1
Dec

Stop Getting Sick! Banish Illness & Stay Well This Winter

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

What chance does a sleepless, working parent have when it comes to fighting off the seasonal ickies and viruses. Really good chances actually. Don’t let a cold or flu get you this winter. Do this by minimizing your risk and boosting your immunity NOW, when you are feeling well. Here are three strategies…

You’re Feeling Great, Thanks

You aren’t sick. In fact you feel fine. Well, that is awesome. Now is the time to make sure you stay that way.

Get plenty of sleep – Get 8-10 hours of sleep at least. It has been said that those who get less than 7 hours of sleep per night are 3x more likely to catch a cold. Use blackout curtains to keep your room dark, drink sleepy time tea, and rub lavender oil on the bottoms of your feet 30 minutes before bed. If you have to go to bed when your kids do than so be it!

Eat a nourishing diet – Eat lots of seasonal colors including green. Drink up bone broth and Kombucha like it is going out of style. Add plenty of herbs and spices to your meals (garlic, turmeric). Eat lots of fatty fish. You need the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, plant sterols, flavonoids, and probiotics.

Supplement Your Diet – I am a firm believer in supplementation. Try adding some Vitamin E, B-Complex vitamins, fatty acids (omega 3s), spirulina, CoQ10, and magnesium.

Kick stress to the curb – It is fact that stress makes you twice as likely to get sick after exposure. Do all that you can to eliminate sources of stress and find ways to deal that don’t involve unhealthy habits…ie junkfood and alcohol. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) than check out my post on What To Do When You Get The Winter Blues.lift weights

Get Active – Exercise helps you stay well. That is just the way it is. Though this time of year we may not be itching to go out in the cold to hit the gym and the darker days make us sluggish. Well, do something fast at home. Do some p90X or try one that I happen to love myself called Lift Weights Faster. Only have ten minutes? Knockout out a quickie dumbbell or kettlebell workout, guided by video step by step.

Have Sex – Yep, good ole hanky panky. This pleasurable activity increases endorphins, which than revs up the immune system. It also eases stress. So get busy if you don’t like blowing your nose every five minutes.

Oh Heck! You’ve Have Been Exposed!!

So now you have been exposed to the cold or flu by someone close to you. What do you do? Take it laying down? Heck no!

Scrub a Dub – Wash your hands like it is going out of style…before every meal for sure. Try to avoid touching your face and mouth unless your hands have just been scrubbed. Old fashioned soap and water is still the most effective way to prevent the spreading of illness.

Sanitize  – I do not recommend hand sanitizer at it has some chemical nasties in it. No sense in rubbing that garbage all over your skin. Instead try a sanitizing spray such as Thieves oil. Grab a small spritzer bottle and add witch hazel to it. Then take a 1/2 teaspoon of epsom salts and add 5-10 drops of Thieves oil. Add the oil/salt to the spritzer bottle. Shake well and spray liberally as needed to sanitize surfaces (like the keyboard at work) and your hands/face.

Take a Booster – Eat/drink/supplement with healthy doses of garlic, bone broth, ginger, echinacea, astragalus, vitamin A, and elderberry.

Ugh! You Feel Awful…

Take it easy – You need some TLC. Tell the kids they are eating grilled cheese sammies for the next few days and you plan on doing little else but taking care of yourself. Sleep as much as you can.

Take a sip – Drink immunity boosting hot tea with some coconut milk and honey.

Breathe easier – Diffuse some pine or eucalyptus oils into the air to help support respiratory function. You can even make a homemade vapor rub. The easiest way to do this is to add some of the desired oils to some olive or avocado oil and put them in a roller bottle. A hot water bottle on the chest after application helps speed up the relief. Easy peasy!

Soothe a sore throat – Slippery elm bark in some tea does wonders!!! You can also make homemade lozenges. Just make a dough with slippery elm powder, tea, and honey. Roll into balls, coat with more powder and allow to dry. Keep them in the freezer and you will always have some at the ready.

So who is ready for the season of sickness?? You, that’s who!

Monday, December 1st, 2014

22 Comments

26
Nov

KitchenAid Stand Mixer Deals 2014: Only $72, Shipped!!

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Here is the deal you have been waiting for on a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Yes one of these babies that sells for $349.99 regular price. Well there are some sites out there showing you how to get this amazing mixer for only $96 shipped (minus taxes). I have a way that you may be able to tack on another bonus savings, depending on where you live. If you are lucky you may be able to get one for $72!! I just did!

