Tuesday, August 26, 2014

WW: I Love My Male Family Members {Linky}

We had fun with my Cabbage Patch Kid wig at the last family get together:

My nephew Edison looked so cute! I'm such a cruel Aunt!

My Brother-in-Law Eric looked awesome! 

He is bald. He's such a manly man: Rides a motorcycle, has tattoos, is a fireman. Not to say that girls can't do those things. I thought he would seriously beat me up when I put this wig on him.

My Dad is a natural redhead.

This wig brought back his red hair (he's now full of grey). He's just as silly as I am, so I knew he'd me ok with the wig. He let my sister's and I "Do his Hair" when we were little.

Just for old times sake I took these photos awhile back:

Daddy - My Husband

He to is a manly man.

Mica - My Son

He spotted the wig to begin with. He's such a great actor. 

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Off Balance, the American Way of Health Review

I had the chance to review a book called Off Balance The American Way of Health By: Dr. Leyla Ali, PharmD. It's a Pharmacist's perspective on why drugs don't work. This book is a $19.95 value.

You may be wondering, why would a mom of two healthy boys want to read this book? 

Answer: I've been taking drugs off and on for my allergies my whole life. This is the first year that I tried to stay off them as much as possible. I practically feel the same as when I was on them. There were times where I needed that steroid boost of the nasal spray because I simply lost my voice, and couldn't breathe through my nose. I hate resorting to the meds. Yes they helped me to breathe better, but I also can't feel the inside of my nose, and I loose my sense of smell when I take them.

My Dad had a lot of trouble with the heart medicines he was on. He has had surgery, and now takes plant extracts to help with his allergies.

My husband took a light dose of anxiety pills when the boys were babies. He didn't notice it, but I noticed that he lost all interest in doing most anything at first. The doctor changed his dose, and he was better. He gained weight. Later on when he went to wean off the meds. he had to wean ever so slowly. Weaning off anxiety pills can make someone have suicidal thoughts, and/or give them panic attacks.

I'm not saying all medicines are bad. It's just that so many of them have side effects that are far worse than the original symptoms.

Drugs can be a good thing. Both of my kids got really sick as babies. Without antibiotics, they may not be here with us today. Thankfully they had a doctor that told me to give them probiotics. Many doctors don't tell you this, but antibiotics kill off your bodies bacteria. Killing off the infection(s) is good, but it kills off the good bacteria to. I just think many drugs are often over used.

At one point in time, we focused on changing our habits to have a healthier life. Now it seems that many of us go strait to drugs to solve our problems. 

This is a healthy life cycle:

This chart is in Off Balance The American Way of Health - I just retyped it.

Life changed in the 80s and 90s. Now society thinks less about empowering their mind, and health They think more about money, law, insurance, pharmaceutical companies, and politics.

If the Federal Drug Administration has approved a drug, and there are smiling people in the commercials, than the drug must be good right? This is not always right.

Many of the drugs we take today:
  • Create long-term customers;
  • Provide patients with temporary comfort; and
  • Specifically, NOT treat the underlying cause. 
As a fellow American, I used to think of holistic as crazy. Now I've changed my thinking. Holistic practices have been around longer than many commercial drugs we have today.

Holistic medicine...

Treats the whole person, including integration, balance, and harmony of the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of the individual. They treat the cause. Focuses on what's right with you.

American standard medicine...

Treats physical and mental problems if they are disruptive to someone's life. They treat the symptoms. Focuses on what's wrong with you.

There are many other forms of healthcare that exist, that we just don't hear about in our country. I've listed some, not all that the book covers:
  • Acupuncture- Oriental healing technique. It involves piercing pressure points to relieve pain.
  • Aromatherapy- Therapeutic oils for stress reduction.
  • Ayurveda- Combination of herbs, puratives and oils.
  • Chinese Medicine- The Chinese philosophy is more elaborate than Western Medicine. They see the body, the world, and the universe as one.
  • Color Therapy- It's more physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. 
  • Flower Essences- Treats anxiety, anger, depression, fear, hopelessness, grief, and abandonment.
A good doctor will try and figure out if you have a bacterial infection, or a viral infection. This will determine if you really do need antibiotics, or not.

Cleansing and Detoxing 

We have toxins that build up in our bodies. It's interesting that we detox our pets, but not ourselves. Why is this needed now, when it wasn't needed before? Because we don't always grow our own. There are pesticides, and antibiotics in our food. So much is prepackaged. We wash our hands, but we don't wash our tummies.

