Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

I truly hope that you are enjoying your day.  And if you are not, what is one thing that you can do to change that right now?  Just pause, take a moment to think about that, and then act.  

I will be back with new posts on Monday, November 27th.  Enjoy your day, and enjoy your weekend.  


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Anti-Inflammatory Recipe of the Week

In September of 2015, I started Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis.  I share a new recipe each week to help those who may need to modify their eating habits to better their health. 

Food is medicine - You are what you eat 


You can find out more about the Anti-Inflammatory Diet by going here.


I love coleslaw, but I'm a really picky coleslaw eater.  

Like, REALLY

Ok, and I know what you are probably thinking - Coleslaw the week of Thanksgiving?  You couldn't find a "fall" recipe?

Well, I could.  I have tons of them.  But, do you know the benefits of eating coleslaw?  Plus, this recipe has apples and cranberries.  So, it's kind of fall-ish.  

First, the benefits of eating coleslaw - 
"Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same category as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Cruciferous vegetables are renowned for their ability to protect against cancer. Experts recommend that you eat a minimum of one and a half cups of cruciferous vegetables two to three times a week in order to reap the greatest benefits from this cancer fighter. Cabbage, in particular, is an excellent source of a compound called sinigrin, which is particularly effective in helping to prevent cancer of the colon, prostate and bladder.
The health benefits of cabbage tend to be greater when it is eaten raw, which is an advantage that coleslaw has over other dishes that involve cooked cabbage. Cooking destroys the delicate myrosinase enzymes that provide cabbage with its cancer-fighting compounds.
In addition to its cancer-fighting ability, cabbage lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol, is a good source of fiber, and is high in vitamin C and vitamin K. It also provides you with calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, manganese, and folate. It is also high in glutamine, an amino acid with anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to all these health benefits, cabbage is also low in calories, at only 50 calories per cup.
If you have a choice between picking green cabbage or red cabbage, go for the red. Red cabbage is even healthier than its green counterpart, containing more than four times the cancer-fighting polyphenols. One hundred grams of red cabbage contains about 197 mg of polyphenols, as opposed to 45 mg for green cabbage.
Cabbage can help heal stomach ulcers and is good for the entire digestive system in general. And while cabbage contains very little fat, the fat it does contain is the healthy omega-3 type in the form of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)." - The Nutritional Benefits of  Coleslaw from HealthGuidance.org

and then there is this...
"1. Cabbage juice can be a miracle healer for the GI tract. Many studies show that drinking fresh cabbage juice can heal ulcers much faster than conventional treatments.
2. Cabbage can fight breast cancer. The cabbage is part of the popular cruciferous family of vegetables that contain molecules called isothiocyanates. These molecules are especially known for their anti-cancer properties and have an affinity for fighting leukemia, breast, prostate and lung cancers.
3. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K.  Our bones depend on vitamin K for strength.  All types of cabbage are an excellent source of this fat-soluble vitamin that helps in the mineralization of our bones. A deficiency of vitamin K can cause minerals to be deposited into other body tissues, rather than in our bones, and can lead to damage such as the hardening of blood vessels.
4. Cabbage contains antioxidants. Cabbage has high levels of polyphenols – a large group of molecules recognized for their antioxidant power.  One of the great things polyphenols does is protect our bodies from oxidative damage, especially our skin.  Researchers show that people with a diet high in polyphenols experience less damage from UV rays than those with poor polyphenols intake.
5. Cabbage contains essential fatty acids. Cabbage has a surprisingly good content of essential fatty acids (EFAs), especially alpha-linolenic acid (a type of Omega 3). EFAs are needed more in people with inflammatory conditions – research shows that EFAs significantly improve inflammation in cystic fibrosis." - Five health benefits of cabbage from Chatelaine
So, on to the recipe!  First, I want to let you know that I modify this and all coleslaw recipes to be mayo-free.  I don't care for mayo, it's a personal preference.  Though, if you like mayo, go for it.  I'll add my modifications at the end of this post. 
I give you the Apple, Cranberry, and Amond Coleslaw from Cooking Classy

I mean seriously, how amazing does that look, right?  
Ok, how I modify coleslaw recipes to be mayo-free 
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons good quality Dijon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
I put all of the ingredients into a mason jar and shake it up and then add it to the coleslaw mix.  
Now, go forth, and eat great food.  Your dietary limitations should not limit you from enjoying great food. 


