Crazyhippiemom’s Weblog

Just an urban hippie with a kid in tow, sharing a little eco-friendly, holistic info with the world.

The Happier Life Chronicles – Appreciate Me! April 30, 2008

Filed under: Family,life,mothers,motivation,Office,Uncategorized,Women — crazyhippiemom @ 1:35 pm
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Apparently this is the time of year when the Big Kahunas show appreciation to the Little Kahunas… in short, it’s Staff Appreciation week.  If your past experiences are anything like mine, you’ve come to expect the ever-so-un-impressive staff appreciation gift. You know the kind – anything with your company’s logo printed on it; $10 gift cards to, oh, say, Target (I mean really, what can a gal get at Target for $10), now a $10 Starbucks card might be cool, but still a little unimpressive.  Okay, maybe I’m asking too much, but dargone it, we get up every morning, don our sleekest business casual attire, arrive relatively on time, and work our gludius maximuses into gludius minimuses to get, yes, a $10 Target gift card, once a friggin year.  As my boss put it (and boy am I hoping he’s not reading this), in this economy, you should be happy to just get a paycheck.  Ouch!  He was right (now I really hope he’s not reading this, because admitting that he’s right opens up a whole new can of worms).  In this economy, looking for a gift that is even remotely in the triple digits, from your place of employment, from your spouse, from your kids, from anybody, is just a little much to ask.  Anyhoo, back to the appreciation thing… I was literally blown away at the lengths my company went to in order to show their staff that we were appreciated.  I mean really!  We had a lunch time movie, we received these awesome umbrellas (for when the rain comes), they even fed us (and me especially with my V/V self) each day of the week!  OMG!

All of this appreciation got me to thinking.  From my statements above, it’s clear that I expect some level of appreciation from the people and entities in my life and I risk to bet you do to.  When I considered what it is that I regard as appreciation from others, it was inevitable that I pondered my own ways of showing myself appreciation.  Do I go out and purchase a diamond trinket for myself?  Do I say “Thank you, me, for picking up those clothes on the floor”?  Do I take myself out for dinner on special occasions?  No. No. And No. Through these answers, it became evident that I don’t appreciate myself nearly as much as I should.  Do you?

As is my custom, I don’t bring up problems unless I have suggestions to fix such problems.  Here on this very page I have assembled a list of, Oh-So-Awesome ways of showing thyself the appreciation thou deserveth!  Pick one, pick them all and if you don’t find anything that suits you, think of something else and send it to me.

Ways to Appreciate Yourself

  • Comparisons are for weenies – As hot as you are, as intelligent as you are, and as funny as you friggin are, there is absolutely NO need to compare yourself to anyone in this galaxy!  Comparing yourself to others only activates insecurities within.  If you do it, stop.  If you don’t do it, don’t start.
  • Don’t fear failure – Part of appreciating yourself is trying things you are interested in.  Yes, you run the risk of failing, but you also run an even bigger risk of succeeding.  Imagine what a boost it would be for you to succeed at something you’ve never tried.  
  • Me Time – If you haven’t checked out my post on Adult Time Joys, you should do that right after you’re done here.  You’ve got to get out there and spend some time with others, enjoying yourself!  There is no better way to appreciate you, than to allow you to enjoy yourself.
  • Get a mantra going – I love these.  You can make up something like, “I appreciate me for being a great mom, for being a great cook, for being a gold-medal wife, and for being a great employee.” Just find something that speaks to the things you want to appreciate yourself for and say it, as often as you want to.
  • Check yourself out, NAKED – Oh yeah! Go ahead baby, check out that badunkadunk! Look at those curves and those legs, go ahead.  It’s all you!  Focus on the parts of your body you hate the most and find something positive to say about them.  Like for instance, that stubborn baby belly fat that still exists 12 years later, just remember how beautifully you carried your son/daughter (even if it was 12 years ago), and what a gift it was to incubate such a joy in your stomach for those months.  This little exercise should be so much fun.
  • Appreciate others – Think about the people in your life who you wish would appreciate you more (spouse, kids, parents, boss, co-workers, friends), and appreciate them.  Don’t just say nice things every now and again, but go out of your way to show them (in ways they understand) that you appreciate them.  You’ll see how soon the actions are reciprocated.  It’s karma, what goes out comes right back around.

So this is my list for how to appreciate oneself.  If you find there are more ways, please, by all means, send me a comment and tell us all about it.

