Sunday, December 7, 2008

Give Us This Day, Our Daily Bread

...and make it Organic Whole Wheat Bread, please!

"In all times and among all nations bread has been regarded as the staff of life, ..... Among free and civilized peoples the head of the family is known as the breadwinner. And for close upon two thousand years Christians of all denominations have had and still have one prayer in common - the Lord's Prayer; that they may be given their daily bread..." exerpt Stella Standard Our Daily Bread, pub 1970.

Going "Back To Basics" for me means learning how to cook all over again. My Mother was skilled at industrial age cooking. She always said, "Leave it to professionals. If it's in a jar, can or box, it was made by professionals!" Well, I know it's time to get back to healthy eating and she'd cringe today if she knew all of the chemicals that's in those "professional foods" now.

My first attempt (maybe beginners luck?) at making bread and it's a success! I'm very happy! Because at $3.87 a loaf at walmart it's just silly to keep paying that when bread is so easy to make yourself for pennies a loaf! So that's what I'm going to do.

I used a recipe from a cookbook called Our Daily Bread by Stella Standard. A friend of mine was given this book in 1974! It's got every kind of bread you could ask for and the style of the recipes' directions are written for the beginner for sure (I oughtta know, eh?).

Organic Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

1 envelope yeast

1/4 cup lukewarm water

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup of hot water

3 tablespoons sweet butter

1 tablespoon salt

3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp mace (optional)

1. Combine yeast, lukewarm water and brown sugar, set aside until frothy.
2. Add butter to hot water, set aside until room temperature.

3. Combine yeast and butter waters together.
4. Add water to flour and beat (I had to use my hands to mix)
5. Put in a bowl, sitting in a dishpan of hot water and cover with a towl until it's double in size, approximately 1 hour.
6. Flour surface of counter, knead dough hard for 1 minute, roll and place into a greased 3x5x9 bread pan and put back into hot water in dishpan for second Linkrising.
7. Once dough has risen above and slightly rounded the edge of the pan, place in center of cold oven and set for 400 degrees.

8. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat 325 degrees for 35 minutes more.

9. When done, remove from oven and turn onto breadboard and cover loosely until cooled.

10. Enjoy!
Even the family was impressed. I'll get more efficient and try different versions as I go back to the Foxfire days! Well, one episode of Little House on the Prairie reminds me that I don't want it to go back that far, but I'm willing to learn it just in case!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Identity Theft! But In A Good Way

Today, I shall invoke the persona of a foodie blogger! Namely, my friend Judy at NoFearEntertaining who's inspired me to bake cookies!

Since my son helped me, we'll add an entry for todays' homeschool lesson as "home ec" to boot!

Here's the recipe we used:
2C butter (4 sticks-softened)
3C powdered sugar
2 eggs
2t vanilla extract
4C all purpose flour
2t baking soda
2t cream of tartar
1/2t salt

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. In a separate (large) bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Then add butter mixture to dry ingredients. Mix well into dough. Form dough into two balls and refridgerate one hour. Flour surface and roll cookie dough out to 1/4" thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters and place on baking sheet (I use a silpat liner-so great!) Bake at 400 F for 8 minutes. Remove and place on cooling rack or surface. Frost when cool.

Frosting: Mix 4C powdered sugar with about 4 tablespoons of water (give or take a few drops) until desired consistency. Then decorate before icing dries.

Yields: Well, it depends on how big you like your cookies! But this is how many ours makes:

Hmmm, might be a few missing???
They were good too!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's Your Fettish?

Mine is BARNS! You've got to see this wonderful collection Barns in Northern California and the Central Sierra Foothills. Copperopolis is now famous for Deborah's videos! Thanks Deb!

read more | digg story

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Doctors Orders and a mess

Today was an adventure in medical care! Yesterday, our 9yro decides to jump the couch and land on his foot wrong. Squeeling and blame commence when he says it was his older brother's fault, of course! Nevermind, we're watching it all night and the bump on the top of his foot turns into a bruise. I'm thinking it's broken, so thismorning we're off to the doctor for x rays. Thank goodness it's just a sprain and 100 bucks later, we're back at home with tylenol and crutches. A little clumsy, he tries to do things for himself and there's a little trail of goodies behind him. On the floor, counter, couch, coffee table, you get the picture. So what better topic to post today, than that of the all powerful all purpose cleaner recipe! Well, I thought I'd give you a few extra just for coming by.
In my never ending quest for simple and easy home cleaning tips, I'm always looking for interesting or different ways that we all clean our homes. From the elaborate perfectionist to the weekend spit shiner, we all have our tips.
So here are a few recipes I found that were easy enough to keep around for every day use. Especially for days like today!
Soft Scrub
This superstar formula is as good for cleaning the bathtub as it is for stainless steel appliances and shower stalls.
1/2 cup baking soda
Enough liquid soap or detergent to make a frosting-like consistency
5 drops antibacterial essential oil such as lavender, tea tree oil, or rosemary (optional)
Pour the baking soda in a bowl; slowly pour in the liquid soap or detergent, stirring all the while, until the consistency reaches that of frosting. Scoop the creamy mixture onto a sponge, wash the surface, and rinse.

Window Cleaner
Nothing works as well as this formula for windows, so why look further? Besides, once it is made you can double it up as a great degreaser, especially handy in the kitchen.
1/4 cup vinegar (distilled, white, 5%)
1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent
2 cups of water
Combine in a spray bottle. Shake to blend.

All-Purpose Cleaner
Here you meet the wonders of washing soda (commonly found in the laundry section of the supermarket), and its super heavy-duty alkaline cleaning power.
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Deodorizer, Toilet Bowl Cleaner (I use this one for everything!)
Vinegar is astonishing as an acidic cleaning powerhouse. Heinz references studies that say vinegar kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs.
5 percent straight white distilled vinegar
Pour the vinegar into a spray bottle, and spray directly onto areas to be cleaned or deodorized. Don’t rinse!

