Monday, August 29, 2011


The Jarhead flew off to world's unknown this past week...also known as temporary assigned duty.  Since we were housebound with the pink eye and all, I decided to tackle some spring cleaning.  At the end of summer.  Sometimes I am a bit behind the curve. 

Our upcoming PCS in mind, I ruthlessly went through all our stuff and ended up with a great big "sell it" pile.  Now at last I have room in the closet for the vacuum cleaner. Good news, because it wasn't working so well as a contemporary art piece in the living room. 

Along with making room for the vacuum cleaner, I found my old photo albums and was instantly transported back in time.  Ahhh, memories.

Here is my cow.  My brother and I worked long and hard at a local dairy for her.  Her name was Delilah, but all we could think about with that name was the shameless hussy that chopped Sampson's hair off in the Bible; her and the silky-voiced radio host.  We changed her name to Abby and she was our baby; as much as a cow can be. 
 I am awestruck by this picture and the beauty of the dairy.  I can't believe it was all just "background" when I was a teen and surrounded by that beauty everyday.  I wish taking things for granted wasn't so inevitable.  Of course, I was trudging through cow manure at the time....that might have had something to do with it.
 There's me in the height of style, feeding one of the first calves I was ever put in charge of; I think her name was Poppy.
 Ahh, the chicken that made me hate all poultry ever after....he didn't deserve a clear picture.  But you can still see his evil eye.  I think his name was Demon Chicken...or Zeke...
 This would be CJ, the horse that tried to bite my toes while I rode him...
 And here's the hunky Jarhead I was dreaming about while I was scooping up manure and laying down hay for the cows. *swoon* 
Except in my dreams he was a cowboy.  Or a fireman.  Or a backwoodsman. 

This was Iraq, about 6 months before we got married.  He came home, swept me off my feet and slammed my head into the door frame of our honeymoon suite.  Major fail on carrying me over the threshold.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pink Is My Daughter's Favorite Color...Just Not In Her Eyes.

Sickness has struck our family once again.  It seems impossible for us to go more than a few months at a time here without catching some gross strain of something.  I am beginning to understand the profound fashion statement of...the surgical mask...ubiquitously employed  by the locals.  This time it was pink eye. 

 It spread like wildfire among the children of vacation Bible school at our church, and unfortunately for us it must have lingered in the room we held our daughters' birthday party in the day after.  First came the cold.  Then came the pink eye.  By the end of the day my daughter's right eye was swollen shut, and her left was not far behind.  I put warm compresses on her eyes, cuddled her, and scheduled a Dr.s appointment for the next morning.  I put her to bed, then checked my Facebook.  A couple of friends had written that breast milk worked wonders on pink eye.  And here I thought I was the holistic wackjob.  Conveniently I am still nursing my youngest and have a steady supply of "mommy milk."  More conveniently, my daughter woke up crying a couple of minutes after I read the comments.  I brought her downstairs and put on more warm compresses, then expressed some milk for her eyes.  I cautiously proceeded, thinking this might meet with some resistance.  Thankfully, she was half asleep and the first eye was easy peasy.  The shock of the milk in her eye woke her up and it was a bit of a tackle to get it in her other; especially since it was swollen shut.  I persevered though, and within an hour of that first application, she was noticeably improved.  I put more in about an hour later, and then took her up to bed.  In the morning, her eyes looked amazing.  She was still slightly puffy, but with continued applications, she was completely better in no time.  I thought we were all done and good to go.  Then a couple of days later, my younger daughter started with it.  And I thought putting milk in the eyes of my oldest was hard....

My youngest survived all the torture and is looking good.  Again, I thought we were all done and good to go.  Then I woke up this morning to eyelashes nearly fused shut.  Oh joy.  I got myself some hot compresses, and expressed some milk for my eyes.  My precious baby girl was near hysteria, laughing as I put it in my eyes.  Now we are even I guess.  The second application was witnessed by my oldest.

She saw the cup of milk after I expressed it and said, "Mommy, I don't want milk in my eyeballs!"
"No honey, it's not for you, it's for Mommy; my eyes are all yucky now too."
"Awww, it's okay Mommy." She reassured me as she stroked my forehead.  Then when I put the milk in my eyes she got a tissue to wipe away the drips, and I am positive I heard her snickering.  I have some sweet kids, I'll tell you.

