Friday, December 30, 2011



I have been tagged by Mama Dee!

The Rules:

1. Post these rules.

2. You must post 11 random things yourself.
3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post.
4. Cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them that you've tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tag­ging sec­tion about ‘you are tagged if you are read­ing this.’ Blah blah blah, you legit­i­mately have to tag 11 peeps!

11 Random Things About Myself

1.) I am a major perfectionist, so very hard on myself, yet when I look at others I don't apply the same standards at all, I really should learn to just view myself the way I view others

2.) I never had any set dreams for my future when I was young, I just let God unfold my life as He wanted it to be.  I had a lot of friends when I was young who had these dreams of exactly how they wanted their life to be when they grew up, I wish I could track them all down & see how it all panned out.

3.) I NEVER imagined myself being a SAHM, in fact I never thought I would want to, but I never stopped to think about the child & what's best for the child, only what "I" wanted.  As a mom, I was surprised at how different things look when you stop to consider what's best for the child.  It's a tough job, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

4.) I want to be a great mom, in so many different aspects.  I pray for this daily.  I try hard to focus on what's most important & ignore the little nit picky stuff.

5.) I never had a strong urge to have a child.  I've known lots of women who make that their whole goal in life.  I never cared much either way & just left it up to God, BUT my life is definitely sooo much better now that I have my son

6.) As a kid we often travelled by motor home during the summer months & during other school breaks.  I've seen a lot of the western half of the USA this way & I am oh so grateful for having had that opportunity

7.) I am very OCD & have to have things neat & organized to be able to function. My house, my closet, etc.    

8.) I started working out when I was 19 & 20 years later am still going strong.  It's definitely a habit that I am glad I started.  I recommend it highly for EVERYONE.

9.) I try to eat healthy the majority of the time & allow myself to eat no so healthy some of the time without feeling guilty about it.  Although I must admit that my idea of eating not so healthy definitely don't line up with most people's idea of that, LOL

10.) My heart really aches for those affected by divorce: My parents divorced when I was a kid & my hubby's first wife divorced him.  I also look at the effects divorce has had on my stepkids.  I feel like I am surrounded by it all.  The effects of divorce are far reaching, it's a very selfish action in my opinion.  I would love to write a book or start a program or something that would attempt to stop couples on the brink of the divorce & restore their marriages.

11.) However, I must also say that I do not agree with the idea of "staying together for the kids" when the parents are not striving to repair their marriage, but simply living together unhappily for the "sake of the kids"--this is also REALLY bad for the kids

11 Questions Mama Dee made for me To Answer

1.) If you could choose one place to go to for an all expenses paid free vacation, where would that place be?
that's tough, there is so much travelling I dream of doing; I dream of going back to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park (a place we went to often when I was a kid), I dream of flying to either Florida or Maine & renting a motor home & travelling the whole eastern coast of the USA (I've never been east of Wisconsin or Arkansas), I dream of visiting Canada, Europe (Spain, Italy, England), & more of Mexico (though with the violence increasing that'll probably not be happening).

2.) Do you want children/want more children?
I have 2 stepkids & my son.  Personally I think 3 kids is a lot, BUT given how spread out their ages are (24, 17, & 2)  I would definitely consider having maybe one more, but I chose to not mostly because of my health.  I am not so young anymore & my heart is weak due to a heart murmur.  It was a really hard pregnancy with my son & very high risk & at the end I was going into heart failure.  I know someone who was younger than myself with the same heart murmur that almost died during a pregnancy (had to do emergency c-section early & the mom spent 2 months in the ICU fighting for her life)--I don't see desiring a child worth risking my life--unless of course God insists & causes another miracle pregnancy.

3.) What's the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?
I'd have to discuss it with my hubby, but probably a house

4.) Political viewpoint?
I'm very conservative, none of the people running are ever conservative enough for me honestly

5.) Favourite food?
veggie pizza, nachos, tiramisu

6.) Favourite drink?
definitely water, yeah, I'm wild like that

7.) How did you meet your significant other?
at church--some day I will write down our love story (it's a long one, LOL) & will possibly post it as a blog

8.) What are your spiritual/religious beliefs?

