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The 10 Day no cell phone check challenge

no phone 2My latest massive inspiration comes from a blog called Hands Free Mama. A couple of years ago, Rachel took it upon herself to not be attached to her phone. She has written a couple of very inspiring and self-exposing posts about how to miss a childhood or about the day she stopped saying ‘Hurry Up’You can easily miss a childhood by being a slave to your phone or by constantly being “in a hurry”. They will only be little once, and for a very short time.

Just after I read her article, I went in to be with my 3 year old. He wanted to put raisins on the bed and pretend to be a chicken eating them by pecking them up with his “beak.” I helped him spread the fruit out on the sheet and just after he started to peck them up and grin at me after each raisin, I felt the urge to reach for my phone to check. In that instant, I realized that I too, most definitely have the screen and news addiction that I so long for my children to refrain from. Uggh. Yuck. I check my phone God knows how many times a day. And who needs to check in on current events more than once a day? Really.

For the next ten days, I vow to check my phone only once – after the children have gone to bed

Will I miss something? Yes. Will it  matter? Probably not. I’ll have the phone on for if it rings or if I get a text. I honestly don’t receive too many calls or texts in a day, and when I do, it usually is of some importance.  If I hear the email alert, I will ignore it. I don’t really facebook, but I do check Twitter from time to time, so this too will I slough off. No checking Twitter until after bedtime. This goes for in the car as well. If I’m checking emails or texting at red lights, what is that saying to my children? We could be having conversation, and enjoying this time together, but I’d rather check in with my addiction. Also, they will remember what I do when it conflicts with what I say. When they are teenagers out there driving, I really hope they won’t be a slave to their handhelds. It also means I’m not going to be checking email or news on my computer when I’m home during the day either. So here I go. I’m hoping 10 days will turn into forever. I’ll let you know how it goes. First, I have to go tell my family. Anyone want to give it a try with me?

Natural Lemonade that’s good for you

A tasty treat the kids (and adults) will love

You don’t need no stinkin’ GMO high fructose corn syrup or sugar in your lemonade. GMOs, high fructose corn syrup and sugar, which are in almost all commercial lemonades, are bad for human consumption. This summertime treat can be made from lemon juice and maple syrup, which are very good for us, and kids love it! I made this yesterday for a passel of kids and several made the comment that it’s the best they’ve ever had.

This recipe is also the basis for the Master Cleanse which adds cayenne pepper and voila, if you’re willing to fast and drink this concoction, you’ll jump-start your liver, kidneys and any weight regimen you might want to follow this summer.

Natural Lemonade Recipe:

1 quart of purified water

3/4 cup of lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)

1/4 cup of maple syrup (NOT PANCAKE SYRUP w/ high fructose corn syrup!!!)

You can play with the recipe a bit. If you like it sourer or sweeter, it’s up to you. You can also make a glass at a time by adding 2-3 table spoons of lemon juice and up to a table spoon of maple syrup and getting the right mix. Drinking this first thing in the morning is a great way to kick start and clean out your system. And it’s super yummy to boot.


Community for those with Disabilities, as for all of us, is part of Natural Living

It’s only natural to know our neighbors

But how many of us actually do? Those of us who make an effort to know our neighbors gain in untold ways.

My friends and neighbors sat around outside a few evenings ago making music. The children played fiddles, guitars, and drums along with us. One of our friends was moved to tears, saying how much it meant to him to see that people still do this. Community feeds our souls.

Community, for all of us, is part of natural living. We can’t escape it, nor should we. It’s part of the rich fabric of our lives. Community feeds us, teaches us, and makes us grow. This story is from yet another perspective when it comes to community.

Cerebral Palsy – my friend Stephanie, her life and her inspiration

My friend, Stephanie, really has no idea how inspiring she is. When I met her last year I was awestruck. This fabulous woman has gotten her degree, taking special transportation to her university, attended classes, and written papers, when mobility and verbal communication are both chores by any measure. She then made the decision to give living alone a go. Her mother, who had been her caregiver for nearly 40 years, needed to move into a care facility herself, and Stephanie had to make a decision. She had never lived on her own. For Stephanie, just walking and talking takes great effort – in my eyes. But in hers, it’s just how it is. Effort is her normal. When I’m around Stephanie and her positive attitude, I am so uplifted. Our lives are what we make them.