These were just a few of the great ideas I found at Check em out! Their proceeds are donated to worthy causes!

Oh, and if you're interested in the book by
Annie B. Bond, author of Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999). You can get it from or click the link here:

Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 introduces "Frustration-Free Packaging"

How many times have you completely gone MAD trying to open a little pack of scissors? Or a Christmas present one of the kids just can't wait to open and you have to spend Christmas morning untying those silly wires?! Watch this video if you don't know what I'm talking about.

Thank Goodness recently announced their efforts to reduce "Wrap-Rage" with "Frustration-Free Packaging" is exciting!
Moreover, the "eco-convert" in me wants these companies to reduce the amount of packaging used for products for the betterment of our environment.

Amazon, in conjunction with leading manufacturers will begin to deliver products inside smaller, easy to open, recyclable cardboard boxes with much less packaging material (and none of those clamshell plastic packages or wire ties!)

Check out these best-selling items with the new packaging and make sure to see what others are saying about it! Suprising viewpoints!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Great NEW Tips: Energy, Money - 25 simple ways to save

I always appreciate great tips on how to save money!!!

Clean the coils behind or underneath your refrigerator with a tapered appliance brush to keep it running efficiently.

Skip prerinsing dishes. Our tests have found that it¹s unnecessary, and you'll save up to 6,500 gallons of water per year.

Opt for the cold-water wash cycle and save about $60 a year.

Put your PC to sleep. Save $25 to $75 each year by using the system standby or hibernating feature on your computer.

Plug electronics into a power strip so that you can turn them all off at once.

Don't overload the dryer. Clothes will take longer to dry, and they'll come out wrinkled. When the weather is warm, line dry.

Open blinds and shades on cold days. Solar heat gain can raise interior temperature significantly. But close them at night to minimize heat loss.

Dust off the slow cooker. You'll use a lot less energy than cooking a meal across several burners and in the oven.

Keep car tires properly inflated. In our tests of a Toyota Camry, fuel efficiency dropped 1.3 mpg when the tires were deflated by 10 psi.

See whether your utility company offers rebates to customers who replace old appliances with energy-efficient models. Some states hold periodic "tax holidays" for purchases of energy-efficient appliances.

Lower the temperature a degree or two before guests arrive. A house full of people generates a lot of body heat.

Clean or replace furnace filters monthly during the heating season. Clogged filters force the blower to work longer, raising your electric bills.

String LED lights this holiday season. They last longer. Our tests have shown that they can save up to $11 per season.

Insulate and seal cracks and gaps in your ducts. That can help reduce energy costs by 30 percent.

Lower water-heater temperature to 120 degrees from 130 and insulate hot-water pipes to knock up to 5 percent off your energy bills.

Weather-strip old windows and doors. It's the surest way to close the gaps around openings, reducing heating and cooling costs by 15 to 30 percent.

Control outdoor lights with sensors or timers so that fixtures stay off during the day.

Install a high-efficiency showerhead. It will reduce hot water use by up to 50 percent.

Upgrade to a low-flow toilet and save 4,000 gallons per year.

Drain a bucket's worth of water from your water heater a few times a year to remove sediment, which can decrease efficiency.

Move the thermostat to an inside wall away from windows and doors so that drafts don't cause the heating system to cycle on unnecessarily.

Add insulation. An estimated 80 percent of older homes are underinsulated. Properly insulating and sealing your home can cut your heating and cooling bills by 10 percent.

Plant a deciduous shade tree on the west and southwest sides of a house to save energy.

Zone heat smartly. A portable heater in a room saves money only if you're willing to keep the rest of the house chilly. Wood-burning fireplaces can suck more heat from your home than they put back in.

Call a professional energy auditor. They use a blower door or infrared photography to pinpoint where your home is leaking energy. Some utilities provide free audits; you can also find certified professionals in your area through

This info posted courtesy of Consumer Reports:

read more | digg story

Fellow Eco-Converts: Please DIGG this story!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Charity Maness... "Our Children Are Our Future!"


The Mark Twain Union Elementary School District Trustee race is on! Charity Maness is saying what parents want to hear. In our recent phone interview, Charity explained the concerns and challenges the school district is facing.Read about Charity and her mission HERE

read more | digg story

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Copperopolis: A Home For Your Heart

I can hardly believe that just two years ago when we purchased the property, the house that we were building was estimated to re-sell for nearly $600,000. And rightly so. It's in a beautiful area that people are flocking to for it's vacation-like lifestyle and heavenly scenery. So close to the San Francisco Bay Area that many commuters are just 45 to 50 minutes from their jobs and able to afford a country lifestyle too.

This new custom home is just $359,000 now, an incredibly affordable 2 acre parcel great for a small ranch, horses or small vineyard. Lots of room for big toys like RV's, boats, etc!

It's approximately 2,100 sqft with 3 large bedrooms and a den that can be used as a bedroom. 2.5 bathrooms and the best part..... an oversized garage for more than two toys, uh, I mean cars honey.

The Great Room is very large and inviting and the focal point (and my favorite part of the house) is the kitchen. With it's granite counters, 16" tile flooring, custom cabinetry and top of the line appliances, you may just take up professional cooking! Most of the furniture is brand new and is negotiable.

With so much to do around Lake Tulloch and Yosemite Valley just minutes away, it's not going to last.

If you'd like to learn more about this area, check out this site Copperopolis Lens on Squidoo!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Vote Won't Count?

I have heard these excuses for not voting your conscience and I think it's high time ignorant Americans STOP voting for the name most heard, the candidate my parents are voting for, or vote for the lesser of the two evils and start researching all the issues and who you SHOULD vote for!

It's our duty living in this democratic country! It's our second job to come home from work and check the independent news (not the propaganda on network tv!) and be activists for our Freedom.

As the elections draw near, I find that people still have the same excuses.

