favorite thing of the week!

I have never been a perfume kind of a person, but I DO like to smell good! Usually I just leave it to my favorite Weleda product that I may be wearing at the moment... Summertime can be a particularly tricky time, and honestly I don't like to totally close-out a persons own 'scent', I have always loved the subtleties of each persons scent and I think that it's possible that we Americans do have a bit of a love affair with cleanliness.

BUT then I found Kiehl's Corriander essence... it's an oil and comes with a little roller ball applicator -- it reminds me of 'Spencer Boutique' you remember that store in just about every mall in the 70's and 80's, it was dark and they had those purple lights and they sold oils, posters and incense -- this corriander essence has a really fresh scent and it's easy to wear for men or women.

This is my favorite thing of the week! - Kiehl's Corriander Essence - $25

School's Out!

As you can tell by my NON-posting that summer is here, school is out and it always seems to take me a bit by surprise how LITTLE time I find to actually WORK! But once we are into a groove things get much better... the groove is beginning because my husbands niece Olivia is here to help us - YAY!

Since we live far away from both our families my we have been pretty good at "inviting" family to come and stay for the summer and help to play with the kids. Or from time to time I can get a cousin from Sweden to come and help as well. We love it because we get to spend more time with our extended families and the kids get to know their cousins a bit better than just a short visit. But I must say that I do get to spend more time with the kids in the summer than many working parents so I think that we are very lucky.

So as we get into our groove, please take this time to send me emails or comments on what you would like to hear more about from the Nonchalant Mom Blog, we have been inviting some guest bloggers so that you can find out a bit more about some bloggers that I love to watch. I would like to know more about what you want to see from us... is another baby week in order?? As my kids grow I sometimes forget to talk about babies.. I noticed you kind of like to hear about health and beauty too? so maybe some more of that... Please comment and we will do our best to hit all of your suggestions!

Thank you for listening and have a GREAT summer!


the toxic 'dirty dozen' by Green Planet

The subtext is the best part... "Stay healthy by steering clear of the worst chemicals that might already be in your house". This type of article is often written too "textbook" and not in normal language, but I felt that this article by Christine Lepisto was really helpful and easy to understand. I also like that her chosen 'Dirty Dozen' really make sense to me.

I am quoting the article in full but please visit the website 'Green Planet' here for more information.

one of my own additions: re: #3 BPA - since this article was written many of the US baby bottle manufacturers have stopped using BPA in bottle production (see blog here), you can also usually ask your water fountain company to provide BPA-free bottles at no extra cost or better yet ask them if they have glass containers!

[by Christine Lepisto]

It seems like you can't open a newspaper or magazine without reading warnings about hazards "you must avoid." Though many are carcinogenic and can pose serious health risks, which ones are the worst? Which ones do you really have to watch out for?

Benefits vs. risks
We each weigh the benefits of certain products (and the chemicals that are in them) against the risks associated with their use. For example, the tar and other nasties in cigarettes would top any such list -- we know that they cause cancer and are really bad for you and anyone who's around you a lot. But, people around the world still smoke them, despite piles of studies and mountains of information that say they're not good for us. The same applies, in degrees, to the benefits of make-up, shampoo, toilet cleaner, auto lubricants, and a host of other products that the average person uses and relies upon each day.

What We Really Want to Know
So let's skip alcohol and saturated fats and go straight to what we really want to know about what to avoid: which chemicals lurk in everyday consumer products which can be avoided without really harming our quality of life or threatening our freedom of choice?

  1. Triclosan
    Once restricted to uses with high benefit and limited proliferation, such as in hospitals and food-processing, successful marketing of anti-bacterial agents in consumer products led to a boom in the amounts of these germicides in our environment. The CDC estimates that in the early 1990s, only a few dozen products containing antibacterial agents were being marketed for the home. Now hundreds flood the market. Triclosan is in human breast milk and in fish downstream of water treatment plants. It has been shown to act as an endocrine disruptor in frogs. Ironically, this futile quest for sterility may be breeding super-bugs resistant to antibiotics or harming the good bacteria which help us stay healthy. If you quit only one chemical habit after reading this, give up anti-bacterial soaps and cleaners. If you don't buy these products today, talk to your friends and neighbors. This one is a no-brainer.

  2. Bisphenol A, or BPA
    This chemical, used to make certain plastics soft and pliable, continues to be named in studies implicating it in health risks. Recently, the first large-scale human study correlates bisphenol-A with common diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and liver enzyme abnormalities. (JAMA, Lang and colleagues).