How to get the Stand Mixer:

Put the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer in your cart for $249.99 (it is $100 off already)
Get 10% off just by adding it to your cart
Get 15% off with promo code THANKS15
Spend $191 out of pocket and submit for $50 mail in rebate
Plus get $45 in Kohl’s cash back

Final Price: $96 after rebates!

My Bonus Method: Buy a Kohls gift cards at a grocery store with gift card rewards and save even more. Krogers, Smith’s, Safeway and Giant Eagle are the ones I know of that offer these rewards. Kroger gives you 4x times the fuel points and Giant Eagle gives you .20 cents in fuel rewards for every $50 you spend. I bought a $200 Kohls card (to cover my out of pocket) and got $24 in free fuel. This brings the total price of the mixer down to only $72!!

Someone in my family will be VERY excited!

mixer

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

12 Comments

24
Nov

A ‘Do It Yourself’ Healthcare Plan When You Can’t Afford Health Insurance

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

When You Can’t Afford Health Insurance

These days healthcare insurance costs a pretty penny. Frankly for lots and lots of people it is financially out of their reach or they have to take the cheapest option, which may mean high deductibles and large out of pocket costs. This is why healthcare is so widely discussed in the political arena…everyone (typically) wants to have access to affordable medical care and be able to get treatment if they get sick or have an accident of some kind. Yet the prices are skyrocketing and it is becoming a luxury that the average Joe cannot afford. So when you cannot afford health insurance what do you do? You make sure you are healthy and thus less likely to need it.

I know the kind of stress that having no insurance options can bring. I have been without it a few times in my life, usually due to job changes, and it was worrisome each and every time. It was especially worrisome after I got cancer and realized that going without health insurance for any length of time might disqualify me from ever getting it again, at a reasonable rate that is. Yet I view healthcare and health insurance quite a bit differently now. I stay insured just for peace of mind. After your body betrays you like that you always think in the back of your mind that it could happen again.

But my body didn’t really betray me though did it? I betrayed my body with years of bad dietary choices, the stress of having babies back to back,  and an extremely sedentary lifestyle. After cancer I made numerous changes and don’t even feel like the same person. Now I see that my health or lack thereof is really within my control. It is the consequence of my own choices, good or bad. When you start to see it that way then you start to see healthcare a bit differently. Instead of paying premiums for health insurance, you start to see how you could funnel money towards preventative care so that you don’t have to rely on a broken system.

Now as mentioned I DO have health insurance. It is partly because of my past history with cancer but also because I have children. Sometimes the peace of mind is worth it. My husband has a union job with awesome insurance so it would be dumb not to take advantage but we have developed a plan to make sure we don’t need really it and that we can survive with a high deductible – emergency only type plan if we have to.

Here are some of the ways you can fund a ‘Do It Yourself’ Healthcare plan. These options/choices keep us healthy and free of illness. Yes, these action items might cost money but I really do believe that you have to pay for health now or you will pay for illness later…

Emergency Insurance and HSA’s – For many years we had a plan with a high deductible, making it for emergencies only. Our out of pocket costs for the dentist and a rare doctor’s visit, etc were paid for with our HSA (Health Savings Account). We sent money to that account every week pre-tax and it was there when we needed it. HSA’s are an awesome way to make sure your medical expenses are being paid for with pre-tax money and unlike an FSA (Flexible Spending Account) you don’t lose this money ever, it just keeps accumulating. I was really sad when we got better insurance and were no longer able to contribute to an HSA.

Healthy Food – Many say that eating healthy doesn’t cost more but in my experience it does. I choose to buy organic, pastured, grassfed, etc whenever I possibly can. We are paleo so we spend more on expensive meat and nothing on the cheaper grains and legumes so popular among the mainstream.

Primal Food – This is my personal preference but one that is based upon so much encouraging data. Eating paleo or primal is like eating according to the factory settings for the human body. If you want to thrive you should experiment with a paleo diet or at the very least reduce the amount of refined carbs and sugar you eat. You will be amazed.

Herbs and Spices – Spices are powerhouses whose health enhancing compounds rival or even surpass vegetables and fruit. Getting to know how spices can enhance health make us better informed about natural health and more able to make food our medicine. Check out my article on Everyday Spices That Promote Health and Fight Disease.

Gym Memberships – You will only get out if this what you put into it. It is just a waste if you join a gym and then never use it. Try a few places and see if you can find one that feels like your second home. The price tag is worth it because it is important to exercise daily.

