Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Oh, I want to make these! Raw vegan Halloween cupcakes

These look really, really good:

Friday, October 2, 2015

Three Months Left! How Will You Make the Most of Them?

Are you interested in joining me on a journey for the next 3 months? Only three months (minus a day; okay, today's almost over: minus two days) left of the year. At the same time, 3 months is a whole quarter of a year. With those three months being October, November and December, that's a full 92 days (okay, 90 now that today is almost over).

Imagine adding in a habit to do 10 minutes of meditation each day for the rest of the year. That's 900 minutes of meditation.

Imagine adding in a habit of 10 minutes of a mix of jumping jacks and burpees, or just going for a 10-minute run? Or 10 minutes of yoga?

How about reading inspirational things each day for even 5 minutes? Or starting each day with a few servings of fruit? Or having a salad each day?

Or working on a business idea for 30 minutes to an hour each day for the next 90 days?

90 days it's actually quite a lot of time.

I've been working on some goals of my own for the remainder of the year:
*finish the first course for my French "academy" website
*do what I can to transform my health like getting back into doing Egoscue (I've seen some great progress and now that I haven't been doing any for the past month, I'm seeing horrible regression), saying no to junk food, saying yes to better eating (I'm reading a couple of books at the moment; I'll share once I have an opinion!), more self-care
*get another business idea off the ground--more on that once the idea is better figured out in my mind

Those are my big 3. Check out the Pre-Training Action plan at . If you read this early enough, you might even have time to sign up if you want to get in on the 100-Day Challenge.

While I have my specific goals in mind, I also just have more of a mentality now of finishing this year on a high note and thinking more throughout the day on which behaviours will support me in that pursuit and which behaviours are hampering my progress.

So, are you going to do it? Are you going to make the most of this last quarter of the year?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What's Your Plastic Footprint?

The amount of plastic in my life has been hitting me hard this summer for some reason. It just seems to be everywhere. I don't suppose it's an easy thing to live in this modern world and to not have any plastic at all--gosh, even our computers and cell phones have plastic--but I know there are things I could do to reduce my plastic use.

One thing I did was to purchase some glass water bottles for myself and my kids.

Lifefactory 22-Ounce Glass Bottle with Flip Cap and Silicone Sleeve, Carbon

I found mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond. I didn't even bother to look anywhere else because it had been on my mind so much that I wanted some and there they were! We've done the metal water bottle thing, only to have it corrode or just have the water taste funny after a day in it. The plastic water bottles got rejected by my kids years ago due to how they affect the taste, even the more expensive water bottles. So, this was one definite step.

I've been remembering to bring my own shopping bags with me more and more. And even purchased a reusable Gap one: did you know that (in Canada, at least) if you bring their bag with you when purchasing items, they will give you 10% off? Even at an outlet store where things are already discounted? That's a pretty sweet deal. And I've been doing little things like not using a straw for smoothies I've been drinking and started using mason jars to store food rather than plastic storage containers.

And now a friend has posted on Facebook a video from the Plastic Pollution Coatlition. Here it is and it's worth watching. It's short, but still enough to get you thinking about the plastic in your life and how you might reduce it.
Plastic Pollution Coalition
As a member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, I'm excited to share the launch of their new website! Check out for information about #plasticpollution and it's toxic impacts as well as what YOU can do to reduce your #plasticfootprint.
Posted by Jeff Bridges on Thursday, 3 September 2015

I look now at my kichen and pantry and I just see so much plastic. Gluten-free products in plastic. Pasta in plastic. Vitamins in plastic. When you buy fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, plastic bags are the only things available. Unless you just let it all float around and touch everything. Detergents come in plastic. Shampoo. Conditioner. Make-up. Lotions. I have gluten-free doughnuts I made from the Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen cookbook. They are wrapped in plastic wrap. Why? How else are you going to keep them from going rock hard?

We survived in the past without plastic. Is there a way to live in this modern world without constantly having plastic--and without essentially living on a farm or completely off your own land without any modern technology involving plastic?

I don't know if there is a positive answer to that question. But I do know that there are things we can all do to improve our plastic footprint. I've already decided since watching the video to stop buying the cheap pasta and buy the ones that come in a box. And I might even stop purchasing disposable drinks--except in situations like the other day where I was at a mall that didn't appear to have a single water fountain. (How is that possible?? I came fully unprepared because I'd expected there to be a water fountain!)

What steps do you think you might take?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Allergies... and even more allergies

I started this blog already aware of my own issues with milk products and certain raw fruits: apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, sometimes cantaloupe. Then it became clear my daughter was dealing with something. Wheat is definitely a problem, but we don't know at this point if it's just wheat or all of gluten. What we do know is that the flour used at her work is highly refined and does not make her sick the way other wheat flours do.

She has also realized that chocolate affects her poorly, as does too much dairy.

And then we found out about another allergy (or sensitivity; it's just easier to say "allergy") the hard way: through hours of violent vomiting.

The first time it happened, we thought maybe it was a bug or something. Or a cominbation of foods. Couldn't figure it out.

Second time it happened, still couldn't figure it out.

Third time it happened, we started suspecting Bob's Red Mills' All-Purpose Flour Blend (the one with garbanzo bean flour).

The fourth time it happened, eating an Amy's Burrito with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and garbanzo bean flour finally clued us in: she's allergic to chickpeas.

At that point, I was very glad we hadn't bought anything from Babycakes NYC when we were in DisneyWorld in June. Why? Well, the first vomting session was after the doughnuts from the Babycakes book. The third vomiting session was from crêpes made from a recipe from that book. Several of her recipes use that flour. It's not too far to think that that's what she uses in much of her baking at the stores.

Of course, this adds an extra difficult element when we're out and about. If she wants to eat gluten-free, she needs to be careful about what she's ordering and what it's made with. A small amount of chickpeas makes her far more ill than wheat/gluten does. She is not completely wheat-free with her diet and with this now popping up, it'll mean it takes precedence over eating wheat-free.

I am going to go back to what I've said before: if we all just switched to a raw food diet (and clearly avoided chickpeas in her case), this would all be taken care of. lol

Speaking of Disney, I do have some things to share about our trip and eating dairy- and gluten-free there. But that will have to be another day. I will say quickly that Disney World is actually a pretty great place if you have those two allergies. Lots of stuff you can eat.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Itchy Skin? Maybe It's What You're Eating

Last year, I started developing itchy skin on my shins. There wasn't a rash, the skin didn't seem excessively dry, it was just really, really itchy. Sometimes I would scratch until I felt like it would bleed if I scratched more.

Changing detergents didn't help. Using anti-itch creams, like calendula or others, helped, but it didn't stop the itch from coming back. Pretty much every single day.

Then I started eating almost entirely wheat-free after Easter when my daughter realized she needed to go gluten-free. And lo and behold, I started realizing I would have several days of no itching. When I'd eat wheat again, the itch came back. If I'd eaten a lot of wheat, it was a ferocious itch.

I had no itching yesterday, then ate regular wheat bread as part of supper last night. And my shins itch again this morning.

People tend to think of hives or perhaps even eczema when they think of food allergy/sensitivity symptoms. Itchy skin--and it doesn't have to be everywhere as my case shows--is another symptom. If you, too, suffer from itchy skin that doesn't seem to have any understandable cause, have a look at what you are eating. It's probably not the only symptom from a questionable-for-you food.

