Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Embracing Halloween.

Remember? Remember how I detest Halloween, so much so that for the last 4 years, I have attempted to bribe my children with a monetary exchange in hopes of avoiding Halloween? Remember how my great plan was always responded to with an "um, no!"? Though one year, I must say, my little people did actually toy with the idea before shouting "um, no!" at me. So this year - I have just decided to let it all go. ☺

I don't dislike Halloween because of the "satanic" image it portrays. Personally, I believe that is such nonsense & hogwash. Good grief. I'm not sure exactly why I dislike Halloween. Strong possibility though that it's a combination of the following: finding costumes (& the amount of time it entails), paying for the costumes, trying to capture at least a few photos of completely hyped up, giddy w/ delight children, scrambling around to eat dinner & get everyone ready & out the door by dusk, & did I mention paying for the costumes. If one has more than one child, Halloween is certainly no inexpensive little diddy. And we do all the above for what? Approximately 2 hours. (Though, uh, the candy is like, totally worth it.) ☺

This year I am starting anew. My goodness, if my children adore Halloween so much, who am I to rain on their parade? If they decide to deny themselves of a monetary gift that certainly lasts a lot longer than Halloween itself does, who am I to try to change their minds? I mean heck, every year that I beg & plead (&, beg & plead) for them to accept the money along with a trip to Toys-R-Us instead of participating in trick-or-treating, I have upped the bribe amount by $10. At this rate, it's cheaper to buy costumes anyway!

So this year I am embracing "Hallowing", as my Jaguar calls it. ☺

Speaking of Jaguar, she has requested to be a "Mitten" for Halloween this year. Now. I have to be honest here. I was really wondering how in the world I was going to pull that one off. She was adamant, too. She was going to be a Mitten & that is all there is to it. Until. Until, that is, she spotted a fluorescent green skeleton costume (which costs only $17, mind you) @ Wal-Mart. Bingo! By george, a skeleton costume it is for my curly haired little girl. Now won't she look just precious dressed as a skeleton, carrying her princess bucket? ☺


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bentley's photo shoot 9.26.09.

I know I am his mother & I know I am bias, but I think he is so beautiful. I mean, handsome. :)

Will add more in a few days as they are edited. ☺

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Processed food.

I currently am researching this topic, as my goal is to eliminate most processed foods from our diets. I found this article completely valuable.

A by-no-means-exhaustive search on the internet regarding "processed food" turns up some very divergent and controversial information and opinions on the subject. One camp eschews any kind of processed food; the other touts the safety and convenience of it.

What is processed food? Wikipedia describes "processed food" as any food that is changed from its natural, raw state. Did you peel your banana before you ate it? Cut your apple into slices? Stir-fry your dinner vegetables? Scramble your egg? You just processed your food by that definition. Following are common food processing techniques listed in the Wikipedia entry:

* "Removal of unwanted outer layers, such as potato peeling or the skinning of peaches*
Chopping or slicing, of which examples include potato chips, diced carrot, or candied peel.*
Mincing and macerating* Liquefaction, such as to produce fruit juice* Emulsification* Cooking, such as boiling, broiling, frying, steaming or grilling* Mixing* Addition of gas such as air entrainment for bread or gasification of soft drinks* Proofing* Spray drying"
Under that broad of a definition, nearly every food we eat is processed. However, most of us tend to define processed food in a much narrower sense. For us, "processed food" is food which has been chemically altered through additives such as flavors, flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, etc., or which has been manufactured through combination or other methods. Generally speaking, if the ingredients aren't "natural", then we consider it to be processed.

If you want to make yourself totally paranoid about your food (and that's not too hard to do), there is plenty of information out there spelling out all the horrors that await you from eating processed food: the cancers and diseases you will get from the dioxins and thousands of other toxic chemicals; the shorter life span you will have; the damage you personally are inflicting upon our planet through your consumption of processed food, etc. There is no shortage of Chicken Littles running around squawking about the sky falling. And, to some extent, they're right. The chemicals in our food and our environment are certainly not doing us any favors.
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But are things really as bad as they make them out to be? The truth is, processing has made the world's food supply much safer to eat, and has made the storage of food a much healthier and more viable option. Processing kills pathogens, and extends the shelf life of food. Were there to be a food shortage or even a famine, shelf items are going to keep you alive a lot longer than raw food, which will be rotten within a few days. Processing had made it possible to transport food to famine-stricken areas, thus helping to relieve suffering worldwide. Processing even increases the bioavailability of some nutrients, such as lycopene, found in tomatoes.