Being utterly fascinated and thankful for the wonder of breast milk, I did some searching online for other possible uses.  It's amazing. 
You can use it to relieve the itching from insect bites; for burns, cuts, ear infections, rashes, acne, chicken pox, chapped lips and skin, etc, etc and so forth!

The Jarhead says I am becoming like the guy on My Big Fat Greek Wedding who thought Windex was a cure for everything.  That's ridiculous, I only put it on my daughter's diaper rash.  And my chapped lips.  And my poor, stuffy red nose.  And the Jarhead's zit.  And......okay fine.  I am that guy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Broken Ports and Dr. Burzynski

I find myself in the unfortunate position of not being able to upload photos to either of my computers.  This is bad, bad, bad.  Not only am I doing a photo shoot next weekend with plans for more in the near future, I can't post pictures to my blog.  *sniff* 
Since it is impossible to blog without pictures hardy har har, I will save the delicious recipe and other incredibly useful information I have for another day, leaving you with a trailer for a powerful documentary; one that I would for sure classify as a "must watch".  Understand, the FDA is not interested in the health of the people, but is solely driven by greed.  It is hard to fathom how people can become so calloused as to not regard the lives’ of others, or the future of our people. 
 As the Bible says, "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." ~ 1 Timothy 6:10

You can rent and instantly watch the whole documentary on Amazon for $2.99.  Or you can watch it for free on Youtube.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Good And The Bad: Product Reviews

As promised, our humble opinions regarding some of the organic/all natural products we have purchased and tried. 
I grilled the Jarhead for his opinions too, but sometimes the answer was slightly less than enlightening.  For instance, when he came over to kiss me the other morning with minty fresh breath, I asked him what he thought of the new toothpaste I bought.  He said something like, "It's paste for my teeth."  That's Jarhead speak for, "quit asking me stupid questions."  And the fact that it's a stupid question means that in his mind, it hangs with the rest of toothpaste.  My opinion is pretty much the same; it's toothpaste.  My teeth felt super duper slick and clean, just be prepared for some power flavor from this PowerSmile.  And a somewhat hefty price tag. *gulp*
 Avalon Organics is one of the main all natural companies that the commissary here stocks.  I first became acquainted with them through their shampoo and conditioner, which I loved.  When I ran out of soap from Mountain Creek Gifts, I needed some filler before another order could get here.  I bought this hand soap from Avalon Organics, and it doesn't disappoint.  The Jarhead says, "it smells nice."  I would add that it doesn't dry your  hands out and has a nice consistency.
 I love cereal, and the ease it allows in the morning.  Unfortunately, most cereal you find will have corn ingredients with all their GMO evil, corn syrup and preservatives, along with being packaged in BPA laden plastic bags.  I was determined that if we only bought one thing Organic, it needed to be cereal, since it's an almost daily in our house.  Thankfully the commissary offered some alternatives.  I first bought boxes of Cascadian Farm Oats and Honey Granola, as well as their Honey Nut O's.  The Granola was delicious with the first few bites, but afterward I found it obnoxiously, sickeningly sweet.  I asked the Jarhead what he thought and he concisely said, "it's sweet."  He didn't mean, "Saaaaweeet!" like, "man that cereal is rockin' awesome", but sweet in the obnoxious way.  We won't buy it again.

The Honey Nut O's are much better I find.  They are not good finger food for toddlers and babies like Cheerios, because they are sticky, but in a bowl with milk, they are pretty good.  Nothing to get excited about, but they hit the spot.

