Tuesday, April 28, 2009


The Crafty Crowe is my favorite Friday find!

picture from the crafty crowe used with permission
"The idea for this blog came out of my need to keep track of all the wonderful children's crafts I see on the internet. This collective specializes in crafts found on weblogs of creative people who either have, or work with, kids. You will also find tips, tools, resources, and other ideas sprinkled here and there over time." ~ Bella Dia, single stay-at-home mother of 3.

The Crafty Crowe is an excellent resource for parents looking for things to do with their children. The Crafty Crowe has everything from making puppets and ornaments to writing stories and celebrating the winter solstace. All activities are categorized by age group so crafty ideas geared to your childs age are easy to find.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


April 25, 2009
RELEASE: Major Victory for Ivory Coast's Rainforests as Oil Palm Successfully Resisted

Finally the oil palm scourge threatening primary rainforests and life giving ecosystems worldwide faces a setback as local protests are again successfully supported internationally by Ecological Internet, Rainforest Rescue and others.

By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Côte d'Ivoire's (Ivory Coast) main palm oil company, Palmci, on Friday announced it was abandoning a major plantation scheme in the south of the country after opposition by environmentalists to destruction of 12,000 hectares (29,700 acres) of primary rainforests. Tanoé Swamps Forest is one of the last remaining old growth forests in the country and the last refuge for three highly endangered primates -- the Miss Waldron's Red Colobus, the Geoffroy's colobus and the Diana roloway -- as well as home to many endangered plant species.

In June of 2008, Ecological Internet and Rainforest Rescue of Germany initiated the first major international campaign against the Tanoé Swamps Forest oil palm project and in support of local opposition. Leading global consumer products company Unilever was then poised to destroy Ivory Coast's rainforests [search] as both investor and customer, after having just made a supposed commitment -- falsely heralded by some -- to rainforest protection and certified oil palm, but starting in 2015.


Friday, April 24, 2009


My kids said I was probably one of the only people cutting down trees on Earth Day. They were traumatized. Planting new ones in their stead wasn't good enough for them, I had robbed the squirrels and birds of potential homes. I guess that was my momentary punishment for raising my kids to be environmentally conscious. LOL!

Last year we moved into a home with a very "natural" backyard. The people that built this home and lived in it for 23 years before selling it to us were the only ones in the neighborhood that didn't remove every single tree and replace them with grass. I love my backyard. We have nearly every bird imagineable flying around. We receive visits from deer from time to time (I'd like to forget the visits from the snakes though). It doesn't get any better than this so close to the city. The challenge is, what do I do with it?

We removed the dead trees, trimmed the ones growing into the house, and removed the ones that were growing into their neighbor trees. I've scoped out the section to plant my garden but the rest is a mystery. Do I plant wild flowers that will return every year? Once the trees get their leaves we will have a shortage of sunlight. The kids want a pond, my hubby wants a spot for his hammock, I was thinking a fire pit would be fun.

If your reading this and have any interesting ideas on how to bring the backyard to life (even more life than it has now), please share! I'd really appreciate it!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


If you care about your safety or the safety of your loved ones when they go to the doctor or hospital, this petition is for you:

The goal is to get enough signatures so that President Obama will take notice of this very important issue. Medical errors are on the rise in the U.S., thousands of people are injured or killed every year by doctors & nurses. We, the consumers of medical care, should have the legal right to view our physicians record in order to make an educated decision as to whether or not we want that person to be responsible for our health care. Wouldn't you like to know the safety record of the hospital you'll be spending time at? I know I would. If medical errors are made public they are likely to get corrected and safety regulations put in place to prevent future problems.

Please take 2 minutes to sign!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Very few people know that in my early 20's I decided to convert to Judaism. It isn't easy to convert to a religion whose followers don't actively seek converts. I wanted to be Orthodox but that was a no no. I was told I had the option of going Reform or Conservative. I found a Conservative Rabbi that was willing to accept me but I had to get the members of the synagogue to warm up to me. Not that easy. I stuck with it, I learned Hebrew, I studied Jewish history, read the Torah, and attended Synagogue.

Somewhere between moving to Mexico and having children I changed my mind about being Jewish. It really wasn't a conscious thought to abandon my desire to convert but I think the entire process of becoming Jewish was more about learning than it was about embracing something I wanted to be.

I have tremendous respect for Jewish people. I love everything about Judaism, but I was destined for another life and it didn't include religion.

This blog post is my way of reminding people who may not already know that sunset tonight is the Jewish Holocaust Remembrance. Officially we will remember this day tomorrow, April 21st.

Traditionally one of the ways to remember the victims of the Holocaust is by lighting a candle. If you have children this is a special way of opening up discussion about the Holocaust and its significance.

I also suggest reading the book "Night" by Elie Weisel. It is short, can be read in one evening, and it is very powerful.

If you want to educate your children on the Holocaust and there are any museums with events on this day, visual experience can be very enlightening to young minds.