Friday, June 5, 2015

12 Weeks to Better Health--Week 2 Day 6

Yes, yes, nearly the end of the second week and I'm only now just posting.

It's been one of those weeks where life reminds you that you can have plans--and life may just laugh at you.

My plan had been to eat a salad each day AND do cardio at least 3 times this week.

In reality, I've started coming down with something--so my food desires and even my ability to remember that I was going to eat salad are hampered--and my knees have been acting up, which makes the cardio very hard; and I can't swim because of my shoulders (even if I actually had the time to go swimming).

So, I thought about what to do with this plan of mine and here is how it has worked out:

*I've had salad a few times this week. I consider this a lead-up to next week where I can make sure to eat a salad every day.

*I've been reminded that they typically say 3 weeks (at least) to a new habit. If my shoulder care and fruit first rules from the first week are the only thing I stick to this week and next, they are still new habits being created. If I only added in something new every 3 weeks, I'd be adding 17 new habits a year! Wow! And right now, I've got 2 habits going on, so if adding 2 things every 3 weeks becomes a habit, then that's 34 new health habits in a year.

Are you creating your own habits? Doing your own 12 weeks of something? Set yourself some rules, but at the same time, be gentle with yourself and be flexible when needed.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

12 Weeks to Better Health -- Day 5

How have you been doing with your week 1? Those first small changes can be really hard to make. I know that, already, I've been struggling to make sure to have a serving of fruit before I eat anything else in the morning. And really struggling to remember to do my rotator cuff physio exercises. The first while is the hardest, absolutely. It's the reason people last 2 days with things like New Year's resolutions: it can be hard to change our habits. It pushes us out of a comfort zone. Our comfort zone doesn't care about how healthy or better things are outside of it, so we have to sometimes deliberately challenge it so that it changes its size or its content.

I've been thinking ahead to my Week 2. I want to be exercising at least 3 times a week--Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So, I already started. Why? Well, because by the time I get to next week, it won't be as hard to stick to. My comfort zone will have been stretched a bit already.

The last post, I said I would share about my using "rules" rather than "goals." I do have a goal in mind--80% healthy eating, for example--but I know that the way to reach that goal is to break things down to develop habits bit-by-bit. But there's something that goes on in me that if I say my goal this week is to have fruit first thing every day, I might not actually achieve the goal. The goal is not the action itself, but the ending. So, what action do I need to take? I need to actually eat the fruit every morning. How do I make sure that I will stick with it? For me, setting it as a rule works. With a rule in place, I'm far more likely to actually follow through on the planned action because I don't want to break my rule. And the rule is reasonable and doable, so I'm not setting myself up for failure and actually helping myself be successful with the change to fruit first by setting it.

What about you? Would setting yourself a rule work for you? Or do you resist rules and tend to want to break them? What would be your "thing" to encourage you to actually stick with your planned action? For some people, it might be charting--and keeping the chart in a spot where others will see it to help with accountability. For others, it might actually be having a buddy to be accountable to and you don't want to have to admit you've messed up that day, so you're more likely to actually do it. There are all kinds of possibilities, it's just a matter of connecting with what would work best for you.

Monday, May 25, 2015

12 Weeks to Better Health--Day 2

I have a confession to make:

It is only Day 2 and I almost forgot my first rule for myself this week: Fruit first!

But I did remember, so that's all good. But let's say I had forgotten. What would you do if you'd forgotten? Would you say to yourself, "Ugh, I messed it up. I'll try again tomorrow." Or maybe, "If I can't even remember to do today, how am I going to do make it through 12 weeks?" If these are the kinds of things you'd say, I'm going to suggest something else, what I would have done had I eaten something else first:

"Oops. Let me eat some fruit right now." I could follow it by, "What can I do so that tomorrow morning I'll remember?"

It's really that simple.

It's exactly what I did for my rotator cuff care this morning. I had the fruit, got on with my day and realized I hadn't done my exercises. So, I did my exercises pretty much right then. They're done.

There's no need to beat yourself up or get down on yourself if you forget. Don't throw it all away if you have a goal you're working toward and you really goof on it one day. It's okay. The rest of the day can be in line with your goal. Or your rules. I'll write more about my "rules" for myself rather than my "goals" for this tomorrow.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

12 Weeks to Better Health--Week 1

I have been inspired to start a 12-week program. Or rather create my own 12-week program to better health.

This is not a program that I have all typed up in a document and ready to share. It'll evolve, I'm sure, as I go through the 12 weeks. Maybe you'd like to follow along with me--or maybe how I'm doing this will help you to create your own 12-week program.

I'm not sure why this "12 weeks" has hit me this week, but it has hit me as not being a huge amount of time and yet 12 weeks is 84 days, and 84 days of better habits can lead to some tremendous improvements. How much better would my health be if I exercised a few times a week for 12 weeks? How much better would my health be if I got enough fruits and vegetables for 12 weeks? Truth be told, this isn't going to be a challenge of doing 12 weeks of this or that, but more step-by-step, but even if it's only my first step for 12 weeks, I would see a difference.

And so, this first week of my 12 weeks, I'm focusing on how I start my day. My first rule for myself this week is that each morning has to start with at least one serving of fruit or a green smoothie. After I've had my fruit, I am free to eat as I normally would, so I can have that piece of toast or bowl of cereal or whatever after I've had the fruit. That said, I started my day today with a little fruit salad of fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries and some banana slices, probably 1.5 cups worth; it ended up being my breakfast because there was enough of it that I wasn't hungry for anything more. Fine by me! My second rule for myself to start my mornings is on the physical activity side of things. My rotator cuffs are still a problem, and I've been badly neglecting them, and so my rule for myself this week is to actually do my physio exercises each and every morning.

Are you going to join me for the next 12 weeks? Will you start your day with fruit? If you don't get enough fruits and vegetables each day (like me!), then I'm going to challenge you to do that: start each day with fruit. If a full serving is too much, then make it a bite of something, a single strawberry, a couple of grapes. Just get the habit going.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Loving This Book!

I have gotten back into books. I had, for a while, gotten so busy doing things on the computer that I had stopped reading. I purposefully made myself stop using my laptop after supper for about a week and it was all that it took to get me back into books.

One of the books I have out right now is David Wolfe's "The Sunfood Diet Success System." It wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be. I had watched some DVDs that got me more motivated to eat more raw foods and ended up requesting some of David Wolfe's books (even though, I have to admit, I can't stand those NutriBullet commercials of his). Opening up this particular book, I was surprised to have him get into life transformation--beyond just diet--and looking at your thoughts and beliefs and having you do things with each lesson (yes, they're lessons and not chapters) like writing down 100 goals to accomplish in the next year...

It's been very interesting and good for me so far. Writing down 100 goals took me more than a day to do. "How am I going to come up with 100 things I want to do/accomplish in the next year???" I did it though. And I keep adding to it. And with those goals now out there and more in my mind, I'm naturally taking more steps to accomplish them. I've done more natural visual improvement stuff in the past few days than I have in months. I've resumed my physiotherapy stretches for my rotator cuff problems. Just little things here and there, but those little things add up and over time become great.

