Cheap Cricut Vinyl

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For those of you who own a Cricut machine and buy vinyl for it, I found a great place to buy it cheap. It's SignsPlusBanners.com. The link for the vinyl you want is here.

It is the exact same vinyl that Cricut sells. If you look on the back of your vinyl, it says Oracal 631. This vinyl is also Oracal 631. The only difference is that this is sold in larger rolls: either 24" wide, or 15" wide (with perforated edges). I think you have to buy it either in 15 foot or 50 foot lengths. But if you use it a lot, or go in on it with friends, it is a great deal.

I thought their service was great, and the shipping cost was good (at least to where I live) if you buy your rolls all at once. They can also give you a folder with color charts in it for future ordering. They gave me mine free with my order. You might have to pay for it if you aren't ordering yet, I don't know.

They also sell permanent vinyl, which is weather proof and should last 3-5 years, depending on which you buy. For that type, you need a special removing fluid to get the vinyl off (use only on places like glass or on a banner, never on your walls). When I bought a banner to put it on, I also bought a special fluid that gave me extra time to reposition the vinyl, in case I made a mistake when I laid it down.

The cost of the vinyl, if I remember correctly, averaged 66 cents per square foot. A great deal when compared to the $2.50 per square foot that you pay when you buy it in the sheets sold in clear boxes at craft stores. I haven't seen anywhere online cheaper.

Happy Cricutting!

Natural Dishwasher "Detergent" (soap, actually)

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I have been researching lately to find recipes for homemade cleaning and toiletry recipes, in order to make healthier, and hopefully less expensive products for my family and home. It can be difficult to find good recipes. Often the cleaning power of such recipes is weak, or requires too many costly ingredients, or is too complex. But I've hit on a few that sound good that I plan to try, and I thought I would share them, starting with natural, homemade dishwasher detergent.

Dishwasher detergent, natural? I know, I was surprised too. We're probably all familiar with the common recipe (and variations thereof) for homemade laundry soap. But I hadn't found anything prior to this for dishwashers. I've tried a couple of store-bought natural dishwasher detergents, which brought instant complaints from my husband about their inefficiency, particular from the Seventh Generation powdered dishwasher detergent. Since my husband is wonderful enough to do the dishes for me, I graciously returned to the toxic Cascade we have traditionally used, even though I hated to do it.

So now I've found a few recipes online that sound promising. Since we have hard well water, I'll be eager to find out how well they work.

Here is the first one:

Recipe 1: Healthy Vegan Blog's Best Homemade Dishwasher Detergent:

  • 1 1/2 cups borax
  • 1 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons of ground castile soap
  • 1/4 cup citric acid

Pour ingredients in a container with an airtight lid. Shake. Use about 2 TB per load.

She uses a food processor shredder attachment to shred Dr. Bronner's bar soap and then uses the regular food processor blade to mince it into a powder. She also says she found out from someone else that citric acid was the answer to the dull film that her previous dish detergent recipe left behind. She also mentioned that some recipes call for 1/4 salt, which she thought might help those with hard water. This recipe sounds the most promising to me, but I'll include a few other, similar recipes in case you want to try those too.


Recipe 2: Mix equal parts of borax and wash­ing soda, but increase the wash­ing soda if your water is hard. (I've heard washing soda can be more caustic than baking soda, so some people prefer to use baking soda instead, just in case.)

Recipe 3: Mix one part borax, one part baking soda and 1/4 part salt. Add white vine­gar to the rinse aid compartment to get them squeaky clean.

Recipe 4: Herbal Dishwasher Detergent

1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
2 drops essential Tea Tree Oil
2 drops essential Lavender Oil

Mix all ingredients in a tightly lidded container, stirring well to combine the oils into the powder. Use 1 Tbl. in each dispenser (a total of 2 Tbls).

Feel free to post a comment if you try these recipes, and let me know your results. I plan to try this soon, so I'll edit this post and add my own experiences here at the bottom.

Why Are Multiple C-Sections "Harder"?

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I had a question asked of me by Shati in a comment response to my post Question About Repeat C-Sections. Since my answer got a little wordy (isn't everything I write? LOL) I decided to put my answer in a separate post. Here's her question:

Hi There! I have had three c-sections and i really desperately want one more baby via c secion(i dont want to vbac!) I asked my GP doctor and she asked the OB doctors, and they advised me not to get pregnant again. They also said that it's still up to me..if i do get pregnant then they'll monitor me very closely. I'm really stuck here now! My third c-section was elective. Can anyone who had 4 c-sections explain to me if it was any harder than three c-sections? Pleaseeee help me!

Well, Shati, I'm not sure if you're asking why multiple c-sections are harder, or why they're riskier. So I'll answer both. But first, just in case you change your mind someday about having a VBAC, there is the possibility of having a VBAC, but chances are the only way you'd get one is to use a midwife.

Depending on the state you live in, and the laws, some more experienced midwives are willing to do a VBAC even after four cesareans, although that is not the norm, and it depends on your situation. Here in the state I live in, there are a ton of very experienced midwives, and two or three of them are willing to consider a VBAC after multiple cesareans. Another state I lived in, they would only do it after two, no more, and you had to have at least a year between pregnancies. Just in case you changed your mind. You just need to research and talk to your local midwives. You can usually find lists of them online.

EDIT: I also should mention what a midwife told me: "It's your body, they can't make you have a surgery that you don't want." That being said, you won't be treated very well in a hospital where you refuse a c-section after more than one previous cesarean. They don't like to be inconvenienced. And watch out...they could try to pull stuff on you if you don't cooperate with their "routine" once your baby is born. Threatening "uncooperative" mothers with a call to social services is one way some hospitals try to keep you in line. This is more common with first-time mothers, but you should be aware of it.

As far as why repeat c-sections are harder: I didn't really feel that mine were all that much harder, but I do tend to recover from them somewhat easier than some women. It's kind of up to your body. There was a slight increase in the level of difficulty in my recovery over the first four cesareans, but not much. You can have a bad recovery one time, and a good one the next. My fourth c-section was the hardest, but I think that was because my doc was evil and gave me the minimum amount of drugs. ;-) Hope for his sake he never gets in a car accident and has a doc like him controlling his meds! My fifth was the easiest recovery by far, and I believe it was because I was on a raw food diet. I recovered soooo easy from that one. Oh yeah, and my doc was awesome and gave me lots of drugs, too. LOL.

Now, if what you meant to ask is why doctors consider repeat VBAC's more DANGEROUS, that's a different story. My personal opinion is that they don't want the liability in case something goes wrong, so they freak you out with statistics that I KNOW are being misrepresented, because I've read the same studies they are referring to, and they leave out important information that allows you to understand and weigh the REAL risks. There definitely are more risks with more c-sections, but it's not as bad as they make it out to be. (Don't these people know anything about repeat business? LOL)

There are a few main things to consider. One is placenta problems. With more c-sections, you have a slightly higher risk of the placenta choosing to grow in the wrong spot, like over the cervix or previous scar tissue. Over the cervix is particularly bad, but it can be managed. It's just not the best situation to be in. More serious can be when the placenta grows through the side of the uterus. Obviously a bad thing. These can be detected during ultrasounds, and you can be delivered early if necessary. The risk goes up a little more with each pregnancy, but the risks aren't that big. Of course, if you're the one out of fifty or a hundred (or whatever it is--don't quote me, because it's been a long time since I researched it) that it happens to, that's of little comfort to you or your loved ones.

The other big issue is uterine rupture. That's when you get a tear in your uterus, and that can cause hemorrhaging, and in worse-case scenarios, death for you and/or your baby. That's rare, but it happens. But what they DON'T tell you is that the studies don't differentiate between a catastrophic rupture and a "window" rupture--and there is a BIG difference.

A catastrophic rupture is when the uterus tears all the way through. That's what can kill you. You bleed out quick, and if you're not right by a O.R., you're in trouble. But that kind is rare. Another thing they don't tell you is that a woman who has no previous c-sections, and is given drugs to induce labor for a vaginal birth, is actually more likely to have a uterine rupture than a mother who has one or two c-sections. Yet they don't have a problem pushing those drugs on you, or tell you about that risk, do they?