9.) What do you want to be "when you grow up?"
Well, at the moment I'm a SAHM (which I never imagined in a million years), but I am also a nurse & I LOVE being a nurse; if I could afford it financially & time-wise I would love to be a doctor however

10.) What is your all time favourite movie?
Passion of the Christ; so many people tell me they have a hard time watching it, but I really believe everyone should want to watch it or be forced to watch it.  Those are not just events that happened, they happened for US, to pay for our sins, & I think it's really important to face that & be grateful for that

11.) iPhone or Blackberry?
most definitely iPhone, not only is it a great phone, but Apple's customer service is top-notch & that means a lot to me (& is becoming increasingly hard to find these days)

11 People I Tagged

2.) Jen from Baby-Brugger

3.) Rebecca from Dairy Daze

4.) Alyssa from Jon & Alyssa

6.) Brandi from Silver Pencils

8.) Lynn from Bringing Sexy Back

9.)  Country Girl from Country Roads Lead Me Home

11.) June from The Homeschool Corner

(It was TOUGH to come up with 11!)

My questions for the people I tagged:

1) what is your favorite memory of your life so far?

2) if you could travel anywhere (expenses non existant) where would you go?

3) do want children/more children?

4) what is your dream job?

5) what is your dream car/favorite car?

6) are you a morning person or night owl?

7) do you prefer indoors or outdoors?

8) are you an animal lover? what's your favorite animal/pet?

9) what religion are you?

10) anything in your past you wish you could change?

11) do you have a to-do list of things to do before you die?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vegan Challenges

I personally have never really liked meat.  I especially dislike ground meat, but just meat in general is something I've never liked, from a very young age.

So, for me at least, going vegetarian was a very easy thing.  People always act like "how do you survive? what do you eat?"  I can tell that most people really do like meat & to go vegetarian is/would be a major challenge for them.

Somewhere in the past year to year & a half I've been gravitating towards a vegan diet, as I've surely mentioned previously in this blog.  Technically speaking I really should say "strict vegetarian" rather than "vegan" since vegan pertains to a whole lifestyle rather than just a diet, BUT since most people don't know what "strict vegetarian" means I continue to use the term "vegan". (I still refuse to give up honey, still believe it has major health benefits, even though it's not part of a vegan diet)  I should also add that I would really like to some day include more vegan aspects to my lifestyle, but at this time my closet is not vegan & I cannot afford to replace the non-vegan items that are in there.

It was actually quite easy for me to give up all but eggs & cheese.  And after a little adjustments in the baking end of things getting rid of eggs wasn't all that hard either.  But cheese has remained a challenge for me.  (It's funny to me that now that I don't eat eggs at all, when I do eat a baked item that has egg in it I can actually usually taste the egg--& it doesn't taste good to me at all)

I suppose everyone has at least one thing that would be/is tough for them to do without.  I remember reading in one of my vegan cookbooks.  The author was talking about her early days as a vegan & how tough it was & how, when she first tasted a tempeh burger, she "knew she was gonna be ok" as a vegan.  I read that & thought of myself, who couldn't care less about not eating burgers.  Heck, burgers are something I NEVER ate, even when I wasn't a vegetarian, since it's ground meat & I HATE ground meat.  But I can relate to what she was referring to when I consider cheese.

I have always loved cheese.  Now it's not something I eat a lot of or even on a daily basis.  But I sure do like it.  And it's been a tough one to give up completely.  I often think of my hubby, who has a dairy allergy, & just wish I could just be like him & never eat it.  I consider him lucky, but he doesn't see it that way, hehe.

Now I did consider just not pushing it, & being a strict vegetarian with the exception of honey & cheese.  BUT since the whole nuclear disaster in Japan the milk (at least here in California, not sure how far-spread it is) now contains radiation.  And cheese is being made out of that milk.  So that REALLY encouraged me to go 100% dairy free.  It also makes me want to get my toddler off of cheese, which is the only dairy he was still consuming.  At some point, when my stepkids have moved out, my home will be 100% dairy free.  :)  That's gonna be soooo awesome!!

