Saturday, November 29, 2008

FEMA moving at government speed

In August of 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.






Three years later FEMA's trailers still sit in Hope, Arkansas. Now there's government bureaucracy at work.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


Wishing all a wonderful day full of love, hope and thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hurry Sicknes

Are you suffering from Hurry Sickness? You can diagnose yourself quite easily.
Are you constantly focused on getting things done?
Are you preoccupied with escaping?
Does it seem that time is passing too quickly?
Do you have a constant sense of urgency?
Do you desire a simple life?
Do you have little time for love?
If you answered yes to most of these questions then you have Hurry Sickness, not to be confused with being busy. Being busy is an outward condition. Hurry Sickness is and inward condition of the soul having to do with competing priorities
So here are five thing you can do to cure what ails you.
1) slow down
2) say no
3)declutter
5) use leisure in life giving ways
To be content is not having all you want, but to want only what you have.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are You Suffering from S.A.D.?

With Thanksgiving upon us it's the perfect time to examine what we have to be thankful for. As Americans who live in a country where we can worship freely and voice our opinions without fear of retribution, why is it that we are always complaining? I think the we are just down right ungrateful.

What does it mean to be ungrateful? The dictionary says it's being thankless. I feel like we are blind to the the blessings, we always want more I wish I had this or that. Our pastor calls that condition S.A.D. The S stands for stressed, the A for angry and the D for depressed. Look at 2 Timothy 1:3 tells us
"I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers."
If we have poisoned ourselves with S.A.D. Then what we need to do is stop blaming others and make a decision to change our attitude. Yes, it is a choice and it is up to us to stop magnifying the bad. When we put the negative parts of our life under the microscope they get distorted and we are not able to look at the big picture. So many times we say if God would just speak to me, tell me where to go or what to do, well, guess what He is speaking to us. In Ephesians 5:20 He says,
"always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
To give thanks in all circumstances, this is God's will for us. Not just when things are going well, but all the time we are to give thanks. When we focus on God's blessings we will be blessed.
If you don't believe me just look at this study here. Dr. McCollough and Dr. Emmons conducted a study on gratitude. Basically, people were divide up into several groups. One group was instructed to focus on everything that is wrong in the world while another group was instructed to focus on the goodness. The results were outstanding. The gratitude group was less angry, more energetic, determined, joyful, they exercised more and had fewer illness. I think that says a lot for what ails this country, myself include. We are all suffering from Eeyore syndrome. As you know from the old Winnie the Pooh cartoons, Eeyore was always under a cloud of misery. Let us remember that when we choose to live like that we won't be able to see sun shine through.

Have you ever wondered why people who have been raised in some of the worst circumstances rise above all of that? It's because of their outlook on life. The choices that you make not only have an effect on you, but the effect those around you. I want to use this up in coming holiday to focus on the blessings in my life. To have an attitude of gratitude. I think this simple choice will make a big difference in my life, anyone else willing to give it a try?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beloved Pets


As I was looking through old pictures the other day I saw one of a dog I used to have. She died shortly after my husband and I were married. She got me to thinking about all the other pets I've had and how they have effected me throughout the years. I remember my parents telling me that I was afraid of dog as a little girls. They would encourage me to pet friendly dogs we encountered until I wasn't afraid anymore.


The first dog I brought home was part German Sheppard and part Collie. We named him Trouble. Now I don't know if his name was a self fulfilling prophecy or if it was just his nature, but he was trouble. I remember that he would grab hold of my shirt sleeve and lead me around the yard. He dug holes everywhere. Eventually, we gave him to someone who could handle big a dog.


One birthday I got a first poodle. She was black, but turned silver over the years. I named her GiGi after the Gayfer Girls at the old Gayfer's department store. Being an only child, that dog became my best friend and I was heart broken when she died.

The next dog I got was a poodle too. She was white and tiny as could be. I named her Giggit after the Giggit movies. She was there with me during some of the worst times of my life. She's the dog that died after my husband and I were married. I think he loved that dog more than he loved me.