    But the controversy continues: while Canada banned BPA in 2008, the US FDA continues to defend BPA as safe—even for babies. To minimize your exposure: buy preserved foods in glass instead of cans, especially those with an acidic nature such as tomatoes or citrus fruits; avoid drinks in single-use plastic bottles; and never microwave food or put hot foods in plastic containers.

  3. Perfluoroalkyl acids and salts
    Perflurooctane sulfonates, PFOS, lead this pack. The media has dubbed these chemicals "C8" with much the same na‹ve oversimplification by which the dreaded global warming gas carbon dioxide has been reduced to "carbon", formerly known as the building block of all life. But chemist's rants aside, perfluorooctanoic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonate and similar fully fluorinated chemicals may be the closest thing to a contaminant of "silent spring" magnitude in our generation.

    Perfluoronates were heralded as chemical wonders for their non-stick and water-repellant properties. An OECD study shows 2005 production levels in the hundreds of tons around the world. While scientific knowledge about the toxicity and chronic effects of this chemical are incomplete, one thing is clear: these persistent and bio-accumulating chemicals are building up in mammals across the planet. Enough evidence exists to use the precautionary principle to stop all applications which do not provide substantial benefits offsetting the risks. Non-stick cookware and stain-repellant trousers simply do not merit gambling with these bad actors. [Note: do not throw away non-stick cookware you own. The risk is in the manufacture, not in the end product.

  4. Phthalates & 5. Nonylphenol and its ethoxylates
    These are the poster children for endocrine disrupting chemicals. That big medical term means that the chemicals mimic natural hormones, like estrogen or androgen, which causes confusion in the systems regulating sexual function. Disappearing male populations, small penises and hermaphrodite fish are just a couple of observed phenomena that may be explained by a build-up of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment.

    Phthalates are used to make plastic flexible, as solvents, and in cosmetics and perfumes. Again, this is a family of chemicals. The misbehaving siblings include dibutylphthalate (DBP), butylbenzylphthalate (BBP) and diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP), while Diethylphthalate (DEP) appears to be safer.

    Nonylphenol compounds are effective, cheap surfactants (surfactants are the chemicals which help dissolve oily grime into water in cleaning products). There are many safer substitutes, so simply don't accept any "nonylphenol" on the ingredient list of products in your house.

  5. Polybrominated Flame Retardants
    Exemplified by Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), polybrominated flame retardants are used in mattresses, upholstery, plastics and other materials to prevent them from catching fire and burning. In the battle of risks versus benefits, some jurisdictions, such as California, require PBDE and others, such as Europe and China, have banned PBDE. Although flame retardants prevent risks from synthetic materials burning, they are persistant and bio-accumulating. Adverse health effects attributed to PBDE and PBB include problems in brain development and genital malformations. Avoid polybrominates by buying clothing, bedding and furniture made from natural materials.
  1. Glycol ethers
    It is important to understand that there is a whole range of glycol ethers, many of which are relatively safe. However, the bad guys are suspected of causing birth defects and low sperm motility. Look out for the known reproductive toxins methyl cellosolve (aka methoxyethanol or EGME), Ethylene Glycol Ethyl Ether (EGEE), Ethylene Glycol Methyl Ether Acetate (EGMEA) and Ethylene Glycol Ethyl Ether Acetate (EGEEA). The jury remains out on 2-butoxyethanol, (EGBE) commonly used in paints, inks and household cleaners. European authorities reviewed claims of carcinogenicity as recently as 2005, dismissing the classification because tumors observed in animals can be explained by mechanisms that do not occur in humans. The so-called "P series" glycol ethers are considered to be safer substitutes: these include Propylene glycol monomethyl ether (PM), Dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether (DPM), and Propylene Glycol n-butyl ether (PnB).

  2. Urea-Formaldehyde resins
    Made famous by the FEMA trailers used to house victims of hurricane Katrina, this ubiquitous binder in plywood and particleboard releases significant amounts of formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen. UF-free alternatives in composite wood products include phenol-formaldehyde (PF) and melamine-formaldehyde (MF) resins. Although these contain formaldehyde, their higher stability reduces post-production vapor release. Isocyanates (e.g MDI) and polyvinyl acetate (PVA) are formaldehyde-free options, although isocyanates have high production concerns and the moisture resistance of the most low-risk option, PVA, is poor. All are more expensive than UF (of course). Soy based adhesives are a promising development to watch.

  3. Heavy Metals Like Mercury and Lead
    It is hard to believe that centuries after people realized that "mad as a hatter" is an occupational disease, these neurotoxins are still hiding in mascara or hair dyes. Watch out for the preservative "thimerosal", which contains mercury. And avoid anything with lead in its name. Both lead and mercury build up in the body so even little bits over time can be dangerous. And be especially careful if you have children about the house.