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

DIY Recipe of the Week {Chemical Free Home}

What's in your cabinets?   

Why am I passionate about getting the yuck out of my home?  Because I don't want to be in constant pain because my Endo is flaring up.  I know, it's pretty selfish, but it's the catalyst for change in my home.  For me, essential oils are another rug on my Healthy Living Ladder.  It's something that I'm choosing to do to help my family.
You can read more about that here

Did you know that 26 seconds after exposure that chemicals are found in measurable amounts in the human body?    

Did you know that the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health studied 2,983 ingredients in our products at home—and found 884 toxic ingredients? 



We can all use a little help unwinding at night.  I've started a new nighttime routine where I have an alarm set on my phone for 9am, when it goes off I wrap up whatever I am doing and head upstairs to sit in quiet, do my gratitude list for the day, start my diffuser and start to come down from my go-go-go day.  On those extra hectic days where I feel like I'm being torn away from my day at 9pm instead of gladfully celebrating its end (and sleep), I use this stuff to help me drift off to sleep.  

Calming Pillow Spray
Small spray bottle
5 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
1 t. rubbing alcohol
Purified (or distilled) water

This is a small batch, I'd recommend using a 1 oz. spray bottle.  You can pick up one of those from your local dollar store or big box store in the travel section of the beauty section.  

Pour the 1 t. of rubbing alcohol into the spray bottle
Add 5 drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil
Add 5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
Fill with purified or distilled water.  (I use purified because it's what I have on hand).
Do a little shake and spray away.

Why It Works
Lavender - helps support a healthy mood and a restful sleep
Cedarwood - has a soothing and calming effect on the mind

BAM! BAM!

...and like that I'm out   zzzzz


*I only uses Young Living Essential Oils for me and my family. Young Living is the only essential oil company that has a Seed to Seal Guarantee, so I know that the oils I am using for my family are pure and unadulterated.  If you would like to start your own oily journey and start living above the wellness line click here and choose "Member" to get started today or go to www.youngliving.com and follow these simple steps















  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tea Tree Oil

Statements made in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  
This post is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure disease.  



Thank you for sticking around as I went through all of the oils that come in your Young Living Premium Starter Kit.  Hopefully you have a foundation in place so that you feel comfortable using those oils!  Let's do a quick recap on the posts in case you were unable to follow along:
Lavender Essential Oil here, Peppermint Vitality™ here, Lemon Vitality™ here, Copaiba Vitality here, Frankincense Essential Oil here, Purification® Essential Oil here, Thieves® Vitality™ hereDigize® Vitality™ Essential Oil here, R.C.® here, Panaway® Essential Oil Blend here, Stress Away® Essential Oil Bend here, and Ningxia Red here.

I also shared my love of Thieves Cleaner here, and my love of
 Thieves Laundry Soap.
A few weeks back I highlight a favorite oil of mine, which does not come in the PSK, Christmas Spirit.

Let's move on to Tea Tree Oil


I think that when I first started my oily journey many, many years ago, I was using peppermint, lavender, and tea tree.  I didn't even know what tea tree was, and I was getting it from some funky shop in the mall that sold skin care stuff.  I remember that stuff not working out too well for me.  Hmmm....I wonder why??

Here are some suggestions from the Young Living website on how to use Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • Add to water in a small spritz bottle to refresh linens and towels.
  • Diffuse to combat stale or offensive odors in the home.
  • Combine with citrus scents such as Lemon or Lemongrass to create a natural deodorant.
  • Use Tea Tree’s cleansing properties for homemade soaps and moisturizers.
  • Apply to skin as part of your nighttime routine.
  • Comb through hair for added shine and freshness.

