Friday, October 2, 2015

A Blip about Gun Control

So, usually I am pretty quiet about my personal opinions on "hot" topics on Facebook*. However, for some reason I am feeling a bit... intense about the gun control debate that will come up even stronger now after the events of yesterday.

Many people claim that the United States violent crime rate is largely due to the easy access that U.S. citizens have to guns. They say that when you look at other countries, you do not see the violent crime rate and this is because of their strict gun laws. Sounds reasonable, right? Honestly, it kind of does. Until you start to look at more numbers and really understand things. Most people do not look at other information, they simply look at violent crime rates and gun laws and make this decision. They then decide we would be "safer" if we had much stricter gun laws, that this would make all of those violent crimes go away.

Let's make guns illegal? Let's make it so that only the President's guards can have guns? Let's make it so only officers can have guns? Will that make our country a better place? Let's say that guns are "done away" with. So no more mass killings, no more serial killers, no more shootings. Obviously guns are the only problem. Right?

How about we compare the number of serial killers that the United States has to the the rest of the world. The numbers, by decades according to the FGCU serial killer database, 1900: U.S. has 19 , Internationally 13. 1910: U.S. 34 Intl.16. 1920 34/29 1930 39/24 1940: 37/40 1950 50/35 1960: 168/65 1970: 512/145 1980: 680/192 1990:572/269 2000:318/229 As of a yearish ago 2010:73/53. The first decade, not a bad difference in numbers, unless you remember, this is 1 country versus the rest of the WORLD. How about the 70's? 512 in the United States alone versus 145 in the rest of the world. A bit scary. All total, the United States has had 2,625 serial killers. The next highest? England with 142.

Well, if we got rid of guns, you say, that would have not happened. Well, what if I told you that most serial killers did not use guns to commit their murders. I am not saying that few, or no serial killers killed their victims by shooting, I am saying that less than half, the highest percentage I have seen is 41% used a gun as a method of killing their victims. This is still a lot you say? It is, i agree. But that means that 49% of serial killers in the United States did NOT use a gun to kill their victims. Do you know what the next highest method of killing was? Strangulation. Are going to ban hands, ropes, and other objects that can be used to strangle someone next?

My point here is that while guns are often used in violent crimes, they are not the CAUSE of violent crimes, they are simply the tool used. I believe that the numbers of incidents in the United States shows that even if guns were banned, we would still have extreme violent crimes, and more issues than other countries. There is a deeper issue here, and until that we figure that out, we will continue to see this type of violent crime in our country.

*Note that this originally started as a Facebook post.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Glock Videos

Looking through my YouTube videos and rediscovered some old videos of Glock.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Foray into Yoga/Letting Go

Here is another little bit I wrote last month, on the 23rd.

"So, with my foray into yoga I have found myself doing more introspection. I wish I had written this down last night when it came to me, but I was so tired I went straight to bed.

I feel like in some ways my issues with my body, i.e. feeling fat, or like I have fat is because my body is holding onto things because I am holding onto things and  not letting go. Until I am able to let go of these things I am not sure I will be able to either be where I want to be or feel happy/comfortable with where I am .

Now, I know physical condition is not what life is all about and that there is no right shape, size, etc. It is just that I think for me, these extra pounds are like the physical manifestation of those things that are weighing me down and holding me back from progressing in my life. I feel like once I am able to let go of these things and move past them, I will be able to feel more accepting of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and I will be lighter in all ways.

I am still not completely sure what it is that I need to let go of, as I feel like I have already let go of everything I need to let go. I feel now, that maybe I have not fully let go of some, even though I have tried.

So, my goal is to find a way to truly let go of these things and move forward with my life."

After reading that, I find it interesting, because although I have not lost any weight, I feel better about myself. I just started the 30 Day Yoga with Adriene challenge over again, I'm on Day 5 today. I feel stronger, I feel like my muscles are evolving and developing, and I'm feeling more comfortable in my own body. Definitely all good things to realize!

While I don't know for sure how much I have let go of yet, I do feel that I am on the right path, headed in the right direction.

Looking Forward- Career Path/Remembering Who I Am

So, I have this nice bound notebook, like a journal that I write various thoughts and lists and things down in. Some parts are more journal like, some parts are simply lists of things I want to research, there are some quotes, etc. The front of it has the following quote stamped on it, "Live the life you've always dreamed of. Be fearless in the face of adversity. Never stop learning. Be true to who you are. Recognize the beauty that surrounds you. Be the architect of your own destiny. This life is yours to create."

I LOVE this, and it is the reason I bought the journal, even despite the fact that it is pink!! ;) I am not a huge pink fan. 

