Friday, October 29, 2010

"Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication"

This week has...not been a good one for me health-wise or sanity-wise. Too many snitches of the kids' candy, too many delicious goodies, chocolates from my husband (for no particular reason! What a sweetie I married!), bags of chips in the house (and no self-disipline!), too many late nights compounded, of course, by multiple interruptions to my much needed beauty sleep from my lovely 9 month old...

Not only that, but I feel like I have been running from place to place this entire week, leaving me feeling harried and bereft of energy, and leaving my house feeling disorganized and never quite as clean as I would like it. Additionally, the few quiet moments I like to spend daily visiting with my Heavenly Father have been too hurried and unfulfilling. Overall, it is obvious to me that I need to make some changes this coming week.

Tonight I begged out of going with the family to our ward trunk-or-treat and chili dinner, so I could have some much needed "mommy time" to unwind, ponder and reflect. (And hopefully get my house clean as well--we'll see!)

As Leila and I sat down to the healthiest dinner I could concoct in 10 minutes, I turned on the conference talks from the latest general conference. I decided to listen to President Uchtdorf's talk, entitled; "Of Things That Matter Most."What an amazing talk, and just what I needed to hear tonight. I love how the Lord gives us these timely, gentle reminders of what we need to be focusing on in our lives. President Uchtdorf quoted in his talk something that Leonardo DeVinci is purported to have said; "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Beautiful! I have been thinking a lot about that lately--how I want/need to simplify my life much more.

This morning, as I was glumly contemplating my messy house and Maile was in tears on the floor because I wouldn't let her watch a second movie, I decided we all just needed a change of scenery. I quickly packed a picnic lunch and stuffed Maile's little school workbooks in a bag along with a pencil and our picnic blanket. We all jumped in the car and headed over to the library, where we spread out our blanket on the lawn, ate a yummy lunch together, and then did some of Maile's little school worksheets together. We just lounged around and took our time, and it was so delightful! All tears were gone. Why can't we make every day like that? Why so much running hither and yon? Why is it so hard to remember and focus on the things the truly matter the most?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of Right and Left Wings and In-betweeners

Well, crum, crum, crum. I spent all evening yesterday reading through my voters guide to pick out who and what I wanted to vote for, and then at the end of the guide noticed that there is a deadline to register to vote, and sadly, that deadline was October 18th. I guess I assumed when I got my driver's licence that I was automatically registered. Grrrr....

Anyway, this leads me to a conundrum I have had on my mind. I have become somewhat disenchanted with my current political party, as I think they have digressed from what they have historically stood for. I have been leaning more towards becoming an "Independant," as I think their tenents are more in line with my desire to follow the constitution as closely as possible. It's a hard choice in many respects, because none of the political parties match exactly what I am looking for, so I feel like I have to make the choice that matches my beliefs the best. So, my conundrum is thus: when I am voting, do I vote "Independant," knowing that my vote will most likely have no real effect either way? I mean, let's face it, third parties rarely if ever get voted in. That would in effect make my vote completely neutral, perhaps giving the advantage to a party whose beliefs I oppose. If I vote for one of the two major parties, my vote might make more of a difference. Sigh...any thoughts?

Monday, October 25, 2010

"The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden, So That's What We'll Do"

Some things are making a lot more sense to me as I have been reading and researching about items my family has consumed over the past number of years. For example--the prophet's advice for decades to plant a garden. Most people don't because, well, it IS expensive (we spent several hundreds of dollars last year putting in raised beds with "Mel's Mix soil.) and time consuming. Now that I am learning about the pesticides and other things that much of our produce contains, I can more easily see the wisdom in the advice to have a garden. Stuff is fresh, in season, and you know that there are no pesticides on your plants, which could potentially cause health problems down the road. An added benefit--it is great time to visit with your spouse or kids, if they are out helping you with it, and you feel a great sense of accomplishment when you eat stuff you grew and picked yourself. Maile would spend hours in our garden in Rexburg picking every thing she could see, and we all would get so excited when we saw fruit growing on our trees. I loved that, and I miss it! I think I will buy Maile a potted fruit tree for Christmas....

