Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Crunchy Mom's Suggested Reading List

Simple Living
The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs

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

Sustainable Living
Sustainable Living for Dummies by Michael Grosvenor

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

Green Living
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

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
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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Tag and Follow Friday

Last week no one participated but lot's of people viewed the post. I'm really hoping this week will be different. 

What is Tag and Follow Friday?
Tag and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop. What is a blog hop? A blog hop is a meme where you share your blog links with other people. The purpose is to find new blogs and get new followers. The blog hop will be hosted by me, The Single Mommy Blog.

You do not need to have a parenting blog to participate. All blogs are welcome regardless of subject matter or format (Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, etc.) however they must be a blog not a social media profile. The blogs you tag may be about any subject.

Each week I will be asking a question for you to answer. This question will be something that helps get to know you netter. Answering the question will be optional. The reason for the question is to give the post content (it would be pretty empty with just a button and a tagged blog) and to help other bloggers learn something about you.

The blog I have tagged this week is Beard and Pigtails

This week's question will be: What is something you aren't good at but wish you could be better at?

My Answer
Cooking and gardening. I'm improved a little on the cooking but my biggest problem is that I get distracted and end up burining everything. Whenever we have spaghetti I always make garlic bread and whether the bread gets burned or not is a major event in my family.

As for gardening, I don't know why but I absolutely cannot keep any plants alive. I've even tried those easy to care for houseplants that supposed are so easy they take care of themselves and I still kill them!

The goal of this blog hop is to have fun and meet new bloggers! However, there are a few rules.

The Tag and Follow Friday rules:
  1. Required: Follow the host blog The Single Mommy Blog
  2. Required: Tag another blog in your post. If you can, notify the blog that you have tagged them.
  3. Answer the weekly question in your post. This is optional.
  4. Put your blog name and URL in the Linky Tools below. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts. Please share your Tag and Follow Friday post url. For example: General blog url Specific post url 
  5. Grab the Tag and Follow Friday button and place it in your post and/or your sidebar. 
  6. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn't have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed. 
  7. Visit and follow as many or as few blogs as you want using the Linky Tools and tagged blogs. But please do not just follow them. Leave a comment saying hello because without the comment they may not know you are a new follower. 
  8. If someone comments and says they are following you please take the time to follow them back. 
  9. When you start a new blog hop it's sometimes hard to get participants. As an incentive to get people to join my blog hop, if you participate your blog will be a blog I tag. I will only be tagging one blog a week so there may be a waiting list. Blogs will be tagged in the order they participated.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why I Want to Be Less Silky and More Crunchy

While I was researching natural living and parenting tonight, I came across three different terms; silky, crunchy, and scrunchy. I had heard the term crunchy before but not the other two. Here are the definitions:

What is a silky mom?
A silky mom may:
  • bottle feeds
  • uses disposable diapers
  • is pro-circumcision 
  • pro-vaccination 
  • follows traditional parenting and medical advice  
  • uses traditional baby furniture and toys
  • doesn't care if food has GMOs, is free range, is local, etc.
  • buys most products out of convenience
  • sends her kids to public school 
  • practices little or no green or natural living

What is crunchy mom?
A crunchy mom may:
  • has adjusted or altered their lifestyle for environmental reasons
  • practices natural living
  • is an advocate of natural birth
  • uses alternative medicine
  • is against circumcising
  • is against vaccinating
  • practices babywearing 
  • breastfeeds
  • bed shares 
  • uses cloth diapering
  • practices attachment parenting
  • homeschool or unschools
  • does homesteading
  • recycles
  • practices green living.

What is a scrunchy mom? 
A mom who is a mixture of crunchy and silky

I'm Not Happy With My Lifestyle
I apologize for the lists but it was necessary to understand where I'm coming from. Today I was cleaning my kitchen and I kept throwing cardboard boxes (from processed foods) in the trash instead of the recycling and I had the horrible realization that how I live does not sync with nature.

I take for granted everything. Oh I talk about saving the planet. I celebrate Earth Day. I even pay for recycling (yet don't actually use it.) Sure, I practiced some babywearing and have read a few books about attachment parenting but I can't actually say that it's my lifestyle.