 

 

Make Your Ends Meet – Money Saving Ideas April 26, 2008

If things continue going the way they have been, we’ll be sitting around in a few years saying, “Remember when gas was $4.00 a gallon? Ah, those were the good old days.”  But until we make that inevitable statement, we’ve got to find ways to put a lid on that siphon attached to our wallets.  There used to be a time when I didn’t mind paying a high price for the things my family needed.  Nowadays, I find myself averaging if we can go another week without running out of toilet paper (just picture that one); or negotiating between shampoo and shower gel (I got the shower gel and used it as shampoo as well as body wash).  Bottom line – times are tough and money is tight!  

It became evident that the stress of my financial situation was overpowering my usually rational thought  process, when I nearly beat my farmer’s market grocer with a stalk of celery after he told me it was $3.00 a bunch.  It was time for an intervention.  Like I said, times are tough, and people get crazy when times are tough.  I have instead decided to implement a few money saving tricks into my lifestyle, that have so far been working and keeping me from an assault & battery charge.

  1. Public Transportation – I’ll admit it.  I drove a MEGA gas guzzler and every time I put my foot on the peddle, I could feel my wallet shudder, not to mention the emissions!  So, I parked that sucker and opted in to the transportation reimbursement program offered at my job.  They pay for parking or bus passes.  I evaluated my situation – gas was a significant drain on my finances (upwards of $400/mth) so utilizing public transpo really did the trick for me.  It also gave me some extra sleep time on the way to work.  
  2. Farmer’s Market – Oh the joys of NOT having to pay almost $50.00 for one bag of groceries.  I always carry only $40.00 with me to the market.  With this $40.00, I get the following items: 2 bags of raw almonds, a week’s supply of broccoli, celery, spinach, cauliflower and carrots.  I also get some flowers (they usually die within the week), a week’s supply of pears, apples and grapes.  Then, I pick up lunch – yes, without exceeding that $40.00.  Obviously, for a person like me (Vegetarian/Vegan), the farmer’s market is like heaven, but looking at the cost of meat these days, you might want to consider becoming V/V.
  3. Buy in Bulk – I’m pretty much a minimalist, but when it comes to kids, you’ve got to have their stuff on hand, otherwise you’re screwed.  I started using an online baby store called Diapers.com, where I can buy just about anything for my son and have it mailed directly to my door.  Hooray, they just launched their ‘green section’, this is the area in which they’ve assembled all of the eco-friendly products for tree-huggers like me.  After comparing calculations for buying in bulk or otherwise, I realized that I’ve been saving about $5.00 per purchase.  Also, if I spend over $50.00 (which I ALWAYS do – have you seen the price of diapers lately?), I get free shipping.  

As another means of trying to save, I subscribe to an online newsletter called Dollarstretcher. com.  The ezine is filled with helpful hints (sent in by real people) to get you on the saving track.  I’ve scoured several of the installments I’ve received over the past months and have reprinted them here.  Check them out and if the shoe fits, by all means, try that sucker on.