Anyways, as I went to write some things down today that I want to make into a blog post I looked back at the last few things I have written down. I haven't written much over the past month, but it is amazing the way I feel like I have progressed in my thoughts and convictions about some things in just a month. On the 5th of July I wrote this, I am not going to include everything as my notebook is personal, and this is public! I said,

"In some ways I feel like it is simply ridiculous the way I have been feeling lost and confused about my career these many years. I have always known, deep down inside, what I want to do with my life, what I feel I am supposed to do. It is as if something has been feeding me lies inside that this isn't a possibility. That i should ignore my dreams and look elsewhere.

Somehow though, I feel as if I have suddenly kicked all of these lies to the curb. I know what I am supposed to do and it makes so much sense now! It is going to take hard work, time, research, and some creative problem solving, but I know I can do it.

I am trying to not do wishful thinking about wishing I had stuck to my guns when I had graduated high school. I could be so much further ahead than I am now with this. I have to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. I would not have had the experiences I have had or met the people I have met if things had been different."

Now, I feel like while, yes, things may be very different if I had taken a different path, that I have learned so much about myself and gained so many good experiences on this path, that ultimately will help me on my career path, that this is the way it was supposed to be. It is going to take me some time and some work, but I have already made so much progress, at least I feel as though I have, and I am rediscovering who I am.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Update on Raw Feeding

 So we are about three and a half weeks into the switch to a raw diet. So far so good!! We started out on chicken drumsticks and leg quarters. With leg quarters he got one in the morning and one in the evening. While the bone to meat ratio is slightly higher than what most people recommend for the normal ratios, I found it to be perfect for the switch as it helped with any.... loose stools he might have had with a diet switch.

Since Glock was doing so well on the chicken I decided last week that it was time to add in a second protein source. I started adding in a bit of pork with his leg quarter and he has been doing great on that!

Saturday I went to the store to pick up some split chicken breasts and also got some chicken liver. Saturday was three weeks in and he was doing great on chicken and some pork that I figured it was safe/time to start adding in some organ. He gets a piece of liver every evening feeding. There haven't been any issues with that either!!

I have to say that so far I am feeling really good about this change. I am keeping my eyes peeled for great sales on meat, and am excited about adding in other protein sources. I think that it is most likely that his raw meaty bone portion of his meals will continue being chicken, either split breast or leg quarters, simply because they are so inexpensive. Obviously other raw meaty bones (RMB) will be added in if I find them at a great price. Pork and turkey will probably be a main portion of his diet as well with beef organ and muscle meat (heart), as I can get those for a decent price.

So, how is he doing? Well his ear infection seems to be doing quite a bit better these last few days. I have also started adding in a bit of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to his water to help and heal it as well. I figure hit it with everything to heal it as quickly as possible! He LOVES his food, gets super excited for dinner time and always wants more. He took to the liver immediately, apparently some dogs don't like it at first, and has loved everything he's gotten so far (not that that has been a terribly big variety).
Portioning out liver to bags!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A New Day Bakery

Maybe I am a glutton for punishment, but oh well! I have decided it is time to set up an etsy shop for gluten free baked goods. A way to lose money? Perhaps, I hope not, but one never knows!! I feel like it is time to take the plunge, a first step into something else. If you want to take a look, and I don't know maybe buy some *wink wink* you can do so here!! I have only done the cookies that I feel are stable and delicious, not ones that I am still trying to perfect. Okay, I am always trying to PERFECT all of them, but these ones are pretty dang delicious!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles- Xanthan Gum Free!

So, I have decided to try and not use xanthan gum in my gluten free cooking. Now, if you are a gluten free baker you may know how common xanthan gum is and how useful it is. Instead of xanthan gum I have decided to use psyllium husk. It is a bit of trial and error to find the right amount of psyllium husk to replace the xanthan gum. Some sources I have seen say you can substitute it 1:1, others 1:2-3 (xanthan to psyllium). So, I have made cookies a few times using psyllium husk. The first time I did chocolate chip cookies with a 1:1 ratio. They turned out flat and crumbly. Next time I did peanut butter cookies with a 1:2 ratio. After the dough had sat in the fridge for a day it produced pretty darn good cookies! The first batch I baked after just a couple of hours in the fridge were a big thin. Today I did snickerdoodles with a 1:3 ratio ( a HEAVY 3, maybe closer to 4). They held their shape beautifully, but were crumbly once you bit into them. Le sigh. It looks like somewhere between two and three is the magic amount.

Although they were crumbly they were still melt in your mouth yummy!

Glock's Raw Food

So we are on day three of Glock's raw food diet. I have to say that it is going great! Saturday morning, when I first gave him his food he picked up a drumstick, gave it a few licks and looked at me like, "Is this really for me??" I picked it up and handed it to him. He took it from me and started in on it. After that it was smooth sailing.

We started out on drumsticks. I know some people say not to give large breed dogs drumsticks out of a fear of gulping it down and not chewing it at all. I know Glock well enough to do that he would at least chew it a little bit, so that is what we started out with.

