Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Open House! Update!

This is taking place in December... We are trying to figure out if we want to do the 20th or the 21st!

You Are Invited To Our House For A Holiday Open House!

This is our 10th year doing this and our gift to you.

Our Doors Will Be Open Between 6-8 PM.

We are up in the air on the 20th and 21st, please help us decide a date this year. You can choose the date that works best for you.

We Hope to See You!

Also if you are unable to attend the party and still want to see all of the lights just call or swing on by anytime!

Thank you each and everyone!

We wish you all a very Happy Holiday!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mataya the elf!

Dylan the elf!


:: A Post-Modern Thanksgiving ::

Transforming your life experience (including parenting) from a *grind* to a *groove* leads to a peculiar realization: It's all GOOD... even the "bad" stuff!

There are hidden blessings in *every* situation. You may not see some of those blessings for quite some time -- perhaps years -- but who's to say you can't enjoy them before you know what they are? Don't you enjoy receiving a gift even before you've unwrapped it? :-)

So if you're celebrating Thanksgiving today, try giving thanks for things that don't normally garner your gratitude:

* Your child's crying, whining, aggression, etc.

* The person who judged or criticized your parenting.

* That thing you said or did to your child that you promised you never would.

Allow yourself to appreciate that LIFE IS GOOD... *all* of it! Acknowledge the gift of *shadows*, without which the Light would have no depth.

Have fun!

>>> The Daily Groove BOOK makes a great gift for your friends with kids!

Feel free to forward this message to your friends! (Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A friends recent email...

Hi there - the following letter is from my daughter - I know some of you personally, and others I do not, but we are on the same group or e-list - I am forwarding her letter in hopes that there will be some folks out there with the skills, background, ideas, information, contacts, or willingness and time, to help her manifest this project. We live in the Portland, Oregon area, but much can be done without being local, as well. Thanks for taking the time to read, and please feel free to contact me (as well as her) if that would be helpful -

warmly, Lyla

Hey Everyone!
My name is Corina Wolfenstein, I'm 13 years old, and I'm interested in starting a project that has to do with beauty and body image.
So, i was watching a TV show called Made. Three girls all wanted to be made into models, so they where whisked away to New York. They learned how to cat-walk, and they were all excited to become models. They all had to go, and meet designers who potentially would hire them to represent their company. Two of the girls were naturally extremely thin, but the other girl was more averagely built. She was still thin, but just not stick thin. All 10 of the designers told her they did not want to hire her until she lost weight. She was only fifteen.

That led me to wondering and thinking about clothing magazines, and fashion magazines that are read by millions. When you get right down to the point, the purpose of the advertisements are to sell, and appeal to potential customers. I mean, in ads for toys they show little kids. In ads for workout machines they show tall, ripped guys. So why is it that in fashion magazines, designers and clothing companies who are trying to appeal to girls and women use models that look nothing like their average customer?

I thought it would be a good idea to put together a website - like an online magazine. It would have tons of pictures of women and girls modeling clothes from stylish companies. The models would be people of different skin colors, hair styles, heights, sizes and ages. I want the pictures to look as professional as possible, and I don't have resources to create photos and get the clothes that would be needed, which is why I'm reaching out to the community. If you're interested in donating or participating in the project, there are a lot of different things that could help. We're going to need a photographer, someone to do makeup and hair on the models, someone who knows about modeling and can help with things like poses and backdrops or settings for the pictures, people to help reach out to other sources to get clothes, and of course - models. After the pictures have been taken, the website will need to be created, and the project itself will need to be advertised. It may be difficult to get enough clothes from companies, so if you have any nice clothes that you no longer want and you'd be willing to donate them that would be great as well.
The goals of this project are to convey to women and girls that people with diverse looks and body types can look good in stylish clothing, and to send a message to clothing companies and fashion magazines, promoting realistic and respectful advertising of their products.

If anyone has any advice, ideas, or contributions to make, or if you know anybody who would be able to help or be part of the project you can contact me at my email: - or you can call me at (503) 754 -2817.

Even if you don't have enough time to be a part of the beginning process, if you would be interested in modeling eventually, you can just send me your contact information and I'll call you when the time arrives.


Corina Wolfenstein

Friday, November 14, 2008


:: Love Notes To Myself ::

Ever wish you could go back in time and share the wisdom of your experience with your past self?

"If only I knew then what I know now..."

In your imagination, such time travel is possible and can be healing. But you can do it for real in reverse:
share your present wisdom with your future self!

Here's how:

1. Write a bunch of short, inspiring "love notes" to yourself on small pieces of paper. Say things like "Love is the answer," "All Is Well," "Truth will set you free," "Let go!" "I love you," etc.

2. Hide the notes in places where you'll find them unexpectedly in the future -- in a cookbook, your car's glove box, a file folder, a coat pocket, etc.

3. As you hide each one, hold the thought that you'll find it at the precise moment when you'll need to remember that bit of wisdom.

Your child(ren) can play this game, too, and you can also write love notes for each other. There's no right or wrong way -- just follow your heart.

Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What a great idea!

Family Christmas Exchange

In the past few years, our extended family has perfected a
fun, eco-friendly gift exchange at Christmas. Throughout the
year, we make a list (or pile) of items that are good and
usable. These are items that we know someone may enjoy but we
just aren't using, such as kitchen items, gardening tools,
cloths, books, CDs, movies, etc. We also include homemade
items like scarves, jams, new plants, cookies, etc.

On Christmas day, everyone brings all of the items wrapped in
reused or hand drawn wrapping. We count the number of gifts
total and divide it by the number of people present. We agree
on the number of "stealings" and rules of the exchange (i.e.
everyone gets five gifts and can steal a total of 5 times). At
the end, one person is responsible for bringing non-loved
items to the thrift shop for a new owner.

This exchange reuses items, clears out some of our clutter,
reduces our need to buy new and reduces the Christmas price
tag, which before this tradition was ridiculously too high.
Best of all, it is very fun, especially when we win Grandma's

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


By Pete Maletto

Jan 25, 2007 - It was not long ago when I was conducting my daily ritual of research on the Internet and stumbled upon consumers growing concerns about artificial food colors. While it didn't surprise me because I have the same concerns, I noticed that many consumers are complaining about side effects with artificial colors. Most consumers are concerned about yellow dye consumption and its side effects such as headaches, vomiting, hives, asthma and a possible cause of ADD and ADHD.
While I found that yellow dye has quite a laundry list of possible side effects, I also found that red dye has its share as well. One that really amuses me is that this artificial food color can actually dye our own internal systems red color (they do this with salmon to make the pink color).

While side effects are not as documented as it should be, there also seems to be some people that have allergic reactions to most artificial colors. Just ask any doctor that performs colonoscopies and you'll hear him tell you about artificial blue color and red color showing up and coloring the colon for days. This has lead many consumers to believe that artificial colors are bad for you and that they are another cancer causing agent found in foods today. Now the media is piling on and consumers are starting to avoid artificial food colors.

And as an experienced food technologist, I tend to agree.....

The FDA manages the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) as an added safety check on color additives to food, with a computerized database to track potential public health hazards. FDA's Advisory Committee on hypersensitivity to food constituents concluded in 1986 that FD&C Yellow No. 5 may cause hives in fewer than one out of 10,000 people, but found no evidence that it provokes asthma attacks as some reports had indicated. You would think a system as sophisticated as this would catch the problems but they decided to permit the usage of Yellow No. 5 to continue, with product labeling allowing those with hypersensitivity to avoid it.

Yellow dye is basically a hidden term for tartrazine, a coal tar derivative which has proven side effects on the central nervous system. For example, in a study published in 1978, 122 patients who had a variety of diagnosed allergic reactions were given 50 milligrams of tartrazine.

This Is Your Kid On Artificial Colors!This dose elicited reactions such as palpitations, weakness, hives and itching in these susceptible individuals; 50 milligrams is a large dose, but could be consumed by someone drinking a few bottles of soda during the day. Or a serving of Mac and Cheese to your kids (get the hyperactive hint here?) which has close to 50 mg per box and at a child's body weight, that's a lot of tartrazine. It is also important to note that there is a connection between people allergic to aspirin and allergic reactions to tartrazine.
Usage of Red No. 3 was voluntarily terminated in 1990 after animal testing indicated an association with thyroid tumors. Although it still remains on the list, the FDA is proposing to remove it. A panel from the National Institutes of Health determined in 1982 that coloring additives were not related to claims of hyperactivity (look at the kids today and it makes you think twice). Although approved by the FDA, some people may still have allergic reactions.

Currently, any blue or green food on the U.S. market gets its hues from certifiable colors FD&C Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue), Blue No. 2 (Indigotine), or Green No. 3 (Fast Green). Blue No. 1 and Green No. 3 are both petroleum-derived triphenylmethanes--that is, they have three aromatic rings attached to a central carbon atom. Blue No. 2 is a disodium sulfonate of a naturally occurring compound called indigo.

However, the indigo used to create Blue No. 2 is synthesized by fusing N-phenylglycine in a molten mix of sodamide and sodium and potassium hydroxides. And we are feeding these chemicals to our kids!

Lets face it, there is no way you could tell me that something that can stain the cells of our body and come from chemicals such as coal tar/tartrazine, triphenylmethane, and other chemicals would not cause some type of mutagenic effect in the body over a period of time.

None the less, it's seems obvious to me that consuming artificial colors can definitely cause side effects with some people (some side effects that they may not even notice) and they are quite possibly "cancer causing chemicals" that we do not need in our food supply, especially when healthy alternatives exist.


As the negative press about side effects with artificial colors continue worldwide, natural colors are moving in to take center stage. As the shift toward healthy lifestyles drives consumer markets, the demand for natural food colors has experienced significant growth, and analysts forecast it will continue to increase.

Retailers are now looking at cleaning up their labels as a response to the demand for natural products continues to climb. As consumers become more skeptical of mass production techniques and food safety issues, they are migrating to natural foods. Seeking optimal nutrition, the number of U.S. natural food and drink consumers will increase from to 113 million by the end of 2007, according to Datamonitor researchers.

Colors are one of the most important factors when designing a food or beverage. Consumers use color as a way to identify foods and beverages and even judge the quality of the product. People associate certain colors with certain flavors. Because of this, the color of food can influence the perceived flavor. So when I design any food or beverage product I always look to benefit the manufacturer (my client) and the consumer by using natural colors, and I can always get the impact of a bright, colorful artificial color. But using natural colors is a challenge all to its own. As ridiculous as this sounds, the laws for natural colors are more strict than artificial colors. For example, we can't use chlorophyll to make a natural green know the natural chemical that keeps plants alive (yet it's OK to use coal tar).

Natural colors have their own set of regulations and while the FDA lists them as "exempt from certification" they have a set of restrictions that us food designers must follow. These natural ingredients must have GRAS status, which is generally recognized as safe by the US government.

And unlike artificial colors, natural colors are more difficult to use because they are subject to change pigment with product PH, heat or light. It takes a food technologist experienced in natural colors to understand how they react in a particular process, product or package.

Some natural colors are heat and/or light sensitive. For example, beet juice is destroyed by heat and Turmeric, on the other hand, is heat-stable and gives a bright yellow color, but breaks down in a few days under UV light. To protect a beverage's natural color, sometimes I recommend soft drink manufacturers use tinted bottles or UV protective overwraps.

Using natural colors can provide a two-fold advantage when designing foods. One of those is not using artificial colors and the second advantage is that many natural colors are actually good for you and they provide a antioxidant/anticancer and antimicrobial benefit. One of those many colors/antioxidants that produces a yellow color is turmeric, annatto, and beta carotene.

Turmeric is a bright yellow colorant made from the roots of the herb Curcuma longa L. The pigments responsible for the color are known as curcuminoid: curcumin and related compounds. Turmeric's solubility depends on the medium in which the pigments are dispersed and the process. For instance, turmeric oleoresin is water-soluble; but a suspension of turmeric extract in oil can be added to fat-based systems. At high pH this colorant turns orange. Turmeric also has been shown in scientific studies to act as an antioxidant, with anticancer and antimutagenic properties.

Annatto is another yellow food colorant. It comes from the seeds of the Bixa orella tree. The pigments that produce the yellow to orange color range are the carotenoids bixin and norbixin; the concentration is expressed as a percentage of one or both of these compounds and the content varies with the extraction method. The pH, emulsifiers and the overall solubility affect the hue; the greater the solubility in oil, the brighter the color. Water- and oil-soluble, and oil/water dispersible forms of annatto are available. Because it may precipitate or turn pink at a pH less than 5, suppliers have developed specially emulsified acid proof versions.

Beta-Carotene is a precursor for vitamin A in addition to imparting an orange-yellow color to food. Most beta-carotene is derived from algae or synthesized. Beta carotene is oil-soluble but can be made into a water-dispersible emulsion. No restrictions have been placed on the level of use and it is listed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). As an antioxidant, beta carotene is critical to optimal immune system support.

These natural yellow colors are a great alternative to artificial yellow dyes that are poisoning our food supply today. Other functional colors are anthocyanins, which can produce reds instead of using artificial red #40 color.

These anthocyanins are natural pigments found in grapes, elderberries, black currants, red cabbage and other fruits and vegetables and they add a unique, natural shade of red to many products. Anthocyanins are most vibrant and stable in low-pH foods like beverages and fruit jellies and jams, but they do become unstable as pH increases or due to pasteurization. Anthocyanins act as antioxidants and may help prevent coronary heart disease and strokes. Studies show they may have anti-inflammatory properties and have antiviral and antimicrobial activity as well.
When looking for a bright pink color I turn to the anthocyanins in Red Cabbage Juice for products with a pH of less than 4. A higher pH causes the anthocyan-based pigments to turn a purplish blue color. The product dissolves in water, but not in oil.

Beet Juice in either liquid or dehydrated form contributes a bluish-red color produced by a compound known as betanin which is stable at a higher pH range than red cabbage juice.

For a more reddish purple color I use Grape Skin Extract, but in beverages only. The FDA restricts its use to alcoholic beverages, beverage bases, still and carbonated drinks, and "ades". Go figure huh?

Carmine/Cochineal. Carminic acid, which is derived from the shells of certain species of insect, produces a magenta red shade and is the pigment present in carmine colors and cochineal extract. Water insoluble lake forms of carmine exhibit a color range from pink to purple. Unlike the colors derived from plant sources, these are not Kosher certified. Carmine will not be stable at low pH unless an acid-proof version is used. It is, however, very heat stable.

While I try to stay away from Carmine because the whole insect thing makes me uncomfortable, I found that tomato extracts featuring lycopene can produce the red pigment I desire in foods and beverages. One such product is Tomat-O-Red from PLThomas. Tomat-O-Red is ideal as a colorant because it offers an all natural alternative to coloring with carmine/cochineal. Unlike many natural colors it is stable in a wide range of temperatures, and there is no color shift with pH changes. It has the added benefit of containing lycopene, a healthy colorant.

Another great natural coloring agent is caramel colors. Caramel color is one of the most widely used colorants used in foods and is made by heating food grade carbohydrates, generally a high dextrose-containing starch hydrolysate or corn syrup.
Caramel color is soluble in water and produces a color ranging from golden brown to nearly black. The color strength is defined as its tinctorial power -- the absorbance at 560 nanometers measured spectrophotometrically. The color tone, defined by the hue index, measures the red characteristics of the color. Generally, the higher the tinctorial power, or strength, the lower the hue index, or red tones. Some caramel colors are termed "double strength." This is a relative term and varies with the color range. The specific gravity indicates the solids content and therefore the strength of the color.

The majority of caramel color carries either a positive or negative ionic charge. Negatively charged product uses sulfite in its manufacture and although it is molecularly bound, can be detected chemically. Because the FDA mandates sulfite labeling in products containing over 10 ppm, the level present in a specific type of caramel color may become a formulation consideration.

For orange color I usually turn to another spice, Paprika. Paprika Oleoresin is extracted from the pod of Capsicum annum, or paprika. It contains three main naturally occurring pigments: capsanthin, capsorubin and beta-carotene. This combination produces a bright orange to red orange in food products. The oleoresin is oil-soluble, but when emulsified becomes water dispersible.

Other times I look to modify a natural color or make the product white I usually use titanium dioxide because it not only colors food products white, it imparts an opaque appearance. Both water and oil dispersible versions are manufactured. The FDA limits its usage in food products to 1% by weight.

So as you can see there is not only an advantage in using natural colors over artificial ones, but it an art form that utilizes the creativity of the food designer to get the appropriate color. In fact, many times I will use 3 or 4 natural colors to get the desired shade.

The most important aspect is the concern for the consumer and using natural colors provides a clear health benefit for them. While the media continues to push the all natural button, you'll see consumers influenced and looking to the Internet for answers, which will expose artificial colors for what they really are.

If you have artificial colors in your foods give us a call and we can make the necessary changes in your product line and provide the market advantage your consumers are looking for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daily OM for me

November 11, 2008
Understanding Others
Aries Daily Horoscope
Your ability to offer understanding today may have you listening to the opinions of others with tolerance. This broad-minded approach allows you to be supportive of another’s experience while also letting them feel accepted. Since judgment has been removed from the interaction, it creates a positive impact on both parties, whether or not your views are in agreement. Today as you offer the gift of your understanding to anyone who needs it, you attract understanding into your life as well.

We all seek acceptance and understanding, which is why we tend to surround ourselves with those who are most like us. We feel comforted by the presence of people who don’t require much explanation or justification for our choices. At the same time, we are challenged by those who offer a different viewpoint and help us broaden our horizons and grow out of our safety zones. By not rejecting differences but seeking to understand the philosophies behind them, we learn more about the world we all share. When we take the time to listen to others without judgment, we can find the similarities that bring us closer together. When we can release the need to be right, and instead see that others arrive at the same conclusion by different means, it is easier to coexist peacefully. As more people begin to live by these values, the closer we all come to living in a world at peace. By sharing your ability to understand others, you bridge the gaps in your world today and help others see the! value of listening and acceptance.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Could YOU be this Honest?

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: Radical Honesty ::

Hiding the truth (from yourself and/or others) is a constant energy drain. To free yourself from the burden of secrets and lies, you must cultivate the skill of radical honesty: willingness to reveal any truth, no matter how "unacceptable" it is.

Withholding truth is such an integral part of our culture that you probably don't notice when you're doing it. So, for today, pay close attention to your thoughts and expressions, and continually ask yourself, "Am I being as honest as I could be about that? Is there a deeper truth?"

Examples of "acceptable" dishonesty include saying you're "fine" when you're not, and *not* saying how you feel about the way your friend treats her child.

When you spot a white lie or withheld truth, notice how it feels in your body -- the energy and effort required to distort or ignore your true feelings.

Then imagine being radically honest -- telling it exactly like it is. If you could be that honest *and* keep your heart open, would you?

Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kids having fun

Why is it that we can not get our 6 year old to go anywhere. So we drag him to this birthday party at this play place and then we can not get him to leave. What is up with that? How can we get him to be a more willing participant when we really are doing fun things? Why does it have to be so hard?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Note to self...

Do not drink... get buzzed... and try to explain the birds and the bees to you 6 year old!

OK that did not go so well... better yet don't turn off tape but leave TV on.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


No matter how this is quoted or who said it or how it started it is inspirational...

Heard on NPR...

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk...

Martin walked, so Obama could run...

Obama is running so our children can fly!"

And added later...

Update#1: Apparently, this quote has been around for a while. I found this web store already selling T-shirts with the quote on them!
Interestingly, instead of "Obama", it was "Barack" on those shirts! ( A comment by Ernest T Bass noted the inconsistency, as Rosa and Martin are first names)


Update#2: I think I found the origin of this quote! Believe it or not, it looks like it was Jay-Z at a concert in New York City on October 5th! (If anyone can trace the quote to an earlier event or to someone else, please post a comment)
You can watch this video (poor quality by the way) At around 1min:53sec into it, Jay-Z said the following:

"Rosa Parks sat, so Martin could walk... Martin walked, so Obama could run... Obama is running, so we all could fly


Update#3: There seems to be yet another variation of this out there (h/t to Tin hat mafia)

Crispus fell, so Rosa Parks could sit. Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King, Jr. could march. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched so Barack Obama could run. Barack is running so our children can FLY!

The reference to Crispus Attucks (killed during the Boston Massacre of 1770) is an interesting one. I'm now completely unsure what the original quotation is or who said it.

Monday, November 3, 2008


In no particular order...
and I might add more as the family comes up with more...
Saving Money
I read this somewhere and it would be so nice to plan and have everything be enjoyable.
The holidays are a time for enjoying family, friends, and tradition, as well as a time for breaking out your most impressive and beloved recipes. Yet just as you can count on the holidays being a time of joy and celebration, you can also be sure they are going to be hectic! Is it your greatest fantasy to sit down and relax with your family instead of rushing madly about the kitchen from the crack of dawn until the dead of night? You really can live this fantasy; all it takes is some planning ahead. If you can steal a few hours for preparation during the coming weeks, the big day will be a joy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trusting our kids’ bodies

This was a recent post by someone I know and I just love it. I have recently gone through and am going through some of the same stuff.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


So recently on a board I am on I posted something that I thought I would also put here. This is really exposing me. These are some of my feelings and thoughts and it feels very raw. Maybe if I just put it out there the feelings and thoughts will change.

I have read a little on the NVC and I get a lot of email type messages but I feel I am struggling. So here is my stuff. Anyone want to help me tackle it?

I kinda feel like having a pity party most recently. I feel like I am failing at many friendships or something. I just don’t seem to be connecting well with people other than my children, husband, and Parents.

I feel I am struggling to find support, to find a tribe, to find a real connection, to feel welcomed, to feel understood, to feel appreciated. I know this is all a bit jumbled. I could explain each one, but I fell bad taking up a lot of every ones time. Mostly I feel I try to put myself out there and either I don’t find a connection or I feel unappreciated and shut out. The later most recently would be about my sister.