I can hold my own in a debate with a climate change denier but I actually do very little to save the planet.

I use more than I need. I waste food. I waste energy (electricity). I waste paper. I don't check to make sure my foods are GMO free or if my meat is free range. Even though I want to go vegetarian, I don't.

I have too many "things" in my house. My life is constantly chaotic and I feel constantly stressed to the point it affects me health. I want nothing more than to live a simpler lifestyle.

My entire family needs gizmos and gadgets to entertain us. We have our faces in our computers, televisions, or our iPhones instead of with real people or in nature.

Even though I know ways to save money and eat healthier I don't want to make the sacrifices because it's just too hard. I make the excuses that it's too expensive, too time comsuming, and too inconvenient.

On the Silky/Crunchy Spectrum I Want to be More Towards Crunchy
I could give many more examples. The truth is I want my lifestyle to reflect more points on the crunchy list. I was to live a simpler, more green, more natural lifestyle. I want to be more crunchy than silky. At the very least I want to be scrunchy.

Don't get me wrong. There are things on the crunchy list that I don't agree with. I believe in immunizations. I send my kids to public school. I won't make my 19 month old stop watching Bubble Guppies. I can't go back and breastfeed my babies but I don't beat myself up over using formula.

Still there's so much on the crunchy list that I do agree with. Even though I agree with it, I don't make the effort to live a lifestyle that expresses those beliefs.

I'm going to change that and blog about my experiences as I move more towards crunchy. I want to be able to reread this post a year from now and say "I lived so differently back then. I'm now finally living a lifestyle that reflects my values."

Remembering 9/11: 13th Anniversary Commemoration 2014

9/11 13th Anniversary Commemoration 2014, The World Trade Center, Historical, Documentary Tribute


 Official 9/11 Memorial Museum Tribute In Time-Lapse 2004-2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Widowed Wednesday: !0 Ways to Survive as a Widow (or a Divorcee)

This is going to be a really short post. I want to start posting things to help new widows get through this life transition. I found this great article called 10 Ways to Survive as a Widow.

I realized as I read through the list that 9 out of the 10 suggestions hold true for divorcees as well. I would change "look forward to seeing your lost one again" to "avoid your ex as much as possible but when you see them remain polite." 

This last bit of advice comes from the book It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken: The Smart Girl's Break-Up Buddy by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt. A book that, sadly, I have needed far more than I care to admit.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Guest Blogger: Driving & Texting? Why Teens Should Stop

You know the drill. You’re driving behind someone who is suddenly stopped in their lane when the car in front of them has already proceeded forward. The texting driver is inattentive to the flow of traffic, not to mention missing all those signals of defensive driving - braking vehicles, balls or children darting out into the roadway, lights turning red, and more.

Teens with only months of experience in the driver’s seat are further disadvantaged when operating mobile devices, even more than when they adjust radio channels and chat it up with other friends in the car.

Teenagers are Not Infallible

Though most consider themselves pretty much indestructible, teens are at the highest risk of any age group, even seniors. And a small minority think they won’t live that long anyway, so why not take the risks? Simply said, needless, irresponsible mistakes can change their lives forever, and yours. Educate your kids about these actions, and the tragic consequences they can have on your family as well as their futures.

The result of drivers’ texting behind the wheel include: losing control of their cars, hitting trees and  other vehicles, even going off the side of a bridge. Many of these accidents result in at least one fatality; and all of them might result in catastrophic injuries for at least one person. The last thing you want to happen is have your teenager responsible for unsafe driving while texting with friends (or plowed into by a distracted driver who inadvertently veered into their lane).

What You Need to Know 

Texting while driving is illegal in many states and is classified under “distracted driving” laws. Sadly, these laws are hard to enforce and the punishment is nowhere as severe as drunken driving charges, even though it is as serious of an offense. This fall New York will have the strictest penalties - those drivers under the age of 21 caught texting will lose their license for 3 months.

If you are in an accident with someone who was texting while driving, you have the right to sue for compensation. It does not matter if they have been convicted of the charge.

