Friday, April 17, 2015

FriD.I.Y: How to Fix Frizzy Doll Hair

I was on Pinterest and saw a tutorial on how to fix a My Little Pony's hair. This gave me the idea to assemble links to some tutorials for different fixes for different types of dolls.

Fixing a Barbie Doll's Hair from Instructables

Fixing an American Girl doll

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wannabe Crunchy Wednesday: The Vegetarian Spectrum

I once dated a guy who shared with me his raw vegan diet. I felt completely overwhelmed by his encompassing lifestyle. I couldn't imagine not cooking food. His jars of soaking beans completely confused me. He said names of plants that he was eating that I didn't even know existed. He showed me his empty cabinets and mostly empty refrigerator. He had a one container with his "salad" and some chilled water. The storage and preparation of his entire diet took up a small space on the counter and spice rack.

I must have looked like a deer caught in headlights because he realized he had overwhelmed me. He then shared with me something that felt like is a secret in the vegetarian world. He explained to me that it was a process. It took him nearly a year to progress from the average American diet to a completely raw vegan diet. 
I sometimes think this is a secret people rarely share when discussing becoming a vegetarian. I'm sure there are some people that stop eating fast food and boxed dinners one day and then never eat a morsel of meat or ounce of dairy again, but that's not how most people become vegetarian or vegan. The majority of people progress to somewhere along the vegetarian spectrum. 
I love the vegetarian spectrum because it supports the idea that everyone is different. It supports the idea that people have different needs, wants, and choices regarding their crunchy or somewhat crunchy lifestyles. There isn't one diet that is right for everyone. 

My favorite thing is that it allows someone to break becoming a vegetarian into steps. If you are new to the lifestyle, you can follow the spectrum over a designated period of time to where you feel comfortable.

The vegetarian spectrum breaks down like this:

An omnivore is someone who eats meat and animals products.
Sometimes Vegetarians
At one end of the spectrum is someone who gives up meat occasionally. Another name for this is semi-vegetarian. 

My favorite resource for someone who is just beginning a vegetarian diet is the website Meatless Monday. The idea of Meatless Monday is that you give up eating meat one day a week. Just one day a week has impact on the environment, on the health of animals, and your own health. Even if you choose not to progress farther down the vegetarian spectrum, you can still do this one small practice to participate.
There is now a movement that takes the idea of Meatless Monday even further and moves it to the weekdays. This is called Weekday Vegetarian.
The next place on the spectrum is what has been called a Flexitarian which is also a favorite book of mine by Dawn Jackson Blatner. Another great book on being flexitarian is VBG: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good by Mark Bittman.
Farther down the less extreme side of the spectrum is someone who never eats red meat. Although it might be argued this is a form of being a flexitarian. 

A person who only eats poultry is called a pollo vegetarian.

A person who only eats seafood but no other animals is called a pescatarian.

In the middle of the spectrum is a person who does not eat meat but does eat eggs or dairy products. This person is called a ovo-lacto vegetarian. Ovo is Latin for egg and lacto is Latin for milk. 

A lacto vegetarian only eats dairy products.

The next place in the spectrum is when you enter being the traditional idea of vegetarian eating only a plant based diet. This person never eats meat of any kind, never eats eggs, and never eats dairy products. 

Now we are reaching the more extreme end of the vegetarian spectrum. The next place in this spectrum is a vegan. A vegan never eats meat, eggs, or any kind of daily product.

