Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snow boots

Me: I love my Columbia snow boots. For the first time, my little always frozen toes, are kept cozy warm. They are stout boots with a nice high design keeping snow out and ankles from rolling. I use these for all things snowy – to include snowshoeing in my most wonderful MSR snowshoes.

SH: Sportiva Glaciers again! How great to have a boot that you can use to hike trails, climb mountains, and snow traverse. These work great in his MSR Ascents – his chosen snowshoe. Side note: the MSR Ascents have a televater which is basically a heel lift making ascents up snowy mountains much less taxing on the calves. (I still beet him up the mountains J).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

Every year we take our 20 plus guitar and piano students up to the Nursing home to do a truly outstanding musical show for them. It's a tradition in my family that my mom started when my brother, David Klinkenberg, and I were kids. We'd travel to at least 8 different retirement/nursing homes over the course of December putting on a full show as well as at least one church.

David and I still have the privilege of traveling all over the US doing shows together - the last one we did was this last weekend in December at Westside Church in Bend. It's a little different scene than the nursing homes with over 5000 people seeing our show - but we didn't lack for tearful older men, beaming moms and kids, and doting grandmas. What blessed us the most was the fact that over 30 people raised their hands to accept Christ as their Savior. To continue to be used by God, alongside my brother, is unspeakably amazing!

I can't celebrate Christmas without a visit to a nursing home and a performance or two in a church! So, now, we have expanded it to our entire studio of students and truly, there is not a more grateful audience.

It teaches our students how to perform. But it more importantly teaches them to give a little of themselves - serve in our community by sharing a musical blessing. And music has a way of blessing the soul unlike almost anything else can, it transcends words and shoots straight for the heart.

This year was the most talented group of students we have had yet - putting on a high quality show. These students practice hard for this, wanting to give their very best, and it brought tears to the eyes of many of the residents.

My 2 precious sprouts were in the program this year, for the first time. Princess sprout declared that they looked like a "Man and a Woman" dressed up like they were. Here's a picture of my little man and little woman who walked around that nursing home talking to the residents, unbeknownst to them, bringing tears of joy to the eyes of the men and women there blessed by their joy. At one point, my little Shirley Temple broke out into a full rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas to a captivated audience of 3 ladies in their hallway. They couldn't take their eyes off of this little golden angel of mine.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What does Running Gal run in?

I just got word that Brooks has chosen me to be one of their Brooks sponsored athletes. This means I need to be seen training and racing in (and hopefully winning in!) Brooks shoes and clothes. I also need to be caught proclaiming their mission statement in public places like grocery store check out lines and subways. OK - I made that last one up! But, even before I was chosen by them to represent them out in the running world, I had written this blog post.

This is, what Running Gal runs in!

  • I have been competitively running since 1988!! Wow! Amazingly I am still going strong. Truth is, I rather pound a trail then pavement, but find myself on pavement a lot. So, I need a very good shoe. I have quickly destroyed Asics, Nikes, and Reeboks. These are cute designer shoes, but not truly made to last well. NewBalance offers some good shoes but, again, not my favorite. For years, I was a Saucony girl and still think those are great shoes. However, the shoes that make my heart skip a beat, make my step lighter and my sride faster are the Brooks shoes. These folks design for runners. Like many companies these days, they have many shoes with medial posts placed to offer lots of support and correct for pronation or suponation.

    The winning shoe for me right now is the Brooks Adrenaline($80 to $95). I just love the name! Somehow this shoe does adrenalize me! The Brooks Addiction was one I hoped would work for me as the name was perfect, but it has built in pronation correction that overcorrected me with my orthodic.

  • Check out this Brooks link to be inspired by this company. They truly are desigining high end running shoes and it makes a huge difference. The shoe hugs my foot, provides amazing bounce to my run, and wonderful support. I love this shoe!!!!

Designed to elevate the running experience, Brooks' advanced stability, cushioning and motion control gear is recognized as the product of choice among runners of all levels. Entirely focused on the run, Brooks is dedicated to inspiring people to run and be active. Brooks creates innovative equipment that keeps you running longer, farther and faster—and with more enjoyment of the run.

  • Here's the techy specs on my current shoe:
Rejoice! Runner's World gave the new Adrenaline™ GTS 8 the "Best Buy" award for Stability shoes in its Spring Shoe Guide 2008. Many a runner relies on this trusted road warrior. The shoe is loved for its tried-and-true fit and feel, sought after for its signature smoothness from heel to toe, and depended upon for the graceful, graduated support of its PDRB®. The Adrenaline™ GTS 8 maintains all of the above while enhancing the ride with the long-lasting cushioning and resiliency of MoGo

  • For fun, I might explore some other Brooks shoes. They have an amazing high-tech selection. One on the docket for my next try might be the Defyance:

Runner's World awarded the Defyance its "Editor's Choice" award in its Summer 2008 Shoe Review.
Neutral runners, this is your golden ticket. Your prize? A highly sought-after ride. Finally, the glove-like fit, famous feel, and smooth heel-to-toe transitions of the Adrenaline™ GTS have been re-packaged just for the biomechanically efficient. With no PDRB® and just a touch of control to keep natural pronation in check, you won’t fall into any chocolate rivers.