And, here is what it contains:
Melaleuca alternifolia† (Tea tree) leaf oil†100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil

I like to rub it on my nails.  I also diffuse it when I'm anxious.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

BOOK RECAP - Lifegiving Home



I was introduced to this book a few months back, and it is absolutely amazing.  I loved it so much that I started a group at my church to study one chapter (or month) per month and then come together to talk about what we learned, how we can apply it in our homes, discuss our struggles around creating a life-giving space, and provide support while doing so.

I appreciate that in the introduction of the book that the authors share that the book took over a decade to write.  Because, seriously, life gets in the way sometimes. And, that it's ok to start something, stray away from it, and then come back to it - it's about progression, not perfection.  Adapting to your family's needs to build a home which they will flourish and thrive in.  This can be quite difficult sometimes.  We all have our "seasons".  The good news is that we get a brand new day every 24 hours to start anew. 

I love how the book is broken down by month and gives suggestions and tips for each.  And when there is a holiday, highlighting some points about it.  And when there is not a holiday, suggestions to focus on for that month.

I am always looking for ways to create an inviting and nurturing environment, and this is a resource that I can use to help accomplish that. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrating Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving

...how do you celebrate it?

We enjoy going to the home of my husband's aunt.  She's been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for years...decades, really.  And, this is where we will be spending Thanksgiving this year.  

But, I do realize that some of you are without family.  Either through death, distance, or exclusion.  I wanted to take a moment to reach out to you, my friend.  I want you to know that you are not alone.  So many feel alone, even when they are surrounded by others, during the holidays.  There is this sense that family togetherness should occur because it's a holiday.  But what if that can't happen? ...or won't? 
You can create your own version of Thanksgiving.  Make it yours.  Go out and have a fabulous dinner at a restaurant.  Invite friends or loved ones over to partake in a feast...or takeout pizza, whatever.  Make it yours.  Own it, create it, make it happen, and grow it.  Create your own holiday, create your own happiness.       


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Anti-Inflammatory Recipe of the Week

In September of 2015, I started Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis.  I share a new recipe each week to help those who may need to modify their eating habits to better their health. 
Food is medicine - You are what you eat 


You can find out more about the Anti-Inflammatory Diet by going here

So, though I follow a mostly pescetarian diet, I allow myself one meal per month that is white meat based.  And I do this so that I can have pulled pork.  I'm being totally honest here, I love pulled pork!  Then, I went to VeggieFest this summer and tried jackfruit for the first time.  WOAH!  Game changer.  Here's the thing, I don't want to eat meat substitutes that are 1) filled with chemicals and additives and 2) don't taste or have the consistency of meat.  Therefore, I normally just don't eat meat.  But, jackfruit, oh it has changed so many things.  

Lord Byron's Kitchen does a great job with this pulled pork recipe using jackfruit.  And, he explains why you should use jackfruit in water, not syrup as well as some ideas of where to purchase it.  (I get mine online as none of the Asian markets near me carry it).  


I like to eat mine with french fries (always have, always will).  You can go here to get the recipe.  I've made this with coconut sugar as well as with brown sugar.  I couldn't taste the difference, so that's an option for you if you need it.  


Now, go forth, and eat great food.  Your dietary limitations should not limit you from enjoying great food. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

DIY Recipe of the Week {Chemical Free Home}

What's in your cabinets?   

Why am I passionate about getting the yuck out of my home?  Because I don't want to be in constant pain because my Endo is flaring up.  I know, it's pretty selfish, but it's the catalyst for change in my home.  For me, essential oils are another rug on my Healthy Living Ladder.  It's something that I'm choosing to do to help my family.
You can read more about that here

Did you know that 26 seconds after exposure that chemicals are found in measurable amounts in the human body?    

Did you know that the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health studied 2,983 ingredients in our products at home—and found 884 toxic ingredients? 