Stephanie is a writer who in the process of publishing her memoir and offered to write a guest post for I am honored to host her writing. She is not only an inspiration to those she meets, but to anyone living with a disability.

The Natural Beauty of Living in a Community

by Stephanie Torreno

When Betsy invited me to write a guest post, I thought about her umbrella of natural living and how the topic applies to my life. A perfect aspect of natural living to share with readers entered to mind.  This aspect involves how I came to know Betsy, and more specifically, how I came to know, love, and rely on her in-laws as family.

After moving to our townhome nine years ago, my mother and I became acquainted with our neighbors.  In a row of adjoining townhomes, getting to know one another becomes easy.  Still, with Betsy’s inlaws three units from ours, we didn’t meet them right away.  At least I didn’t.  I first met Jane at a holiday gathering next door.  As my mom and I met more of our community members, our mostly female neighbors began meeting for lunch.  Soon, the small group formed a birthday club, inviting two husbands to join in celebrating a neighbor’s birthday by going out to dinner and enjoying cake and ice cream afterward at someone’s home.  I don’t remember joining the first few celebrations as I thought my mom deserved some social time without me – her adult daughter with cerebral palsy.

Mom convinced me to join the birthday bunch.  While I enjoyed the time with all six neighbors, I felt a special connection to Jane and Adam.  Jane and I knew some of the same people through her work and my studies at a Christian university.  Adam and I liked talking and laughing together.  Most of all, Jane and Adam became great friends with me as a person first, while learning about my disabilities and understanding the difficulties I have and the help I need.

Life changes

Almost three years ago, my mom’s life changed following a stroke and subsequent setbacks.  My life changed, too.  Following two moves with Mom, and several heart-wrenching and complicated decisions, I chose to move back to our townhouse – alone.  I sought Jane and Adam’s approval before committing to my decision. I knew I required physical and emotional support, no matter how independent I tried to become, as I attempted to live by myself for the first time.  Jane and Adam supported my decision and welcomed me back with open arms and hearts.

Employed people with disabilities often receive “natural supports” at the workplace, such as job training from coworkers or ongoing mentoring from fellow employees.  Although I am not traditionally employed and write from home, I consider Jane and Adam my “natural supports” at home.  While I receive daily assistance from caregivers, Jane and Adam continue to show me the necessity and importance of community.  My wonderful neighbors, friends, and surrogate parents drive me to appointments, accompany me to medical visits, and provide assistance when I need it.  J-Mom and A-Dad, as I often call them, include me in worship activities and family gatherings, where I met and became friends with Betsy.  Betsy’s in-laws demonstrate the power of community to me each day.  This sense of community, for which I am grateful, seems only natural to me.  

Stephanie Torreno’s writing has recently been featured in the book OMG That Woman, available on Amazon.

You can also see her six-word-memoirs here.



Advice about parenting?

 A question from a friend:

Would you have a good recommendation for an early parenting book?
My husband and I differ a little but on our approach with our two-year-old and I think
we could use more consistency in our approach! Know what I mean?

After raising two through early parenting, I do not have a parenting book to recommend per se, but I have learned some things. Considering I don’t know if you’re talking about spanking, getting out of bed after bed time, pushing or hitting other kids, potty training, or the other myriad parenting questions out there, I’ll just have a go.

The first six years are the rudder for life. Be careful. Literally.

This is the time when you become who you are going to be. You will pattern after the models you have. Your brain sets up its grooves and becomes “hardwired” during this time. The most important thing in my opinion is feeling secure and knowing you are loved. To paraphrase Dr. Suzuki, – if we give our children the foundation of a pure heart and a noble mind, they will find happiness as adults, and this is more important than anything and should be our only real goal as parents.