  4. Sensitizers
    Too many chemicals fit into this category to list by name, but the hazard is significant enough that it simply deserves a mention. Most people will use products containing these chemicals all their lives and never suffer a single symptom. But other people will note a worsening tendency to rashes, sneezing or difficulty breathing. The culprit? A sensitizer.

    Protect yourself by avoiding products with commonly known sensitizers such as the fragrances cinnamic alcohol, hydroxycitronella or isoeugenol, or the preservatives quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea or parabens. Use baking soda and lemon slices instead of air freshener or perfumed cleaners to freshen up.

  5. Perchlorates
    Boy it sucks to rain on the fireworks parade. But it does appear that perchlorate, a propellant in fireworks and rocket fuels, is contaminating groundwater systems. One report on perchlorate sources notes that over 20 million Americans are affected by perchlorates in their drinking water. The same report notes that 221 million pounds of fireworks were detonated in the USA in 2003. Other studies demonstrate contamination of lakes and groundwater at sites where public fireworks displays are held routinely. Perchlorate intake on a regular basis interferes with iodine uptake, and may therefore be related to hypothyroidism.

  6. Acrylamide
    The US FDA estimates that 100 percent of the population consumes the carcinogen acrylamide in their food, 0.4 micrograms per kg of bodyweight per day on average. Acrylamide is manufactured synthetically, then reacted to make the harmless textile fiber polyacrylamide (PA). But the acrylamide in foods is not an industrial contaminant. It forms from a reaction between sugars and proteins that occurs mainly when foods are cooked at high temperatures. Fortunately, the foods with the most acrylamide are some of the ones that you shouldn't eat anyhow due to much riskier "natural" health impacts such as obesity and heart disease. So keep your intake of chips and fries under control, drink coffee in moderation, and cook your foods at lower temperatures. Then stop worrying about acrylamide; after all, stress is risky too.

  • Make it a Baker's Dozen: Handle with care
    Many chemicals are useful and not really dangerous if handled correctly. Others are necessary but should be used with discretion. For example, sodium hydroxide (lye, oven cleaner) or hydrochloric acid (toilet bowl cleaner) will cause skin burns and should only be used with gloves and safety goggles. Pesticides are formulated to kill living organisms - so they will not be good for humans or pets. Read labels, follow manufacturer instructions, and turn to useful resources like the US Health and Human Services Household Products Database and the EWG cosmetics database to understand the products you use every day.

for more information see complete article on the blog "green planet" here.


present & correct

These guys are one of my favorite shops to check out when I need some time away from 'everything', I just click on my bookmark and take myself away to their happy and colorful place (and can I say organized too!). Present & Correct sent me an email today, they just turned 1! So, I had to take a moment to peruse through their new things, my favorite section is "organise" because I am so NOT organized I love to look at ways to approach being more organized, and why not in a 70's retro way!

Present & Correct is the design store of Neal Whittington, he picks up things along the road in his travels to Amsterdam, Japan, New Zealand and more as well as finding things in his backyard of London. Neal also designs a retro inspired line of paper products that will tickle your fancy and colorful and fun for kids too!

It's an easy stop to brighten your day!

visit Present & Correct here!


nana, mor mor, grandma... whatever you call them, they're great!

In our home we have to call in help from Nana and Mor Mor if one of us is going to be out of town for a stretch of time. Since they both live far away we do a bit of arranging to get it all set up. My mom (Mor Mor) just left, she was here for a week and she is the cooking and cleaning impressario, we joke that no-one is allowed in the kitchen when she is here. Nana (my husbands mom) is the 'playing with the kids' grandma, she can play and play for hours with the kids, she's amazing that way! But while daddy was gone for 18 days we had all the help we needed and I think it's such special time for everyone!

It's really wonderful to see what Nana comes up with for the kids, she plays all kinds of games, they go on walks in the forest, it's just endless. I wanted to write about her today because I was watching her playing with our youngest, she is 3 1/2 years old. Today, they were in the bedroom taking care of a whole pile of stuffed animals and dolls, each one had something going on and our daughter was in heaven! At lunchtime she made a little restaurant and they ordered for each other, and sat down at the kids table and ate together on the little doll house plates, the stuffed animals were all around eating in from their dishes on the floor and then, since Nana is English, they had Tea! It was all so delightfully cute, it's not like we never do this together because we do, but they carried it on for about four hours! Just simply great!