Glock is about 90 pounds, probably not quite that much, but is the weight we are going off of. For 2% of his body weight that is a bit less than 2 pounds a day. He is a bit skinnier right now than I would like, so we are feeding about 2 pounds a day. There were two packages of drumsticks in the freezer, each just a tad over 2 pounds. So he got half of a package in the morning and half in the evening, three drumsticks each. This morning we started with leg quarters, and while he did give it a slight questioning look at first, he ripped into it and life was good.

I'm feeling good about this change in his diet. He hasn't had any diarrhea on it, and definitely enjoys it. In a couple of weeks we will add in liver and organ meat. Then add in a second protein source.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Feeding Glock Update

So, I did the homecooked food for Glock for a few weeks. A bit off and on, I went out of town and he just got regular kibble while we were gone, didn't want to deal with cooking it and everything. His diarrhea went away while back on the kibble, so when we got back I did a bit of a mixture of homecooked food and his dry kibble. This did seem to help. However, the more I really thought about it the more I knew that this was the time to start feeding him raw.

I have wanted to put him on a raw diet for quite awhile. Pretty much since he was a puppy I have done research on it. He was less than a year old when I decided I wanted to do it. At that time I was living in Show Low with my dad, and there just weren't the options of places to get inexpensive meat from me to feasibly do it, plus I didn't quite want to start him when living with family. Once I moved into my own place I really couldn't afford it, my money was pretty much all tied up in keeping us going.

Now that I am in a town with many more grocery stores, supermarkets, and ethnic grocery stores I have a much wider range of possibilities of meat sources. On Thursday a friend and I visited several of the ethnic grocery stores so I could get an idea of what they had as far as organ meat, and other types of meat. I did not buy anything from them that day, but now I have an idea of what they have and the prices.

We did go to Restaurant Depot where I knew they had chicken leg quarters for $.45 a pound for a 40 pound box. Soooo I figured that was the perfect way to begin, it would last a few weeks, and it was cheap. We went and I picked up a box, it did end up being $.47 a pound, but it was just over $18 for the 40 pounds!! Can't beat that!

With all of that said, today was Glock's first day of a raw food diet. Hopefully this will be a good thing for him!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Glock's Food Update

Just a note of warning, this is a post about a dog, his new diet, and the resulting.... consequences of not getting his diet balanced right, i.e. resulting bodily functions. Just so you know!

So today is Glock's third day of home cooked meals. Yesterday he had more of the ground pork mixture. I added some yogurt morning and evening, as well as an egg last night.

He woke up this morning insisting on going outside. He had extremely runny stools, then came back inside and threw up some yellow bile. *Note to self, he most likely got too much dairy yesterday, and double check to make sure he is not getting too much fat on the meat.*

Even with his upset digestive system this morning I still feel like this is the best solution for him. I feel like his ear is continuing to improve, it hasn't been an immediate 100% improvement, but every day it seems to be bothering him less and less and looking better as well. It will take me a bit of time to get the hang of all of it and making sure he gets the right amount of everything that he needs, and not too much of anything.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Minor Gluten Free Baking Rant

Sometimes I think life throws me a curve ball when it comes to my baking. I go along, feeling like I'm doing great at this whole gluten free (and egg free, and dairy free, and sugar free, and now soy free...) cooking thing, and then wham!! I mess up.

Take today for instance. I decided to make chocolate chip cookies again. Last time they turned out PERFECT. Soft, chewy, and oh so delicious. Well, I have decided I want to try and use psyllium husk instead of xanthan gum in my baking. So, in went the psyllium husk. I also had to substitute olive oil in place of the shortening or coconut oil as we are out of coconut oil and the shortening has soy. After mixing it all together I thought, "huh looks kinda runnier than last time." Oh well, into the fridge into went for an hour, and then I baked them up.

That's what came out. Not lovely pillowy, chewy, soft, perfect cookies. Instead I have thin, crumbly cookies that you can't pick up without them disintegrating. *SIGH*. Now the bad thing is I changed two things, so I don't know how much is attributed to the psyllium husk and how much to the olive oil. 

Sometimes this baking thing is rough.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

First Day of Glock's Homecooked Meals

So, first day of Glock's new feeding plan. Honestly, I didn't put much thought into it this morning. I just pretty much went downstairs and decided I didn't want to feed him his regular dog food. I opened up the fridge, knowing we had leftover meat in there, pulled out the pork roast, the rice, and the congealed beef broth stuff I had saved. So, I threw it all in a pot and heated it up, remembered there were some green beans that needed used, pulled those out and threw them in, and pulled a few blueberries out of the freezer. All of that was thrown in the pot, mixed together while heating, and put in his bowl. He LOVED it. Maybe it is just my imagination but his ear doesn't seem to be bothering him as much today.

There was some of the pork and rice mixture left over, and he was so excited about it that he got a lunch time meal, which he usually doesn't get.