Despite these benefits, a diet exclusive in processed foods will almost certainly lead to disease. Our bodies are designed to eat natural, raw foods; there's no doubt about that. Raw foods contain beneficial enzymes and nutrients that are destroyed through processing. Just because a pill contains the "nutrients" of a whole shopping list of vegetables doesn't mean our bodies get the same benefit as eating the vegetables themselves. Nutrients, enzymes, and other components of the foods we eat work synergistically. We really don't know how well they work when they're isolated from each other, or when we ingest synthetic versions.

We should eat as many raw foods as we can daily. Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to our meals and snacks is an easy way to accomplish this. However, a totally vegan diet is just not feasible for most people. Time and resources are often strong opponents to good health. Additionally, there is not enough raw food for everybody to suddenly adopt veganism, nor would everybody want to. We must each find the proper balance that works for us.

Eliminating all processed food is probably not going to happen for most of us. But we can make better food choices and supplement our diets with missing components. We can opt for the apple over the apple juice. We can choose a baked potato or salad over french fries. We can choose whole-grain bread over the white fluff that is passed off as bread. We can take the time to read food labels. Chances are, if you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't be eating it. We can choose processed foods with a very short list of ingredients; the longer the list, the more processing involved, and the more nutrition lost.

Our bodies are amazing organisms, capable of extraordinary things. They are designed to filter out toxins at an astounding rate. They have a highly sophisticated defense system. They have an amazing ability to recover from serious damage. The key lies in providing our bodies with the necessary building blocks to accomplish what they were designed to do-to keep us alive!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jaguar's photo shoot 9.20.09.

She was showing me a plane & I snapped the photo. ☺

OMGosh! I have outdone myself! Have I said that before? No, truly. This time is it! I have a whole new way of editing photos (more sophisticated!) & I'm just tickled pink! When I get my new Canon lenses in - look out world! Here I come! ☺

Friday, September 18, 2009

The return of the ponytail.

Yay! Her hair has finally grown out enough to put it back in a ponytail! Oh how we have missed the ponytail. Isn't she just so petite & beautiful? ♥

I asked her for a smile. Um, that's not exactly the smile I was going for, Jaguar! She must have forgotten her signature smile. ☺

She's something else. And quite hysertical too, may I add. ☺

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stain be gone.

Before: (I darkened it a tad so you could see the 'permanent' damage.)


Look Rebecca! Scuff marks on my baseboards! We do live here! ☺

Monday, September 14, 2009


What a sweet kiss. ☺ As you can see, Jaguar is clearly kissing Mercedes. Mercedes, however, is not kissing Jaguar. As she is grabbing Jaguar's hand, she is thinking "get your arm off me sister, or you're going down!" And yes, Mercedes can take her sister 'down' in 2 seconds flat. The good news is, Jaguar always comes back up giggling. Love these girls! :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

For the love of baby wipes.

Having now had four babies in the house, I know my baby wipes. ☺ I guarantee you over the years I have tried almost every name brand & store brand from just about every - single - store. Liked some; others, not so much. Until I tried Target brand. Just another product I purchased one time & never went back to any other brand. I have used them now for 3 years or so.

I make special trips to Target just to get their baby wipes. I stock up, I'm telling you! I have them in the diaper bag, in my purse & in my kitchen. They are durable & every bit as good as the brand names, if not better. ;o) Fragrance-free (I buy unscented because I use on the face, around eyes & mouth), soft, durable - the whole package. They aren't a whole lot less expensive than the name brand wipes, but a few dollars is fine with me. And considering I buy & have bought so many over the years, that's a lot of dollars! :)

Their new name is Up & Up. Target's generic brand. I can almost promise you, you will absolutely love them! And so will that tiny tushy you're cleaning. ☺

(Btw, baby wipes are really handy for cleaning baseboards & other cleaning projects! :o)

For the love of kitchen trash bags.

Stumbled across these by accident. Hubby ran to the store one night, so I asked him to pick up trash bags. I didn't specify 'kitchen' trash bags, so he assumed I meant outdoor trash bags. For leaves, weeds, trash, etc. outside, we use any brand. For inside trash bags, I typically am a devoted Glad Force Flex user. If you use those too, you know how expensive they are!

Anyways, he picked up these. I was out of my Glad's, so I had no choice but to use them. They work fine! Here's the deal. These are larger & hold more trash (these are 30 gallon, I don't recall what size the Glad kitchen bags are). So my routine is this: when my kitchen trash can/bag gets full, I pull it out & gently bang it on the floor (to distribute/settle the trash, allowing extra room). Because they are spacious, I then empty my bathroom trash cans & any other trash I can find before tieing it & taking it to the garage. Most of the time, I can get lots more trash in them! I do know they are not as tough/durable as the Glad's, but I have yet to have one rip. And because I can get a lot more trash in these trash bags, I get more bang for my buck. Naturally, they are less expensive than the Glad's!

Less expensive kitchen trash bags + each bag holds more trash = more money in our pockets! Yay! If you try them & like them, let me know! ☺

For the love of paper towels.