We adopted Ayla shortly after Giggit died. We named her after a character in the book Clan of the Cave Bear. She's a sweetheart. Don't get me wrong, there have been times I wanted to toss her out the door. Like when she'd bark and wake the baby up or pee on the carpet. That's probably why my husband and her have such a close relationship now. He wasn't there when I had taken such care to get the baby to sleep only to have her screaming in her crib all because the dog was barking at a squirrel in the front yard. I know that she will die one day and that there will be another dog in our lives, but I just can imagine life without our Ayla.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

making soap



I have always wanted to make my own soap. Many years ago, soap was made from lye and animal fats. The lye was obtained by pouring rain water through hard wood ash that had been burned at a high heat in a sort of filtering system. You can make your own filtering system out of a water tight wood barrel. You would need to put the barrel up on blocks in a remote location so that it wouldn't get knocked over. Then you would drill a hole near the bottom of the barrel and place a cork in the hole. Next, you would need to add a layer of river rock, followed by a layer of hay, then top it off with the hard wood ash. Finally, you would pour in rain water; leaving up to six inches from the top of the barrel. This would need to sit for three days. After that you could place a container under the cork and fill the container deep enough to float a potato. If the potato didn't float a quarter size piece above the water line, the solution would be too weak and you would need to either add more ash or drain all the water and pour it back through the barrel letting it sit for another 3 days. If the potato springs up, the solution is too strong and you would need to add more rain water. Remember not to use metal containers or utensils because the lye will react with metal.

For the sake of this process the lye was purchased. As you remember lye was taken off the shelves several years ago, but you can now purchase it on line specifically for soap making.



The following are all items needed to make a basic 10 pound batch of soap:




3 three pound cans of Crisco.


4 cups cold water


1 18 ounce can of 100% LYE!


large stainless steel spoon


10 qt pot for melting


9 pounds of Crisco


1 measuring cup candy thermometer


2 qt plastic pitcher Large plastic bucket (must be able to hold all the oil with room to stir)


shallow rectangular cardboard box (like the kind used to hold a case of cokes)


2 white kitchen sized plastic garbage bags


2 old thick blankets


goggles


Playtex rubber gloves


old clothes


Optional items: 1/4 cup honey 3 tbs oatmeal (finely ground)






First we measured out the lye by weight.



Next we added the lye to the water. The lye and fat need to be within 5 degrees apart between (100 and 120 degrees) Always add the lye to the water, not the other way around.


As you can see the lye heated up room temperature water to almost 217 degrees.


Next we melted the lard.

It took the lye a while to cool down, but when the two were within 5 degrees of each other we mixed them together in this large plastic container.



Once we reached trace** we added honey and oats.






You can add other essential/fragrance oils if you like.



We then poured the mixture into our box mold that we had lined with a plastic garbage bag.

At this point you must cover the soap and allow it to cure** for 24 hours.



**TERMS:


Cure time- the length of time to let the soap air dry and the water content of the soap to evaporate.


Saponification- the chemical process of making soap


Essential Oils- these are natural oils that are extracted by various means from plants and fruits to form scent. Rose Essential oil etc. These are extremely volatile and not stable when making cold process soap. They are also extremely expensive.


Fragrance Oils- these are man-made or synthetic oils. The hold up very well when used with cold process soaping. They are inexpensive and easy to use.


Lye Solution- water or milk after Lye has been added.Setting up- when the soap is left ALONE UNDISTURBED (no peeking) for 24 hours to turn solid.


Trace- refers to the stage of soap where the soap leaves a "trace" of the spoon trails. The consistency of the soap is similar to thick pancake batter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

24/7




We recently finished a study where the following question was asked: What is our purpose? I got to thinking about how we, so many times, look outside at the world to fill up that emptiness inside of us. If I have the right house or the biggest SUV or I weigh less, then everything will be okay. Why is it that we keep looking for worldly things to fill that emptiness?