Earlier today I pulled out a package of ground pork from the pig that I got over a year ago. I figured it wouldn't be cooked for us for a long time,if ever, and it was the perfect way to use it up. For dinner I threw that that in a small pot, added some water, chopped up some carrots, a huge leaf of swiss chard, some fresh basil, then at the end added in some strawberries, a baked red potato and some more chopped pork as well some leftover chicken from last week. I kind of felt like it needed a bit more meat for the amount of potatoes that was in there. I poured a part of it in his bowl, added a couple of tablespoons of cottage cheese on top of it all and served it up. He devoured it.

I'm feeling like as long as I can find good deals on meat and get some supplements, Vitamin E and some fish oil, this is going to be a good plan for Glock. I haven't noticed him seeing as bothered by his ear today, and am hoping that that will continue to improve.

I need to make sure I don't feed him too much though, he has put on a couple of pounds recently, he's looking a bit thicker than I like. That probably has something to do with the fact that it's been 110 ish lately and even early in the morning isn't ideal for our walks or runs.

Idea Three: The Future

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I am a dreamer. In fact, I am a GREAT dreamer. I can come up with dreams and goals that will knock your socks off. Now I will let you in on another little secret. While I am great at coming up with dreams and goals, I am not always the best and following through and actually making plans to REACH those dreams and goals.

Phew. I'm glad that is off my chest.

There are about a million and one things that I have dreamt of doing with my life. Just in the last few years. (Okay, I may be exaggerating a BIT, but not that much.) Really, in all honesty there are so many things in life that I want to do, see, and become. It basically boils down to "I want to save the world." No really. I want to save the animals, save the homeless, save the children, save the homeless children, make sure everyone has an education, save those who need a second chance, save the victims of sex trafficking, save the.... well you get the picture. I've come up with ideas, possibilities, and plans of how to do pretty much all of it. The problem is, none of it ever STICKS. Sticks with me that is. I get an idea and run with it for awhile, but it never feels completely right. For one reason or another it is somehow influenced by someone else and what I think they want me to do, or something we could do together. When it comes down to it, it is not completely me. It isn't what I want to do with my life.

None of the above listed things are the thing that has stuck with me since I was a little girl. There is, however, one thing that has. You know what that is? Helping people by using horses. I have loved horses pretty much since the day I was born, I had my own mare before I was born, she was born in April, I was born three months later in July. I spent hours on horse back as a little tiny thing, riding around the farm while my dad was off working in the fields, in the shed, etc. When I was ready to get down I would just yell for him to come get me off. The only time I got grounded was when my older brother helped me get on Buttercup when my parents weren't around, which I was not supposed to do.

As a tiny little girl, barely able to walk, I used to toddle out amongst the herd of ponies on the farm. These ponies were semi wild, what had started out with a few dozen horses purchased my grandpa a few decades earlier had multiplied into a herd of nearly a thousand. Not only of them were kept at the same farm at the same time, but were moved from our various farms in the area. When they were at our home farm I would walk out amongst them, going under, behind, all around them, and never getting stepped on. I would play games with Buttercup, tag and hide and go seek when I wasn't riding her. This continued until my parents got divorced, my mom got remarried and we moved to Arizona. Buttercup was moved down with us, but she died the next year from consuming the deadly Oleander bush.

Losing one of my best friends at 8 years old was devastating, in so many ways. Looking back now I feel like I had this connection and gift with horses that has been buried so deep inside of me that I sometimes wonder if I will ever get it back. However, I am determined to dig it out, renew it, and grow it into something more.

(If you are still reading this you may wonder how on earth this post is labeled about the future when all I am doing is seemingly dwelling on the past. Well, your question will be answered shortly!)

With all this being said, I have been thinking about the future lately, well I think about the future a lot, but I have been thinking about the immediate future. I have been looking at equine therapy places close to me, as well as the qualifications to become an equine therapist, or at least a registered instructor, if not an actual therapist. I know I eventually want to work on my own, for myself, but I realize that is not going to happen right away, and I need something that will allow me to make a living, but still have the time and opportunities to grow and develop in the ways I want and need to for my future. My plan is to take a few classes at the local community college, for my own personal enjoyment, probably two nights a week, a photography class and a couple social dance classes. In addition to this I will volunteer one or two evenings a week at one of the equine therapy locations, work on improving my riding skills, and the skills needed to become a registered instructor, and in a year or two become a registered instructor. In addition to this it is important to me that I have the opportunity to travel. It is something that I feel passionate about, and want to be able to do.

With all of that being said and realized, I figured I need a job where I have evenings, weekends, and holidays free. Summers would be great for traveling. This made me realize that the ideal place for me to be working is at a school. UGH. (Joking, kind of.) Working at a school gives me the exact schedule that will work best for growing towards what I want to be doing. So, I am looking at clerical/secretarial jobs at the local school districts.

Wish me luck!!

*And congratulations to ANYONE who actually made it through all of that!*

Ponderings of New Dreams... That Will Hopefully Turn Into New Beginnings...

So, lately I have been overcome by this surge of new ideas/possibilities and things that I want to try. Not too terribly rare for me, but some of these are new things, things that I have not pondered before.

