Sunday, August 16, 2009


I was reading a blog this morning and although the pictures are beautiful I found the content a little unnerving. The blog post was about Essential Oils vs. Fragrance Oils. Now, I'm not trying to slag off on the person who blogged this information. They might be a very wonderful, generous, caring person - I have no idea. They might make great products that I would even want to buy. Who knows. What does bother me is the misinformation presented on the site. Now, I'm not calling the person a liar, in fact, I'm assuming they just don't have all the facts.

On the blog the author states that although Fragrance Oils are synthetic they are very safe to use unless you have an allergy or sensitivity to them. She then goes on to state that Essential oils are more likely to cause allergic reactions and certain EO's are actually dangerous.

First, lets explore Fragrance Oils:

FO's are a combination of synthetic materials used to create a fragrance that closely resembes that of a flower, fruit, etc... Most often the chemicals used come from petroleum. Today there exists thousands of chemicals to help create a fragrance oil. Many of these chemicals cause cancer, birth defects, etc...

My favorite is Hormone Disruption. Fragrance Oils can contain phthalates and synthetic musk. Phthalates disrupt estrogen and testosterone leading to thyroid problems, damage to the sexual organs of a fetus, and synthetic musk attacks living tissue. Phthalates have been found in cancer tissue, our blood, and breast milk. Phthalates are also known to affect our moods.

FO's are responsible for environmental, respiratory and neurological disorders.

You don't have to take my word on this, just google scholar and you'll find many research articles on this.

Now let's talk about Essential Oils:

Essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers, stems, roots, etc... by distillation or other method. EO's contain the true essence of the plant/flower that it was derived from. Essential oils also provide therapeutic benefits.

Because EO's are so concentrated you cannot apply them directly to the skin, you would dilute them in a carrier oil, cream, diffuser, etc...

Are EO's dangerous? They definitely can be. If you are allergic to a particular plant, flower, etc... and you apply the EO to your skin you may have an allergic reaction. Some citrus EO's can increase your sensitivity to sunlight.

list of dangers associated with EO's

I'm not trying to sway readers into buying EO's over FO's. I've used both in my products. I'm a scent junkie and although 99% of the time I try to buy FO's that have no phthalates I know that phthalates aren't the only synthetic chemicals in the fragrance. I do believe in transparency. I think if we discuss the dangers of one then we must discuss the dangers of the other. I think people have the right to know what they are using or what they are buying. If someone asks what the benefits of one is over the other, I think they should be told the truth.

Up to 60% of what we put on our body can get absorbed into our skin. FO's and EO's can cause allergic reactions. You should always do a skin patch test prior to use.

Skin Test
You should always conduct a skin test before using any new product on your body. A skin patch test should be done to know if you are sensitive to a particular product. Apply the product on the inside of your elbow and wait for 24 hours to see if it leads to any redness or itchiness (With an EO you apply a small amount of diluted oil to the inside of your elbow). If you develop any type of irritation you should not use that product.

Just because you do a skin patch test and don't develop a reaction doesn't mean the ingredients in the product doesn't enter your blood stream upon use. What happens externally is quite different from what happens internally. That is why FO's can cause negative health affects and why EO's have positive health benefits.

Whether absorption through the skin is an issue with products like soap that sits on the skin for a matter of seconds has not been researched.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Not that I didn't want to tell the world I was leaving, it just happened so fast that I didn't have time.

A friend of ours has a place in the mountains and offered it up for our use, so who would decline, right? Usually when I go somewhere I like to have months to prepare. The original dates we chose to take another mini trip away from home didn't work out, instead we had a week to get things in order for some time away. First stop: Big Sky Montana.

This is looking up toward the mountain from where we were staying. Very beautiful spot. We were told upon arrival that a black bear was visting the homes but we never did see it. It would have been nice to get a glimse from a far away window or balcony :)

A short nature walk just down from where we stayed. I love nature walks with my little tribe. The best!!

The girls went horseback riding and while I hung out with Aiyana waiting for them to return I crept over to a group of horses to sneak a photo of this little baby born 3 weeks prior to our arrival. Isn't he cute!!