I have written about Nana before when she had Franny outside with a clothesline tied between our pots on the deck and they were 'washing' and hanging out clothes, again... they took their time and did it for hours! With our son she hides notes all over the house with pictures drawn on them and it's a little like a treasure hunt, and at the end there is usually a cookie or treat, they have such a good time.

What I am trying to get at is the simplicity of it all... it's usually the simplest thing that the kids take to, and I think that the patience and time spent in the process is wonderful. I know that it may be a rare occasion that I spend that much time on something with my kids, it seems that there is always something to do. I remember when I first started my business, I just worked at it all the time, then one day I was outside carving pumpkins with our son, it was just him at the time, and I realized... GEEZE it's so nice when you give your child 100% of your concentration and your time, and ever since that day I really try to separate the two. In these times when parents are usually both working, one maybe working from home, but usually both parents are overworked... it's essential to take very specific time and just be with your kids, playing, coloring, playing house, whatever... just something together! OR maybe we will let you borrow Nana for a day!!


almond and orange yogurt cake

I found this cake in the June issue of Everday Foods (a martha stewart magazine). So far I have made it three times and the result has been fantastic! The kids love it too which is always such a bonus... I guess that all kids love any kind of cake... but this has some good stuff in it so you can fool yourself that it's not so bad!

Each time that I have made this cake I have forgotten something, once it was the egg yolk, once it was the orange rind IN the cake, and then once I forgot the vanilla--my poor poor memory! But it has still been great each time. Someone please send us a comment if you make the cake with ALL of the ingredients! If it's good without them, I'm sure it's fantastic when you add everything you are supposed to add!! This cake comes out moist, yummy and it makes a splash with the beautiful candied orange rind on top! (oh, and it's super easy!)

Almond and Orange Yogurt Cake
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups sugar (I used 1 but you can do what you want I think!)
6 wide strips orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon finely grated zest
3/4 cup semolina flour
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup blancd almonds, finely ground in a food processor
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup greek yogurt (full-fat), plus more for serving

preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9" round cake pan (I actually used parchment and organic olive oil spray and it worked great)

1)in a small saucepan, combine 2/3 cup sugar, water, and orange-zest strips. bring to a simmer over med-high heat; cook until sugar has dissolved, about 3 min. Set syrup aside to steep.

2) in a large bowl, wisk together flours, almonds, grated orange zest, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately beat in flour mixture and yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

3) transfer batter to pan; bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean 50-55 minutes. let cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto a rimmed serving plate. Using a fork, poke shallow holes (about 15) into top of cake. Pour half of the surup over cake; garnish with orange-zest stripes from surup. let cool completely. serve with yogurt and remaining syrup.

hints: I didn't have the semonlina the first time I made it so I just used 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and it turned out wonderful!

thank you again Martha!!
Let us know how yours turns out!


favorite thing of the week!

Each week we are going to share with you our "favorite thing"...
it can be a person, place or thing... just something that makes us happy!

Please send us your comment with any suggestions on YOUR favorite thing and we will be very democratic about it, toil for hours and take surveys.... NO just kidding... it will not be democratic at all because it will just be little pleasurable things that I like, things that make us happy (I say 'us' meaning 'we the people'), and things that I want you to know about!

This week my favorite thing is something extremely small, wonderfully colorful and it just makes me happy! I usually wear mine piled with other necklaces (and YES, I am almost always wearing one of my nonchalant mom necklaces!) but just the site of it makes me smile!

Matta's Corazon friendship necklace!
I love to give them to friends, they are only $12, and I just hope it makes people just as happy as they make me!

So what is your favorite thing this week! you never know... maybe it's mine too!


nonchalant kids!

Nonchalant Kids for summer 2009 arrived a bit late but I really loved what we created. It was a very busy time this season, and behind the scenes there was a lot going on, we were not really sure what to expect with all of the economy things going on so we ran our operation a bit close to our chest. As it turns out we were busier than ever, so we really did our best to keep up with you and constantly come up with new things. All of that running around set me behind on my collection...

Once again, I wasn't happy with any prints that I was finding out there in the market so I took my chances on Ikea and I found some really cute things (but this is why we have a few "special editions" and already low stock on some items). I had to send my mom to Ikea in Minneapolis to find additional yardage sufficient for the collection, it all worked out in the end and we found ourselves with just enough for fabric production! The red is from Ikea as well, and the black for the swing top is a really high-end shirting fabric that I found from one of my old supply sources. The batik fish fabric come from an amazing batik supplier who makes only hand batiks, I am crazy for batik and I really love it's unique effect.

