Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 59

Today's challenge: How does your life measure up to the vision you had when you were younger?

When I read this question, I saw exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, that many and more! Because Ha! Joke's on me! My life is NOTHING like I ever envisioned in my youth. NOTHING. 
Going Green with the Grizls

When I was in high school, I dreamed of living in a cabin in the woods, writing novels and poetry in between gardening and taking care of my many children. I thought I would marry a hippie man-of-the-woods type guy and we would homestead somewhere in the middle of nowhere. 

It seems I am finally trying to make that dream a reality, at least in part. That's really what this blog is all about. Getting out of that typical middle-class America mindset that I let myself slip into over the years. I have a big mortgage and a messy marriage. I have materialistic children and a real job and I haven't written a poem or much else (excempt my blog) in years. I did start a novel once, but then my computer crashed and I never tried again. Until recently, we ate fast food and potato chips instead of real food. And we spent a lot of time trying to keep up with the Jones'. 

Oh well. Like I said, I started this blog because I realized that I had gone in a direction I was opposed to. I am making changes, one at a time. It's too late for some of the things I envisioned. But others are always just around the corner. And we're getting there...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mott 50 Sun Protective Clothing Review & Giveaway

mott 50I recently received a beautiful item from Mott 50 to review. Mott 50 is a line of clothing that provides lightweight, stylish items with UV protection. UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is the clothing equivalent of SPF in sunscreen. Mott 50's clothing, which is designed specifically to block the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun, offers UPF 50. In comparison, an average white tee offers UPF 5. 

mott 50, sun protective clothingI received the Colleen Wrap Jacket in poppy, which is from their "bamboo basics" line. It also comes in navy or white. I loved the look and feel of the jacket as soon as I opened the package! The poppy color is an orange-red and very pretty. The fabric is made from 92% bamboo, a sustainable resource (yay!), which feels cool to the touch and is super soft and lightweight. 

I tried the jacket with on and found it very cute and comfy with just a tank top underneath. It's very casual with the cord tie, so it looked great with jeans, but no matter how many combinations I tried, I just couldn't make it look dressy enough for work. I think if the tie had been different, it would have been a little more versatile. But then, I don't work outside so I don't need sun protection at work. I do think this would make a great option for sun protection at the ball field! 

mott 50, sun protection, upfAfter seeing the jacket on, I decided it really might look great as a bathing suit cover-up. I tried it for our next trip to the pool and I was right! It looked great and was long enough since I am short. This gave me an opportunity to check out the sun protection, too. It worked! I didn't get any sun that I could notice on the parts that it covered! I really love the way the fabric feels cool against my skin when I put it on. If I got to hot, I just took it off to get wet in the pool, then toweled and put it back on. It was still cool to the touch, even after being draped across my chair in the hot sun!

Mott 50 has lots of other options, too. They offer tops, jackets, tunics, dresses, pants, skirts and accessories, as well as swimwear of course. I love that they carry a women's line and a men's line. Their goal is to give us more freedom to enjoy the sun in a healthy and comfortable way. I say they are successful! To see more clothing from Mott 50, or to order, visit there website at You can also find them on Facebook by clicking here!

Now for the super good news! Mott 50 has generously offered to give one lucky Mama Making Changes reader a Colleen Wrap Jacket just like mine during the Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop! This jacket has a retail value of $110 and it can be yours! To enter, just click here to be redirected to the rafflecopter entry form any time between August 18 and August 31, 2012. Good luck!

Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions. I received the above to review. No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Days 57 and 58

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I mean, I didn't blog at all yesterday. I have had some personal things going on and was feeling a bit overwhelmed yesterday. But today is a better day, so.... you get two posts in one! Yay!

Yesterday's Challenge: Write something about an alternative energy source.

Today's Challenge: Talk about the last time you "roughed it."

Well, first thing's first. Alternative energy is a topic about which I try to stay informed. I am not a very scientifically minded person, so technical details are for someone else. I like to know what alternatives are out there, what is available to us as individuals, what the world is doing to move in the right direction. I am never satisfied with the answers I find. The only reasonable alternative that is widely available is, of course, solar power. Still, solar panels are expensive. Prices have come down as different materials are used now and the panels can be produced for less, but they are still not affordable for the average American. One idea that I saw recently, however, may change that. Here's how it works: You decide to go totally solar. You purchase the solar panels and have them installed by the same company. They finance the panels for a price that is approximate to your monthly power bill, which you will no longer receive since you are now completely solar powered. When they are paid off you will officially have free power, and in the short run there is no added expense in your budget. If you are interested in finding more information on alternative energy sources, including wind energy, biomass energy, geothermal energy, and more, I highly recommend The website is very informative without being overly scientific. Also check out the newest idea from Dow, solar shingles! Their facebook page is here:

Going Green with the GrizlsNow for today's topic, roughin' it. I used to love going hiking. I married a city boy and tried to convert him, but he drew a line after our first and only hiking trip together! I must admit, it didn't exactly go smoothly! It rained every day! We had one tent for five people and no other shelter. Fire was our only heat or cooking source, which meant trying to keep it going during the rain and having to search long and hard for something dry enough to burn. Our kids cried about the hiking part so that one had to be taken back down the mountain (although she did walk the whole time, up and down)  and the other young one made it to the top but had to be carried on the way down.The other two, thankfully, walked without too much complaint, even though they had to come down the mountain during a thunderstorm! Luckily I did have a tiny little air mattress (it was about 12" by 24" and 1" thick) that I planed to use as a pillow for my hubby and I to share. Because he hated having to lay on the hard ground, I had to give him the air mattress to lay on! The only saving grace was that the kids brought their portable video games, which kept them form complaining too much about all of the time they had to spend in the tent! Oh, did I mention we had the dog with us, too? And that she hates rain? I haven't been camping since because my husband says I have to go without him!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 56

Today's Challenge: If you could have any super power, what would you choose?

Going Green with the GrizlsHmmm...I had trouble deciding on an answer, so I asked my daughter what she would choose. She first said she would have the power to read minds, but quickly realized she may not want to hear some of it! Then she decided on invisibility. She would use it to sneak up on her brother and play tricks on him. Oh, I should have seen that coming!

So I still don't know. Is Cupid a super hero? Can I have the power to make people love each other? Wouldn't the world be a nicer place if you gave me that power and turned me loose on the world?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 55

Today's Challenge: Tell at least three healthy meals or snacks for kids. 
Going Green with the Grizls

Okay. I got this. I have very hungry hungry hippos around here so I specialize in snacks for kids. How about a short list?

  1. Frozen fruit (we like frozen melon balls best, but also bananas, seedless grapes or blueberries)
  2. Baked apples topped with yogurt and cinnamon
  3. Cucumber slices spread with cream cheese, stacked to make breadless sandwiches (let the kids spread and stack to make it more fun)
  4. Lettuce wraps (fill with whatever meats, cheeses, or veggies and spreads the kids will eat, and again...let them do it)
  5. Carrot sticks and broccoli trees with a lite ranch dressing.
  6. Lightly salted popcorn
  7. Fresh from the garden chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper (a favorite for my kids!)
  8. Easy Cheesy Crackers (I recently got this great recipe from and yum!)
  9. Fresh fruit...duh :)
  10. Homemade smoothies (no recipes needed...just fruit and/or veggies and a little liquid, maybe some ice...make it up as you go along!)
Hope you try one or more! I'm sure some of them you already have. What is your favorite healthy snack to feed the hippos...oh I mean, kiddos. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 54

Today's Challenge: Tell what bands/artists you have been listening to and liking lately.

Going Green with the Grizls

I feel like music went through a dull period for a few years at the end of the last decade and beginning of this one. I am only recently beginning to find that I actually like what's on the radio again.

It started with Adele, whom I discovered in Time magazine, not on the radio. They raved about her and I was dying to hear some good music, so I bought the album and fell in love with it. I know it is being played to death on the radio, but every song is a great song on her latest album titled "21."

I've also been enjoying that dance beats have become more mainstream and aren't just for clubbing anymore.  This is good because I don't go clubbing anymore. But I love that face-paced synth beat. In this category, I am really enjoying Maroon 5 and Pink (both of which I've loved since their beginning anyway) and Rihanna. I have recently discovered David Guetta, also. Every song on his album "Nothing But the Beat" is really great and you can't help moving when those beats get going. 

Also, because I have a pre-teen girl in the house, I have been enjoying listening to One Direction and Justin Bieber. Yes, I said enjoying. Originally, Bieber was just another teenage boy singing love songs, but he is developing into quite the artist. And One Direction has a great sound that makes me feel bouncy (like my 12 year old daughter). Their song "What Makes You Beautiful" is a message that young girls need to hear more often and I like to sing it to my daughter because she doesn't have a clue how beautiful she really is.

What about you? What have you been listening to lately?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 53

Today's Challenge: Tell how you beat the summer heat. 