Remain as relaxed as possible at all times. You can never physically love your children too much. Shower them with affection. Deeply knowing you are loved is the secret ingredient to a very happy and fulfilling life.

Children have their own special way of seeing things. We need to be patient and loving with them. Positive reinforcement is the only way to produce results. A good book about that is Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor.

There are books that I so appreciate having read while my children were young. They are not really “parenting” books, however. They are: Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki and You are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin. They taught me that these first six years are such rich, fertile ground for setting the stage for life. Without any type of force, you can expose children to art, music, movement, and a gentle environment. Next to being loved, having a rich, gently stimulating environment is key to positive human development.

No one knows better than you how to raise your child.

People are just people. Seeking out advice is wise, but ultimately, no one knows better than you. There are folks out there who write books on the matter, but I never agree with them 100%. There is a blog that has shifted my parenting to even more relaxed, but I do not agree with it completely.

Punishment and reward

There is an idea floating around right now about parenting with no rewards or punishments, which I find absurd to say the least. Life is a series of rewards and punishments. Humans learn this way. Reward and punishment comes directly from nature. Just read Aesop’s The Ant and the Grasshopper if you disagree. Potty training is a great example of how far a chocolate chip will take a human being. I do not, however, believe in harsh punishments. Rewards are great. Minor punishments such as “the toy goes on top of the fridge for now” are great cards to play as well. I remember warning my three-year-old once that if he pushed another child, his halloween candy was going in the trash. Minutes later, we marched into the kitchen and dumped the candy. I for one, was happy to see it go (I think sugar and high fructose corn syrup are the devil. Well, GMO too) and the point was well made. We don’t push. I don’t recall him ever pushing again.

Time warnings go a long way

I’ll never forget the time when I proclaimed to my 3 year old, “Time to go.”  Sadness ensued, and the little girl he was playing with promptly informed me that I should have given him a warning. I knelt down, looked her in the eye, and said, “You are absolutely right. Thank you.” I have been the time warning queen ever since. No one wants to be suddenly ripped away from a good time. At the same time, when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. I know a couple of mothers whose children rule the roost. When it’s “time to go,” the children simply don’t. Who is in charge here?


Huge topic here. Theoretically, the idea of being violent with children turns my stomach. In practice, a little seems to go a very long way. A pop on the rear of a defiant child and child abuse are two different things with results a world apart. Also, again in my opinion, even the slightest spank to a child under two makes no sense at all. Humiliation, pain, or spanking as part of your parenting plan simply can not result in well-adjusted people who respect one another.

Risking the relationship

When a parent becomes violent, holier that thou, or unbendable, something pops up called risking the relationship. True. Your tough stance could lose the child forever. They could rebel against you and turn into the exact person you did not want them to be. That “friend” you wanted when they turn 25 might never call.

Being human, getting down on your knees and working with your child on life – this little person who is going to grow into a big one, is necessary. Apologizing, admitting when you are wrong, and not being perfect are all important things to model. You are not perfect, but you can be imperfect as gracefully as possible. Remember, they are the next generation, new and improved.

Tantrums and how to raise an adult that won’t continue to have them

When my three-year-old was having his first tantrum, I recognized instantly what it was. I went to the internet and searched tantrum. The advice was sound. Put the child in a space where he can’t hurt himself and let it play out. It will end. Then go in and calmly explain that he just had something called a tantrum and that’s not how this family communicates. If there is something he wants to talk about, we can talk about it now. If the tantrum happens outside the home, at a restaurant for instance, one parent has to excuse themselves from the dinner, take the child to the car, and sit with the child until the tantrum plays out. The parent explains that this is a tantrum. It’s not what we do. And now the child and the parent won’t get to participate in the lovely meal going on inside. The child doesn’t get what they wanted, just a sit in the car. My child never had a tantrum again. My second child had this experience twice in one week, and never again.

Letting a 2 or 3 year old get their tantrum out and letting a baby “cry it out” are totally different things.

Never let a baby “cry it out.”