 The next time I went to the commissary I found Koala Crisp.  This stuff is pure temptation.  It's deliciously chocolatey.  I am not one for chocolate in general, and definitely not big on super sweet breakfast cereal, but this is not obnoxious.  It's more of a cocoa flavor than pure sweetness, and my girls sure do love it.  "Mom, I want chocolate cereal" is a common early morning request.  I told the Jarhead he needed to try it, and he thought it was good, but nothing to rave about.  I  beg to differ.  *RAVE* The ingredients list does my heart good too.
 This is pretty much...butter.  It's yumm.  The end. 
 Oh dear; now we come to the dishwashing powder I bought.  I don't like to be a stick in the mud, but this stuff was just plain awful.  I should've taken the hint when every box of it in the commissary was a solid brick of caked powder.  To be fair to Seventh Generation, it is quite possible that it got wet some time in shipment.  Don't ask me to tell you about the caked and molded Kraft Mac and Cheese back in the day of eating that kind of stuff.  It's nasty, you really don't want to know.  When I got this soap home, I took a  hammer to it, thinking it would break up without alot of effort.  I was wrong.  I broke the box but didn't really break the powder.  So I put it in bag after bag, and after much effort, ended up with smaller, hard bricks of powder.  I finally said, "FORGET IT!" and thought the water would break it up in the dishwasher.  It did, but my dishes ended up covered in little white, crusted on, dishwasher powder spots, and there was always leftover food pieces floating in water on top of my glasses.  It was really aggravating, and something I never ran into with Cascade.  Since I discovered we have hard water, that could be a contributing factor, but it's back to Cascade for me until I can find another brand that works for me.  I will not be purchasing Seventh Generation again.
Quinoa Pasta is yummilicious.  And expensive.  I usually purchase Barilla Plus, a high protein pasta made of semolina.  The price difference is remarkable, and I don't know enough about "junk" in pasta to decide whether or not it's worth it.  Quinoa is gluten free, so for those with dietary restrictions, it is a great choice.
Despite working at a dairy for a time during my teen years, I am not much of a milk drinker.  However during that time at the dairy, I had the benefit of getting raw milk, and it was delicious.  This is most definitely a step down from that of course, but I am very thankful we have access to it over here.  The Jarhead likes it. 

I know Polaner All Fruit has been around forever, but I've always been a Welch's Grape Jelly girl.  I decided to give the Polaner a try and now I feel like I am officially an adult.  I felt just this way when I was thirteen and no longer qualified for the kids menu.  Goodbye, grilled cheese.  Hello Caesar salad.  I am particularly fond of their Blueberry Jam; it's so...grown up...with actual blueberries in it!  It's delicious. 
I very reluctantly bought some all natural peanut butter since it was sitting next to the Polaner and all...I've not been keen on it since my Mom bought some when I was a kid.  The separation of the oil kind of looks disgusting when you're ten and then, not knowing any better we put it directly into the fridge before stirring it.  When we finally got up the courage to try it, we stirred and stirred and no avail.  That put an end to that experiment, and my brothers and I breathed a sigh of relief when Jiff once again became the staple peanut butter in the pantry.  When I bought Adams peanut butter, I wasn't expecting much.  I stirred and stirred and stirred, but this time prior to refrigeration.  With a bit of effort, it actually creams up pretty well.  And tastes brilliant too. 

That's it from us for now.  Please feel free to share your opinions and experiences if you've tried these products, or make recommendations for others. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Flu

I have this picture of myself in the future, being the crazy lady that makes concoctions out of weeds that heal what ails you.  The one that everyone comes to when they are sick and modern medicine utterly fails them.  I'll be out in my garden with a wide-brimmed hat and rockin high heels, cutting herbs and flowers for my brews.  Then the vision gets a little theatrically witchy with a black, smoking cauldron and creepishly long red fingernails. *shivers* Holistic healing has a bad rap in my brain I guess.  Regardless, I am very interested in botany and herbal medicine.  As I said before, I believe that God has given us what we need in nature; we just need to know how to use it.  So I check out books and order books, and determine I am going to learn everything there is to know about plants and their healing properties.  I ordered two books on this very subject a couple of months ago; but the post office seemed to think I needed a lesson on patience...they aren't wrong...and just recently delivered them to me.  A few days later, we got the flu.  And I mean, WHAM! we had the flu.  It was bad.  I would have called 911 at one point when I was at home without the Jarhead and deliriously feverish...except that my daughter had decided to give my cell phone swimming lessons earlier in the day and drowned it.  In the toilet.  Thankfully so; I would have felt like an idiot calling 911 because I had a fever...even though it seemed perfectly reasonable in that moment of boiling and fire and molten lava and everything else that can be categorized as hot. 

It would seem that those books on, you know, holistic healing, would have been a God send right about then.  But instead of reading them I layed motionless, sprawled out on the couch for three days, trying to recall the words in my will. 

The Jarhead affectionately calls me "drama queen." 