Going Green with the Grizls

I was talking out loud as I checked today's prompt. Here's how that conversation went (my daughter was in the next room the entire time):

Me: I wonder what today's challenge prompt is.
<click, click, clickety click of the computer keys>
Me: Tell how you beat the summer heat.
My daughter and I, simultaneously: Stay inside!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Days 51 and 52

I missed yesterday, but since my answers are related, I thought I would combine two questions into one post today.

Yesterday's Challenge: Talk about a free activity to do with the kids. 

Today's Challenge: Share a gardening tip.

Today's Bounty
Guess what activity I love to do with the kids? Gardening! I love working in my garden and that love trickles down. The kids see that joy and want to be a part of it! My daughter spent her own money on potted herbs at the local organic farmer's market. She bought them one at a time. She also bought seeds and planted her own sunflowers. She didn't do a great job of keeping up with her own plants,  but she loves to sit with me and pull weeds or pick tomatoes, peppers, whatever is ready. The point here is that she found she didn't have the motivation to do gardening on her own. It just wasn't fun then. But when I get out in the garden, she loves to be by my side and help with whatever I'm doing. She dug the holes by hand when we moved the strawberry plants this spring. She shoveled grass when we starting digging a new garden. Just today, she eagerly picked tomatoes from the garden and then joined me for some fresh sliced tomatoes in the kitchen. Not only is gardening fun for the kids as long as they are doing it with them, they are learning skills that will stick with them for life! I learned all I know about gardening from helping my parents and aunts with their gardens as a child. My kids have also learned (and love) to shuck corn and shell beans. When I was young, that job was reserved for the kids. They parked us on chairs under a shade tree near the garden and brought us what they picked. We had a hose to wash whatever needed washing and bins to put clean, shucked, shelled, ready to go to the kitchen veggies into. I have passed on that tradition to my children. Which brings us fully around to today's challenge: a gardening tip. My tip is to get the kids involved! They may be able to help more than you think, saving yourself some work while providing them with a meaningful activity!
Going Green with the Grizls

Friday, July 20, 2012

What is Your Carbon Footprint?

picture from
Your carbon footprint is a great measure in numbers of how green you really are living. No matter what your score, attempting to lower it is a great way to continue on your journey to be more eco-friendly. I have known about this but I have never checked mine...until today. 

There are many sites online that will help you determine your carbon footprint. These are just a few:

I chose to go to Earth Lab to measure my carbon footprint. Out of curiosity, I hope to try all of these over the next few days. According to the carbon footprint calculator on the site I used, my score is 345 on a scale of 150-900 and my carbon ouput per year is 14.7 tons per year. I don't think 345 is too bad! I learned some things from the quiz that I can do to lower my score, just by not being able to say "yes" to some of the questions. On the other hand, i was very proud of my answers to other questions!

When I logged in after taking the quiz, I got even more information on how I can lower my score. I also learned that of the people in my city and state who have taken this test, I actually scored slightly higher than average, but lower than the national average. I have pledged to make some more changes to bring my score down. I love that under the pledges there are so many choices and they are divided into easy, moderate, and advanced.

Head on over and try one of these quizzes. I would love it if you could come back to share your results with me. I love comments and I'd really like to know how you did!

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 50

Today's Challenge: If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Going Green with the GrizlsIf I won the lottery (which would be a miracle since I don't usually play the lottery) I know exactly what I would do with it. I would find a very large, mostly wooded piece of land to homestead. I would want hundreds of acres and I would offer to let my parents and my husband's parents live on the same land if they wanted. If they did not, I would make sure they had a mortgage-free home. I would build a home on our land just sufficient for my family and equip it to live off the grid comfortably. I would have a subterranean emergency shelter, well equipped, just in case. I would also hand select a few people for their skills to live on the land with us in exchange for their help. Any money that's left would be kept for taxes or emergencies. And I would do all of this as quietly as possible, so that nobody knows we won.

Believe me, I've thought this one through a million times! Hasn't everyone? What do you think you would do with the money if you won the lottery?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 49

Today's Challenge: If you could be President for a day, what one law would you change?

this pic from
If I were in charge for a day, what I would change is a program, not a law. The government gives subsidies to farmers who grow corn. This program was designed to help farmers survive when the price of corn drops.  The program has unintentionally created a system that rewards farmers for growing corn, even when the market is saturated with too much corn, even when growing a single crop year after year has destroyed the soil and more and more chemicals and fertilizer are required each year. I would change this program to help farmers who use organic, sustainable practices and produce a variety of crops. Prices for organic foods would go down to a more reasonable level and the soil would be healthier and more fertile. I would include an educational program to be sure more farmers could transition into this type of farming, too. 
Going Green with the Grizls

One Lovely Blog Award

I am very, very late getting this post written, so please forgive me! The beautiful and talented Shai Smith of The Vagabond Studio nominated me (yes, me) for the "One Lovely Blog Award." I am so honored that she likes my blog because I absolutely LOVE hers! 