Our Bible tell us that our purpose is to worship God. I don't mean for an hour on Sunday mornings. I am talking about worship that effects our whole lives. When we worship, we are to submit to Him, to pay service to Him, to glorify Him, and to make a sacrifice to Him. In Romans 12:1 Paul says that in view of all that God had done for you, you are to present your whole body as a living sacrifice. In other words, we are God's twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. What happens in that hour on Sunday morning should set the stage for every other hour in our lives.


In a recent survey, business owners were asked the simple question, how are you doing? The majority responded by stating that they were tired. I know I feel tired most of the time too. Isaiah 40:30-31 says that those who wait on the Lord will have their strength renewed.


We were asked who we serve? Do we serve God or the all mighty dollar? If I answer that question honestly, I don't like the answer. The Bible tells us that if we don't serve God then we will grow weary. But if we serve the Lord then our strength will be renewed.


So, we are to take our daily tasks and do them as service to God. We were also told that worship takes preparation. How many times have you fixed the kids lunches and laid out their clothes the night before going someplace? When we take that time to prepare for the next day things go much smoother. Worship is the same way. When our lives are all about knowing God, then we will know life. We are to worship everyday and focus on submitting to God then we will know and abundant, joy filled life.



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tee Time





My sweet boy is taking golf lessons at the First Tee. The World Golf Foundation created The First Tee back in 1997. Not only do they teach golf skills, they also teach core values. We are lucky enough to have a location here in Arkansas. Once a week for the past several
weeks our he has participated in group golf lessons.
What I really like is that he seems to soak up everything he's learning in the Life Skills classes. They teach personal and social skills including respect, integrity, good sportsmanship, self-reliance, self-control and and goal setting. So for only $50.oo a year he can be a member of the First Tee and for and additional fee he's able to participate in these classes. I am hoping to get him involved in individual classes early next year. Just think, you may be looking at a picture of the next Tiger Woods.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Raising Chickens
















Not having grow up around chickens I can't say that I knew too much about them. I certainly know more today that I did a year ago. For example, did you know that a Female chicken under the age of 1 year is called a pullet and a male is called a cockerel?






Did you know that pullets start laying eggs at about 18-20 weeks of age. And that when she starts laying regularly she will lay an egg every 25 hours. I've also learned that hens require about 14 hours of light each day to lay on a regular schedule. That mean that they will decrease their egg production in the winter unless you use artificial light as a supplement for them to have that all important 14 hours.











I didn't know up until a month ago that chickens are cannibalistic. There are several theories as to why chickens behave in such a manor. Some believe it's a lack of protein in their diets while others believe that it's because they don't have enough foraging opportunities. Can you imagine, they will actually peck at one another. If you look closely at Little Red Hen's wing you can see where she has been pecked. We are increasing the amount of protein they eat and their time in the back yard in hopes that this will stop.







Oh and speaking of pecking, do you know what pecking order really means? Pecking is an expression of dominance. It's the social hierarchy in a flock of birds. Each dominate bird pecks subordinate birds and the subordinate bird submits to being pecked by dominant birds. It's pretty interesting to watch when one get out of line or decides she's not going to take it any more.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

We Have a Voice


Barack Obama has consistently voiced his support for organic agriculture. We, as organic consumers, have an incredible opportunity to shape the future of federal food policies. President-Elect Obama is in the process of formulating policy and assembling his transition team. He is considering nominees for The Secretary of Agriculture, who is responsible for directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its $90 billion annual budget. Obama has said that he wants to hear from the public in order to formulate his policies. So, let's take him up on his invitation. The Organic Consumer Association has a petition letter to President-Elect Barack Obama that you should sign and urge him to take a stand in support of organic food and farming. Please go here to sign the petition.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mushroom Quiche

Okay, I have to confess something, can you keep a secret? I LOVE MUSHROOMS! shh don't tell anyone, it's just between you and me. Since we have a plethora of eggs and I have a fondness for mushrooms I decide to make a mushroom quiche.

This is all you need, how simple can it be?