I also have his Longevity Now book out from the library. It's food-focused and what I like about it is he's not about, "Oh, you have to become raw now! Get rid of eating this and that and the other!" Yes, the reasons for avoiding certain foods (especially cooked foods) are given, but all the reasons to just starting adding in these other good-for-you foods are given, with the idea being that you just keep adding good foods in and eventually, there won't be room--or possibly even a desire--for those other things. It's nice and gentle. No sense of "failing" if you can't meet some standard.

Are you reading a health/food book right now that you're loving? Share about it!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Allergies Have Changed Family Mealtime

Do you remember childhood mealtime? Everybody ate exactly the same thing and you had to eat it (or eat some of it) whether you liked it or not? Oh, boy, I remember having to eat a small amount of beets (makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it) and sauerkraut (I finally uncontrollably gagged when I was in high school and my mom let me off the hook after that) and who knows what else. I didn't have to eat it all, but I had to have at least a couple of bites of everything being served.

My, how things have changed, haven't they? With food allergies and sensitivities becoming so commonplace, it's no longer the same situation.

I've been dairy-free for sometime, but that doesn't mean our meals are always dairy-free. Casseroles, including lasagna? One with cheese and a smaller dairy-free one gets made. Quesedillas? Ditto. Macaroni and cheese? I'll just have the macaroni. Pizza? Have to make a cheeseless or Daiya one for me, or if we're ordering out, it can only be ordered from certain places and I pretty much need my own individual one because they aren't usually very good at keeping half the pizza cheeseless. There's a stir fry recipe my husband makes with cream of chicken soup; I need to get a portion pulled out for me before he puts the sauce in the veggies. Or the tortellini sauce he makes: a mix of Italian sauce and cream of mushroom. Again, I get served first and what's left is all mixed in with the dairy.

Now my daughter is gluten-free. Not celiac, but definitely sensitive to at least wheat, but looking up things online, it's more consistent with gluten sensitivity than just wheat sensitivity. I'm finding I feel better gluten-free, so I'm almost not eating any at all. So, it adds another wrench to the everybody-eats-the-same-supper. Spaghetti? Well, my husband and son aren't prepared to eat gluten-free (and, to be honest, it's much cheaper for them NOT to), so a batch of wheat pasta is made and a smaller batch of gluten-free for her and me. Taco night? Have to make sure to have more hard corn tortilla shells or have wheat flour tortillas and gluten-free tortillas. Casserole? Haven't gotten there yet. Am I really going to make 3 different ones? My daughter isn't dairy-free and isn't at all interested in trying the Daiya (they all say it smells weird). I suppose I'll make a "regular" one and then a gluten-free cheeseless one that we can each add on cheese as desired. Or maybe put a divider in a baking pan with gluten-free on both sides and each our own desired cheese. Bread? Do I dare use up some of our bread flour in delicious bread that my daughter can't eat? Or that will tempt her to eat and then she'll be ill afterwards?

Allergies have definitely changed mealtime from the way it was when I was a kid! What about you?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Has Your Eye Colour Changed?

I'm sitting here watching the film Food Matters (fantastic movie, by the way! I should do a proper review) and Charlotte Gerson of the Gerson Institute is in it. She has a light German accent and these blue eyes, both of which bring me back to my childhood and time with my Grandpa. This had me thinking of my own eyes. I was born with blue eyes. They remained blue until sometime in early elementary school. Mixing those blue eyes, thoughts of my grandfather's eyes and mine and all of this information about food and its effect on us, I was reminded of people's eye colour supposedly changing after eating a raw food diet for a while. A quick search online confirmed that I wasn't remembering incorrectly: there are people whose eye colour has changed from going raw. One of the articles mentioned about the eye colour being affected by toxins and such stuck in our liver or colon. My diet has not been anything close to optimal my entire life. It started on formula, then I lived on prepackaged and canned foods my entire childhood with few fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of dairy products which I'm allergic/sensitive to, lots of sugary foods. Having watched Supercharge Me yesterday and now Food Matters today, I do wonder what's stored in my liver and colon--and now wondering if this has affected my eye colour.


My eyes now are typically a kind of greenish blue, not like any of the colours in that chart. But they were blue enough, plus I was blonde enough, when I was about to turn 6 that my mom was stopped in a shopping mall by a woman for the local German language program who said, "That child must be German!" But they've been this kind of greenish colour for many years. I'm starting to now wonder: Are my eyes their natural colour or did they become more green due to diet?

I've looked up online when a baby's eyes normally change if they are going to change. One site said that babies eyes will change by the time they are 9 months. Another site said usually by 9, but you might still see some change up until 12 months, or rarely, up until age 6.

So... What's going on with me? Unless my information about myself is incorrect, my eyes became green after age 6. My mother was surprised to see how green my eyes were in high school; they're actually not that green anymore. But this is the mother who didn't notice my eyebrow scar until junior high--a scar I got before turning 5. Then there's my daughter, who we've in the past couple of weeks come to realize she is definitely gluten-sensitive and needs to get that out of her system and has likely been gluten-sensitive since her early years. I wonder about her eye colour: she has an unusual amber/hazel colour, nothing from either side of the family. Is this amber her natural colour or is it the result of things in her system that are blocked, possibly due to years of damage from consuming gluten?

I want to see what photos I can find of my younger years and see what I can tell about my eye colour and have a look at my daughter's pictures and when her eye colour started changing. And while I do that, I will be increasing as I can my consumption of raw fruits and vegetables and encourage her to do the same.

What about you? Are your eyes the same colour as when you were a child? Or have you changed your diet and noticed a change in eye colour as a result? I would love to hear more!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

That Time of Year--Allergies

It's that time of year: seasonal allergies time.

The change of seasons is gross here:everything is dead and brown and dirty, not to mention garbage everywhere, and no pretty white snow to cover it all.

Add to that insane winds the past weekend left me sneezing and stuffed up and sinuses super unhappy.

So, my diffuser has been running a lot. Mainly lavender and whatever else I feel in the mood for. Lavender is calming to both mind and body, so it's one I choose for when allergies are getting to me and will diffuse it or even apply it topically. I also ended up applying RC on my chest.

What do you use for your seasonal allergies?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Awesome Gluten-Free Cookbook

I have talked about this cookbook before, but I'm going to talk about it again:

I bought it sometime ago when my daughter was eating gluten-free, or trying to and made a few recipes and they turned out really well. Then she stopped going gluten-free and things started acting up enough that she decided she would try to go gluten-free again, or at least mostly gluten-free. She ended up being very sick (not from gluten) this past Monday and only at a little and that was when she decided she wanted to try mostly gluten-free, then Tuesday, only ate a small supper of gluten-free pasta and sauce. She ended up unintentionally falling asleep on the couch for the night, but I was next to her for a while and I realized her stomach wasn't gurgling like it had been daily for months. I mentioned it to her the next morning and she nodded and said that her stomach was flat again for the first time in a very long time. That convinced her to not just try to be gluten-free most of the time, but she's been gluten-free since.

But that has meant that she's finding it hard to find things to eat in the house. It's very convenient to grab this or that that has gluten in it or make this or that for lunch that has gluten in it (we make our own individual lunches). So, I've been doing what I can to help. Yesterday, I made the waffles recipe from Cooking for Your Gluten-Free Teen and today, the macaroni and cheese. The waffles recipe was easily made dairy-free, so I was able to taste it, too. They weren't half bad. You add strawberries, powdered sugar and syrup (she added strawberries and whipped cream), you wouldn't even know they were gluten-free. I did not make the dairy-free version for the macaroni and cheese, but I asked her how it was and she said she liked it.