This is where I share with you that I have cystic acne.  Like, really bad cystic acne.  It crops up every month, around the same time even though I'm menopausal, in the same spot - my chin.  As a teenager, I had really bad acne that carried on into my adulthood.  It's pretty much minimized to this cyclical cystic acne now.  It's not fun, folks.  I'm in my 40's!  I shouldn't be battling acne and wrinkles.   

 
I also have two teenaged boys who are also developing acne and I wanted to come up with something to help them out (and me), so this is the concoction that I came up with.  I store it in an amber bottle with a dropper.  Now, when I have a particularly evil bout (all inflamed and painful) I typically just put the essential oil right on the area.  I've used Frankincense successfully as well as the Thieves blend as well.  But, this blend, is more for daily use.  I use this oil blend at night, first I cleanse my skin and use a toner (this), then I put on the oil blend. 

Anti-Acne Oil Blend
2 T. Jojoba Oil
8 drops of Frankincense Oil
3 drops of Vitamin E Oil
3 drops of Lavender Oil    

Mix it all together and place in a dark bottle with a dropper top.  

Why it works?
Jojoba Oil -  it does not clog pores, it is rich in iron which helps to fight bacterial growth, it also smooths wrinkles
Frankincense Oil - it is a powerful astringent, it may help tighten skin
Vitamin E Oil - it has antioxidant properties, it has anti-inflammatory properties
Lavender Oil - it may assist with calming inflammation, it may assist with the healing process



*I only uses Young Living Essential Oils for me and my family. Young Living is the only essential oil company that has a Seed to Seal Guarantee, so I know that the oils I am using for my family are pure and unadulterated.  If you would like to start your own oily journey and start living above the wellness line click here and choose "Member" to get started today or go to www.youngliving.com and follow these simple steps

Monday, November 13, 2017

Powerful Relaxtion Blend

Statements made in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  
This post is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure disease.  



Thank you for sticking around as I went through all of the oils that come in your Young Living Premium Starter Kit.  Hopefully, you have a foundation in place so that you feel comfortable using those oils!  Let's do a quick recap of the posts in case you were unable to follow along:
Lavender Essential Oil here, Peppermint Vitality™ here, Lemon Vitality™ here, Copaiba Vitality here, Frankincense Essential Oil here, Purification® Essential Oil here, Thieves® Vitality™ hereDigize® Vitality™ Essential Oil here, R.C.® here, Panaway® Essential Oil Blend here, Stress Away® Essential Oil Bend here, and Ningxia Red here.

I also shared my love of Thieves Cleaner here, and my love of Thieves Laundry Soap.
I shared a little about Christmas Spirit, be sure to get your bottle now so you have it for the holidays.  AND, I shared about using the ART Skin Care System as well as why you need Cyprus Oil in the bedroom *wink*.  Last week I sharer with you about Thieves Cough Drops.

Now, I want to talk about blending.  Oh, how I love blending oils!  Why?  You get the benefits of multiple oils at once.  I still stick with the 1-3 drops rule.  So, if I do blend, I don't exceed three oils at one drop each.  Make sense?  If I use two oils, I have one oil be the dominate scent with 2 drops and the other the back up with 1 drop.  This is just how I do it, you can do it any way you want.  I'm just not a big fan of overly using oils, which is why I stick to the 1-3 drops rule. 

And...this right here, is one of my favorite essential oils blends! 


Why Lemongrass Essential Oil?  It's known as a mood booster and has a calming effect
Why Cedarwood Essential Oil?  It helps with grounding
I need help with all of this most days and that's why I call this my "Powerful Relaxation Blend".  