  • Homemade Mixes – A great way to save time, money and eat healthier is to make your own mixes for cookies, pancakes, quick breads or anything you bake in the oven. I save the 32-ounce yogurt containers I buy and then I put a piece of masking tape on the cover to label the mix. I measure all dry ingredients into the containers (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, etc.). I alter my recipes, substituting with healthier flours (soy, pea, whole wheat, buckwheat). Once a month, I create the mixes we’ll use for the month. It is such a time and mess saver, and we don’t use store mixes, which can get expensive.
  • Frugalize’ your gift giving – Instead of buying yet another toy that will be forgotten, give kids “gift certificates” good for lunch with dad or mom, miniature golf trip, batting cages trip, etc. Make it something your kid always wants, but you feel is a splurge.
  •  Cheap Mattress Protector – If you have a child who is toilet training or just needs a mattress protector, why not buy a shower curtain at about $2 instead of the terribly overpriced “store bought” protectors? They work extremely well with no leaks and are also fully washable.
  • Don’t buy plastic zipper bags – Don’t waste your money on food zipper bags. Many items purchased at the grocery store come in zipper type bags, including deli meats, tortillas, cheese, raisins, frozen items, etc. They can be washed and used again and again. It’s a good ideas to use an anti-bacterial spray, too.
    For items that do not have to be completely airtight, use produce bags, bread bags, cereal liners, etc. These are also great for freezing meats into smaller portions and then placing all the contents into one larger zipper bag.
  • Cheap Chips – We love to eat tortilla chips with our homemade garden salsa, but cheap chips are often greasy and unhealthy. The low-fat baked chips are way too expensive for us! So we get white or yellow corn tortillas in a package of 36 for about $1.50, cut them each into eight triangles (this can be done quickly in a stack and with a pizza cutter) and spread them on cookie sheets. I sprinkle them with water to make them crispy, add seasoned salt or whatever other seasoning we have around, and then bake them at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. These chips are very low fat, high in fiber and taste great! Best of all, they cost much less than the national brands of baked chips.
  • Shower Moisturizer – I take an inexpensive pump container of body lotion (after about half is gone) and then add some baby oil, shaking it up very well. Then after showering, while still in the tub and before toweling off, I rub it all over myself. Then I “pat dry” so that most of the lotion mixture stays on. It works as well as expensive shower moisturizers and also leaves your towels smelling great! Also, it doesn’t make the bottom of your tub slick like straight baby oil due to the much thicker consistency of the lotion.
  • Make the salad yourself – When shopping in the produce department, I usually buy bagged pre-washed salad to save time and money because it is just the right amount for a family of four. This week I compared prices and the cost of a bag of leaf lettuce was half as much and would make twice as much salad. By dividing it up after washing, we can have salad for two meals and save on the cost. Also those carrots that are “mini” are much more expensive than the carrots that need to be washed and peeled. Now we can have our greens and save some green too!
  • Free Mailing Packaging – I save the extra tough plastic-like mailing bags from packages that I receive in the mail and turn them inside out to reuse. They look like new and are free.
  • Discount Student’s Instruments – When my son was taking clarinet at school, I determined that I didn’t want to rent one and I didn’t know enough about the instrument to make a wise choice of buying one. So, I called the company that provides the rentals for the schools. They were happy to sell me a refurbished clarinet for far less than the cost of a 9 month rental. The staff there knew what the school’s requirements were, the kind of instruments the teachers wanted the kids to use, and were very forthcoming. I saved a lot of money by purchasing that used instrument on my own rather than going thru the school’s rental program.
  • Children’s Party – For your child’s next party, consider having a “book exchange” instead of gifts. Here’s how it works. Each child who attends the party brings one wrapped book (age appropriate of course). At the start of the party, all of the books are put into a bin. Then, when the party’s over, each child gets to choose a book to take home as his or her party favor. We tried this for our daughter’s fourth birthday party recently and it worked great. The parents all loved the idea because they didn’t have to worry about what to buy for a gift. And it freed us up from having to buy or make goody bags, which usually just consist of candy and/or cheap plastic toys anyway. At our party, everyone remembered to bring a book. However, I’d recommend placing two or three wrapped books in the bin yourself in case anyone forgets to bring one.
  • The Eating Out Bank – I recently started my own “Stop Eating Out” plan. I used to stop at Starbucks and get coffee and a sandwich every workday. Then at lunchtime, I drove to various fast food places for lunch. No more. I started bringing lunch, embracing the concept of small meals with the right amounts of protein, starches, veggies, and sweets for my sweet tooth. When I do this, $5 goes into the piggy bank. So I’m sort of “paying myself” to not eat out! And I think I’m eating healthier, too.
  • Homemade Non-Stick Spray -I bake a lot. Instead of buying expensive cake release or nonstick spray I make my own. It’s just equal parts of flour and shortening plus a little bit of vegetable oil to make it more spreadable. I usually use one cup of flour, one cup of shortening and two tablespoons of oil. I mix it up and store it in an airtight container. Just brush it into your pans. The results are great.

If you have any other money/time/sanity saving ideas, please leave a comment letting us know who you are and what your tip is.

 

Adult Time – Find it & Savor it April 22, 2008

After watching Madagascar for the 27th time with my toddler, who, by the way, only wants to hear the song at the end of the movie (“I Like To Move It, Move It!”), I realized, I hadn’t even so much as glimpsed at a non-animated/puppet TV show since, well, a long time.  My head is constantly filled with the ABC song and Old McDonald (you know, the one that had a farm – EIEIO).  And then, there’s my almost guaranteed response to everyone who asks how I’m doing…”Super Swell, thank you”.  Super swell???  I’m 30+ years old and my response to my well-healed, well-educated colleagues is, yup, “Super Swell”.  Bearing all this in mind, I’ve decided to compile a list of “Adult Time” joys for you and me.  While spending quality time with your spouse/significant other is definitely “Adult Time” worthy, that’s not what this is about.  Intimacy, and all the ‘additional’ stuff that comes along with it are great, but I’m talking about hobbies, interactions with friends, ecetera ecetera.