And to add that in here: Many or all of the recipes actually have dairy alternatives listed, so you can make things that are both gluten-free and dairy-free.

While the cookbook says it's cooking for your teen, these are really just basic things a lot of kids and adults like. The recipes are fairly simple and so far, there isn't a single one we've made that we didn't like.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Why You Should Try Organic Carrots

For many years, we would buy the regular carrots at the grocery store, take forever to eat them, sometimes having to throw some out because they'd gone all gross. It wasn't that we didn't like carrots; we got all gaga over my in-laws' garden carrots.

A year or so ago, I ended up purchasing a bag of organic carrots. I can't remember why, if it was because there weren't any regular carrots or if the regular carrots looked rather pathetic. Or maybe it was just because I wanted to see if there was a difference. If it was for this last reason, they proved to be different. After that, I mainly purchased organic carrots. If there weren't any, then I'd sometimes go for the non-organic and end up regretting it. There was that much of a difference.

What kind of difference? Mainly, it seems that most of the organic brands I've tried simply have fresher, tastier carrots than what's typically available at the supermarket. Even compared to some carrots I've purchased at the farmer's market. My theory is that because they aren't treated with pesticides, they are not only picked earlier to ensure their "health", but they are put through to market faster, so they get to the consumer fresher and tastier than regular carrots.

We go through a lot more carrots now, which means we're paying more because they're organic and because we're eating more of them. But we're also grabbing a carrot, rinsing it off (they are so fresh most of the time, you don't even have to peel them), and eating it as a snack more often instead of some junk or quick grain product. And to know we are consuming unnecessary pesticides by choosing organic instead is nice. One word of advice: Don't cut them ahead of time for the week. They don't retain their freshness that way at all and after a day or so, it's almost like eating a regular carrot.

Why don't you try and see for yourself? Then let us know what your experience is! Maybe you have fresher regular carrots where you live compared to us, but maybe you don't and you don't know what you are missing out on.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Can You Help Out This Family?

Every now and then, I will post opportunities on this blog for others to help people out.

This time, the people involved are a personal friend and her family, including this cutie:

They are in a sticky situation and the GoFundMe details don't even share it all. They have 5 kids at home, my friend is disabled, their rental is not in great shape (but with 5 kids, their options are limited), and then the added serious issue discussed on the GoFundMe page. They have a serious ASAP.  And not just move, but to get settled somewhere far from where they are now, where they will be financially okay, which means moving to the other side of the country where the cost of living is much cheaper.

You can help. Every dollar counts. If you can only donate $1, it will help. If you can do $5 or even $10, don't think, "Oh, it's not much, it's not going to make a difference." If 1000 people visit the page and donate $5 each, that's $5000 to help my friend and her family. If everybody donates at least $10, then $10 000. Every dollar makes a difference.

Please visit their GoFundMe page , share their page on Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, anywhere where people might see and can help.

And remember: Any amount you can give will make a difference.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My New Website!

I have taken the plunge and signed up for the Young Living Independent Distributor website:

It's just a very basic website and it might only give the Canadian products list, unfortunately. I have some exploring still to do with it. If you are in the United States or anywhere else, you can access your full product line by selecting your country (or nearest country) at Please be sure to use 1772120, my distributor number, on orders or for signing up for the wholesale membership.

Just a quick note here: Why would you want to sign up? Well, for example, the diffuser I recently purchased comes with one of the starter kits (in Canada) and signing up with the starter kit is cheaper, by almost $30, than the diffuser by itself, even though the starter kit also comes with product samples that would cost you more to purchase if you were purchasing individually. Wholesale members get 24% off most items. That's a pretty nice deal. And there's none of this having to purchase x-amount every month or every quarter to maintain your status. You only need 50 PV during an entire year--which, depending on what you order (each item has its own PV value), might come to about $60-$75CDN. For an entire year.

If you have any questions, do ask in the comments section!

Signs of Gluten Intolerance

After yesterday's post about my daughter's possible wheat overload, I tried to find out more information on wheat sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity kept coming up, but given her blood test did not show an issue with gluten, I thought that meant she wasn't gluten sensitive.

Turns out I might have been wrong.

According to NaturalNews, the blood tests they typically do don't test for all gluten sensitivity.

So, now I have myself questioning again if my daughter is, indeed, gluten sensitive. And how much damage it has done to her potentially over the years. Looking at Hypothyroid Mom's site and her list of 12 shocking symptoms, let me consider them here, I can say she has suffered from 7 out of the 12. That's a lot. One that's not in there that deals with youth is delayed growth, another symptom of hers, even though teeth all came in at the "normal" time.

Here's another list, almost identical, but I thought I would share it. What caught my eye was the "chicken skin" on the back of the arms: my daughter has this, but so does my son and so do I!

1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.
2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as 'chicken skin' on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
7. Migraine headaches.
8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.

I think it's time to seriously consider making my home as gluten-free as possible and if others won't willingly switch over, make certain changes slowly (like mixing in gluten-free pasta with regular pasta) so they won't even know.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gurgle, gurgle

My daughter has been having a VERY gurgly stomach now for at least a  couple of months. I'm not sure I've ever heard it be as bad as it has been lately.

I suspect her body may be overloaded on wheat again. But she's 17, has always brought it up in the past when she's wanted to try wheat-free, and has never gone for my suggesting it, so I'm going to let it go and let her decide if she wants to try wheat-free again. And I say wheat-free because she has been tested twice for a reaction to gluten and both times it was fine. That said, about the only gluten she eats is wheat, so perhaps I should just say, "Gluten-free."

Of course, it's hard for us to go wheat-free. Once we're in it, it's not so bad, or wasn't. Now she's working at a pizzeria, often eating there before her shift starts or once it's done. There is a gluten-free crust available, but she hasn't tried it, and sometimes there is just free pizza to be eaten, too, due to messed up orders or people not even showing up to pick up their order. And without knowing for sure that going wheat-free will help, can you blame her for not being open to cutting it out just yet?

It might be time for Mamma to aim for a wheat-free week in terms of what she is serving others. Even if it doesn't eliminate her wheat consumption entirely, at least it'll ease up a bit on the burden to her body.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Make-a-Menu Monday--March 30, 2015

In light of the 3-Week "David Avocado Wolfe Challenge" to start next week, I thought I would plan a menu for the week that avoids certain potentially common processed foods and includes plenty of veggies.  Being frustrated lately with trying to find new ideas for a week-long menu plan and finding only 5-day plans, I made sure to make this week's plan a full 7 days of meals. The plan, as usual, is dairy-free, and with some simple substitutions (gluten-free tortillas, gluten-free pasta), can be completely gluten-free, as well.

Monday: Crock pot whole chicken with baked potatoes, garden salad (think green or red leaf lettuce, cucumber chunks, chopped tomatoes, shredded carrot...), and cooked green beans.

Tuesday: chicken fajitas with homemade seasoning mix, red onions and different coloured peppers and garden salad.

Wednesday: spaghetti with homemade spaghetti sauce (with meat or meatballs or without) served with Caesar or garden salad

Thursday: chicken and vegetable fried rice; I've made that recipe before but substituted broccoli and cauliflower and went heavy on the veggies. It's delicious!