If a doctor is not open to the idea of holistic medicine, you have to weight out if they are a fit for you. Holistic medicine has been practiced longer than the Western medicines that we know of today. 

The key to this book is to have a patient feel better in the long run; not in the short run. Don't just mask your day to day problems. Find the source, and deal with it.

It lets you in on natural things that you can do to help with weight loss, and emotional issues. Yoga, meditation, eating pure and organic foods, and routine exercise helps with a lot of things.


"The contents of the book are not intended to constitute professional advice. The contents are not offered to diagnose, prescribe, prevent, treat, mitigate, or cure any medical condition or disease."

"Do not discontinue prescription medication without the approval of your medical doctor."  - Off Balance The American Way of Health

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

I wasn't planning on doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. I love the idea of supporting ALS. It's just that I wondered how pouring water over my head was going to help with the cause.

Every year when it's Breast Cancer Awareness month I get a message on facebook where someone tells me to post on my wall what color of bra I'm wearing. I never have/did. I thought in my head, How is writing down a color going towards helping breast cancer awareness?

I was challenged by a student to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. After reading about the challenge I was for it.

My brother-in-law's father died of Lou Gehrig's Disease. Every time he'd visit he couldn't do something new. It started with him not being able to button, then he fell easy, then he was unable to walk, then unable to breathe and eat, and then he sadly passed away. I've known other people that have had MS.

Yes it's silly dumping water over your head, but if it gets the word out about these illnesses, and people donate then I'm in.

I also watched this video, and was in tears afterwards. It's silly, and odd in the beginning, but turns serious. The guy in the video has ALS.

I'm donating, and I did the challenge with some of my coworkers.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday

Sing, Sing a Song Saturday is all about me discovering something that is different. I don't want to post things that you and I have more than likely heard before. I want to find something different. It could be from another country, someone singing from the streets of NY, and more.

I was in a blues mood this week. I wasn't sad. It's just easy to work to blues.

I ran into a band called Blackstratblues. It's a solo project of Warren Mendonsa. He's a composer, guitarist, and record producer. Warren Mendonsa is from India. He is the nephew of Indian musician and celebrated Bollywood composer Loy Mendonsa of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy fame. Mendonsa first picked up the guitar when he was 5, and has played ever since.


Simply the Blues - Live

Here's a video from Mahindra Blues Festival. They set out to explore the reach of blues music in India.

Like Blackstratblues on Facebook.
Follow Blackstratblues on Twitter.
Check out Warren Mendonsa's Interview.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Highs and Lows of School for Isaak

My boys started school on the 11th of August. Everything seemed to be going well.

Isaak likes his teacher. Both teachers in Isaak's grade are good it seems. No complaints as far as the teachers go. I've heard Isaak's teacher keeps things in line. I think Isaak needs that.

Isaak doesn't start homework for a month; if it's the same as when Mica was in first grade.

Isaak has gotten good reports from his teacher. He brought a paper apple home that said, "Isaak had a great day today." I guess not all kids got an apple. Isaak was pretty proud of having an apple that day.

Isaak so far has only 2 issues since he started school.

1. He has trouble finishing his lunch. He's taken a cold lunch twice, and hasn't drank any of his milk. The food he can eat as an after school snack, but the milk goes sour. I don't even know what his hot lunches look like. I could be spending money on lunches that he 1/2 eats. I hate when food gets wasted. He goes all school day drinking nothing.

 2. He has developed an attitude that he didn't have before school started. This has happened in the past with Mica. It seems like friends that they are around influence them both positively, and negatively. No I'm not saying my child is perfect, and that it's all the friend's fault for him acting out. I just noticed this behavior started happening right after he started back up at school.

Me: Isaak you need to drink throughout the day. If you don't drink, I'm giving you water. I'm not wasting money on milk; only to have it go sour. Your food you can finish as an after school snack. You won't get anything special in your lunches if you can't finish them.

Isaak: Mom drop it.

Me: Don't talk to me that way Mr.

A little more sass comes from his 6 year old mouth.

Me: That's it, you're going to bed at 7 tonight. I'm not putting up with you talking to me that way.

Off to the store we went. He saw Halloween candy was out, and wanted it. Now if you lived in our house you'd know that we just don't buy candy for our kids.  They get enough when the special holidays arrive.