Two Common Myths about elections:
"I can't vote for anyone else, I'm a registered Dem/Rep!"
No matter which party you belong to, you still may vote for another one. I'm a Republican but often vote outside my party due to lack of a worthy candidate.

"I'll be throwing my vote away if I vote for someone who's not in the top two spots!" Not true and very very UNAMERICAN to think that way. It's YOUR choice whom you vote for. Do your homework and make sure that candidate is worthy of YOUR vote! I'll be voting for Ralph Nader. I would be writing in Ron Paul, but he's now backing Ralph Nader and so will I.

Today, ironically, is Constitution Day. Here is a video that will get you to think on your feet about what it means to be an American!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This climate zone map is perfect for gardeners anywhere

I live in Copperopolis, Ca in the sierra foothills and it's hard to figure out which climate zone we're in here in order to choose the right plants and trees for our lot.

So, I've asked a few garden centers around Sonora and Angels Camp and they're all a bit different than my town. I searched the internet for some good maps and found a very detailed zone map at

I didn't know there were so many zones! This is very detailed and that's what I needed. I've figured out that I'm in zone 19 and now I can go plant!

Oh, but rest assured, I'm buying plants from OSH so I have a guarantee! (Just in case!)
You can see how dry it is up here in the summer at

read more digg story

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Human Powered Car To Replace Electric Cars

Watch out Hummer, here comes the Rhoades Car!

While browsing the site, I saw an ad for this car. First, I giggled. Out loud! Then, it intrigued me. I just had to click the ad!

Next, I was watching a video that looked like a jeep wrangler commercial! All terrain? Yup! Street legal? Uh hu! Even a cargo or taxi version!!

There just aren't enough words to describe this, you've got to go and see it!

Click the link below and watch the various videos available from political action groups, news segments and customers! Don't forget to come back and tell us if you got one!

Take a look at different body options (like the couch bike!) or even rent one here:

I'm just having fun today! How bout you?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Small town of Copperopolis is attracting new professionals!

Ok, this may not be the "greenest" news, but I'm happy to see new professionals being attracted to my little town! Doctors are greatly needed in our community and Dr. Paul Nguyen, MD will be welcomed with open arms! Read more below:

read more digg story

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Do You Like Your Fish? Marinated In Crude?

Hello All!
Just wanted to quickly post a video I think every eco-convert (and people who should be eco-converts) should see. Especially if you're paying any attention to the environmental issues in this 2008 election year.

Did you know, just last week John McCain was scheduled to appear at a rally in Louisiana to support offshore oil drilling when suddenly, an oil leak in the Mississippi River sprang! Of course he had to cancel his date but he's still doing his job for those 30 lobbyists who have virtually paid for his presidential campaign. Get mad! Then watch the video below to see WHY he's FOR offshore drilling and giving huge tax breaks to those oil companies!

Watch this video and forward to anyone that votes! (If video does not appear, CLICK HERE!)

Monday, July 7, 2008

What Do Those Plastic Recycling Numbers Mean?

I recently moved away from one of the best recycling facilities in the U.S. where literally everything could be recycled. Now I'm having to re-learn the numbers on plastics and different types of paper products my local community will accept.

I've found a tidy list on today that will work perfect! I'm going to print out this list and put it on the fridge for everyone to learn. (Getting everyone in the house to cooperate is another story!) I'll write the numbers on the plastic recycling bin to help.

For plastics, recycling numbers usually appear on the bottom of containers.
Usually recyclable:
1. PET - 2-liter and mouthwash bottles, boil-in-bag pouches.
2. HDPE - milk jugs, trash bags, detergent bottles, some yogurt cups.
Sometimes recyclable:
3. PVC - cooking-oil bottles, meat packaging, office binders.
4. LDPE - grocery bags, produce bags, food wrap.
5. PP - diapers, straws, yogurt containers.
6. PS - CD cases, egg cartons, Styrofoam.
Not so much...
7. Other - other types of plastic, plus things made from more than one type of plastic (see below).
Bioplastics (7, and marked as either compostable or biodegradable):
7. Compostable Plastic - is nontoxic and breaks down as fast as paper in compost.
7. Biodegradable Plastic - may contain toxins, so you have to send it to a special composting facility (enter compost and your zip at Earth911, see below).

Commonly questioned items:

Container Caps - typically different plastics than the container; take 'em off, check the # inside, and either recycle or throw them away.

Grocery Bags - reuse them first! You usually can't recycle them curbside, but some supermarkets have bins in-store. Check out these reusable canvas bags from, very good and very inexpensive! Reusable Grocery Tote Bag 5 Pack Combo or Try these bags that are made from recycled plastic that I recently started using. They have a nice flat bottom! - go here to find out if you can recycle specific items in your area.

This reminds me.... we also saw the movie Wall-e, and it really got my 8yro thinking about the "story of stuff" video. (If you haven't seen this one yet, do it now and forward this to your friends!) He's actually starting to save money instead of it burning a hole through his pocket into the toy store!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ouch! Some Sunscreens Don't Work!

The Environmental Working Group, has released a report of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens that says four out of five don't adequately protect consumers and may contain harmful chemicals.

I know that's the truth! I can't tell you how many times I KNOW I put on the sunscreen properly, even after swimming or toweling off and came home glowing RED!

It's even harder on parents who are running for cold rags and home made remedies to alleviate the discomfort of a little one who's had that happen too.

Why isn't this mandated? Where is the expiration date?

While sunscreen effectiveness is debated, all skin experts agree that how a sunscreen is used is just as important as what kind of sunscreen is used. Dermatologists say an ounce of sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas 30 minutes before going outside and should be reapplied every two hours, or immediately if you swim or sweat.

