Long Live Summer – Promotion from Shutterfly!

Check out this new deal from Shutterfly.  I love their products and they are easy and efficient to use to keep your family’s memories safe and secure.  Enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to the Bahamas!  http://bit.ly/sweepS

Long Live Summer – Facebook Photo Contest details – 7/9 – 8/12 Multi-week summer themed photo sweepstakes with instant win prizes. http://bit.ly/sweepS

Win a trip for four to The Bahamas and a professional photo shoot so you’ll remember your vacation forever.  All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week.  Get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.


•       Week 1(7/9): Americana

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•       Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!

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•       Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

•       Shutterfly Sweepstakes – Official Rules

FREE Father’s Day Card from Shutterfly!

Shutterfly is offering a free fathers day card just for checking out this link: Free Fathers Day Card

Tell me about you favorite fathers day memory! Better yet, take advantage of Shutterfly’s amazing gift ideas and discounts to get your dad or children’s dad something unique and special.

The Goddess of Easter~ More history of our celebrations


The Goddess Ostara

Goddess Ostara

Ostara (Oestre)
Saxon Goddess of the Dawn and Spring

Ostara, the Germanic Goddess of Dawn who was responsible for bringing spring each year, was feeling horribly guilty about arriving so late one year. To make matters even worse, the first thing she saw when she arrived was a pitiful little bird who lay dying, his wings frozen by the snow.

Lovingly, Ostara cradled the shivering creature and saved his life.

Legend has it that she then made him her pet or, in the adult-rated versions, her passionate lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly because of his wings had been so damaged by the frost, the goddess Ostara turned him into a rabbit, a snow hare. She named him Lepus.

She also gave him the wonderful gift of being able to run with such astonishing speed that he could easily evade all the hunters.  And to honor his earlier incarnation as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less). He was, however, only allowed to lay eggs on one day out of each year


Ostara and the Easter Bunny

But all good things must come to an end.

Eventually Ostara lost her temper with Lepus (some say the raunchy rabbit was involved with another woman), and she flung him into the skies where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).

But later, remembering all the good times they had enjoyed together, the goddess Ostara softened a bit and allowed the hare to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.


Goddess Quiz




You can read the story of
Easter Traditions ::
Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunnyhere.


Return To Goddess Gift

1001 ways to clean with vinigar


from: http://www.vinegartips.com/scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=7
White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical.

To shine chrome sink fixtures that have a lime buildup, use a paste made of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar.

Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.

Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Clean and deodorize a drain by pouring in 1 cup baking soda, then one cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let this sit for 5 minutes or so, then run hot water down the drain.

Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hot white distilled vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes then run hot water down the disposal.

Deodorize and clean the garbage disposal with white distilled vinegar ice cubes. Make them by freezing full-strength white distilled vinegar in an ice cube tray. Run several cubes down the disposal while flushing with cold water.

Clean the microwave by mixing 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Bring it to a rolling boil inside the microwave. Baked-on food will be loosened, and odors will disappear. Wipe clean.

Clean the shelves and walls of the refrigerator with a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar.

Cut the grime on the top of the refrigerator with a paper towel or cloth and full-strength white distilled vinegar.

Avoid the bad smell when you heat up a newly cleaned oven by using a sponge soaked in diluted white distilled vinegar for the final rinse.

To clean a grease splattered oven door window, saturate it with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a sponge.

Remove soap buildup and odors from the dishwasher by pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar inside the empty machine and running it through a whole cycle. Do monthly.

To prevent good glassware from getting etched by minerals, wash then spray with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Give the glasses a hot water rinse before letting them dry or drying them with a towel.

For cloudy glassware, soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit awhile before rinsing clean.

Get rid of lime deposits in a tea kettle by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the water and letting it sit overnight. If more drastic action is needed, boil full-strength white distilled vinegar in the kettle a few minutes, let cool and rinse with plain water.