SH: tried NewBalance with good success. The best shoe for him was the Brooks Beast. Brooks stopped making the Beast and SH stopped running. Truthfully, running just doesn’t work well for a big guy like studhusband. ;(

What works for you and why?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back packing boots

SH: The Merrill Chameloeon is his pick for light weight hikers. They have a strong vibram sole as well as a well made heel cup that combine to create a great supporting shoe for a light weight hiking shoe. He has super WIDE feet. Have I already mentioned – he’s a BIG guy!! Merrills work for wide feet, according to SH, better than any other brand out there. He really likes the Gore-Tex lining, as it keeps his feet totally dry, especially when he's standing in the surf with his camera shooting a sunset!

La Sportiva Glaciers are his top choice for climbing mountains, trekking, or carrying heavy loads off trail. These are an intense climbing boot with a half shank meaning there is not much give in the knobby Vibram soles.. Fully cramp-on compatible. Extremely comfortable on scree and snow, solid on trails, premier off trails. These suckers are ready to rock and roll (if you, the user, are ready to that is!). He also hikes with these in the summer if we're backpacking as a family (think heavy 50 lb plus pack!) for the extra ankle support.

Me: Low-cut and lightweight Columbia hikers have lasted me 4 seasons so far. They are a supped up running shoe with a strong sole. I love the light weight feature as it allows for easier hiking and since my ankles need minimal support, it works great. Columbia seems to be a great company for us narrow footed souls. Obviously this means that SH has had absolutely no luck with Columbia. They snug to my feet perfectly. I am ready to hit the trail for days or weeks in these gals!

The Key: go as light weight as you can given your body type and physical issues such as weak/strong ankles. If you, like me, have good ankles, don’t feel like you need to get some high top hiking boot just ‘cause that’s what “hiking boots” look like. I have been known to do a 10 mile day hike with running shoes and 3 or 4 mile hikes with sandals! Lighter is best as it saves on the wear and tear on the rest of your body by not having to haul around heavy shoes!

Tell us What works for you and why?

Monday, December 15, 2008


SH endorses the Teva Musher flipflop. A good hang out – take the garbage out – putz around summer shoe.

I enjoy my Chacos!! When I put them on, no matter what time of year it is, it’s summer to me. They have a vibram soul which makes them stout but unfortunately, a minimal arch support. $50 normally but I got them on sale for about $30 at REI. But, I must say, that Teva my SH picked up has the most comfy squooshy footbed I have been on in a long time!! I might have to grab a pair of Teva’s too. Not the Jesus sandal – just the flip flop. About $15 at REI if you catch them on sale.

This year I have added the Keen waterproof sandal to my repertoire ($80).. It has a lot more protection and support for summer fun then the Chaco flip flop did. It has an anatomical footbed, great arch support, a lovely toe covering to protect from stubbing toes on sidewalks or rocks, and fully waterproof. It’s been great on beaches and rivers as it clings to my foot well and allows me to just enjoy the day without thought of my feet getting cut up by sticks, rocks, or cement. My little piggies are safe and cozy in their little Keen sandal home. I can easily get in and out of our canoe or kayak or even hike a few miles all in one little sandal.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Every day and working shoes

SH, as a highschool teacher he NEVER sits down. His students have asked him why he never sits down as all their other teachers do, but on his feet he will be found interacting with the kids. He was starting to notice due to his suponation problem and all his feet time that the tendons on the top of his feet were getting really sore. He went through many types of shoes trying to add support that included Keens (I thought these looked cool and was bummed that they too were no good for this large guy of mine), Merrills, and Bass shoes. What finally started to work was the Dansko Clog. It shifted him back on his heels and aligned his body correctly. We work hard not to elevate the Dansko to a god like status in our home. It’s just that good!!! They don’t get soft and mushy like most other shoes. They are the only shoe I know of that is podiatrically approved. They have this rocking foot bed that propels your foot forward but when you are just standing they force your body to align correctly.

SH has walked to work every single day for the last 5 years. So, his commuting vehicle is simplified to what coat he is wearing and what’s on his feet. The New Balance running shoes gets too soft and unsupportive in too quick of a time. He has found that Merrill low-cut hikers hold up the best for the commute.

Like Mr.Rogers, SH arrives to school in his Merrills and takes them off, puts them in his closet with his puffy black down jacket and dons his Danskos for the school day. Every single day he does this routine and once again, his student’s get a kick out of this little quirk of his.