Common sense can also protect from the sun. Experts agree babies under 6 months old should be kept out of direct sun. Children need sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Get sunscreen clothing
Here are some tips about choosing and maintaining your sunscreens:

1. Choose lotions that are on the's safe list. (click here to check the rating of your favorite brand)

2. Choose an SPF 30 or higher for best protection.

3. It should contain at least 7% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for broad
spectrum protection.

4. Make sure you are not using a product more than 12 months old from the time of purchase.
Check out this handy guide to check labels before you buy.

I recommend covering up so you'll only need sunscreen lotion for the ears, face and that part in the hairline!

Try using less sunscreen and more re-usable clothing like these uv swimshirts that are awesome and protect against those rashes you get from the pool toys!

Enjoy your summer!

Monday, June 2, 2008

CFC Inhaler Ban-Is It Going To Hurt?

Thanks to president bush and his signing of the Montreal Protocol, we're going to join forces with other countries to clean the air of CFC's (chlorofluorocarbon) their harmful effects on our planet.

However noble in it's appearance, this document has serious health implications for those suffering from COPD or Asthma. Since the Montreal Act requires all CFC propellents be phased out by December 31, 2008, alternative medicines have been in the works since the original ban of CFC uses back in 1997.

Since then, there have been advances in alternative treatments. The invention of HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) inhalers has sparked controversy of their use and cost effictiveness. Also, the overall scientific basis for the ban has some scientists baffled. The Montreal Protocol was initiated to combat the rising rates of skin cancer possibly resulting from ozone depletion. The scientists disagree that the rates were caused by that, since the rates continue to rise each year even without having CFC's in most products over the last 10 years.

I'm worried that these new treatments will pose more harmful effects from these new HFA chemicals in them. They're still the same medication, but a different propellant. I know the CFC's aren't nutritious, but since they've been on the market for many many years, we're more knowledgable of the long term effects.

"The safety of new agents cannot be known with certainty until a drug has been on the market for many years." (Journal of the American Medical Association, May 1, 2002)

As for my family, I worry that these new inhalers won't be as effective to treat an attack. For example, my husband and 8yro son both have asthma attacks when an allergen causes severe symptoms. Their Albuterol inhaler will act within seconds to restore their breathing. They haven't tried the new HFA inhaler yet, but from what I have read, they act within 5 minutes to an attack, rather than 15 seconds of the old inhalers. That has me worried.

So, it's off to the doctor for a new prescription to see if these new inhalers work for my husband and son the way they're supposed to. I'm taking notes on the various names of these new inhalers with us to the doctor to make sure it's an educated prescription, not just one there might be a vested interest in/or a good drug rep with bagels came by that morning.

If anyone has tried both inhalers for attacks, please mention the exact medication name and what your symptoms pre and post inhaler were. Also, any side effects.

For more info, names of the new drugs and even a petition, go to

I'll certainly be back with the results very soon and we'll decide whether or not to sign the petition after some of our own testing! At least we know we can trust ourselves!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Let's Spread The Measles!


Leave it to the Germans to do this!
Get Wild at a Measles Party
Imagine being invited to a party where the sole purpose is to infect your child with measles. It's actually not all that uncommon in Germany. But then, many in the country are afraid of vaccines.

How to ward off Germans: Hold out a vial of vaccine.

Mother 1: “How is Jan? Did you find out what he has?”

Mother 2: “His doctor says it’s definitely the measles.”

Mother 1: “The measles?!”

Mother 2: “Yeah, why don’t you come over with Kerstin tomorrow afternoon? She hasn’t had the measles yet has she? ”

Mother 1: “No, but ..."

Mother 2: “Then come by. We’ve invited the other kids from the playgroup too.”

Mother 1: “You invited other ...?”

Mother 2: “Now’s a chance for Kerstin to get it and have it over with. They put all kinds of poisons in those vaccines. Besides, it’s better for them developmentally if they get through it. Could you bring some cookies?”

Lest you think the above is mere fiction, we at the Survival Bible actually got on the telephone for once to quell your doubts. “We don’t know how often they happen.” says G√ľnther Dettweiler from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. “But we do know that such parties take place.”

In other words, in order to protect their loved ones from vaccines -- responsible, incidentally, for the virtual disappearance of smallpox and for the radical reduction of a number of dangerous infectious diseases the world over -- German mothers would rather throw a party to infect their kids with a potentially deadly disease like measles. Chicken pox parties are also a highlight on a number of childhood calendars in Germany.

What gives?

Partially, the phenomenon has to do with a widespread German feeling that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger -- the corollary when it comes to dangerous infectious diseases apparently being, "if it kills you, you must not have been strong enough in the first place."

But Germans are also extremely leery of ingesting chemicals (more...), even in the form of potentially life-saving medication. And immunizations are not required by law in Germany for entrance to public schools and kindergartens as they are in the US and France, for example.
Combine the two, and German parents are confronted with a dilemma which appears patently ridiculous to most of the world: "To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?" Most do opt for inoculation -- but there are some parents who believe that kids ought to, literally, sweat it out. A strong tradition of homeopathy and natural remedies in Germany add to the equation.

“All of my kids made a developmental leap after they got through their childhood diseases,” says Barbara Kemter, a mother of four from Freiburg, who doesn’t believe in vaccinations. The former nurse treated all of her kids with homeopathic remedies through the measles, mumps, rubella and whopping cough. But she kept her kids at home, away from other children. Some parents are even advised by their doctors as to the right timing for a germ spreading shindig.

Perhaps not coincidentally, measles seem to be making a bit of a comeback in Germany this spring. Fully 1,200 cases have been reported in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia -- which plays host to 11 World Cup matches -- already in 2006. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the problem could easily become worse. Only 65.7 percent of Germans have had the second booster shot necessary to thwart measles.

But then, maybe they're already immune. Maybe they had the pleasure of attending a measles party as children. After all, with measles transferred easily via sneezing and coughing, a gaggle of playing children is a particularly effective method of sharing this disease -- which can lead to serious respiratory and ear complications and even a deadly form of encephalitis.
Another effective way of transferring the disease, of course, is crowded football stadiums and post-game events. And German officials have warned World Cup fans to get jabbed before heading over. Or, if you plan on coming, just find a German family in your neighborhood before you go. Maybe you can get yourself invited to a measles party. Don't forget the cookies.