After a short investigation for my Adult Time joys project, I came across several great suggestions for moms across the status spectrum – busy, not-so-busy (I don’t know any mom that’s not-so-busy, but whatever), working full-time, stay-at-home, working part-time… you name it, there are hobbies and great activities for you.  So read on and if you think you’ve got a great hobby or activity I’ve failed to mention, please, by all means, post a comment and tell us all about it.

Scrapbooking – I have been amazed by the creations coming out of some of these scrapbooking ladies! From what I understand, it doesn’t take a Picasso to do them either.  This is truly for any level of busy you’ve got going on.  Search your phonebook or the web to find scrapbooking groups in your area.  Who knows it could turn out to be something you truly enjoy.  I have a friend who started out doing this as a hobby, then, due to her obvious skill and simply marvelous talent, she’s now doing it as a business.  Check her out with her scrapbooking self – tinakeyner.typepad.com.

Photography – What a wonderful way to experience the world!  Capturing a scene from your perspective and memorializing it truly shows you how you see things.  Now you don’t have to go out and splurge on a million dollar camera, start with a disposable, then upgrade, then upgrade again.  There’s really no wrong way to do this.  If you prefer to have a little company, take a photography class and go out taking pictures with your classmates or just some friends with similar interests.  Just have fun capturing the pictures around you.    

Write a Book – Collaborate with an ADULT friend on writing an ADULT book.  Many of my friends ventured to write kids books and then realized, ‘OMG, I deal with my kids all day long and the only form of escape I have is writing a kids’ book?’  Then, of course, the idea was scrapped.  Not you, though.  Write a love story or a mystery novel.  Heck, get it published!  You might be the next Stephen King (only way cuter and with a  much better physique).

Take a Dance Class – This, by far, is my favorite.  I love shakin’ what my mama gave me!  It doesn’t matter if you dance like Elaine (on Seinfeld), or both of your left feet are crooked – dance is like music, universal. Look for dance classes at your local community college or community center.  Not only will you enjoy yourself, you’ll lose weight, meet others and have Adult Time joy in the process.  Warning: If your dance style could in any way endanger those around you, you may want to opt out of this one.

Start jogging – Some moms I know can’t live without their daily run.  Some moms I know would never come back if they started running.  But for those of you who would, think about this as a form of spending some much needed Adult Time.  Jogging/Running is fantastic on many levels and while you’re out, you can pick up the groceries and dry-cleaning – JK.

Hit the gym – On the same note, the gym would be a great place to make some new friends and engage in endorphin-releasing, sweat-inducing, heart-pounding Adult Time.  Don’t think I need to delve too deeply into this one… it kind of speaks for itself.

Volunteer – Volunteering at your local community center, elderly facility or library is a great way to get out there and start engaging in Adult Time.  You get to satisfy your desire to help others while fulfilling your desire to help yourself our of Romper Room!  Check out any volunteer opportunities in your local area – volunteer.com

Girl’s night out – OK, so this is not so novel, but much needed.  I don’t suggest doing it every week, but once a month is pretty reasonable.  Send an evite and gather up all your girlfriends (especially the ones with kids – kill two birds with one stone), and just hang out.  Get dressed up, put on make-up and do your hair. Resurrect the sizzlin’ hot chick you were before breast-pumps and pureed pears. 

Alright, it’s your turn.  If I haven’t exhausted every possible Adult Time joy out there (which, I’m most certain I haven’t), please post a comment suggesting your favorite one and any links to more info about it.  

 

Sell Your Stove – Raw Recipes April 17, 2008

I am not now, nor have I ever been a “chef”.  Cooking never really ‘lit my fire’, pun intended.  I know, I know… as a raw food eater, I should be promoting a raw diet because it is naturally better for you and the environment and etc. etc., but the truth is, I went raw simply out of pure laziness.  OK, I’ve admitted it.  This lifestyle has, however, rendered me some amazing health benefits that are well worth noting and that would prove to be beneficial to just about anyone willing to embark upon this unique journey.