I know this will sound crazy to those who don't have children but I took this picture of my 2 1/2 year old in her first bouncy house because... well... I almost cried I saw her in there jumping up and down. Her sisters were too old to go inside and any other time in her life if her sisters couldn't go she wouldn't go either. This time she just marched right in and began to jump. She was so excited. She smiled and laughed the entire time. It was adorable. She was the last one out and she only came out because I pulled her out by one leg. LOL!!!

After staying in Montana 5 days we decided to move onto Yellowstone Wyoming. Of course, no trip to Yellowstone is complete without seeing buffalo. We entered on the West End of Yellowstone and didn't see a single buffalo but once we made our way around to the East they were everywhere. Notice the little baby?

This is one of many that decided to hold up traffic. LOL!!!

Yellowstone Scenery.

More scenery.

Don't ask why but I'm a sucker for sap dripping off of tree photos.

Yellowstone burnt to a crisp. Remember the 1988 fire in Yellowstone? I've always been more fascinated by the area that was burned than the area that wasn't. After 21years the bulk of the burned trees are still standing. Of course, not many feathered friends or four legged creatures roam around this area.

My first, in the flesh, viewing of a coyote. I always thought they were bigger.

Who could visit Yellowstone and not check out Old Faithful.

I don't think I've ever seen a bald eagle in the wild. My kids and hubby always point them out when we are on the road. "Hey mom, check out the eagle flying overhead." But my eye site is horrible so I always get a blurred vision. This time I could see the little white head but not much else so when I got home I enlarged the picture enough that I could see. Sure enough, it is an eagle. Blurry but still an eagle, sitting on her nest.

Not the most unusual animal to find in the wild but what I found to be rare about this little bunny is its willingness to let me come right up to it and take a picture. No camera zooming here.

Not sure what these are really called. Geysers, hot springs? Well, they are beautiful but stinky. Aiyana would approach holding her nose telling me it smelled like eggs. Um... sulfur.

This picture is my hubby "deliberately" standing in front of one of these stinky pools waiting to get sprayed with hot water. Yes, my hubby is goofy like that sometimes. I told him beforehand that if he walked away stinking of rotten eggs he would be walking back to Minnesota!

I'm no animal expert so I'm going to have to guess that this is a moose.

After our short jaunt to Yellowstone and onto Cody Wyoming we decided to move onto South Dakota. For anyone who loves to travel with their kids, South Dakota (Keystone) is an excellent spot. There are a ton of things to do, even when it is raining.

Now this would have been a great picture had there not been a finger print on the lense over my face. ARG! Way off in the background is Mt. Rushmore.

This area of S. Dakota is definitely "biker" country. Sturgis officially begins on August 2nd this year (I think) so the bikers were moving in. I love seeing all the Harleys pass by.

Have you ever been to bear country? It is probably the only place on earth, besides the wild back country, that bears and wolves can walk freely up to your car. BTW/your pretty safe if you remember to keep your windows closed. Which we sometimes don't.

I wanted this wolf to come up to the car window but it hung out with its pack and ignored us. I've only seen a wolf in the wild once while driving through the big horn mountains in Wyoming around 3 am back in 1990. It was eating road kill and I almost hit it.

If you go to S.Dakota and want to try something really bizarre, go visit the cosmos. It is definitely strange. I don't know if it is all illusion or something else but it made me want to vomit and I barely made it through to the end. In fact, I ran through with my eyes pasted to the floor trying not to look at anything other than my shoes. This picture taken from a safe spot says it all.

Ok. This post wouldn't be complete without a rant. I was going to save this one for a day that I had major PMS but I can't hold back, I must mention it now.