I read a very popular parenting book that had this idea as its basis – always just let the baby cry itself to sleep. I was sick. I won’t even stoop low enough to mention the book’s name here. When you are 6 months old, you don’t know much and you don’t need much. You don’t know there’s a big world out there, you don’t know how to talk, you don’t know what instruments are, or transportation, or I could go on forever. This list is infinite. It’s infinite for adults too, by the way. All you know is that there are people in your life, that they come in and smile at you, and make you comfortable. This is your basis for everything. If someone shuts your door and the noise scares you, or the dark scares you, or that silly clown someone stuck in your bed scares you, or if you simply don’t want to be alone, you’re going to cry so that one of those smiley people out there will come get you or stay with you. If you cry and they never come, you are learning deep in your core that you can’t always count on the people you trust the most, and that you’re on your own.

Developing a strong sense that the world is a good place, that you can trust others, and that you have help in this world is an excellent foundation for happiness. There are many tricks to getting a child to sleep. But they have to be sleepy. I can’t imagine making a child lay in bed when he’s not tired. A great trick is telling them that they only have to lay down for 3 minutes. They have to be quiet and still. Start gently stroking their hair and counting in a whisper to 60 very slowly. I use this trick on my 3 year old at nap time every day. No matter how much he melts down before, he is always asleep by the first 60 seconds. One time I made it all the way to 3 minutes and he was wide awake. So he got to get up. He was definitely not going to fall asleep for a nap that day.

The balance between tough and tender

Ah, the yin and the yang. You must have both, grasshopper. I agree with the statement that children like to know their boundaries. I think we all do. If you ever give into a child’s tantrum, you are teaching the child that it’s okay to throw a tantrum and that it will actually get rewarded. After all, you are the parent now. You have to act like one. Raise your child to be kind and thoughtful. Practice staying calm. Set the example. But when toughness and strictness are called for, step up. Be consistent. Here is a lovely list of habits/virtues to instill in your children. Ha ha. Joke’s on us. I’ve been trying to instill these in myself. It is almost laughable.

Get out of the way

There are two situations when I try to remember to practice this gem. One is when the children are being creative. The other is when my feathers are ruffled. As long as no one is in danger, just step back and pretend you aren’t there. You are gone for the day, and this in front of you is what would be going on if you weren’t here. It’s usually pretty eye-opening. The world would definitely go on without you.

You are the parent

As immature as you may be, you are now beset with raising another human being to the best of your ability. After your child is 25, you can be “friends,” but right now, your child needs you to guide the way. Without civilized parenting, due to the human condition, if left to their own devices, the next generation would quickly regress to The Lord of the Flies. Pick your battles, breathe deeply, and do the best you can.

Parents must always be on the same team

If you and your partner are not in agreement, sit down and see which parenting style is fitting in with your big picture at the moment. Agree on the fundamentals of how you want to raise your child and then take the situation at hand and figure out whose idea best fits. You must come to an agreement though. You must always come to the table as a team. You must always support the other’s decisions, never undermining them. Without having a specific question, that is my advice. As far as books go – the one you write will be the best for you.


Verdict: Cure Tooth Decay Diet only works if you’re superhuman

The posts I’ve written chronicling our adventure with the Cure Tooth Decay Diet are some of the most popular on my site. So it’s time for me to check in again and let you all know the fate that befell us. The first one was 8 Cavities, 1 Petit Four and Some Fish Head Stew or Cure Your Own Tooth DecayThe second was Don’t call me crunchy – or Abracadabra, no more cavities! The third was Does the Cure Tooth Decay Diet work?

My 5 year old son shockingly had 8 cavities – in every molar. For three months we tried the Cure Tooth Decay diet. On the smallest two cavities it worked! They were almost gone when we went in for the checkup. Here is where we went all wrong. We gave up on the diet. We had been doing so well too. We just, well, I, Mom, fell off the wagon. We had been having bone broth soup, lots of mussels, sour dough bread, and were taking cod liver and skate liver oil. We had given up sugar, whole grains, and processed foods. It was working.