(Good) Friday: Since many will be going meatless today, a simple casserole made with macaroni noodles, jarred pasta sauce (check the label to find one without weird chemicals in it), and mixed frozen vegetables topped with your choice of cheese.

Saturday: lasagna (Daiya cheese for mine) with cooked carrots and homemade vegan Caesar salad dressing

Easter supper/Sunday: ham served with dairy-free mashed potatoes, roasted baby carrots, lemon-parsley green beans

Enjoy! :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Are You Up For a 3-Week Challenge?

They say that 3 weeks is the minimum amount of time required to establish a habit.

What habit will these particular three weeks establish? That depends on you! If someone can make all the changes to their lives, I'm sure they would feel amazing at the end of the 3 weeks.

"But which changes??"

For full details or to participate on Facebook, see the event page.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I LOVE My New Diffuser!

My poor old diffuser got knocked down a couple of times onto cement. It still worked, but after internal plastic pieces finally broke off, the mist/vapour just isn't doing what its supposed to.

So, I finally decided to dish out the $$ for another one. They had changed the design, so I was just expecting it to look like this:

which I thought was pretty neat compared to the other model I have.

But then, I got it and saw what it could do.

I feel silly for what I'm about to say, even just let out an embarrassed little chuckle as I got ready to type this, but I'm going to say it anyhow: I fell completely in love and got so excited about it when I discovered its nighttime secret:

It looks even cooler in real life! My husband thought I was crazy, I'm sure, getting so excited over a diffuser that lights up. I even turned off the lights last night and didn't read as I had intended to because I wanted the full effect of the blue glow. lol

If you are in Canada or Singapore, you can get this diffuser. If you are in the US, sorry, you're out of luck, which is ironic since it's usually we Canadians who can't get many of the US products. Elsewhere? I'm not sure.

You'll  probably notice the price and go, "Oh my word!" But wait! If you actually sign up as a member, you can get it with the basic starter kit for cheaper and if you want to start off with a collection of oils to go with your diffuser, you can get the Premium Starter Kit which includes the diffuser, samples and the Everyday Essential Oils kit for an amazing price. (In the US, you have more starter kit selections--you just get a different diffuser.)

If you do sign up wherever you are, please do use my Young Living ID for your enroller and sponsor number: 1772120.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I thought I would share some dairy-free things I've been finding today for something special to make this St. Paddy's Day:

7 Healthy Green St. Patrick's Day Recipes - All of the recipes are dairy-free and gluten-free! Including the Green Tea Latte and the Creamy, Cheesy Avocado Pasta.

Go Dairy-Free: St. Patrick's Day - The Healthy Vegan Shamrock Shake looks particularly tasty.

Vegan St. Patrick's Day Recipes- Oh, if only I had the ingredients for the vegan Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake...

Oh She Glows - Angela's got all kinds of different recipes to try

Are you making anything special for St. Patrick's Day?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Old Man and His Horse

I'd like to share, on this day of my returning to this blog, a story I read in Mabel Katz's The Easiest Way: Solve Your Problems and Take the Road to Love, Happiness, Wealth and the Life of Your Dreams, except I'm going to share the version from here because, well, it's too much to type up from the book! I know with my on-and-off blogging, my on-and-off healthy eating, too, that I get into the judging. I "should" be blogging more and I "should" be eating this or not eating that... This story was a good one today for me to just accept that the current situation is what it is.

The Old Man and His Horse (a.k.a. Sai Weng Shi Ma)

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before – such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend.” The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in his stable. All the village came to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”

The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.”

The old man spoke again. “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?”

The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, and old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again, the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. “Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.”

The man responded, “Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of one phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?”

“Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is one fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”

“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned. With a little work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.

“You were right,” they said. “You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken both his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever.”

The old man spoke again. “You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.”

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.

“You were right, old man,” They wept. “God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.”

The old man spoke again. “It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this. Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”

Monday, February 23, 2015

Make-a-Menu Monday--February 23, 2015

A young girl the other day said to her friend, "My mom never knows what to make for supper!" I laughed--but understood. How about you? If we had a menu plan, then we'd know what to make, wouldn't we?

So, I'm back to menu planning. I see why figuring out what to make each day is hard because sitting down to figure out what to make this week has been hard because I want to cut back on the wheat. And looking back on menu plans I posted on this blog before, I can see that what we eat hasn't really changed much in the past couple of years. *sigh* I'm sure my whole family would benefit by having some nice new things.

Running out of time before I head to the grocery store, I don't know what will be new, but I have considered things I don't make very often. Here's my supper plan for the week:

MONDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free): pan-fried chicken (I'll use a gluten-free flour blend) and mashed potatoes (with rice milk and vegan margarine) with steamed broccoli

TUESDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free) (early supper with kids; need something that reheats well):  Italian sausage and penne marinara with a salad; I'll probably make a batch of wheat flour penne and a batch of gluten-free penne and just have the sauce on the side for people to add to their choice of noodles. I've made this before and it was delicious! (Although I admit I ended up modifying, but I can't remember why... I think I just ended up putting in far more spices because I didn't have the stewed tomatoes.)

WEDNESDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free): slow cooker day: I'm not 100% decided on what I'll make Wednesday, other than it will be a slow cooker day. I'm thinking either Lemon Chicken with Potatoes and Mushrooms or Beef Roast and Vegetables. If I get a chance to find something vegetarian, dairy-free, wheat-free and sounding tasty, I will make that instead.

THURSDAY (*dairy-free) (only husband, son and I for supper): sloppy joes (at my son's request); my daughter's not super thrilled with sloppy joes and the "men folk" like it so much that one recipe doesn't really make enough for the four of us (I suppose I should fill them up on veggies or something first!) so Thursdays are good days.

FRIDAY (*gluten-free, dairy-free) (only both teens and I for supper; it's also Lent, so meat-free): vegetable stir fry, possibly chop suey-style or with chow mein noodles

SATURDAY (only both teens and I for supper): We might actually go out for supper. If not, I'll make it a simple supper or each-to-his-own night.

SUNDAY (*dairy-free):  lasagna (one with cheese for them, small one with Daiya cheese for me). We normally reserve lasagna for a special occasion, but it's been a while! Served with Casear salad and possibly cooked carrots and garlic bread.

Looking at that all typed up and seeing 4 days of gluten-free meals, I'm pretty pleased with it!

What's your menu plan for the week? How do you go about deciding?

Monday, February 9, 2015

More Salt than Cinnamon

It's long been a "thing" to watch your salt/sodium intake when trying to be (pre)hypertensive-free. I haven't really been tackling my blood pressure issues (which fall into either prehypertension or hypertension, depending on the day) and just feel lately like my pressure is up, I'm out of shape, unhealthy, although weight is fine, not eating super well, and it's time to start taking some decent measures toward taking care of myself in this regard.

So, I'm starting to pay attention to sodium intake. I kept it in mind last night when I was making supper. I was going to use a prepackaged flavoured rice mix, then went, "Wait, it's got all kinds of salt I wouldn't add if I were making rice on my own." So, I looked up a low-sodium chicken fried rice recipe and the only sodium added was part of the Bragg's soy seasoning.