Now that I am back to good health and spirits, I have had a chance to take a look at those books I bought.  One is called The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs.  I love this book.  It has a wide variety of ailments in it, including...the flu and fever.  *sigh*

The other book I am not so sure about.  It seems like a fine resource, but despite it's claims on the back of the book, the ingredients in it's Healing Tonics are far from "common."  I think it may very well come in handy for me someday, but I feel it is a bit over the top for me right now.  I mean, I don't even know how to pronounce Fo-Ti (Ho Shou Wu) - let alone what it is.  The part I love about this book, is the glossary of herbs in the back, along with their properties and uses.  Fo-Ti (Ho Shou Wu) didn't make the cut however, so I remain in the dark on that one.  The author also includes a list of resources for ingredients, which comes in great handy for "lost" people like me.  And since I am way too curious to let it go, since writing the above I Googled Fo-Ti (Ho Shou Wu)...I can't help myself.  It's a plant.  Duh. 

Back to that lesson I need on patience, I have been feeling so on edge lately!  I just want so bad to skip the clock a bit and be settled in our own home, on our land, our farm.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there is a purpose to this time, right now, right here, and I don't want to idealize the future so much that I miss out on the present.  I think it almost invariably happens to people used to a military lifestyle; we get close to that 3 year mark and start itching for what's next.  I wonder, how will I adjust to being settled...forever?  Is it going to be easy to stay in one place for a long period of time, or am I going to start getting fidgety 2.5 years in?  Only time will tell I suppose. 

For now, I pray for patience.  *sigh*

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Birthdays and Birth Control

Today is the best day of the year.  I gave birth to both our girls on this day, 3 years ago, and 1 year ago.
One area we didn't need to change in order to fully embrace this all-natural lifestyle was in the area of family planning.  From the day we were married, the Jarhead and I wanted children and hoped they would come right away.  After several negative tests and disappointments, over a year and a half later I found out on my birthday that we were expecting our firstborn.  Blue swirled through our heads as we were positive we were having a boy.  When the ultrasound tech said "it's a girl" we were sure she was wrong, and the Jarhead held out hope all through the pushing stage that miraculously, the baby would be a strapping lad he could teach all about cars.  A well-meaning nurse had told him about a patient who had a boy after 3 ultrasound techs had declared he was a girl; it was just the encouragement he needed, and so he hoped...

She was a girl.  And we wouldn't trade her for 100 boys.  And the Jarhead is teaching her all about cars. 
 I used to piously proclaim that I wasn't on birth control because I was trusting God to give us children in His time.  That meant I wanted children right then, in my time.  I went through alot of anger towards God in those 19 months for not giving me children, and fear that we wouldn't be able to have children of our own.  When I finally let it go and sought forgiveness for that anger, we conceived. 
During the ultrasound where we found out we were having a girl, the tech seemed very quiet to me, and it seemed to take a long time, as she took multiple pictures of our baby's head.  A few days later, while we were vacationing with our family my OB called.  The ultrasound revealed cysts on my daughter's brain.  I felt like the wind was knocked out of me.  My wonderful OB gave me the medical terminology for the cysts, so I could look it up and see what they could indicate.  The more I studied, the more I wept.  The cysts were possible signs of a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18.  Down syndrome is Trisomy 21, but unlike down syndrome, babies with Trisomy 18 are severely retarded and less than 10% of babies live past their first birthday.  The thought of losing our precious child was agonizing.  But then an incredible peace came over me after alot of prayer, and I knew that everything would be alright; even if our daughter did have this awful disorder.  After an extensive 3D ultrasound, the Dr. gave us a 1 in 500 chance of her having Trisomy 18. 
She was born perfectly healthy and beautiful.  After she was born, the Jarhead and I decided once again that we were going to trust God to give us children, in His time, but this time in earnest.  "Natural family planning" did not generally please the Dr's that were very curious about our birth control strategy, but that's okay.  We have always wanted a big family.  We thought 5 or 6 kids would be the perfect number, and that two years apart was the perfect gap, and that would be it for us.  Then we started thinking; was it hypocritical to say we would trust God for when to give us children, but we wouldn't trust Him for how many He wanted to bless us with?  That was a scary thought.  I mean, we really, really don't want to be outdoing the Duggars here!  We were up in the air.  Then I found out I was pregnant again, and due on July 10th, the day our oldest was due.  I was sure this baby was going to come early though, since I started having contractions very early on.  Then, just like her sister, she ended up having to be induced at a week overdue.  Two years...and two hours apart; our perfect gap.  It was as if a sign from God saying "trust Me."
So we are.  Trusting God for His timing of when He wants us to have children.  Trusting Him for how many children He wants us to have.  That is our family planning strategy.  