A pre made pie shell


Mushrooms


4-5 eggs


half and half


Swiss cheese


I started by preheating the oven to 450. I covered the edges of the pie shell with foil and baked it for about 10 minutes. While that was baking, I sauteed the mushrooms (I just cut up a lot, I don't know how many, if I had to guess, I'd say a lot!). You could buy pre-sliced and save yourself a bit more time. When they're done, spoon them out in to your egg mixture along with the Swiss cheese. Pour it into your pie shell. I like to tossed in some parsley flakes for color. Then I just bake it with foil still covering the edges of the crust for about 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the foil and bake and additional 10 minutes.



School at Home



One day, several years ago, I sat down and listed a few of the reasons we decided to homeschool our children, just to have it in black and white. I had all but forgotten about that list until the other day when a friend of mine sent me an e-mail. She was telling me a cute story about some comment one of her children had made to her and her husband. She followed the story up with a remark that I haven't been able to forget. She said, "[My husband] and I never really talked about[that] with either of the boys… so I think they've been getting some feedback at school." Now this couple is very loving and also very involved in their kids activities. The comment just struck me; shy are many parents detached from their children educations.

One of the many reasons we chose to homeschool our kids was that we wanted to be involved in their education. I just think is sad that so many parents don't know or even worse don't care what their kids are learning. Here is an excerpt from that original list.


Schools have the one-size-fits-all approach. At home we can teach each child in the way that they learn best and at the rate that is appropriate for them. If they don’t “get it” the first time we can spend more time on what they need help with and move along with ideas and concept that are easily understood.
Schools tend to have an atmosphere that is overly controlling; lining up kids, moving them around like herds of cattle, and a disciplining them inappropriately for the problematic behavior. At home children are able express their individual personalities and only receive the appropriate amount of discipline for the infraction.
Schools have an institutionalized environment. At home children are loved and nurtured.
Schools spoon feed children what they want them to know. As our children grow they will have the opportunity to experience self-directed learning. They will acquire the basic skill to learn independently.
In the school setting our children will be exposed to outside influence that we feel are not safe for our children. Examples of such concerns are bullying, cussing, fighting negative influencing of peers, and illegal drug use. Many times these factors are over-looked or unseen by school officials. At home we have the ability to mold our children and shape them with high moral
standards, and to teach them right from wrong. In other words we are able to be their parents.

Schools have set schedules. We are able to study each subject when the time is right, travel if need be, hold ‘class’ during the hot summer months and enjoy the out-of-doors when the weather is pleasant. Flexibility is one of the perks of schooling at home.
Why would I want to send my children to school when the schools are admittedly producing poor quality students? There is violence in the school. The teachers and staff are unable to protect the students. The courts have ruled that once you drop you child off at the door of the school you no longer have to direct your child’s education.
I would just like to add that this so-called socialization issue is not an issue at all. Socialization is the process by which children and adults learn from others. Really now, isn't that what homeschooling is all about? In fact I'll top that one. Most children I've met that are schooled at home interact better with a wider age range than do your so called socialized school children.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Liquid Laundry Soap






I have a recipe for sud-less laundry soap I thought I'd share. If you've never made your own soap I challenge you to give it a try, it's really not that difficult and you will see a difference in your pocketbook.

Here's all you'll need:


1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax
1/2 bar Fels Naphtha Soap




Grate the Fels Naphtha with a food grater. Put in a saucepan with 3 pints of water. Heat slowly to melt the soap.
Add washing soda and Borax.
Stir to dissolve all the powder.
Put 1 1/2 quarts of hot water into a 2 gallon bucket. Add the mixture. Stir to mix.
Add more water, making 2 gallons total.
Pour into separate containers.
The laundry soap will be ready to use the next day. Use 1/2 cup per load.








Tuesday, November 11, 2008

green is my favorite color



I hope you are using cloth grocery bags! At Kroger we get 3 cents back for every bag we have. In less than 34 visits to the grocery store the bags have payed for themselves. I absolutely love to go into the store do my shopping get in line, hand the clerk my bags, and watch her subtract money off my total all because we brought in our own bags. And yes, I am that obnoxious person in front of you that turns and says, see it pays to be green!