Usually when people hear the term ‘Raw Food Diet’, they think that means chewing on carrots & celery all day.  This is not the case.  This particular type of diet is based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed – YUM! When you heat food anywhere above 116 degrees F, it destroys enzymes in the food that assist in digestion and absorption of food.  Cooking also diminishes the nutritional value and “life” of most food.

Those who have implemented the Raw Foods Diet (75% raw/25% processed) boast of numerous health benefits:

  • Better Digestion – raw foods put the smackdown on IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Gastrointestinal Issues and Constipation
  • Weight Loss – when you reduce your caloric intake by chowing down on fresh, organic fruit & veggies as opposed to danish & hot dogs (let it be known, I have nothing against the Danish or dogs that are hot), you tend to see less inches in the waistline and the buttline and the thighline… you catch my drift??
  • Better Skin – some people wear their processed, oil & fat-filled diets on their skin.  You know those blotches and acne?  Not only is it hereditary, but your diet more than exaserbates the already delicate skin issue you’ve got going on.  Do your skin a favor and feed it properly, it’s the largest organ you have!
  • Increased Energy – you know that brisk morning walk you keep promising to do?  Well, you may actually want to do it with the loads of energy you’ll wake up with utilizing a raw food diet.  There are much fewer fats and bad carbs to weigh you down and tire you out.

Now that you know what the benefits are, I think I should provide you with a little bit of ammo to get your raw food experience started.  Remember, a raw food diet is not about just picking up a veggie or fruit and devouring it – the terms ‘organic’ and ‘local’ become mantras to you.  These terms usually ensure that the items were grown pesticide free and didn’t need a passport (i.e. having been transported from out of state or a location that’s relatively far from you) to get here – of course if you live near a toxic waste dump, you may want to consider ‘not-so-local’ fruit & veggies.  For the farmer’s markets, family farms, and the like in your area check out www.localharvest.org.  Now, onto the eats…

Recipes

Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of your favorite large mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup of Pine Nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro, packed leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of fresh basil, packed leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp of Braggs or to taste

Place all ingredients into a food processor, except the tomatoes, and pulse chop several times.  Stop to scrape down the sides and repeat.  Add the tomatoes and continue to pulse chop until just blended.  Keep a texture to apesto, it should not be a puree. Remove stems from mushrooms and stuff the filling into the cap of the mushroom.  Place on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 2-4 hours.

Cinnamon Date Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of soft wheat, sprouted 1 day
  • 1 cup of dates (pitted)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of raisins

Process wheat and dates in a champion juicer using the solid plate.  Add cinnamon and raisins to the mixture and mix well.  Form into 4 loaves of bread, place on a teflex sheet in the dehydrator at 105 degrees for 5-6 hours, remove teflex sheets and turn bread over, continue dehydrating for 5-6 hours, or until desired moisture is obtained.

Raw Veggie Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 3 lettuce leaves, shredded
  • 1-2 zucchini, shredded in Food Processor
  • 1-2 carrots, shredded in Food Processor
  • Handful of alfalfa sprouts
  • Handful of cauliflower, bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced/diced
  • Handful of chopped red cabbage
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 2 carrots (whole)
  • Juice of one lemon

In a blender, blend: 2 tomatoes, 1 stalk of celery, 2 carrots (whole), and juice of one lemon

Then add soaked sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, or avocado to your desired thickness.  Pour this mixture over the casserole and mix thoroughly.

Raw Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of date paste (1 lb of dates=1 cup of date paste)
  • 1 1/4 cup of raw almond butter
  • 1 1/4 cup of raw carob powder
  • 1/3 cup of honey

Mix and press into 9×9 square pyrex pan/dish.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  Cut into squares.

As you can see, going raw will require a few extras.  A dehydrator is invaluable and a food processor gets the silver medal right behind it.  Planning and preparation is important, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be raw in no time.  For more raw recipes, check out living-foods.com.

If you have any questions or would like to share some of your delicious RAW recipes, please feel free to leave a comment.

 

So, You Want To Work From Home! April 16, 2008

I’ve often wondered how to get someone to pay me a competitive salary to sleep all day.  Perhaps, some of the nighttime cold medicine companies need a few “guinea pigs”!  But since those particular companies only test their products on animals and especially since I don’t advocate using OTC’s, that one is out the window.  If you are at all like me, and have dreamt of staying at home while making money ‘in your undies’, then this post will knock your socks off! 