The other kind of rupture, which is much more common, is the "window" rupture. That's when you get little holes in the inner lining of the uterus that do NOT go all the way through. They are not a big deal, and you can have those and they won't hurt you...though the docs always repair them when they find them during your c-section. That kind isn't dangerous, and yet they are lumped in with the kind of ruptures that can kill you, which makes the statistics sound much, much worse.

Fortunately, I've educated myself, and since I don't believe in birth control anyway, and I trust God 100% with everything, including my body and my reproductive health, the doctors can't scare me. And many of them WILL try to scare you. I've had doctors go so far as to basically tell me that if I have a baby, there's a good chance I will die, and leave my other children motherless. Implying that I'm a bad mother, essentially. There is a woman doctor in my doctor's rotation who is the one who said that to me, and I told my current doc I will NOT see that woman again, and she will never deliver me--I'll go to a different hospital if she's on duty. I do not trust her in any way, shape or form. If you get a doc like that, RUN, because they do not care about you. Education is one thing--scare tactics and guilt-trips are another, and it's just unprofessional and wrong.

My doctor now is great. I don't have a problem with him educating me on the risks and my options, and he's always nice about it, and realistic. I get the real information from him, without scare tactics. He respects me, and that's important in a doctor. Plus, he really seems to know his stuff. He's cautious, but not an alarmist. He's really great.

Now I can't (and won't) tell you what you should do, but hopefully this gives you some more insight into the real risks of multiple c-sections. I'm not a doctor obviously, and this is all just my personal opinion based on my own research--you shouldn't trust me, you should find out for yourself. I'm pregnant with my sixth right now. I'm not worried. When it's my time to die, it will happen whether or not I'm pregnant. I can't stop that by not having a baby. So if I'm going to die, I'd rather it be while carrying or delivering a baby, than by getting hit by a bus! That's my personal take on the situation. I know people who have had at least nine c-sections, without complications, and one of those people had the old, less-safe, vertical incision. No problems for her so far.

Personally, I think three c-sections isn't that big of a deal. Four is on the border of having higher risks, but then you're talking going from 1-2% on some of these risks, to maybe 3-4%. So it's not like it's a 50% risk or anything (like they would like for you to believe). However, the risk is still there. There's always at least a 1% risk of death with ANY surgery, because stuff just goes wrong sometimes. And if you're overweight, your risk can be a little higher. But the risks are, in my opinion, not terribly high, and even placental problems can be managed if you keep an eye on them with repeat ultrasounds.

In my own case, I'm also dealing with a damaged aortic heart valve, and just after I got pregnant this time, I found out I have an aneurysm. Having an ascending aortic aneurysm while you're pregnant is NOT a good combination. Sure, I freaked out for a day or two. Then I remembered "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to trust in God." ;-) After that, I realized that my life is in His hands, and my time will come when it was meant to come. I don't feel like that time has come yet. Maybe in a few months more, I'll feel differently. But right now, I think God is telling me I'm okay. So, no more stressing. I'm getting great care, and they're monitoring the aneurysm, and they will repair my aorta with open heart surgery sometime after the baby is born--we're still trying to figure out when. Now, recovering from a c-section AND open-heart surgery.....THAT will be hard. But I'm up for the challenge. (Please God, let them give me lots of drugs...)

As I said before, even with small risks, it really stinks if you are one of the few that experience them. I'm willing to take that risk, because of my religious beliefs and trust in God. But for others who don't have that confidence, the decision isn't as easy. I would strongly recommend researching more on your own and making an educated decision. Contact the ICAN network: the International Cesarean Awareness Network at www.ican-online.org. They can give you realistic statistics, and there are also local monthly meetings, hopefully in your area. Let me know if you decide to get pregnant again, so we can follow how you're doing!

Welcome to Russia, My Commrades...

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Yes, it's official. He's president. Someone please wake me up and tell me this has been a dream. Or a nightmare, I should say....

I was afraid he had a chance of winning. But by such a landslide? Something is fishy. Did you hear about the Black Panthers standing outside Philadelphia voting locations, intimidating white voters? And nothing was done about that? Hmmm, I wonder what would have happened if it had been the Klu Klux Klan doing that. So, it's okay to intimidate white voters to prevent them from voting, or to guilt trip them into voting for someone just because that person is a minority, but not vice versa? NO ONE should be intimidated into voting or not voting for a particular person. And no one should vote for someone (or against someone) for the color of their skin--whatever color that may be.

Having a black president would be a great thing...if it were a good man with morals being elected. One who did not want to take away our rights to bear arms, to homeschool our children, or the rights of the unborn to live. Give me Alan Keys any day! Or Condoleeza Rice...or about a million other black Americans who would do a better job. Heck, I'd take Hillary at this point! (I know she's not black, but she is a huge liberal. She's just not nearly as crazy.)

I'm very much afraid that God has withheld His wrath for as long as he could, and now He has given this country just enough rope for us to hang ourselves. And unfortunately, those of us who knew what would happen and tried to avoid it are going to be punished right along with those who were naiive or had bad intentions for this country from the beginning.

Get ready my friends, and mark my words, I'm getting ready to prophesy:

Four years from now our economy will be a thousand times worse.
Four years from now, anyone who has a job will be tax at a rate of twice what they are taxed at now.
Four years from now, we will have had the freedom to homeschool greatly hampered, if it's still allowed at all.
Four years from now, we will be under martial law. There will be a domestic army populated primarily with thugs, who will abuse their power and the people of this country.
Four years from now, there will be presidential orders that essentially turn the president of the United States into a dictator.
Four years from now, parents will not have the right to refuse immunizations or any type of medical treatment that a doctor "recommends", or even the right to a second opinion.
Four years from now, public schools (and probably private schools) will be required to teach sex education and pro-homosexual ideals to our kindergarteners.
Four years from now, a child of twelve will be able to be taken across state lines by a school nurse for a late-term abortion without your consent.
Four years from now, that nurse won't actually have to cross state lines because all kinds of abortion will be available in all states, and even Catholic hospitals will be compelled to provide them.
Four years from now, crime rates will be at an all-time high.
Four years from now, you won't be able to protect yourself from criminals because your right to keep and bear arms will be severely limited, if it exists at all.
Four years from now, most small businesses will have failed, and large businesses will have taken their production out of this country because of the oppressive "spread the wealth" laws.
Four years from now, a large portion of the (working) population will be forced to work for the government because there aren't many other jobs out there.
Four years from now, our country will be divided: one race against another, one economic group against another, non-believers against believers.
Four years from now, many homeowners will have lost their property due to an inability to pay the burdensome taxes on it with the little wages they have left after income tax. The government will continue bailing out the mortgage firms, and will own a large percentage of formerly private property.
Four years from now, the government will provide public preschool...and then lower the required age for starting school down to age four.
Four years from now, there will be few stay at home moms, because few families will be able to support their families with one over-taxed income in an unstable economy.
Four years from now, that man will be re-elected.

And then things will really get bad...

Am I a prophet? Of course not. I have common sense. We have just elected a pro-violence, communist control-freak who is a text book case for narcissistic personality disorder. It has already been said by some psychiatrists that he displays some of the same personality traits as Hitler and other dictators. Everyone thought Hitler was a breath of fresh air. Everyone thought he would bring change. And he did. It just wasn't exactly the change that the Germans were expecting.

God have mercy on our poor, poor country.

Aspartame/Nutrasweet: Sweet Poison

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I've known for a long time that Nutrasweet, the brand name for aspartame, was poison. I read a lot of things years ago that convinced me that it was bad. That's why for years I drank regular soda. (For health reasons...haha.) After gaining a ton of weight, and a bunch more with all my babies, I've caved in and had diet soda on and off over the years. I know it's bad, but I fall back into the habit sometimes. When I can, I choose something sweetened with Splenda/sucralose. As if that's any better! We just don't know how toxic it is YET.

Well, in case you still think fake sweeteners are a good thing, check out this movie: Sweet Misery. In it, you will see aspartame victims and doctors talk about just how bad it really is, and how it is linked with a lot of conditions, including a significant rise in brain cancer.