Me: I used to spend tons of money on my running shoes, climbing shoes, and hiking shoes, but never bothered to get anything but cheap shoes for the rest of my life. Sure, spend all effort and money on shoes that you are in 5% of the time!! I started noticing more and more trips to my amazingly miraculous physical Therapist (for locals – check out Peak Performance. My guy is Wes Rau). He’d size me up and say, “oh yeah. I can fix you. Your hip is way off, again. We’ll get that popped into place.” And he did. 4 years ago it took one visit in the fall to get me back aligned. But 3 years ago, I needed 2 tune-ups…2 years ago I think I needed at least 5 ….and last year, it was just hurting all the time. So, I went in to get my tune-up and this time, I went straight to the shoe store.

There, I finally purchased my first Dansko clog – the Professional – and I got their new narrow design. I wore that thing religiously. We used to have a “no shoe” house, but I couldn’t see how this shoe could do me any good if I didn’t wear it! Dishwashing, vacuuming, floor mopping, laundry, and all other assortments of indoor housewife sports all need the right gear! Amazingly, this last hip tune-up took!! The Danskos kept it in place. A year later I sit here realizing that I have absolutely no pain in this stubborn left hip (or low back as that too was starting to hurt a bunch).
Amazing to think that washing dishes while standing correctly now in my Danskos was actually, day by day serving to heal me!! Yippee!! Go Dansko!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

on Advent and making your own Advent Calendar

The sprouts remember the Advent traditions that we celebrate each day of December more than anything each year. We have done Advent for at least 5 years in our family and I love it. It brings us together daily to focus on a verse of the day, with a weekly theme and a weekly "family church" time on Sunday evening.

We have a large felt banner with a tree on it. Along the borders are 28 slots with 28 different versus. Each slot has a different velcroed ornament on it. So each day of advent, they move another ornament onto the felt tree and read the verse. Each Sunday, we do the candle lighting ceremony and discuss the theme for that week (the 4 themes we use are: Preparation, love, joy, and God's Gift) as a family and sing together songs that fit the theme.

They just can’t wait to start reading the daily versus as we count down to Christmas and doing the weekly candle lighting Advent ceremony. They are getting the meaning, all mixed in there with the jittery joy of anticipating what’s going to appear under the tree. I don’t doubt that for a second. In fact, for wildman sprout's school Christmas program, when asked what his favorite thing about the holidays are, he said, "Celebrating advent with my family and doing the school Christmas program."

What You Will Need:
White felt - 24" X 36"
Green Felt - 9" X 18" - cut into the shape of a tree
3/8 " dowel - 24" long
Gold rope or string
28 to 31 Stickers or what I did was cut out pictures from Christmas cards (size of a quarter)
28 Bible verses written on index cards (cut to be about 1 inch wide)

Advent begins the 4th Sunday before Christmas. It often begins in November. Many commercial Advent calendars arbitrarily start it on Dec 1st. If you get stoked about this and want to start, we are currently in the middle of the 2nd week of Advent - theme is Love.

Cut out your tree and glue it to the white felt banner. I also cut out a brown felt trunk so it didn't just look like a large green triangle. I used red felt to line the bottom and top of the banner. Sew the red felt to the tops and bottom of the banner so that it's about 3" vertically tall. Sew vertical lines so that you create 14 mini pockets on top and 14 mini pockets on the bottom.

Write out the verses and put one in each pocket. Attach to the outside of each pocket a Christmas sticker or a mini-picture cut from Christmas cards with velcro.

Each day, have a child move the next sticker/picture from the mini-pocket to the green tree and read the verse.

Some possible Bible versus to use in the Advent Calendar
First week of Advent: Preparation, Waiting, Hoping, Trusting
  1. Romans 15:4
  2. Titus 2:13
  3. Isaiah 25:9
  4. Genesis 49:18
  5. Psalm 33:20-22
  6. Isaiah 26:8
  7. Isaiah 33:2
Second week of Advent: Love

  1. John 16:27
  2. 1 John 3:1
  3. 2 Thess. 3:5
  4. 1 John 4:16
  5. Jude 21
  6. Romans 12: 9-10
  7. 1 John 4:7-10
Third week of Advent: Joy

  1. John 15:10-11
  2. 1 Peter 1:8-9
  3. 3 John 4
  4. Psalm 35:9
  5. matthew 2:10
  6. Isaiah 52:9
  7. Psalm 66: 1-3
Fourth week of Advent: God's Gift

  1. Romans 8:31-32
  2. James 1:17
  3. Luke 6:38
  4. 2 Cor. 9:7
  5. Isaiah 9:6
  6. galations 4:4-5
  7. 2 Cor 9:15

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

on Santa Claus

Years ago a sad reality slammed me. The sprouts put out cookies and a note for Santa before bed. After we tucked them in, I was shocked to see my StudHusband go straight for the cookies without missing a beat. “Those are for Santa” were my literal first thoughts. Thankfully, I burst out laughing before I said such silliness outloud. But it struck me then and there – there really is not a Santa from the North Pole! I was Santa!! We were Santa together, my hubby and I! I now was given the delightful hat, passed down from my parents to me, of being Santa to the precious little kiddos sleeping soundly in their beds.