Just now, I thought I would eat some oatmeal before heading out for an appointment. I decided to have a look at the label on the box of prepackaged apple cinnamon instant oatmeal: 7% of the daily recommended max intake for one package. I look at the ingredients: salt is listed BEFORE cinnamon. There is more added salt in that package than cinnamon. That's crazy! So, I went for the whole large oats with some almond milk: the oats have no sodium in them, although the milk has the same 7%--at least in part due to the added sea salt. (Did they have to add the salt?)

Now, we need some sodium, but with prepackaged foods, there can be an amount of salt you never would have guessed would be there.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Quote--to Encourage Being Clutter-Free

"We go on multiplying our conveniences,
only to multiply our cares.
We increase our possessions,
only to the enlargement of our anxieties."
-- Anna C. Brackett

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Outsourcing--As a Stay-at-Home Mom

Natalie talks about outsourcing today. And then she says she wants us to pick something we don't need to be doing that we will outsource within the next two days.

And then my mind goes blank.

I'm at stay-at-home mom. I would love to outsource the cooking (hm, get my teens to do more of it? although my one teen is so busy with evening activities and work, she's not even home for most suppers...). I've already been "outsourcing" the laundry--both kids have done their own this week. I can't imagine ever hiring a cleaner; my own little quirk in that I would feel like my space is being invaded. Although I would have no problem cleaning somebody else's house, but they want that. I don't. I can "outsource" more of the cleaning tasks to the kids, though, I suppose. Really, though, there is nothing that I do as part of things at home that I would be willing to pay someone else to do.

Income-wise, I have two jobs at the moment: I pick up kids after school once a week and look after them at my house (there is no outsourcing possible there--other than my son looking after the girls when I'm driving my daughter to dance) and I teach a French class once a week. I can't outsource the teaching, it wouldn't make sense to outsource the planning, although I suppose I could try to outsource some of the physical materials I would like. But I don't always know what I want until the last minute.

But that's it. The online French academy isn't a business yet. It doesn't even have a name, so I can't even register a domain or have a virtual assistant get things organized on that end of things or somebody to design it for me just yet. I'm not even sure of all of the components I want. Now that she's brought up outsourcing, I may just find somebody who can, for a reasonable price, design a site for me, or at least some images--once I have an actual name and things are ready to get started. But I also might not since I like to know how everything works. I won't have somebody else do the lesson planning. So... What am I going to outsource? Perhaps once things are really moving I'll find something?

Are you a stay-at-home mom who outsources anything? What? Are you running a fledgling online business and outsourcing something? What?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 9 of the 15 Days to Freedom Challenge--Tools and Systems to Free You

Today's challenge is about systems and tools that free up our time. I already use most of what Natalie recommends and I have found it has helped free things up for me. Google Docs is fantastic for things I want to be able to access anywhere or just to have a backup of. I switched to Gmail a couple of years ago, I think, still keeping the email address I've had for possibly 10 years and just having mail go through the Gmail. No more having a computer die and losing all my contacts and stored emails and not only that, if I have access to the internet, I can now access my emails from anywhere. I have Paypal, but am looking into other possibilities for once my site is going to be accepting payments (any suggestions? I've heard there are others that don't charge as much; this is an expense I keep forgetting about).

Because I'm already using some great tools and have certain systems in place that I'm happy with, I think I will learn more about Dropbox and see if that will be useful to me at all.

Do you use certain tools or have certain systems in place? What do you use that makes a difference for you?

3 Big Goals to Plan Into Your Year

I have tried and tried to type a post about fulfilling this challenge. I started yesterday morning, had a very long post; by the evening, it just wasn't right. I tried again, but it wasn't right.

Maybe I just have to say that I can't--for now.

This challenge is about picking 3 big goals and placing them--as well as time off and other things--into your year. Plan your year.

But I just can't do that.

I've hit a time in my life where, while I want to enjoy success in the ventures that have inspired me, I don't want to be goals-driven. I have a tendency to just "get things done" and not be in the here-and-now, truly appreciating and enjoying life. My post from earlier this year talks about me wanting to live a freer, more leisurely life. This goes against the success philosophy of work, work, work towards your goals. Now, I know each and every one of the big teachers of success will say you need balance, but I can't seem to do that. (I do lean towards Asperger's--and one trait can be to get somewhat obsessed with an area of interest; I've had that happen plenty in the past.)

And yet, as I type this, I realize that this is one of my big goals--but how do I set a deadline to it? How do I plan it into my year? I suppose I would have to pick certain types of milestones, measurable things to be reached, but how? What sort of milestones can there be in learning to live in the now? So, this is one reason I can't fulfill this particular challenge. There is no particular milestone to be reached and various little things to do over the year that will unfold.

A second goal has already been talked about in this challenge: to replace last year's income from offline sources with online sources. A milestone goal for this would be for me to get my French academy site up and running--I'm actually aiming for March 1st at the latest, hoping to have a trial version up within the next few weeks. A second milestone goal (so, a third big goal?) for this would be to get 100 registrations--but is this something I can plan into my calendar? Not really. I could pick some arbitrary date, but that doesn't change that I don't know how long it will take for me to pick a name, get the first units done and up, get the next units done and up, then get the next level done and up... I don't know that it's reasonable to expect 100 registrations for the beginner level. Do people just set the goal anyhow? Go, "I'm aiming for 100 registrations by May 1"? Why do I have such trouble with this? I guess because I don't know if it's reasonable, doable, and if it's not, then it's just an arbitrary decision and not something that can actually be worked toward and accomplished.

 I don't have any other big goals right now. I have big desires, but I can feel my commitment level to actually make them happen just isn't there. I'm probably over-thinking all of this. Ah well.

Do you have 3 big goals for the year? Have you planned them into your year? I would love to hear back. I should perhaps have read other people's submissions for day 8 before writing my own!

Friday, January 30, 2015

-Free Recipe Friday: Dairy-Free Waffles

It is Friday: time for a -free recipe!

Something we make fairly often around here, now that I've found that it's actually easier to do than pancakes, is waffles.

At first, I found a super easy recipe and it worked well despite not using cow's milk. Then I kept reading other recipes that had some extra steps, but there were some common extra steps: separate the white from the yolk, put the yolk in first, mix it up, beat the egg white on the side until it becomes stiff and then fold it in. I don't understand the chemistry behind it, but both of my kids have said that waffles taste better when I do this.

And with that, here is my recipe for

Dairy-Free Waffles

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
2 tbps sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, beat:
2 egg yolks (set aside the egg whites in a separate bowl)
1 3/4 cup of your choice of non-dairy milk
1/2 cup of cooking oil or dairy-free margarine (warning: I tried coconut oil once; 1/2 proved to be too much)
1 tsp vanilla (I let it overflow just a tad)

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix just until moistened.

In your separate egg-white bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the batter.

Pour a cup or so into your preheated and lightly greased waffle maker and cook according to your maker's instructions.

I have a waffle maker that makes 4 waffles at a time and this makes 12-16 waffles, depending on how much batter I actually put each time.