*I only uses Young Living Essential Oils for me and my family. Young Living is the only essential oil company that has a Seed to Seal Guarantee, so I know that the oils I am using for my family are pure and unadulterated.  If you would like to start your own oily journey and start living above the wellness line click here and choose "Member" to get started today or go to www.youngliving.com and follow these simple steps



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Celebrating Martinmas {11/11}

I'm a big fan of focusing on the holidays that occur within a specific month and celebrating them.  I typically decorate only for the holidays that happen within the month, you won't find me putting out my Halloween decoration in September and I try really hard each year not to decorate for Christmas right after Thanksgiving.  This is often foiled by my husband's desire to get our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We've come to an agreement that the tree can come into the house, but no other decorations can go up.  And, in our previous home, I had a "holiday/season" table, which was decorated each month with little items to celebrate the season or holiday(s) for that month.  I like staying present.  This is one way I attempt to do that. 

Anyway, back to Martinmas - you may be asking yourself, what?  That's totally fine, and I understand.  A few years back I stumbled upon this amazing book called Sarah Ban Breathnach's Mrs. Sharp's Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort & Joy. Oh, how I love this book!  I just finished reading The Life Giving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally Clarkson where she speaks on the importance of creating traditions. 

Martinmas celebrates St. Martin of Tours and is a very old European winter celebration.  You can read more about St. Martin here.  In many European countries (Germany and Holland, specifically), Martinmas is celebrated with a festival of lanterns.  The lanterns symbolize the light of generosity that illuminates the darkness of lack.  Though we donate clothing all year long, I make an effort to have each of my children go through all of their clothing close to November 11th and donate items that no longer fit them or items they no longer like, focusing on winter clothing.  I then make a trip to the thrift store to donate those items.  I also go out an purchase new winter hats & gloves for each of my children to give to them on November 11th, which will help to keep them warm.



We have lanterns which we use every year.  These were made years ago out of old mason jars by covering them with torn pieces of tissue paper.  We put a flameless candle in each one and enjoy their beauty.  We come together as a family on the night of Martinmas and eat a hearty winter dish such as stew or a thick soup. 

It's fun and easy and it helps to foster a giving spirit in your children.       


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Anti-Inflammatory Recipe of the Week

In September of 2015, I started Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis.  I share a new recipe each week to help those who may need to modify their eating habits to better their health. 
Food is medicine - You are what you eat 


You can find out more about the Anti-Inflammatory Diet by going here

So, I have something to admit - I love rice pudding. 

I miss rice pudding.

Like, I MISS IT!

*sigh*

But, this recipe, oh my word!  Amazing.  It's a very awesome spin on rice pudding for breakfast and to be honest, I don't just eat this for breakfast.  Catching Seeds is here to show you how to make Breakfast Quinoa Rice Pudding.


The only suggestion that I have is that if you are planning on using almond milk, use the 1/4t. of almond extract.


Now, go forth, and eat great food.  Your dietary limitations should not limit you from enjoying great food. 



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

DIY Recipe of the Week {Chemical Free Home}

What's in your cabinets?   

Why am I passionate about getting the yuck out of my home?  Because I don't want to be in constant pain because my Endo is flaring up.  I know, it's pretty selfish, but it's the catalyst for change in my home.  For me, essential oils are another rug on my Healthy Living Ladder.  It's something that I'm choosing to do to help my family.
You can read more about that
 here

Did you know that 26 seconds after exposure that chemicals are found in measurable amounts in the human body?    

Did you know that the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health studied 2,983 ingredients in our products at home—and found 884 toxic ingredients? 


Let's talk Vapor Rub
 

Nope, not even going to use that stuff.  But, I need something for me and my kids.  Now, my children are older (18, 13, 4), they are not babies.  So, this is the part of the blog post where I tell you to do your own research on what oils are safe for young children and babies prior to making this recipe.  I consider this safe for all three of my children to use.  BUT you need to do your own research to determine if it is safe for yours.  

With fall very much so here and winter right around the corner, I need something on hand for when the usual congestion starts to creep in.  I do my best to nip this by diffusing certain oils during the day and at night to support everyone's systems, but, germs happen.  You know, when you go out into the un-oiled world (lol).  And when those germs decide to latch on to someone in my home, I need to make sure that that person is being supported in their health needs and to make sure that no one else catches what they have.  In comes this vapor rub stick.  

I like storing this for quick and easy use in a deodorant container or simply in a mason jar if you don't have an old deodorant container to recycle.  