I have friends that think it’s a horrible lie to bestow on their kids that there is a Santa and others that don’t celebrate Christmas at all. That’s fine. I can completely understand their perspectives – it is quite a commercialized day. But, we choose to just go with it. Just enjoy it for the fun that it is. The truth is, it’s magical to receive presents. It’s scream-happy worthy. It’s just plain giggles inducing fun!

And we, as parents, get to practice what St. Nick inspired so long ago – giving in secret. For we are the Santas – and someday the all-mighty Santa hat will be passed on to our children to carry on and that’s when selfless giving, modeled by Christ first, St Nick, and parents around the world, gets to be what they take with them into future Christmases.

I really would love to tell my Sprouts that I was the one that saved up for months to buy them both their new bikes, games, craft supplies, and toys…but instead, I write, ‘From Santa”. My right hand is not telling my left hand what it’s doing in secret.

I, for one, am blessed by the countless selfless years of giving my parents did for me each Christmas day, never taking credit for what they gave and I am honored to carry the torch.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mom...?? Say what??

I have thoroughly confused my sprouts. In an effort to keep the “meaning” in Christmas, I have weaved a crazy story that leaves them nothing short of totally lost.

See….St. Nick was a real guy. He was born in A.D. 280, in Myra, which is modern day Turkey. He was born into wealth and had a deep interest in Christ from an early age. He seemed to base his life on 2 principles: 1 John 3:17, ”If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” and Matthew 6:3-4,”But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

When a wealthy merchant-friend of his lost everything in a violent storm at sea, Nicholas knew he had the resources to help him. His friend would be embarrassed to take “charity” and would want to pay him back so he decided, one dark night, to take a bag of gold coins and drop them through the open window of the eldest daughter’s room. Some fell into a stocking that had been hung out to dry.

News spread and everyone wondered who the identity of this anonymous donor could be. The afterglow of that experience warmed his heart drawing his attention to the poor and suffering people in and around Myra. He soon made Mathew 25:35-36 his motto: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink….I needed clothes and you clothed me…”

For the remainder of his life, he consistently cared for the poor. He employed people to make clothing for the needy and distribute food to the hungry. He even hired a wood-carver to make simple toys for the children. The only condition he placed on these activities was a request that his identity be kept a secret during his lifetime. He often baked bread, mixing sugar and exotic spices that came to be known as gingerbread.

He died on Dec 6, A.D. 343. This day began to be celebrated as St Nicholas Day.

What we have tried to do is celebrate Santa by remembering St. Nick. Each year, St Nick comes on Dec 6th and fills the sprouts stockings with goodies. We try to bake gingerbread cookies and distribute them to neighbors and we try to anonymously bless a family or 2 in need with traditional St Nick items like:
  • A stocking to hold the coins and gifts because the gold fell in the girl’s stockings and shoes
  • A mesh bag of chocolate gold coins because Nicholas tossed real bags of gold (Trader Joes has these this year!)
  • A wooden gift remembering Nicholas hired a wood carver to make toys for the children.
  • An article of clothing, remembering his concern to clothe the poor.
  • A favorite food item, remembering his generosity in feeding people.
  • A gingerbread cookie, with a pointed bishop’s hat, like Nicholas had.

Then, after Dec 6th, all Santa décor comes down to be now focused on the birth of Christ.

It’s all good, but here’s the problem. No one else does this! So, all December long over the last few years, the sprouts have gotten more and more confused as people ask them the traditional December question, “what do you want Santa to bring you?” To which they always tell the silly adult, “ He already came!”

Adult looks at me with questioning eyes then back to the Sprout at hand…”No I mean this year, what do you want for Christmas?” Sprout then tries to explain…no success then leaves the conversation feeling bad for the many adults that were clearly not good enough to get a Santa visit this year.

Then this year, the final Princess Sprout question sent StudHusband and I into fits of laughter at me – a mom that clearly cannot get this simple December holiday straight. She asked, “Is St Nick still alive?” To which I unwittingly answered, “No. He died.”

Stud Husband about crashed the car as he listened to this crazy wife of his trying to bring meaning into Christmas by calmly assuring her 5 year old that St Nick (or Santa in her little mind) is dead/

Santa’s dead? She asked, shocked and mortally devastated.
(quick! Fix this!! She can’t be going to school announcing that st nick is dead.)