Isaak: Get me some of this. (Holding up Candy Corn.)

Me: Not when you can't even finish your lunches at school.

Isaak: Mom you were supposed to drop that. Plus I've been good at school. I even got an apple yesterday.

I suppose I should give him points he's getting smart in his manipulation. I of course didn't show him that I thought he was smart, nor did I give in.

When we got home I told Isaak to brush his teeth, get his pjs on, and go to bed.

Isaak: But it's not even dark yet, and Mica's up.

Me: It's time to go to bed for you.

In the morning his throat hurt. Allergy season is among us in Nebraska. 

Me: Drink these things. Your throat wouldn't get this bad if you'd drink something throughout the day.

He drank water, juice, and a kid's Emergen-C drink. He probably had to pee 5 times that morning.

The Highs and Lows of School for Mica

My boys started school on the 11th of August. Everything seemed to be going well.

Both boys like their teachers. I'm really glad Mica got the teacher he did.

The only things that have changed in the school is that they got new carpet, an upgrade of a library because a grant came through, and they have a new Librarian. Mica says, "The Librarian is nice, but she most certainly likes us to all stay quiet." Libraries should be quiet, so people can read, and pick out which books they want. Mica's also up a grade, the Librarian may expect more out of the older kids.

The first week there was only homework for the parents. You know the usual: Paperwork, and the writing 1 Million or Less Words About Your Child from Mica's teacher. I actually enjoyed writing about Mica. I feel better knowing that the teacher knows my kid. I just wish I would have put in there that Mica's better with reading than math.

This week Mica got homework. All week Mica got it done fast. It's supposed to take him 30 minutes. I knew he'd get it done quickly. He's much smarter than I was at his age. Then last night happened. Mica got introduced to rounding up, and down to the closest number by 100s. He can count by 100s to a 1,000, but for some reason the concept of rounding numbers up and down was foreign to him. Daddy worked with him for nearly 2 1/2 hours.

I could tell Daddy was getting frustrated.

I was out with Isaak the whole time. Isaak was supposed to have Jiu-Jitsu, but it got canceled due to them refinishing the floors. Daddy kindly asked me to go run errands with Isaak, so Mica wouldn't get distracted.

I didn't tell this to Daddy just yet, but how Mica was with math the other night, I was like every single night when I was a kid. I simply didn't get very much of anything. I'm not saying I am stupid, but my brain thinks differently. I make things harder than they appear. I test horribly. I did so low in my standardized tests they wanted to put me in the dummy English classes. I taught a Russian girl how to write in that class. I didn't belong in there, I knew it, and my teacher knew it. My teacher bumped me up, and in the regular English class I still got an A+. Don't talk about ACT scores with me. You may just piss me off. I had to beg my councilor to take them un-timed to see if I could do better. That councilor used my scores as an example as to how time matters for 5, or more years. How do I know? My sister is 5 years younger than me - she told me. Anyhow I got my BFA, then my Masters, so I'm not stupid. I just think differently.

The next day for homework Mica did perfectly on rounding up and down. I think he just didn't get it, and now he does.

On the flip side he's gotten good reports from his teacher. He doesn't even bring his library books home to read because he gets them read in school.

I'm pretty sure Mica will get better with math. Some concepts in school take awhile to get.

Random Tid Bits

  1. Every year we get a few students that go by something totally different than their name. This year we have a Samuel that goes by Mason and a Maria that goes by Gabbie. I could see Samuel going by Sam, or Sammy, but Mason? There's nothing wrong with Gabbie, or Mason it's just so different from their given names. Maybe Gabbie and Mason are their middle names.

    My cousin married a guy named Ryan. She didn't know up until they got engaged that his name was actually David Ryan. She didn't have a clue what to put on the invites, and programs. I said, "Just put his whole name on there. People will figure it out."

    Why not name them what you want them to be called?

  2. I always have 1 or 2 students that look so similar to past students we've had. I have to do a double take.

  3. Our garden did very well this year. Every night some processing needs to be done.

    Did you grow anything this year? We have tomatoes, corn, zucchini, kale, collard greens, snap peas, beets, and some spices. 

  4. We decided to do away with the friend birthday party this year. If you remember Isaak only had 1 friend show up to his party. We do so much at the family party anyhow. Instead Mica got to choose two friends to go to a special place.