Who on earth has a dvd player in their car? LOL!! Ok, Ok. I'll try not to be so crazy and judgemental on this one but here we are, driving through Yellowstone, and the van in front of us has a dvd player on with the kids perched in the backseat watching it. Um... we are in Yellowstone. Why exactly do families take trips to Yellowstone? Maybe it is just me but I just don't get it. That is all I will say for now. I'm not in my usual "I want to offend" people today mode so I'll just leave it with a picture (license plate deleted to protect the crazy and misguided people driving this car)LOL!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


A while back I wrote about "knowing your rights" when you are dealing with medical professionals. My post concentrated on the negative side of what I often see in the hospitals or clinics when dealing with doctors and nurses. Well, this post is about the positive side of things.

Most of you know that my sister, being locked-in (similar to vegetative but with complete awareness) had surgery to remove her gallstones at the end of May. She had become extremely ill with what was diagnosed as gallstone pancreatitis. Surgery for someone in my sisters condition was very risky. Her doctor said she would survive the procedure but not likely to survive the complications following. I asked what the complications would be and he said pneumonia. In my mind pneumonia was curable so I didn't worry about that too much. He may have mentioned other things but it was a stressful time so it's all a blur. All I knew for certain was, if I didn't do the surgery, it would cause her a great amount of chronic pain, which she was already dealing with, and I didn't want her to suffer. After consulting with those closest to me, including the surgeon I wanted to do the job, I decided to go ahead with the surgery.

As was predicted, anything that could go wrong did go wrong.

1. No lapriscopic surgery (5 day recovery, little incisions), she needed to have an open (several weeks recovery, a very large incision)
2. Blood clots found in legs following surgery.
3. Resident physician made a poor decision and gave my sister heparin (blood thinner) immediately following surgery and she began to bleed internally (that one can be saved for the negative medical experience posts).
4. My sister needed a blood transfusion.
5. Following her return home she had a picc line in her arm that became clogged.
6. Developed what appeared to be an infection in her incision.
7. Hospice was called in for what I believed to be her last days of life.
8. She developed pneumonia.
9. Developed blood clots in her lungs.

Where is the positive in all this. The positive part would be the amazing people who helped me through this process.

1. Dr. Toso. Probably the most caring doctor anyone can ever meet. He was our family doctor when we were children and he's been my sisters doctor ever since. He's the guy I call 24/7 (home phone, paiger, clinic #). There aren't many doc's like him. He's always honest, always gives me the good with the bad. Although we differ on some things he is always available and never tells me "he can't" do something. A person could never thank a doctor like that enough.

3. Dr. Rumsey. The kindest, most soft spoken doctor I've ever known. I call him the "dream doctor" because he definitely fits what I think most people want in a doctor. He's the guy that will sit down with you for hours and talk to you about a condition, diagnosis, treatment, etc... and never seems rushed, only focussed on you. He bends over backwards to make sure you are well cared for and happy with your experience.

4. Dr. Hope (Surgeon). Ok, let me ask this, how many people know of a surgeon that will make a house call? I know of one and that is Dr. Hope. When I was too afraid to open my sisters incision site to check for infection he came to her house, opened it up, cleaned it out, instructed us on how to care for it, and left. He's our angel. If he hadn't come, she wouldn't have survived. She would have suffered slowly while her body became septic.

5. The nurses at United Hospital. I can only remember a few names (Jenna, Michelle, Ann). I wish I could remember them all. They worked side by side with my girls, were always willing to help, very attentive. They made sure we had everything we needed for nearly a week long stay. They definitely made the stay a positive experience.

6. Social worker from hospice. The first person that could articulate what I've been trying to say all along. Being the first person to actually understand me! 

Last but not least, and not medical professionals, are the people I call friends. Many people listened to me cry and complain, and wrestle with the rights and wrongs of the decisions I had to make. I vented on facebook, on my blog. Friends read my worries, concerns, and confusion.

Susan: for taking time out of her busy day to come and do energy healings for Kelly.

Cindy: for calling me all the way from Iowa to walk me through the whole "how do you pack a wound" crisis and always being there for whatever comes up along the way.

Sandie: for sending me the "don't mess with texas grandmas" sticker. LOL! It came at the perfect time.