Remove mineral deposits from coffee makers with white distilled vinegar. Fill the water reservoir with 1 cup or more of white distilled vinegar and run it through a whole cycle. Run it once or twice more with plain water to rinse clean. (Check the owners’ manual first.)

Remove stains from coffee and teacups by scrubbing them gently with equal parts of salt (or baking soda) and white distilled vinegar. Rinse clean.

For stained and smelly plastic food containers, wipe them with a cloth dampened with white distilled vinegar.

Remove odors from a lunch box by placing inside a slice of bread that has been soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave overnight.

Remove ugly film in narrow-necked glass jars, flower vases, and bottles by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar sit in them for a few hours. Add a little rice or sand and shake vigorously to loosen stubborn stains. Repeat if necessary.

Easily clean your mini blinds by wearing pair of white cotton gloves. Dip gloved fingers into a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm tap water, and run your fingers across both sides of each blind.

To clean tarnished brass, copper, and pewter, use a paste with equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and table salt.

Make a metal cleanser by adding enough white distilled vinegar to 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar to make a paste. Rub it on and let it dry on the surface. Wash it off and dry with a soft cloth.

Polish brass and copper with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of ketchup and 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar. Rub it on with a clean cloth until dry and shiny.

Remove dark stains on an aluminum pot by boiling a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 cup hot water.

Discourage ants by spraying undiluted white distilled vinegar outside doorways and windowsills, around appliances and wherever you find the pests coming in.

Get rid of fruit flies by setting out a small dish of undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Clean the wheel of a can opener using white distilled vinegar and an old toothbrush.

Remove the smell of spoiled food from a refrigerator by first rinsing the area with soap and water. Spray surfaces with full-strength white distilled vinegar and wipe them down with a damp cloth or sponge. Fill some containers with baking soda and place inside. Close the door and leave for a few days.

Wipe grease off exhaust fan grids, the inside of your oven, or anywhere grease gathers with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar.

To make cleaning the grill easier, spray a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar on the cooking surface.

To remove a label, decal, or price tag, cover with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave the cloth on overnight and the label should slide off.

Renew sponges and dishrags by placing them in just enough water to cover them. Then add 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Let them soak overnight.

Get rid of calcium deposits on faucets by soaking a cloth or paper towel in white distilled vinegar and wrapping the area tightly. Let this sit for a couple of hours or overnight.

Remove soap buildup from faucets by scrubbing them with a solution of 1 part salt to 4 parts white distilled vinegar.

Rid a faucet of lime deposits by tying a plastic bag containing 1/2 to 1/3 cup of white distilled vinegar around it and leaving it there for two or three hours. If mineral deposits don’t wipe off, scrubbing with an old toothbrush should complete the job.

Shine colored porcelain sinks by scouring them with undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Rinse away soapy film on countertops with a solution of white distilled vinegar and water.

Clean grout by letting full-strength white distilled vinegar sit on it for a few minutes and scrubbing it with an old toothbrush.

Kill germs all around the bathroom with a spray of full-strength white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

To remove grime, mildew, and scum from the tub, tile, shower curtain or door, wipe with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse with water.

Spray shower doors with full-strength white distilled vinegar after you’ve squeegeed the glass, or before you step in and turn on the water. It will help release the hard water deposits so they don’t remain on the glass.

Mix up an inexpensive tile cleaner by adding 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup ammonia to a gallon of warm water.

Get rid of stubborn bathtub film by wiping it with white distilled vinegar and then scouring with baking soda.

Soak a sponge or loofah overnight in a strong white distilled vinegar and water solution to remove dirt and slime. Rinse several times with cold water and let air dry (in the sun if possible).

Clean shower door tracks by filling them with white distilled vinegar and letting it sit for a few hours. Pour hot water into the tracks and wash and scrub away the scum with a toothbrush.

To clean a scummy showerhead, pour 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 cup white distilled vinegar into a sandwich bag and tie it around the showerhead. Let this set for an hour after the bubbling has stopped. Remove the bag and then turn on the water.