    He chose to go to a movie. They they are coming over for cake and ice cream. I told the parents that gifts are not necessary. It's more about doing something special, than getting things.

  5. My nephew Emerson got a new big boy bed. I'm steeling this picture from my sister's FB page.


I'm sure some of you have never seen a bed for a special needs child before. It's made to keep him safe.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dual Julienne and Vegetable Peeler Review

Most of our meals are home cooked. Daddy's peels veggies to steam on one counter, and I peel veggies on the other counter to make a salad. We use peelers a lot in our kitchen.

Either both peelers are in use, or both peelers are dirty.

I just got a fancy peeler to review. It's Dual Julienne and Vegetable Peeler made by: Priority Chef.

I've never used such a fancy peeler. All the peelers I've ever used have been a side peeler. It did take me a minute to get used to something that has different sides, and peels from the front. Once I got the hang of it, it was handy. I know I wouldn't let Mica or Isaak use it. Mica peels his own veggies sometimes. We haven't attempted this step with Isaak. It's very sharp. Certainly an adult utensil.
  • One side of the kitchen tool has a vegetable peeler that can peel in both directions. 
  • The other side has a julienne tool that create julienned vegetables in seconds.

You can peel in thin slices, big slices, and it has a little thing on the side that will remove eyes out of potatoes.

The Priority Chef dual julienne and vegetable peeler has ultra sharp blades and can peel vegetables quicker than ever.

  • The tool is made of stainless steel.
  • Is dishwasher safe, although it will last longer if it is washed by hand. I did think it was a little difficult to wash. Peelings were stuck in the sharp blades.
  • Included with the purchase is an eBook that gives instructions, and a list of recipes to get started.
  • It's $19.95, but on sale for $9.95 on Amazon.
So far we've used it to peel potatoes, and make potato ribbons.

Then I've used it to peel, and make carrot ribbons for a stir fry. I'm big into throwing carrots, onion, snap peas, and pepper in a pan with a little oil, adding raw cashews, and a little ginger for a quick side. It's good, and takes little time to do it.

What kind of peeler do you have?

A) A Front One - Like the one shown with different capabilities

B) A Side One - With only peeling as an option

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Stainless Steel Veggie Steamer Review

We've had a steamer for about 12 years now. It was looking run down. It's been accidentally left in the water too many times. We have another steamer that came to fit inside a big pot. We often times use more than one steamer when it's breakfast time. One to boil some eggs, and another to steam some greens. It seems like one, or both steamers are always in use.

I've been wanting to replace the smaller steamer that we've had for 12 years. It's served it's purpose.

Luckily I got a new Sunsella Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer to review. 

It folds up smaller than my other one. I love that it's more compact, and expands to fit a lot of different sized pots. The diameter 5.3" - 9.25", and the height range (legs included) 2" - 3.35".

Things You Can Make in a Steamer:
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits 
  • Eggs
  • Seafood (fish, mussels, crabs, and clams)
  • Dumplings
  • Meat and Chicken   
  • Some Desersts
  • Making Baby Food
  • More...

About Sunsella Stainless Steel Vegetable Steamer
  • It's 100% high-grade stainless steel. That includes the legs.
  • It wont rust like the cheaper aluminum versions. 
  • The center post and legs are attached. No assembly is required.
  • It's easy to remove from many sizes of pans with a custom designed central ring. The ring on our old one was not as nice as this one.   
  • Your veggies stay tender, and have a perfect crunch at the same time. 
  • It's $24 and it's marked down to $11.99 on Amazon. That really is a steel in my book; for how much we use a steamer in our house.
What We Thought 

I thought it worked great! I used it to make broccoli, and hard boiled eggs. I want to use it to make gluten free chicken and dumplings soon. Will it just sit in our kitchen and not get used? Nope! We'll used it a lot. The only difficulty I had was getting pictures for my readers - you. The broccoli kept steaming up my lens. I just waited a bit, and got a photo.

Do you use a steamer in your kitchen? What do you use it for?

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


The opinions on this blog are my personal take on products and topics relating to motherhood. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.

I am not compensated to provide opinions on a variety of topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own. If I claim to show knowledge of certain topic or product I will only endorse products or services that I feel, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement.

If you have any questions about this blog, or want to get in contact with me please email me at: alissa4illustrationAThotmailDOTcom

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