Supplements – The quality of our soil means that our food (both plant and animal) is depleted in minerals and not as nutritious as it once was. I still make it a point to eat as well as I can but supplementation helps close some gaps. I personally take fish oils, krill oil, magnesium, Vitamin D, and probiotics.

Essential Oils and Home Remedies – Cheaper that visiting the doctor and they really work. Essential oils are actually part of my monthly budget and would be part of any self funded insurance plan we developed. I would probably set aside $50-$100 a month for oils, minimum.

Naturopathic Doctors – These doctors will actually try to help you get to the bottom of what is causing your illness or problem, they don’t just treat the symptoms as conventional doctors do. If you want to spend the money to visit a doctor then go this route.

Detox Your Home – Get rid of the toxins and nasty chemicals that lurk around your home. Use green cleaners, buy used furniture and clothing (no offgassing or pesticide residue), wash your clothes with a natural detergent, use personal care products that rate safe in the Skip Deep database, get rid of plastics. There are many ways to reduce your exposure to the toxics that are so common in every day products. Every step helps.

Fresh Air and Sunshine – Spend as much time as you can outside. We need the fresh air and the sunshine for our health . We also need the direct contact with the earth. Some research has shown that a physical connection with the earth, as in your bare feet on the grass and soil, can help with a variety of ailments both mental and physical. It is called Earthing. The best thing about this action step is that it is FREE!

I feel fortunate to have a healthcare plan via my husband’s employer but I feel even better about the fact that in my mind… we don’t even need one. Our own healthcare action plan actually improved our health, something you cannot usually say about corporate healthcare plans.

Monday, November 24th, 2014

16 Comments

18
Nov

Spanking Is NOT an Effective Parenting Tool

by Tiffany in Children

Spanking Is NOT an Effective Parenting Tool -naturemoms.com

A child misbehaves by poking, kicking or similarly assaulting another child. The parent grabs him by the arm and slaps him for hitting that child. Hmm… what’s wrong with this picture? Is this effective parenting or something else?

Or maybe a child runs into the street after their parent just told them not too. So the parent drags them into the house by the arm and paddles their backside telling them that they “could” have been hurt. Of course the child is fairly certain they did just get hurt… by their mom or dad…. not by a car in the street. Again… is spanking teaching kids what we think it does???

Spanking teaches children that violence is the solution to problems. It also teaches children that it is okay to use physical violence to control other people and situations. Spanking teaches kids that it is okay to hit the people you love. Spanking teaches them nothing that will be useful or helpful in their adult lives or that will help them to communicate with other people.

Usually when parents talk about discipline they are talking about behavior that they would like to correct in their children. But what is forcing them to do what we want by creating “painful” consequences really teaching them? There is no better way to teach our children then to behave in a way that is considered respectful, fair and appropriate. We need to model the behavior we want our kids to adopt. Slapping or spanking a child is a behavior not considered respectful or even civil so why would we want to subject children to such “behavior”?

Most parents would agree with this simple logic but yet they still spank. Why? Perhaps it is because they were spanked themselves; hence they simply model the behavior of their own parents. Many times though, parents spank because they can’t figure out what else to do. Spanking is quick and usually addresses the problem immediately. Talking, reasoning, teaching, and empathizing all sound good… but they also sound emotionally draining and time consuming. Spanking is easier sure but is it the best way to teach a child? I don’t think so. Many non-spankers have come to call their parenting style the “Get Off Your Butt” method. Parenting is tough and spanking is a weak recourse that is used when you don’t know how to handle a situation.

Our children deserve the best …they deserve parents that have learned creative ways to teach and discipline without resorting to corporal punishment. They deserve parents with a more peaceful approach to discipline.

Why Spanking Doesn’t Work

There are many advocates for corporal punishment (spanking) that argue that children who misbehave (or seriously misbehave) will only respond to spanking and that parents who do not spank such kids “spoil” them. As stated above, spanking teaches kids that violence is a good way to handle difficult situations.

One of TV’s more popular advice experts, psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw, notes on his website (www.drphil.com) that research has shown that “long-term consequences of spanking can include increased aggressiveness, antisocial behavior, and delinquency.”

No matter what immediate benefits that spanking may bring (stopping the misbehavior) to the parents, do they also want to accept the potential long term and disastrous consequences?

In many cases parents spank because they simply don’t have any ideas or approaches to stop the misbehavior that do not include spanking. Many parents simply raise their children in the manner that they were raised. Often times parents do things without even being aware that they are repeating a behavior they were taught as a child.

So how do parents break the “spanking cycle”? A good way is to become informed about the alternative ways of discipline. These alternatives may be more time consuming and frustrating but on one ever said parenting was easy.