Also, check out the Dorway.com and Sweet Poison website, which lists 92 symptoms that aspartame users often have. Some people will have a higher tolerance than others, as can be seen in the testimonials in the video. Some may have serious symptoms after a few days of use, or others may have symptoms come on much slower, after a longer time with higher usage.

One concern is birth defects. I've been trying to avoid diet soda up until now, knowing I'm pregnant. But from now on, if my husband comes home with soda for us, I will be dumping it right in the sink. I don't care about the lost money. I care about my husband, myself, and my unborn baby.

You may be thinking "what do I do if I can't use artificial sweeteners?" Try these:

Stevia: Personally, I don't care for stevia, but some do like it. It comes in a powder or liquid. I find there's an aftertaste. But then, there is with fake sweeteners too.

Agave: Agave is supposed to be a low glycemic sweetener. It tastes wonderfully mild. It's not cheap, but it isn't bad. I buy raw agave.

Honey: Okay, honey is not low in calories or low glycemic. But it is natural, and good for you. Did you know that honey is just as effective as cold medicine? I tried it on my son, and it worked. Try a little in your tea or baking recipes. If you need to use a lot, try something else.

Sucanat: (Also known as evaporated cane juice, or Rapadura) Sucanat is basically unrefined sugar. It still has molasses in it. It kind of tastes like brown sugar. I've used it, and it's a little different, but good. You need to mix it with the liquid ingredients in a recipe first, because it takes longer to "melt" and blend in. If you don't, you'll get grainy sucanat mixed in. This is also not low glycemic or low calorie, but it's good for cakes, etc.

Yacon Syrup: Another natural food. I haven't tried this, but it's supposed to be even lower glycemic than agave. Also more expensive.

For a drink, try mixing some fresh lemon juice with ice water and agave. It's really good.

WFMW: The Toys Worth Buying Edition

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I have five children. We have a lot of toys.

A LOT.

A large percentage of them are yard sale toys. Yes, we are that kind of people: we find nothing at all wrong with giving our children like-new yard sale toys. They don't know the difference. In fact, we are deliberately raising them to not care about the difference. Plus, it's easier--no wresting the toys from sobbing toddlers to unpackage, and God forbid, try to untwist or cut those evil indestructible twisty-ties!

However, we do purchase new toys. I've found myself doing this more and more (despite the increasing size of our family) just because sometimes it's fun to buy something new. Of course, it never fails that a brand new toy we spent a good chunk of money on (not crazy money, but enough) ends up tossed aside and forgotten. I can't tell you how many dolls my oldest daughter got and never used, and how many scratched-up little plastic animal figures she begged for at yard sales and has loved literally to death--until the tails and heads fell off! I even bought some price (to me) Schleich animals. She does play with some, but some go unused, while the yard-sale doggies are her treasures.

So here is my list of toys that my kids DO love. I can't guarantee that yours will love them, but mine do...

Mattel Matchbox Mega Rig Shark Ship Set

Purchased new at Walmart on clearance, and then marked down extra by the clerk because I told her it was on a clearance display where everything was supposed to be $11 (which it was), this was a steal of a deal. I guess it's supposed to be some kind of shark research vessel. It comes with a shark cage, a crane for hoisting it, little side boats, two little guys (I think there should have been more) that can be eaten by the shark and then fished out of its stomach (how cool is that to a little boy?), a harpoon, detachable wheels, and tons of other stuff.

The best thing about this set is not only that it floats, but that the three dark blue sections you see detach from the main ship, to form other types of vehicles and mini-ships. EVERYTHING on this set interconnects with each other, so that if you take the ship apart, you can create new things with the pieces. It's great, because when my 6 year old son got bored with the whole big ship, he broke off parts to share with his siblings, and they all got to play together. The bad part? There are pieces of this ship all over the house. Did I mention retail price of this is $50? Now, I would never ever pay $50 for something like this, but if I had the money to spend, it would definitely be worth it. But it's way more worth it when you pay $11 for it! Heh heh heh!!

Amazon lists it at $33, and I think that it's worth that much, for sure. I don't see any boy not loving this. It's also pretty rugged. I don't think anything is broken on it yet.


Playmobil Chariot

The one we have is somewhat similar to the one pictured, but with gold and red colors, and darker horses (only two, not four). It's probably an older set. I got it at a garage sale, in a brand new sealed box, never opened or used, for $2. I got another set of a horse and some viking-looking guys for the same price. A great deal, considering they go for $17 new, and you don't tend to find them used on craigslist often.

The two sets have neat accessories, like helmets, swords, an axe, and a mace. I've always wanted to get Playmobil stuff, but it is soooo expensive. I was surprised at the detail in these sets, and that they are not as flimsy as one might expect. We've had them over a week, and the only casualty was one poor viking whose leg snapped off when my son stepped on him (lesson learned, take better care of your toys). He is still enjoying playing with these every morning. While I don't think it's as big a hit as the shark ship, it's a winner? Will I get more Playmobil stuff? Sure, if it's used. The new prices are still too high for me.

The N-Strike Recon CS-6 Nerf Gun

This blaster gun comes apart in a few pieces, too, and are somewhat interchangeable. You can convert it from a longer rifle to a shorter gun. My six year old son loves this gun so much. He plays with it as much as the shark ship. He loves to take it outside. He'd take it in the bathtub if we'd let him! Of course, the nerf darts are all gone, either lost or chewed by toddlers. We may buy him a pack of new ones for Christmas, but if those disappear, we're done. He doesn't care though, he uses it all the time without them. He's all about soldier-type stuff!

My one complaint, aside from the darts, would be the sight. It's never worked properly, doesn't go on or stay on well. We probably should have returned the gun for a new one with a better sight, but we forgot. It's lost now, and if I ever find it, I'll probably throw it away. (Don't tell my son, lol.) Other than the sight and the darts, it has held up well for over seven months, and functions just fine. We got it new at Walmart. Don't know the price, my husband bought it.

You'll notice the toys I've mentioned are all boys' toys. That's because my oldest daughter, as I mentioned, has a passion for used doggies on their last legs, and my youngest daughter loves nothing but dolls...the oldest and most decrepit hand-me-down dolls you can find. If we didn't love her so much, we'd sneak them away and toss them. But we do, so we don't. *sigh* They really are ugly. But on the bright side, my daughters love yard sales, just like their mom! My middle son never seems excited about any toy we give him. I'm not sure if it's his personality, or if we just never hit on the right toy. And of course, my one year old boy likes anything the big kids like...although he does seem enthralled with the nerf gun. It's as tall as him, and he loves to walk around banging it on the floor, like some kind of pogo stick or jack hammer! **Please note, in researching this toy, I found a recall notice on it...parents who bought this up to August 2008 should contact Hasbro for an extra piece that will prevent the toy from possible pinching skin--although in trying it myself, I could not get the toy to pinch my skin no matter what I did. But get the safety piece anyway.**

So, those three boys' toys are the ones that work for me!

Margaret Sanger: Racist and Eugenics Advocate

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I found an interview with Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, posted online. It was done by Mike Wallace back in 1957. It is somewhat long, but the most interesting parts start halfway through the video.

My first impression of her was that she appeared to be an unpleasant woman. She didn't strike me as the type of person to laugh or joke around, unless it was with sarcasm or at the expense of another person or group (that's just my opinion based on her expressions and demeanor). She was much older in this interview, I'd guess late sixties, and much less pleasant looking than any pictures of her posted on feminist websites. I've met many older women who had a bitter, dour expression all the time, and saw very little good in the world. This woman looked worse than all of them.

She clearly became uncomfortable and/or irritated whenever the subject of her upbringing or the Catholic Church was brought up. She said that it was never her goal to use the subject of birth control to fight against the Catholic Church, and yet it was quite obvious that she harbored a lot of bitterness toward the Church.