Many vegans and vegetarians throughout the spectrum also refuse to use any kind of food or nonfood products that may contain animal products. For example, most people are unaware that gelatin used in Jell-O, marshmallows, puddings, yogurt, and even nonfood products like shampoo is actually made from animals
At the most extreme end of the vegetarian spectrum is someone who only eats a raw vegan diet. This is someone who never cooks food but only eats their food raw.
These were all terms I was familiar with but while doing research for this post I learned of two more terms on the vegetarian spectrum. 
There are also people who consider themselves freegan. The general idea is that you eat what you can when you get it for free. The point is about eliminating the waste of food and is an anti-consumerist movement. There are many different types of freegans, some of which practice things that are frowned upon by society. I hesitated to include the term for this reason.
For some being a freegan simply honoring family and cultural traditions at holidays and not turning down turkey at Thanksgiving dinner. For others it means practicing dumpster diving for food. I wish I was kidding. I didn't want to end this post on vegetarianism talking about dumpster food.
But I decided to include the term after all because I actually practice a form of freeganism myself. Every Thursday my mother-in-law brings me a large box of food that has been donated to her church from various stores. Her church receives so much food that it takes a team of people all day to sort it all and get it ready to give away. Around 4 PM the church doors open and whoever wants the food may get it. I think this practice is far better than throwing it all away.
The second term I learned about is being a locavore. It's described as being a form of vegetarianism but this can actually apply to anyone regardless if they are a carnivore or vegetarian, This is a person whose diet only comes only from locally grown food or animals. When you keep food local, it cuts down on the greenhouse gas emissions from transporting the food. The more extreme localvore is someone who only eats what they grow. 

This post is an introductory post on series about being a vegetarian. I plan on sharing posts that will describe the different places on the vegetarian spectrum in more detail and that discuss the benefits of adopting a more plant based diet.
Additional sources: Treehugger, Jill Conyers, About,com

Monday, April 13, 2015

Musical Mondays: Cinderella vs Belle Epic Rap battle

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This isn't your usual musical video. I was on Facebook today and saw that Sarah Michelle Gellars's Facebook page was under the category Music. I knew I should know why but I couldn't remember. So I visited her page and saw the post for the the Epic Rap Battle video that she was in. I love this whole series but to get a big name like Sarah Michelle Geller is really cool.

That said....sorry Sarah but I think Belle won this rap battle! I still love you though. Would love you more if you finally agreed to that Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. I've only been waiting for it for years! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

FriD.I.Y: Repurposed Cribs

Have you ever wondered what to do with your babies old crib? Most of us store it for future use, give it away, or sell it. Here are some unique ideas for repurposing a baby crib.

Turn it into a child's desk. A Little Learning for Two tells you how to do it.

My Repurposed Life turned an old crib into a dog crate. The website has step by step instructions on to do this.

2 Little Hooligans shows how this crib was turned into a beautiful porch daybed.

Maybe you only have parts of the crib. Blue Cricket Design turned one side of crib into a magazine rack.

Apartment Therapy used the ends to make chalkboards.

With a little modification this crib was turned into a beautiful adult desk with storage. Source: Achados de Decoracao

This gorgeous bench was made from an old crib. How to do this can be found at A Diamond in the Stuff.

Tidbits turned a crib into a wagon.

For more DIY ideas please visit my new I Heart DIY Facebook page!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Do You Play the Single Mom Card?

I've been reading a book called Character Makeover: 40 Days with a Life Coach to Create the Best You by Katie Brazelton and Shelley Leith. I'm on Week 1 which is about the character trait humility. On Day 2, there is a self assessment quiz about how humble you are and when I filled out this quiz I had a rather shocking and unpleasant realization. 

A few of the questions ask if you feel entitled to special treatment because of your life situations or call attention to your sacrifices. The authors don't call it this, but to me when you want praise for your sacrifices, that's being a martyr.

I started to think about all the times I have played the "single mom card" to gain advantage in situations. I wish I could say there have only been a few, but I realized I use being a single mom as an excuse often. I use it both to gain things and to get out of things.

There have been a few times where I have played the single mom card to try to get out of traffic tickets. I've even gone to the extent of turning on the water works and crying about how I can't afford to pay it. I forced extra tears one year when I knew the ticket payment would be due right around Christmastime. Sometimes I got off with a warning and sometimes I didn't but the truth is I know I deserved those traffic tickets.

I wish this is the only time I could say I've used the single mom card for financial gain but I receive Survivor Benefits for being a widow. I never before felt guilty about this because I mistakenly assumed all widows and widowers received their late spouse's Social Security. This isn't true at all! I just learned last week that a widow or widower can only receive Survivor's Benefits if he or she has children. I know this isn't my fault but it's certainly an advantage that I have had for being a single mother.