Since, we’ve spent about $3000 on my child’s fillings, root canal, pulling a tooth, and adding a spacer. The last of his fillings is scheduled for next month. In all honesty…

We should have just filled them from the get go

Especially the two big ones. I am not opposed to eating healthy. In fact, I love the idea. However, in reality, my family just doesn’t eat like natural foods super heros. We like candy. We stop for fast food once in a while. We like tortillas and crackers.

The diet left us better than it found us

I’m not a complete failure. I still make sourdough bread regularly. It’s the only bread we eat. We still drink raw milk. It’s the only milk we drink. I just wish I had known that we’d fall off the wagon and that if you have cavities and you’re just a normal, un-super human, you should probably get them filled and try to do better on your adult teeth.

It’s a great diet that makes sense. Go for it if you can. It only works as well as you do.

Minecraft anyone? An addiction on a platter perhaps?

I keep making the decision, over and over again that my 7 year old will not play the highly addictive video game, minecraft. Just startpage “minecraft addiction” to see why for yourself. We have one family in our lives who are video game free and I really appreciate that. Without them, we’d have no one to pattern after, and I’d be out here on this limb of consciousness all alone. Every single one of my son’s other friends talks about minecraft ceaselessly. I’ve asked the moms, “If you could go back and say no to minecraft, would you?” They have all told me that they would have. Once your kid has the jones for it, there’s really no taking it away. The only adversity coming my way on this particular decision is from my son.

My son gets to play some video games now and then, stuff that’s pretty benign like RC mini racers or Jewels. He gets an hour of screen time a day and if he wants to play video games, so be it. As a “natural” mama, some of you may wonder why I allow video games at all, or sugar, or tv – well, it all comes down to the forbidden fruit factor. My children are being raised in the USA after all. I believe that allowing them to experience some of the apple pie that makes America America is probably a good idea. I don’t believe in creating the forbidden fruit or in depriving my children. Far from it. This addictive video game thing, however, is certainly a battle I choose to pick. When I told one of my mom friends that he was asking every day to play minecraft, she replied, “If you let him play, he’ll be asking even more.”

World of Warcraft, Skylander, crack, meth…

I understand there is a game for adults called “World of Warcraft” aka “WOW” where you get to be anyone you want, as powerful, beautiful, special, rich, you name it. Adults would so rather be their character, that they lose their jobs, their families, their marriages. Apparently 40% of people who play the game become addicted. The WOW product geared toward hooking youngsters is called Skylander. I just don’t see the point in handing your children an addiction on a platter. Once again, search “WOW addiction” and you’ll see countless stories from deeply miserable human beings. It just so happens that if you search “Skylander addiction” that someone already patented that and is making it cool. The problem is that many parents don’t know the dark underbelly of these “games” until it’s too late. Since new games are being unveiled constantly, I will simply research the addiction factor of the game before I allow it in my child’s repertoire.

I’ve heard that the three things that will ruin your life (because they ultimately undermine your ability to be happy) are credit card debt, drugs, and porn. I’d add video games to that. There’s way too much out there in the way of amazing life to spend it glued to a screen in a virtual world. I’m not judging those who choose to spend their lives doing this. Whatever floats your boat. I’d just rather my children take off on a real boat – that’s paid for. And if they are going to spend thousands of hours doing a particular thing, it’d be nice if they had something like a talent or a skill to show for it.

So, to minecraft, as worn down as I’m getting,  I say no. Yet again. And then it passes. It will resurface in another week or two, but no minecraft for us. We will not conform – as long as there are gardens and zoos and real games like capture the flag and cards and chess and beaches and fishing and painting and reading and friends and sports and you get the idea.

And – some afterthoughts:

  • The only parents I’ve come across who defend these addictive games as harmless are addicted to the games themselves.
  • It’s okay for my child to be the only one on his sports team who can’t talk minecraft. Lead by example for one. And for two, the other parents might appreciate, as I do, the child who changes the subject. The road less traveled usually rocks.
  • I also realize this post might be a yawner for most considering minecraft is nothing new. However, these are my two cents for when the next big “must-play” game comes out.