So, I tried to explain that Santa is not dead. He got inspired by St Nick’s life and love for Jesus so he will, indeed, now be showing up at our home on Dec 25th (Instead of on Dec 6th for stockings and then again on the 25gh), like he does around the world for all good children (my husband reminded me). And on Dec 6th, we will skip the St. Nick coming to fill stockings with toys and instead, spend all that money on food and warm clothes for the family in need that we have chosen to bless this Christmas.

Finally! We have a plan!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Our Christmas Tree Lives

Each year we gather together in the forest with friends, hot cocoa, hot soup, and great fast sleds and we find the perfect tree. Each year, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if instead of killing another tree that has tried to survive for 20 plus years for 3 weeks of Christmas indoor viewing pleasure, we instead, bought a LIVE tree!!??

This year, rather spontaneously, we decided to do just that. We passed a cute little Christmas tree farm, selling live trees for $5! We quickly chatted with the kids and decided that it would be fun to grab a shovel and dig up our own tree. Instead of watching it dry out and die all December, we could water it, knowing that we’d get to plant it in our yard and watch it keep growing. (I see a great analogy brewing – baby Jesus came to us on Christmas and stays in our hearts forever, growing His Grace, Love, and power in us, as we become deeper rooted in Him….)

So this year, we are not sporting the 6 foot plus perfect tree from the woods. Instead, we have this cute little 3 foot tree, a mere babe. We get to water it and tend to it, and read books on how to not kill this youngin’ when the shocking transplant to the earth takes place.

And hopefully, we get to watch it live.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Orthodics - fix your hips, knees, back, and even your neck could benefit!

In the 90s, after about 4 yrs of intense distance running training and competing, I finally was stopped dead in my tracks with a stress fracture in my tibia bone (lower leg). I had also suffered much tendonitis in my knees, shin splints, and some hip pain.

SH has a lot of pain on the bottom of his foot, up near his toes for years.

All of these issues were solved after a visit to a podiatrist and foot casts were done so they could create custom orthodics to correct the promation/supination issues o had.

We learned that at least 80% of people would benefit from orthodics. If the foot is hitting the ground wrong, it bio-mechanically throws the entire gate off putting strains that lead to injuries up the entire body. Foot, ankle, shin, knee, hips, and backs all could suffer in time if this simple step is not taken to get orthodics. Even shoulder, neck, and headache pain can be attributed to an off balanced gait.

All of our shoes need to be compatible with orthodics. This means they cannot have their own built in pronation or supination corrections which is becoming more and more common in shoes. They also need to have a wide base and not the common narrow soles. So many shoes when you look at the soles have an hourglass shape to them. We look for shoes with as wide of a base as we can find.

Welcome to our shoe journey.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shoes, glorious shoes!

I am not much of a shopper. There are few things I could review here, in terms of products, other than food! I don’t buy house décor. I rarely buy clothes. My kids wear hand me downs. In fact, the world of shopping absolutely overwhelms me. I enter the world of stuff, feel overwhelmed, and leave empty handed. So, I’ve basically stopped shopping altogether.

However, the one item we are constantly trying to determine what to buy next is shoes.

The reason buying shoes is so fun for me is that shoes = motion!! In my active family, we love to play!!

You can’t be active without the right shoes. We are self proclaimed gear-a-holics with shoes being our biggest weakness. You can’t run, hike, bike, ski, or even do dishes ( I have found!) without the right shoe.

I will cover 2 “extremes” in body types and which shoes “work for us” (through much trial and error) for both types. My hope is that you can identify with either me or my husband as we have quite different body types and needs and that you might, discover a shoe that could be perfect to keep you active or get you going again.

I also hope that you are inspired to be active! If you have physical limitations, there may be a shoe out there that can bridge the gap you need to keep you going, and may even help correct the problem!!

ME: light weight, medium height (5’6”), gal with strong knees, back, and ankles. I have had left hip pain quite a bit over the years (that was corrected by shoes and my physical therapist). I have a normal width food but a AAA heel. I pronate – meaning I roll in on my foot, putting strain on my knees and hips. When you stand your weight should spread over your 5 toes equally. Mine is mostly on my big toe. If this is you, then you too are a pronator

SH: Weighing in at 200 plus pounds and 6’3” his shoe needs are totally different then mine. Through many years of soccer and basketball he is now the proud owner of weak knees and ankles. He has extremely wide feet (EE) and suponates – meaning he rolls out (more weight ends up on his pinky toes – this puts strain on his ankles and knees). Despite these setbacks, he stays extremely fit mountain biking, hiking, climbing mountains, XC skiing, snow boarding, and snow shoeing. But, he takes his shoe choice very seriously. We talk about what shoes he is needing months in advance as they are not cheap!!

Sprouts: so far, in their young ages of 5 and 7, we have found that Wal-Mart has shoes that last them as long as they need before they’d need the next size anyway! It’s truly about the only thing I buy at Wal-Mart and this little discovery was made by my SH one weekend that I was gone as I rarely enter the store to know that they have pretty decent kid’s shoes. I don’t spend much money on their shoes yet. They can hike in any good tennis shoe at this point. Winter boots have often been Sorrel boots. Sandals are whatever we get our hands on for cheap or whatever is handed to us from friends whose kids have outgrown theirs. It works for now.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just say NO to the flu shot!