Ingredients
  
  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 2 tablespoons of shaved beeswax 
  • 15 drops of  Eucalyptus Oil 
  • 15 drops Peppermint Oil 
  • 5 drops Rosemary Oil 
  • 5 drops clove oil 
How to make it
  • We are double boiling!  Get that pot with water going at a rapid boil and put a heat safe bowl in the pot (you want it to sit on top of the rim of your pot, not submerged in the water).  Put the beeswax and almond oil in the bowl and melt together   
  • Remove from heat (turn off the burner and let the water stop boiling)
  • Add the essential oils listed above
  • Stir well until mixed
  • Put into your container of choice (I like old deodorant sticks)  

*I only uses Young Living Essential Oils for me and my family. Young Living is the only essential oil company that has a Seed to Seal Guarantee, so I know that the oils I am using for my family are pure and unadulterated.  If you would like to start your own oily journey and start living above the wellness line click here and choose "Member" to get started today or go to www.youngliving.com and follow these simple steps


Sunday, November 5, 2017

When You Visit A Farm...

I have partnered up with the Will County Farm Bureau to highlight some of their farmers as well as some of the programs that they run.  The opinions are my own.    

When you visit a farm you will - well, you'll learn a whole lot.  I reached out to my City Mom's coordinator a few weeks back after seeing this video.  

Here is the thing, why are people so inclined to listen to celebrities?  

I was part of a group of about 20 something other moms from the Chicago-land area who in 2015 got to tour local farms to learn more about where our food comes from.  It was an amazing experience that totally changed how I view farming and food and how I purchase food for my family. (Spoiler - I was the anti-Monsanto, farmers are uneducated fools, and I'm suspect to EVERYTHING you are telling me, person).  We wrote blog post and shared our experiences on social media, but I feel that there is so much more that needs to be done on this front because the disconnect between food production and food consumption is still vast.  And, with shiny new terms to describe the food that we are purchasing constantly changing or having very little meaning outside of being a marketing gimmick, how are we suppose to know what to buy and why?  
  
The one thing that was mentioned time and time again while I was part of the City Mom's program was that food purchasing is a personal choice that we make every time we go to the grocery store.  So, by no means am I here to debate opinion.  What I will do is lay out fact.  

But first, that question, again - why are people more inclined to listen to celebrities? 

Here is what I'd like for you to do, visit Illinois Farm Families.  And, I'd like for you to watch this video after you watch the one linked above. 

Words have power folks. What do the words "local", "sustainable", or "responsibility raised" mean to you?  I want you to think about that for a moment. 

Anyway, back to my farm visit ... I reached out to my City Mom's coordinator who connected me to my county farm bureau and within a few hours, I had a date with a combine set up.  Now, I do want to mention that many local farmers hold open houses, so if this is something that you are interested in checking out, reach out to your local farm bureau and see if there is anything planned in the future for you to check out. 


I met up with Mark Schneidewind, Manager of the Will County Farm Bureau, and his wife Anita at the farm bureau office in Joliet.  From there I followed them a short drive away into Manhattan and onto Kiefner Farms where I met John Kiefner.  He and his wife run a 500-acre farm where they produce corn, soybeans, oats, hay, wheat, and honey.  Additionally, the famous chickens of Roost 66 reside there.


I was immediately thrown into an educational lesson on combines after I was introduced to John.  He explained how his combine was about 30 years old (not one of those fancy GPS guided ones), and then he went to work making sure that it was set up correctly to harvest corn.  More specifically, for me to harvest the corn.  


Once it was good to go, I jumped into the combine with John and he shared a little bit about soil conservation and the methods that he has in place on his farm to assist stopping soil erosion, which he's been farming for over 35 years.  He relies on no-till practices to curb soil erosion and to keep vital micronutrients in the soil and out of the waterways, and plants grass buffers to control runoff into ditches.  One of the other really neat things that I learned was the John harvests his corn a little higher so that there is a little bit of the corn stalk left in the ground so that it traps the snow in the rows.  This allows snow to stay on the field instead of blowing all over it and allows that trapped snow to melt on the field where water is needed. The use of cover crops, which John utilizes on his farm, is also vital to soil conservation as it increases the amount of rain that soaks into the soil.   