I have tried several types of vegan cheeses in the grocery stores.  Most are downright nasty.  There is one brand, Daiya, that is actually somewhat decent.  But it's a bit pricey & ultimately it still is a very processed food.  It is made out of tapioca.  It comes shredded in bags & comes in cheddar, mozarella, & pepper jack varieties.  It's the best of all I tried in the grocery stores.  I started learning that there were options for making your own vegan cheeses at home.  Thus these are far less processed foods.  The question for me was "how do they taste?"

First I made a vegan "crock cheese spread".  You know, those spreadable pasteurized process cheese food products, it's a duplication of a cheddar version of one of those.  It was REALLY yummy.  The texture wasn't identical, nor was the color, but the flavors sure were.  One of my favorite things of all is simply cheese & crackers & this one really fits the bill for this for me.

A couple of weeks ago I made a nacho cheese sauce out of cashews, but I wasn't too crazy about it.

Yesterday I tried a different recipe for a nacho cheese sauce & it was amazing.  The color wasn't quite identical, but the flavor & even the texture were really good.  Another fave of mine is nachos.  That has always been my fave junk food, when I feel the need to pig out & eat "junk".  Now I can have a much healthier version of "junk" when I pig out.  So long as it tastes the same (which it does) it's all good to me.

I should also add that my super super picky toddler also loves both of these vegan cheeses I have made.  Yesterday we were both dipping tortilla chips into the cheese & eating it up.  And today he requested a quesadilla, which I used the nacho cheese for & he's now eaten two of them!!  That alone makes it worth it, even though it's not even hard to make them.

There are more recipes for vegan cheeses that I plan to try, but just based on these two alone I find myself saying to myself "I'm gonna be ok", just like the author in my cookbook did.

At home I probably follow a vegan diet more than 95% of the time.  But when we eat out I revert to a vegetarian diet, rather than vegan.  It just seems impossible to me to eat out as a vegan, unless you go to an actual vegan restaurant.  Luckily we very rarely eat out, so it's not a big deal to me really.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


This is a topic I am becoming increasingly interested in: detox.

Now, I am not referring to the type of detoxing most people think of.  That of detoxing from narcotics, alcohol, or other recreational drug use.

I am referring to detoxing your body of toxins for health purposes.  For years I've heard of people doing various types of "cleanses" & it sounded like a good thing to do, but I honestly had no idea how to do such a thing.

My hubby is adamant that such things are not healthy for us.  He believes our bodies are designed to detox themselves.  And he says that when he has tried it in the past he didn't feel well, so also because of this he feels it's a bad idea.  HOWEVER, I have to disagree with my hubby on this topic.

Our bodies are designed for detoxing, to a certain extent. Yes, the liver & kidneys & lungs & spleen & lymph system do a lot of detoxing.  But things have changed.  Nothing is natural anymore.  And these unnatural elements are all around us, totally bombarding our bodies.  In the air we breathe, foods & drinks we ingest, lotions & soaps we put on our skin, etc.  And I know for a fact that mercury attaches itself to tissues in your body & will not be removed without some specific detox efforts.  I haven't researched enough to say for certain, but I would wager a pretty strong bet that mercury is not alone in that situation.

Nearly a year ago I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis (IC).  It's a bladder condition that is much like a stomach ulcer, but in the bladder.  As a nurse I already know that mainstream medicine has little to offer someone with IC.  And the little they do have to offer isn't very effective or helpful.  So I chose to research alternative medicine & natural treatments for IC.

It was while doing this research that I learned that a cause of IC (& fibromyalgia as well) is, generally speaking, an overly toxic body.  And once the body is detoxed symptoms will decrease & possibly disappear.

But there's a bit of a catch with IC.  Because when you detox the toxins you are removing from your body are going to be dumped into the bowel & bladder to be permanently removed from the body.  But the poor bladder can't handle a huge toxin dump when it has IC, so, at least with an IC diagnosis, you have to detox very slowly & gently.

