears. She has impeccable taste, by the way!
I’m thankful for the variety of music and talent in the world. It makes life more colorful and enjoyable. Just imagine how depressing the world would be without music. That’s exactly why I am thankful for music, today and every day.

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Review and GIVEAWAY: Zenoobi.com

I was very excited to be contacted by Zenoobi.com to do a review of their fabulous site and one of their products. If you’re unfamiliar, Zenoobi is an eco-friendly and organic online retailer offering merchandise that ranges from baby and kids to furniture and household items. After exploring the site I was thoroughly impressed with the variety of merchandise that they have to offer.

At first glance, the site is very well-organized and offers a perfect balance of simplicity and variety. It is extremely easy to navigate and very user-friendly. It is apparent that the website is thoughtfully designed for a pleasant shopping experience. I had a very good first impression of the site.

I loved browsing the various products that they have to offer, from adorable organic baby clothing to my personal favorite, Aden + Anais swaddle blankets! (If you don’t already own at least one of these, now is your chance! Great gift, too!) There are a variety of natural bath & body products including the Earth Mama line, unique toys and crafts and even furniture for your little one or the nursery. And if that’s not enough for you, they also offer a large selection of natural cleaning products, bedding and household items.  Zenoobi.com carries an array of reputable names such as Happy Baby organics, Mrs. Meyers cleaning products, GreenToys, thinksport and many others.

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Zenoobi.com carries a fantastic selection of items for mama’s and mama’s to be. I received a bottle of Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Spray to try out. I haven’t tried many aromatherapy type products so I was eager to give it a shot. Described as ‘bliss in a bottle’, this spray is specially formulated with a blend of oils to be uplifting during stressful times and to curb pregnancy nausea. As the mother of a toddler, I used it for the former. The fresh citrusy scent is indeed uplifting! A spritz in the air or on the wrist and it really does give a refreshing feeling of calm. I’m sure the deep breath helps too! I obviously didn’t get to test the effectiveness on nausea. I have a hunch that it would depend on the woman as we all have very different aversions during pregnancy. I wouldn’t hesitate to give it a try if I should ever find myself pregnant again. I thoroughly enjoy this ‘bliss in a bottle’ and look forward to having it handy when we get further into toddlerhood and I need burst of serenity now!

Zenoobi.com is a great site for those, like myself, who like to support eco-friendly retailers. Based on my experience thus far, I would highly recommend giving them try. If we all did our part to select environmentally responsible products and support retailers like Zenoobi, the world would be a better place!

HOW ABOUT A GIVEAWAY???

Zenoobi.com is generous enough to be offering one of my lucky readers a $20 gift code for their site! Great time to pick up one of those sweet swaddle blankets I was raving about!

You will get one entry for each of the following:

1. Like Zenoobi on facebook and leave a comment about the giveaway. Bloggers be sure to ‘like’ from your personal FB page for it to be counted.

2. Like the big green parenting experiment on facebook and leave a comment. (Again, from your personal account.) if you already like the bgpe, leave a comment saying so to receive your entry.

3. Sign up for the Zenoobi.com newsletter and mention it in one of the above comments.

All entrants will receive a gift from Zenoobi.com, so please be sure to leave your comments so I can contact you! Who couldn’t use an extra $20 towards gifts right now? I know I could!

Zenoobi.com also states that they plant a tree for every order placed! How sweet is that?!

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day 25: 30 days of thanks

I know that this may seem repetitive since I have already expressed my gratitude for my husband, but today I am thankful for my marriage. Having a strong, happy, loving marriage almost seems a rarity these days. I’m thankful to be married to my best friend and to know that no matter what obstacles we may encounter, we will conquer them together. I am thankful to have a marriage that is built on love, trust and friendship. I know that the bond we share is one thing that I can count on and always do my best to not take that for granted. I’m thankful that I can envision growing old with my love, always honoring the promises that we made on our wedding day.
I am so thankful to be happily married to my soul mate. It is truly one of the best feelings in the world!

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holiday penguin hors d’oeuvres!

Today I’d like to share a Thanksgiving staple in my family. It’s a fun little hors d’oeuvre that is perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any gathering, really. It is a real crowd pleaser and if I ever showed up at Thanksgiving dinner without them I may not get in the door!

You will need:

2 8oz. packages of cream cheese (spreadable or softened)
3-4 medium sized carrots
3-4 cans of large olives
Serving tray
Toothpicks
Piping bag (not necessary but speeds the process tremendously)

We have been making these for years so we have developed a pretty efficient system. It’s easiest if you prep everything first and then assemble the little guys.
To prep, you’ll need to slice a small wedge out of half of the olives (~2 cans). Peel and slice 2-3 carrots into ~1/8″ slices. Peel and slice 1 carrot the same, only you’ll need to cut these slices into wedges for beaks.
This is what your prepped penguin parts should look like:

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With your piping bag filled with softened cream cheese, fill the olives that you removed a sliver from. These will be your penguin bodies. Make sure you fill them enough that they are nice and plump with plenty of white showing.

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For the penguin heads you’ll take the slivered carrot beaks and stuff them into the ‘x’ of the remaining (whole) olives.
At this point take a round cookie sheet or serving dish and spread a nice layer of cream cheese over it. This will be your iceberg and hold the penguins in place… momentarily… before they’re devoured.
You are now ready to assemble your penguin army. Stick a toothpick through a penguin head, followed by a body and then a carrot slice for feet.
Tadaa! An adorable, tasty penguin.

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Stand him up on your serving iceberg and repeat until you run out of parts. Here is our finished tray of deliciousness:

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This is a seriously simple hors d’oeuvre that kids of all ages will love. We have a pseudo-brother-in-law that literally squeals with delight when the penguins arrive. (He’s in his forties, by the way.) His reaction alone makes these handsome little devils worth the effort. Next time you’re stumped on what to bring to that holiday party give these a try and see the fantastic reactions you get! Just be warned… you may be expected to bring them every year to follow. Enjoy!

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day 24: 30 days of thanks

Sleep.

I am so very thankful for sleep! Although I don’t get nearly as much as I did before Schy was born, I still really value the sleep that I do get. It’s amazing how your body learns to adjust to the amount of sleep you’re presently getting. I’ve been pretty sleep deprived for quite some time and some how I still manage to function. I love to lay down and close my eyes and wake up feeling refreshed. I look forward to having that feeling every day again someday. But for now I’ll just be thankful for the sleep that I do manage to get.
Good night all.

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