Take the time to talk to your child. It may take a while for your child to respond to “talking” but with consistency and firmness in your approach it can be a much more satisfying and educational moment for both you and your child.

Whether the child is 3 or 9, taking the time to express and communicate your displeasure with a behavior is a rich learning moment. It may not feel that way at the time, but by honesty and sincerely expressing your discontent in language that reaches your child, you are showing real concern and engaging your child in a way that teaches him respect and good communication.

The consistent show of respect and patience in listening to your child explain his behavior will teach your child the importance of dignity and compassion during those times when it matters most.

You will be exhausted and it will take likely far greater effort than a spanking, but the benefit will far outweigh the inconvenience of fatigue. You don’t have to be perfect as a parent; you just have to be willing to take each disciplinary experience as a learning one for you and your child. They kids may not be the only ones who needs to learn a thing or two.

Spanking Is NOT Biblical

There is a very large faction of parents that spank their children for religious reasons. They believe that God WANTS them to spank their children. The Bible has lots of excellent advice for parenting and family but the decree from God to spank our children just isn’t there. Christians who opt to spank their kids need to realize that their actions are NOT sanctioned by any passages in the Bible. The decision to spank is a personal parenting decision and nothing more. Don’t use the Bible as justification.

Christians have been taught for years that the scripture at Prov. 13:24 proves that spanking is approved of and even endorsed in the Bible.

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him – Prov. 13:24, New International Version

There are four basic reasons why using this scripture as evidence that God WANTS us to spank children is pure foolishness.

1. The word rod can literally be translated as a stick or a staff. The “assumption” is that this must be a weapon for hitting but yet when we look at other instances where this word is used we see a rod is NOT a weapon or a hitting implement. The word rod is also used in reference to shepherds. They use rods to guide their sheep and to help lift them when they get stuck or tangled. Shepards did not “hit” their sheep with these rods. If anything we should take the use of the word rod to mean we need to guide our kids, help them when they get lost, and lead them in the way they should go like a shepherd leads their flock.

2. The word discipline comes from the root word disciple. A disciple follows the teachings of someone and to discipline would be to TEACH. Somewhere along the way, various churches and translation groups have decided to make discipline synonymous with punishment and chastisement but the word actually refers to teaching. So when we read in the Bible that we must not withhold discipline it is saying we should not withhold our instruction and guidance. We should not allow our kids to run wild with no parental instruction. A loving parent will teach and guide their child and not leave them to their own devices.

3. This scripture is often changed in various Bible translations. The version you see above is a very close translation, however many other Bible translations have changed the verse to say things like “He who beats his son, loves his son” and “Whoever refuses to spank his son hates him”. How can you trust your Bible or your minister when they have changed the meaning of the scriptures like that?

4. The verse at Proverbs was written by King Solomon who had 700 wives and was not the best example to follow. If we want an example to imitate we should imitate the greatest teacher of all time… Jesus Christ. He disciplined in love and kindness and there are many passages that show how he related to children and he never hit them once.

In short, spanking is not endorsed or suggested in the Bible as many believe. Spanking is not a Biblical directive and Christians need to be aware of that. If anything, spanking does not fit within the overall theme of the Bible. How does causing physcial pain to your child compare to love, being long suffering, kindness, being slow to anger, turning the other cheek, etc? It doesn’t fit and it doesn’t make sense that the Bible or God would endorse spanking.

Now Hold On There Just a Minute…

You may be reading this lens and thinking to yourself that YOU know some parents who have chosen not to spank and their kids are a bunch of wild brats! How do I know this? Well, as a non-spanking parent this is exactly what I hear from other parents, ALL THE TIME. Everyone knows a guy, who knows a guy, whose knows someone, who doesn’t spank, and their kids are straight from the devil!!

Please understand that choosing not to spank does not mean you are choosing to not parent effectively. Adopting a more respectful and peaceful parenting style is not synonymous with lazy, uninvolved parenting. And there ARE many lazy uninvolved parents out there but attachment parents are not among them. There are many parents who may choose not spank because they themselves were spanked or abused as kids. Unfortunately many take it a bit too far and withhold any type of guidance that may be “perceived” by their kids as controlling or authoritarian. They are more concerned with being a friend to their child than being a parent and these kids will often learn that it is they, not their parents, who control the family dynamic and call the shots. Still other parents who do not spank have not consciously chosen NOT too… they just avoid any issues that require effort on their part. It is easier for them to allow their kids to do as they please rather than try to discipline. These parents are not humanitarians… they are just lazy.