•If you are able to talk to any witnesses, ask if anyone saw a phone being used by the other driver and request that they make a statement to the police.
•If you or one of your passengers is able to snap photos of the other car, make sure to look for a cell phone strewn about the front seat. This usually indicates phone use while driving.
•If your injuries are too severe to interact with the accident scene, but you remember that you saw the other driver on the phone, make sure that you tell your personal injury attorney that the other driver was distracted. Phone records and social media posts can be obtained to verify this information.

Your Rights As a Victim  

As the victim of a car accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and financial losses. You may request compensation for:

•Medical bills both present and future relating to the injuries sustained in the accident.
•Loss of wages currently and in the future relating to the accident, treatment for injuries, or inability to work.
•Monetary loss if you have become temporarily or permanently disabled due to the accident.
•Loss of retirement contributions due to being out of work during your recovery.
•Financial damages to your personal belongings, including your vehicle.
•Loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life.
•Other financial losses. This will be discussed with you by your attorney.

Be sure to bring your teen’s attention to texting drivers while you’re out for a ride together. They’re pretty easy to spot, especially off the highway where there are lots of signal lights. They’ll be slow to start and stop, and they’ll also hang back from the car in front of them - leaving much larger gaps than everyone else does.

Every driver should come to the realization that phones have voicemail for a reason and that responses to text messages can wait. You do not have to post updates to your social media pages while you are on the road, and you can wait to send a text to remind someone to stop and buy milk. Your life and the lives of others are in your hands (literally), and those hands need to be on the wheel of the car you are operating, and not on your phone.

Journalist Nicole Bailey-Covin looks forward to, with some hesitation, the day her children will get their driver’s licenses. However as a news reporter, she has covered some bad accidents involving teenagers. She suggest the best thing parents can do is to show young drivers examples of car crashes that happened when drivers were distracted by cellphones. The other thing parents can do is to set good driving examples by their own actions. Nicole can be found on Linked In.

Photo credit: State Farm

Monday, September 8, 2014

Musical Mondays: The Warrior in Me

The Warrior in Me by Lori Crandall

This video at first glance appears to just be a fanmade video of Xena: Warrior Princess (which just happens to be one of my favorite television shows.) However, the song "The Warrior in Me" has a far deeper meaning than just being about Xena and Gabrielle.

The song is about surviving domestic abuse and coming out stronger. The song was inspired by the show Xena: Warrior Princess. This is one of several songs on an album about recovering from domestic abuse. The entire album can be found at Lori Crandall's website or on iTunes

I don't normally link to iTunes or the artist website but because this is an independent artist and her song has been so inspiring to me I want to help her in any way that I can. I have never been a victim of domestic abuse but as a single mother this song has helped me find strength in some distressing situations.

Sugar Free September: Week 1 Check-in

The Goal: Fit Into My Pre-pregnancy Jeans
This is my Week 1 check-in post for Sugar Free September. Unfortunately I can't give my weight before and now because my scale needs new batteries or is broken. Nor did I take any pictures at the beginning of September. I found out about Sugar Free September on the morning of the 2nd so I just wasn't really prepared.

I can report that clothes that were once tight are now fitting comfortably. That's not really too much to get excited about though. It simply means what I call my "fat pants" now actually fit. Scale or no scale, I will know I have reached my goals when I can slip into my favorite pre-pregnancy jeans. 

Yeah, did I mention my baby is now 19 months old? I had to start wearing maternity clothes at 4 months (it was my 5th baby) so that means I have not worn my favorite jeans in....24 months, as in two years!? I am mind blown right now. 

Starting Out Not Entirely Sugar Free
Despite being completely mentally unprepared for Sugar Free September my first week went pretty good. Well I did cheat once but it was sort of by accident. My goal for Week 1 was to avoid any refined sugar. 

The first few days I did have some added sugar in my vanilla coffee creamer because I wasn't able to make it to the store, but after that I drank sugar free vanilla creamer. I know I probably shouldn't be drinking artificial sweetners but the idea of giving up my vanilla creamer was something I just couldn't stand. I've been adding whole milk to my coffee as well and whole milk has a lot of naturally occurring sugar. (My coffee is pretty much a vanilla latte.)