Of course, me, running gal, would not endorse something like the flu shot. First one has to ask themselves, like my good daddy does, when was the last time I even got the flu??? Truly, it's around every year, but most of us have strong enough immune systems to avoid it. If by chance, you get it, then it's a good cleanse to the body - rest, high temps, etc. all do a good job of cleansing.

The real way to avoid getting sick is to take good care of yourself by eating whole foods, eating as organically and clean as you can, drinking lots of water, eating a lot of veggies and fruit, exercising, and getting enough sunshine. We have never gotten this shot and in the many years that this vaccine has been available, we have also never gotten the flu.

Enormous amounts of marketing money goes into this vaccine each year because if they can convince millions of people that this is something they need, "they" get millions and millions of our money.

Do You Know What the Risks of this vaccine are?

There is emerging evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease, most likely as a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury in vaccines has also been shown to be a contributing factor in autism.

Other serious, and potentially deadly, adverse reactions to the flu vaccine include joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease.

And, in the case of Tamiflu, thousands of cases of abnormal behavior, neuropsychiatric problems like convulsions, delirium or delusions, and brain infections, have been reported.
(Tamiflu is approved for treatment of uncomplicated influenza A and B in children 1 year of age or older. It is also approved for prevention of influenza in people 13 years or older.)
More Scientific Research Backing Up Recommendation to Avoid Flu Vaccines Like the Plague
For those of you who are still unconvinced, there’s plenty of scientific evidence available to back up the recommendation to avoid flu vaccines – if not for their potentially serious or deadly side effects, then for the simple reason that they don’t work, and don’t offer any real benefit to offset their potential health risks.

A sampling of these studies include:

  • A recent study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons. The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.
  • A study published in the Lancet just two months ago found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now, yet there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia.
  • That Lancet study supports a similar study done five years ago, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which concluded that vaccination against pneumonia does not reduce your risk of contracting the disease.
  • Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine last month also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.
  • Last year, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”
  • A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.

New Theory May Explain the True Nature of the Flu, and Why Vaccines Don’t Work

I take between 2,000 and 4,000 mg of Vitamin D each day in a supplement.

  • One credible hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease.
  • Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” may very well be one of the most beneficial vitamins there is for disease prevention. Unfortunately it’s also one of the vitamins that a vast majority of people across the world are deficient in due to lack of regular exposure to sunshine.
  • This hypothesis was presented by Dr. John Cannell and colleagues in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006, and again, more recently, in the Virology Journal.
  • This explanation actually makes perfect sense.
  • The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.

For most people, the flu shot does not prevent illness, but actually does the polar opposite--it weakens your immune system and makes you more predisposed to the illness.

This is a quick 1 minute phone call to a rep from a main distributor of the flu vaccine. See what she has to say about the preservatives, mercury, and other things in this shot and whether or not she gets the shot:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Martha Stewart is not coming to our Thanksgiving

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I'm telling you in advance, so don't act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few small changes
Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries.After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

Once inside, our guests will note that the entry hall is not decorated with the swags of Indian corn and fall foliage I had planned to make.Instead... I've gotten the kids involved in the decorating by having them track in colorful autumn leaves from the front yard. The mud was their idea.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china orcrystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from lastChristmas.

Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that was promised. Instead, we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration hand-crafted from the finest construction paper.

The artist assures me it is a turkey

We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regardingThanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m., upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds. As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording oftribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recordingof tribal drumming, or that tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like afrozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like.In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.

Now, I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private," meaning: Do not, under any circumstances, enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind my young diners that the "passing the rolls" is not a football play. Nor is it a request to bean your sister in the head with warm tasty bread. . Before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie, garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will still have a choice; take it or leave it.

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. She probably won't come next year either. I am thankful

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sacrifices, oh the sacrifices

I laid myself on the sacrificial alter of experimenting with my body all for the sake of you, my faithful blog readers. As is my usual way, today I tried something new, and jumped in with both feet. No testing the waters with a few toes here. No sir. Both feet, no bars held. Here we go.

As I sat on the couch this afternoon, cuddling our new Human Society Pooch and doing some afternoon homeschooling with my princess sprout, I remember thinking, "this is one of those afternoons I hope to never forget. This, THIS is what it's all about, right here, right now...sounding out sounds while we learn to read, learning geometric shapes, learning about being a good citizen, and coloring scenes remembered from this last 4th of July."

But as I sat there, I couldn't continue to ignore the apparent unsettling development brewing in my stomach. I don't tend to ever get stomach issues, so I figured it would pass...but it didn't. It kept brewing, gurgling, and most disturbing, Growing.