I have played the single mom card often to gain sympathy. I'm divorced but since I'm also a widow I sometimes get extra sympathy points. There are times when the fact that I am a widow and single mother comes up in the conversation naturally but I do have to admit sometimes I have worked it into the conversation just to get a supportive reaction. There are times when a "I don't know how you do it!" is just the ego stroke that I need. I need someone to acknowledge, as my kids say, the struggle is real. When I'm feeling really needy I will tell my story so that I get an "Oh you poor thing!" I don't exaggerate or lie about a single thing but I have learned how to tell it in a way that is emotionally manipulating. 

I have used that I'm a single mother not once but twice to get out of jury duty. I have used it as an excuse not to be able to chaperone field trips, volunteer for various school events, help friends and family with things like moving, but worst of all I use it as an excuse for not following my dreams. I can't go to college because I'm a single mom! I can't write a novel because I'm a single mom! I can't date right now because I'm a single mom! I can't fill in the blank because I'm a single mom!

Certainly all of these things are harder because I'm a single mother, but to say I can't do it because I'm a single mom is completely ridiculous. It's absolutely an excuse. I might as well say I can't do it because I'm too attached to being a martyr. The truth is being a single mother is something that has caused false humility in me. I use it in ways that either hold me back or take advantage of a situation and none of that is healthy.

The martyr thing is something I tell my kids at times too. Sometimes it's sincere but sometimes I play it like a card. Do you know how much I've had to sacrifice to raise you by myself? Do you know what I've gone through? Do you know how hard my life has been?

Of course they don't. They haven't lived my life and they don't know what it's like to be a parent. Yet for some reason I expect them to be able to appreciate what I've done for them and stroke my ego for being the martyr that I am. I'm not saying they should be ungrateful but I shouldn't expect them to give me sympathy for something they can't possibly understand either.

Being a single mother is the way that my life has been harder but it doesn't automatically mean that my life is harder than anyone elses. It doesn't mean that I'm any more special than the other millions of parents in the world. Being a single mom doesn't give me a free pass to get out of doing what's expected of me and it shouldn't be used for dodging responsibility. I need to stop playing the single mom card.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wannabe Crunchy Wednesday: A Crunchy Mom Reading List

I was going through my archive and it turns out I had compiled a crunchy reading list last year. I've since found more books so will expand this list. I will be reading from this list and blogging about many of these topics.

Simple Living
The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs

Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Living by Georgene Lockwood and Carol Abel

The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life by Lorilee Lippincott

The Joy of Simple Living: Over 1,500 Simple Ways to Make Your Life Easy and Content-- At Home and At Work by Jeff Davidson

The Modern-Day Pioneer: Simple Living in the 21st Century by Charlotte Denholtz

All You Need Is Less: The Eco-friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity by Madeleine Somerville

Sustainable Living
Sustainable Living for Dummies by Michael Grosvenor

The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour

Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide by Scott Kellogg, Stacy Pettigrew, Juan Martinez 

Green Living
The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide to Easy, Stylish, Green Living by Josh Dorfman 

Green Made Easy: The Everyday Guide for Transitioning to a Green Lifestyle by Chris Prelitz

Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life by Ed Begley

Green Living For Dummies by Liz Barclay, Michael Grosvenor

The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age by Richard Louv

Your Brain on Nature: The Science of Nature's Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality by Eva M. Selhub and Alan C. Logan

Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home by Ren Loux

Green Living Handbook : a 6 Step Program to Create an Environmentally Sustainable Lifestyle by David Gershon

The Imperfect Environmentalist: A Practical Guide to Clearing Your Body, Detoxing Your Home, and Saving the Earth (Without Losing Your Mind) by Sara Gilbert

The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Your Carbon Footprint by Nancy S. Grant

Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Clare Walker Leslie, Charles E. Roth

Green Holidays
I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More by Anna Getty

Green Christmas: How to Have a Joyous, Eco-Friendly Holiday Season by Jennifer Basye Sander

Green Parenting
Imperfectly Natural Baby and Toddler: How to Be a Green Parent in Today's Busy World by Janey Lee Grace 

Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World (The Bioneers Series) by David W. Orr

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Teach Yourself Green Parenting by Lynoa Cattanach

The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Earth-Friendly Living by Jenn Savedge

Green Parenting: Healthy Choices for Your Family and the Planet by Melissa Corkhill 

Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child:A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments for Infants & Children by Janet Zand, Robert Roundtree and Rachel Watson

Be a Greener Parent by Lynoa Cattanach

Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting by Peggy O'Mara

Attachment Parenting
The Attachment Parenting Book by William (M.D.) and Martha (R.N.) Sears

The Baby Book:Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two by Dr. William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears and James Sears 

The Attachment Connection: Parenting a Secure and Confident Child Using the Science of Attachment Theory by Ruth Newton and Allan Schore

Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way by Mayim Bialik and Jay Gordon

Attached at the Heart: Eight Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children by Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker

Parenting From the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel MD and Mary Hartzell

The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp Md

The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful and Cooperative One  by Harvey Karp Md

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell and Thomas S. Cowan

The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children by Shefali Tsabary

The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart by Jan Hunt

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition by Julieanna Hever 

The New Becoming Vegetarian: The Essential Guide to a Healthy Vegetarian Diet by Vesanto Melina MS RD and Brenda Davis RD

Living Vegetarian For Dummies by Suzanne Havala Hobbs

Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health by Gene Stone, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Colin T. Campbell

The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet by Alona Pulde M.D. and Matthew Lederman M.D.

Main Street Vegan: Everything You Need to Know to Eat Healthfully and Live Compassionately in the Real World by Victoria Moran and Adair Moran

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Food Babe Way: Break Free from the Hidden Toxins in Your Food and Lose Weight, Look Years Younger, and Get Healthy in Just 21 Days! by Vani Hari

Urban Homesteading
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading, by Sundari Elizabeth Kraft

The Urban Farm Handbook by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols

The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter

Urban Homesteading by Rachel Kaplan

Your Farm in the City by Lisa Taylor

The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Eric Knutzen

Urban Farming by Thomas Fox: From the makers of Urban Farming magazine (Hobby Farms)

Mini Farming by Brett Markham

The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

Climate Change
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Global Warming by Michael Tennesen Global Warming For Dummies by Elizabeth May and Zoe Caron

The Global Warming Reader: A Century of Writing About Climate Change by Bill McKibben

The Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon

An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming by Al Gore

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis Paperback by Al Gore

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore

Climate Change Deniers
The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists by Roy W Spencer

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming: And Environmentalism by Christopher C. Horner

Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes the Global Warming Scam by Brian Sussman

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wannabe Crunchy Wednesday Guest Blogger: Simple Yet 5 Great Tips To Green Your Washing Machine by Katherine

There are quite a few appliances and gadgets in our homes that are simply indispensable. Washing machine is one such appliance without which it would be virtually difficult to run the house. In fact there are many homes where one could come across more than one washing machine because of specific needs and requirements. They go a long way in making our life much better because they take care of the monotonous and tough washing of clothes, rinsing them, squeezing them and then hanging them to dry outside the home. In today’s world where time is a premium commodity, it would be virtually impossible to think of life without these washing machines.

While all these are fine, we have to also to bear in mind that washing machines are also sometimes notorious for not being exactly eco friendly or environment friendly. There are many reasons for this. These gadgets have often been accused of water guzzlers. In today’s world where quality water is becoming a scarce commodity the last thing we would like is to waste water. Secondly, they also consume lot of energy and power. So, in this article we will try and have a look at 5 great tips to green your washing machine:

1.      It is always better to go in for front loading washing machines instead of top loading ones. This is because the front load variants can accommodate more clothes and in the absence of an agitator they are more energy efficient and also consume lesser water when compared to the front loading ones.

2.      As customers we should always go in for washing machines that come with the right Star Rated Appliances which are known to be much more energy efficient than the unrated ones. 

3.      It may also not be wrong to look at futuristic washing machines that use very little water but clean quite well using bead-technology. However, this is still at its infant stage and it would take some time before it hits the market fully.

4.      As users we should also exercise responsibility and care. Overloading and under-loading of machines should be avoided. This would lead to reduced efficiency and increased consumption of precious water and power.

5.      Lastly if you wish your washing machine to be clean and green at all points in time, regular maintenance and overhauling is extremely important. This will result in increased efficiency which will translate into lower power and water consumption. 