I also have been drinking flavored water all week. That has artificial sweetners.

Grandma's Weekly Visit
My mother-in-law (my late husband's mother) brought over some sweets like she does every Thursday. This included some cupcakes, cookies, and almond poppy seed muffins. Having these cupcakes in the the house has been torture all weekend. 

I justified having them here because I didn't want to deprive my kids but was shocked that they have hardly even touched the cupcakes. That means whenever Grandma brought over cupcakes they disappeared so fast not because the kids were eating them, but because I was eating them.

How I Got Tricked by a Costco Muffin
I managed not to touch the cupcakes but the almond poppy seed muffins looked really good and I figured something with almonds and poppy seeds can't be that unhealthy, right? As I ate the muffin I noticed it tasted overly sweet. It felt almost like I was eating sugar mixed with flour. 

The thing about these Costco muffins is that they don't have the nutrition facts on them. I didn't even think that was legal. So I decided to look up the sugar content. These muffins made by Kirkland have a whopping 42 grams of sugar! I was quite upset and vowed not to cheat again.

The Withdrawal Begins
I started having really nasty headaches on Saturday. These were fortunately very brief. My energy levels have been all over the place. Half the time I am bursting with energy and the other I can barely stay awake. 

The headaches went away but Saturday night through this morning I have had emotional withdrawal symptoms. At times I find myself angry that I'm doing this challenge. In my head, I start sounding like one of my kids whining that it's stupid and how can the occasional sweet really matter? On Sunday night and this morning I actually have had the urge to cry all because I can't have a cupcake. 

I know, it sounds like the stupidest thing right? I'm a 38 year old woman who is reacting to not having a cupcake like a toddler throwing a tantrum. It turns out my withdrawal symptoms are actually completely normal. When I went to bed last night, all I could think about was eating one of those cupcakes. This morning when I woke up all I could think about was those cupcakes. 

So I decided to do an experiment and let myself at least smell them. I knew this could backfire big time but instead the aroma of them satisfied me enough that I went on to have a healthy breakfast of egg and cheese sandwich using oat nut bread. But even that oat nut bread had 8 grams of sugar.

My Week 2 Goals
I'm starting to feel like I can't get away from sugar. It seems hidden in foods that are considered healthy. I never realized how much was in the whole milk I've been drinking. My 19 month old drinks the milk and it's just easier to buy all whole then buying two different kinds and playing the game of is this whole or 2% when pulling them out of the fridge. (I may even have to accept I need to use skim.)

Here's what I have decided for my Week 2 goals: First, high fructose corn syrup or ingredients ending in -ose.  Second, I will keep the number of sugar grams I consume under 20 grams. These, of course, are in addition to the Week 1 goals of no refined sugar.

What About Carbohydrates?
After having my breakfast sandwich and usual latte-like coffee this morning, I have already consumed 13 g of sugar so keeping it under 20 g is going to be challenging. I also have been wondering if I'm even more addicted to carbohydrates than I am refined sugar. While the idea of living without cake and candy is only mildly upsetting the idea of giving up bread and pasta sends me into a complete panic. 

I'm very clear on the dangers of sugar but I'm quite confused on the truth about carbohydrates. Many people that are on no sugar diets believe that the sugar in complex carbohydrates is just as bad as refined sugar. What happened the idea of good carbs and bad carbs? Is this completely outdated? I plan on finding out.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Weekly Round-up

The Weekly Round-Up

Welcome to this week's edition of The Weekly Round-up which is hosted by High-Heeled Love and My So-Called Chaos. You may have noticed the button is different. They have a new one.

Here's how it works:
Share your favorite reads this week! The point of The Weekly Round-Up is to focus on other people instead of just another post about ourselves. It's to build better community, share insight into what we love to read, and hopefully introduce you to a new blogger you'll love and adore! Wanna play along? Write a post with links to your favorite blog posts from others throughout the week, put the button in it, and link up with us on Sundays! 