Growing Food in Difficult Climates – the Mittleider Gardening Method

1. Water like crazy.



2. Fertilize every week.

3. Allow no weeds.

4. Use vertical gardening techniques.

5. Harvest when ripe

Growing Food in Harsh Environments

I went to a gardening workshop back in February with this title. It rocked my world. It was taught by Jim Kennard who teaches the Mittleider gardening technique. Without going into too much detail, I’ll break it down for you and tell you where to find more info. I can not express how excited I am to finally grow some serious amounts of food in the Central Texas heat and caliche.

Just like Mittleider, Jim Kennard goes all over the world and teaches people who live in difficult climates and terrains how to grow more food than they can eat. Jim’s foundation is called Food For Everyone, or FFE. He is obsessively dedicated to the idea of everyone in the world being able to grow and eat their own nutritious food. I feel beyond blessed to have spent 5 hours in his presence.

Jim recommends building 18″ wide grow boxes, but you can make them as big as you fancy. Dirt is not what your plants need. Think hydroponic here – plants need sunlight, water, and nutrients, 16 nutrients to be exact. That’s all. So, as crazy as it sounds, Jim recommends filling new grow boxes with a mixture of 1/3 sand and 2/3 saw dust. I personally, did not do this, because I didn’t find a “clean” place to get saw dust. I used garden soil that was 25% sand, 25% rice hulls (which substitute for saw dust) 25% topsoil and 25% compost. Whatever dirt you already have in your garden is just fine. You just might want to amend it with sand and/or sawdust.



My grandfather, rest him, wasn’t completely right

My granddad was a farmer in East Texas in the 1920′s. He used to say, “Water deep or not at all. You want those roots to go deep in case of a drought.” Well, for him, there and then, that may have been the best policy. But Jim explained that if you have unlimited access to irrigation, never ever let your plants get thirsty. As soon as you see that droopy, parched plant, you can be sure that it is putting no energy whatsoever into producing fruit. It is only putting it’s last little vestiges of life into its roots. If the whole purpose behind all of your hard labor in your garden is to produce produce, then you will water water water. In Central Texas in the summer, that will be every single early morning.

Fertilizer, not compost

As much as I LOVE composting, it pains me to say that Jim doesn’t use compost at all. After much experimentation between using the best compost available to mankind and the Mittleider fertilizer recipe, Jim has science behind his teachings. The fertilizer simply produces more pounds of fruit without introducing pathogens and weed seeds into your garden. Also, all you “organic” gardeners out there, fear not. The word chemical refers to everything under the sun. You are chemical and so is the chair on which you perch. Kennard and Mittleider are not going to tell you to use harsh pesticides all over fruit. Far from it. However, they are going to tell you to mix the fertilizer chemicals you need in order to derive maximum yield.

Here is the fertilizer recipe:

  • 25 lbs. of 16-16-16 (15-15-15, 13-13-13, 20-20-20 will do) – that’s nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus – get it at any gardening supply
  • 4 lbs. of Epsom salt – that’s magnesium and sulfer
  • the 10 oz. package of trace minerals you can purchase at FFE
  • You also need to add a bit of perlite to keep the stuff from getting weepy and sticking together. I add about a pound.

Mix well and keep it with a lid on. You use one 15 oz. vegetable can for every 30 feet of 18″ bed. Just sprinkle it between the plants and water it in. Easy.

Keep the weeds outIMG_1478

We all know this, but it’s true. The FFE foundation even sells an awesome little weeding tool that you attach to the end of a shovel handle. Once your garden is established, you simply run the little tool between the plants once a week to uproot any weedlings.