Idea one: Kayaking

A few times when I was younger one of my uncle's would bring his up to our cabin in Idaho and we would kayak around the lake. I loved it, but haven't thought about it much in the last 15 or so years. That is until a few weeks ago when we drove by Redfish Lake and I saw a couple kayaking on the lake. It suddenly struck me how peaceful and wonderful that seemed, and I remembered how much I had enjoyed those short kayaking jaunts when I was younger. "I want to start kayaking" I decided. Well, that thought hasn't gone away. Now, I currently live in the middle of the desert in Arizona. Not exactly ideal kayaking country. However, I did find a free informational kayaking class offered once a month at a local sporting good store. Here is a link to that class. While it isn't actual kayaking, I figure it is a good first step towards what will hopefully be a regular hobby.

Idea two: Homemade food for Glock

Doesn't this face deserve the best possible food??

So, this is something I have thought about off and on pretty much since the time I brought Glock home at two months. Originally I thought of putting him on a true raw diet, but realized to give him a good and balanced diet would be more than I could really afford. So, he has been on a fairly high quality dry dog food.  I thought about the raw diet again, almost off and on over the past four years, but still have never felt like I could afford it. I toyed with the idea of just kind of making it up as I went along and cooking food for him, but never could find anyone who seemed to think that was a great idea. A few months ago though I saw one of my Facebook friends who is a good German Shepherd breeder post pictures of the food she feeds her dogs. Guess what. It was a picture of a combination of cooked ground meat, potatoes, vegetables, and fruit.

This put the idea back in my mind of cooking for Glock. I have started to do some research and feel like this is what I should/want to do with him. He has suffered from infections in his ear for the past year or so. I will get it all cleared up, and then usually when I leave for a day or two it comes back. I don't know if it the stress of me being gone or what, but it has gotten a bit stressful for me. I am hoping that with a homemade, home cooked diet, that will clear up.

Idea three: The FUTURE

HA. Okay, so obviously the future isn't one individual thought, but it is an idea/theme that has been running through my mind lately. The last several months of the school year I was working as a substitute for one of the local school districts. While this was extremely convenient and nice while I was dealing with my health issues and resolving the food allergy stuff, it wasn't exactly the most and reliable thing in the world. Okay, it was not fun, and since I could pick and choose when and where to work, some days I choose to not work... even when I probably should have taken a job. This simply will not work for the future. There were times I enjoyed it, but many more that I did not. On top of that there are no benefits, no retirement, etc. and it does not pay well enough to make up for all of that. So, idea three is the FUTURE. But, more on that later, I think this post has rambled on long enough.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Coconut Sugar Scrub- A New Day Skin Care

My hands are nice and smooth and soft. They also smell AMAZING! Why? Well, if you must know, I just finished up mixing and bottling our first ever batch of Coconut Sugar Scrub to sale under our new, A New Day Skin Care line! (Doesn't that sound kind of fancy? OUR line?)

....awhile later.....Well I just got our Etsy shop up and running. We only have a few products right now, okay a few variations of the same product, but we will be adding more soon. 

Here is our description from one of the listings. 

Medium Grain Coconut Sugar Scrub Lemon or Sweet Orange 8 ounces

Thank you for taking a look at our new line of products! A New Day Skin Care is a brand new line of all natural, chemical free products designed to give you a new way of taking care of your skin, and yourself. 

This coconut sugar scrub is a wonderful product that will leave your skin smooth, soft, and lightly scented. The sugar helps exfoliate your skin, cleaning away the dead skin, and smoothing it out. The coconut oil digs in and hydrates and moisturizes your skin, and the essential oils help brighten your day and bring their own benefits to the party. This coconut sugar scrub smells good enough to eat! And, since it is all natural, it is safe if it does happen to make its way into your mouth. (Not that we are saying you should eat it, but our belief is that if is harmful to ingest that it does not belong on your skin! After all your skin is your biggest organ.) If you are like me you may have a hard time not licking your lips when the water rinses the scrub off of your face.

This fine grain coconut sugar scrub is made solely from white cane sugar, raw cane sugar, coconut oil, and lemon or sweet orange essential oil. That is it!

This medium grain sugar scrub is for those of you who are looking for something a bit more than the fine grain, but not quite as coarse as the coarse grain. This is a great all purpose scrub, perfect for everything head to toe. 

In addition to our all natural chemical free products, we are striving to give back to the world we live in, and make some sort of difference in people's lives. That is why 10% of every sale we make will be donated to The Global Soap Project, which you can check out at They bring soap and proper hygiene education to third world countries, where children and families can often perish through poor hygiene and a lack of access to soap.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Socially Conscious Businesses: A New Day Skin Care

Guess what, my previous post wasn't just for kicks and giggles, I had a bit of an ulterior motive in writing it. So, we, my mom and I, are working on producing and selling all natural skin care products. With the end of the school year not that long ago we have not gotten terribly far with it, but now that things are a bit calmer, it is time to start putting more energy and focus into it!