Another good idea that we love is Freecycle. If you haven't heard of Freecycle then you are really missing out. Freecycle is a grassroots movement to keep perfectly good stuff out of landfills. Membership is free and they are nation wide. All you have to do is go here , search out a group in your hometown and sign up. You can get daily e-mails with posting of items that people are giving away.


If you know if any other green ideas please post them here. I always love to hear how others are helping out mother earth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

me, raising chickens


I never in my life thought I'd raise chickens until my son ask if we could get some chickens after attending a homesteading class at our local homeschool co-op. My husband and I thought if he had a good argument as to why we should get some chickens then we'd hear him out. He talked about how much he loved eating eggs and how we could save money. But his winning argument was that he would be responsible for the chickens. Guess what? We gave in.


Now you may be asking yourself, why would I want to raise chickens. Well, one good reason is that they lay eggs. Not only can you eat the eggs but, you can sell them. We sell ours for less than the grocery store, and still have enough to pay for their up keep.
They are also great to have around because their poop, once composted, is a great fertilizer. We use it on our garden. Of course we compost most of our left overs, but our girls are great for eating up items we don't compost like meats and pastas. They consider our leftovers a real treat. Another good reason to raise chickens is that they are great little pest controllers. We just let our girls out to forage and they eat all the flees, ticks and other unwanted intruders. And a final reason for raising chickens is that they are very low maintenance. Once we enclosed a shed for their coop we really haven't had to do much at all.






Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cotton Picking

Before WW II, in the Arkansas River lowlands, it was common to see people out in the fields planting cotton with harrows being pulled by mules. During the fall, those same people were out in the fields picking cotton. Everyone was expected to help with the most time consuming labor in the cotton industry. In the evenings, after picking cotton all day, they sat around and removed the seeds by hand. In 1793, thanks to Eli Whitney, the cotton gin took over the tedious task of stripping the seeds from the cotton.
Yesterday afternoon we went on a field trip to the Plantation Agricultural Museum in Scott, Arkansas. Having an opportunity to experience the process of picking cotton, trying to remove the seeds by hand, using a small hand cranked cotton gin and even combing the cotton first hand gave my children the thrill of a life time. We even had an occasion to see what some of the first cotton gins looked like and tour The Continental Gin Company.
We learned that pickers would drag 9 foot long bags behind them, if the sack was packed tightly enough it could hold up to 100 lbs. The cotton was then weighed on scales suspended from a homemade tripod. The pickers wages depended upon the selling price in the open market. In 1938, Scott, AR pickers were paid .50 cents for 100 lbs. Many pickers were able to pick up to 300 lbs in a day, bringing home only $1.50 for a days wages.



Saturday, November 8, 2008

What Makes Food Organic?


First and foremost organic foods must not be genetically modified. It must be produced according to certain production standards, meaning it is grown without the use of conventional pesticides (including herbicides), artificial/synthetic fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and it cannot be processed without ionizing radiation or food additives.

Organic production standards also include strict rules on the composting and application of manure. Organically raised livestock must be given organic feed and kept free of growth hormones and antibiotics. Organic farm animals must have access to the outdoors, including pastureland for grazing.

When buying organic, look for the following regulated terms on food labels: Food labeled "100% organic" has no synthetic ingredients and can legally use the USDA organic seal. Food labeled "organic" has a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. It is eligible to use the USDA organic seal. Food labeled "made with organic ingredients" must contain at least 70% organic ingredients. It is not eligible for the USDA seal. Meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy labeled "organic" must come from animals that have never received antibiotics or growth hormones.

Go here to read more on organic safeguards.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Why Recycle?

If you've ever wondered why you should recycle
or thought, "what's the use it's just one aluminum can"
then please read the following.




Each of us uses approximately one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products per year.
To produce each week's Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down.
If you recycle a 4 foot stack of newspaper you will save a 40 foot tree.
If only 100,000 people stopped their junk, mail, we could save up to 150,000 trees annually. If a million people did this, we could save up to a million and a half trees.
Recycled paper can also be made into paper towels,construction products, notebook paper, envelopes, copy paper and other paper products, as well as boxes, hydro-mulch, molded packaging, compost, and even kitty litter.