Vertical Gardening and the brilliance of the T-post

95% of what your plants need is sunlight. The vertical garden makes the most use of space by encouraging the plants that are capable of growing up to do so. These plants include tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, and even some melons. T-posts are big and heavy, but they need to be because they are eventually going to provide support for 100′s of pounds of produce. The LDS Prepper on Youtube has become one of my heroes. Here is his explanation of T-posts and building them. Mr. LDS Prepper is a Mittleider fiend. He has hundreds of hours of how-to video on Youtube. I will pass you off to him after you read this article.

I will say that the PVC watering system which Mittleider teaches and LDS Prepper uses has been surpassed in my opinion. The PVC system is labor intensive to install. At hardware stores these days, you can find a plastic brown and black tubing water drip system that is super user-friendly. You can attach sprayers for when your seeds are in the ground, and then quickly attach the dripper hoses whenever you are ready. It doesn’t flood the garden the way the PVC system does, but it’s working for us. Put it on a timer. Between the automatic watering system and the magic weeder mentioned above, all we do in the garden is pick fruit. ~ Pleasant sigh ~

Year-round gardening

Notice the curved PVC piping above the LDS Prepper’s Tposts. That serves two purposes. In the hot summer, you can put a cloth across it to shade the plants in the heat of the day so that they don’t just give up and die. When the weather starts to cool in the fall, you can roll greenhouse grade plastic up there and drop the sides down all the way to the ground when it gets cold. You then have a makeshift greenhouse right in your garden. Even the small stuff in your garden can have these PVC “rainbows” over them with the clear plastic and you can have produce all year round.

IMG_1481Harvest when ripe

And finally, when your massive crop reaches its peak – harvest it. Don’t just pick a few today and a few tomorrow and let some rot on the vine. Harvest. Wash. Put in your fridge what you can consume, and give the rest away. It’s mid May and my zucchini is already producing like crazy. This gardening method is proving itself. I started in February, and look at my photos. I’ve been envious of gardens that look like this in Central Texas. :) Now, it’s mine that looks like this. I can’t tell you how happy I am.

The book to get is this one. It will take you from here. Have fun growing food – where ever you are in the world. And do not miss the LDSPrepper.



Stand in your truth – Consciousness is contagious

When you make a conscious decision that flies in the face of the status quo, you will often be met with great adversity from others. When you make the decision to take the road less traveled by – others see you as a threat – because if you are right, then somehow they could possibly be wrong. You stir the deep security that they have made the best decisions for their themselves and their children. Your simple presence threatens their very essence.

Stand there anyway. Take the arrows. They may even possibly come around to getting it, to becoming conscious simply because you provided that space for them, cleared the path. And it’s not that you are right just because you thought it through. You are simply right for you. When you make your decision – any decision that makes others question themselves, stand firm. The venom quite possibly will fly your way. However, if you maintain your stance in a place of gentle allowing, your consciousness will become contagious. They will appreciate you.

Marianne Williamson put it this way:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And, as we let our own light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy make a magical home

Whether or not you believe in magic, magical is lovely.

Once Upon A Time

We took our children to a Renaissance Faire yesterday and I came home with some hand made soaps – tea tree, patchouli, peppermint, lavender, rosemary – all blends. The paper bag of soap in my bathroom has reminded me all day of how magical essential oils are. When I used to be a massage therapist, I created my own oil blends from carrier and essential oils. Some oils have a relaxing effect – lavender, rose, geranium. Some are stimulating – patchouli, peppermint, citrus. All have healing qualities which you can research to your heart’s content.  They all make your home smell mysteriously beautiful.

IMG_1242My three year old is in the bath right now. I just snuck in a little patchouli, lavender and tea tree. He has a little rash that the tea tree will take care of quickly. Tea tree is an antifungal, antibacterial agent that acts like a natural Bactine. I also added a little carrier oil – olive, coconut, avocado or the like to dilute the essential oils. Some people have sensitive skin so it’s usually recommended to add some carrier oil and not to use pure essential oil – in the bath, or in massage or moisturizing oil.

However, you can absolutely use essential oils straight in a diffuser or in your mop water. When I mop I use two cups of vinegar and whatever essential oil I want in my mop water. That’s it. The vinegar cleans the floor and the essential oil leaves my house – well, as I said earlier – mysteriously beautiful. All natural goodness.