Anyways, over the past week or two I have been thinking more about what we could do to make this a more socially conscious business. So I have been doing some research about hygiene and sanitation issues in third world countries. I have found several non profits that take partially used soap from hotel rooms, etc. and are able to make them into new, clean bars of soap that they then send to third world countries where they are given to families and individuals along with education on the importance of hygiene. Global Soap Project is the one I have found that I like the most so far. Click on the link for information on what they do and why they do what they do.

Taken from their page : "You might be surprised to learn that the leading causes of death for children in developing countries  are hygiene-related illnesses, which claim more than 1.8 million lives each year. That’s nearly one-third of all child deaths. Handwashing with soap is the single most effective way to prevent those deaths. In fact, soap is more effective than vaccines, medications, or clean water initiatives alone. Research has shown that soap can reduce diarrheal disease by nearly one-half and rates of respiratory infection by about one-quarter.  Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved each year if  people had ongoing access to soap and understood how to properly wash their hands."

This seems like such a simple and utterly life changing (really life saving) cause to donate to! All of the logistics have not been figured out yet, but what I am aiming for right now is to donate $1 for every product or 10% of all sales to Global Soap Project. Eventually, my ideal would be to start a non profit of our own that works alongside A New Day Skin Care, making and developing our own antibacterial bar soap that we send directly to third world countries ourselves. Obviously, that is not going to happen right away, but is something to work towards.

Visit us at A New Day Skin Care.

*Etsy shop will be set up by the end of the week!*

Socially Conscious Businesses

So sometime last fall I read this book:Start Something That Matters

I really enjoyed it and it is on my list of books to purchase one day. I actually am thinking of checking it out at the library and rereading it soon. Check it out if it sounds interesting to you!

Anyways, ever since I read this book the idea of socially conscious businesses has always been at least a nagging thought in the back of my mind. I have always wanted to do something with my life to help people. Granted, I have about a dozen different things and ways I want to do that during my life, at least at the moment, I am sure more will come to me as I go through life, but helping people and honestly not working for someone else has always been a component of what I want to do for my work.

Socially conscious businesses are ones that strive to do more than simply make money. Whether they donate part of their profits, one to one products, work with small farmers, etc. they are striving to help others while also running a successful business. Probably the most well known example of this is the business Toms. The founder of this business is also the author of the book shown above. Toms is a one to one business, meaning that they donate a product/service for every product sold. Initially it was solely shoes. (See what I did there, sole? shoes?) For every pair of shoes they sold they donated a pair of shoes to individuals without shoes in third world countries. This business model helped them to soar and become incredibly popular. It is a great idea and something I greatly admire.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Bread

A week or two ago I decided to attempt to convert my first "regular" recipe to gluten free, dairy free (except for butter), and egg free. I picked an apple cinnamon bread that I had made once before. Here is the original recipe. My converted recipe turned out to:

3/8 cup sorghum flour'
3/8 cup teff flour
3/8 cup potato starch
3/8 cup tapioca starch
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 stick butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1 T flaxseed
5 T water
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 3/4 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1/2 c rice milk
1 apple

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix flaxseed with the water to make a flax egg. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients together. Layer half of the dough in bread pan, add in apples, and cover with other half of batter.

It did not turn out perfectly beautiful, BUT it was delicious!! I felt a bit proud of myself for successfully converting my first recipe after only four months of this new baking.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Gluten Free Sandwich Bread

So I made two loaves of bread tonight, based off of a different recipe then my very first gluten free bread. It is amazing the difference I feel in my abilities of gluten free baking in just a few short months. I think it was the beginning of February that I made my first gluten free bread. It looked like this.

Granted, it wasn't a loaf, more of a roll, but it wasn't the most beautiful thing in the world. Yummy? Yes. Attractive? Not so much. In the three months since I have done more baking, although not a ton of bread, besides the English Muffins from the previous post. I have made those a few times. Tonight was a sandwich bread recipe. And it turned out looking something like this.

Excuse the color, my phone did something weird, the bottom isn't really that yellow color. I wish I had taken a picture of the inside, because it was lovely! The texture was wonderful, and they both rose nicely. They are not perfect loaves of bread, but they are pretty good, in my opinion, after just a few months of gluten free baking. 

Now, I followed a recipe, and while the texture is amazing, the taste is not exactly what I want. Everyone else thought it was good, which it is, but since I have a lifetime of baking in front of me, I am being more critical. I will make the recipe again, but definitely tweak a bit. Probably substitute oat flour for the amaranth, and add in some salt for a start.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gluten Free English Muffins

A few weeks ago I checked out a book from the local library. I had requested it several weeks before that, but it is a popular book!