I finally had to look my sweet girl in the eyes and pull out of our special alone time. I was barely able to catch my breath at this point as it hurt so intensely. She came into my room and checked on me after I had endured excruciating pain for 45 min. I laid in bed while she held my hand and decided to lay hands on my stomach and pray. Her prayers were so confident, "Mommy, I am going to pray, and God will fix you."

Truth is, by the time she was done with her 2nd prayer, it did start to improve.

So what happened? Oh, I simply made my own version of a recommended drink I posted a few posts ago. I grew my broccoli sprouts, bought my frozen berry mix, and pulled out my Vita-Mix for what I thought would be a tasty healthy little smoothie. Princess sprout and I threw the berries in, rice milk, agave nectar, and a banana and then I decided, oh, if 1/4 cup of broccoli sprouts will work, then 3 cups will be even better!

Ever eat too much raw broccoli? Yeah, no fun....try concentrated broccoli, in the form of sprouts, and you'll be eating something like, oh, I don't know, 50 pounds of raw broccoli...the lovely chemical explosions inside made me wonder if my time had come. I was blowing up like a fast growing helium balloon.

And all this, jumpin in at top speed as I sacrificed my body for the good of the cause, brings me to my new conclusion on this yummy smoothie idea:

either A. don't make this smoothie ever or B. maybe try to not use 3 cups of these potent sprouts, but oh, maybe a teaspoon instead...and increase it as you can.

Take it from me! Go slow with the 'ole broccoli sprouts, but know this, I will not be beaten down by the Broccoli sprout monster. I will prevail! I'll just go slower next time. Broccoli sprouts are worth it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another yummy dessert - Almond Mousse with berry topping

My kiddos loved this.

First I took 2 cups of raw almonds and soaked it overnight. THis allows it to sprout a bit and amazingly helps to release enzymes to make it much easier to digest.

Then I dehydrated them at low temps for a day...oven at 150 degrees or use a dehydrator like I did.

You then put them in a food processor and grind them up. To this crumbly mix, add:
  • 2 teaspoons of gelatin (not jello!! Gelatin!) dissolved in 1/2 c warm water
  • 1/4 Cup of dehydrated cane juice (not white sugar!! You can get this for a good price at Costco) or use raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Mix that together until smooth and fluffy.

Fold whipped cream into almond mixture and chill well. Whipped cream is made by:

  • Beat 2 C of qualtiy heavey cream, preferably raw, but definitely NOT ultrapasteurized, in a bowl with a whisk or an electric beater. When cream makes soft folds, beat in:
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • pinch of stevia powder

Meanwhile, puree 10 oz of a package of frozen berries with 1/2 C of water and 1/4 of maple syrup (make sure it doesn't contain corn syrup, that it's pure maple syrup). Chill.

To serve, spoon almond mixture into serving dishes and top with a generous spoonful of pureed berries.

Super yummy - full of antioxidants and calcium to name a few benefits.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gourmet fully raw treat

It is so hard to limit the amount of sugar that we eat during this time of year. And it takes it's toll for sure - people all around us are sick, sick, sick and tired. StudHusband claims it's the worst year yet at his high school where students in his class are constantly battling something, sneezing directly on him as they battle a fever amidst their school day. He did a pole, not one student in his classes (over 160 of them) have not had at least one bought of something so far this year, and most have had multiple sicknesses. In the 10 years we have been teaching, we have seen a sharp decline in the health of students. More kids miss more school each year than the year before. They eat things like 36 oz sugar ladened coffees and a bag of oreos for breakfast, or 2 liters of Mountain Dew and a box of Mike n Ikes candies and call that a breakfast. How could their systems have a chance? Well, they don't.

It wasn't like that when I was in school. I don't remember hardly ever getting sick, and I know I rarely missed school. But then again, we weren't constantly drinking coffee, pop, and eating McDonalds and bags of Oreos for lunch either. It wasn't even on our campus. We had real food for hot lunches with milk and juice.

So, here's a fun Raw brownie to make. Why Raw? Well, the theory is that Raw food, since it's not cooked, has not lost it's enzymes through high heat, making it healthier. I am not so sure about all of that, but I do contend that we all eat way too much cooked food, and not enough, non-processed, raw food like nuts/seeds, fruits and veggies.

A fun gourmet way to satisfy the sweet tooth and avoid the irrefutable immune system KILLER- Sugar! I often like to make a raw-dessert for family gatherings - family likes it and it gives my kids a healthy option that they deem a yummy treat. They think they've gotten dessert, but I know that all the ingredients in it are sure to strengthen their bodies, and not deplete it. It helps us avoid the holiday sicknesses which leaves us free to just enjoy it in full health and vigor.

