Friday, March 25, 2011

I Am A Vegetarian, But My Dog Isn't

     For those in the hardcore vegan/vegetarian community this might be upsetting. I am okay with that, because science and nature back up my decisions on what to feed my dog. Dogs are carnivores. They cannot digest grains, and are not meant to digest plant matter. Is it okay to occasionally give your dog a fruit or veggie? I think so. My dog will eat an apple slice or gnaw on a carrot every now and then. I don't feel it's hurting her, I've never seen the evidence in her heath or her stool. That being said, I would not try to feed her exclusively with vegetables and fruits. Nor would I feed her any of the vegetables or fruits that dogs cannot because they will make them sick. Do I think it's fair to subject an animal to a diet their bodies are not created for, nor is good for their health? No I do not. I think animals are wonderful, and I try to do my best for any I see.

     I personally get a great deal of unease when it comes to eating meat now. I get high feelings of anxiety, anxiousness, tenseness, unease, and stress when I go to the meat counter at a market. Bear in mind this happens when I go look at all ORGANIC meat, the very best kind, that was also raised and treated the best. So even the highest level of standards for meat put my at unease when thinking about eating them. I've seen Food Inc., I won't eat conventional meat. But when I look at my dog I see a little furry carnivore, cute and tiny, but a meat eater with no doubt. If I stood before my dog holding a piece of meat or a veggie (and I've done this before) my dog goes straight for the meat every time. Like I said previously, she eats the occasional small piece of veggie or fruit. But her diet mainly consists of meat. Not just meat though, but bones of different animals as well as the guts/innards or different animals. And she loves it! She is a happy, thriving dog when she is on this raw meat diet. When I tried switching her back to kibble and canned dog food to see what would happen, she refused to eat the kibble and she had massive diarrhea on the canned dog food. My dog hates dog food, and I can understand why! It is mostly grains and corn processed dog food are made of. Dogs cannot digest grains at all. Let me repeat DOGS CANNOT DIGEST GRAINS. So if you are feeding your dog grains please stop for the sake of your dog. They are not built to digest grains and it affects their health. Do the research online and in books, those who truly know a lot about dogs tell you they cannot digest grains.

     I have purchased the most fancy, expensive processed dog kibble I could find. It's still dog kibble. My dog won't eat it. She is smart, and knows what is good for her and what is not. Sadly some dogs do not and they eat kibble their whole lives because they don't get a chance to taste what is better for them. Feeding a dog a raw meat diet is not very expensive if you put some effort into it. Hit up big sale days at the grocery store and load up on cheap meat, which you can freeze. Call butcher shops in your area asking if they have pieces of meat that they normally don't sell, or even leftover pieces, that you can buy lost cost for your dog. You can go to a Farmer's Market and ask someone there selling meat the same thing - if they have any leftover meats they can sell you at low cost. Please make the effort for the sake of your dog.

     While I cannot eat meat at this point, I will not subject a carnivore animal to eat the same as me. My dog has no qualms about eating meat; it is what is natural and best for her. I do not think it is humane to force a dog to eat something their bodies are not meant to eat. Raw meat, bones and animals innards are the best thing to feed a dog - not a vegan/veggie diet. Please understand that it does not make you less of  a vegetarian or vegan because your animal eats meat. They are supposed to, and as an animal lover, you are doing what is the best for your animal. I cannot eat meat but I have no issues keeping it in my freezer and fridge for my dog, because I know it is what is natural and good for her to eat. And she loves it! If she hated meat I would think twice, but there is no hesitation on her part. Give her meat and it's gone in a matter of minutes, or with the bigger bones she gnaws on them all day. This is the big sign that my dog is supposed to eat meat. :0)

Our Dog Gracie Enjoying Her Meat! :0)

     Here is a link to a website that dispels myths about raw meat diets for dogs: Myths About Raw Feeding

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Packaging Girlhood by Sharon Lamb, Ed.D. & Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D.