 After going through the book several times and looking at the recipes I decided I should just purchase it. I ordered it from Amazon and soon after it arrived made the English Muffin recipe out of it. They turned out FANTASTIC. Seriously, delicious. They made both mine and Adelaide's day. It made 17 muffins, as opposed to the 24 she says it will make, but that is my bad, I filled the rings up a bit too much, so they were rather LARGE English Muffins.
 Yeast Mixture 4 C water
 1/3 cup honey
1 rounded T active dry yeast
 Dry Ingredients
2 c sorghum flour
1 1/4 c brown rice flour
1/2 c teff flour
1 1/2 c potato starch
2/3 c tapioca starch
1 1/2 T xanthan gum
1 T sea salt
 Wet Ingredients
2/3 c coconut oil, melted
1 T raw apple cider vinegar
1/3 c hot water
 1. Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl. I used my KitchenAid KP26M1PSL Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer, Silver for this. 2. Preheat oven to its lowest setting, or set on warm. 3. Heat water in the microwave until temperature is about 100-110. I did 2 minutes, but would recommend trying about 1 minute as I had to wait for mine to cool down. Add honey and yeast, mix gently to combine. Set aside and wait until it is frothy. 4. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place English muffin rings on each pan, coat with nonstick cooking spray. 5. In stand mixer mix dry ingredients, wet mixture, and yeast mixture. Blend on high for 2 minutes to fully incorporate. Dough will be like a thick muffin batter. Remember this is a GF dough, so it won't look like a wheat bread dough. 6. Scoop dough into muffin rings, I would say shoot for about half way full, a little bit more. It does rise nicely, so if you want "average" sized English Muffins, go for half full. 7. Fill a small bowl with cold water. Dip metal spoon into water and with the back of the spoon use swift movements to press down the dough in each ring to smooth oth the top. 8. Insert the racks into the oven, let the muffins rise for about 15 minutes, or until the dough is just above the top of the rings. 9. Increase temperature of the oven to 425. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating trays about halfway through. The tops should reach a nice golden color, will be slightly darker depending on your teff flour, and they should sound hollow if you tap the bottoms. 10. Allow the muffins to cool for 15 minutes from removing. There you have it, beautiful and delicious English Muffins! These do freeze nicely and as it makes a big batch you may want to do that.

Real Women Have Power- Seven Continents

So yesterday I finished my project of highlighting a woman from every continent for my blog, Real Women Have Power. It has been a neat journey, researching each continent, trying to find some little known woman who is powerful, yet still has some information about her on the internet. It was something that I enjoyed immensely, and I am looking forward to moving on with a new project. It has been a great reward to me to log in each day and see even just a few new views to the blog, and every time there is a view from another country and just makes me practically giddy. My eventual goal with the blog is for readers to nominate women in their own lives that I can feature on the blog, sharing the stories of everyday women who do amazing things. I hope that my readers will continue to enjoy the blog and share it with others.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Opportunities in Each New Day

Well the day is still young, but I just have to say that today is a GREAT day. Starting out early I didn't think it would be. I had my ringer on on my phone so that I would hear it if I got a call from the school district to take a substituting job. I did, at a little after 5 this morning. It was for a half day of filling in for a kindergarten teacher. I declined the job, I really could not get up the courage to deal with kindergartners, even for a few hours. I got one more call about an hour and a half later, but by that time I didn't have my phone with me, so I missed it. I wound up a bit bummed that I didn't get a job for the day, and went into my, "how am I ever going to get money" panic mode. That lasted a bit, but I tried not to let it stay too long.

After making my little sister's lunch and sending her out the door, I headed on a walk with Glock, planning on starting a new batch of bananas for the dehydrator when I got back. After the walk I checked my blog statistics, and found that someone from South Africa had read my post about the First Afrikaner Feminist. Since I am easily excited when it comes to my blog and people actually READING it, the idea of someone from South Africa reading my post about a woman from South Africa totally made my day. I hope they enjoyed it, whoever they are.

Then, while I was working on the bananas one of my friends texted me and asked me if I would be willing to do her daughter's graduation pictures!! This is something I have actually been thinking about for a week or more, wondering if and where she was going to have them done. So, double whammy day already, and it isn't even ten o'clock yet.

I am trying every day to make opportunities for myself, see them around me, and take them when they come. I feel like both of these things are steps in the right direction of wherever it is that I am going on this crazy thing called life!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Granola

So last week one of the things I whipped up was a batch of Apple Cinnamon Granola. I used this recipe from two peas and their pod. The recipe looked yummy, and I liked the idea of idea of not using a lot of sugar. It was my first batch of granola, and it smelled heavenly while I cooked in the oven. I did make a couple of small alterations, so the finally recipe looked like this:

3 1/2 cups certified GF oats (not quick oats)
1 cup various nuts: sunflower seeds, pepitas, and pecans
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 single serving container of apple sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
chopped dehydrated apples

Besides the few things I changed in the ingredients list I followed the recipe as stated on the blog. When it was done I pulled it out, excited to try my first ever batch of homemade granola. I tasted a bite and was a bit....underwhelmed. It wasn't as flavorful as I had hoped, and smelled better than it tasted. Now, it isn't gross, or unappetizing, just not as delicious as it smelled. That being said, I do enjoy it in a bowl with a bit of coconut milk, the sweetness of that is a great complement to the less sweeter granola. This is not a recipe I would follow again, but I do like the idea of it, so I will try and make an apple cinnamon granola sometime in the future.