Get Some Essential Oils

We don’t have much time here on the planet. 70-80 years if we’re lucky. I am certain I will not regret anything that made my life more magical, more fragrant, more musical or more fun. Life is short. Essential oils are fun. If you don’t already use them, you should get some. Look up their uses and start using them liberally. Try tea tree, orange, lavender and eucalyptus for starters. Other wonderful additions are myrrh, patchouli, and geranium.

As an aside, for those of you who follow my website, it will be undergoing some changes soon. My name doesn’t really need to be the brand. What interests me most is Natural Living, from essential oils, organic gardening, home birth and DIY to homeschool and getting the government out of our lives. To me, libertarianism and natural living are one in the same. My revamped website will attempt to encompass this natural thinking. I am also going to be creating a new website that has to do with learning fiddle and improv.

Namaste – Betsy

Great Websites for Homeschool Education

The internet opens the world of homeschooling like a telescope opens up the sky. Our greatest homeschool influence has most definitely been Charlotte Mason. If you homeschool and don’t know about her, you need to!  Ambleside online is a Charlotte Mason based free curriculum that focuses on high literary standards from preschool on up. I’ve also enjoyed Simply Charlotte Mason. When my son was learning to read, Starfall was a huge hit. For most of our other academic ventures, I’ve bought curriculum. We love La Clase Divertida for Spanish and Math-U-See for Math. As my children start to progress in their academic pursuits, I can never get enough advice about schooling possibilities, so I am grateful for the following guest post. Thanks Debra! I’m excited to peruse these sites, especially The Pioneer Woman from the looks of things.

Guest Post by Debra Johnson – Great Websites for Homeschool Education

Regardless of why homeschooling is ideal for your student, there are many websites on the Internet that can help the student achieve his or her diploma. Many will argue that homeschooling is better for the child for it provides a one-on-one learning environment. Armed with the best websites on the Internet, the teacher-parent can help a student learn at his or her own pace in order to succeed.

1. Penn Foster

This accredited online school doesn’t merely help the student obtain his or her high school diploma. It’s a compete education system from grade 9 through adult college classes. From high school diplomas to Associate and Bachelor Degree programs, Penn Foster has quite a bit too offer.

2. Center for Home Education

This website has everything you could need in order to further your student’s progress. From materials to classes, the Center for Home Education has a wealth of knowledge for both student and teacher-parent. All subjects are covered and the website offers free shipping on orders within the United States.

3. Golden Education Center

The Golden Education Center is full of useful materials at an affordable price. For subjects across the entire spectrum of learning, this website has them all. Worksheets, handbooks, and resources are abundant at the Golden Education Center that are perfect for homeschooling students and teachers to use in the classroom.

4. The Pioneer Woman

This particular blog is full of free resources covering every subject for homeschooling students. From elementary studies to advanced mathematics, is a fountain of free information and materials for advancing studies for your homeschooling student.

5. Bridgeway Academy

For a complete high school curriculum and achieving a diploma, Bridgeway Academy can get your student where he or she needs to be. This academy has complete elementary, high school, and adult high school educational classes available and is experienced in homeschooling education. The diplomas are accredited which means they are legitimately usable for all purposes. Whether you need to break your education up into single courses or all of them at once, Bridgeway Academy can accommodate you.

6. Homeschoolers Guides

The information located at Homeschoolers Guides covers aspects from basic education to collegiate and higher educational methods. Information regarding field trips, vacations, and more for the homeschooling student can keep the teacher-parent apprised of improved methods for educational purposes. Guides to camps, programs, trips, and other progressive learning methods are listed on Homeschoolers Guides. It is a wealth of information that could benefit your circumstances.

These websites are just a few of the resources that are available to those who are looking into homeschooling as an alternative to education. It will be up to the student to master self-control and discipline in order to complete the education in a timely manner, however. Information is at your fingertips and these sites can help open an academic world that can help your student graduate.

About the Author:
This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of
She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @

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