     This is a book, Packaging Girlhood,I definitely recommend mother's of girls read. It is not always easy to read, as it gives you a look at things that are hard for any mother to imagine. However, this is information we as mother's need to know. We need to see what's going on beyond the surface and what marketers are really selling to our daughters. The world of pink and glitter from head to toe, being cute and flirty, wearing sexy clothes, doing everything to get a boys attention - those are things that our society is now teaching our children through TV, movies, magazines and celebrities. These things are limiting our girls. Each girl is so diverse, so unique, with so many facets to her personality. We need to embrace that and let her shine for all her unique and amazing qualities. Not tell her she's unique but then force her to choose between princess, diva, rockstar, punk, goth, or tomboy. Labels are not healthy in that form. I remember growing up feeling like I didn't fit into just one label, but feeling like I had to limit myself to one. Was I a cutie? An angel? Miss attitude? A bad girl? It seemed I could only be just one.

     Now I am the parent, and I am a lot more involved than my parents were. They basically took a nap during my growing up, which did a lot of harm to me. So I am determined to do much better with my daughter. Since starting the book, I've begun to look at things in her world a lot deeper. We don't watch TV (that's a whole other post!), so I don't have to worry about TV shows or commercials getting to her. Unfortunately they are often in the previews of DVD's though, and some DVD's don't let you skip to the main menu. You have to sit there and fast forward through all the previews. It's worth the extra hassle for me, to keep my daughter from seeing things telling her that her life quest should be to impress a cute boy. How silly! And yet so many mother's unwittingly are letting them teach their daughters just that. Marketers are sneaky and they will sneak those things in whenever they can. They want your daughter to think have glittery jewelry, cute shoes and the latest cute clothes is the most important thing. They don't encourage her to get up and go join a soccer team, or ride horses, or go hiking. They don't offer positive examples of girls who do those things - just examples of the girlie, boy crazy, glittered out girl.

     Here is a couple excerpts from the book that I think are pretty mind blowing: "Disney girls are women with Barbie doll bodies. And, like Barbie, one small size fits all. The form-fitting clothing of these heroines proves it. They have all the exotic made-up faces of women and the gowns and midriff-baring bikini tops of women. No real women of course - they're too perfect - but the male fantasy version." Is this what we want to teach our girls? To be some man's fantasy version of a woman? No! More from the book: "They arch their backs (did they use the same template for the Victoria's Secret bra ad as they did for The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas bursting out of the water scenes?), toss their hair, smile sweetly, and speak softley. They're pretty when they're angry. ..... Disney girls cannot resist a mirror. ..... Disney girls are not complete without a man. ..... A girl can't have her own story or live a life of bravery unless, in the end, she assumes her rightful place. She is not a Disney girl unless she marries."

     Wow! But all that is found in the Disney movies. Most of the time we just haven't really noticed it. Or you already have, and congrats on that! Packaging Girlhoodis a must read for all mother's of girls. We need to learn about what the marketers are trying to turn our girls into, and how to help them. For more information on the book, click one of the links above. You can check for it in your local library, pick it up at your local bookstore, or order a copy online. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Attack On Our Parental Rights

     Today I read a very informative, and a bit scary, post at The Homeschool Post about the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty that it is pushing all member nations to ratify. To quote from The Homeschool Post article: "The CRC Treaty consists of 54 articles which spell out what members of the Convention believe are the rights of a child, ranging from the “right to live” to the “right to privacy from parents.”  But to understand why this treaty is so dangerous, we must first turn to our Constitution to understand how treaties affect our laws and protections. Our Constitution gives a very high value to the treaties into which our country enters.  Article VI, paragraph 2 states: “all Treaties made, or shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby.”  In short, any mandate of a treaty takes precedent over all state and federal laws, including rights and protections in our Constitution.  Passing the UNCRC would take away many rights and freedoms we currently enjoy, and we would be giving governing authority of our freedoms to the international community."