Parents who consciously choose a more respectful and peaceful way to co-exist with their kids, such as attachment parents, have chosen not to spank for all the reasons listed on this lens. But they do not allow the family dynamic to be altered so much that the kids run the show and they become the helpless audience. They work with their kids to find compromise that the whole family can live with, they communicate and develop and attachment to their kids so that their kids trust them and confide in them. The children know their needs will be met so they have few reasons to rebel or act out. They do not see control and manipulation being modeled by their parents and so it is not something they see as advantageous to them.

So in short… NO… our kids are not wild, disrespectful brats and here is why. Key aspects of peaceful, attached, connected parenting include:

* Encouraging positive behavior

* Having realistic expectations and an understanding of age appropriate behaviors

* Expression of feelings through words rather than actions

* Helping children to learn acceptable ways to express excitement and frustration

* Using positive communication skills

* Motivating your children through love not fear or intimidation

* Empowering children by acknowledging their ability to assume responsibilities and make decisions

* Disciplining as a teaching method – not as punishment or a coercion tactic

* Helping children to understand that mistakes are inevitable and love is not conditional

* Resolving conflicts in a respectful and peaceful way

* Creating a safe and engaging environment for our children

* Creating a positive learning environment

* Creating a stress free, enjoyable atmosphere for the whole family

Tell Me… What Best Describes Your Parenting Style

  • Authoritarian – I am the boss and I spank when needed
  • Authoritative – Talking before spanking but I am still boss
  • Permissive – Don’t spank but don’t discipline much either
  • Attached – No spanking, lots of comminication, redirection
  • Purely Peacfeul – We treat our kids as we would want to be treated

For more info I highly encourage you to check this awesome infographic on the topic!

Psychology of Spanking
Image Source: Online-Psychology-Degrees.org/

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

20 Comments

13
Nov

Essential Oils for Winter Driving Confidence

by Tiffany in Essential Oils

Essential Oils for Winter Driving Confidence -naturemoms.com

Essential oils for winter driving? Uh What?

Yes, when winter finally reared it head this week in the form of snow flurries my mind automatically wandered to essential oils. Why? Because I HATE driving in bad weather. It make me so anxious that I actually avoided it for seven years after moving to Ohio. I only drove on snowy, icy roads maybe once or twice in seven years, until last year when my schedule and lifestyle began to require driving in it almost daily. All winter long I agonized over the weather reports and white knuckled it every time I got into my car. As you may remember the weather last year was horrendous…ie the polar vortex. This year is supposed to be more of the same or worse.

So where do essential oils come in? Well, there are some oils that can help you feel calm and collected when the going gets tough. Here are some of ones I plan to use this winter…

Valor – This oil blend is often referred to as “bravery in a bottle”. I like to use it when I need a little courage and it really works, even for me, and I am very introverted. It works with both the physical and spiritual aspects of the body to increase feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem in the face of adversity. Ingredients are spruce, rosewood, blue tansy, and frankincense in a base of coconut oil. I LOVE this stuff and no doubt it will be my go-to oil when I need to “brave” the snowy, icy roads this winter.

How I will use it: Applied directly to throat, wrists, and chest.

Peace & Calming – As the name suggests it helps you relax, release tension, and achieve a sense of calm and peace, even amid chaos. It is very comforting. It contains tangerine, orange, ylang ylang, patchouli, and blue tansy.

How I will use it: Applied it to reflex points. Diffuse in my car diffuser.

Tranquil Roll On – A lovely blend of lavender, cedarwood and roman chamomile essential oils formulated to calm and relax the body and mind. Using the roll-on application, Tranquil provides convenient and portable relaxation.

How I will use it: Applied it to reflex points and reapplied as needed throughout the day.

Harmony – This blend uplifts, liberates, calms, and balances. It just encourages an overall sense of well being and stability. It contains Royal Hawaiian sandalwood, lavender oil, ylang ylang, frankincense, angelica and quite a few others. It is an amazing blend.

How I will use it: Apply it topically at the base of the neck. Diffuse in my car diffuser also in my necklace.

RutaVaLa -Helps one to release negativity and adopt a more positive outlook. It has rue oil, valerian root oil, and lavender.

How I will use it: Apply it topically at the base of the neck and along the spine.

The oils above are all blends from Young Living but there are numerous oil singles you can use. Lavender, chamomile, blue tansy, and cedarwood appear often so that is a good indicator that they would work well for winter driving worries.

Happy driving!

learn more about essential oils

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

19 Comments