The rules to the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD are:
•    Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post
•    Share 7 things about yourself
•    Nominate 15 or so bloggers you admire
•    Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated. 

So, 7 things about me:
  1. I don't like meat much. I am not a vegetarian and I don't have a problem with meat-eating. I just don't care much for the way it tastes, so I don't eat a ton of it.
  2. I don't like sweets. Except for chocolate. Chocolate doesn't count as a sweet does it? I don't even drink sweet tea, even though I was born and raised in SC.
  3. I love animals. If I could I would run my own no-kill shelter. 
  4. I don't take orders well. I hope one day to be my own boss. Or just to be the boss. I'm much better at giving orders.
  5. I have a huge heart for kids. If I could I would run a home for runaways and other homeless teens. I would put right in front of the animal shelter. The teens could work there. 
  6. I love to read. I have trouble keeping enough books on hand, so I subscribe to about a dozen magazines. I donate them to the doctor's office after I read them.
  7. I preach what I practice. I garden and I advocate for gardening among family, friends and co-workers. The same goes for homeschooling, buying local, eating organic, and more. I don't pretend my way is the only right way or that I am perfect. But when I hit on something good, I let everyone know!

Now I get to nominate some bloggers I admire. I think 15 is a bit much so I am shortening the list a little. The only reason The Vagabond Studio is not on this list is because there is already a link to their blog above! And she's already gotten the award at least once (because she is awesome). Here are some more awesome blogs:

Our Family Eats
Growing Up Gabel
All Bout Cute
Silent Springs

I hope you get a chance to visit each of them! And thanks again to The Vagabond Studio for nominating me for this award!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 48

Today's Challenge: List five things to do if the power goes out. 

Going Green with the GrizlsI guess this could be taken one of two ways: Either list things to do to entertain yourself if the power is out, or things to do to make preparations if the power goes out. I am choosing the first of these (because it's more fun).
I have plenty of recent experience with enduring a power outage, since ours was recently our for 48 hours in 105 degree weather. I hope I don't have to go through that again anytime soon! How did they stand southern summers before air conditioning? Having two kids at home, we had to find ways to keep everyone occupied in order to take some of the focus off of the heat. If you have a similar situation in the future, these are my recommendations for things to do during the outage:

  1. Play board games. Our favorites are Sorry and Monopoly and Life. All of these are great for the whole family. They also take a while to play, which is good when their is no television, internet, or video games. We especially liked playing games in the evening by candlelight when the dark prevents very much movement. 
  2. Read. If you've been putting off that book because you didn't have time, well now you do. There are very few distractions so sit back, relax, and get to it. If you don't have a good book waiting for you, grab some magazines when you go out for ice or other supplies. Reading is a great way to transport yourself to a better, cooler place for a while, even if it is just your imagination.
  3. Go swimming. Swimming is a great way to cool off and get active at the same time. Nobody feels like much activity when they're hot and bored, but take them to a nearby lake, river, pond, or pool and they're likely to forget all about those troubles. If you can, head for the ocean, where the cool breezes coming off the water are an added benefit. Bonus: The kids will be ready for bed early and you won't have to entertain them after dark.
  4. Go for a drive. I am a fan of the old-fashioned Sunday drive anyway. When it's 105 degrees and you don't have so much as a fan? Well, I don't recommend you spend the day in the car, but a country drive in an air conditioned vehicle is a great way to get some relief from the heat outside and cool irritable tempers, too. Try visiting local historical markers to add a little education to the trip. 
  5. Go to a park. If you can't get to a nearby shady park, just take a walk. When you're outside for a purpose, you don't think so much about the luxuries of power. You are used to doing without lights, television, and air conditioning when you are at the park. The fresh air is easier to breathe than the stale, stifling air in the house, too. And if there's a breeze, it will feel even better. 
My husband and 2 of the kids cool off in the inlet at Pawley's Island.

I hope you don't need any of these helpful hints anytime in the near future! Have you had a long power outage recently? What did you do to keep yourself and the kids occupied?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 47

Today's Challenge: Talk about a random act of kindness. 