Lighting consumes up to 34 percent of electricity in the United States.
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are an energy-saving alternative to incandescent bulbs. CFL's produce the same amount of light, use one third of the electricity, and last up to ten times as long. If every household replaced its most often-used incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, electricity use for lighting could be cut in half.

About 75 percent of the water we use in our homes is used in the bathroom.If just 1% of American homes replaced an older toilet with a new Water Sense labeled toilet, the country would save more than 38 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. That's enough electricity to supply more than 43,000 households for one month.

The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime can save up to 8 gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month. A full bath tub requires about 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons.

Americans throw away enough glass bottles and jars every two weeks to fill the 1.350-foot towers of the former World Trade Center. Glass never wears out, it can be recycled forever. We save over a ton of resources for every ton of glass recycled.

Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas. Americans go through 2.5 million plastic bottles every year. If every American household recycled just one out of every ten plastic bottles they used, we’d keep 200million pounds of the plastic out of landfills every year.

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours. An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now.


I hope I've convince you to start recycling. Remember you can make a difference.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ode to Autumn




Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,

Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


by John Keats

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cream Cheese and Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast




All you need are:

8 TBS of cream cheese

4 TBS basil pesto

4 chicken breast
breadcrumbs, egg and milk mixture and cooking oil.


I butterflied the chicken breast, pounded them, filled them with the mixture of cream cheese and pesto and closed them up. If they won't stay closed you can use a tooth pick or some butchers string.
Next I dipped the chicken in the egg and milk mixture and then dredged it in the bread crumbs.
I cooked the chicken in the oil for about 2 minutes on each side. I then baked it at 375 until it was done (thermometer should register 170 degrees Fahrenheit)
This was so easy. You can serve with your favorite vegetables.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Enviromental Issues

If you haven't been keeping up, I have some very strong opinions on environmental issues.







Now I'm not going to tell anyone who to vote for,


I just hope that you know what each candidates plans to do about our environment.


















That he plans to establish a market-based system to curb
greenhouse gas emissions, mobilize innovative technologies, and strengthen
the economy.

He plans to work with our international partners to secure our energy
future, to create opportunities for American industry.



He proposes cap-and-trade system that would set limits on greenhouse gas
emissions while encouraging the development of low-cost compliance options.




To support the cap and trade system, he will promote the innovation,
development and deployment of advanced technologies.




He will foster rapid and clean economic growth.




He believes that there must be a global solution to global climate
change.




He will also develop a climate change adaptation plan based upon national and
regional scientific assessments of the impacts of climate change.








Senator Obama believes:












That the U.S. must take aggressive action now to reduce the emission of
greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

That one of the greatest threats facing the Great Lakes is aquatic
invasive species and he was successful in ensuring that Illinois receives
adequate federal funding to operate a barrier to prevent Asian carp from
entering Lake Michigan and disrupting the balance of the lake's ecosystem.

That mercury contamination in can cause serious developmental problems
in children. To address this problem, Senator Obama introduced two bills that
would significantly reduce the amount of mercury that is deposited in oceans,
lakes, and rivers.

In the elimination of childhood lead poisoning.




Please vote with a conscious.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo


Visit NaBloPoMo


This marks the beginning of National Blog Posting Month.
I started this blog just over a year ago, having never really read another blog. A friend of mine suggested I join NaBloPoMo last November, against my better judgement, I did.

National Blog Posting Month is a place to "set the habit of blogging by doing it
every day for a month, including weekends, [bloggers] can go here for moral support, inspiration, and the camaraderie that only marathon blogging can provide."






So we're off...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Suzuki Violin Method

The Two Grenadiers
Central Arkansas Suzuki Association's
monthly recital.

video

I really do believe that playing a string instrument raises ones IQ. In fact, a 3-year study in Switzerland looked at 1,200 children, and found they actually learn faster, when they had more music classes. The kids who were given the extra music classes, were actually better at language, and as good at maths, as the other kids - even though they had had fewer language and maths classes. The music class kids were also better in retelling stories that had been read to them - whether they wrote it in words, or drew it in pictures. And the kids that had the extra music classes also were quicker at learning how to read.