Savvy Shopping has returned! Now try to contain your excitement (yep, I say that often)! ☺ Evidently, a few people liked my Savvy Shopping posts & actually tried some of the products that I recommend (who knew?), so I thought I would post every now & then when I discover a good bargain. Who doesn't ♥ a good bargain? I sure do! :)

I deleted the original post for these paper towels (previous name for these is Oasis), so this post is for you, in case you missed the original!

For years I was a faithful Bounty user, I'm telling you I would use nothing else. I must have white, I must have select-a-size, & I must have good, durable paper towels. Bounty filled those requirements. One day @ Wal-Mart, I decided to give their Oasis brand a try. Fabulous! And, they come in white, they come in select-a-size, & they are super absorbent. Best yet - they are less expensive than Bounty! From that day on I haven't purchased Bounty again & I'm sure I won't. Why pay more for a product that works just as good?

Great Value is what they are called now (as is most of WM's generic brands) - the packaging/name changed, but the product did not. Try them, I'm sure you will love them too! Let me know! ☺

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bon Bons.

Pink with lots of glitter. I ♥ she's so girly. ☺

My dad is right - "there's just something about having girls". Love painting her toes. Love seeing her all happy & giddy. Love telling her how beautiful she is. Love my girl. ♥

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pediatrician response letter.

August 31, 2009

****** Pediatrics
******, Texas 76248

Re: CRR# **** 1300 000 0403 ****
Bentley ******
Audi ******
Jaguar ******
Mercedes ******

Dear Dr. ******,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your impersonal, generic, informational letter informing us that you “will no longer be responsible for the medical care” of our four children. The letter is dated August 4, 2009, and we received the letter on August 28, 2009. The postmark on the envelope is dated August 25, 2009, twenty-one days after the letter was written.

In all honesty, we are strongly puzzled by the decision you have chosen to make. Over the course of almost six years (services began 10.6.2003!) we have been visiting your office, we have only refused/declined one immunization. As you are aware, a second dose of the Varicella vaccine is now required by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Audi entered Kindergarten this year and unfortunately, needed a second dose. Because he has been vaccinated once, we decided it was not necessary to administer yet another chemical into his small body. If it were so detrimental for him to have this particular vaccination, we presume it would not have been so simple to retrieve the required ‘Exemption of Immunizations’ paperwork, so we could opt out of this vaccine. Which we utilized, as did many others.

Over the years, our children have been seen by yourself, Dr. ******, and more frequently, ******, C.P.N.P. Along the way, Mel has built friendships and maintained a cordial rapport with everyone at your office, even though we didn’t always agree with treatment. One quick example is the way Audi was diagnosed/treated for RSV (he was one year old, at the time). Four days after he was seen at your office, we were finally sent for chest x-rays, where it was discovered he had pneumonia in addition to RSV. At that time, we had already given our tiny boy approximately 40 treatments of Albuteral (more than twice the recommendation, as printed on the directions of the medication) - which he did not respond to due to having pneumonia - in a four day span. We guess it is deemed appropriate when your doctors and/or office does something different than recommended, but as parents, we are not permitted to make the same choice.

Anyone can have a difference of opinion with any one person, company or even a doctor. But to be dismissed from your practice, because we made a decision that directly effects our child, greatly disturbs us. We are extremely disappointed, that after all these years of our children (and ourselves) getting to know you and those at your practice, you didn’t even have the courtesy to personally phone us to discuss and/or inform us of your decision. Years ago we spoke with you personally regarding Thimerosal and the possible connection with Autism. We listened to what you had to say - we respected and appreciated your opinion. We would have expected the same respect from you. As it stands, we had no opportunity to discuss the situation with you, and we find that very unprofessional. In addition, we would have greatly appreciated an explanation as to why you dismissed “all” of our children, when in actuality, we have only one child who is now lacking one vaccination.

Our children have grown to be very comfortable at your practice and with most of your employees. As parents, that is comforting to us. It is very disheartening to find out in actuality our children were just a ’number’, and nothing more. They deserve more than that. We assumed through the years we were building a trusting relationship. Obviously, we were not.

We believe in treating people with respect, honesty and dealing with ethical and trustworthy organizations. We are wise enough to know that what may be right for one person or family, certainly may not be for another. We are not a family of followers; instead, a family who does the best we can do by being individuals and making the best possible decision(s) we can. By your harsh decision of dismissing our children because we declined one single vaccination, you have confirmed that it is more than time for us to move on. It is apparent you have no respect for parental rights.

In closing, we feel quite confident that had the shoe been on the other foot, you too would feel the very way we do now. We want to express that we firmly believe you have done us a service, and not a disservice. Sometimes disheartening and hurtful situations are a blessing in disguise.

Warmest Regards,

Husband and Melissa ******