Please believe, I am far from presuming to tell you what your family should do.  This is just the conclusion the Jarhead and I came to after much prayerful consideration.

Now if I find out on my birthday again that I'm pregnant, and the baby is due on July 10th....God's got an incredible sense of humor.  And I'm already putting in a special request for a boy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Schedules and Diaper Stripping

To me, summer usually conjures up images of family vacations, cook-outs, and freckled, red-headed 12 year olds zooming down water slides....or maybe that was a Wet n' Wild commercial...I guess their ad campaign worked on me, dogonit.  The leisure that is so indicative of Summer has been elusive for me so far this year.  Then again, I'm not 12 anymore.  Or red-headed.  Or freckled...sun spots don't count.

My dry-erase board calendar has been chock full this month, and it's been difficult to find the time for blogging.

  I have always been excessively talented at making lists and schedules and on paper I am an efficiency expert!  Try as I might though, I can never seem to get them to translate to real life.  FlyLady to the rescue.  My Mom signed up for FlyLady way, way back when I was a teen and I remember thinking how ridiculous it was.  I mean, the point was time and home management, yet there would be 57 emails in her inbox from the beloved woman every time she checked her mail.  You can't get nothin' done reading emails all day, FlyLady!  So I dismissed her and continued with my ineffective list-making.  Then I got a care package in the mail from my Mom, with a stack of printed papers from the FlyLady: instructions on how to get with it by making a control journal.  *sigh*  I thought I had told my Mom already that I thought FlyLady was ridiculous and probably in cahoots with maid services everywhere. *eyeroll* But since she had gone to the trouble to mail it, I decided I should go to the trouble to read it.  The Jarhead probably heard something like this: 
"Wow....not bad." 
Followed by a, "wow, sounds good." 
Then a, "Wow, let's do this thing!"

Yes I was impressed.  And I desperately need help with my time management these days due to our new lifestyle.  The extra steps involved in cooking from scratch, making cleaners...just about everything involved in being green takes time and effort.  It's absolutely worth it, but it is a crunch nonetheless.

Not just a crunch in the time department either.  It costs more.  Some people may argue that point, but when you are in the position of not being able to grow/raise your own food, it's definitely more expensive to purchase organic products.  There is trial and error involved as well.  I have found some organic products are abysmally awful, and others that are exceptional.  Very soon I will write a post sharing with you my findings and recommendations.  For now, just know that I will get better and be more consistent with my blogging so bear with me.

As if I didn't already have enough to do, my poor diapers suffered a great deal in my ignorant, cheap hands and began repelling.
I had originally purchased some Rock N' Green detergent when I bought my diapers, but I noticed after a while that my diapers were kind of funky, my daughters' pee was smelling much more...amonia-ish, and they were starting to rash up again.  I suspected the detergent, and decided I would just use my normal laundry soap, Arm and Hammer Sensitive Skin, on the diapers to see if it helped at all.  It is a free and clear detergent, so I thought it couldn't be too bad.  The first time I washed them, they looked brighter than they had in a while, and my girls didn't rash up with it.  I thought I was a genius and would save loads of money using the cheapo, more effective soap, rather than the expensive stuff.  After a few washes though, my diapers were not getting clean like they had before, they were funky, and to my great dismay, my GroVia AIO's had small holes along the seams.  *GASP!*  I put them on my daughter and she leaked right through.  Twice.  My diapers were repelling.  I contacted the diaper lady here and told her to warn all her customers to never, ever use that soap and it's bad juju on their dipes, and asked her what to do to fix my poor, sad, leaky ones.  She recommended putting two Tablespoons of Original Dawn dish soap in with the diapers, and then rinse them repeatedly in hot washes until there were no more bubbles visible while it was agitating.  It worked.  *Whew*  And I purchased more Rock N' Green detergent.  I discovered our water is hard, so I changed to Hard Rock, and it seems to be doing the trick...for now.  I am on the hunt for something new though; funk ain't my friend.