Wednesday, April 3, 2013

5 Easy Ways to Reduce the Toxins in Your Home

I didn’t start out as a naturalist healthy eating tub cleaner making mom… It all started with a bottle of method bathroom cleaner… I bought a bottle of Lysol bathroom cleaner afterward and could barely breathe.  Then I got pregnant and like many new parents I wanted to create a safe environment for my little one, and then I saw Food, Inc.  That was it.  I haven’t removed all of the toxins in our house, but we are pretty damn close.  Here are the 5 easiest ways I’ve found to remove toxins from your home and your life.

1.)    Out - Teflon pots and pans : In – ceramic/ stainless steel
I know it costs a lot for a whole new set.  I have committed to buy 1 new pot/pan a month usually from Marshalls or TJMaxx on sale.  Keep your eyes open.

2.)    Out – plastic Tupperware : In – Glass/Metal containers
A glass tupperware set is a bit more expensive than the plastic but it is worth the peace of mind.  Metal storage sets are usually a bit cheaper but harder to find.

3.)    DIY – house cleaners, essentials to keep on hand - white vinegar, baking soda, natural dish soap

4.)    Swap out cosmetics – everyone uses the same products and buy in bulk – lotion, soap, deodorant, shampoo/conditioners.

5.)    Buy less processed food – don’t give up the stuff you love, usually it’s cheaper to make it yourself.  Don’t have the time? How about a freezer dinner swap with friends? Don’t forget about the crock pot.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Essence of Beauty

I have feminist tendencies but I love girly girl stuff.  I love the princess, diva, ballerina, you name it I love it.  Lucky for me I have 2 beautiful girls.  They have bright sparkling eyes, broad button noses, heart shaped full lips, and heads with tons of kinky curls.  They are a reflection of me (and hubby too, I guess).   I want them to see their own beauty for themselves and not just through my eyes.  It wasn’t enough that my mom told me I was beautiful every day, all I could see was my “flaws”.

Essence Magazine
 In an effort to reinforce their sense of beauty I have subscribed to Essence magazine.  Pages upon pages of Black women in every shade with every type of hair imaginable are scattered around my house.  This is not because I want my girls to be materialist fashonistas but because they need to see Black beauty in others so they can see it in themselves.  Images are powerful.  Influence extends farther than my reach.  Willow is whipping her braids and A loves to wear her hair in braids and whip them even though she is the only girl in her school with them.  I know the days are coming when they will want more than nothing else to conform.  I just hope I am laying a strong foundation in self appreciation so those days are short lived.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Anyone Moving to the Caribbean

I wish someone would have told me.  It is not a good idea to have a lot of dark furniture in a climate with a large year round mosquito population.  This among many lessons I have had to learn the hard way.  Mosquitoes love to hide in the cherry and mahogany stained bookcases all day to come out for a blitz attack at night or day it doesn’t really seem to matter to them. 
The only real ace I have is my Zapper! I can “sweep” all the dark spots and get them before they get me… or not, but even if they get me I can still get them.  I have even been known to show a little leg as bait and zap them when they come (they always come) for a quick snack.  The house is never 100% mosquito free, but it is much more manageable now.  Even with the dark furniture.

Racially Ambiguous

I was raised as a Black American.  I am, by ethnic origin, not only Black American but also Arabic.  Being raised by only one parent it was easy for me to forget or even dismiss my Arabic heritage.  I felt Black, therefore I was Black, but this is not really the case.  On more than one occasion I have been caught in an awkward situation of a White person discussing racial matters under the assumption that I wouldn’t be offended by an off color remark.

True story, at a party last year an older lady was building up to a racist Obama joke in the small circle of women that included yours truly and was literally saved by the host making an announcement.  My mind was racing double time hoping that she wasn’t saying what I thought she was saying and how on earth to put her in her place and not alienate everyone one else in the room (because of course I was the only person of color).  Luckily it didn’t come to that and I was only left to wonder why on earth someone would try and tell a joke like that in front of someone like me.  Don’t they see me the way I see me? NO.
RACE: Are We So Different?
I am starting to think, at least here and now, what is on the inside matters as much as what’s on the outside.  People will make assumptions about me based on what they see.  What is important is that I stay true to myself and inform my girls of their ancestors and not just their Black American and Jamaican ones.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

To Nuke or Not To Nuke

There has been a lot of internet chatter about microwaves lately with this study that says everything we thought was bad about the microwave isn't. Count me among the confused, especially since I've been trying to go old school reheating our leftovers on the stove.  It helps that our microwave was on the fritz... it actually caught on fire, so I decided it was out of commission. 

The truth is, if it was MY microwave I would have gone out the next day for a new one, but the microwave came with the house and it took my landlord almost 3 weeks to replace it.

Food tastes better reheated on the stove. There I said it.  It's a slower process so there is less risk of over heating, but there is a downside - what I consider a "first world problem" . The dishes.  One of the highlights of leftover night is not washing pots a pans.  Not any more.

So is it worth it? I don't know. We were able to live with out the microwave for a few weeks and now that I have another one I'm not using it as much as I did before. I stopped using plastic in the microwave years ago and that seems to be the source of most of the danger.