    

 
It's all about that soil!

By using what is known as "conservation agriculture" farmers can save their land and money. Bacteria, fungi, and microorganisms all live in healthy soil.  Not only are they a natural defense against pests and disease, but they help create more nutrients for our body when we consume the food grown from that soil.   This is vitally important as the population grows and more food is needed to feed people.  John mentioned that there is going to have to be a change in how we purchase and consume food. Though companies like Monsanto are utilizing GMO's to increase food production for just that reason, the way that we use food needs to be examined on a personal level as well. 



Farmers like John Kiefner are doing their part by practicing no-till techniques, which leaves crop residues on the field to not only preserve moister but also by providing nutrients back into the soil as it decomposes for new plants, and scientific advances in agriculture are allowing the possibility of increasing crop yield harvest and creating plants that can withstand drought in addition to being pest and weed resistant, what changes are we, the consumers, needing to make to ensure that we, too, are participating in sustainable practices with our food consumption? 

Like I said, when you visit a farm you'll learn a whole lot. 



By the way, I want to share an article John wrote about the economics of farming here, because my home is a poly-sci and econ home and I find this information fascinating.  Maybe you will as well. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Family Dinners

I love hosting and attending family dinners.  I grew up in a home where my parents had an open door policy.  In general, the door was always open.  When we had celebrations or dinners, that rule was still in play.

Do you have regular family gatherings?  Or, gatherings with people who are like family to you?

How often do they occur?

I think that it's important to create a culture of hospitality, to define a family culture that fits my family, and cultivating a culture of conversation.  Conversations are so important.  Conversations can be hard, they can be heated, and they can be filled with love and understanding and compassion.  Here is the thing, when we choose to approach all things while wearing our tact and decorum hat and act like adults, realizing that not every person we speak with agrees with us 100%, we can have those conversations.  What do you do when the other person isn't willing to wear a tact and decorum hat or act like an adult, politely excuse yourself from the conversation and always keep your side of the street clean. 

As far as the regularity to which I host dinners in my home, I typically try to have something in early July, late August, mid-October, and late February.  This covers the 4th of July, my two oldest boys birthdays, a pre-holiday dinner, and my youngest son's birthday.  And, I do dinners - they aren't just parties, you are going to sit at a table and eat a meal (sometimes with many courses). 



It's a total "come as you are" type deal and you are getting me and my family as we are.  *in the photo above our kitchen is torn up and we just installed a toilet in the first-floor bathroom so people could use it the night of our dinner.  We're great hosts like that...lol!*

Great things happen when you gather for a meal.  If you don't have family close by, create your own and get social.  It doesn't have to be big, it can be intimate and you can still get your soul bucket filled.  We all need to gather, break bread together and have a meaningful conversation.  We need to feel a part of.  Don't wait for someone to do it for you, do it yourself.   

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Illumination Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum GIVEAWAY - 2 Tickets {sponsored}

*the opinions are mine alone.  I received 1 pass to attend Illumination in exchange for this giveaway and any posts I do regarding Illumination* 

It's that time of the year, again.  I love this time of year - ILLUMINATION TIME!!  


Illumination opens on Friday, November 17, 2017, at the Morton Arboretum and I have two passes to give away so that you can experience this amazing event. 






Details -


  • Illumination runs November 17, 2017 - January 1, 2018, *your tickets will be good to use on any day during that time-frame*
  • Doors open at 4:30pm with the last entry at 8:30pm.  Lights are turned off at 9:30pm. 
  • For a full list of events being held during Illumination, click here.