Friday, May 30, 2008

NO! New York CDC wants to force vaccines on our kids!

Enforced medical treatment is an assault and a violation of the 14th amendment.

This article today about this bill in NY, is alarming. It's a red alert for parents everywhere (not just in NY) to collectively take a stand to protect our (and our future generations') constitutional rights!

There are several sources of information on this bill, but the one I found at was better at detailing the "behind the curtain wizardry" of this bill and what's really at stake.

The article reads:

"Worst Vaccine Bill Ever" Seeks Compulsory Shots For All ChildrenActivist group calls for defense of right to exemption in New York State

A pending New York State Assembly Bill dubbed, the worst vaccine bill ever by one activist group would see all vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made mandatory for all children including infants and toddlers.

Assembly Bill 10942, introduced at the request of Richard Daines, the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, calls for changes to the law in order to make recommended inoculation compulsory in order for children to attend school.

The bill would also permit the administration of vaccines for sexually transmitted infections to minors without parental consent.

(click here to read in it's entirety on the site)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Asthma - Do you have any tips for controlling your family's asthma symptoms?

May is Asthma Awareness Month.
My husband and my 8 yro son both have asthma that's really aggravated by allergens like pets, dust, frangrances, etc. I use green cleaners and don't use any fragrances around them, not even hand soap. I have to really keep a "nose" for things that might cause them a reaction. Because once it starts, it takes several days for it to go away again.

I'd like to share some tips that I've learned and ask for others to share more tips too. (If you don't know that the FDA isn't doing their job of protecting consumers, check out this site: at for more info.)

1. Nothing passes my front door without passing the 'pthalate or fragrance free' test.

2. Laundry, cleaning, dusting and vacumming all take place with the windows open, unless it's too humid outside. Then I turn on the a/c fan so the dust is collected in the filters. I also only use my shark steamers for the bathrooms and the floors.

3. Organic produce (as much as possible anyway) with no additives, preservatives or pesticides.

4. No visitors with heavy perfumes, cats or horses on their clothes. All our friends know this. We know a few smokers and they can't go outside and have a smoke and come right back in. They actually don't mind waiting a few extra minutes to "air out" before coming back in. Especially if they were smoking in their car.

5. Take hand sanitizer with you when you're out, so if you use the restroom you don't have to use that super stinky hand soaps in there.

With these changes we've made in the last year or so, my husband's been able to stop taking meds and reduce the use of his inhaler to only use for sudden attacks and my son only uses it if his coughing keeps him up at night. It's really helped and we even have a dog, we just have to bathe him every week.

Does anyone else have any other tips? Or alternatives?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ready, Set, Green! Finally, Treehugger's Book Is Here!

Ready? Set? Green! Finally, I've been waiting for the experts at my most favorite green site ( for this book!
"Living green means reversing climate change, but it also means protecting your kids and pets, improving your own health, and saving money. And it doesn’t necessarily demand a radical overhaul of your life–just some simple adjustments, such as switching to healthier cleaning products and driving fewer miles each week.

Written by the visionarires at, the most heavily trafficked site of its kind, Ready, Set, Green is the definitive (and recyclable-but I recommend using Kindle!) guide to modern green living. It offers solutions to make your home, office, car, and vacation more eco-friendly. For example:

• Using a dishwasher instead of hand washing will save you 5,000 gallons of water annually.
• Eating less beef will save you 250 pounds of CO2 per year.
• Washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot will save 200 pounds of CO2 annually.
• Replacing three of your home’s most frequently used lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs will save 300 pounds of CO2 every year.

Including advice on how to properly insulate your house, cancel junk mail, and choose fruits and veggies wisely, Ready, Set, Green will help you change the future of the planet and restore balance to your daily life.

You can purchase it right away from or my personal favorite is to save trees, paper, shipping and postage by downloading it to your Amazon Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle and you're eco-friendly..... it's time!"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Michigan Residents Are Lovin' This!

Bush Admin Forces Out EPA Regulator Who Sought Regulation of Dow

Click on the map to follow Dow Chemical Dioxin downstream. As provided by the Chicago Tribune.
An exerpt from Democracy Now's website: "A top federal environmental regulator says the Bush administration has forced her to step down over her attempts to regulate pollution caused by the industrial giant Dow Chemical. Mary Gade was the Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in the Midwest until she resigned on Thursday.

Last year, Gade used emergency powers to force Dow to clean up four areas contaminated with the cancer-causing Dioxin chemical near Dow’s Michigan headquarters. One of the areas had one of the largest amounts of Dioxin ever recorded in the United States. Gade says she resigned after she was stripped of her powers and told to quit or be fired by June 1st.

Democratic Congressmember Rahm Emanuel of Illinois said, “I’m surprised if anybody is surprised by this. This administration, from day one, has always chosen polluters over the environment.”

Here's a link to DOW's website where their slogan is the "human element" is where responsibility begins. Exactly. You've seen the ads on tv and although chemicals are a part of our lives, they don't have to be dumped where we live and breathe when there are better ways to dispose of these things.

The EPA is supposed to be there to protect US, not corrupt corporations. We need to make sure residents are safe and when their top officials are SHUT UP by the Bush Administration, it sends a clear message "don't mess with the big boys." We are the taxpayers who fork over the dough to make sure we have someone looking out for US and this is a big slap in the face.

Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization, said the EPA process has become a "bureaucratic quagmire" in which political considerations often trump public health concerns.

"With these rules in place, it's now official: The Bush White House is where all good public health protections go to die," he said.