Deodorize the toilet bowl by allowing 3 cups white distilled vinegar to sit in it for about a half hour before flushing.

To make the toilet bowl sparkle, pour in a cup or more of diluted white distilled vinegar and let it sit several hours or overnight. Scrub well with the toilet brush and flush.

Freshen air in the bathroom by spraying into the air a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup water.

Get a shining finish on a no-wax vinyl or linoleum floor by cleaning it with a solution of one cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water.

Apply full-strength white distilled vinegar directly to tough linoleum stains. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping it up. If that doesn’t work, apply white distilled vinegar again and then sprinkle some baking soda over the white distilled vinegar. Scrub the area with a brush or sponge. Rinse clean with water.

For an economical and environmentally friendly floor cleaner, mix a solution of 3 drops dishwashing liquid to 1/3 part white distilled vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. Spray sparingly and mop for a fast clean-up.

Some carpet stains can be removed with a paste of 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1/4 cup salt or baking soda. Rub into the carpet stain and let dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet first).

Bring out the color in carpet by brushing it with a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar for every gallon of water. (Always test on an out-of-sight part of the carpet beforehand).

To reduce soap bubbles in a steam cleaner add about 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Use the same amount in the rinse water to remove detergent residue and make carpets stay fresh longer.

Wash indoor/outdoor carpet with a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar in 1 bucket of warm water. Scrub using a brush or a broom and then hose off.

Clean up pet accidents by first blotting up the area and then adding a white distilled vinegar-and-water solution. Blot until it is almost dry. Then sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it dry. Vacuum up the residue the next day.

Create your own window cleaning solution by combining 1/2 cup non-sudsy ammonia, 1 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a gallon of water.

Remove the wax residue left by commercial window cleaners with a solution of 2 cups water, 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent.

To remove paint from windows try using undiluted, hot white distilled vinegar. Give the solution time to soften the paint before removing with a razor edge tool.

To remove paint splatters from windows apply full-strength white distilled vinegar with a clean paintbrush.

Get rid of mildew, dust, and stale odors by wiping down walls with undiluted white distilled vinegar on a cloth or a sponge mop.

Clean woodwork and walls with a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup ammonia and 1 gallon warm water. Wipe on with a sponge or damp—not wet—towel.

Clean wood paneling with a solution of 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar, and 2 cups warm water. Wipe on with a soft cloth.

Remove wallpaper easily by using a paint roller to wet the surface very thoroughly with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and hot water. Or spray on until saturated.

Get decals off walls or doors by letting undiluted white distilled vinegar soak into them for several minutes before trying to peel them off. Repeat if necessary.

Remove white water rings from wood with a solution of equal parts white distilled vinegar and vegetable oil. Rub with the grain.

Remove fireplace soot and grime with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Use a brush to scrub and a towel to blot up the wetness and dirt.

Clean fireplace glass doors with a solution of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 2 parts water. Spray or wipe on, then wipe clean with a dry cloth.

To kill germs, spray full-strength white distilled vinegar on doorknobs and then wipe them dry.

Remove the smell of a dead mouse or other rodent (after removing all animal remnants) by wiping down the area with either white distilled vinegar or bleach. Then place a fabric softener sheet in the area to remove any lingering odors.

Never use white distilled vinegar on marble. The acid can damage the surface.

Before painting old concrete, clean with full-strength white distilled vinegar. Let it air dry.

Clean hardened paint brushes by simmering them in a pot with white distilled vinegar. Soak them first for an hour before bringing the white distilled vinegar to a simmer. Drain and rinse clean.

Remove mud and stains from plastic, fiberglass, or aluminum sports equipment by applying a paste of 1 part white distilled vinegar to 3 parts baking soda. Wipe off with soapy water and rinse with clear water.

Clean your grill by spritzing white distilled vinegar over wadded up aluminum foil and scrubbing the grill vigorously with it.

To remove film in glass baby bottles, fill with equal parts hot water and white distilled vinegar. Let sit for at least an hour. Scrub with a bottle brush.