Mrs. Sanger also gave the impression of someone who lies and/or skirts around the truth whenever she thinks it is to her benefit. The reporter tried to get her to respond to several questions about what she thought of certain Catholic beliefs, and she refused to answer several times. She also claimed that certain quotes that the reporter read to her, of her own statements (either in previous press reports, or to his fellow reporters in pre-interviews) were exaggerations or fabrications. For example, when asked if she believed Catholics should have the right to protest the government using their tax dollars to fund something they believed was evil, Mrs. Sanger said that she did think they should have the right to speak their opinion, but so should people like her. When Mr. Wallace quoted her as having told his associate that she thought it should be made illegal for anyone to oppose such things (birth control and abortion), and even make it illegal for churches to prohibit their own church members from such acts, she denied ever saying that.

Basically, anytime he quoted a statement of hers that showed her outright disdain for Catholics, she denied it. She clearly wanted to come off as some kind of humanitarian, rather than what she really was--a racist, anti-religious, angry woman who believed that the solution to society's problems were to use birth control, sterilization, and abortion to prevent black women, poor women, and Catholics from reproducing. (Black women were not mentioned during the interview, but you will read sources below that mention the subject).

The most telling statement she made was in response to Mike Wallace's question of whether she believed in sin or not. She wouldn't answer his question directly, even when he repeated it. But she did say that she believed the worst sin was to have children...then after a pause, she quickly covered that statement by saying it was having children who are sick or poor, etc. etc. to have a decent life. When asked if she thought murder was a sin, she mumbled something about "whether murder is a sin or not, it's a terrible act". She sounded reluctant to actually say murder is a sin...or to admit that she didn't think it was a sin. Oh, but having children? DEFINITELY the WORST sin.

Wait...WHAT?! I'm sorry, she thought having children is the greatest sin, but murder...maybe not so much? No wonder she advocated abortion for "undesirables"...since she didn't think murder was a sin, but giving birth when you are poor is!

Most people don't know that Margaret Sanger was an early advocate for eugenics. In Margaret Sanger: Father of modern society by Elasah Drogin, is one source for such information. Also, in Margaret Sanger's own Birth Control Review, founded by her in 1917, she published many articles on eugenics, such as "Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics" (June 1920), "The Eugenic Conscience" (February 1921), "The purpose of Eugenics" (December 1924), "Birth Control and Positive Eugenics" (July 1925), "Birth Control: The True Eugenics" (August 1928), and many others.

What is eugenics? Wikipedia lists eugenics as
a "social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through various forms of intervention". Sounds almost pleasant, even sensible, doesn't it? What is the reality of eugenics? Read up on Hitler, and you'll have a good idea. Generally, eugenics supporters decide which group or groups of people are worthy to live, and which are not...and work towards the elimination of the "unfit". For Hitler, those who were not fit to live included Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, etc. For Margaret Sanger, it was Catholics, Blacks, and the poor. Hitler used concentration camps and gas chambers. Margaret Sanger advocated birth control and abortion. And her methods and propaganda have been very successful.

On blackgenocide.com, they call abortion the "greatest deception that has plagued the black church since Lucifer himself." The website has many links regarding this massive genocide that has been perpetrated on the black community. I particularly recommend Margaret Sanger's EUGENIC Plan for Black Americans , The Truth About Margaret Sanger, Abortion and the Black Community (which includes statistics and a very interesting chart on causes of death for African Americans) and their link to ObamaNation (check it out before you vote today!) for their opinion on what a Barack Obama presidency would mean for African-Americans.Here are some statistics listed on their main page:

-Between 1882 and 1968, 3446 Blacks were lynched in the U.S. That number is surpassed in 3 days by abortion.

-1,452 African-American children are killed each day by the heinous act of abortion.

-3 out of 5 African-American women will abort their child.

-Since 1973 their have been over 13 million Black children killed and their precious mothers victimized by the U.S. abortion industry.

-With 1/3 of all abortions performed on Black women, the abortion industry has received over 4,000,000,000 (yes, billion) from the Black community.



Margaret Sanger's prejudice and racism was evident in this quote from page 47 of "What Every Girl Should Know", which Sanger published in 1920:


"It is said that the aboriginal Australian, the lowest known species of the human family, just a step higher than the chimpanzee in brain development, has so little sexual control that police authority alone prevents him from obtaining sexual satisfaction on the streets."

Wow. Can't really refute the racism in that quote, can you? That doesn't just reflect the ideas of the time...that is so twisted, it's absurd.

So when you think of Planned Parenthood, think of Margaret Sanger and what she stood for. Modern Planned Parenthood supporters may try to discredit any claims of Sanger's racism, or disavow themselves of any of her advocacy of eugenics, but the fact remains: they've carried out her plans to the letter, and succeeded very well in eliminating many of the children that Sanger would have deemed "unfit".

And remember, if you donate any money to them, use their clinics, or donate to United Way (a big supporter of Planned Parenthood and other bad "charities"), you are paying for the murders of not only millions of innocent children, but also a disproportionate number of African American children. Although no life is more (or less) valuable than another, the fact that one segment of society seems to be targeted more than another makes the tragedy of abortion all the more tragic.


Where Does Your Food Come From?

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Have you ever stopped to think about where your food comes from? If you are trying to eat healthier, but have not considered the origins of those "healthier" foods, you have missed an important element of nutrition.


A post by Kelly the Kitchen Kop entitled "How We Treat the Animals We Eat" inspired me to share my own opinions on what the typical American consumers are putting in their bodies. In her post, Kelly shares information provided in a recent episode of Oprah about how livestock is treated in the meat industry. I never saw the episode because 1) I don't watch tv anymore, and 2) I rarely watched Oprah anyway, she had become way too preachy and liberal, and she (in my opinion) is the one principally responsible for foisting the lame-duck Obama upon us. He never would have gotten this far without her. Clinton would have mopped the floor with him if it weren't for Oprah and other celebrities "advertising" for him (not that I like Hillary Clinton, but--I hate to say it--she's better than that guy). But I digress...

It sounds like the show wasn't anti-meat, but rather anti-mistreatment of meat animals. However, the real push for the show seems to have been to get California voters to support some legislation that requires more room and better treatment of these animals. Now, I am all for humane treatment of animals. For one, God did give us animals to eat, but ALSO to care for. They are NOT equal to humans, but should still be treated with kindness. They should be allowed to live happy, healthy lives until their time is up, and then killed in the most painless and humane way possible. Second, a happy, well-cared for animal is a healthy animal...which means it is also healthier for US, to eat. I wonder if the owners of these commercial "factories" eat the meat or eggs they produce. I can't imagine it. If they do, they must be dirty, disgusting people with very low standards.

Left: Multiple laying hens crammed into tiny cages. You don't want eggs from these hens. Support local farmers who sell free-range, happy-hen eggs!

Granted, not all are as bad as the worst. But I've talked to too many people who worked or visited commercial dairies, poultry houses, and pig farms to not know there are SERIOUS problems with the way most animals are raised. One woman I know (NOT a vegetarian or PETA member) said she visited a dairy, and saw a worker drop one of the suction hose things that they hook to the cows' teats, that delivers the milk straight into the pipes that lead to the bulk tanks. The hose sucked up some cow feces. Upon seeing her horrified face, the worker said "don't worry, the pasteurization will take care of it." EEEWWW!!! That is what we are drinking, folks, when we buy milk at the store! I think if I worked in one of these places, I would become a vegetarian!!

So, is becoming a vegetarian the answer? No. I mean, if you want to, go ahead...although I recommend you become a raw vegan instead of eating that tofu crud. (See my raw blog for more info on eating raw. I think eating all or at least part raw is the best thing you can do for your body.) Since most people aren't going to become vegetarians no matter what you tell them, the real answer is for people to start finding out about where our food is coming from, and more importantly, where we can find better sources for our food.

8 Ways to Promote Healthy and Humane Food Production

1) Educate yourself. Find out what the typical (not worst-case scenario) life is for a meat or dairy animal, how meat animals are killed or dairy products are collected, and how all these meat and dairy products are handled, processed, packaged, etc. before they get to your table. You don't need to watch videos of animals being horrendously treated, but you should be more aware of the realities these animals face, and how unhealthy the final product is for you. If you're going to continue to support the industrial meat and dairy markets, the least you can do is know what you're supporting.