 

“Anyone can start a business”, says Bunmi Zalob, founder of UnBusy Mom (www.unbusymom.com), a workshop that teaches mothers how to create bliss at home through a work/life balance.  “The trick to being a successful entrepreneur mom is to run your business, not have it run you”, she says.  Bunmi is one of those lucky moms who get to use their passion and make money on a very flexible schedule. She’s a mom who believes that being busy is a state of neurosis. “I’m a mom who believes that every woman is born with a skill to share with the world and family should in no way derail that process. An UnBusy mom says yes to help, yes to planning, and yes to creativity. She says no to clutter (both physical and spiritual), no to negativity, and no to isolation.”

So for those of you who want to have your cake and eat it too, there’s hope.  If you want to run your own successful business, yet still have some quality family time, as Bunmi is convinced you can, read on.  I’ve researched a few profitable home-based businesses and have ‘interviewed’ some of the movers and shakers in this industry in order to bring you an itemized, but meaty (veggie, of course) collection of work-from-home businesses. Here are some great money-making ideas for you:

 

Internet Business Opportunities – You can find opportunities with companies like Home Business Frontiers, AllBusiness.com, and FunCareers.com.  These types of work-from-home companies require internet-access and just a few brain cells. How much can you expect to make? Well that’s all up to your tenacity, but some of these sites boast earning potential in the six figures.  For example, an Online/Phone Surveyor can make anywhere from $0-$100,00.00 if the stars align just right with the perfect mix of company and payment selection.  But be warned, not all internet businesses will render you a whopping income. You have to research each company to find out what their pay scale is.  THEN, and that’s a big then, you have to have the frijoles to get people to trust you and give you their business.  Have you received an email from an internet business lately?  Delete/Spam Blocked!  Or better yet, have any of your evening meals been interrupted by a surveyor? Mine too, and I think I said something like, “Who are you looking for? (pause for response) Oh I’m so sorry, but she’s been abducted by aliens!” 

 

Home Day Care – For those of you who relish the thought of spending time with your kids, the neighbors’ kids, the playground kids, everybody’s kids so much that you want to do it for a living… Heaven help you!  J.K. No really, starting a home day care may be just what you are looking for.  With childcare costs on the rise and parents having to spend more and more time at work away from their children, you’re looking at a cash cow of a opportunity.  This, however, is a business with extreme scrutiny involved, you’re dealing with other peoples’ kids on a day to day basis, essentially being mommy for 8-12 hours a day – any diaper rashes (your fault), any scratches or scrapes (your fault), and any innocently spoken foul language (yup, you got it – your fault).  However, the positives far outweigh the negatives and you’ll get at least a quarter of the credit, oh and all of the pay.  As far as income, you must research the going rates in your community, but first you must get certified.  Nobody’s going to let just any old Joe Schmoe watch their kids all day with no proof of legal sanity.  For more info go to the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education’s website: www.nrc.ucnsc.edu

 

Avon/Mary Kay Representative – How many times have the ladies in your life approached you to buy Avon or Mary Kay products?  A lot, I assume.  And have you ever wondered (to yourself, of course), “How much is she making doing this?” So have I, and while neither company is specifically sharing the actual income of their reps, they do encourage them to do their best with itty-bitty incentives like, oh say, cars and trips.  I look at it this way, you call a few gals over or go to their house, or meet at Starbucks and show them what you’ve got and see who bites.  Office settings are the Trifecta of money making for businesses like these – low cost, superior products, willing and able consumers.  You can’t go wrong there.  Check out their respective websites for more info.

 

Multi-Level Marketing Opportunities – This is not for the shy or reserved or introverted applicant! Just a warning. Companies like Zrii and Melaleuca provide the opportunity to health-conscious representatives to promote wellness products, whether online or in person.  These companies pay on two different levels – amount of people signed up and/or amount of products sold.  The common denominator in both of these is serious, unadulterated, self & product promotion.  The products themselves have received stellar consumer ratings, in fact Zrii, although not explicitly selling its products, boasts a rejuvenating, preservative-free wellness drink endorsed by Deepak Chopra of all people.  The key to success in these types of businesses is to know your product and know your audience.  It makes absolutely no sense selling eco-friendly, breast-pumps to Buddhist monks – translation? You get no sales!  For more info on these companies check out their websites: zrii.com & melaleuca.com.  As comprehensive as they are, neither website answered all my questions, so I found reps from each company who did, their info is as follows: Zrii Rep – Gary 818-667-9179 or gchernyavsky@msn.com, Melaleuca Rep – June 808-216-8864 or Sunday.topratebiz.com. Like I said, this ain’t for the thin-skinned but the rewards can bolster you into six figures.

