Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vaccine Opt-Outs Rise

Had to add this since I just wrote a piece on vaccines. What do you think?

Private school vaccine opt-outs rise

Vaccine Debate? To Vacinate or Not. That is the Question

A friend of mine just moved back east after being gone for many years. She needed help finding doctors, dentists, preschools...etc.
So I recommended my family doctor (whom I adore & have been going to for 10 years) and she made an appointment for her 3 year old. When my doctor saw the child's immunization record he could not hold back his opinion. The child had never had a vaccine. In fact, none of her three kids were vaccinated. This was a conscious choice my friend made. She did her homework and is also highly educated. She did not make this choice lightly.
The doctor began to tell her that her that she was putting her children (and other children) at risk and that is was NOT a good idea to skip vaccinations. She was very insulted with his attitude ad felt that he was judging her (he was!).
It's safe to say that my friend never saw that doctor again. She found a local doctor that was more her style. Out of the 40 something vaccines recommended by doctors in America, this doctor only thinks 12 are necessary. He follows a European style of vaccines.

This is a personal issue. I believe we as parents have the choice as long as we educate ourselves on the topic.
I chose to vaccinate my kids but there are shots that I skipped for personal reasons. I am a stay at home mom so my kids are not exposed to as many germs as a day care child would be. I usually do flu shots but there have been years that I dropped the ball on that one.
The bottom line, is that it is our choice as parents. I feel that the doctor was a little harsh on my friend. Before any well baby visit, I empower myself with information so I know what to expect. I do my homework on vaccines and any other issues that might come up. I have a conversation with the doctor or nurse and together, we make the best decision on what is appropriate for my children.
So this article below discusses vaccines at school. I look forward to passing this along to my friend and asking her opinion on it. What do you think? Should this be done at school?

Doctors have mixed reaction to vaccinations at school

I just found another interesting article @
The title of the piece is "5 Dangerous Vaccination Myths"
Do check it out :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our New Normal

Life as we know it has changed after the tragedy in my neighboring town of Newtown, Ct. Trying to explain this to my small children is close to an impossible task when I can barely process this devastation and loss myself.
For me, writing has always been therapeutic and healing during challenging times. So I turn to my blog. Not sure of the audience but throwing it out there to share with anyone who decides to take a peek into my thoughts..

What has given me such a heavy heart is not only the loss of so many innocent children but also the loss of a sense that we are no longer safe. I moved to this town because it is safe. I wanted the best for my kids. But the sad lesson that I have learned is that tragedy does not discriminate. It can happen anywhere to anyone at any time. That scares the hell out of me but that is the reality we live in.

So does this change the way I live my life? Yes, it does. I now go into public places and hold my kids a little closer. I find myself looking over my shoulder in malls, supermarkets and even movie theatres. I think it is important for all of us to be more aware. No, I do not think we should be armed with guns ((but I have tossed around the idea of buying a tazer gun)). It's not time to be paranoid but it IS time to open our eyes a little wider and to be more mindful of our surroundings. It's time to reach out to friends, neighbors and family so we can work together protecting each other and keeping our environment safe. Nurturing that sense of community plays an important role in our kids sense of security. Isn't that what we all want for our kids? Being secure and confident. If we can give our kids that gift, I feel that the rest will fall into place.

I have to admit, my family and community is experiencing a New Normal with lock down practices at school and new security procedures. We now have an on going conversation in my house (and at school) about what we would do in certain situations. If we don't talk about it, how will they know what to do?

It sounds so cliche but we really have to look at the Newtown tragedy and learn from it. I can go on and on about gun control or mental illness...
These are issues that need to be examined but I will save that discussion for another day..

We need to work together in life and give each other a hand along the way.
How are you adjusting to your New Normal?


Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Magical Garden

My garden is full of gifts this season!!