2) Look for sources of healthier food. Organic is best, but it's not necessarily enough. Organic milk is still homogenized and pasteurized--or worse, ultra-pasteurized. I strongly recommend finding a source for raw (unhomogenized, unpasteurized) milk. Educate yourself on its benefits. It should come from cows/goats that are pastured, not given hormones or antibiotics (unless gravely needed) and are preferably grass fed, and not fed anything treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Check out realmilk.org, ask around at farmers markets and chiropractors offices for sources of raw milk, organically raised produce and meat, and free range eggs.

3) Prioritize your needs. If you can't afford to go all-organic, familiarize yourself with which food products are most notoriously unhealthy, and buy just those foods in the organic variety. Bananas and apples, for example, are some of the most highly-sprayed produce out there. Commercial beef is known for treating cows horribly, loading the cows hormones and antibiotics, and for cows being so sick at slaughter time that they have to be fork-lifted into the slaughterhouse. If you can't find a source for raw milk, settle for unhomogenized organic milk at the health food store, but add in more organic probiotic foods, like yogurt and kefir.

4) Support local small-scale farmers whenever possible. If they have natural meat/dairy/produce, then they may charge more than conventional, but often it isn't as expensive as buying certified organic. Visit the farm, if possible, especially when buying meat and dairy. Check out craigslist in the farm & garden section, to find local sources. Visit farmers markets. Don't be afraid to ask farmers there how their food is grown. You deserve the healthiest food possible, so support the people who grow/raise the healthiest!

5) Call or write to your local government officials, and let them know you want easier access to natural food. Urge them to support the little guys, instead of farming conglomerates. Make them aware of any unfair treatment of local farmers, or unfair laws that need to be changed. For example, in many states, it is completely illegal to buy or sell raw milk. Some states allow it, but with heavy restrictions.
6) Vote with your wallet. Don't just buy from local farmers...tell the managers of local stores what you're doing! Write to the mega-stores' headquarters and tell them to carry more local produce, especially organic or chemical-free. Organize online petitions and send them to these large corporate companies, so they know which way the wind is blowing. All these tactics have worked in getting organic food into more and more stores...now ask for more local food, naturally and/or humanely raised.

7) Educate others! You don't want to become a food nazi, but find ways to let others know (when they are interested--no one listens to someone who is pushy) that there are a lot of myths out there created and sustained by people who have a stake in the perpetuation of food propaganda.
8) Do it yourself! If you have some land, get a cow, even just a miniature cow. Only one acre? Get a goat, or plant a large garden. In the suburbs? Plant a small garden, and raise a couple of chickens in a chicken tractor (a small, moveable pen). Someone on a small city lot can plant a few veggies and have a couple of chickens or some meat rabbits. People in apartments with balconies can grow some veggies in containers if they pick the right varieties. Even someone in a cramped New York City studio can grow little pots of herbs or sprouts in a jar. Every bit of food you raise yourself is a virtual snubbing of your nose at companies who pass off processed chemical garbage as food, mega-farms who mistreat animals to make a quick buck, local governments who enforce and sometimes invent rules that make it impossible to buy or sell locally grown healthy food, and politicians who cave in to lobbyists and create or protect laws that make it impossible for small-time farmers to sell products at a living wage...or even at all. Not to mention, growing your own food is good for you!

Making Bread - Mixer & Oven vs. Bread Machine

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Two years ago I posted about my experiences baking bread in a bread machine. I liked the convenience, but I've found over the years that when I make bread in the bread machine, it is too dense and dry. Maybe there is a way to mess with the settings more, but I don't care much for it. I don't think it kneads well enough, or lets it rise well. Plus, if you're not setting it up the night before, for the morning, it takes 5.5 hours for it to make the whole cycle.

Now, I make bread using a Kitchen Aid mixer. I tried it by hand, I'm terrible at it. I can't get the dough to stop sticking to everything without adding a bunch of flour, which makes the dough stiff. I mix the yeast and warm water with the first two cups of whole wheat flour in the mixer until mixed just enough (using the paddle). Then I let rise in a slightly warmed oven for fifteen minutes in the mixer bowl, then put it back on the mixer and mix it on low as I slowly add in the rest of the flour, stopping when it just starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Then I take out the dough and place it on an oiled suface. I scrape out the sides of the bowl and the paddle, then exchange the paddle for the dough hook. I oil the mixer's bowl and the dough hook, put the dough back in, and mix it for 7 minutes. After that, I put it in a pan to rise in a slightly warmed oven, then take it out and preheat the oven, and proceed to bake as directed. This produces a much more satisfactory loaf, to me, than the bread machine variety. Of course, I'm still new to this, having only made bread a handful of times.

The recipe I've been using is Marilyn's Famous Whole Wheat Bread Recipe. It's okay, but I'm on the lookout for a better one. I don't use the "dough enhancer" it calls for, which is sold on her site, and which I suspect is probably just vital wheat gluten. Some people like a lighter loaf, more sandwich-like. When making whole wheat bread, I like it to be truly 100% whole wheat, no added white flour or gluten. I like it dense and filling, making it a nutritious way to stretch your grocery dollar. My children eat 50% less for dinner when given a slice of this bread. It's good for them, and for our budget.

That recipe also calls for oil. I don't know what most whole foods bread makers use for oil. I tried olive oil...eeew. Mine was good, raw olive oil too, not the rancid processed stuff. Yuck. I don't use most oils that others would use, as most of them are processed and rancid, too. I'd use melted coconut oil, but that would give a slight coconut flavor. I did try melted butter. That batch didn't come out right, as I used the wrong grain accidentally, so I don't know if the problem was just the grain, or the butter too. I'm open to suggestions from more experienced bakers! I'm also open to new recipes, if they are using NT-friendly, whole food ingredients.

Next time I may replace the honey with raw agave nectar. Can't say enough good stuff about agave!!

Are You Ready for a New Depression?

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Am I the only one that is seriously concerned about recent events in our economy? It was already going steadily downhill, largely due to gas prices. If you've been tracking food prices, they are rising rapidly. Processed foods have not gone up as much (less trucking involved, when you're just creating chemical ingredients, virtually out of thin air) but staples have risen dramatically.

A year or two ago, I could get a pound of organic whole wheat flour or wheatberries from the bulk section of any health food store for around 69 cents per pound. I bought the same things last week, and paid $1.09. Even worse, I saw the same product in other health food stores going for as high as $2.39 per pound!! Milk had gone up quite a bit, although for some reason the prices have dropped a bit. But I saw large increases in price for bulk oats, spelt, nuts, eggs, and vegetables.

Oh, and did I mention the foreclosure rates and swan-diving property values?

Now comes this whole bailout situation. Wait a minute--you mean I can start a business, grow it really big, make a lot of bonehead, risky decisions in order to line my own pocket, then go crying to the government to bail me out? Where do I sign up?!

And where is this trillion dollars supposed to come from to bail out these corporations? They keep saying that it's necessary to save the stock market and people's retirement accounts, etc. Guess what? Our stock market is still heading into the toilet, with other country's economies not far behind. As to people's retirement accounts and other savings...do we really think this will save them? And even if it does, won't it be counterbalanced by the amount of taxes, fees and any other penalties the government can come up with to cover the trillion dollars they promised to use in the bailout?

Make no mistake, regardless of the outcome of this November's election, we are going to be in deep dog doo-doo, my friends. McCain is certain to kowtow to liberals in an attempt to appease them and become "non-partisan". Hmmm. Reminds me of the "New Ecumenism" that has been rapidly eroding the faith of Catholics everywhere in a politically-correct attempt to "find common ground" with other religions. But I digress...Our only hope of McCain is elected is that Sarah Palin can find a way to temper his liberal-loving enthusiasm.

And if Obama is elected?...oh, please, don't get me started. Remember a little thing called Nazism? Hitler took over Germany at a time when it was weak. He was divisive and controlling. First went their rights...then their guns...then went the Jews...and the Catholic religious...and the gypsies. Obama cries for change...but his manipulative speeches and repetitive mantras aren't so new. You know the phrase..."everything old is new again."