To clean and disinfect baby toys add a good-sized splash of white distilled vinegar to soapy water.

Clean vinyl baby books or board books by wiping with white distilled vinegar. Wipe clean with a damp sponge or cloth.

Clean scissors that have become sticky (after cutting tape, for instance) with a cloth dipped in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Clean and deodorize urine on a mattress with a white distilled vinegar and water solution. Then sprinkle the area with baking soda and let dry. Brush or vacuum the residue after it is dry to the touch.

Shine pennies by soaking them for a couple of hours or overnight in a glass or bowl of undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Consider Shutterfly for your Yearbook orders

I was contacted by a representative at Shutterfly/Tiny Prints to talk about their Yearbook options and they are quite unique.  I personally have used both Shutterfly and Tiny Prints in the past and have been more impressed with the quality of their products than some of the other photobook sites out there. 

I never would have thought to order through shutterfly for a yearbook until I was contacted and researched their site.  It looks very cool and probably more affordable than most schools pay through other major companies.  I do not know what a regular yearbook costs but I would imagine its more than $5 a book. 

Shutterfly offers several options for layouts and they make it affordable too, as low as $5 per book and you can save up to 75% when you order for your whole class or school.  The layouts can be traditional or more like a scrapbook layout.  See below some of the options:






Follow this link for more information: http://www.shutterfly.com/yearbook/

Also follow these links for regular contact with shutterfly:


· Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/shutterfly

· Twitter:https://twitter.com/#!/Shutterfly

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This is a sponsored post.  I hope you found new resources for your photo needs!

Product Review: Shrinxhips

Product Review: SHRINKXHIPS

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for reviewing this product in any way

I purchased the SHRINKXHIPS during a moment of weakness while shopping at a Motherhood store about halfway through my last pregnancy.  I was feeling super fat and not so attractive and thought this product would be worth the $34.98 that I paid for it.  I think I actually paid less there than I’ve seen advertised other places.  The product claims that you can “get back your pre-pregnancy hips (or smaller)” if you use the product regularly within the first 8 weeks after delivery while the hormone Relaxin is present and before your pelvic joints and ligaments harden in place.  The product claims “ Shrinkxhips provides constant, even pressure to gently guide your hips back to their pre-pregnancy position (or even smaller).”  The one-size states that it fits hips measuring between 31” to 50” and easily adjusts to smaller size as your hips narrow.  The product recommends wearing the belt for 4-6 hours daily.  It also claims that there was a clinical test trial done to prove the effectiveness…


My experience:

I started wearing this belt regularly (daily for at least 4 hours per day) at one week post-partum and continued wearing it until 7 weeks post-partum.  I did check with my chiropractor who told me that it would not hurt me to wear it and it could only help.  He explained that it’s kind of like a band aid helping the joints go back more quickly.  It made sense.  Unfortunately my hips only shrunk by a half inch in this time frame. I’m sorely disappointed in the product mostly because I had envisioned myself much smaller by this time.  I did like the fact that I felt like I had more lower back support when I was wearing it so that’s a positive.  It also adjusted easily as stated on the packaging.  I made sure to wear a nursing tank to avoid the scratchiness of the Velcro on the belt.  It also felt as though it was squeezing my hips together, but unfortunately it didn’t take for me. 

Verdict: I would not recommend based on my experience.  I believe I would have lost a half inch on my waist without the belt during the first 8 weeks post-partum.  Unfortunately I haven’t lost much more than that.