These are tomato plants that couldn't fit in the raised beds. Please don't eat them deer!
My beloved raised beds. I am so proud of this garden. No easy task creating this while pregnant but such a labor of love.
~Happy gardening All !!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Disposable Baby Wipes-Good vs Evil

OK--so I'm not so green when it comes to baby wipes. I tried the whole "cloth wipes in my own mild solution" thing and decided it just wasn't for me. Those messy poops & unidentified messes simply needed disposable wipes for my own sanity. On a greener note.. I felt like I was doing twice as much laundry w/ cloth diapers and wipes so I gave in. I am weak! NO, just practical.
Frankly, I don't know which is more eco-friendly-disposable or cloth- but I do know that at those moments in life when I am in need of a baby wipe for something I simply cannot touch, I bow to the baby wipe Gods for inventing such a thing.  Sometimes it's a matter of convenience and I just could not live without my baby wipes. I not only use them for diapering--I use them to clean hands on the move, clean messes in the car, taking off make-up (love that one! Thx Martha Stewart!) I keep a stash of wipes in my purse at ALL times.
So there you go.
I confess, I cannot live without disposable wipes!
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Garden 101

It's been way too long since I have written. So much going on with a baby on the way. One might expect that I would be organized since this is my 3rd child --- not the case here! 
As the end of the school year approaches, I find my head spinning trying to wrap stuff up for my kids. I'm no Super-Mom and would never claim to be.

One thing I did get done, all by my-pregnant self I might my veggie garden. This was no easy task since I can barely bend over to even put my shoes on. My husband is, well, challenged when it comes to gardening. He was so kind as to add one wheel barrow full of dirt to my garden beds. Oh honey, don't break a sweat now! I busted my ass and got my seedlings in the ground. Edamame, potatoes, pumpkins, summer squash, tomatoes, peas, zucchini, kale, lettuce and an herb garden. Flower beds will be done this weekend.
I did all of the labor--no pun intended here. I have to say, it came out quite well. Now let's see what pops up. I get such satisfaction out of growing my own food & getting my hands in the dirt. 
Even if you have a brown thumb, I suggest buying a couple 5 gallon containers and planting your favorite veggie in it. Tomatoes & herbs are really easy. The great part about container planting is that you can move it around if needed. You can do this right on your deck or patio. Just be sure to use good soil. 
I buy all of my seeds at
It's a fantastic website for gardening tips and all of their seeds are free from genetic modification.
If you decide to buy plants, I suggest local and organic. It is certainly worth a couple extra bucks for the good stuff.
As my kids get ready for summer with their busy schedules, I find solitude and peace in my garden. It keeps me grounded  and is certainly a labor of love.
Happy summer all & happy gardening everyone!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lucky Me

I recently had a bit of a scare with a lump on my breast. I have breast cancer in my family so of course the first thing that went through my mind is that I'm going to die! Yes, I am known to be dramatic and yes, I did start to think the worst case scenario was about to happen to me.

I remember finding this lump quite a few months ago. After nursing 2 kids, my breasts have changed over the years and when I examine them, I am not always sure what the heck I am doing or what I am feeling. I never called my doctor and I just forgot about it for a while.

After an unexpected pregnancy with a 3rd child, I found myself lying down at the doctors office getting a routine breast exam. I saw that she stopped and spent a little longer in that one spot. She then had the nurse give me a feel and yep, they agreed that at the location of 12:00, there was a lump. The looks on their faces made me rather uncomfortable.

I was already scared about the fact that I was pregnant again at the age of 41. I thought perhaps my period was just late then, I saw my body change. While my husband was trying to zip up my dress for me before a wedding, he kept saying "suck it in babe, I can't get it zipped.." I WAS sucking it in!! My weight had not changed but apparently my chest size did. My mother said to me that night, wow honey, are you wearing a push up bra? Um, no mom. The dress is strapless! Made me start to think..

That was the first clue that I might be pregnant.

The sign could not have been more positive when I finally peed on the stick. I was in total shock. My daughter was 9 and a half and my son 4. I was done having I thought! But there it was...clear as day. That plus sign on the pregnancy test. I just sat there for a while. Locked in the bathroom (the only room with a lock and I wasn't leaving for a while!). I needed some time to process this information before facing the world.

So.. at my first visit to the obgyn, she found this lump on my breast.  I thought I was just knocked up and that would be the topic of discussion. Never thought we would be focusing on my breast.

Two months later, I finally got in for an ultrasound for my breast. No mammograms for pregnant women. I was scared. I wanted no obstacles to interfere with nursing this baby. I also don't want to die or lose my breast. My husband and I recently lost a friend to breast cancer. She was 41 and it was detected too late to save her. She left behind a husband and two small children. Truly heart breaking. This was not how I wanted my story to end.

Well of course I thought the worst would happen to me. I tried not to think about it. I only told my husband and mother. I can't stand when people worry about me or feel sorry for me. So, I kept it all in for a bit.