Left: A 1930 Nazi propaganda poster promoting the slogan "Freedom and Bread"

Am I exaggerating? Well, I guess we'll see, if he ends up winning. But I can tell you, that man is dangerous. Any man that wants to take away all our guns, or who advocates the killing of babies who have been born alive after a botched abortion, or the myriad of other disturbing ideas this man has planned for our poor country...that is a dangerous man. And for anyone who thinks I'm racist...get a life. I would vote for Alan Keyes TODAY if he were running. And there was a lady, I'm forgetting her name now, but I met her a few years back at a lecture. She had been a teacher in Watts, and was extremely bright and was right on the money as far as what she thought this country needed. I'd vote for that woman in a heartbeat, too. No, my dread of an Obama-run United States is solely based on his completely divisive, amoral, dangerous views on how this country should be run. A vote for Obama is a vote for oppression.

A vote for McCain is...well, it's the best we can do, for now. Is there any way to elect just Sarah Palin?

My point (after my long political diatribe, lol) is, again, that we are in deep doo-doo, my friends. Where will this country be in a year? In four years? What will food prices be? Gas prices? Unemployment rate?

If your husband lost his job right now, or he hurt himself off the job (no worker's comp) and you had no income for three months, how would you fare? Would you lose your house? Your car? Could you feed your kids? What if this were to happen a year from now, when the economy is worse, and jobs were more scarce, and prices higher? How many months would it be until you were homeless?

I'm not making this argument to scare anyone. But I do want to get your attention. Because it has come to my attention quite often lately. If my husband lost his job and didn't find one instantly, we'd be up a creek. Virtually no pantry, no emergency supplies. Not a good thing. If it should happen in the future, in a worse economy? I dread even thinking about it.

How would you survive a depression? Our generation has grown up so pampered, that the idea of a depression happening to us, in this day and age, seems preposterous. But it's not. It could happen to anyone, anytime. We are no better than those who have gone before us.

It might be wise for us to behave as our ancestors did for generations upon generations, and prepare for hard times. Prepare for hard times, while you enjoy the good times. It's not about paranoia, extremism, or an end-of-the-world religious belief. It's about good old common sense. The kind our grandparents had...and passed on to our parents...who didn't think, in their era of comfort and plenty, that it was important enough to pass on to us.

Even if you never need a pantry full of food all at once...you will need food. Buy a bunch of what you normally use whenever you see it on sale. Rotate it (use oldest first) and use it as needed. If you never have an emergency, you'll still be using it up, and you'll have saved a ton of money by buying it in bulk, when prices are low.

Maybe there won't be a depression, or even a recession. Maybe everything will be fine for our country. But what about you? Will your family experience unemployment, serious illness, a blizzard, a two-week power outage? People experience such things in this country every day. Why couldn't you? How would you feed your family, keep them warm, provide lighting, take care of toilet needs, feed or diaper an infant, get to work, buy what you need, get needed medication? All I'm talking about here is common sense--basic preparedness, so you'll be ready for whatever comes your way.

Think about it.

Truly Trusting God--Being "Quiverfull"

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I just re-read the post before last, where I first mentioned the aneurysm and the fact that it was caught in time to get it fixed--if I wasn't pregnant. Then in my last post, I mentioned the baby was a girl. LOL! Guess there should have been an "announcement" post in between!

So...what was my reaction to this news, and what does this mean for my health? Well, I already knew from my research at that point that getting pregnant with an aneurysm at all was a risky proposition, since pregnancy hormones make your connective tissue (including arteries) stretchier. When you have an aneurysm (which is a weakened, bulged or stretched-out section of a blood vessel), making your blood vessels even stretchier with pregnancy hormones isn't the greatest idea. Not to mention, I don't just have an aneurysm and a bicuspid valve--both those conditions are symptoms of a greater problem...Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease. This is a type of connective tissue disorder, which means that my connective tissue (including arteries) has a tendency to weaken, which is why aneurysms can happen. So adding pregnancy to the mix wouldn't have been my first choice.

I have found out since my diagnosis that my aneurysm was NOTED in the results of at least THREE prior tests, but for some reason my old cardiologists and/or radiologists didn't seem to think that it was important to tell me I had an aneurysm in a bad place that was already big enough to dissect or rupture. Rupture--as in, KILL me! No big deal, right? Sheesh! Had I known, I could have had the aneurysm repaired before baby number 4 OR baby number 5!!! Which is what I would have chosen to do. Now I can't get it repaired without seriously endangering the life of my baby. So now I wait. I know some of you would say that if I really cared about my other children, I would take the risk and have the surgery, rather than leave them motherless. There are worse things than being motherless...like having a mother that passes on a legacy of treating a new life with disdain, and shows you that she values her life over that of your unborn sibling...which implies that she values her life over yours. That's not a message I want to send to my children. Just my view point on the subject.

That's not to say that I think having the surgery is necessarily a mortal sin or anything. It is not equivalent to an abortion if I had the aneurysm repair surgery and the baby died as a result. That would not be doing anything directly to the baby. In fact, should my aorta was to start to dissect, I would have the surgery. In such a case, I would be in immediate and extremely high risk of death, and I would feel justified in getting the surgery, even though I'd feel awful if the baby died. In such a case, having the surgery may be the baby's only chance to live. I know I could get the surgery now, and it wouldn't necessarily be a sin if the baby should die. But for me that would be a morally "gray" area. The doctors say I could die any time. But I might not. There's no real statistics on this kind of thing, because it depends on the person and the circumstances.

So how did I feel when I found out I was pregnant? Not thrilled. It seemed like bad timing to me. I was really worried about dying. I was worried about my other kids. I spent a few days kind of freaking out, and worrying. I saw a surgeon to ask his opinion on getting surgery right away. My reasoning was if I was going to need surgery during the pregnancy, I'd rather do it soon, as it would be easier on me if I lost the baby early on, rather than later. He said if I chose to get surgery, I should go into it assuming the baby will die. That really struck home. I went home and prayed about it, and knew what I had to do.

God gave me this baby at this time for some reason. Even if this baby doesn't survive, she still has a purpose. Every life has a purpose. The only reason I was afraid was because my faith was weak. Many people have asked me online how I would feel if having another baby would jeopardize my life. It was easy then to say that I would feel the same. It was harder, once actually faced with that decision...especially because it was a dark time, faith-wise, for me. Now that I have passed through that valley, I can honestly say I still feel the same way.

At left: a beautiful life at 21 weeks gestation (stock photo, not my baby)

My time to die has been pre-ordained by God. On that day, I will die, whether I am carrying a child and die from a ruptured aneurysm, or if I am hit by a bus crossing the street. Personally, I'd rather go the first way. It seems, to me, to be a more "worthy" way to die. I'm not sure if "worthy" is the word I'm looking for...but you get the idea. Not that getting hit by a bus is "unworthy"...but if I get hit by a bus only because I didn't cooperate with the will of God and accept the gift of a child, thereby accepting the death He originally chose for me, then perhaps it is a less worthy death.

Once I made the decision to accept the will of God, I felt a tremendous peace. I have had a renewal of my faith, although I still feel I have a ways to go to get back to where I had been. I truly see this baby, and the aneurysm, as a gift from God. Even the aneurysm? Yes. Had I not been diagnosed with it, perhaps my waning faith would have been extinguished completely, and that would have left me and my family in dire spiritual straights. I truly feel that I will be okay, at least until the baby is born. I get a sense that God will reward me for accepting His plan. If I am wrong in having that feeling...if I did die from having this baby or the aneurysm, I would not regret my decision one bit. I'd rather die following the will of God than live while fleeing from it. There are worse things than physical death.

At right: Polyptych, "Life and Death of the Virgin"...who better than the mother of Our Lord to exemplify obedience and a good death?