How to enter -

  • This is a GIVEAWAY - you have until THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9th AT 11:59PM to enter.
  • You can enter one time per day, for up to 8 chances to win.
  • To enter please tell me why you would like to experience Illumination in your comment below (you're going to have to do this via a computer, mobile devices will not comment).
  • Winner will be announced and contacted on Friday, November 10th.  Once you respond with your mailing address I will pop your tickets in the mail.  
  • Please, also, consider showing me some love and liking the Educational Anarchy Facebook page here. 

Good Luck!



{From The Morton Arboretum Website}
Tickets are now on sale for Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, a “can’t-miss” event returning this November with new interactive features that let visitors become part of the Illumination experience. Celebrating its fifth year, Illumination welcomes guests through a magical wintertime walk in the woods as 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees glow in mesmerizing hues of blue, green, purple, and magenta.
From November 17, 2017 to January 1, 2018, visitors will discover a series of experiences that encourage them to see trees in a different light as they travel a one-mile wooded path. Visitors can discover a grove of hemlock trees upon which deeply saturated colors and geometric patterns are projected and catch a glimpse of trees that appear to be gently breathing. Additionally, visitors can hug a tree and watch it respond or enjoy a dazzling show of lights that seem to dance in the trees in time to music.
“We are looking forward to our fifth season of encouraging our visitors to see trees in a different light, with new and returning elements and new ticket options to enhance the Illumination experience for our guests,” said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information at The Morton Arboretum. “Illumination will again surprise and delight visitors with luminous color, light, and sound that will transform 50 acres of trees into something truly magical.” 
New for 2017: The Illu-medallion
This year’s event includes new features to wow event-goers, including a new way to experience Illumination! Become part of the Illumination experience by wearing an Illu-medallion, a programmed interactive pendant that lights up in sync with the event. Also new this year will be timed admission tickets, allowing visitors to enter every half hour throughout the event.
Returning Favorites
Many of our fans’ favorite experiences are back for the upcoming season, including:
  • Treemagination – Guests will marvel at projections on the trees that make it seem as though the trees are "breathing" one moment, drenched with saturated and surreal fields of color the next, only to be transformed again with amazing geometric patterns.
  • Fantasy Forest – Redesigned for 2017, this experience showcases grouped white columns rising up between manicured hedges. Representing groves of trees, these structures provide the setting for sweeping beams of light that extend across the landscape and skyward in time with spirited music.  
  • Ornament Hill – Visitors will encounter a breathtaking and glittering vista of hundreds of giant glowing orbs nestled in the landscape and surrounded by thousands of points of LED light.
  • Symphony Woods – Updated for 2017, lights dance in the trees to classical music during this popular experience.
Illumination will feature live music on weekend evenings, as well as special theme nights. 
Event Dates and Ticket Prices
Illumination tickets range from $18 to $22 for adults and $12 to $14 for children. Discounts apply for Arboretum members.
Taking place through January 1, 2018, Illumination opens each night at 4:30 p.m. and runs until 9:30 p.m., with the last entry at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are available online, at the Arboretum’s Information Desk, or by calling 630-725-2066 ($5 handling charge for phone orders). Advance reservations are highly encouraged as nights sell out.
To learn more and purchase tickets, visit mortonarb.org/Illumination, and follow The Morton Arboretum on Facebook and Twitter for the latest event information.
The Morton Arboretum thanks PowerShares QQQ by Invesco and ComEd for their support of 2017 Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum.
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum is built in partnership with top experiential lighting designers Lightswitch and lighting and rigging production company Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC).
About Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum brings light and nature together for a wintertime walk in the woods like no other. Illumination invites visitors to see trees in a different light on a one-mile walk surrounded by 50 acres of the Arboretum’s trees, brought to life with LED lights, interactive elements and sound. Live entertainment and warming stations add to the wintertime experience. With accolades from local and national media including Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today, Illumination has quickly become a winter tradition, welcoming more than a half-million visitors from throughout the United States as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany since its 2013 debut season. The event is built in partnership with noted experiential lighting designers Lightswitch and production company Intelligent Lighting Creations (ILC), and features energy-efficient, eco-friendly LED lighting.