I really am not one to toot my own horn. I feel like talking about my own acts of kindness negates them in some way. I will share anyway. Because this is a challenge after all. But I will keep it brief.

Tera with Big William in 2010. We were enrolling him at Tech.
Probably my biggest act of kindness ever was when I took in a homeless teen. He was my son's friend, although they weren't super close at the time. At just 16, his mother had recently kicked him to the curb. I noticed that he kept spending the night, so I said something to my son about how he needed to go home. That's when I found out he didn't have a home anymore. When he wasn't spending the night with a friend, he was spending the night in the park. That was all I needed to hear. My son had a sleeper sofa and a bed in his room so we moved "Big William" in. He stood 6'8" and 200 lbs at the time, thus the name.  He  quickly became a member of the family. One year he made me a card for Mother's Day that was so sweet. 

My son now considers him a brother and Big William keeps in touch with him constantly. He calls me and  makes comments on Facebook and every now and then he will stop by to say hello to me at work.  I still do little things for him occasionally, like proofreading and editing his resume for him recently. Even though he is out on his own now and has even reconciled with his mother, Big William will always have a special place in our hearts. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 46

Today's Challenge: Describe your favorite room in  your house. 

Hands down, my favorite room in my house is my dining room. I liked it even better before we moved, when I had it painted yellow with pretty blue and white curtains. One of these days, maybe I will get around to painting the dining room in this house, but for now it's beige. I still love it. Part of the reason I love my dining room and how it came together are both the same: I have a love of all things old and traditional. My dining room has a story to tell and today I get to share it with you.

About 12 or 13 years ago, my husband and I went to look at a very old home in downtown Lamar, SC, that was for sale by owner. It was a fixer-upper and, after getting some estimates, we decided it needed more fixing-upping than we could manage. The home had some of the furniture still inside and I absolutely fell in love with the dining room furniture. There was no table but the sideboard and china cabinet were beautiful veneer from the Depression Era. The owner of the home agreed to sell them to us for $50!!! And he delivered! I didn't have a dining room at the time, but I put them in my kitchen for "one day."

Fast forward about 4 years and I bought a home that was the same age as the dining room cabinets.Built as part of the New Deal program in the 1930s, it had a gorgeous formal dining room with big windows and french doors and hardwood floors. The cabinets had not had a matching table until now. I bought a brand new table and chairs that looked old to make my dining room "set" complete. The table is more weathered and worn looking now thanks to lots of use! I love it that way because I can picture it being a family heirloom one day.

Shortly after that I went on a trip to Williamsburg, VA, and found a pair of 19th century embroidered chairs. Guess where they went when I got home? You guessed it! When we have family over and need more chairs, we pull them up and use them. The rest of the year the cats sleep in them! 

While I was in the old house I also bought a signed and numbered limited edition print of the South Carolina state flag, bird, and flower all together. It looked great over the fireplace. Then we moved again and I didn't have a fireplace. Turns out it looks amazing over the china cabinet in the dining room!

And that is the story of my dining room. It is the most "put together" and beautiful and "me" room in the house. If I ever get that old southern mansion I've been dreaming of since I was a little girl, the things in this room will go with me. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 45

Today's Challenge: Share a makeup tip/trick. 

One problem.... I don't have any makeup tricks. What I do with makeup is pretty basic. But...

Here's my makeup routine:

Going Green with the GrizlsBrush a neutral shade of shadow across my lower lid and a lighter neutral across the top, under my brows. A coat of my fave mascara, Falsies by Maybelline, makes me tiny lashes look longer and my eyes look bigger. A light coat is all I use because that's all it takes with this mascara. Use too much or put on a second coat and you will look like you put on falsies! If I'm feeling it that day, I add a little pink blush and some neutral lip gloss, but most days I just skip the blush and opt for chap-stick. I have foundation, but if you see me wearing it I am covering something up for sure! Example: If my face is sunburned I will wear a tint foundation with pressed powder over it to hide the lobster look (this happened earlier this week).

I can share a great tip that I recently learned from my hairdresser, though!

I have tried so many products, one after another, for years and years, trying to find a way to tame my curly hair frizzies without the wet look.  She told me to use texturizer! She even put some on my hair after she cut it to show me.