Meet our Newest Princess: Miss Elliana Penelope

Elliana Penelope

Birth Story

Photography by: Tara Nicole Photography 

January 3rd, 2012 – I was so annoyed that I had to go to work this day, after a long weekend, I was hoping to go into labor and not return to work right away in the new year.  I could hardly sleep because I was hoping my water would break before I had to leave and at 5am or so I finally just got out of bed.  All day everyone stopped by my cubical at work and asked me what I was doing there – like I had a choice in the matter.  I guess I did, but that’s not important.  At lunch I had a suspicion that my water leaked a little bit and I soaked my liner I was wearing just in case but I still wasn’t having contractions.  At some point I got up to check the printer and something just felt different “down there”, like I was opening up (my cervix) but I also thought it was just wishful thinking at this point.  At 3:38pm I felt a contraction that lasted long enough for me to decide to record it on a post it note.  I timed 4 or 5 more before leaving at 4pm.  My husband, Dan, wanted to make Raisin Bran Muffins so I planned to stop a local natural foods store on the way home.  I had a really intense contraction about one block before the parking lot so I tried to call Dan, he didn’t answer so I decided to make a quick stop at the store for the ingredients.  I had a few contractions while I was in the store and tried to hide my grimacing face so no one would know I was in pain.  The cold air made my contractions a little more intense.  I called Dan once I got into the car and told him he should probably call his mom because I thought I might be in labor.  He agreed and hung up, only to call me back and ask “What do you mean you ‘think’ you are in labor?”  I told him that I would time the contractions on the way home for consistency and we should plan to have our 2 year old stay with his mom for the night just in case.  The contractions were lasting one minute long and 5 minutes apart the whole way to my house (about a half hour).  My mother in law was about 30 minutes away when I got home so I busied myself getting her bag ready and trying to eat something before we left for the hospital.  It was about 5:30pm when my mother in law arrived to take my little princess home with her.  I was able to poop before we left too which added to my denial because I was not able to do that with Ava’s labor, it just hurt to push…(TMI alert). Anyway, we left shortly after Ava was picked up and made it about 10 minutes away from the house when I realized we forgot the camera and made Dan turn around to go get it.  My contractions were more like 4 minutes apart at this point but I didn’t tell him they were getting closer together.  He took a different route to the hospital making me nervous because it seemed longer and the roads were snow covered.  During the drive to the hospital my contractions were 3 minutes apart and regular.  Dan was sweating because the heat was turned up so high in the vehicle so he rolled down the window at one point.  I waited until my contraction finished before I yelled at him and threatened him in some way to roll it back up – again the cold air was intensifying the pain.  When we got to the ER parking lot, some idiot was attempting to leave and blocking the entire entrance, Dan proceeded to yell and swear at him while I yelled at Dan to go around to the other entrance.  I was trying to hold it together.  As soon as I opened the vehicle door to get out the cold air hit me and the contraction was so intense that I didn’t think I could make it into the hospital which was quite the distance when in that much pain.  Somehow I made it in and a very excited friend from high school greeted us at the check in desk.  Her enthusiasm was irritating at the moment but somewhat entertaining.  She says “Yah! Come on over and we’ll get you checked in” in a very loud and excited voice.  Of course, my information was entered twice so that held us up but this friend called the OB nurse to bring a wheel chair for me.  When she got there, it was difficult to sit on the seat and not comfortable to stay in that position.  After I finally get in the chair the nurse bumps into the door frame…ouch! I was getting more irritated by the minute.  The walk to the elevator was not that far but I had several contractions on the way there.  Once we were in the elevator the nurse proceeds to lecture me on my decision not to get IV antibiotics for Group B strep.  I assured her that I did my research and I was not changing my mind.  In the meantime, my husband realizes that the nurse neglected to push the elevator button and we were not moving.  He says “Why aren’t we moving!?!” and pushes the button himself.   The lecture continued and she introduced me to the other nurse on duty that evening.  I hardly noticed what she looked like in the midst of contractions.  Once in the room, I finished a contraction in the chair stood up and made it a couple feet to the bed before another contraction started.  The nurse started her little talk about getting undressed and putting on a gown and providing a urine sample.  I asked Dan to help me get my boots off while I held onto the edge of the bed during a contraction.  Somehow I managed to make it to the bathroom and provide a urine sample but when I stood up my water broke and I looked down and said “Oh, I’ve got a leak” and sat back down.  I let the nurse know and made it to the bed before another contraction started.  She checked me and had a concerned look on her face and made a comment about being fully dilated then ran to tell the other nurse to get the doctor.  She started an IV “just in case”.  I had another contraction and told her that I wanted to push.  She told me to wait because the doctor was not there yet.  After the next contraction I told Dan that I wanted him to help me squat because it would help the pushing phase go faster (Ava’s pushing time was 2.5 hours so I was anticipating a long time).  Apparently he looked down and saw hair and told me I should wait until the nurse came back to help him.  When she came back she must have seen what Dan saw and inclined the bed so my tush was in the air and my head was lower.  The doctor showed up and I announced that I needed to push.  He was really good about guiding my pushing.  I pushed 2 or 3 times in approximately 5 minutes and she was out.  After the first push he said I was doing good and he could see the head.  I thought that was great and kept pushing.  He says “the heads almost out, keep pushing” during the next push and I thought “hold crap, I can’t believe it but okay let’s do it”.  There was only one short moment where he told me not to push and I wanted to so bad but then with the next push she was out.  I remember feeling her body slide out and saying “Oh my god, she’s already out” in disbelief and relief.  I got to the hospital at 6:45pm and she was born at 7:16pm.  They put her on my to clean her and the umbilical cord was tickling my stomach.  Dan cut the cord and continued to take pictures.  I didn’t rip or tear at all, no meds, no need for the IV.  Baby girl was 7 pounds 4 ounces, 20 inches long with a 13.5 inch head circumference.  Her breathing was rapid but regulated fairly quickly.  My blood pressure was steady.  They didn’t argue too much about the vitamin K shot that I was refusing even though they said it was their policy and told me it was illegal in other states to refuse it.