If you like little kitchen gadget things, to separate the egg white from the yolk can be done with a separator. You can check some out at I have one that's similar to this one that works well--and prevents me from inadvertently piercing the yolk with a jagged eggshell edge:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The ONE Thing to Rule Them All

Today's post is going to be super, super short:

Today's challenge with Natalie Sisson's 15 Days to Freedom is about picking ONE thing to focus on this year. I jumped the gun before even finishing the video and thought my one focus was my online French academy, but finishing the video, I realize it's not my one focus: my one focus this year is to make online more than what I made last year with my offline sources combined. There are different ways I have in mind of accomplishing it, but that's my one focus.

Do you have a single focus for the year?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Your Business Style?

I've managed to watch the Day 6 challenge video (of the 15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge by Natalie Sisson) which, other than showering and getting dressed, is probably my biggest accomplishment so far today. I've been hit by the flu or something and have spent the day drinking orange juice and not spending more than a couple of minutes standing--mostly reclined back, to be honest. But I decided I wasn't going to get another day behind, so I'm getting this done.

Today's topic is actually something I've already considered as part of my employer-free life: What's your business style? Basically, are you the type who is going to go after active income or residual income? Also to consider, are you someone who needs to be with people or you'd prefer to just sit with your laptop somewhere comfy to work? Are you going to offer a service, products or both? Things like that.

I am an introvert. A huge introvert. An I've-always-disliked-the-phone introvert. Someone who could probably live fine by herself on a mountain top for quite sometime. I'm quite happy sitting with my laptop, perhaps interacting with people online. I love researching and answering questions, but also just like writing. I love helping, too. I currently teach a weekly class and while I do love the kids, my internal yearnings are to just do it all online. Both products and services, but ideally, less of my service time so that I have more time to research, write and enjoy life my way. :) These are things I've identified already about myself and I am currently working on the online French language learning school that will allow me to do just that: product (lessons) and small amount of "in-person"/online service (conversational times).

What about you? Do you already have your own business(es) going? What works for you? If you're looking at being an entrepreneur yourself, which direction do you think fits you best?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Let It Go, Let It Go

Today's (day 5's) challenge for the 15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge is about letting go of people and habits in our life that we need to let go of. Sitting down to write this and seeing "Let Go", I couldn't help but think of Frozen.


I can honestly say that I don't have people in my life who put down my ideas, although my mother did before Christmas talk about my kids having talents (guitar and piano) and could they play something, but, to me, "You don't have a talent, do you?" (Actually, yes, Mother, which is why you were always impressed when I was growing up how easily I could learn to play things on the piano without having ever taken a lesson...) But that slip of her aging mind aside, I can't say I have anybody unsupportive in my life I need to let go of. I'm very introverted and have very few close people in my life. It works fine. One person I did need to let go of in my life I let go of about 5 years ago and since then, things have been good.

But the habits... 66 days to develop a new habit?! That's something surprising that Natalie shares in today's video. So, if you want to let go of a bad habit, which you can only really do by replacing it with a better habit, you have to give yourself over 2 months. Two doing-it-faithfully-each-day months. (Part of me is saying, "I'm doomed.") My mind is running a blank on habits I need to replace. But that could just be because it's 11pm after a long day of running around and wanting to actually do this post this morning but didn't get a chance to and I absolutely want it done before bed so I can do Day 6 tomorrow. Okay, some bad habits I have that affect my health, business progress or other:

*Snacking on bad foods in the evening before bed. As I type this, I have an empty bowl that previously contained corn Tostito rounds and some Maynard's Fruit Squirt candies.
*Getting right into work things (or online fun/distractions) instead of taking the time to properly exercise in the morning. Not only am I forgetting to do my rotator cuff exercises, but I'm not doing any cardio, which isn't helping my blood pressure at all. (Neither is the snack above, I suppose!)
*Can it be called a habit to not plan meals ahead of time?
*Spending too much time reading random things online, or evening interesting things that I just get carried away with.
*I tend not to get my Thursday class planned until Wednesday sometime and not completely prepped until Thursday morning, 5 minutes before I have to leave (if I even manage to prep everything I wanted to prep).

She said to pick 2 or 3 habits to let go of and replace them with good habits. So, here are the good habits I'm going to work on for the next two months:
*I'm going to let go of the junk in the evening and replace evening snacks with no snack (some of my snacking is just habit, not actual hunger) or with a healthy snack: fruit, veggies, some sort of whole food.
*I'm going to let go of the early morning online fun/distractions or work stuff to take care of my physical health and exercise--both shoulder work and cardio (if I'm not sick). I have a skipping rope now and some videos... Even though I might not be able to move my arms properly, it doesn't mean I can't tackle the cardio.
*I am going to let go of the Thursday-class-procrastination and actually work on it every day--at least until it's ready. Just the idea of possibly finishing a Monday evening for the coming Thursday sounds divine!

Well, I've got my work cut out for me with this one. Hopefully I'll remember in the morning what I said I would do. ;)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Distractions, Distractions... What Was I Saying?

Natalie Sisson's Day 4 video in the 15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge really spoke to me. It's all about distractions, pointing out that every distraction sets us back from accomplishing what we were setting out to do. (Okay, that's assuming that we've got a goal in place of something we are trying to accomplish.) Facebook is a huge distraction for me, especially when I leave a tab open and get all of the notifications. Part of my reasoning is that if I only check once or twice a day, then I have a gazillion notifications and can't get through them all.

Well, wait a second: How many of those notifications are that important? Will I be just fine without them? Already, I don't even check most of them--and sometimes that means that the important things get "lost".

So, part of my cutting back distractions, of getting as distraction-free as possible (it's not possible to be completely distraction-free, I don't think) is going to be to, first of all, reduce how many notifications I get and second, keep Facebook closed except when I'm deliberately going to use it for whatever reason.

But, that's not my whole problem. My mind gets in the way. Yes, it does. Just as I was typing this post, I pressed something by accident, got an option to install language dictionaries for my browser, remembered a discussion yesterday about there not being Canadian English options for most things online, which led me to checking if this browser has that option--it did--intalling it AND going back to Facebook to tell the group, where the discussion had been, about it. *sigh* (I literally just sighed.)

I am now starting to wonder about my attention habits. After I sighed and was thinking about what to write next, I realized I was quite cold. So, rather than finish this post, I went downstairs, turned up the heat and grabbed a sweater. Distractions, distractions.

I can't remove my mind ;), so that's not the one thing I can remove today from my distractions. I know that Facebook is currently a problem--getting involved in conversations and playing games and all that. I'm setting myself a boundary today and that is that Facebook can be checked in the morning and then checked again in the evening, but other than that, unless there is somebody I need to get in touch with and that's the only way or I know information I need is on Facebook, I'm not heading there. And if I do have to, I will control myself and not get caught up in other things!! (I will head there right now to post this, though. :D)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Finding--and Using--Good Tools

Day 3 of Natalie Sisson's 15 Days to Freedom Challenge asks us to choose a tool to use to help with our success. In terms of a -free life, while this has nothing to do with being allergen-free or anything like that, it does have to do with being a little more stress-free, financially-free and so on. She lists some different tools in the Day 3 video and while we're not obligated to use any of the ones she uses, I decided to try out Evernote and it is installing as I write this.

In my daily life, I'm constantly writing notes--on paper. And losing that piece of paper. This happens for just about anything, including menu planning for the week. I don't lose every piece of paper, but I lose a lot of them. Or find them after I don't need them anymore, sometimes a year later. (No, I'm not kidding.) While there is a part of me that connects better with paper and writing on paper than putting things in my phone, the reality is I lose a lot of my little notes. I figure it can't hurt to try an electronic note system, even if I sometimes write things on paper first, back them up into Evernote and then if I lose the paper, I still have the backup.