The real test, of course, comes when you try to do it yourself. I bought a jar of Tresseme texturizing cream at CVS and tried this myself (something really cheap just to give it a shot). It worked! Don't follow the package directions if you are using it to control frizz. Instead, dip three fingers into the jar to get a good-sized glob and rub your hands together before running your fingers through your hair. Start just behind the bangs and run your hands all the way to the ends. Do it again on the sides. Then grab a little more and grab the back of your hair, running your hands down to the end, getting the outside only, not running it through the hair. Last but not least, I use what's left on my hands (feel them, they are still sticky) as directed on the package, on the roots at the top of my head. This last step is for volume, not frizz.

You may have to experiment a few times to get the amount right. Too much gives you the wet look and leaves the hair feeling a little crunchy. Too little and you get no result. But after 2 or 3 times, I felt like a pro at this! My hair has never looked better and my daughter even asks me to do her hair like this now!

Now that my Tresseme is nearly gone, can anyone recommend a similar product from an eco-friendly brand?

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 44

Today's Challenge: What is the most important piece of advice you would give to your child(ren).

Confession: This post is a day late. Why? Because when I logged on last night and read the challenge, I chickened out. I wanted this post to be good (if I wrote it) and I definitely didn't want to write it on the spur of the moment. So I slept on it. Then I thought about it some more. Funny thing is, I kept coming back to the same piece of advice. So I decided to go for it.

Going Green with the Grizls

To my dear sweet kiddos:

My best advice to you, summarized in one sentence, is this: Be brave enough to learn from your parents' mistakes. 

We don't stand around bragging about it, but we've "been there and done that" more times than you realize. And times really haven't changed as much as you think they have. 

We never got arrested because we were lucky, not because we were perfect. We lived to be this age because we were blessed, not because we played it safe. 

We made mistakes, lots of them, and we still do. We suffered for those mistakes by dealing with the consequences, whatever they were. Sometimes the consequences were as simple as embarassment. Other times it was worse. Sometimes we lost friends or pushed away family members. Sometimes we created bad habits in our children by making mistakes in our parenting!

We love you guys so so so much and we don't want you to have to go through any pain unnecessarily. That's why we try to give you advice that we know you don't want to hear. We give it anyway, praying that you will hear at least part of it and use at least a tiny fraction of it. 

Alistair, this is advice you've heard before and you've already ignored it and more and learned lots and lots of things the hard way. Well you are doing much better now but the advice isn't going to stop. Ha. Ha. One day you will have children and I will give you far more advice than you can even imagine. You will roll your eyes and think about how to shut me up because you don't want me or anyone else to tell you what to do (I know this because I did this...another mistake). Here's the thing, I decided to do things my way and sometimes I really screwed it up. Good intentions aren't everything. In retrospect, I know what some of my mistakes were and where I could have done better. Those are the things I will try to tell you! So listen for cryin' out loud!

Mayson and Tera, you have many moons to go before you are old enough to walk away from my advice. For have to at least listen to it. Ha. Ha. I hope you read this and learn from it. When we correct you, or when we make "suggestions," pay attention. Again, we've already made those mistakes. When we give you advice, these are not theories to be tested! These are results of theories we tested for you long ago! Just trust us and go with it...PLEASE.

Love you guys (from here to Kalamazoo), 


Saturday, July 14, 2012

There Should Be an App For That!

Ever wish something were easier and find yourself thinking "there should be an app for that"? One time my mom asked me a question and I searched the app store to be funny and also to make a point. Guess what! There was an app for that! We got our answer and a good laugh! 

photo from
There are lots of things that I wish had apps! Specifically, I wish there were more "green" apps to take out some of the guesswork in living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Recently I have been thinking about a book I used to have. It was a great little book, small enough to carry in your purse or keep in the glove box of your car, that sorted brands and companies into categories and graded them on various areas of environmental friendliness. I had this book as a teenager when I was in Governor's School. I kept it and used it for years before misplacing it. About 3 years ago, I rediscovered the book on and ordered half a dozen copies; one for me and the rest for Christmas gifts. Now I have misplaced it again! I wish there were an app for that! An app that allows you to type in a brand or company name and get their "green score." There should also be an app to help me figure out what the title of that book was! And while they're at it, why doesn't somebody come up with an app that helps me remember where the heck I put things! What would your "dream app" do?

Now...where was that book?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 43

Today's Challenge: Post then and now pictures of yourself. 

Fun challenge! I decided to post several pairs of pictures for you, each pair showing a then and a now. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the pictures arranged the way I wanted them. In the end, I had to accept that the early pictures are first and the more recent pictures are last. I really love the ones with my son, showing how both of us have changed and I am no longer the bigger of the two of us! Enjoy!




with Alistair, 1994





Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 33 and 42

Going Green with the GrizlsI missed Day 33 when my power was out and I never did get back to it. As it happens, Day 42 (today) is very similar, so I am going to combine them and "kill two birds with one stone" here.