Yet another study showed that playing the violin, can make your brain grow bigger. When you're playing the violin, your bow arm (the right arm) provides intricate balance and precision, as it moves the bow back and forth over the strings. But the fingers of your violin hand (the right hand) have a very hard task. They have to press exactly on the right spot on the right strings, for exactly the right amount of time, and do this all, very accurately, and often, very rapidly.
This study found that the part of the brain that controls the fingers of the left hand, (which is usually the weaker hand) is actually bigger in violin students, as compared to everybody else.

If you are interested in learning more about the Suzuki method just click here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Herbicides, more than just weed killers




I recently read an article about and epidemic called colony collapse disorder (CCD) that is wiping out commercial bee hives. It seems that this is another one of those cases where pesticides are having a negative impact our food supply. You can go here and watch PBS's introduction to the series "Silence of the Bees".

I read an article in the Oct/Nov issue of Mother Earth about how Dow's herbicides persist for years. These herbicides have been found to to contaminate compost. Confront, Dow's clopyralid, was found to be the contaminant that killed many nursery and home garden plants in several states. You can go here and read more.





If you don't know what GEO's are then think about it this way. You want your corn to have specific characteristic, such as being drought resistant, so a scientist inserts specific genes into your corn's genetic make up without having to go through the trial-and-error process of selective breeding.

Some farmers have been planting round-up ready seeds. Round up is a herbicide that kills everything it touches. By planting these roundup ready plants the farmers can spray round up without killing their crops. This is supposed to reduce production costs and increase yield, so food becomes less expensive. Now how do you feel about eating a plant that was genetically altered to resist a herbicide?

The bio-tech industry is exploiting the nations concerns about the future by telling us that GEO are the only way we will be able to feed ourselves in the future and this just isn't true. They are hoping that this scare tactic will allow them to expand there GE crops into other countries. I believe we need to think of the human health concerns.

The studies just don't show that GE crops are yielding more that natural crops. In fact, there ares some weeds that have developed a resistance to the herbicides that are being used with the GE crops. We can garden naturally and get better results if we simply put some for-thought into our crop rotation. For more information on GE foods go here.








Saturday, October 4, 2008

Heifer International


I first heard about Heifer International several years ago when our church handed out small plastic ark banks to the children. The idea was for each child to fill the bank and return it as a donation to to the Heifer project. Heifer's mission is to end hunger. They work with communities all around the world providing livestock and training to small-scale farmers and communities worldwide.

Heifer has a central office in Little Rock. Yesterday we went on a tour of the Heifer Green Building. It is one of the most "earth friendly" buildings I have ever visited. They offer free tours twice daily during the week. You can learn about what Heifer International does and even more about why the building is designed in such an unusual way by going on the tour.

As you look at the building you can tell that it is very long and narrow with many window. That design allows the building to be lit primary with sunlight. The building also captures rain water which it utilizes for the toilets, heating and cooling.

There are a videos here or go here if you want to learn more about how you can help.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Welcoming Fall







Fall and spring are my favorite seasons. After a long hot summer, I am so ready for the cooler weather and the changing leaves. I've been checking out the Fall Foliage Report and I think we will probably go over to Hot Springs to drive around in the Ouachita Mountains next month. Until then I wanted to add a touch of fall to my house. On the cover of the Better Homes and Gardens they have this picture of a gourd filled with flowers. I attempted to replicate this, but I'm afraid I didn't quite measure up to BHG standards. We are also planting more mums and I want to make a gourd wreath. What are y'alls plans to welcome fall? I'll try and post pictures of our fall family fun, including Ladybug cheering in the Fall Fest parade, visiting the pumpkin patch, the corn maze and our trip to see the fall foliage.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Intentional Parenting

I hear my husband complain all the time about how his employees don't show up for work. I watch on the news as the crime rates rise. I see a society that has become overly permissive . I am not a conservative, but I am not okay with my children being exposed to all of the unhealthy influences out there. If you shrug your shoulders and say, that is just the way things are these days, then you should stop reading right now. A pastor at a church we attended in Arkansas did a series entitled


What if you were meant to change the world?