Turn on LINKTV (click here for which channel to tune into) at 6:00pm every day for DemocracyNow news where you can watch independent journalists do their job of fair and unbiased reporting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

This Is Why We Shop

The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns, with a special focus on the United States. All the stuff in our lives, beginning from the extraction of the resources to make it, through its production, sale, use and disposal, affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues and calls for all of us to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something. It'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Click the picture to see the video. It's shorter than Oprah's 22 minutes of air time on her 1 hour long show. (the rest of the time is for commercials)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hip Hot! Pimp My GREEN Ride-Earth Day Special!

Earth Day getting old? Seen enough "go green" ads to throw up? I know what you mean, so today I've found something sooooo great to share with my eco-posse!

Once again, rap superstar and car enthusiast Xzibit and car customization specialist Mad Mike take aim on the biggest clunkers on the road, but today, will do something DIFFERENT! Arnold Schwartzenegger visits the gang and shares his enthusiasm at their efforts.

Click here: Watch The Episode Now:

(if video doesn't appear, click here)

You've seen the latest Pimp My Ride, you've been following the 12-step Break the Addiction program, and you know that climate change is real. So what are you waiting for? It's time to pimp your ride eco-style!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sick of Going Green?

Everyone that knows me, knows that I am FOR the planet. I'm doing my part for our Mother Earth. BUT. It makes me mad that all these corporations are making commercials that emphasize their wonderful, eco friendly, green, bio healthy ways when they haven't changed a single thing about how they do business!

For example, on cafemom this morning, I saw a "green" Coke ad. Coke? Green? Since when? For every Coke in someone's hand, they are healthier? I do think so! The last time I looked at the ingredients on a Coke, it said HEALTH WARNING on it!

Yesterday, an ad for Subaru, said it's now a zero landfill company. Really? Ask the garbage man if they do a weekly pick up there! There isn't a C02 molecule of truth in that one!

There's a plethora of events for this beautiful planet this month and it's all geared toward consumers. Buy this, buy that, and you'll be green. Here's a word to the wiser.. consuming more STUFF won't make you green! In fact, it's ANTI-green!

If you truly want to contribute to the continuation of the Circle Of Life, just educate yourself about products that YOU ALREADY USE and make a switch to simply choose better ones. Like garbage bags, they make biodegradable ones now. Shopping bags, get reusable ones and use them. Cleaning supplies can be non toxic or don't use them at all, use steamers! And the foods you eat, just stop eating fast food and buying packaged preserved food. And of course, get outside and take a walk!

I blog to share what I've learned about how to ECO-CONVERT your lifestyle without falling victim to corporate greenwashing.

It's LESS About Saving The Planet And MORE About Saving Your Life!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Growling Mad!

Our friend Eddie at the site has informed me today of some very disturbing testing results.

Recently, they told us about the non-stick chemicals scientists found at high levels in pets. That's not the only thing that stood out, though.

The scientists at the lab also found high levels of a kind of chemical called phthalates (which they tell me is pronounced THAL-ates, like PAL-ates, although how you get that from a word that starts with ph is beyond me). Phthalates are used in certain kinds of plastic to make them softer, and in things that need to smell nice to make the fragrance last. They're endocrine disruptors, which means they can mess up our hormones, and they may also cause reproductive problems and cancer.

Animals studied were contaminated at really high levels. In dogs, it was higher than 80% of the population. In cats, one of the kinds of phthalates was higher than has ever been found in people!

There are lots of different ways that we're exposed to phthalates. For one, it's in some of our toys. Soft plastic squeaky toys (like the rubber ducky you're always stealing from your human sister) are made with PVC, which leaches phthalates. And that smelly stuff my human dad is always spraying on the couch after he kicks me off of it probably had phthalates in it too (febreeze?), but there's no way to tell since the government doesn't make them list it on the ingredients (anyway, do I really smell that bad?).

Phthalates are also in many shampoos and cleaning products, and even some veterinary medicines. Hard to believe they'd let such toxic stuff be all over the place, isn't it? We're in quite a mess, which is why I need your help!

Meet me over here to play!

Thank you Eddie! We here at the Eco-Converts Blog are with you all the way! Sign up everyone! And tell everyone you know!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Who Is Earthman?

I have recently met a very dedicated and amazing person. He's known around these parts as Earthman.

Go Check out this amazing and educational website at
This is both "Hot" and "Cool"!! Click Climate Crisis Jam music video

Earthman Lanny and his band are spreading the coolest info about a hot topic! I recently had the chance to speak to Lanny and he's an amazing person. In addition to his live music concerts, he's currently visiting schools and educating children about global warming, what it is and how we can take care of Mother Earth and slow the warming down to the natural pace she intended! If you're interested in his special appearances, you can contact him through his website, or (since he's obviously busy right now) leave a message on this blog and I'll make sure he gets it!

Here's a partial list of his current concert schedule, you've got to go!

  • April 12 - 1pm North Miami Beach WaterFestSat.
  • April 12- Miami River Day 4-5pm - Jose Marti park in Miami Sat.
  • April 19th - Captain Planet Earth Day Festival Atlanta, Georgia - Afternoon, Chatahoochee Nature CenterSun.
  • April 20 Miami Springs Riverfest 2-3pm
  • April 21 10:30 - 11:30am Caleb Center, Miami - 1,000 children
  • April 22 (Earth Day) - Nashville, Tennessee - Belcourt Theatre (evening)
  • April 26 - Broward Audubon Earth Day, Ann Kolb Park - Hollywood, Florida
  • April 26 - 6pm Parkland Library, Parkland, Florida
  • Go to a Florida Marlin's home game and see Earthman on the jumbotron with Billy the Marlin talking about conserving water!!!!

If you get a chance to see him live in concert, or visit his site, let him know you're rooting for him and this cause. Share this information with others who might want to know this too (who doesn't-come on!) Oh, and tell him JoAnn said Hi!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Green Festivals - You've Got To Go!

Green festivals are so awesome! Like minded people converging and celebrating the greener side of life. (If you don't see the video below: click here!)