     You can go to to view an article by article review of this treaty, as well as sign the pledge for the Parental Rights Amendment, which would protect parents and our rights. You can also find your list of Congressmen to contact about these issues. One Congressman in my state has signed the pledge, so I contacted the other 3 I could. If you are not quite sure what to say, they can also provide you with a general note that they have been using in their calls to Congressmen. I just edited it and used it in my emails. We as parents need to stand up on attacks against our parental rights. Please check out for more information, and also for screenings of their showing The Child in your area. This is a short film that covers many of the issues the UNCRC would create for families, and the rights it would take away. Let's all do our part so we can see the Parental Rights Amendment ratified!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Natural Wood Toys - An Etsy Shop (Amazing!)

     In my quest to replace as many plastic items as I could, I began searching for quality wooden horses. My daughter loves horses, so this was a *must* replace item. We had accumulated many plastic horses with plastic hair that now made me cringe. There are a lot of great wooden products out there, but we really wanted decently big horses that we could customize a bit, and all non-toxic. We finally found what we were looking for: Natural Wooden Toys! They are an AMAZING shop on Etsy with beautiful and unique wooden toys. We were able to customize the colors on our horses, and we ordered 5 of them. My daughter was SO excited to be able to order them! When they arrived we were super busy so I didn't get to open the box until long after she had been asleep. I have to tell you - when I saw them, I almost started crying. They are beautiful, absolutely wonderful and I am sure they will be treasured for a very long time!

     I was blown away by the craftsmanship and the lovely detail on them. They were exactly as my daughter asked. Not only that, but the sellers themselves were so wonderful to work with! They were extremely patient and answered all of my (numerous) questions, kindly and with as much info as they could. The entire experience has been great, which is not something you always get to say when purchasing online. Natural Wood Toys displays kindness and professionalism, which makes the whole purchase a very pleasant experience!

     I love the unique quality in hand crafted, hand painted items. Each is a bit unique and special in it's own way. You don't get that "same as everything else" type mold used in mass produced plastic toys, so each toy has a bit of unique character to it. And no one has two exactly alike.

     There are tons of customization options with the horses, which is great if you have a horse lover like my daughter who wants one in each color and type! :0P We sat down together and looked at the horses listed, as well as the color/design options sent to me, and picked out her 5 top picks. I can honestly say neither of us was disappointed! My daughter adores them!

     Last night I set them up in her room near her bed so when she awoke she would see them. I woke her up and sat with her, usual morning routine as she wakes up and gets up, waiting for her to notice them. I saw her eyes glance over them and then go back - "Horsies!" she said happily, with a huge smile on her face. :0) She got up and started looking over them, counting them, and exclaiming over them all.

    And we cannot forget the two smaller friends who came to live with us as well. My daughter held up the rabbit, telling me, "I love rabbits! I have been trying to catch one like this outside!" We have wild rabbits that run around this area looking for food daily, and she's always chasing them haha. The chipmunk is so cute as well, with it's adorable detail! So welcome home to our new adorable friends!

     So if you are looking for a beautiful and long lasting gift for your child or for someone else, please stop by Natural Wood Toys and see what they have to offer. You will not be disappointed! :0) The toys are all beautiful and wood is so much more long lasting than plastic!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Green Babies, Sage Moms by Lynda Fassa

     Green Babies, Sage Momsis a book I definitely recommend. It's got amazing advice for pregnant women as well as new moms. What's great about the book is that you can take it and apply it to older children as well. I'm able to take the information in it and use it with my 4 year old. There was a lot in it I already knew, but it was amazing to get another perspective on it. She's got great tips and advice, and actually color codes levels of "green" for readers so that if you cannot make a big green change, you can make a smaller one! I think this is an awesome idea because it helps people getting started make little changes for now, as they work up to the bigger ones. The advice and information is shared in an easy to read way, by someone who has done this all. It's great to get the wisdom from a person who not only lived the "norm" conventional lifestyle, but who also sees the need to live more eco-friendly and organically. The book is available on Amazon, just click the link to go there. I checked out a copy from my local library, which you may be able to do as well.