Dan called everyone and said “We’re Done” and proceeded with the stats.  We got mixed responses from people thinking we were just getting to the hospital, to thinking we were being sneaky and not telling them but most wanted to know her name which wasn’t decided until the next day.  We named our second little princess “Elliana Penelope”.

Ava came with Dan the next morning and was so excited to meet her new little sister.  She wanted to hold her and hug and kiss her.  She was really good considering all the changes.  She fell asleep on me in the hospital bed for a short time.  It was so sweet.

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The great yogurt myth revieled

 from Alicia Silvestone and The Kind Life blog.  I subscribe to her blog and enjoy her education on food.  I keep getting information that yogurt is so important and is so healthy and useful in so many ways.  Well, Im glad I read this and I do believe she is correct with this information  so I plan to limit my yogurt gradually until I can cut it out completely along with other dairy products that I have been indulging in since my pregnancy which is now over.  Ive strayed from my vegan diet and I am hopeful to return without too many issues.  I had such bad withdrawls from dairy but not as bad as some of the horror stories out there, mine were mostly just cravings.  Please read on if you are curious about the real story behind yogurt and its health benefits or lack there of…

the great yogurt myth…

Posted by Alicia Silverstone on Jul 1, 2011


I’ve always wondered why Americans, particularly American women, are obsessed with yogurt! People seem to think it’s a magic health food, but as you’ll read in Chapter 3 of The Kind Diet, dairy, including yogurt, is bad news for your body (and dairy cows).


Perhaps the most widely marketed component of yogurt is probiotics. Is yogurt really the best place to find these “good” bacteria? According to Christina Pirello, the answer is no. Once yogurt is pasteurized, as most commercial brands are, the probiotics are destroyed by the heat. In raw products, the probiotics have a hard time withstanding the heat of the small intestine, so the benefit is minimal.

The best sources of probiotics for women in food is miso, shoyu, other fermented foods like sauerkraut (but only the raw unpasteurized ones that you buy in the fridge), and natto, a fermented soy product – although I find natto disgusting! I know it’s good for you – but I can’t bear it. I admire those who can – some even like it!

Outside of these foods, there are some pretty wonderful supplemental probiotics out there that are vegan. Christina’s favorite is Eden Foods bifa 15, which can be purchased here.