At Green Festivals, we’re celebrating what’s working in our communities—for people, business and the environment. Here, green means safe, healthy communities and a strong local economy.

Join us at the nation’s premier sustainability events, where you will see the very best in green. You’ll enjoy more than 125 renowned authors, leaders and educators; great how-to workshops; cutting-edge films; fun activities for kids; organic beer and wine; delicious vegetarian cuisine and diverse live music. Shop in our unique marketplace of more than 300 eco-friendly businesses—everything from all-natural body care products and organic cotton clothing to Fair Trade gifts and beautiful kitchen tiles made from renewable resources.

Visit the official site for Green Festivals here:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Top 10 UN-Green Products!

1. Disposable Products
Styrofoam, plastic cups and utensils are not biodegradable, which means it's here forever. Next time, get your coffee to go in a reusable coffee mug or thermos. Skip the fast food, and use glass and metal storage containers whenever possible.

2. Paper products
Properly managed, paper is a renewable resource. But many of us tend to use more paper products than necessary. Paper towels and napkins are particularly wasteful of forest resources, landfill space, and your money. If you do purchase paper towels or napkins, make sure you buy an eco-friendly variety. A better alternative is to use cloth napkins at meals, and rags, sponges, or towels to clean up messes.

3. Bleached coffee filters
Dioxins are chemicals formed during the chlorine bleaching process. Dioxins contaminate groundwater and air, and have been linked to cancer in both humans and animals. If you are a coffee drinker, make sure you buy eco-friendly unbleached filters, which are healthier for both you and the environment.

4. Product Packaging
How often do you buy products that are wrapped in layers of heavy plastic, bubble wrap, or mounds of packing peanuts? Excess packaging wastes resources and costs you more money. A large portion of the trash in American households comes from packaging, which contributes to our overflowing landfills. Whenever possible, buy products in bulk, without excess packaging.

5. Tropical hardwoods
Teak and mahogany are beautiful, long-lasting woods. Demand for these woods has increased their harvesting from tropical rainforests, where over half of the planet's plant and animal species reside. Help protect the rainforests. Next time you are in the market for wood furniture, make sure it's manufactured through certified forestry programs. Even better, consider purchasing products made from bamboo, a highly renewable resource that causes less damage to the environment.

6. Household cleaners
Many household cleaning products contain hazardous ingredients. Rather than purchasing products with scary warning labels, try to buy natural cleaners. They are better for your skin, your lungs, and your indoor environment. A clean home doesn't have to be an unhealthy one. Visit:

7. High-octane gas
High-octane gas releases hazardous pollutants into the air and could be bad for your car. Today, only one in ten cars manufactured since 1982 requires high-octane gasoline. Try to use the lowest octane fuel recommended for your car.

8. Toys made with PVC plastic
PVC plastic, the least recycled plastic, is mainly used in construction. But it can also be found in everyday plastics, including children's toys. Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a human carcinogen. Other dangerous additives, such as lead and cadmium, are sometimes added to PVC to keep it from breaking down. These additives are particularly dangerous in children's toys.

9. Incandescent bulbs
With relatively inexpensive compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) available, it makes no sense to buy old-style bulbs for most applications. CFLs don't radiate light the same way as conventional bulbs, but they use 75% less energy. Make sure you dispose of CFL lightbulbs properly, because they contain a small amount of mercury.

10. Disposable batteries
Most of the 15 billion batteries manufactured each year are alkaline batteries, which are discarded after their life cycle. Batteries that are thrown away and taken to landfills break down and leak chemicals into the groundwater. With so many electronic devices surrounding us, it makes environmental and financial sense to switch to rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries. Do your research on eco-friendly batteries; you'll limit the amount of toxins entering the groundwater, and save yourself some money.

Tips from my newest favorite website for parenting tips and super great information at

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I am NOT planting a tree for Earth Day!

I'm doing this!

You don't need dreads and a canvas messenger bag to join in the festivities at the Green Apple Festival! Free public events in New York City (Central Park), Washington, DC (The National Mall), Chicago IL (Lincoln Park Zoo), Miami FL (Bicentennial Park), Denver CO (City Park), Dallas TX (Fair Park), San Francisco CA (Golden Gate Park) and Los Angeles CA (Santa Monica Pier).

The third annual Green Apple Festival, produced in partnership with Earth Day Network and presented by Chase, announces “America’s largest Earth Day celebration”– a weekend of music and environmental awareness culminating on Sunday, April 20th with eight free festivals occurring simultaneously at landmark locations across the U.S.

Click HERE to see the official site!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Questions About Your Stimulus Check?

Everyone's talking about their stimulus checks. Myself included. While chatting with a friend, I realized I needed to know a few more things about this. What I found out really opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of people are eligible but don't know it!

  • What are stimulus checks?

  • How much will they be?

  • What do I have to do to get it?

These questions and more are common! Read on and then make sure to pass on the link to this site to be sure your friends and family don't miss out on getting their checks because of all the dis-information that's going around the internet.

This information was obtained (and filtered through my "average Jo logic database,") directly from The Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center for the IRS.

Starting in May, the Treasury will begin sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million households.

To receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number, $3,000 of income and file a 2007 federal tax return. ON TIME!!!!

IRS will take care of the rest. Eligible people will receive up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples), and parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17. Millions of retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment. DID YOU SEE THE LOW WAGE PART?

You May Be Eligible Even if You Normally Do Not File a Tax Return REALLY?

If you have at least $3,000 in certain types of income, you may be eligible for the economic stimulus payment.

You also may be able to use FREE FILE. See the website for special types of benefits or income that qualify below:
Especially for Social Security Recipients

Especially for Veterans Affairs Recipients

Especially for Railroad Retirement Recipients
Especially for Low-Wage Workers or Self Employed

Find out more here and visit this page regularly for the latest updates. Visit the IRS website here:,,id=177937,00.html

Once you've received your stimulus check you should know that Bush's intention was to "stimulate the economy" by asking you to spend it!