I enter the breast center in Greenwich and they marched us in like little soldiers. Three at a time. Please step into the dressing room, remove your top and put this lovely robe on open in the front.... (you call that a robe?).

Yes, I immediately got silly with the nurse. The atmosphere was way too serious and someone had to lighten up the situation. That would be me. I am famous for being inappropriately silly. Just ask my mother!

So then, I get examined or should we say, felt up by a very serious Russian lady. My goal was to have her crack a smile. I achieved it! And we even made eye contact as she squirted that lubricant on my boob. What a moment..

I immediately asked her if she saw anything. She paused (just to torture me I am certain) and then, she firmly said...No....I see nothing.

The Doctor came in and also did an ultrasound exam. She too saw nothing. Lets just say, I left there with a smile on my face and a snap in my step.
I was reminded that I was certainly one of the lucky ones. I paused to think about the women who walk out of there with terrible worry knowing they could lose a breast or even worse, their life.

In all seriousness, I know that I could have walked out of there with my head down and the weight of the world on my shoulders. For some reason, I am lucky. I won't question it. I will not take it for granted. I will honor it by living my life the way I always do, with a smile on my face and a snap in my step. For me, there is no other way to live my precious life.

I know many of you have had similar scares. The first thing I wanted to do was write down my thoughts and share them with women. We all struggle. We all get scared in life. I believe that what defines us is how we face these scary, trying times. It isn't always easy but I do believe a positive attitude and outlook on life makes all the difference. It does for me anyway and trust me, my life hasn't always been lucky or easy.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Healthy Ideas Your Kids Will Love! ~Homemade Chicken Nuggets

How often do you get in a cooking rut? Same meals all the time....boring! <~~a quote straight from my 9 year old's mouth!

What kid doesn't like chicken nuggets? This is one dish I do believe my 9 year old will never tire of. So I do my best to make a homemade version.
Here is what we call "Grandma's Chicken" since the original recipe came from my mom.

You will need..

1 pound of boneless chicken (I use breast meat but dark meat works great)
2 eggs
A few tablespoons of olive oil (canola or any oil will work)
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 wheat germ
1 or 2 garlic cloves

Step 1
Cut the chicken in nugget size pieces

Step 2
Scramble the eggs with milk in a bowl

Step 3
Put dry ingredients in a bowl

Step 4
Heat up a frying pan on medium/high heat

Step 5
Add the oil when pan is hot

Step 6
Put chicken in the egg mixture

Step 7
Put chicken in the dry ingredients

Step 8
Put chicken in the frying pan & add garlic (I smash the garlic but keep it whole. If you don't like garlic seasoning your oil, skip it)

Step 9
Cook chicken till brown on one side then flip it (usually takes a few 3-5 minutes on each side depending on the size of your nuggets)

Step 10
Take chicken out when fully cooked and place on a rack so the extra oil drips off.

~You can garnish it with parsley or Parmesan cheese. Just about anything goes with this recipe.

~If you prefer not to fry it in oil, you can bake it in the oven for a healthier version.

My kids like to dip it in some of my homemade marinara sauce but this chicken will go with just about any dipping sauce.

I like to make extra and keep some in the freezer for those busy days.

I came across this website from a mom blogger and thought it might be a good one to share..
So here is a link to this cool website that might give you some fresh ideas to spice up your meals in a healthy, kids friendly way.

Weelicious ™ - Fast, Easy & Fresh Homemade Home Made Baby Food Babyfood Recipes, Toddler Food and recipes for the entire family!
This kid loves to eat!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Is Eating Healthy Really More Expensive?

Everyone is looking for that inexpensive, quick way to be healthy. Here's the deal, it's really simple..

Eat Real Food.

My motto is to keep it simple. Take a stroll through the produce isle. Educate yourself on the prices and take advantage of sales.

I have to admit, I rarely buy my fresh foods at the supermarket. I make every attempt to buy local from Farmer's Markets and farm stands. I know what I'm getting this way and I am supporting my local economy. Yes, it can be a little more expensive but for this mom, it's worth it.
I know this is not possible or realistic for everyone so here are a few alternatives..

If you are on a budget (like most of us), then shop mindfully. Trader Joe's has great deals on organic, fresh foods. My only complaint is the selection.  Your local super market is most likely carrying lots of organic items as well and this might be more convenient for you. I try to stay away from stuff grown in other countries. Read labels and know what you are buying.