Why do we need probiotics?

According to Christina Pirello, anyone who eats a typical modern diet needs probiotics. Processed foods and excessive sugar deplete our micro-villi and the enzymes naturally produced in our intestines. Those with weak digestive or compromised immune systems, anyone who has recently been on antibiotics, and those who are just beginning to change their diets to superhero, need probiotics until their digestion improves and their intestines become more alkaline. Those who are chronically tired should try probiotics as well, as fatigue is often related to digestion.

Superheroes should note that miso soup, natto, sauerkraut, and other traditionally fermented foods reduce the need for probiotics. But, in a world where it can be impossible to completely avoid environmental pollutants, probiotics are helpful for strengthening our digestion. In the end, probiotics will never hurt and can only help.

Yogurt Alternatives

So, back to yogurt…when I was little, I loved it. I would eat the plain kind and add tons of raisins…soo yum. But I got over that! I don’t miss it one bit. And when I do, I go for the vegan versions as a treat. If you eat yogurt for the taste, I recommend Nancy’s Yogurt, which is made without cane sugar, or Wildwood (only the plain flavor is sugar-free). In my early veg days, I ate soy yogurts, and they were really good! M Cafe also has a yogurt, granola, and fruit cup that’s pretty yum.

Do you have a favorite brand of vegan yogurt? Where do you get your probiotics?


Some of you have commented that the Eden Foods bifa 15 that Christina recommended is not vegan, so I asked Christina about it, and here is what she said:

“The product has been reformulated since I last used it, and I didn’t realize that there was gelatin in the new formulation. However, I called Eden Foods to double check if the product is vegan, and was told it is a plant-based gelatin.”

It sounds like this product is vegan but I haven’t used it myself, so I’m not 1000% sure – I’m sorry if it isn’t. If you’re concerned, you can always call Eden Foods to check for yourself.

Leap Year History


I subscribe to Goddess Gift with Goddess Musings from Sharon which is where the following comes from. I really enjoy the emails I receive that provides history of our celebrated days.  It really makes you appreciate the special days in its entirety and respect the history behind the celebration.  Enjoy!

It’s Leap Day, or Leap Year’s Day, but not as some people mistakenly think, Sadie Hawkin’s Day.

So . . . have you proposed to your favorite man today?

That tradition started with Brigid of Ireland (variously known as a goddess and a saint). On behalf of the many Irish women of the 5th century who were having to wait for a proposal of marriage while their reproductive time-clocks were ticking away, Saint Brigid intervened on the behalf and petitioned Saint Patrick for the equal right for women to do the proposing. Apparently she was convincing because he did agree, but the canny bishop must have been reluctant since he restricted the privilege to Leap Year Day alone.

It’s not too late if you have a hankering to do that. It’s leap day and you’re allowed.

I exercised my right this morning and proposed to my husband, reminding him that if he refused he’d have to pay me 12 goats in recompense. (Don’t know where the goats came from. They just popped out of my mouth.) The official fine for refusal in Denmark was 12 gloves.

Bright, Shiny Symbols

I love vintage art. Enjoy peeking back in time and seeing how far we women have come (or weep when we haven’t).



Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

This 1908 postcard says a lot about attitudes toward women, don’t you think?

The verse reads:

Maidens are eagerly waiting
Their Traps enticingly bating
For the year Nineteen nought eight
By the old laws of leap year
They can propose without fear
And pick their own choice for a mate.

Now I’m not at all certain that the attitude has totally changed that much, but at least it would no longer be politically correct. (Not that I’m always a big fan of PC, you understand.) But if you want to see politically incorrect by today’s standards, just think back to the Lil’ Abner cartoon strip that some of us, the crones in the bunch, grew up reading.

Bright, Shiny Symbols

And that’s where Sadie Hawkins comes into the story. On leap day our schools and churches often held a Sadie Hawkins dance, and it was up to the girls to ask the guys out for the date. And all that started with the story line of the cartoon strip.