 

Online Travel Agent – If you love to travel and have the gift of gab you will do well in this line of employment.  Not only do you sell travel vacations via internet at competitive prices, but you get to travel to exotic destinations for free!  Your Travel Business (ytb.com) has done all the work for you.  There may be an initial fee involved, but it could definitely be worth it to get free travel. For more info, contact George at thirdwindtravel@sbcglobal.net.

 

So you see, there are more than enough opportunities out there for anyone willing and able to work from home.  Do your research, write out your plan and go for it!  Don’t be discouraged and don’t be afraid if you make a mistake or get overwhelmed.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel and there are always resources to help you make it through. Like the UnBusyMom said, you’ve got to run your business, you can’t let it run you.

 

If you run a home-based business, send me a comment letting me know what you do and how you maintain sanity doing it.  Who knows, this might be some free advertising for you, because in order to be successful, you’ve got to be a shameless, self-promoter!  If you don’t do it for you, who will????

 

The Squatting Birth April 9, 2008

I’ve heard it described as “the most beautiful moment in life”.  I’ve seen grown men cry just reliving the memory.  But, for those of us who truly know, childbirth ain’t no walk in the park!  This natural life occurrence has got some blood, sweat and tears associated with it – and they’re not all tears of joy either. The last thing in the world any mother wants is a prolonged labor and/or delivery.  Some women opt for planned births (scheduled C-Sections), others choose managed deliveries (epidurals & other drugs) while others go for the au naturale.  Which coincidentally, will be part of our discussion today.

When choosing an all-natural birth (pregnancy, labor & delivery), pregos must plan, plan, plan. Planning and preparation for your all-natural delivery is more than important, it’s vital! Extended labors and deliveries are, in part, due to lack of planning for and understanding of the birthing process.  Gravity is your friend and it’s best to use it wisely.  

The squatting birthing technique is something that may seem a little… well, un-everything you were told birthing should be.  We’ve been fed the hospital scene where mom is rushed in on a stretcher, hubby is right by her side, holding her hand and the stretcher is rushed into the delivery room… where she lays on her back pushing and pushing, breathing and breathing… hubby is doing his best to help her remember her lamaze class instruction – 3 quick breaths and hold, 3 quick breaths and hold.  Then, miraculously, after about 5 minutes of breathing, pushing, anguished glances, and a commercial break, the beautiful, cooing baby emerges from moms forcepped legs.  Did you get all that?  Well forget it!  It’s all wrong… not really, not in every situation, but for chicks who want to get in and get out, squatting is the way to go.

The history of squatting goes back hundreds of years, maybe thousands.  There have been ancient art created to depict women squatting during birth.  Artfully crafted birthing stools and chairs have been built to assist mothers.  Where are they now?  Why haven’t we heard of them until now?  IDK.  Ask modern medicine  and Big Pharma- but that’s not what this post is about.  Let’s get ready for our squatting birth…

First, the benefits of squatting include:

  • shortened second stage of labor (the pushing phase)
  • Reduced need for forceps during delivery
  • Reduced need for episiotomy
  • Shortens the depth of the birth canal
  • Increased pelvic diameter

Preparation During Pregnancy:

 

  • Walk daily (low-intensity 30 minute walk)
  • Squat often – this will strengthen your legs for when you need to squat during birth.  A 30 minute daily squat session in intervals of 5 squats for 6 minutes each seems reasonable to me.
  • Seek out and employ chiropractic care (see my post Chiropractic Care – A Must for Babies & Moms-to-Be )

Now, let’s discuss what to do once in labor.  Squatting should be exercised during contractions.  Once the contraction begins, the mother should be helped into the squatting position for the duration of the contraction.  When the contraction ends, she should resume the most comfortable position for her, giving her time to relax before the next round of contractions start – usually 2 minutes of contractions to 5 minutes of relaxation.