I wanted to give you a condensed collection and then offer some variety in fabrics, so we only made our favorites! The swing top is just easy and always looks great, it's fun at any age, any occasion or anything! It's great with shorts, pants or leggings. The halter pantsuit came out of things I found at the flea market, you usually see these in a 100% polyester fabric, but we produced it in beautiful 100% cotton. I have been hearing from everyone that you all want these for yourselves so maybe next year I can do it... we'll see! The knee pants are just a simple pair of shorts that my kids wear all the time in the summer, so I knew that they would work well for all of you!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Nonchalant Kids collection and I am happy to hear good AND any criticisms you may have! Send us your comments!

click here to view the Nonchalant Kids collection on nonchalant mom


Fresh Air Fund

My husband and I were speaking with our neighbor Ann recently and mentioned that we were considering becoming involved in the Fresh Air Fund as a host family. We were very conscious of our own move away from the city and knew that many urban children do not have the choice we have. It doesn't seem fair that while our children frolic and play each summer amongst the trees, at the beach (and in many other activities that we take for granted as our Summer rites), or in our pool, etc. - many children will not have the same adventure or sense of freedom that we easily take for granted. Truthfully, we've been hesitantly moving towards the idea. After all, it isn't always easy taking in someone for the Summer. But, at this point, we've studied the idea and think it could be a fun one - not just for the child(ren) who would visit us, but for our children too. The lesson to our children, and ourselves, could be invaluable.

FAF was started about 120 years ago in New York City. You can imagine the need for such a thing at that point in the cities history. The idea was basic - give children from inner city areas the opportunity to see an alternative lifestyle. Children can either attend a host family situation or they will partake in a camp getaway. Our neighbor Ann told us her story about volunteering for one of the camps. So, whether you feel ready to host a child at your home, or you just feel like you'd rather donate time or money - check out the website for Fresh Air Fund and see what you can do to make an inner city child's memory of Summer much more like your own - full of fun, hope, and opportunity.

As for us - this year, we are not quite ready to host a child. So, instead we will be giving a sizeable donation to the Fund in anticipation of our own participation as a host family next year. Do you think you can help too? Or, is there an organization in your community that we should know about that does much the same? Let us know.



Blair from WiseCraft is telling us that summer vacation is coming quickly to her house. Preparation is everything - so why not try this idea that Blair recommends:

'I am accumulating a small but essential stash of things which I plan to put up on wise craft soon. From experience, I know to enter summer vacation fully prepared with the right mental mindset, or its just not fun for anyone around here. Yes, those long days of relaxing in the summer sound magical and great to my kids right now, while they are sitting in a classroom for a couple more days, but we moms understand the reality. There will be plenty of days when they complain of being bored. Its going to happen. That's when the "stash of things" becomes my lifeline. Pulling out an activity, craft project, or simple game idea can get us all on the having fun track again.'

'One thing I've pulled out for years are the Boomerang audio programs for kids. You can get an idea of what these audio program are here. These started out as cassette tapes I got in the mail years ago, being played on a kid's tape recorder. My kids were only kind of listening at that stage, it was more for background entertainment as they played. But these episodes have grown up with them and, now that they are older, they not only enjoy these but have referred to them on several occasions for schoolwork. We then graduated to CD's and now we're getting our downloads directly from the Boomerang site, which are in turn loaded into the kids Ipods. (I love the "nonpackaged" aspect of this, there is no paper, no wait, its instantaneous.) On days that we are hanging out at home, the kids retreat to their rooms for a bit of downtime after lunch, with Boomerang audio stories in their heads. As a parent, I love the "back door" approach of Boomerang and its way to make learning fun for kids, they are learning and listening but its nothing like being in a classroom. Plus its something that the whole family can enjoy listening to together, the stories are rich and imaginative, the facts are fascinating, and the kid's who do all the telling are real kids, not actors. (No kidding, they are friends from the neighborhood of where Boomerang is recorded in California.) A list of episodes and what episodes are filled with can be found here.'

Hooray for Summer!


vivesana - synthetic free sun protection

Remember my post awhile back about Dr. Hauschka not selling their sun protection cream any longer... We got so many sad responses and I don't know about you but I checked everywhere (I finally found one lonely tube at a store). Well the wonderful people at Vivesana contacted me and we have been using their sun cream with great results!

is a new synthetic-free sunscreen that is gentle, hypoallergenic and 70% organic. It's tube is safe, sustainable, domestic and BPA-free! Now if I could only get them to make a collection of kids clothing that is so wonderfully sustainable! They have two products that I really like, the kids 'Solar to Polar Baby' which has an SPF 42 and their other product for adults (also an SPF 40) is a high performance synthetic-free and organic sun care, 'Solar to Polar Ultra' provides durable, clear and antioxident-rich protection. No phthalates, no parabens and no BPA... could life be any BETTER!

Vivesana means - live healthy, and the entire philosophy behind Vivesana is full of healthy wellness. I love that they created the formulation in their own kitchen, with years of research and wanted to create something that made this world better. Showing companies that it could be done... a product could be safer, packaged better, and not harmful to the person or their surroundings, while also giving back to the planet by supporting a few non-profits. Their website is filled with numerous real-life testaments on kids with all kinds of allergies, so read these if you have any questions about allergies.

I feel really good about these guys and it also feels good to I know that this sunscreen works and uses nothing but healthy goodness!

buy Vivesana by visiting their website here.


how much room to you really need to be happy!?

I was prompted by an article in Treehugger recently about the size of American homes, do you know that they have increased in size by about 140% since the 1950's. Even from the late 1970's homes grew from just over 1,600 square feet to an excess of 2,500 square feet. Trading up for a larger home has become the norm, even if it's not really necessary. Size has become a representation of ones success, but all of that is changing! (hooray!) According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) a new trend is developing, almost 60% of home buyers today are looking to downsize their home, rather than upgrade to more square footage. Apparently the housing crisis has taught us a very painful lesson. Bigger is not always better!

I have to say that I noticed this very fact when I was young, I lived in San Francisco and worked for Esprit. Once in a while we were invited to the home of Susie and Doug Tompkins, the owners and founders of Esprit at the time. They had a small home in the middle of San Francisco's Russian Hill area. It was small in square footage but every bit of the home was perfectly executed, down to the moldings. I will never forget it and I have always aspired to this kind of living rather than a large home that is shoddily built, with poor fixtures, and usually not much care is put into the insulation and efficiency of the home. If your home is smaller you are able to spend more on the details, efficiency and maybe even add some solar panels if you can squeeze it into your budget!

Examples of small homes are creeping up everywhere and Dwell magazine just devoted an entire issue to the Small Home movement. There are also quite a few books out there on remodeling a small home or even building a small home. Personally, I also feel that it's good for the family unit. If you are tripping over your family you all know what each other is doing... if you have a large home, you can't even find your kids let alone oversee their playtime and projects (I won't even get into the computer thing.. that's another story!).

So take a look at the size of your home and ask yourself... how much square footage do I really need!? Maybe it's time to downsize your family home? It's good to keep asking yourself these kinds of questions.


Let the Kid Be

Julie Blackmon/Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago

So, perusing the Sunday New York Times - which is not something I often get to do lately - I came across this story written by Lisa Belkin about a new trend she sees in 'slow parenting'. As much as I'm personally in agreement with not hovering constantly over the kids or having major expectations - I'm Nonchalant Mom for goodness sake - I don't particularly like the idea of putting parenting into such a thing as a trend. It makes it sound like it's a fashion. There are as many different types of parenting as there are parents - and as long as they are full of LOVE for the children, then they should be fine. Anyhow, the article seems to have prompted some debate in the responses section - and if you have a minute, I'd like you to read it and hear what you might have to say about it.


A Summer Full of Ideas

It's hard to imagine your kids bored during the summer vacation. Just the fact that the kids can go outdoors, after a long winter spent trying to find things to do indoors, is a relief in itself for our family. Just the other day I watched my daughter swinging on our tire swing, just gently drifting back and forth with her head bent backwards to see the world upside down. And, my son, he was creating a whole road system in the sandbox. Nothing extraordinary, but both kids just enjoying the nice weather and entertaining themselves. You could think it would go like this forever.

But, as Blair at WiseCraft reminds me, even though there is nothing wrong with the kids having a downtime, or having to entertain themselves, there are those times this summer when the kids will start twiddling their thumbs and be at a loss to figure out what to do with their time. As almost all parents know, it's almost inevitable. And this year, when they start looking to you for answers, you can have some ready.

Blair shares with us some great and simple ideas. I have one too. And if you have any of your own, I hope that you'll share them with us. Because, as you know, there's no such thing as too many good ideas:

1. Grab a pail of water and a paintbrush and "paint" the walls, sidewalks, and fences. Water based... of course.
2. Try some letterboxing with the family.
3. Create home-made buried treasure bottles .
4. Gather your swords and shields, a home-made telescope, and any other adventuresome gadgets in the kids toy box, and go for a small hike looking for monsters or pirates, etc. Really dress it up, that's the fun part.
5. Make some stamps using potato pieces or a painted macaroni necklace with a piece of string.
6. Experiment, experiment, experiment
7. Make some Paper Toys with the kids.... it's easy!
8. Make cookies, or even better, make some jello creations (my kids love to create layers, and float some fruit). A snack made by the kids is even more delicious.
9. Check in with your local library for all sorts of activities. Or, tell a story... make it up.
10. Scavenger Hunt - this could be a fun way to introduce snack time. They have to follow clues to find it.
11. Try and make some home-made paper.... just trying will be interesting.
12. Create a little pool of water in the yard and gather sticks and stones to build an island, or a bridge. Build a log cabin using sticks you find, plant some miniature trees... you get the idea.
13. Never underestimate the ol' puzzle.
14. Or, the ol' game of Hopscotch.
15. Try some Paper Mache.
16. Make an obstacle course and or create a version of Olympic events... make them up! Hand out medals (home made of course)... get all the neighborhood kids involved.
17. Pull out that Button Jar and go to it!
18. Start Building that Tree House.... hint hint.

Let me know if you have some more ideas!


now here's a real gardener... my neighbor Angela!

The whole garden thing really caught on in our neighborhood, and it all started with Angela. She emailed me one day in March and said that she had ordered all of her seeds and made a garden map and would I like to come over and see! It was so inspiring it got me onto working on our little tiny garden... Now I would like to share with you a little inspiration from a MAJOR garden (I am hoping to reap some of the leftovers of her garden honestly...).

Angela worked it out in a very methodical way and started with making a map of her garden, then ordered her seeds (from Jonny's seeds of course!), then sent her husband off to make the beds (she is very lucky... her husband LOVES to do this sort of thing, can you feel the jealousy!)... You know the rest and the result is FANTASTIC I love the way it looks, and it's so easy to get at everything!

Then yesterday she sent me this photograph and told me that they are already eating from the first growth in their garden!!! I hardly have sprouts!!! But it's wonderful isn't it!

Next I am going to report on Angelas chicken coop... it's in the works, chicks are ordered and due to arrive in June... so stay tuned!

Thank you Angela for sharing your inspiring garden with us!

depression.. try these tips?

I have had a few people contact me with regards to depression, there is a lot going on out there today and it is very hard to deal with it sometimes, and when you have kids it can become very difficult to be at your best. I have wrote about depression before but there are some new things that I would like to suggest, and while I am obviously not a doctor of any kind I think that there are some things that I have gained knowledge in through my life and also through friends. I think that depression can be very serious and you should know yourself and when it is time to see a someone about your issues, but I think that some of these healing techniques can be very powerful and I have personally had incredible success using them.

I also think that depression can be masked by other things that are happening seasonally, currently it is a seasonal change from winter to spring and that can have a very heavy affect and weaken your system, you can feel tired, almost nauseous and even have bowel problems. Your diet also changes quite quickly as you change from heavily cooked foods to salads and a more fresh diet (it's good! but your body has to take time to adapt to these changes). This comes with the changes in every season but mostly winter/spring and summer/fall. A ginger compress can help to strengthen your organs at this time and loosen anything that is stagnant in your system. I like to do a ginger compress on my hara to give me energy as well (your 'hara' is about 1-2" below your belly button--after you take a walk or exercise you can almost feel the energy from your hara pulse if you move your hands in and out in front of that area).

My favorite remedy is Apple Tea, and not many people believe me but when they make it and drink it, for even just one day, they fell better! It happens every time and it's such a simple thing. Take 3-4 apples and cut them into chunks and put them in a large pot with about a quart of water and add 2-3 grain of salt (yes just GRAINS), cook for 1 hour and strain out the liquid. I like to put it in a thermos and then drink it all day. If you can find liquid magnesium you can also add a drop or two. This is such a wonderful tonic and it's effects are amazingly quick and wonderful.

As far as supplements go I talked to Warren King, who is an amazing healer that I have spoken about many times here in my blog, he just launched his new website which is filled with useful information. He also feels that he can now do long distance diagnosis if you feel you would like to do this you can go to his website and email his office and they can set it up. For now, he suggested that people need to cleanse their elimination organs. Warren suggests a product called 'chelidonium plex', 12 drops 2x a day for 24 days (away from food), it cleanses the liver, kidney and lymphatic system (if you can't find it you can get it through Warrens office just email them). He said that fish oil is also helpful, he suggests EPA by Nordic Naturals (2 a day), there is also a product called 'Stress Take Care' by New Chapter to help adrenals.

He also suggests reading 'Three Cups of Tea' by Sarah Thomson, Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin and Jane Godall--Warren suggested that sometimes its helpful to see what one person can do and focus on those less fortunate than ourselves in service rather than focusing on ourselves. I would also add that maybe it's time to find some new music instead of listening to the news constantly (this is something that I try to work on too). Take some time and open your thoughts and go outside your own world and really just give yourself some time, and if you can help others it may open a whole new world for you!

I think that being more active and exercising can have amazing results for some people, I have have started doing the Tracey Anderson method for a few months now and I feel great and it really jump-starts my day (instead of coffee!). If I lived in the Boston area I would be going to do yoga with Karin Stephan, she also has a class in yoga and depression. I had the pleasure of going on one of her retreats a few years back and I was in one of her crazy positions and I just remember feeling all of my 'troubles' almost *POP* out of my body, she is a true miracle worker but she makes you work just as hard at it as she does! Her yoga, together with macrobiotic meals on her vacations, and you can be put back on track.

We would love to hear more ideas from people that have had succes with anything! just comment and let's get some ideas out there for everyone!

to visit Warren Kings website - click here


Dear friends,
Please pop over ... we look forward to seeing you!

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ginger compress

Ginger Compress
By Linda Redmond
This is a very useful bit of advice if you have children, especially if they suffer from colds, bronchitis or asthma. It works very well to clear the lungs. It doesn't cost anything but time with your sick child and about $1 for a piece of ginger. My kids actually request it when they get a cold, they love the soothing feeling and care that they get from their mom, and it is a very satisfying feeling to know you are doing something to help them in their time of need. (the above image is a ginger compress on the kidneys, and then you would place a towel over the compress)
1. Grate up a small piece of ginger (preferably organic) until you have a piece about the size of a golf ball.
2. Put it into a tea ball or wrap in cheesecloth and tie it up.
3. Put into a big pot of water.
4. Boil and then simmer for about 9 minutes.
5. Dip the middle of a towel into the hot tea and wring out excess.
6. Slowly, so as not to burn the back, lay the hot towel on their upper back, lung area.
7. Cover with another towel to keep it hot.
8. Let the towel rest on their back for about 10 minutes.
9. Repeat steps five thru eight 3 or 4 times.
You can do this for an hour and then take a break, and repeat maybe 3 times a day. It seems to be very effective in the evening. It's nice to know that your kids can rely on their mom and not a prescription to make them feel better. I promise they will love the attention and their lungs will clear up as well. If you are interested in healing asthma, send me an email to lbredmond@aol.com, and use "healing asthma" for the subject.
As with any remedy it is important that you let your pediatrician know that you are using a ginger compress for your child. If they are a good pediatrician they will probably want to hear about your results, if not and you get laughed at, maybe it’s time to visit a new pediatrician that is more sensitive to using natural remedies.
You can also find this article that my sister wrote, along with more healing tips, on my website along with other remedies if you go to my website and click on 'tips' there is a long list of many healing remedies. click here for a link to nonchalant mom's a-z tips

passivhaus and aktivhaus

I was browsing Treehuger this morning, (I love this blog!) and there was a great story on a new 'aktivhaus' being built by the skylight window company, Velux. The story is a good comparison between an active solar house and a passive solar home, and we happen to have a passive solar home (although we don't have the 2-foot insulation) our home is heated in the winter by the sun. This treehugger story is good because it explains the difference and I don't think that many people even know about a passive solar home because it is not talked about much.

A passive solar house uses less technology with only the use of a 'heat recovery ventilator' or HRV because a 'passivhaus' is almost hermetically sealed and heavily insulated so you need a high powered ventilation system for the winter months to avoid moisture building up (because of bodily moisture, cooking moisture, and showering etc). A passive solar house depends on being well insulated and a home that is sited properly for optimal sun exposure.

I can explain a little bit what happens in our home; in the winter months, when the sun is low in the sky the sun shines pretty much into about half to three quarters of the house, it gets so warm that sometimes we have to open the windows on a crisp and sunny day even when it's below zero! We have shades that help insulate at night (but we keep it pretty cool at night in our home). On a true passive solar home you would have triple paned windows to help hold the heat in during the night hours. But our cement floor is also heated by the sun so our radiant heat has a jump-start. In the summer, when the sun is high in the sky our house stays cool and shady. We also have trees planted in the right places to keep certain areas (and kids outdoor play areas) with cool shade. We never have to use air conditioning, and just count on the cross-breeze from the windows.

It really depends on your individual home but you can look at how it's sited and possibly take some trees out or look at where you are placing your trees if you have a new home to make sure you are getting optimal use of the sun in your home.

Please take the time to read the story in Treehugger about the 'Akitivhaus' to get more information on the interesting technology that it takes to make a house work for you and using solar panels to heat your home and heat your water! just about off the grid...