One of the characters, Sadie Hawkins, lived in Dogpatch (a thinly disguised town in the Appalachian mountains, where I now live and love, was populated of course with “hillbillies”. She was characterized as the “homeliest gal in all them hills”. As she approached the ancient age of 35, her father despaired. It seemed he had a spinster on his hands. (In this way the cartoon strip seems just a poor man’s version of Downton Abby.)

As the leader of the community, he declared a footrace to be held. Here were the rules he laid down:

“When ah fires [my gun], all o’ yo’ kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin–after givin’ yo’ a fair start–Sadie starts a runnin’. Th’ one she ketches’ll be her husbin.”

The event was so popular with the women it was repeated year after year. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown–by law he had to marry her!

The Greek Goddess Atalanta really started it all . . .
Goddess Psyche

Now the thing that really strikes me is that this cartoon epidsode was just an inverted retelling of the myths of the Greek Goddess Atalanta. I like that telling a lot better. She may have been the uppiest of all the goddesses, but this was a woman who knew what she wanted and raced out to get it. We all could do with a lot more of that.

Find the Myths of the Goddess Atalanta and the Story of the Golden Apples here.

Enough for now, enjoy your “extra day”.

Is the Taboo of Co-Sleeping a Fallacy?

With my first daughter I was bound and determined to do everything by the book and set limits with her to provide a strong foundation for consistency and discipline for both myself and for her.  Even the first night in the hospital I kept putting her back into the bassinet and climbing back into the horribly uncomfortable bed just to get up a few minutes later to calm her screaming once she realized I set her down.  Swaddling didn’t make a difference and I was exhausted and overwhelmed.  Hours after this routine a nurse finally came in and told me to give in because she obviously wanted to be comforted by her mama.  She helped me get comfortable to breastfeed on my side and left us to sleep for the night.  I felt so guilty but reassured myself that the nurse told me it was okay and once we get home and get into a comfortable routine she would start sleeping in her own bed.  Boy was I optimistic!  Little Ava was in our bed for at least 3 months before I was able to get her into her crib and then once she started teething at 5 months she was back in our bed again until she was 9 months old. 

This time around, I again was determined to sleep alone in my bed without the baby – ha! Still not happening.  I bought the Arms Reach Co-sleeper thinking that I could just set her back into her own surface and I could be free to move around in my sleep as I please.  Wrong!  I don’t think my girls have similar personalities at this point but they sure do like sleeping with their mama.  It’s the only way my little Elliana will sleep at night and stay asleep for more than 20 minutes.  She can be so upset and then calm down in minutes once she finds the comfort of my boob.  She doesn’t even have to be eating but she has her little hands snuggled around one of my gigantic football sized (yes, they are huge right now) boobs.  She looks so precious and I wish I had the gumption to take a photo even though I don’t think I would show anyone. 

Now is this really taboo?  It seems most of my mama friends will tell me they co-sleep whether they planned it or not and many of them truly enjoy the bonding time.  I have to say it is so much more convenient while breastfeeding and it really does provide a bonding experience.  I realize it is scary to think that you could roll over on your child because you are so sleep deprived but in my experience, I don’t think it’s possible to be unaware of where your baby is while you co-sleep.  It’s like an innate biological response to wake up the moment you feel or hear anything but quiet or stillness. Of course people will tell you horror stories about someone they know or something they heard but I think if you fall asleep intentionally with your little munchkin and you are not under the influence of substances then there isn’t any danger.  Obviously, take precaution to make sure the sheets are fitted properly, there are no blankets that could smother the baby and you are comfortable with the decision to co-sleep – otherwise don’t do it!

Side-note: I did have the co-sleeper attached to my bed and my daughters both woke up because they were still too far away from me in the night.  I had the crib up against our bed with Ava and this time the co-sleeper with Elliana.  One foot away from me was too far for both of them.  This time we bought a king size bed and make the room for our little one to have extra space around her.

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