     Lynda Fassa, the author, is also the creator of Green Babies organic and green baby items! The site offers a lot for new mothers, and their stuff is really cute! I recommend reading the book for sure. So many new mothers get taught the same stuff from the conventional/non-organic culture, I know I sure did. This book is a refreshing change from the usual, and gives you a deeper look into things that are typical for new mom's. It's important to make really good choice for your new baby, so please check out this book! :0)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor Grennan

      Little Princes is a book I highly recommend reading! It's an inspiring and heartbreaking story of children who have been trafficked in Nepal. Traffickers are going into remote villages and convincing families to sell their children so they can get a better life. They promise them a an education, plenty of food, and a good environment. Unfortunately that is not what these children at getting. Most are randomly dumped places where they are left starving, others are sold as slaves. These children suffer and often believe their families are dead. This book chronicles the creation of Next Generation Nepal, an organization created to reunite these lost children with their families, as well as take care of them. This is a wonderful organization, and the book is a  great way to learn all about why it was created and the need it is filling.

     Please take the time to visit the site of Next Generation Nepal and see if there is some way you can help. Even the smallest help makes a huge difference! And it feels amazing to know you are impacting the lives of lost children. Take a minute to imagine what it feels like to be taken away from your family, completely alone, and terrified. These children need our support. Even by purchasing the book Little Princes you are helping, because portions of the proceeds go to help NGN and the lost children. This make the $10 well worth spending! I couldn't put the book down - it is a really wonderful book that gives you such a personal look into the lives of these children. If you are able to help out NGN and want to do more, check out their Partners page to find other organizations that are also trying to help these children. Two that are in the book are: Karya Nepal (the site is in French, you'll need to translate the page) and Umbrella Foundation. These groups have similar missions and are determined to impact the lives of these lost children for the good! At the very least, buy the book. You won't regret it! :0)

Friday, March 4, 2011

100% Organic Cotton Reusable Tea Bags - Great Idea!

     Once again, on my quest for organic and reusable items I realized that individually wrapped tea bags are a waste...and I don't know what's in/on them! That's a little unnerving, especially for someone trying to watch what kind of chemicals and materials we are exposed to. So I went on a search (on eBay again) for reusable organic tea bags. Oh, reusable tea bags are out there, but not all organic ones. I was so glad when I found GraceNotes listing on eBay for 100% organic reusable tea bags! Even the string is organic!
     Basically this is what you get in the mail. I love the tea bags and the little info on the sticker, but my only suggestion would be to cut out the plastic bag ad put them in tissue paper or some other non-plastic packaging. I'm not a big fan of plastic since it is very hard to recycle. Other than that, the packaging is very cute and offers you step by step info on using your new tea bags!
     This is what your tea bag looks like out of the bag before use. It's really cute; simple but charming with the beads on the side. You take a teaspoon of your tea and just put it in the little tea bag, then cinch up the strings and it's ready to go! You can tie your strings in a single knot if you like, but I find mine stays closed fine by just pulling it tightly closed with the strings. You use it as you would with a disposable tea bag: just add water!
     When I first tried mine out I thought I didn't use enough tea because the water didn't seem as dark as when I used the disposable tea bags. So I added more tea and steeped it in my cup longer. Boy did that make some strong tea! I did not need to any extra tea to it, the flavor was fine and just as I normally like it with the recommended amount. Of course, you can add more or less to your liking. But don't let the lighter color fool you, if you happen to experience this as well, the tea flavor is still strong.
     You can slightly see the strings with the beads hanging down. I had a small issue with my strings dripping a little, but after moving the beads up higher on the strings and then snipping the extra thread, my drip problem was pretty much solved. What I was told was that they are now making them with shorter strings, but in case you experience any dripping string issues that's how you fix it. :0)
     This is what your tea bag will look like after you've used it. You can let it dry out and then remove the tea, or empty and rinse it while it's still damp. There are cleaning and care instructions not only on their website, but on the little package as well. The price for these is EXTREMELY reasonable! Especially for all organic materials. On the GraceNotes eBay listing you can purchase one tea bag for $2.25 with free shipping. On the GraceNotes website they are $1.75 each + shipping, or $4.00 for 3 tea bags + shipping. Shipping costs seem to be $2.00 for 4 items and it goes up to more with the more you add. Still a great price! :0) They are durable, reusable and chemical free - all worth the cost!