Of Taxing the Poor Children

Some time ago, I started demanding (or requesting, is probably a better word) a "mommy tax" on any goodies that suited my fancy that the kids would acquire from school/church/friends, etc. They usually grumble a bit, then hand over a little nibble of whatever it is I am wanting. Maile brought home a delicious looking brownie from joy school the other day, and without me even asking, said; "Mom, you can have some tax if you want." I love it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Of Ostriches in the Sand

I hate becoming educated. I much prefer to be like an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand. Life is simpler that way...and cheaper.

O.K., I don't really want to be like the ostrich, but WHY DOES EVERY STINKING BODY PRODUCT I USE CONTAIN SUSPECTED CARCINOGENS?! Not to mention the food I eat! Blah!

O.K. So after reading Kayla's blog on homemade shampoo, I have been doing a little research of my own. So yeah, all those unpronouncable chemicals in my shampoo and body wash?...not so good for you, and toxic to the environment. I will be making my own shampoo and body wash as soon as I finish my current bottle. I don't want my babies exposed to any more chemicals then they have to be.

Food. Yeah, made the mistake of watching Food, Inc. (a documentary on mass food production, specifically meat) on Netflix instant play. Now I am thoroughly disgusted by the normal meat I buy from the grocery store. Nor have I have touched a fast food hamburger since watching that movie. Don't get me wrong--I like meat, and if someone puts a hamburger fresh off the grill in front of me, I will most likely eat it, but from now on, I will be looking at the health food store for more healthy (and sustainable) alternatives to the meat I normally get from Food-4-Less. By the way, if anyone wants an incredible money maker, here is an idea for you. There is a guy who comes to our local Farmer's Market who sells free range grass fed cows (and free range chickens and pigs, etc.). The cheapest item he sells is $9/lb. Hamburger, or stew meat maybe? The most expensive item he sells is $27/lb (a steak fillet), with most items selling for somewhere in between that range. I have not done the math or anything, but I would suspect he earns about $5-8,000 per cow. Last time I went to the market, his was the only stall that had a hoard of people standing around it, so I assume there is a big market for organic meat like that, especially as more and more people are becoming educated about what exactly is in their food. Another reason I want to have my Oregon Organic farm!

O.K. Here is just a little teaser info to scare you from a book I have been reading (The Gorgeously Green Diet):

1. Nitrites/Sodium Nitrate; Found in lunch meats (I confess that I scoffed inwardly at a lady I heard asking at the deli for nitrite free lunch meat. Not any more!), bacon, sausage, hot dogs, canned meat, etc.

Effect: Can form "carcinogenic nitrosamines" in your body--in other words, they can cause cancer (breast, prostrate, stomach).

I found some nitrite free bacon and lunchmeat at our local health food store--it was really good! A couple bucks more expensive, but we will eat them less often. (Which is probably healthier anyway!)

2. BHA/BHT: Chemicals found in chips, veggie oils, cereal, gum, and soup bases.

Effect: Can cause neurological problems (I love chips--maybe that explains something!), can cause allergic reactions, and can be harmful to liver and kidneys.

3. MSG: This stuff is in tons of foods, from your Campbells soups, to your Ranch dressing mix. I have started making my own salad dressings because of this. (They are SO good, too!)

Effect: Can cause sudden cardiac arrest; often causes severe headaches and nausea.

4. High Fructose Corn Syrup: This is in just about everything in your grocery store. Look at the label, if you don't believe me.

Effect: (Copied and pasted the following from the internet)

Please see:

Tumor cells fed both glucose and fructose used the two sugars in two different ways, the team at the University of California Los Angeles found.

They said their finding, published in the journal Cancer Research, may help explain other studies that have linked fructose intake with pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancer types.

"These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation," Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

5. Pestcides on fruits and vegetables

Effect: They are all neurotoxins, according to Sophie Uliano. I will be researching natural pesticides for my farm produce.

Eeeks. There's more, but I will have to save that for another day, as Leila just woke up from her nap.

My feelings upon learning all of this? The more natural you can get, the better. It's what my Grandma always told me, and I believe it wholeheartedly.