Day 33 Challenge: What travel plans do you have for the summer?

Day 42 Challenge: Talk about a favorite vacation you have taken. 

For the second summer in a row, our family has opted not to take a "vacation." We still plan to enjoy our summer, but in bits and pieces and all along instead of having a great week and piddling away the rest. 

We have spent plenty of time in and by the pool already and the kids have started using the gym at the YMCA. 

We are enjoying our garden and it's fruits, too. My daughter has her own herbs that she bought at the organic farmer's market that our city hosts each Wednesday, and I have the tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, and more. My son loves watching and waiting for the watermelons that are getting bigger and bigger! 

The farmer's market is fun time in and of itself. We go to pick up our CSA share each week and end up with other purchases. Today we went to a different farmer's market and came home with cheese, cucumbers (we are eating the cukes faster than I can grow them), watermelon (since ours aren't ready yet), and okra. We also purchased frozen dog food today, that is basically meat scraps from the locally pastured and butchered meat they sell. 

Yesterday we took the first of several planned day trips, or "mini-vacays." We went to Fantasy Lake, which is a redneck waterpark in a redneck lake in North Carolina. It was great! We went with friends and the kids played for more than 5 hours before we had to drag them out of the water to go home. 

We have also planned to go to Surfside Beach for a day and Georgetown for a few days. While we are in Georgetown we can visit the historic sites and the beautiful beaches of Pawley's Island, as well as joining some family that live there for a day on Black River. 

In late summer, after school resumes, I hope to be able to spend a weekend camping at Table Rock. They have great hiking trails, a lake for swimming, and a beautiful waterfall that has places you can slide down and a crystal clear pool at the bottom that the kids love to wade into. 

Of course, we are planning to have lots more time at the pool, too! And we may have to get to Fantasy Lake again before the summer ends. 

I feel that we are blessed to live in such a beautiful state that has so much to do. Why tie ourselves down to one week in a condo somewhere? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 40

Today's Challenge: What is the hardest challenge you have ever been faced with?

Going Green with the Grizls
There have been two extremely unpleasant "challenges" in my life. This will be a short post because I don't really care to talk about them much. I am typically a very upbeat, positive, smiley person. I don't care for unpleasantries.  But I will give you a short version of each. 

The first was the passing of my husband. It was unexpected, a car accident, and I had two young children. He was young and it was his birthday. I am happily remarried now and my children love their step-dad, but we are forever changed by that awful day.

The second was the time when my oldest child was getting into trouble, hanging out with the wrong crowd, drinking heavily, and ignoring me except when he needed my help to get him out of a fix. He quit going to school, quit coming home, quit answering my calls. It was scary. I feared for his life for about 3 years. I prayed daily for the Lord to please let him survive long enough to get past this stage in his life. My prayers were answered and he is doing much better now.

Anything you would like to share? I always love comments!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 39

Going Green with the GrizlsToday's Challenge: What are a few of your biggest pet peeves? 

Oh, so is that an invitation to gripe? Not a genius idea because I am a master griper.  But okay. Here are some of my pet peeves...

  • I hate wastefulness. Like when I see someone grab 10 napkins for 2 people in a restaurant, knowing that 8 of them will end up unused in the garbage. Or when I see my kids write a few lines on a sheet of paper and move on to the next sheet. Heck, I wrote an entire post recently on all of the disposable "convenience" items in the grocery store (see it here). I mean, who needs a disposable toilet brush? Really! 
  • I despise a nasty dish cloth. For some reason, I am the only person in my house that can hang up the dish cloth or put the sponge and scrubber in the soap dish that sits beside the sink. No, the rest of them leave all three items in the bottom of the sink. And, even better, they will then proceed to put dirty dishes on top of them. And oh heaven forbid they scrape or rinse those dishes first! Yuck!
  • It really gets on my nerves when I see items that are labeled as green or natural that have artificial preservatives or color or fragrance. Or the items that are labeled 98% natural...yeah because the other 2% is all the crap you don't want. It shouldn't be so difficult to find the truly organic/natural items.
Okay I warned you. I could go on and on and on. In fact, I work on bettering my attitude constantly because it would be easy for me to fall into a pattern of negativity. LOTS of things are pet peeves for me. I will leave you with one more, which is probably my #1 biggest pet peeve of all...
  • Do not lie. Period. I didn't say don't lie to me. I don't want to hear you lie to anyone. Sure I tried telling lies when I was younger. Luckily, I discovered early that I was not a very good liar. In fact, I am a terrible liar. I always get caught because I stink at lying. So I quit. I am not perfect, but I can not think of the last lie I told. Seriously. I know better. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I now cannot stand to hear others lie. My kids will testify to this...lying is the ultimate no-no in our home. 
I promise I am not a [bleep]. Haha. But don't get me started! See what happens?!!!