I highly suggest that you don't do that!

It's traditionally recommended that you put it in a savings account, pay off debt or certificate of deposit (cd). However, putting it in a bank with the dollar falling faster than Bush's popularity rating, would be like throwing it away!

Would you like to know how the rich, middle class and poor spend their money? Click to watch these two cartoon videos and you'll be surprised!

I opted to use last year's IRS Refund to start a business. I couldn't afford the traditional business with doors and inventory and employees. I began a home based business with just a few hundred bucks and have learned a new career. All the training comes with it. I am personally working with others who make six figures after only 8 years in the business. Another member of my team did it in just under 3 years on the internet.

It's just one option of many out there, but it just made the most business sense. If you'd like to learn more about the home business I chose, watch the presentation here:

Thanks for reading my blog today and make sure to spread the word about those checks!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour Is Almost HERE!


Prepare today!
Get your candles or flashlights ready!
Get out the Monopoly game!
It's almost THAT time!

Click the picture to visit the official website for Earth Hour!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

8pm EST until 9pm EST

Turning the lights off for Earth Hour is a great first step, but if you really want to see a difference, then make Earth Hour part of your everyday life.

Whether you believe global warming is man made or natural, it's absolutely necessary to support eachother in one goal, that goal is TO SLOW IT DOWN NO MATTER WHAT!

My Mother taught me to always take care of the Earth, because of one simple fact. Someone else is going to use it next! And you always leave it better than you found it! Courtesy, plain and true.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CFL Mercury Dangers, Real Or Hype?

Are you switching to CFL light bulbs?

I'm thankful a great friend has passed this article on to me. I had heard about the dangers of mercury in these bulbs and how our landfills would be affected because of them not being disposed of properly.

However, I hadn't considered the full extent of the danger they posed to our health as well. Especially about Autism. Mercury poisoning in vaccinations (old ones-not the new ones) are being blamed for the incredible rise in Autism rates. That's my biggest concern with mercury.

However, while reading articles about the dangers, pros and cons, I've come to my own personal conclusion that it's not all that bad. IF you follow some simple steps:

First, purchase the lowest mercury cfl's from the following manufacturers. They'll at least reduce the risks.

Phillips Low Mercury Britelite:

Second, know what to do if one breaks by learning more and educating everyone you know about these at

There's a lot of hype, created (I think) by lobbyists for certain corporations who would like you to think cfl bulbs aren't safe at all, or their bulbs are the only ones safe. (competition is being phased out by 2012)

So, balance your knowledge and be careful when disposing of these bulbs, or if one breaks. If you want to know more about cfl pro's and con's, visit: to see more.

A couple of examples of the info on the web:

Here's an article re-published by the Modesto Bee:

Last year Congress passed a bill aimed at reducing energy consumption. That's a laudable goal. Who doesn't want to save energy? One of the proposals signed into law, though, goes too far -- and, as I recently found out with my kids, even can endanger your health.
Lawmakers mandated the eventual replacement of conventional, incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. They're supposed to be four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, so it made sense to try them.

Recently, however, the law of unintended consequences hit home in a very personal way. It was a typical Sunday. The kids were running around. Then, a crash -- my favorite lamp. Yes, I was upset, but as I looked closer, fear gripped my heart. The lamp had a new CFL bulb -- which contains mercury.

I immediately shooed my children away. I was too scared to be angry. I then did what anyone with a toxic substance leaking into the floor would do: I cleaned it up.
That was a mistake. You see, if you break one of the new CFL bulbs, it turns out that your first course of action should be to open all doors and windows and air out the room. Oh, and everyone should leave for at least 15 minutes.

Didn't know that? Funny, neither did I. The mercury actually changes to vapor at room temperature, and can be inhaled, as I probably did leaning over the shards of the bulb to clean it up.

My next mistake was to vacuum up the little pieces, since I couldn't seem to corral them with a wet towel. Now I have to throw away my new $400 vacuum. Mercury can get into your vacuum and, once heated in the motor, can infect the air around it.

The one bright spot is that this happened on a hardwood floor. If it had been a carpeted floor, a study out of Maine recommends that you cut out the piece of carpeting infected by the mercury to make sure it doesn't get vacuumed up and start swirling around in the air.
Of course, I didn't learn all this until I spent three hours searching the Internet and talking by phone to the local poison-control office. All I could find on the actual box was that there was indeed mercury in the bulbs and a Web site to check.

So here I sit with the recriminations and the questions. Did my kids get exposed to mercury in the few moments it took to clear the room? And how much was I exposed to while cleaning it up? It was just a light bulb, after all, right?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of mercury in CFLs is less than the tip of a ballpoint pen. This is good, except that since you can't actually see it, you can't really be sure you cleaned it all up.

Should I pay to have a service come out to monitor whether I cleaned up properly? Should I have my family tested for mercury poisoning? It seems so silly, after all, for just a light bulb. But can you ever be sure enough?

It was my choice to buy the bulb and put it in the lamp. However, under the new law passed last year, incandescent bulbs will begin to be phased out in 2012, and people no longer will have a choice. I wonder how many of them will understand these complex cleanup and disposal procedures to ensure the safety of their families?

CFL bulbs may save a lot of energy and help the environment. For some people, they may be the right choice. But we always need to beware the law of unintended consequences. And for now, this mom will be using incandescent bulbs. At least until my lamp breakers are old enough to play responsibly.
Doane is a director of congressional relations at The Heritage Foundation.

Here's more on the subject at

While everyone seems to be pushing the use of fluorescent bulbs, no one seems to be talking about how they contain mercury. Are there any alternatives? A: You bring up an excellent point about fluorescent bulbs and their mercury content. Let's explore some of the issues: Click here to read more...

In closing, search for your own answers. Fully investigate (that's one reason this blog entry was edited twice) and then share your knowledge.
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