I plan my meals according to the fresh items I buy at the beginning of the week. I go to the Farmer's Market every Saturday morning. I talk to the farmers. They take pride in what they grow and will often give you ideas on what to buy. Last week, my favorite farmer told me the turnips were as sweet as apples. I also bought Veal Sausage for the very first time. I was looking for chicken sausage and she sold me on the veal. I look forward to making my sausage and kale dish. It's like a treasure hunt for me. I know I am getting my family healthy food grown & prepared by passionate, organic farmers...the way food should be. Simple. So ask questions. Be proactive.

We all know that processed foods are convenient for our busy lives but is it really worth the toll it takes on our bodies? Why not make your own TV Dinners? You want convenience? You can have it! Pick a day of the week when you just cook. Make your favorite meal (and a lot of it). Freeze half of it. Sometimes, I freeze single portions of the foods I know my kids won't eat. This way, when I am starving, I just pull it out of the freezer, and bake it in the oven. Simple. Organic. Healthy. And is it really more expensive? You do the math.

I also chop up lots of veggies at the beginning of the week. If I need a quick snack, I grab some pre-cut carrots, broccoli & hummus and boom, a healthy snack. I know the chopping is a pain sometimes so my advice is to chop ahead. Anything left over at the end of the week can be thrown in a soup or stew. I make a pot of soup every week. I look in the fridge and see what's left from the week. Nothing goes to waste. I pull some homemade stock out of my freezer and get cooking. Simple, homemade goodness. I always have a ton of soup in my freezer.

So is it really more expensive to eat healthy? I think not. Have fun with it. Eating should be a pleasure, not a chore.

And one more piece of advice.. if the food you choose can out live you (I'm thinking Twinkies), than it's probably not a good choice. You decide.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Smoothie Time!

Who doesn't like a smoothie? You can pay up to $6.00-$8.00 for a smoothie at health food stores. Why not make it at home? This way, you control what's in it. I add protein powder to mine to boost the nutrition. It's a great way to make sure you have enough fruit and veggies during the day.
You can also get daring and add kale or other green leafy veggies. Try it. You just might like it.
Here are a few ideas to get you started..

Refreshing, Low-Cal Smoothies -

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is Organic Really Worth It? For Me, YES!

Interesting piece on whether or not it's worth it to buy organic food. My rule of thumb with fruits and vegetables is .. if it has a peel-able skin such as a banana or avocado, it's safe to choose non-organic. But if you are eating the skin, then I always go organic. As far as dairy goes, I'll only buy organic and free of antibiotics. And that goes for meat & eggs as well.... nothing but local for this mom.
One other tip is to stay away from processed foods whenever possible. Cooking your own meals is the best way to go. If you need convenience, have a cooking day where you make a big pot of soup or one of your favorite meals and freeze some. I also do this when I make chili, marinara sauce or even my kids favorite homemade chicken nuggets. All I have to do is pop them in the oven on those busy nights when I don't have time to cook. Make your own TV Dinners with healthy choices. These will be a crowd pleaser for sure since you know what your family likes to eat. Eating healthy can be easy.
So yes, when I can, I choose organic. It's worth it to me.

What to Buy Organic - Best Vegetables and Fruits to Buy Organic -

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hello Again!

I know it's been a while since I have written a post on here. With the birds chirping in this spring-like weather, I thought it was time to get writing again!
Yes, I have my garden on my brain. Although this year, I am not starting my seedlings as early. My kitchen looked like a green house last year and I had plants in every window and very little room on my counters.

This year, I will stagger my crops focusing on tomatoes (2 or 3 varieties), lettuce, herbs and a separate squash garden. Of course there will be other veggies but I have to pick and choose since I am working with a small space. I did quite will with my container plants. We had some nasty weather last year so it was nice to be able to bring the containers in the house during Hurricane Irene. My garden did surprisingly well during that whopper!
I will once again do everything organically. For me, that's a no brainer and there is no other way to do it.
I continue to buy my eggs from my friends farm and I try real hard to only eat meat that was raised by people I know. Yes, that gets pricey but in my opinion, it is worth every penny. We are not big meat eaters in this house so when I do serve it, I want to know exactly where it is from and what it was eating. There is no comparison in taste.

It is March 2nd and spring is knocking on our doors... Although I should know better than to say that since March often brings quite a lot of snow in New England. Either way, spring is near.
I would love to hear about what you all are doing in preparation for your gardens. Happy gardening everyone!