All this does not mean I don't have compassion for those struggling with similar circumstances, or those who have made a different decision. While I may not agree with what others have chosen, I still sympathize with their plight. But if I were to make this post more politically or socially correct in order to avoid offending others, than I wouldn't be me. And it wouldn't be honest, either. If others find my opinions offensive, there are millions of politically and socially "correct" blogs out there to read. There are pitifully few blogs that tell things like they are, and say the things that need to be said. But if this post upsets many, yet helps a few, I'm more concerned about the few I may have helped. The others can always hit the "back" button. ;-) I do it all the time when I read something I think is idiotic! I don't even waste my time commenting.

Fortunately as time goes on, my options are increasing. My cardiologist is watching the aneurysm, doing monthly echocardiograms to make sure it's not growing. So far so good. If it does start to show growth, he will want to do surgery. Since I am getting close to the time that the baby is viable (24 weeks), that will give us the option of delivering the baby premature, if necessary. I hope to avoid that, but it is good to know it's an option soon. It would be far better for the baby to be delivered than remain in utero for a deep hypothermic open heart surgery.

So keep us in your prayers, please!

New Posts Soon!...And an Update.

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Hello! I've been AWOL for quite some time. It seems having five children isn't conducive to blogging. Well, for me, anyway! I plan to start blogging a lot more. I have some interesting stuff I'm planning to do, and I thought I should share.

What's in the works? This spring I plan to start my very first garden. I will be picking out heirloom organic seeds and learning a lot. In preparation for that, and to off-set the high price of organic winter vegetable cost, I may be trying my hand at indoor veggie growing. Just a few plants to get some practice in.

Also, I am ramping up our preparedness supplies. This economy is very troubling, and I'm not the only one out there freaking out about the "what ifs", should a serious recession or depression come about. So I will be re-stocking our pantry. I'll also be re-organizing our new home, and redecorating on a budget. Nothing fancy, but repainting, and repurposing "junk" furniture into something beautiful. Our goal is to become more self-sufficient.

In order to achieve that goal, we will be adding animals to our mini-homestead. We plan to add chickens soon. I'm trying to talk my husband into a goat or mini-cow, but he wants nothing to do with it right now. (He knows he'll be doing the milking, lol.) Right now we're buying raw milk (soooo good, and good for you), but I'd like a better source...preferably me! I plan on starting to make homemade raw yogurt, buttermilk, piima, creme fraiche, cheese, etc. I need a milk with higher cream content to do that. We'll see what happens.

I'd like to add some meat animals to our homestead, but I think we'll have to make do with chickens. We're just going to buy a few fully grown laying hens for now, and probably get a mix of meat and layer chicks in the spring.

Now for the updates: so far, my aorta is still in one piece! My symptoms are getting a little worse, but the cardiologist isn't sure exactly what is causing them, as neither the aneurysm nor my bicuspid valve should be bad enough to cause these symptoms. But he's modest enough to admit that we are still learning new stuff every year about these conditions, so there's no way to be sure. His plan is for me to have the surgery right after my c-section. The surgeon he sent me to disagrees, and wants to wait three months. I'm going to another hospital to see a doctor who specializes in pregnant patients with heart problems, so we are waiting until after that consultation to make any plans.

My pregnancy is going fine. Except that I am HORRENDOUSLY congested, especially at night. Since I use a CPAP machine for my sleep apnea, I have to breathe through my nose, which doesn't help....since I can't breathe! I'm almost wondering if I've developed allergies. We got cats two months ago, and it seems that shortly after that is when I developed some symptoms. I've never had allergies before, but developing allergies as an adult can happen.

At right: "Prayer of the Expectant Mother"

Oh, and I'm hovering near the dreaded 300-pound mark. I can't seem to stay raw this time around. So I'm focusing on trying to do a Nourishing Traditions style diet, and at least do raw green smoothies every day. But it seems inevitable that I will hit the 300 mark, which I swore I'd never do. It's really depressing.

Well, folks (if I have any readers left, lol...I never stick around when someone stops posting) tune in soon, I should have something interesting to read

One more update....it's a girl! She is due mid-February.

Weirdness about me--the Nomad

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I've decided to reveal more weird things about me. I am finding that I am trying to fit into the "mold" of the typical Christian homemaker/blogger, and I just don't fit. I really don't fit into any one group, and maybe that's why I have a hard time making friends. So I'm just going to "let it all hang out" there, come what may. So little by little, I plan to reveal all the strange and weird things about me that make many people, I suspect, shake their heads in confusion. ;-)

First thing is...I sometimes suspect I am some kind of "closet hippie." No, I am not against war (well, I don't like it, but sometimes we have no choice) or shaving my armpits and my name isn't Rainbow Star or anything like that. But I have some strange interests. I envy people who live on the go. When I was single, I dreamed of traveling around visiting the many wonderful places throughout America. Not in your typical fancy motorhome, but in a unique way. Of course, if I won the lottery, I'd probably go for one of those custom made tour bus type of motorhomes...they actually make them with a second floor you can raise or lower once you reach your destination! But since that will probably never happen, I would have loved to travel in a homemade RV. Kind of like a converted schoolbus or housetruck. I know, check out the pictures. Total hippy-mobiles. But so cool.


I would read books about it and dream of travel. I even lived in a semi- converted bus I bought for a while. It was very rustic living circumstances, but I loved it, because it was the one time I completely "owned" my home. I could do what I wanted with it, live anywhere I wanted. If I didn't like my neighbors, I could just drive it away. Of course, since I was broke, I rarely took it anywhere. It stayed on the property of someone I knew, and paid them a little money for the privilege. It was pretty cool.

Now that I have five children, though, that dream has fallen pretty much by the wayside. We could never live with our kids in that small of a vehicle comfortably. Not with young kids. If they were teens, that would be different, but small kids need more space, and just try to get five small children to sleep when they are all in one room...not possible! Or at least it's not worth the hassle, to me. My husband also doesn't have a "portable" type of job. But again, if we ever win the lottery when my kids are older, you just might see me in one of these.

Overdue Post, and Various Thoughts...

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Guess I've been pretty busy since I had the baby. You can check out my other blogs for updates on the birth and after. I'm to tired to write all that out. LOL.

I went on and off raw. I'm definitely healthier and happier on raw. Right now I've decided to to 100% raw, and I'm loving it. It's not always easy, but I know for me, it is necessary. I have lost 20 pounds so far. I want to break the "26 pound barrier"...that is, I want to lose more than the 26 pounds I lost only one time, on Atkins. Most dieters can say they've lost and gained the same 50-100 pounds. I can't even say that! But I want to stick with raw, and release it all. That's right, release it...because I don't want to "lose" those pounds, only to "find" them again!

Things are great. We bought a house on five acres. I'm thrilled with the house we got. It's exactly what we needed. To rent a house like this, in this area, we would have had to pay probably $1800 a month, maybe more. Our paments are only a little higher than what we would pay for a house farther out, on no acreage. It has five bedrooms, with room to make more in the basement. We got it for a steal, because it was a foreclosure. God was really smiling on us, even the realtors were shocked we got such a good deal. When the market rebounds, we expect to see a huge gain in equity, too.

I am still struggling with trying to be a better homemaker. I'm seriously thinking of going to someone to be hypnotized, to try to make myself less lazy, and more industrious! I know, it sounds crazy. But if you can go to a hypnotist to lose weight or stop smoking, why not to stop being lazy? I wish I'd been born the type of person who is most happy when puttering around the house. Doing anything around the house is sheer effort on my part. I think partly I was just born this way (in my family, half of us kids are naturally lazy, the other half are type-A people) and partly I never was taught how to work. I was never expected to do any chores or help around the house, or taught how to clean, cook or sew.

Now this isn't to say I have no responsibility for my own actions. Of course I do. I often make a conscious choice to do something (like write this post, lol) instead of doing what I should be doing (like getting some sleep or mopping the kitchen floor). I'm just saying that the combination of natural laziness + lack of training = a constant struggle to get stuff done. What I'm saying is, I wishing it was much less of a struggle for me. So who knows, maybe a hypnotist would help. Hey, I've got to do something about all the years of society's brainwashing that I should get a job and let someone else clean my house and raise my kids. Anything is worth a try. I'd do anything to be a better wife and mother for my family.