What would you say is your #1 pet peeve? I'd love to hear!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 38

Today's Challenge: Post song lyrics that mean something to you. 

I am a huge Michael Jackson fan, but this song takes the cake. It's less known because it was released not long before he died. The lyrics are amazing and really touching. These words say so much about what I believe and how I feel. When I listen to this song or even just read the lyrics I feel this sense of angst, a tugging in my heart, and I want to DO SOMETHING!

What about sunrise?What about rain?What about all the thingsThat you said we were to gain?
What about killing fields?Is there a time?What about all the thingsThat you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to noticeAll the blood we've shared before?Did you ever stop to noticeThe crying earth, the weeping shores?
What have we done to the world?Look what we've done.What about all the peaceThat you pledged your only son?
What about flowering fields?Is there a time?What about all the dreamsThat you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to noticeAll the blood we've shared before?Did you ever stop to noticeThis crying earth, this weeping shore?

Copied from 

Raw Milk vs Pasteurized Milk

My family has switched to raw milk recently. There are several reasons for our switch, including our desire to support local farmers and the increased nutritional value. I found this chart today and I found it very interesting so I wanted to share. he attached article is a little scary, linking all sorts of problems like developmental disorders and learning problems to soy milk and formula. My daughter was born with a severe milk allergy and was "failing to thrive" on breast milk (probably because she couldn't hold it down for more than a few minutes). She would probably have died in a time before soy milk and soy formula so I have mixed emotions about this information and the use of soy formula. However, I will say that she has difficulty with memory and some learning issues. Something to think about...

What do you think about this information? Do you buy raw milk for your family? If you aren't sure where to find raw milk locally, search for local farms on and even contact them via email to find out what they offer and how to buy from them. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Blog Challenge: Day 37

Today's Challenge: What is something you would attempt if you knew you couldn't fail?

Ooh I know! I know! Pick me! Oh yeah...I'm the only one here...heehee...

Going Green with the Grizls
For so long now I have wanted to open my own business. I have had some great ideas, including a fine consignment shop for teens and young adults, a pet daycare, a green grocer, and a green home building and decorating firm (my husband was until recently and most of his family still are in construction). The pet daycare is already taken in our town now, although I think mine would be better, but I would enjoy any of these businesses. Having my own business would make home-schooling easier and give me more flexibility in the hours I work. I would especially love it if my husband and I could run a business together and both leave our regular jobs. I have a ton of bookkeeping experience and I am such the people-person, while he is the hard working quiet type. I think we could accomplish amazing things working together!

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Excercise Challenge is hosting a Summer Excersise Challenge! I am intrigued, but I'm not sure if I can do quite as much as this asks for. I am thinking I can change it up a bit to allow for my bad ankle because I can't run. I'm going to sleep on it, but check it out and see what you think! Maybe you would like to join and get in a little better shape this summer. Here is the schedule for the first two weeks so you can see what you think. For more details or to join, go to:
Week 1:
(You can always change the days up – For example, if you need Wednesday as your rest day instead of Saturday/Sunday. And adjust as needed; Can’t run 1 mile? Start at half a mile! Hate running? Ride your bike instead (or walk or swim)!
Day 1: Run 1 mile and post time (no judging!!) We need a base time to see if we are improving, stretch at least once
Day 2: Yoga or Pilates (or your favorite exercise video) (Comment saying what you did)
Day 3: Run half mile as fast as can and post time, Stretch at least once
Day 4: Pilates or Yoga (or your favorite exercise video)
Day 5: Run 1 mile and post time, stretch at least once
Day 6: stretch
Day 7: stretch
Week 2:
Day 1: Run 1.25 miles (and post time), stretch at least once
Day 2: Yoga or Pilates
Day 3: Run .75 miles as fast as can (and post time), don’t forget to stretch
Day 4: Yoga or Pilates
Day 5: Run 1.25 miles (post time), stretch!
Day 6: Stretch!
Day 7: Stretch