And so I began a very slow & gentle detox.  I also learned what foods are too acidic for my bladder & have reduced &/or eliminated those.  For over a decade I was diagnosed with chronic (minimum every 6 months) urinary tract infections (UTIs, aka bladder infection).  What I now learned was that when the bladder would get irritated due to IC (known as a "flare") it was much more susceptible to bacterial overgrowth & that's what was causing all the UTIs.  I did a very slow & gentle detox.  Since detoxing I haven't had a single UTI & next month will mark one year UTI free.  I am quite pleased about that.

The book I read about IC being caused by a toxic body was written by a woman who lived through it herself.  And what she learned was that her IC (& fibromyalgia) was ultimately caused by her mercury dental fillings.  She had 13 or 14 of them.  Once she got them replaced with non-mercury fillings & detoxed she was healed.

I had 7 mercury fillings in my mouth.  In the last few months I had 4 of them replaced (they were old & cracked, not by my request).  I first had 3 of them done, on the left side of my mouth.  After that I did another detox, very slow & gentle.  I did see symptoms of detox appear & then go away & so I assumed I was done & stopped the detox.  About 6 weeks later I went back to have one replaced on the right side of my mouth.  I again did another detox afterwards, with the same symptoms appearing & then going away.  And so I thought I was pretty much done as far as detoxing goes.  Sure, I still have 3 small mercury fillings in there, but in the grand scheme I felt pretty good about it all.

The book I read recommended marshmallow root tea & colostrum tablets for a gentle detox that the bladder can handle.  The marshmallow root gave me REALLY bad acne, which I'm not sure if it's just a bad reaction or a symptom of detoxing toxins.  After each visit to the dentist I used colostrum tablets & chlorella tablets.  I also wanted to use a cilantro tincture, but wasn't able to obtain one.

Just recently I've been making some small adjustments to my diet.  It's such a hassle for me, I just don't feel good & don't have enough energy if I don't really focus on eating well.  In doing research on nutrition for a vegan athlete I came across info on how good chlorella is for us & that everyone should be consuming it daily.  It did mention that it helps detox the body.  The author of this info says he puts it in a daily smoothie along with other stuff.  I guess I should've heeded the advice of the author of my IC book & been wary of this, BUT I was tending to think these days that my bladder was fully healed & since I had done several small detoxes fairly recently I wasn't expecting anything to happen.

Initially upon taking chlorella daily I started getting really bad acne, mostly on my forehead area (I have to wonder why such a specific area for the skin to show detox??).  I thought about it, knowing it's a symptom of detox, but honestly didn't think much of it.  A few days into it & BAM I got hit HARD, REALLY HARD.  Both bowel & bladder had horrible symptoms of major detoxing.  I am trying to focus hard on healing my bladder, so have put all chlorella (& most other supplements) on hold for now.

I am sad to see that my bladder is not 100% healed.  I am surprised to see that there was obviously some sort of toxin lurking in my body.  I am relieved to know that I got it out, however.  I will definitely continue detoxing, at a slower & gentler pace, once my bladder is all healed up.

I sure do wish there was a test I could do that would reveal to me what exactly was eliminated from my body.  I'm sure there is a test, but I mean I wish it was accessible to me.

Of course my hubby was like "see, see how you're feeling & what you're going through?  It's not good for you" But I still disagree.  I still think it's one of those things that has to get worse before it gets better.  I still think that toxins sitting in your body for God only knows how many years will lead to health problems & possibly even cancer.  There's no way I will stop detoxing my body now that I'm getting the hang of it.

Would love to hear from others: opinions, thoughts, experiences, etc.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

32 Month updates on Lil J

I wasn't thinking yesterday, obviously.  Had I realized the very next day Lil J was turning another month older I would've just included the potty training update as part of this blog.  Oh well, no harm having an extra blog written.

So his measurements haven't changed at all in this past month.  I do hope that's normal.  His height remains 36" (25-50%), his weight remains 32.8 lbs (50-75%), & his head circumference remains 21.5" (>95%).

He continues to be more & more verbal all the time.  And it's becoming more obvious that he isn't just repeating what he hears.  He clearly comprehends most of the words & uses them in the proper context.  This really amazes me.  He sings a lot these days as well.  And he LOVES to make silly faces. 