If it doesn't work, I'll just have to keep plugging away, and trying to form better habits on my own. But that way would be so much more boring! ;-)

New Blog!

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I know I haven't posted in a while. I'll try to soon. In the meanwhile, I have been posting about my new raw food way of eating. If you're curious, most raw food posts will be made there. I'm doing great, come on, check it out!

The Raw Revealing of the New Me

Raw Revelations

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If any of you knew me personally, you'd be shocked at this: I've gone raw.

"What the heck is raw?" some of you may be asking. Others, who "kind of" know what raw is, are thinking "Are you some kind of hippie tree hugger now?" No my friends, I'm just as ultra-conservative as ever. But I've made a wonderful discovery: raw food can change your life.

Let's back up a step, to how I made this discovery. I rented the movie "Supersize Me", a documentary film where the filmmaker goes on a 30 day, McDonald's-only diet. He gained 30 pounds (and looked it), and felt terrible. He also became addicted to the stuff. During the film, his girlfriend, a vegan chef, was appalled at his experiment, and planned a detox diet for him of vegan food after his McDonald's debacle. However, the end of the film made mention that he decided not to be vegan afterwards. It wasn't clear if he was vegan, or semi-vegan, before.

His experience got me thinking, and I searched online for a "natural diet" and weightloss. One site I came upon was I Beat Obesity , where a woman says she lost weight as fast as with weight loss surgery, but without the surgery. She did it on raw foods. Now the only diet that has claimed that, as far as I've seen, is Kimkins. I did Kimkins for a while, but it's not a diet you can do while pregnant or nursing...which I always am, one or the other! Seeing her amazing results really intrigued me, enough to get past the words "raw" and "vegan", at least momentarily.

After a lot of research, I realized two things:

1) There are a LOT of people who have had great success beating their food addictions and losing a lot of weight on raw food.

2) There are even MORE people who have eliminated all kinds of diseases and ailments, including diabetes and cancer (without chemo or radiation), just by eating 100% raw foods.

That got my attention. I've read and researched online and in books, and I'm pretty convinced by the arguments that raw food is the natural food for your body. I don't think it's necessary to go 100% raw to get the benefits (though you'll get MUCH more if you do), but I think anyone who doesn't eat at LEAST 50-60% raw after reading about it must be crazy, or determined to stay fat and/or sick the rest of their lives. 50% raw isn't hard at all.

I'm not good at explaining the science, but the biggest factor is enzymes. Cooking over 118 degrees (or 105, opinions vary) kills most of the enzymes in food. Therefore your body must use its enzymes (taking them away from their job of healing the body and eliminating toxins) to digest the food. It is believed that these enzymes leave the body with the digested food, depleting your body of enzymes, which do not replace themselves. Raw food is live food, full of living enzymes. But for me, I don't need a panel of arguing scientists or nutritionists to convince me...I've seen the evidence in myself. If you check out my weight loss blog, Weigh Out of Control, I'll post more there about my experiences. In the meantime, do some research for yourself, starting with Raw Food Talk , and the other related websites by Alissa Cohen mentioned on the site.

I've done other diets before (and failed) but this is truly a way of life. I'm not 100% raw yet, but I'm working on it. I may not go 100% til after I have the baby, for various reasons. But my whole life has changed. I feel awesome! So check out my other site if you're curious. I'll post most of my raw stuff over there.

Smart Habit Saturday-hosted by Lara the Lazy Organizer

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Okay, I'm posting this today, Friday, because I know I'll forget tomorrow. ;-) My new habit for this week is planning a menu AND actually USING it! I tend to plan one (once in a while), and maybe even buy what I need, but then forget all about it and freak out trying to figure out what to make that will only take ten minutes.

Yes, I truly am that bad! LOL I'm hoping to get my butt in gear and use the crock pot and bread machine this week, but just sticking to a menu is the main goal. The kids meals haven't been unhealthy, but they have been very, very repetitive.

Go over to Lara's blog and check out her SMART Habit Saturday posts, as well as her tips.

The First Step: The Pantry

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Once I decided I needed to prepare my family for potential emergencies, I knew what my first step would be. The pantry. We needed a lot more food. I have been going to the store every few days lately, which is not only poor planning, but a recipe for financial disaster. The more often you go, the more likely you are to spend extra money on unnecessary items. Not to mention the waste of gas and time.

I knew we had a good amount of meat in the freezer from recent sales I've seen. But canned food was scarce. My first goal is to amass a month's worth of food. So I sat down and made a one-week menu, a list of needed ingredients, and doubled it. That gave me two weeks worth of food. My plan was to go to the store, and attempt to double it again, if we had the money, or just get the amount on the list. Now, you wouldn't want to buy a huge amount of food based on a one-week menu plan...boredom would set in very quickly. But this is my plan for the short term. I was able to get almost a whole month's worth of the basics. I still need more sucanat and whole wheat from the health food store, but we're short on money this week, so I'll wait til next time.

When our next paycheck comes, I'll make a new one-week menu, and repeat the process. We get paid every two weeks. So every two weeks, I'll buy one month worth of food. Within three months, I should have an extra three months worth of food on hand at all times.

You may wonder how I can afford this. We're not rich, or well-off, or even "comfortable", although our financial situation is improving. Once all our debts are current, I would consider us doing "okay". Right now, we are "struggling less". LOL.

Basically, we spent about the same as we normally would on food for two weeks, including fast food. So we've given up fast food, and have made a commitment to eat at home from now on, unless it is necessary because one of us is on the road. (The day I shopped, I was gone for over seven hours, which I didn't expect to be, so I ate out.) Although I'm trying to get healthier food for my family, and try to buy some organic food when I can, I decided this week would be almost all regular food, because having SOME food in the pantry was more important. After the pantry is a little fuller, I will try to incorporate more organic food. All food bought in bulk, like flour, etc. will still be organic, as it is reasonably cheap to buy it that way. Whole wheat organic flour is usually .69 a pound.

I shopped at Aldi's, because some of their food is very inexpensive. You have to know your prices, though. Some foods I can get cheaper at Sam's Club or Walmart. I bought a case each of corn, green beans, diced tomatoes with chiles, large cans of pears. I bought ten pounds of boneless chicken tenderloins. Chicken breasts are usually cheaper, but I found tenderloins much more tender, quicker and easier to cook without overcooking the edges, and easier to calculate portions, especially when you have a lot of little ones. I also bought enough soap, and shampoo to last a month. It will be nice to have that stuff on hand, as it never fails that once the shampoo runs out, so does our soap, dish liquid, razor blades, toothpaste, etc. , and usually all during a week when we're broke, lol.

At Sam's Club I bought a gallon jug of salad dressing, some produce, and eight small jugs of organic juice (probably should have gone with regular, but it was a good price). I bought three cases of bottled water (soon I want my own high-end water filter to save money), a large container of deli meat (the only inexpensive way to buy it), and a ton of toilet paper and paper towels. (My husband still likes using them, and my mini hand towels are still packed up somewhere.)

At Walmart we bought a gallon of mayo (cheaper than Sam's club, surprisingly), razor blades, some canned soups, and some miscellaneous things, including Easter candy. I haven't added it up yet, but I think I spent around $300 not including the Easter candy. I did spend some extra money on a few unnecessary items such as new Easter baskets, etc. that isn't included in that amount.

As an aside, the "Easter bunny" does NOT visit our house. Easter here is about the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord, not a fictitious bunny who gives them candy. We do have baskets and an Easter egg hunt, but our children know that these are given by us, as a celebration of a religious occasion.

Back to the pantry issue...I couldn't believe it, but I actually fit almost all this food into our little pantry cabinet. It's not quite full. I'm glad it all fit, because cabinet space is at a premium in this newer house. The amount we spent would have been more if we hadn't already had some items, especially meat. But most of the menu calls for chicken breasts for dinner, which will come out of the ten pounds I bought. I know that once my pantry is stocked well, my costs will be even lower, because I can shop by what's on sale, and buy in bulk. I know I probably didn't get every thing I needed for this month, and of course things like milk will need to be bought again before my next shopping trip, but it's a start.