Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Article on Labeling of GMOs

Our Right to Know: Organizations Take Action for Labeling of GMOs

by Katherine DiMatteo, President of the Board of IFOAM  on July 18, 2011

This past month I’ve found myself neck deep in thinking and talking about genetic engineering. Not about the science, but about the current state of affairs. Recently the unrestricted approval of Round-Up Ready alfalfa, the legal battles around sugar beets, and the pending approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon have brought the uncertainties, dangers and influence of such technology back into focus, renewing discussions about how to protect ourselves and our future.

Did you know that 27 countries of the European Union plus 31 other countries have laws and/or regulations about labeling GE crops and food products? Only four countries of those with labeling laws allow voluntary labeling. The remaining countries require mandatory labeling, which requires all or parts of the supply chain to label raw agricultural ingredients or finished food products with a phrase or mark that indicates that the product may contain, contains, or is derived from genetically engineered crops. Of course, the United States is not one of these countries, though the state of Alaska enacted a law in 2006 that requires the labeling of genetically engineered fish and fish products. 

I’m sure you can guess that it is the original countries that produced and exported GE crops—the United States, Canada and Argentina—which either don’t allow labeling or have adopted voluntary labeling approaches. And the first countries to adopt mandatory labeling requirements and ban production of GM crops (or allow in only very limited areas) were the large importers—the EU and Japan. Today there are developing countries that have some form of labeling laws and even countries like Brazil and China that are among the top ten countries with GE crop production. 

There is no one international agreement on these labeling laws. The variations include tolerance levels, whether the crop was grown from GE seeds or the end product was tested for residues, all or some ingredients and/or packaged products, all forms of GE crops or those with “novel” characteristics. For 18 years a debate on whether national laws on labeling GE foods should be allowed has raged in a little known international body called the Codex Alimentarius. Early this May, a document was finally approved, but it does not provide any specific guidance. It only provides some protection for a country with a GE labeling law from accusations that such laws were barriers to trade—a small step forward.

Is labeling the answer? Certainly in Europe the GE labeling law has curtailed the use of GE seeds (although not eliminated all production) and the use of ingredients from GE crops (except in animal feed). Could this be possible in the United States now with 165 million acres of GE crops planted? Polls of U.S. consumers indicate that the majority favor labeling. But would they stop purchasing GE foods if they were labeled? 

Although it’s neither a perfect nor the only solution, labeling of GE foods is one approach. The Center for Food Safety (www.centerforfoodsafety.org) has launched a campaign for labeling GE foods, and IFOAM is collaborating with other organizations to organize a march from New York to Washington, DC, to raise awareness and gather consumer support for the labeling campaign (www.right2knowmarch.org).

A multi-faceted, unified strategy to control GE production is needed, and organic, non-GMO, environmental and consumer groups are coming together to build that plan. Hopefully all the talking and thinking will lead to swift decisions and action.

Katherine DiMatteo is managing partner and senior associate at Wolf, DiMatteo and Associates, a consulting service specializing in organic and sustainable practices. She was the former executive director of the Organic Trade Association and was instrumental in shaping the outcome of the U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) Standards and securing Congressional support. She also helped shape the UN Codex Guidelines for Organic and the Global Organic Textile Standards. Katherine was a founding member and Secretary of the Board of The Organic Center and currently serves as the President of the Board of International Federation of Organic Agriculture

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lotsa "Firsts" this summer

This was by far the best summer I have had in some time. Mainly because I wasn't pregnant or had a newborn. BUT we had a lot of "firsts" this summer which made it very special.
  • Very proud that Mason is completely potty trained
  • Jaxon has gone potty quite a few times in the toilet as well
  • Speaking of toilet, our house got TP'ed

  • We all went fishing together as a family

  • We all got to catch lightening bugs together

  • I became an aunt

  • Brant and I watched fireworks together
  • The boys met Aunt Abbie
  • Brant and Mason both got big boy beds
  • We all flew a kite together

  • Never thought I would have the kid that literally lived in a superhero costume

  • Mason got to pick out a backpack

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Great toddler Carter PJ deals at walmart

My mom found great deals last night at Walmart.

Carter, "Child Of Mine" summer pj sets for $1!!!

These would be great to donate at shelters - due to lack of space they usually only accept seasonal clothes. Another idea is to add them to next year's Easter Baskets or any spring birthdays (combine with the child's fav charactor body wash/loofah/toothbrush get them excited to start bedtime!).

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tricks to reaching Superheroes

How do I stop two superheroes from fighting the ultimate battle to put away clean clothes?
I start stuffing clothes in odd places. For example, underware on their head, socks stuffed down their shirt, etc. They crack up the whole time and scurry to get the clothing item put away so they can come back and see what I'm going to do next.
I find the quickest way to reach a pair of goofballs is to act like one myself. The times I remember most about my childhood is when I thought one of my parents were being "silly."

Fighting over a toy? Set the alarm. Kids don't want to come in to eat lunch? Set the alarm. Don't want to take a nap? SET.THE.ALARM. I set countless alarms, timers, etc. whatever is closest. I cannot believe how well it works. Doot. Doodeedoot. Doodoo doot.da-doot.
I give them a warning that they have a few minutes to play because I'm setting the alarm. Alarm goes off and surprisingly they do what I'm asking, even when they are in full-force play. Sometimes I count down the last ten seconds. They love it. They join me.
It's a must-try!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's Tube Time

Aunt Cori gave the boys these mailing tubes to use for a future project.
I brought them out to brainstorm on how to use them and LOVED what Brant was doing.
In the first picture he first pretended the tube was a cast on his leg. Then he put them on both legs and pretended to be a scuba diver.

My favorite is the second picture. He decorated the tube with markers and played air guitar. Then I was invited to play. Soon Jaxon was on keyboard, Brant was playing the guitar and singing (about superheroes - it was all very heavy-metalish), I was on bass and Mason was on drums. It made my heart melt, really...all of us in a band together. Best part of my whole day.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Silent auction for Children Therapy Center

My friend Kara of Crown Point, IN has a son who has a very mild form of Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy. His symptoms are more on the autism spectrum as his sensory processing is mostly affected, as well as some orthopedic areas with his legs and feet.
Josh has been attending Children's Therapy Plus in Winfield/Crown Point for about 2 years now for Physical Therapy. He does a variety of strength training, and he also does Hippotherapy or horse back riding to improve his trunk muscles and also calm him down by stimulating the nervous system through his hip flexors.

This is a FOR PROFIT ranch, but they have to pay their occupational, physical and speech therapists, as well as maintain a horse ranch, aquatic pool, and all of the other Innovative Therapuetical devices to make it FUN for kids to work their butts off to achieve their maximum potential.

Kara asked the owner, Tony, what his "Wish List" was as she really wants to give back to their organization. Tony has 20-year-old wooden outdoor play structures that are no longer safe for the older kids. A lot of the autistic kids are BIG in size and they want to participate playing outdoors but the equipment is not suitable for them.

Tony can reuse a lot of the hardware, but his dream is to get the wood and order the equipment to redo their play yard.

I'm donating a small Dove Chocolate Discoveries basket to the silent FB auction she is having. If anyone would like to donate something to auction or donate to this fundraiser please contact Roxanne R. Coria on FB or go to http://apps.facebook.com/fundrazr/activity/9f2fc300e3e34bc5b133409eafa409e5

Friday, August 5, 2011

Adopt an olive Tree at Nudo!!

How cool Is this site!?!?!?!?

Adopt an olive tree for a year and you'll receive all the produce from your tree.

Imagine dunking your bread in your own oil from your own tree 1,500 miles away on a hillside in Italy. It's delicious, it's good for the world and you get to show off to your friends.

With each adoption you'll receive an adoption certificate and booklet about your tree, a Spring Package containing all the extra virgin olive oil from your tree and an Autumn/Fall Package containing a set of three flavoured extra virgin olive oils.

From the website:

Jason Gibb and Cathy Rogers set up Nudo in 2005 after buying and restoring an abandoned 21 acre olive grove in Italy's Le Marche.

Their love of the Italian countryside inspired their now famous Adopt an olive tree programme which allows people all over the world to adopt an Italian olive tree and receive its oil. The programme involves a collaboration between a group of small scale, artisanal olive producers in Le Marche and Abruzzo. Each olive farmer keeps responsibility for the care of their grove, and all the olive oil goes into the Nudo adoption programme. In giving financial security to the olive farmers, the programme makes viable the traditional farming methods which, quite simply, produce the world’s best olive oil.

A love of simple natural food is the starting point for all Nudo products. They are all made from 100% natural, high quality, locally sourced ingredients. Why use artificial preservatives when olive oil is one of the best preservatives there is - and the most delicious?

Some other nuggets of the Nudo philosophy
  • We ship by sea and land rather than air wherever possible
  • For every adoption, we donate money to the 'Tree for all' tree-planting campaign
  • We package our oil in tins to keep our oil fresher and because tin is better for the environment than glass
  • We endorse and encourage any and all hugging of olive trees

Global Enrichment Foundation

In 2008, Amanda Lindhout was a freelance journalist in Somalia when she was kidnapped and began 15 months of nightmarish captivity. But today she has returned, determined to make the country a better place. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/44026902/ns/today-good_news/t/once-kidnap-victim-somalia-she-returns-help/

Amanda Lindhout
Founder and Executive Director
Amanda LindhoutIn 2008 former freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout traveled to Somalia to research a story on the millions of people affected by two decades of war, drought and famine. Kidnapped by teenage criminals outside of the capital city, Mogadishu, Lindhout spent 15 months enduring unimaginable hardships as a hostage in one of the world's poorest countries. Following her release in November 2009, she became an unlikely and passionate advocate for Somali women's rights. Only four months after returning home, Lindhout founded the Global Enrichment Foundation and established the Somali Women's Scholarship Program to ignite female leadership in Somalia through university education. Her travels to over 50 countries - including Iraq and Afghanistan - have given Lindhout a unique and nuanced understanding of the consequences of the depravations caused by war and the subsequent effects on women. She is passionate about sharing her message of forgiveness and about creating awareness of the opportunities each individual has to create sustainable change in the world.
Lindhout studied Development Leadership at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.


Volunteering for The Global Enrichment Foundation is an opportunity for individuals interested in women's issues to learn first hand about the challenges and successes of women in Somalia.
We ask anyone interested in volunteering to submit a short application to assess where your skills can be best used by The Global Enrichment Foundation. Click HERE to download the application.
When it is completed, the application can be scanned and sent back to us at:
info@globalenrichmentfoundation.com or mailed to:
The Global Enrichment Foundation
104, 743 Railway Avenue
Suite #713
Canmore, Alberta
Canada T1W 1P2

Involve Your Company

Your company can show they care about the women of Somalia by engaging employees in initiatives that create a positive image among customers and fulfill corporate social responsibility objectives at the same time. Your support will allow us to help more women and create lasting, positive change for them and their communities.
Make a difference
  • Give your customers the opportunity to make a donation with their purchase
  • Donate a portion of your sales to The Global Enrichment Foundation
  • Pledge to match customer and employee donations dollar for dollar

Organize a Fundraiser

Fundraisers can be held just about anywhere, and anyone can organize one! Ask your church, school, workplace or community group if you can host an event to raise money for the women of Somalia. From black tie soirées to bake sales, there is no limit on what kind of fundraiser you can plan!

Sell Our Cards

The Global Enrichment Foundation has designed a beautiful line of greeting cards to raise funds for The Somali Women's Scholarship Program. Contact your local bookshop or stationary store to see if they would consider joining a growing list of business owners who support the women of Somalia.
Each card features photography by our Founding Director, Amanda Lindhout, taken during her travels to over 50 countries.
Please email your questions about getting involved with The Global Enrichment Foundation to: info@globalenrichmentfoundation.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good finds at JoAnn Fabrics!

I found some great deals in the clearence bin at JoAnn Fabrics.

My favorite is this Dora Activity Book on "Healthy Habits" for $1. It's 31 pages and has a great balance of education and games. It's a great opportunity to review eating choices, playing safe, keeping clean and getting rest. The food pyramid is outdated but I'm just glad it's in there. It has games about food and even provide a daily food check list.
We just do a couple of pages at a time but it's so funny to hear them talk about these topics. For example there is a page where you draw pictures of ways you keep yourself clean. They wanted me to draw a butt and toilet paper. I mean it's true - you have to wipe to keep clean but obviously bathing came to my mind first.

I found velvet mini posters complete with markers for $0.50.
These are good for keeping kids occupied in a restaurant. They are thin so easily stash in a diaper bag or purse. If I lose any markers at the restaurant it's not a big deal because I paid so little for the set. These are also good for birthday treat bags.

I found "D.C. Landmarks Project Stencils" for $0.50.
This a set of six stencils (White House, Lincoln Memorial, our Flag, the monument at Arlington National Cemetery, the US Capitol and a map of our country) that I would like to use for next year's Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Flag Day, etc.

Card Party Outlet had a $0.50 bin out last week. These are always good to look through because you may find future stocking stuffers, activities for a road trip, rainy day, whatever!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Online Global Child Porn Ring Busted

None of these @#$% people would want to cross my path! I'm glad they are busted but it infuriates me to no end. To do your part in continued rescue of these young, voiceless victims please visit protect.org

Washington (CNN) -- Seventy-two people have been charged in an online global child pornography ring that originated in Louisiana, in what is described as the largest prosecution of its kind, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday.
Dubbed Operation Delego, the federal law enforcement action began in December 2009, targeting more than 500 people around the world allegedly participating in Dreamboard, a members-only online bulletin board that officials say was created and operated to promote pedophilia and encourage the sexual abuse of very young children.
"Utilizing sophisticated techniques in an attempt to avoid law enforcement detection, Dreamboards' members allegedly traded graphic images and videos of adults molesting young children, often violently, and created a massive private library of images of child sexual abuse," Holder said at a Justice Department news conference also attended by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton and other officials.
"The rules of Dreamboard were clear: They encouraged and incentivized the creation of child pornography," Holder said.
Members of the Dreamboard organization were spread across five continents and 13 countries, officials said.
"In order to become part of the Dreamboard community, prospective members were required to upload pornography portraying children under 12 years of age or younger," Holder said. "Once given access, the participants had to continually upload images of child sexual abuse in order to maintain membership.
"The more content they provided, the more content they were allowed to access. Members who created and shared images and videos of themselves molesting children received elevated status and greater access."
Some of the children featured in the images and videos were infants, officials said.
"In many cases, the children being victimized were in obvious and intentional pain, even in distress and crying, just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated," Holder added.
He said Dreamboard members were united in the belief that sexually abusing chilldren should not be criminalized, and some referred to their actions as a "hobby."
A total of 52 people have been arrested so far, and of those, 13 have pleaded guilty, with four individuals having already received sentences of 20 to 30 years in prison, officials said.
ICE Director Morton said those involved used technological techniques such as proxy servers and encryption to conceal their activities.
"No matter how saavy online predators think they are, we will find them, dismantle their networks and bring them to justice," Morton said.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grilled Peaches

On hot days like this I take full advantage of my gas grill. And we are not just grilling burgers either.

My famous meal from the grill is meatloaf. Just prepare as normal but wrap it tightly in foil. Stick it in a glass 8x8 pan (to catch juices) and set the temp to 350. Grill for about 45 min depending on how many pounds of ground beef you used (I usually take it out around 40-45 min and just let the meat cook in its own juices. I would say it sits on the counter for about 15-20 min before I even attempt to open up the foil). My sister-in-law who gags at mere sight of meatloaf, ate this version of meatloaf. It comes out extremely juicy.

Today I grilled the peaches we bought at the farm stand over the weekend. They sit on the grill for about 10 minutes. Not too long. I served it with homemade vanilla ice cream. It was amazing. I saw Bobby Flay grill peaches on the Foodnetwork about 5 years ago and now do it every peach season.

I also grilled stuffed mushrooms today.
Here is my favorite recipe - I get asked to make these by family and friends quite a bit. It's Giada De Laurentiis but I omit the mint leaves. Again I put these in a 8x8 glass pan and cook as directed over the grill. I have also made these mushrooms and added it to cooked pasta tossed in marinara sauce.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend.
Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes. Serve

Kashi recall on frozen pizzas

LA JOLLA, Calif., June 03, 2011 – Kashi is recalling approximately 11,000 cases of frozen pizzas, including Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza, Roasted Vegetable Thin Crust Pizza, and Mushroom Trio and Spinach Thin Crust Pizza due to possible plastic fragments in an ingredient in the pizza crusts.
The impacted products include the following individually packaged pizzas:
  • - Kashi Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza packaged in a 12.7 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862732905 3 and Best If Used Before date of either May10 12NU, May18 12NU, or May19 12NU;
  • - Kashi Roasted Vegetable Thin Crust Pizza packaged in a 12.2 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862737342 1 and Best If Used Before date of either May09 12NU or May14 12NU;
  • - Kashi Mushroom Trio and Spinach Thin Crust Pizza packaged in an 11.9 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862737344 5 and Best If Used Before date of May17 12NU.
No other Kashi frozen pizzas or other products are included in the recall, and no consumer complaints have been reported. The products were distributed nationwide through U.S. retail grocery stores.
“People who buy Kashi trust the quality and safety of our foods," said David DeSouza, general manager. “We apologize for this situation and are working closely with our suppliers and retail customers to resolve it quickly."

The products being recalled are individually packaged Kashi® frozen pizzas sold at U.S. retail grocery stores.  These products include:

--Kashi® Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza marked with UPC Code 0-18627-32905-3 and Best If Used By dates of MAY10 12NU, MAY18 12NU, AND MAY19 12NU.
Click here to view package.

--Kashi® Roasted Vegetable Thin Crust Pizza marked with UPC Code 1862737342 1 and Best If Used Before date of either May09 12NU or May14 12NU.
Click here to view package.

--Kashi® Mushroom Trio and Spinach Thin Crust Pizza marked with UPC Code 1862737344 5 and Best If Used Before date of May17 12 NU.  Click here to view package.

Homemade charm necklace

Aunt Abbie is moving back to California! Booo! The boys and I made her a going away present - a charm necklace!!
We used Shrinky Dinks to make the charms (posted in July) but I had to make the hole bigger so I could string them onto a necklace. I used the supplied hole puncher and just punched it three or four times. It worked but the hole was still pretty small.
I went to Jo Ann Fabrics and found this necklace: Jewelry Designer, chain with "add-a-bead" easy clasp. I wanted more of a hemp look but I couldn't the charms to fit. Imagine all three boys with me in the jewelry section in addition to having NO jewelry-making knowledge this chain seemed like a perfect for me. I also wanted to add some beads but it was just too crazy. I'll just keep making these until I get it right!

Recipes from Meal Prep Day

I mentioned two dishes in my Meal Prep Day blog and I thought I would share the recipes.
The first one is so easy and great for using up leftover roast, pork, whatever!
It's From Foodnetwork's Robin Miller.

Pork Fried Rice


  • 4 teaspoons peanut oil, divided ( If I don't have peanut oil I use vegetable)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups leftover white rice
  • 1/4 cup black bean sauce (I never seem to have this on hand so I omit it)
  • 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, optional
  • 1 cup diced cooked pork
  • Salt and ground black pepper


Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until cooked through and scrambled. Remove eggs from pan and set aside.
To the same skillet over medium heat, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add scallions, carrots and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add rice and pork; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add black bean sauce and stir to coat rice. If the black bean sauce is overly thick, add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Stir in cooked egg just before serving.

Mealtime Prep Day

I LOVE using fresh produce in our meals but washing them, peeling them, chopping them, etc. takes time. And like all of you, I have such little time! So I pick a day in the week when Adam or my mom is home to occupy the kids for a bit and I can get some meal prep done. I usually squeeze meal prep in after a big grocery shop or when I have bought produce at a farmer's market.

My theory is the more fresh vegetables I incorporate into our diets, the more we will crave them. Eating right has to made a priority to avoid juvenile obesity, diabetes, etc. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, diabetes affects 25.8 million people of all ages in this country, which is 8.3% of the population. It's easier (and cheaper) to prevent the disease than to treat the disease!
Here was the agenda:

Homemade broth
A few weeks back bone-in chicken breast was on sale. I bought a couple of packages because it serves two purposes: homemade broth (saves money, tastes WAY better than canned broth and lets me control our sodium intake) and dinner that calls for shredded chicken.

Right now I have a huge pot simmering on the stove. It's filled with carrots, onions, garlic, fresh herbs from my garden, peppercorns, salt (only 2-3 TBSP), chicken, apple and celery. The great thing about making your own broth is that it takes such little effort. I throw everything in whole - no chopping, no peeling. I just pour it through a strainer after its cooked. It's a great way to reduce the amount of food that goes bad, sitting in your produce drawer. So break out that big ol' pot and fill it with leftover produce, chicken (anything on sale BONE IN. No Bone, no flavor) and water. Let it simmer for a few hours.

Uses for homemade broth: add it to your pasta or rice water to enhance the flavor of ANY dish, add it to water you are boiling potatoes in, add it to your cooked potatoes if you are about to mash them for dinner (it adds immense flavor so you tend to reduce the amount of butter or milk you might normally add), gravies or sauces
Time to Chop
After I get my broth on the stove I start chopping the vegetables that are already out from the broth. I'm going to make chicken pot pie. I know. Who in the world wants chicken pot pie on a hot summer day? But if you tasted my pot pie you would crave it too!!
I diced carrots, onion, green onion, parsley and celery. I put it in a container and set it in the fridge until it's GO time. This will cut my meal prep time for pot pie in half: the veggies are chopped (only have to add garlic and potato at last minute), the chicken will be cooked (just need to shred it) and my broth for the white sauce will be ready to go.

I know. I'm such a dork for posting this pic. But this broth smelled so amazing and had such a gorgeous amber color that I had to snap a pic.

Back to chopping
I'm also making chop suey this week so I'm also chopping broccoli, bok choy, onions and garlic. I will store them in a ziplock baggie until tomorrow. I will use the homemade broth for that dish as well.
I have leftover pork roast in the fridge. I made BBQ pork sandwiches with half of it last night. The other half I'm going to chop up and make pork fried rice to serve with the chop suey. I will need green onions and carrots for this dish so I will chop and store those veggies.

Storing broth
Any broth I have leftover I will just freeze every 8oz in ziplock baggies. I also stack the bags flat on top of one another when freezing. I do this because I can use smaller bags, which make it easier to store in your freezer and helps the broth defrost quicker.