It is important to know your options when utilizing the squatting technique.  Some hospitals or birth centers provide squat bars (to support the mother’s weight to give her legs a rest), birthing stool (also supports the mother in a squatting position… it’s U-shaped stool the mother sits on), there are also specially made beds with attachments that extend and retract for a more comfortable squatting “experience”.

The squatting technique has been shown to truly reduce the length of the birthing process, and who wouldn’t want that??? Besides Big Pharma who wants to drug the hell out of you to get bigger payouts for the drugs they poison you with (do you sense a little animosity?) We all want shorter, healthier, less dramatic births and squatting is by far, the best way to get there.  Seek out doulas or birthing coaches who can provide you with more in-depth information with regard to squatting during birth.  Trust me on this one, you’ll be so glad you did.

For more information on squatting births check out birthingnaturally.net.

I’d like some feedback on this post if you don’t mind.  Whether you love it or hate it or in-between, send me a comment.  

Thanks.

 

 

Herbivore Nation – Toddlers (1-3 years) April 1, 2008

 Toddlers are a picky breed! They are especially discriminating about the foods they eat (look, texture, taste).  They require familiarity with any specific food and such food needs to conform to their immediate developmental phase, otherwise, you may end up scraping your well-planned & cooked meal off the dining room floor.

Vegetarian/Vegan (V/V) parents should give their children a variety of foods that provide enough calories and nutrients to enable them to grow normally.  Offering toddlers a diet filled with a variety of fruits, veggies, and whole grains helps them to learn healthy eating habits.  This type of diet (fruit, veggies & grain), will be high in fiber and low in fat… the sort of eats that protect against bad cholesterol, cardiovascular issues and unhealthy weight gain.

Toddlers’ eating preferences are not to be taken lightly and can become somewhat of a challenge for parents trying to maintain a V/V lifestyle.  Because of their developmental stages and subsequent picky eating preferences, it may be difficult for toddlers to obtain enough calories, vitamins & nutrients.

When preparing meals for V/V children, parents need to ensure that their children get adequate amounts of particular vitamins and minerals.  Below is a list of common deficiencies V/V children & adults have:

  • Vitamin D: dairy products, calcium-fortified orange juice, adequate amounts of sunlight
  • Vitamin B12: dairy products, eggs, and vitamin-fortified products – cereals, breads, & soy/rice drinks
  • Calcium: dairy products, dark green leafy veggies, broccoli, chickpeas, & calcium-fortified products – orange juice, soy/rice drinks & cereals
  • Protein: dairy products, eggs, tofu, dried beans, & nuts
  • Iron: eggs, dried beans, dried fruits, whole grains, leafy green veggies, and iron-fortified cereals and bread
  • Zinc: wheat germ, nuts, fortified cereal, & legumes

The major principle of planning a V/V diet for children, especially toddlers, is creativity.  Parents must think outside the box if they plan to successfully implement the V/V diet for their toddler.  It’s easy to get into a rut, but a balanced combination of nutrient-rich foods, will not only ensure all your child’s nutritional needs are met, it’ll keep them guessing which delicious meal you’ll be coming up with next.

Suggested Diet Plans for Toddlers

Breakfast

  •  Scrambled Tofu
  • Whole Wheat Bread w/ any organic nut butters
  • Cantaloupe (raw)
  • Blueberries (raw)
  • Walnut (raw)
  • Soy milk (enriched)
  • Banana (raw)
  • Raisin Bran

Lunch

  • Orange (raw)
  • Lettuce 
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Vegan Chili
  • Black Bean & Sweet Potato Salad
  • Grapefruit

Dinner

  •  Quinoa (cooked)
  • Spaghetti (whole wheat) w/ Marinara Sauce & Vegetarian Meatballs
  • Broccoli (lightly steamed)
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Brown Rice & Lentils

Check out more recipes at http://www.vegkitchen.com.Raising a V/V child can be an exciting, rewarding, and challenging experience.  Although there are many things to consider, it can be a perfectly healthy lifestyle, especially for your toddler.  He’ll need his parents as his healthy eating allies while you all strive to maintain that V/V diet.  No one needs to tell you that the nay sayers are out there.  There will always be those who believe you are doing your child a disservice by removing “fun, kid foods” (i.e. junk food, sodas, fast food) from his diet.  There will always be those who think that you’re a kill-joy when it comes to parties and social events.  Remember this though, starting your child on a healthy eating regimen in the early stages will ensure a long and healthy life.