CLICK HERE for a list of Holocaust museums around the U.S.

However you choose to remember this day, it is the "remembering" part that is the most important.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


On top of being a soapmaker I love love love papercrafting. I'm a colors and creativity junkie (although I really can't color coordinate anything to save my own life - thank the God's for Stampin Up!) The more color and the more creative someone is, I'm totally there! I always google random things like "soap chunks" or "trifold cards" to see what cool things people are making. Yes, it can be quite addicting. My head and my eyes are hurting for it.

Recently, during one of my many sleepless nights (those are normal for me so no worries) I came across the SOAP BOX. I'm not a huge fan of round soaps (does anyone else have trouble washing with those???) but when I saw the soap box, ideas started to fly.

So... I decided to give the SOAP BOX A try. My little white ribbon is pretty pathetic in comparison to the gorgeous ribbon bunch used in the tutorial but hey, this was my first attempt ;)

For anyone who might be interested in creating a box of your own, the creator (Kitty Franken) has offered this PDF FILE of instructions to the public through the SCOR-PAL website. It is really quite simple to make. All you need is a little color and creativity and your good to go :) Oh, don't forget the paper and tape :)

Friday, April 17, 2009


Elizabeth over at GASSNER CUSTOM SOAPS is proposing a new soap challenge. Hop on over to her site to get all the details.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Pardon me while I vent a bit in hopes of helping someone else.

Some of you who read my blog already know my family story. I'll make the story short for those who don't. My sister walked into the hospital back in 1984 when she was just 18 years old. Went to the hospital after being hit in the throat playing basketball. No injury, nothing wrong, but her coach wanted her checked out. She didn't walk out. Instead we took her home almost 6 months later having profound brain damage. She could no longer walk, talk, eat on her own, or move any part of her body voluntarily. We were told the doctors had no clue what happened. The last thing we were told in the ER that night before they wheeled her away she needed to have surgery and if they didn't do it immediately my sister would stop breathing and die. That was the last time we saw my sister "healthy" and "functioning."

As time went along and evidence revealed itself, we learned that my sister wasn't given any oxygen during her "minor" surgical procedure. We also learned that this "minor" procedure wasn't even necessary. There wasn't anything wrong with her. I was young at the time, only 13, but I remember wondering WHY

Why did the doctors lie to my mom about how serious my sisters condition was?
Why did the doctors lie about not knowing what happened during surgery?
Why wasn't someone making it all better?

Over the past 25 years I've met many families who have been left to deal with the "incompetence" of doctors and nurses. I say incompetence because dropping someone on their head or amputating the wrong leg is not a mistake. A mistake is when a doctor gives his/her opinion on what they think is wrong with you and they are wrong on the diagnosis.

Don't get me wrong. I know there are excellent doctors, residents and nurses out there but they are few and far between. My sister has an excellent neurologist who cares deeply for her and does his best when treating her, but he is rare. And before you jump to conclusions, I have had my fair share of contact with doctors and nurses over the past years. My opinion about the medical field isn't based on a couple bad experiences it is based on hundreds of bad experiences.

Having these experiences and wanting to make sure others don't is why I write this post. I compiled a list of things that I believe can help put you in charge of your care if you ever need to go to the hospital.

Going to the ER or the Hospital:

1. Never forget that you are in complete control over what happens to you. You can refuse any test that you aren't comfortable with, you can refuse any treatment. Same for those you have guardianship over (or your children).

2. Don't forget to ask questions. Never assume a doctor is going to tell you everything. Doc's usually don't volunteer information, especially the negative side effects of a treatment (would you want to volunteer that the blood pressure meds that your giving could potentially kill the patient???? No, not if you don't have to). If your doctor wants to give you medication, ask what the side affects are and how to spot problems if they arise. It is one thing if a doc tells you that a life threatening rash could happen from the meds he's given you but where does the rash appear, what does it look like. If the doctor wants to run tests, make sure you understand the procedure start to finish. Many times doctors order scans and with most scans they may use a contrast dye. If contrast dye is used you can have a life threatening allergic reaction. By law they are required to tell you that but I've been in situations where they didn't volunteer the information.

3. Don't let doctors act superior to you because they aren't. In hospitals there are patient advocacy groups. If you are questioning a doctor and he becomes hostile in response to your questions or concerns, immediately stop the conversation and demand to speak with the patient advocate group at the hospital... he'll change his tune then. I would do the same if they talk circles around you and refuse to give you information in layman terms.

4. You have the right to refuse treatment by a resident and insist to be seen only by a staff doctor. Many hospitals have resident physicians. I always refer to them as "students" because that's exactly what they are. They might be a first year resident, 2nd year resident, 3rd year, etc... but a student nonetheless. These people are overseen by a staff doctor. They screw up a lot! Now, I know that a resident needs experience but their is a limit to what experience I will allow them to get on me.