Making the Most of Your Facebook Page
I don't usually post the same things My So Called Chaos does but Daily Blogging To-Do's FACEBOOK is so good I just had to share it too. The blog Pink Heels, Pink Truck shares some great tips on making your Facebook page the best it can be. It's part of the series #bloggingedumacation. Please don't make me try to pronounce that. 

It's Sugar Free September
Sugar Free September is about giving up sugar for an entire month. For some this means only sweets and junk food while for others it means any form of sugar including fruit and carbohydrates. The blog Live It, Do It! just focuses on the refined sugar.

Meghan Trainor's Songs Are Not About Girl Power
Meghan Trainor’s New Song Is Just as Anti-Feminist as “All About That Bass” is a post that explores how the songs "All About That Bass" and "Title" at first appear to be empowering but really are about objectifying yourself in the name of catching a man.

For Kids That Love Minecraft
Spaceships and Laser Beams has a great post on Minecraft Birthday Party Ideas. As great as the ideas are, I'm more than a little annoyed that this is described as only a boys party theme. Girls play Minecraft too! My 10 year old daughter loves Minecraft and would enjoy this party theme as much as her brother.

Fall Decoration Ideas
Fall is my favorite season to decorate for. I found this post from The Turquoise Home called 11 Ways to Add Fall to Your Home through my Tumblr.

The Onion Tackles Pregnancy and It's Not Funny
Normally The Onion does satire in a way that is hysterical but this article Tips For a Healthy Pregnancy fails miserably at being funny. Why am I sharing it? Because it's a great lesson for us mom bloggers on what NOT to do.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Sugar Free Spectrum: Where Do You Fall?

I'm seeing people having the same issues as when everyone was doing The Fed Up Challenge. I have noticed on Twitter that many people are reluctant to join Sugar Free September because they are getting the impression that the challenge has to be all forms of sugar or nothing. They don't want to cut out all carbs and all fruit so they decide not to join the challenge at all. This is very unfortunate because the truth is there is no wrong way to go sugar free.

Sugar Free means different things to different people. There is what I call the sugar free spectrum.  At one end are people who simply want to cut out sweets and anything with white sugar. In the middle are people who eat low carb, follow the gylcemic index, and/or eliminate foods with added sugar in certain forms. Some of these people in the middle believe in avoiding artificial sweeteners while others don't. At the most extreme end are people who cut out any form of sugar including all forms of carbohydrates and fruits.

Maybe you are willing to give up all forms of sugar including all carbs and fruit cold turkey. I personally do not do well with extreme diets so I am doing Sugar Free September by working my way though the spectrum. Right now I am focusing on giving up refined sugar. Later on in the month I plan on avoiding high fructose corn syrup, eating only complex carbohydrates, and possibly avoiding artificial sweeteners. I may decide to give up all carbohydrates in the last week just to experiment with what it's like eating that way. 

To me, Sugar Free September is about doing what's right for me. That means doing what's best for my body and my lifestyle. What is right for someone else may not be right for me. Here is a list of blogs and websites to help you choose what area on the sugar free spectrum is right for you.

On the I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program we recommend you cut out ALL sugar, including fruit (fresh, dried and juiced), for the first six weeks

Live It, Do It!
No refined sugar

Sugar Free Mom
All sugar, which yeast thrives on, was eliminated except if it was the 5th ingredient on labels.

Spoonful of Sugar Free 
No white sugar, no honey, no syrup, no “-oses,” and no artificial sugar substitutes.

Sugar Free Sheila
Follows the Atkins low carb diet

The Sugar Free Fairy
I eat no sugar, gluten, cow dairy, peanuts, or soy...I eat low-glycemic (also known as “low-amylose”) – no bananas or root vegetables besides onions, garlic, and ginger! I try to avoid most grains as well.

Year Without Sugar 
Eve challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her in a search for meals that would contain absolutely no added sugar- for an entire year.

Sugar Free Like Me 
Eliminate refined sugar from your diet. No breads, flour, potatoes, cookies, candy, cola, etc. Eat only low GI fruits.

My Year Without Sugar
I cut out white refined sugar and corn syrups.

Stop Being Sweet
Simply say no to all sugary junk foods and drinks.


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