Lori, Sharon, Marilyn, Kathleen, Karie, Fiona, Robin, Heather, Holly (Sandie & Cindy) : Always listening to me rant about something. Always given me your advice, sharing your thoughts, and sending me comforting cards to get me through.

Bloggers & Facebookers: Teresa, Elizabeth, Amber, Denise, Allyson, Laurie, Judi, Erienne, Athena, Amy, Marjean, Anne Marie, Trisha, Carrie and if I forgot anyone that was so kind as to post words of encouragement and support on my blog or facebook, I apologize. Please know that I appreciate EVERYONE!!!

My sister is no longer on hospice. She's been discharged, is doing well. I'm not ready to fly out of the country to visit my in-laws yet but I'm very happy and relieved that she is now stable and doing much much better.

Monday, July 6, 2009


The family ran out for some Berry Picking at Sam Kedem's nursery. As always, it was lots of fun to watch the girl running up and down the many rows of strawberries and rasberries. We could have hung out forever but decided we had enough to last us a couple days. Here is my tribe busy picking.


Let me count the ways...

I have such a good hubby. It only took him 2 months to get the rain barrel set up but he did it and I love him more for doing so :)

Has anyone used a rain barrel before? I have wanted one for years but didn't want to pay the price associated with shipping. This year we were at the Quaker Plant Sale and they were selling rain barrels for $70. Couldn't beat that price so we bought one. Lo and behold, rain barrels are now the "in" thing. I went to Home Depot a few weeks after buying mine and an entire wall was filled with rain barrels. There are some fancy ones too. Here are some goodies that I found for anyone interested in getting one:






If you would like to learn how to make your own:

Printable Instructions

More Printable Instructions

You Tube Video:

Don't water your veggies and fruits with rainwater that has run off your roof, at least I wouldn't. Lots of nasties on the roof that you probably wouldn't want going into the food you eat.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


When I was little I would always read those goofy horoscopes in the newspaper or magazines. Eventhough they were all generic and pretty useless (took me a while to figure that out) It didn't stop me from reading them since it was nice to hear that I was going to find the love of my life, travel the world, and have enough money to buy whatever I wanted. That sorta thing means a lot to a 10 year old.

After reading the same thing every day you begin to realize at 10 boys aren't interested in girls yet, mom isn't going to give you the money you need to buy everything you see and the only travel you'll be doing is bike riding over to your friend Jenny's house a block away. So long astrology.

When I was in my late teens I found a book at the science museum on the history of astrology. It fascinated me to the point that I wanted to know more. It didn't just open my mind to the stars but it also taught me about the Mayan culture and the Greeks. It was enlightening to learn that something treated so trivially today was actually a very important complex system hundreds even thousands of years ago. Did you know astrology was once used to diagnose disease and illness? And with great success!

For the past 4 years, on an annual basis, I have my chart read by a wonderful woman named Virginia. I first met her at the Renaissance Festival (stop chuckling now, I haven't finished). I'm a huge sceptic but wanted to try it out anyway. She read my palm (I'll save that for a later post) and my chart. Astrologers don't predict your future but they certainly can tell you A LOT about yourself based on when you were born. Having someone analyze you based on your sun sign, rising sun, moon sign, is quite fascinating to say the least. As individuals we don't always want to see ourselves, nor do we always have the capability of seeing ourselves clearly for who we are so it is nice to have someone know your shortcomings, your goals, your needs and wants, and guide you based on an objective system. Astrology has other uses as well. My grandfather use to garden by the moon, depending on which astrological sign it was in. This was a very successful process for him.

Astrology is more science than mystery. If you've ever looked into it but was turned off by the generic ramblings of some new age crack pot in cosmopolitan magazine, I suggest looking into it a little deeper.

Great book on the history of astrology:

Another fun thing, see your own chart. Here is mine:

At ASTRO.COM you can get your chart for free. You will need to know the exact time and place of your birth in order to have you chart set up correctly. Not sure how accurate or helpful the free horoscopes are since I don't use them but the astro portrait is 100% on the mark.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Laurie on Facebook shared this one today and I thought it was much too adorable not to pass on: