Here on our little hillside, in WV, we try to live a simple life. One where we can try to make the best decisions in regards to what we feed our family, and where we source our foods. We try to make green decision that are not only good for our family but for our community and planet as well. There is no place I would rather raise a family, than these WV hills! So I guess it is our responsibility to preserve them, and our heritage.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

know your GMO?

If you do not know about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) yet, you really should do a little research.  These seeds have not been proven safe for human consumption, but yet they grow a great deal of the food we consume.  Most of the processed food we eat contains either GMO corn, canola, soy, sugar, or even citric acid.  These foods are not generally labeled, unless you buy organic.  Many have fought for labeling, but the chemical/seed companies, like Monsanto, have thrown billions into lawsuits  and campaigns within these states to ensure their evil seeds spread.  The kicker is, these seeds can not be regrown each year.  The seed companies hold the patent to the seeds and they are genetically breed to have infertile seeds.  This requires you to purchase new seeds from them each year.  The seeds are also themselves essentially pesticides and contain toxins.  Sound yummy?

Baker Creek Seed Company has been selling Heirloom, organic and non GMO seeds for years.  They are a fabulous company doing amazing things in the era of big agriculture.  The known benefits of organic farming far outweigh the harmful effects commercial farming has on the earth, but adding GM crops to the mix is devastatingly harmful.

The folks over at Herbal Root Zine are currently having a give a way for some HOT items from Bakers Creek.

Click HERE to find out about their give a way for 10 packets of hot peppers!  And make sure you order a catalog from Bakers Creek and place your order for good seeds soon.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

30 Day Fitness Challenge

After the birth of my daughter, I started to get a little more serious about my health.  I have always ate well, but we started eating better, for her.  I also knew that to keep up with this little one, I needed to be in better shape.  If I want to do and experience all the natural wonders around us, I need to be fit enough to reach our destinations, packing a child and all our gear.  I seemed to do a great job, dropped all my baby weight, and another 30 lbs.  Woot woot!!

Then along came Thanksgiving, Christmas cookies, and a very long winter.  Needless to say I gained a few of those pounds back.  I do not like the way I feel.  When I exercise daily, I feel better.  I move better.  I am in a better mood.  I noticed that when I participate in the 30 day challenges, I seem to do better.  I have a schedule.  A challenge to meet.  A goal to complete..... ALL 30 days......It keeps me motivated.

I have done the 30 day ab challenge, as well as the 30 day squat challenge.  I have even done them at the same time.  I like the challenge, but wanted to add to it.  I wanted to ad some cardio and arms and try for a more total body workout.  I saw a 30 day yoga challenge and LOVED it, so I incorporated this idea in as well.  I personally hope to do more than 30 sec per pose a day.  I guess you could always double the count if it seems too simple.

 I want something that I can do at home with no equipment.  If you wanted to add a cross fit aspect, you could give yourself a 30 sec rest between each set.  I wasn't sure what to add.  I am not a fitness expert, just a girl trying to stay in shape.  This is what I decided on.  What do you think?  Are you up for this 30 day challenge?  I know we can do it!!   Do you have any other suggestions of what to add?  Please feel free to share, and to share your results as well.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Absolute Best Tub Cleaner

Over the years, I have tried tons of different cleaners.  Way too many with harsh chemicals.  These toxic cleaners as well as the green cleaners were basically ineffective.  I would spray them on, let them sit and then scrub ALOT!  Massive elbow grease for unsatisfactory results.  How frustrating.  So I saw a few homemade recipes on Pinterest.  I found one that measured out particular amounts of apple cider vinegar and Dawn dish detergent.  It had multiple steps, including to almost boil vinegar, then dissolve measured amount of dawn into that, then spray on tub and let sit for precisely however many minutes.  I did this.  It worked great, Actually it work amazingly!!

In all honesty, I have made this several times since then, I clean my sinks with it as well.  I just bought a simple spray bottle from the Dollar Tree.  I fill it half way with Dawn dish soap (the cheap blue soap)  and half with vinegar.  (It doesn't matter if it is white or apple cider, I have found either works great, they just have a slightly different smell.)   Spray this on and leave, go do another chore, come back sometime before it dries, and wipe your tub clean.  Yes wipe!!  Simply wipe.  I tried it with a paper towel just to see how easy the goo came off, and it did!!  You simply wipe it away!!  I normally use a cheap green scrubby and it comes spotlessly clean with no effort.  It is basically harder to rinse the surround now, then it is to clean it.

This combination is non toxic to you and your skin.  The vinegar smell is not exactly pleasant, but it evaporates away and the smell is gone, without poisoning your indoor air.  It you don't like the smell, add some lemon essential oil.  The vinegar is a disinfectant and probably works better than any bleaching agent does anyhow.  They use Dawn to clean little animals harmed by  Big Companies oil spills, it is very gentle and non toxic.  Also not nearly as toxic on your downstream water as a store bought cleaning agent would be.

So save yourself some time, hassle, and money.  Buy a spray bottle, add 1 part Dawn and 1 part vinegar.  Swirl till it is well mixed.  Spray down wet tub/shower area, wait about 10 minutes, clean your tub, smile at your fantastic new discovery, then ENJOY your clean tub by taking a nice hot bath!  :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

This ain't no Poo!!

Alright, I had read an article a long time ago, about a lady who stopped buying shampoo in her house.  She and her daughters had been using baking soda and vinegar.  She stated the amazing things that had happened to her hair since she stopped using shampoo.  WHAT?  No shampoo??  Sounds totally strange, and I had to try this out!!  I must say, I have now been without shampoo for over 6 months.  Some of you probably think this is crazy, but imagine, if these benefits actually happen, isn't it worth a shot??
I use about 2 Tbsp. of baking soda mixed with about a quart of water to "wash" my hair and about 2 Tbsp of vinegar and a quart of water to "rinse" my hair.  This is like using shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner, a de-tangler, and anti-frizz gel.  Baking soda helps strip the dirt from your head, without taking away the natural oils in your scalp.  The Vinegar is a softener.
Since I started this my hair is not nearly as frizzy.  It has better body, more bounce, I see less hair loss, my scalp isn't as dry, and I don't have to wash it everyday.  I don't know why I wasn't informed of this earlier.  I could have been saving money and had better hair all this time!  I have tried using shampoo a few times, and I got so frustrated at the tangles, and the way it irritates my scalp.  Shampoo always causes it to get red and dry.  The baking soda/vinegar is gentler on my skin.  My hair is normally a frizzy puff ball, not anymore!!  The brushing is so much easier too.  There are virtually no tangles.  If this is an issue you have with your kiddos, it might be worth a shot.  Save your self some money, and hassle and give the no-poo idea a try.  It has worked here.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

WV Water Crisis!!

As we all should know by now, Freedom Industrial Inc., a chemical plant located along the Elk River in Southern WV had a massive chemical spill on January 9th.  This happened miles upstream from the states largest drinking water intake at the states capitol.  Resident downstream of the leak said they had detected the odor of the chemical weeks prior to this leak.  Reports keep referring to 300,000 people in my state were/are without fresh water.  From my understanding, it is more accurately stated 300,000 households are without water.  That's over 1 million people. As I have stated before, the resiliency and strength of all West Virginians is astounding, and this holds true today.  Look at how these people are surviving without water.  They have banned together like they do in every crisis and have helped each other through, as best they can.  Doing what is needed to provided for their families.

This chemical leak has made its way to the Ohio river and will then enter the Mississippi River.  I mean surely we all remember how the water cycle works.....This chemical spill should be a concern to everyone, not just those having to deal with a water shortage.  There have been numerous reports of health effects from this spill already.  Even after having their water deemed safe, people have had reactions to the water.  To top it off. There was a second chemical present in the tank that leaked and Freedom Industries, just told the authorities of this on 1/21.  That is 12 days after the spill.  12 days after consumption and exposure by some.  12 days ......????     No hurry, I guess..????

They were most certainly in an awful big hurry to take care of their financial situation.  Only 8 days after the leak they managed to file for bankruptcy, but I guess that was more important than the health and safety of the citizens affected by the toxic chemicals their company released.  Oh, but it only gets so much better....   So the company files for bankruptcy, to save itself from having to cover damages and costs that will now be picked up by the WV tax payer.  To File for chapter 11 they had to be financially sponsored by another corporation.  Which corporation would step up to do this??   Well a new one.  Incorporated the day of the bankruptcy filing.  A new one, that happens to share an owner with the very company filing for bankruptcy??  Sound fishy to you??

Freedom Industries is not the first company to use loopholes in WV laws to relieve themselves of the burden of having to clean up their own mess.  This has happened for years around our state.  Just take a look at the number of DEP water remediation sites set up around the state. WV citizens have had to pay for big companies messes for years.  Pay how?  Well in taxes for one, in lack of good paying jobs outside of the coal sector, in our health, in the destruction of our natural resources, land, we have even had to move schools because the safety of the children was jeopardized by a coal company!  Come On!!

Buffalo Creek Coal disaster
T&T Mine blow out
Marsh Fork Elementary School

The town of Bud, WV has not had drinkable or even usable water for over 5 months now.  You better believe they are still expected to pay the utility company for a service they are not being provided.  I don't know about you, but I hate it when the water company has to turn off the pipes for a day to fix them.  I do not like being without water.  I would much rather be without electricity than fresh water.
Our beautiful mountains
Acid Mine damage sites are scattered across the state, slurry impounds leach contaminants through the soils, contamination from old abandoned mines pollute wells, chemical spills, mountain top removal.......this state and her people have been taken advantage of for far to long.  This has been done in the name of progress, in which we have not seen.  I recently saw the "Hollow Documentary", it is a sadly accurate depiction of the majority of this state, although McDowell County is probably suffering more than others.  Our state was thriving when the companies took care of our people.  Now they just take advantage, and the hard working West Virginian and their families, and our state are to suffer.  In the mean time many out of state companies and their owners are raking in a hefty profit at our expense.

mountain streams
Almost heaven 

Over the years many grass roots organizations have formed to help protect West Virginia water ways.  Friends of the Cheat is dedicated to restore, preserve and promote the natural qualities of the Cheat river water shed.  The end of this water shed was the site of the Muddy Creek blow out at T&T mines.  The beginning of this watershed is the Birthplace of Rivers.  Some of the cleanest, undisturbed, mountain streams in the state.  Friends of Deckers Creek, work to cleanup and promote the qualities of Deckers Creek in Monongahela County.

The Coal River Mountain Watch, help protect communities from the devastating effects of Mountaintop mining (MTM).  For those who don't know, the tops of the mountains are used to fill in valleys, which most often contain mountain streams.

Keeper of the Mountains also helps raise awareness of the harm MTM has done to our state and the health of its people.

Save the Tygart is working hard to help clean up the Acid Mine drainage along the Tygart River

Please feel free to support any of these organizations in any way you can.  You can also contact your local, or feel free to contact our elected, officials and let them know we demand clean water!!  Our state Senators are currently debating new standards now.  They apparently feel that regulations required to protect human health are too costly and are asking for studies to be redone and parts of a presented bill to be eliminated,all to help reduce cost to big corporations.   These regulation have been needed for a good long time, and if proper care would have been taken along the way the cost they are facing now would not be so large.  They have been using WV as a toxic dumping ground for years and now that they could face serious yet fair regulations, they are pulling out every politician, whose campaign they have ever contributed to, to handle the situation fast.
If this had happened in your state, or your city, would it have been handled differently?  How would you react?  What would you ask your government to do to protect your rights over those of big corporations?  There is a Facebook page called Friends of Water, and they have a lot of info on contribution sites, and the contamination, as well as local stories for a better perspective as to what these people are dealing with.
Why is this important to you?  Well for starters, only 2.5% of all the water on earth is fresh water.  It is being polluted at a rapid pace.  If water is vital to all living things, how can we let the pollution continue?  Isn't it our right to protect our families, and future generations?  No amount of corporate greed is worth the sacrifice of our clean fresh mountain water.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Do you bake?

Today I decided to use our leftover meatballs to make a Stromboli.  I made the meatballs over the weekend using venison and local farm raised sausage.
Today I used my normal pizza crust recipe, but I added the oh la la garlic bread seasoning from Do You Bake?.  I added about a teaspoon.  My house smells amazing!!  The Stromboli was delicious.  Next time I will use 2 tsp., and make a white pizza.  That sure sounds good.
Meatball Stromboli
Do You Bake? is a fairly new company that offers all natural making products.  I recently became a consultant and so far love the products, and experimenting with new recipes.   They offer foods with  no artificial coloring, sweeteners, or flavorings, no MSG's, or HFCS, they are locally sourced and packaged after you order them, so they are as fresh as possible.  In March they will be launching a new product line to include a gluten free line.  There are big things coming with this company and I am excited to be along for the ride. You can visit my site at www.doyoubake.com/akilkenny to check out all the exciting new changes or to learn how to become a consultant.