Author bio: "My name is Katherine and I am a graduate of the English Literature program at Respected University. I loved to writing and its my passion."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Musical Mondays: Thank U by Alanis Morissette

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I have become a huge fan of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. This past Sunday, I also caught an episode of In Deep Shift with Jonas Elrod featuring Alanis Morrisette. I have always been a huge fan of Alanis but to learn her story about her (spiritual) recovery from anxiety and depression touched me deeply.

In the episode, she explains in detail the story behind the song Thank U and how it was a life changing breakthrough for her.

When I searched for these links I also discovered that Alanis was on a past episode of Super Soul Sunday.

Learning all of this makes me an even bigger fan of her.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Musical Mondays: Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor

Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainer 

When I first saw a feminist article in an uproar about Meghan's new video I rolled my eyes. I figured it couldn't be that bad and they were overreacting about how sexist it is. Then I watched the video and I felt like feminism had been set back several decades.

There are many saying that it's meant to be satire but I'm really not so sure. Other people aren't sure either. The song lyrics are bad but it's the imagery in the video along with the lyrics that makes it so much worse.

Here's some links to various articles discussing her new video:

Meghan Trainor's 'Dear Future Husband' Video: Why My Kids Won't Be Watching It from CafeMom

Do You Parallel Parent?

I was on a single parenting Facebook page this morning and I came across a question that asked: Do you practice coparenting or do parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting? What is that? I had never even heard the term before. It turns out I've been practicing parallel parenting with my ex husband without even realizing there was a name for it. 

Parallel parenting is a type of coparenting where parents interact with each other only when absolutely necessary. When they do speak they have limited direct contact, it's done in a respectful matter, and they only discuss issues that directly affect the child's care. The name actually originates from the way young children often play. They will play alongside each other but not with each other.

Parental duties are assigned and the logistics of the child's schedule are worked out so that the parents stay disengaged from one another as much as possible,

This style of coparenting is done so that recently separated or divorced couples can recover from the split or it's done when parents are high conflict and no amount of time will solve their differences. It is also done so that parents can effectively establish their individual role as a parent before beginning to coparent in the traditional way. Some experts believe a parent must learn to parent alone before they can learn to coparent.

The goal is to minimize children from getting caught between the two parents' drama and to prevent any further emotional stress on the child. This way the parents can focus on their role as caregivers separately from their role in the relationship. 

The emotional stress on a child doesn't always happen during the actual conflict. In traditional coparenting, many times after encountering a stressful interaction with the other parent, the parent will be thinking about the negative interaction long after it is over instead of focusing on the child. Parallel parenting prevents this from happening.

Parents who parallel parent do not discuss the following topics; past or present issues in the relationship or divorce, legal issues, criticisms about parenting skills, personal criticisms of any kind, contested custody, issues concerning dating or a new partner in the other parent's life, or any other topic that may cause conflict.

Some parallel parents are using a tool called a "parent communication notebook." The notebook is used to write down the child's activities, behaviors, schedule, diet and any other concerns without criticising the other parent or telling them how they think they should parent the child. The notebook is passed back and forth when the child visits the other parent. Other options are using snail mail, fax, email, and text messaging in the same way that the parent communication notebook is used. 

Not all parents need to to parallel parent. Some are able to coparent effectively right away. These parents are called cooperative coparents.  High conflict parents do what is called conflictual coparenting. The reasons parents have conflict can vary. Sometimes it's because they simply cannot along or have unresolved issues but sometimes it's because they simply have different philosophies about parenting and have different parenting styles.

Parents also do not have to stick to one style of coparenting. Some begin by parallel parenting and as they heal from the divorce they gradually move to a more traditional style of coparenting. Other couples try traditional coparenting from the start but due to never ending drama and conflict they decide change to parallel parenting instead. 

Many parents will naturally progress to parallel parenting simply because after time they simply don't have anything to say to each other unless it's regarding the child. 

It's also possible for only one parent to practice parallel parenting strategies. It's certainly more difficult if both parents aren't in agreement about parallel parenting, but one parent can refuse to engage in the other's drama by disengaging whenever they attempt to discuss anything other than the child. Any attempts to discuss anything unrelated to the child is simply shut down or the person ends the conversation. They may also choose to interact with the other parent only through email or text messaging. 


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