     So please either stop by their website or their eBay listing and pick a few up. You can use these in a cute tea gift basket with a few different kinds of loose tea and a nice cup. These tea bags make a great gift and you are helping to cut back on disposable tea bags, which are a total waste! I believe even a few small "green" steps can make a big impact so why not start with these?

The Majestic Plastic Bag - A Mockumentary

     This is a great video, very amusing, but with a great message! Plastic bags are not natural, nor do they biodegrade in time. They end up polluting our landscapes and our oceans, contributing to the island of plastic trash. We do not need them, cloth bags are easily accessible and cheap. All it takes is for people to step up and refuse to let laziness keep them from helping cut down on these nasty plastic pollutants. To make matters worse, these bags separate into small pieces and get consumed by animals - many of which we eat! Do you want to eat plastic, because when you take a bit of that seafood that's exactly what you are eating. So many animals have been found dead with stomach's full of plastic. Take action to stop contributing to the death of animals and our environment - switch to reusable cloth bags!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Awesome Recycled Hair Clips! - Created by RECYCLEDLOVESA

     As I've been on the lookout for organic items to replace the non-organic ones that touch our skin, I've also been looking for recycled items that have been given a second life for us to take home. :0) It's been great how many I've seen! My daughter has lovely hair and she's outgrown the baby/toddler type hair clips and bows, usually because they are just to small. She also like unique things, just like her mom, so we went on a hunt (online) for cute recycled hair clips. Boy did we hit the jackpot! On Etsy we discovered a plethora of wonderful recycled items - including hair clips. Our favorites are from ReceycledLoveSA - these clips are totally unique, and absolutely adorable!

     Above is a pink bunny clip my daughter loves. We tried to get the best pictures possible to do these clips justice, but they look much better on the site!....hint, hint - go check the site ;0) I tried to buy clips to match my daughter's organic dresses, so that way we could not only simplify the mess of hair accessories in the hair clip box, but also have color coordinating clips.

     I think the flower shapes are my favorite, but I did see some other really cute designs on her site that we haven't tried yet. This one is perfect for any outfit with white in it!

     My daughter calls this her strawberry clip. :0) What a creative idea! These clips are made from felt and have an alligator clip, I believe, under it.

     This is our other color bunny clip. The very nice shop owner created this one for us by request - something I really appreciated! My daughter really liked the bunny clips so I was happy we could get them in multiple colors.

     This one is another of my daughter's favorites, mainly because her favorite color is green. I think the flower clips are very pretty and sweet.

     Ok this one is just awesome, I love it! I am a sucker for cute little animal items and this owl was no exception. It's so unique and super cute. :0)

     Yet another lovely little flower that was made by request. The shop owner was very easy to work with and very friendly. This is important because I buy and sell online a lot, so I'm always picking up on the attitude and communication of those I have transactions with. These clips were all just $1, and she has even more lovely clips for a couple extra bucks - so worth it! We received them quickly and my daughter asks to wear one of the every day. It's not very fun when I purchase something and my daughter dislikes it, so it has been great how much she enjoys these clips. The trick I've learned is to have her sit next to me and look over the items with me, so that way I know she will like what we pick out. I learned this after purchasing 3 sets of sheets she did not like, of course! That little experience taught me the need for discussing purchases with her, especially when they are for her. Oh and on that note, let's all say a big thanks to my lovely hair model, my daughter, who sat mostly very patiently while I repeatedly photographed her head. :0)

     RecycledLoveSA has detailed pictures and info on the listings, so you know exactly what you are getting and you can make your decisions with all the necessary info. She makes other great items as well: wine glasses, wine charms, picture frames, pendants, chalkboard labels, hats and more. So please go check out her store! Not only will you have a very unique item, but you are supporting reusing and re-purposing of things, which is extremely important to our planet. Even making a few "green" choices here and there has a big impact! So stop by and see what you can buy that has been made with Recycled Love. :0)