And now that it is finished installing, I will see what sort of menu planning notes I have in my mind for this week. :)

Evernote is a FREE app you can get that is cross-platform--if you put your note in your phone, it will also be available through your browser on your computer or laptop. The free version is limited, naturally, but even the Premium version is highly affordable.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Figuring Out What's Important to You

Day 2 of the 15 Days to Freedom Challenge asks to identify one Most Important Action (MIA) to accomplish during these 15 days.

This is a tough one.

When we get down to the nitty gritty of what's important, we're really asking to look inside and figure out our values and what's most important to us. This takes some serious soul searching sometimes. We can get caught up in what society around us would say is important or what we think loved ones or friends would say is important. Or we can just get so caught up with life we don't even know what's important to us, not having taken the time to figure it out or just staying too distracted to connect with it.

When I watched the video of her talking about the MIAs, it hit me that even though I had originally started this challenge to get into a daily habit of blogging, that's not what's most important to me right now: the development of my online French academy is. Blogging is still important, very important, but this idea I have of developping an online academy to teach French is more important and I have been taking too long at getting the first lessons done up, the site set up and tested. A moment today had me realize I haven't touched the idea in days.

So, my one MIA for the next two weeks is really tackling that website. Figuring out the next steps and making sure that, after the morning Success Plan is taken care of, I actually work on the website development.

What about you? Are you doing the challenge? If not, you could still pick your Most Important Action: what would it be?

Another Reason I Love Lavender Oil

Yesterday was a long, demanding day for me. In the process, I did not get enough water to drink, became horribly dehydrated, started getting a headache, came home, grabbed a Gatorade, drank about half of it and had a short nap, thinking it might help.

Not so much. I woke up and my head was killing me. I was desperate enough that I took an extra-strength ibuprofen, drank the rest of the Gatorade, had a tuna sandwich for supper, and went back to the sofa with a movie on in the background, and a frozen "magic bag" on my forehead. After about 30 minutes or so, I was feeling much better. An ibuprofen alone doesn't seem to help when I'm like that, and Gatorade alone doesn't seem to help enough, but combine the two and a huge difference.

So, I thought I was out of the woods. Well...

My right eye was bugging me before getting ready for bed. I had a look in the mirror: pink eye. Shoot. (I seem prone to the viral kind.) It reminded me that I did have some unusual gunk that morning in that eye. I looked up essential oils and pink eye, learned about people finding lavender helpful--but then was so out of it and tired when I got to bed, I forgot to put any on or diffuse it.

This morning, I woke up to a bit of a cough, a sniffly nose and 2 pink eyes. *sigh* And we're talking it looked like somebody coloured the entire white of my eye a medium-light pink.

I didn't forget yesterday's post about my Daily Success Plan, so I did my morning prayer/meditation and exercise (well, just my shoulder stretches; I really feel the need for rest today which, unfortunately (haha, not) means I won't get the cleaning done I was planning on doing) and remembered about the lavender oil. I put some in the diffuser and then some around the eye along the bone, not actually coming too close to the eye.

I then moved to a new location in the house to finish my stretching and then do my uplifting/inspirational reading as part of my Daily Success Plan, but I went to the bathroom first to have a look at my eyes. The pink itself was gone, just a bit of bloodshot look. It had only been about 30 minutes since starting the diffuser and putting the lavender on. My eyes look a little like my allergies are bugging me, but that's it. Well, a little extra fluid that I don't have when my allergies are acting up. I'm not thinking the actual cause of the pink eye is going to leave sooner than normal because of diffusing and applying lavender, but if such a simple, man-made-chemical-free product can help relieve it, by golly, I'm going to stick with it! I tell people I know and I'm pretty sure I've shared here before that lavender is, imho, one of the essential oils to make sure you have on hand.

If you would like to try Young Living's Lavender Oil, or any of the other products, yourself, visit Young Living and put 1772120, my ID, in your order.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

15 Days to Freedom Challenge--Day 1

In my desire to get back into--or just into--consistent blogging, I decided to start the 15 Days to Freedom Challenge by Natalie Sisson, Suitcase Entrepreneur . It's actually a contest, so check it out. In any case, I missed the start date--which was January 15--but it's not too late to start, so I'm starting. :)

This makes today Day 1 for me. She is starting strong and having us look at our daily plan--and to create our own Daily Success Plan.

What is my daily success plan? Not what I'm doing lately. Natalie talks in her video about starting the day off strong and I know I find the same--how I start my day makes such a difference in how I feel and what I accomplish. Not only that, but I know that some of the work that I want to get done requires that I set aside time specifically to do it, and mornings, before anybody else is really up, are the best time for that.

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I know I function best when I get some time in the morning, at least 15 minutes, for prayer/meditation. If I don't do it first thing, I tend to not do it, to be honest, or if I do take that time after having done something else, it's like I don't connect with it well. My daily success plan, therefore, needs to start off with time by myself to pray/meditate.

My energy levels--and therefore indirectly my success--are affected by my physical health. Exercise definitely makes a difference, and it's something I haven't been doing really lately. After prayer/meditation is a good time. Incidentally, Natalie says her best days are when she starts off with meditation followed by some sort of exercise.

If I were to think about my ideal days, they also have some uplifting or spiritual reading time incorporated into my early morning routine, before I get to any kind of work. These three components--prayer/meditation, exercise and reading--actually match up with Jack Canfield's "Hour of Power", doing each for 20 minutes at a time.

My days don't start like this when I get to bed too late or I have things on my mind, so an evening routine is important, too, but to really get my day going and feeling like I'm on the right track, making sure I have the time for these three things makes all the difference.

What about you? Do you have a way of starting your day that if you don't do it, you just feel off?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

5 Reasons to Do a Detox

I have not forgotten about doing a detox. But I needed a reminder of why I should commit to doing one, even if it's just for a few days. Here are the top 5 reasons I've found to do detoxes:

5) Because your're feeling sluggish. If you've been feeling sluggish for more than just a few days, your body is saying it needs help. Cleaning things out with a detox can help.

4) For overall improved health. This is both immediate and long-term. If you are constantly getting sick, a detox can be a good way of flushing things out--and perhaps motivate you to get on a healthier eating plan. But a detox can also help with things like blood pressure and other issues, especially if you detox regularly.

3) Improved skin tone. And don't we all feel better when our skin looks great? Of course, this improved skin is the result of improved health, but it's still good to think of it as a reason on its own.

2) If you are overweight, then this is a reason. A short detox might not do anything for your weight, but a well planned one that lasts longer should. Not only because of the change in food consumption but because very often, weight stays on us because our bodies are too clogged up to deal with things properly.

1) Because your body just needs a break, especially after Christmas. All the junk we eat and the harmful substances around us that get into our blood stream end up in our blood. Our bodies can only do so much detoxing on their own and with our modern life, even those who eat nothing but healthy, organic foods are still recommended to do regular detoxes. You may not even have any symptoms that a detox would be useful, but that doesn't mean your body won't get something good out of it.

Of course, the next step is to decide which type of detox and how long--and how to manage it when you are responsible for the meals in a household of people...