The recipe as I made it was "safe" for the allergies in our house, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, cranberry free, and almond free.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The End of the Trip

Even now, almost seven years later, I still feel a bit of a twinge thinking of a wonderful two weeks in England coming to an end. The first few nights being back home I would waking up wondering where I was. I still get this almost homesick feeling for England sometimes. I was definitely born in the wrong country. I should have been born somewhere in the United Kingdom.

Oddly our last dinner in England was at Burger King.

Now I'm not sure which way to go if I want Pizza Hut!!

Waiting for the tube to take us to the bus stop to take the bus back to our hotel.

Our stop.

So, no successful trip would be complete without some sort of disaster story, right? Wait, you say, you already had yours, your luggage got left in Chicago and you had to wait several hours at the London airport, exhausted and hungry, for it to get to you. True, but that was not the end of it. To get home we were taking a flight from the Heathrow Airport to the Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C., from there we were to take a flight back to Phoenix. Easy enough, right? Well it should have been. Except.... our flight from London to D.C. left a tiny bit late, which wouldn't have been a big deal, except there was some sort of storm in D.C. which caused us to circle above the airport for awhile, causing us to run low on fuel. Due to low fuel we had to land to the Baltimore airport in order to refuel. We sat on the plane at the Baltimore airport for about two hours for refueling and to wait for the storm to pass, that somehow didn't hit Baltimore, before we were able to take off and land in D.C. By the time we made it through customs and had our bags checked, since we stayed on a sheep farm they had to take extra measures, our flight to Phoenix had already left. We went to the desk to figure out what flight we could take to get home. They told us there was a flight first thing in the morning to Chicago, and then a flight shortly thereafter from Chicago to Phoenix. We decided that was our plan, they offered us a free hotel night, but since we would only get about four hours of sleep and have to worry about getting back to the airport in time, we decided to just try and get some sleep there. 

One of my favorite pictures of the trip. Tyler and Karen sleeping, or trying to sleep on their luggage, and my luggage in the middle.
Turns out Dulles International is a bit notorious for having people stuck there. We were far from the only people stuck at the airport for the night. Some people had been stuck there for a week+ as there were so few flights going to their remote country. There were several dozen people there trying to sleep, I doubt anyone was terribly successful at this.

The next morning we head up to departures, ready for the next flight. We checked our bags, and headed to the gate, only to discover that the flight to Chicago was delayed, meaning that we would miss our flight to Phoenix, again. Our next option was a flight that left later that day, arriving in Phoenix that evening. By this point we had already been up pretty much for more than twenty four hours straight. We didn't have much choice, so we agreed. We were a bit bummed that we wouldn't be on the flight to Chicago as two of our tickets for the flight to Chicago had been upgraded to first class. 

We settled in for a day at the airport. By this time we were really too tired to try and see any of D.C. in the time we had before or flight left. We settled into seats across the hall from California Tortilla where we had breakfast from, and tried to sleep some more, and just spend the day. I bought a copy of Gone With the Wind from the Border's bookstore down the hall in the mall, and Karen actually wound up reading it. We got lunch from California Tortilla, it was REALLY yummy, and the guy working there jokingly asked us if we were moving in. He would occasionally wave at us from across the hall. 

I remember at one point during the day having to go to the bathroom, I had to keep my hand on the wall to keep from falling over I was so tired. I felt like the floor was moving under me, like a boat hitting the waves.

Finally it was time for our flight, we gathered our carry on belongings, waved to the guy who had fed us all day and went to board our flight. I was in a middle seat and couldn't lean against the window like I usually do. I watched the movies playing for awhile, but towards the end of the flight needed to lay my head down. I felt bad leaning back, so I pulled down the tray in front of me and rested my head on that. 

When we finally landed in Phoenix we had been awake for 48 hours, with a few little bursts of catnaps, and we were exhausted. We had to track down our luggage, since it was on the flight to Chicago, and then got to Phoenix somehow. It managed to actually reach there before us, so we aren't quite sure how that worked out. In the end, although we were tired and ready to sleep for hours, it was a great experience. I think everyone should be stuck overnight in an airport at least once in their lives. Karen and Tyler both felt like they never wanted to fly, ever again, for quite awhile after that. I, on the other hand, was ready to get back on a plane and go within a few days. 

London River Tour

In addition to the Bus Tour we also purchased tickets for a River Cruise. It was fun to see things from that perspective as well. It wasn't terribly long, but it was enjoyable to just sit and watch the sights go by without having to think about whether or not you should get off and see things.