One week, a staff member went around with a video camera asking people in the community "How would you change the world?" Many of the people interviewed said things like stop world hunger, world peace and the like. Not that those aren't notable aspirations, but maybe we need to start a bit smaller and closer to home. We looked at how we could change the world in our own homes. Our pastor borrowed the title


Raising G-Rated Children in an X-Rated World

He said that if we, as parents, do everything right, our children still have free will just like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. He suggest that we start by looking at the end product. What do we want our kids to be when they are adults? Do we want them to be well-adjusted? Is being well-adjusted in an x-rated world a good thing? Do we want them to be normal? With the divorce rate being what it is, is normal a good thing? Do we want our children to be popular like Lindsay Loham? The answer to those question is a resounding no for me.


If we want our children to be loving, honest, caring, Christians, we need to ask ourselves what God calls us to be. We need to have a regular dialogue with our children about faith. By God's design, we as parents have the greatest impact upon our children. Ask yourself if your speech is pure? Do the movies you watch, the music you listen to exemplify that of a Godly person? Do you lie? Do you confess your sins? Do you say and do one thing on Sunday and something completely different Monday-Saturday? Having that vision of what the finished products looks like, you can then figure out what it is that you, the parent, need to do in order to reach that goal.


Children do not naturally know right from wrong. As parents we are responsible to guide the family, don't let the children lead. The children will end up mirroring the culture in which they live. What you do, where you go, how the money is spent is the parents responsibility. We as parents need to take back the leadership role. We need to set appropriate boundaries. We also need to examine what values we are imposing when we let the children lead the family? Our pastor suggest that we start listening to the music our children are listen to, read their books, and watch their movies. How are we supposed to know our children, guide them, when we 'respect their privacy?' Remember that our values/choices get distorted by sin. To let a child do as he pleases is not love. Teach your child that bad choices have bad consequences.


We are also called to be thoughtful with our discipline. The purpose of discipline is not only to punish, but it is also to guide. It's not the child that is bad, it's his behavior, his choices. My son asked me one time why he was always getting grounded. I reminded him what choices he had made that caused him to get punished. We never tell our children that they are bad. Not only are we supposed to impress upon our children our values, we are also called to set the standards for fun. There should activities that you do as a family that are fun. Your child should have a belly ache from laughter in your the home.


Are you raising your kids to be the adults you want them to be?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

An Old Fashion Fair

As a child I remember getting ready and going to the state fair in Jackson, Mississippi. I loved looking at all the bright lights and colors on the midway. My favorite ride was the tilt-a-whirl. I couldn't wait to ride it with my dad. My mom usually stood and watched as we rode the fast spinning rides. She was more the ferris wheel type. I never under stood that until I turned green while riding the tilt-a-whirl with my daughter. Now I watch as my husband rides the fast rides with the kids, I'm more the ferris wheel type these days.

This week is the county fair. County fairs are really the perfect place to show off what you've been doing and to have a good time. That is unless a hurricane has dumped copious amount of rain on your partially paved fair grounds.







This is our second year to enter chickens in the fair. Last year the kids entered four of our original six barnyard chickens. This year they entered six of the new girls. My darling daughter entered a Dominique, a Barred Rock and an Americana. My sweet boyd entered a Buff Brahma, a Production Red and a Golden Laced Wyandot. They won three blue ribbons and three red ribbons.

The kids also entered some of the canned goods, dried peppers and eggs winning a total of seven blue ribbons and three second place ribbons. My husband won blue ribbons on his banana peppers and chili peppers. I was lucky enough to get a blue ribbon on my okra and a second place ribbon on my beans. I also entered some photos. I won one blue ribbon, three second place and one third place ribbon. Obviously everyone wins something.

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Addendum
My son not only won a blue ribbon with Disco (the Buff Brahma), but he won grand champion. We are all so happy for him.




“Be the change you want to see in the world.” mahatma gandhi