He remains very interested in his books, his cars, his trains & trucks.  He is REALLY interested in bikes.  I think that will be his next birthday present.  I am very excited about Christmas this year.  I know he doesn't fully understand Jesus' birthday, but I am going to make cupcakes & we will sing happy birthday to Jesus on Christmas morning, then we're going to church (I wish Christmas every year fell on a Sunday so we could start the day in church), then doing presents & I do think he'll be excited about his presents this year.

I'm hoping he continues to do well with potty training.  As I said earlier, I posted all about that yesterday.

This morning when hubby was leaving for work, Lil J kept saying over & over, "bye daddy!  I love you!" It was so precious.  Then when me & Lil J sat down to eat breakfast, before I could pray, Lil J bows his head & says "Thank you Jesus for food" & then he grabs my hand & continues "thank you Jesus......I love you"  It was really sweet.

I think that's all the updates I have for now.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Potty Training, revisited

So I started potty training, using the "3 day potty training method" back in mid-August.  6 weeks later, at the end of September, I was extremely stressed out, Lil J was stressed out, & my church daycare staff was requesting if he could please wear pull-ups, because he was peeing on the carpet.

Intially I didn't want to do pull-ups.  The 3 day method insists on not using them & I was concerned that he would go backwards & do even worse.  But I came to the realization that he just wasn't ready yet, & I didn't want to continue stressing him out & I didn't think I could take much more stress from it myself either.

And so I decided to just put him in pull-ups & let him go at his own pace. Throughout it all he remained very good with poo poo.  But with the pull-ups he did get lazy & start peeing without telling me.

The 3 day method insisted that you needed to do the potty training before the child turns 30 months old because at that age they get VERY stubborn & it becomes much harder.  When Lil J turned 30 months he did develop a stubborn streak & then started refusing to go to the potty.  I tried to not make a big deal out of it (so he wouldn't think he had found a way to be rebellious).  I started just taking him to the potty without asking him at that time. 

Last Sunday (a week ago yesterday) our church daycare asked why he was still in pull-ups, saying that for several weeks he hasn't had ANY accidents with them, even in his pull-ups.  I had sort of planned to just lay low until he turned 3, but I thought about this & considered giving it another try.

A week ago today (Monday) I put him back in undies rather than pull-ups.  The first couple of days we had quite a few pee accidents.  But as of Wednesday he's been doing really well.  A few times he wets his undies just slightly, not even enough to wet his pants, but that's the worst he's done.

I'm really proud of him & happy.  And I'm hoping it continues.  :)  This morning I packed up all the unused pull-ups & put them in the garage.  Of course I want to hold onto them for at least a little while, in case something happens & I find myself needing them (I did the same thing with the unused diapers back in August).

Hopefully this is it & he is at last officially potty trained.  :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blog award confusion

Ok, so in the comments of this blog post I received a blog award during NaBloPoMo.

I had every intention of responding appropriately, as outlined here.  BUT, I can't seem to manage to do so.  I have to give awards to 5 blogs that I follow that have less than 200 followers.

Ok, my first dilemma is that I'm not sure if I do follow 5 blogs that have less than 200 followers.  And to further complicate matters I cannot find the number of followers on most of the blogs that I do follow.

I am sorry, but I always struggle with computer stuff.  Back when I was in school & I was on computers with classmates I learned lots of little tips & things that always made me scratch my head & wonder how on earth they learned such a thing.  But I've been out of school for over 4 years now & am all alone in my computer use, so I don't learn things anymore.  I am so very limited in my computer savvyness (or lack thereof actually). 

To make matters worse I have a toddler.  A nonstop high energy little boy that no longer even naps.  So that leaves me ZERO time to even try to figure stuff out on the computer.  What little time I do manage to find always gets filled up with a long list of "to dos" that have been needing to get done for quite some time by the time I get to it.  Hence why it took me so long to get around to posting this.

So first let me say that I am extremely touched & honored to have recieved the award.  But secondly let me apologize for not being able to follow through on my end of it.