Example: my sister had to have an appendectomy in 1983. Every time a team of residents entered her room they'd ask my mother to step out. It happened 7 times in 24 hours. Finally my mother asked my sister what they were doing every time they came in to her room. My sisters response "pelvic exams." My mother hit the ceiling and ended up screaming at the next person who walked in the door reminding them it wasn't free feels day but being naive at the time she didn't realize she could refuse treatment by residents.

You can demand a staff doctor. Doesn't mean he/she will come to you immediately. I've demanded to see a staff doctor and waited 4 hours to see him, but it was worth it. BTW/he wasn't too happy that his services were demanded but ask me if I cared.

5. Some nurses aren't too swift either. Your lucky if you get the angel that actually cares about you. I've had good ones and I've had bad. They are easier to replace at a hospital than a doctor so feel free to bitch about them if they bug ya. Watch out for the lazy ones. You'll know a lazy bugger when you see one. They are the ones that you push the nurse call light, they come and ask what you need, you tell them and they promise to be back and you never see them again. Get rid of that one right away or you'll be dealing with a headache the rest of your stay in the hospital. (and before people say "but sometimes they are really busy", I take that into account before getting annoyed. If I've asked nurse "I don't have time for anything but blabbing to co-workers" to bring me seizure meds at 8 am and I still haven't received them at 11 am, it is time for her to go.

6. Remember, you need a doctor to order EVERYTHING. You can ask a nurse for medication but unless the doctor orders it, you aren't going to get it. Make sure when you request tests, medical supplies or medication from your nurse that you also ask her how long it will take to contact the doctor and then how long after he gives the order it will take to get what you want. Note: Dr.'s who see patients in the ER cannot place orders for things you want when transferred to floor 7. If you move from ER to a room, your dealing with a whole new doctor. Don't rely on hospital staff to remember your requests or even care about you once you are transferred.

7. Please do not treat a doctor like he's God. He/she is not infallible. They are humans just like the rest of us. They lie. I've had doctors lie to me about tests they've done, even lied to say they've seen the results of a test when they didn't (those pesky residents again). You'll get a doctor that thinks he's God but then it is your job to remind him that he isn't. Doctors don't respect people who don't take responsibility for their healthcare. The more you know and show your doctor you know, the more likely he/she is going to remain on their toes when treating you.

8. Staff physicians don't supervise staff residents. We all would like to believe they do but in the real world it isn't possible. If a staff doctor had to supervise a resident he/she would never get anything done. I learned this one the hard way. My sister had a rotation of 12 residents at one hospital. Depending on the day, I would get a different resident giving me a new diagnosis. It took me more than a minute to realize not a single diagnosis or plan of treatment was being run through the staff doctor. All of the residents had an idea of what tests needed to be done, what treatment was needed, and none could agree. They don't ask you if it is ok, they just come in with their ideas and expect you to go along with it all. Thats when I ended my relationship with the residents.

9. Don't become a guinee pig for student doctors. If you doubt that is what you are when they are poking and prodding you, guess again. These residents have to learn somewhere and you are IT. If they can get away with it they will have you upside down drinking some toxic white liquid running you through an MRI machine when all you had was a sore finger.

A recent study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences estimated that as many as 98,000 patients may be killed each year in hospitals alone as a result of medical errors. Don't become a statistic!!

Remember, medical students are now being told that medicine is big business. In my opinion if healthcare is big business than we, the consumers, deserve a refund if we are unhappy with the service we received. I also propose that incompetent doctors be sent to prison but I'll save that for another post.


Friday, April 3, 2009

After moving into our new neighborhood a year ago I was told by several "seasoned" neighbors what I could and couldn't do (legally) in our neighborhood. One, of course, was the "no clothes line" rule. Well, today I decided to visit the Municipal center. I was loaded with questions. Can I hang my clothes on a line outside, can I put my garbage out by the curb, can I have those chickens I dream about (the neighbors said it was illegal)?

The ladies working for the city were wonderful. Ready to answer every question I could throw at them. Although I'll admit, they were a little befuddled by my chicken question. You know that face... the one that says "are you crazy or just pulling my leg?" When they got over the shock and realized I wasn't joking the answer I WAS NOT HOPING for was "No, we don't allow chicken's." We CAN however have that clothes line all the neighbors complained about. I was warned that the neighbors will probably kick and scream once they see it but I'm not violating any city laws.

I left municipal bldg feeling a little deflated. I really wanted those chickens. Even though I pretty much knew early on that it wouldn't be allowed in our neighborhood I held on to that inkling of hope. After licking my wounds over the loss chicken battle I decided I'm going to petition the city. I'm a one woman army ready for action. I want those damn chickens. At least I want a good explanation as to WHY I can't have them. Call me crazy, those ladies at the city building sure think I am. But we'll see what happens anyway.

As for the garbage. Nope! It stays by the garage and the garbage man has to walk up to get it. Thats ok by me :)