Chocolate Frosted Brownies
3 cups raw walnuts, soaked and dehydrated
1 3/4 cups dried, unsweetened & shredded coconut
3/4 cup dark (or amber) Raw agave nectar (yummy sweetener, but you could use raw honey)
1 tablespoon Raw (virgin) coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut extract (I am going to skip this - to save money)
pinch Himalayan crystal salt (or any good sea salt you might have)

Take 1 cup of the walnuts and chop them. Set them in a large bowl. Add the coconut to the chopped nuts and toss briefly to mix. Take the remaining 2 cups of walnuts and grind them in a food processor, fitted with the "S" blade, until coarsely ground. Add the agave, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut extracts, and salt to the food processor and process until creamy. Transfer the mixture from the food processor to the large bowl with chopped nuts and coconut. Stir together by hand. Set aside while you make the brownies.

1/4 cup raw oats
2 1/4 cups Raw pecans, soaked and dehydrated
2/3 cup raw cacao powder
q3 tablespoons Raw (virgin) coconut oil
dash Himalayan crystal salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut extract (again, skipable if you want to keep it cheaper)
13 dates, pitted
1/4 cup raisins

Grind the oats to a powder with a coffee grinder or blender. Transfer them to your food processor, fitted with the "S" blade. Add the pecans and process until coarsely ground. Add the chocolate powder, coconut oil, salt, vanilla and coconut extracts. Process until well incorporated. Add the dates and raisins and process until the mixture begins to stick together when pressed between your fingers. Press into an 8x8 glass-baking dish. Top the brownies with the frosting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

THe Choice: Bitter or Better?

I love seniors! It's my favorite crowd to hang out with. I figure out ways to wriggle into their lives - cleaning their house, weeding their yard, just coming over to have tea...whatever I can do to get to bask in their years of Wisdom.

Doesn't this face say it all? Years of ups and downs, years of learning, wisdom gained. I could sit at his feet for hours and just listen. This is Smokey. One of the dearest men to StudHusband. Worked with literally thousand of young men in a Californian boys camp that targets tougher inner city LA boys and challenges them to make the right choices. StudHusband worked at this camp for 10 years. Smokey was a Living Legend. He went home to meet His God this last October.

Now, some older folk are just plain grumpy. But many seem to me to be as kind and full of Grace as Jesus Himself. Seriously. Years of seeking God Has made them closer to His likeness than any of us young-ins could be.

So, what makes for this major gap between grumpy old men and gentle-spirited old men?

In talking with these folks I have learned that grumpy does not equate with the hardest life and sweet does not mean life was a bed of roses. In fact, some of the grumpiest had much less to complain about then some of the sweetest.

Through saints that have passed on like my grandma Ruth or Smokey, I have learned this most profound truth:

Life is hard. But every time there is a challenging season, we have 2 choices. We can choose to be Bitter or we can choose to be Better. To allow our hard circumstances to grow us closer to God and make us better as we Hold HIS hand in these moments is what is ultimately going to shape us into men and women of grace. Every one of these elderly folk endured hard times, it was how they chose to endure them as each obstacle presented itself that all added up to either a gentle spirit or an ornery spirit.

You can tell from Smokey's face what he always chose when hard times surrounded him: He chose the High Road to a Grace filled Life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

From Ashes to Beauty

God can truly turn bad situations into good - and have a purpose in it all. It's usually rare that I get to see a glimpse of the why, but when I do, it's amazing. Here is such a moment.

Somehow, this puppy of ours grew up in what seems to have been a Puppy Mill - living her entire 7 months in a cage with little human contact. And then, these abusive people dumped her and her sister and brother out on the streets. I can't imagine.

But this horrid act was the beginning of a Divine Encounter that God was setting up.

Flash forward to the sidelines of a 2nd grade soccer game. In our excitement of getting to get our Humane Society Beauty, we were overheard talking by one of our fellow teammate's dad of our Pooch to Be and her not-yet adopted black lab sister. After the game, we were surprised to see this father and his son at the Humane Society. We had never met the dad, but knew the son so it instantly caused us to start talking.

They ended up adopting the sister. Bad start.
Happy ending.

We all then went off to the end-of-the-year soccer party and due to the brief meeting at the Humane Society, found each other in the crowd and began talking.

As it turns out, this dad was needing to talk. He was nearly in tears as he shared how this dog was going to be a part of his healing as he was just served divorce papers while sitting at his mom's bedside in her last days.

It instantly began an hour long discussion where I listened and shared what I hoped were encouraging words while the soccer party happened around us. We talked about God and His Healing Hand on broken hearts.

As all this unfolded, I realized that if it weren't for that senseless act 2 weeks earlier of a dog breeder dumping 3 puppies, StudHusband and I would have merrily attended the Soccer Party and been oblivious to this hurting man.

And now we have our boys and our dogs to get together for play dates to hopefully continue an encouraging relationship for this family that is currently being torn apart.

God is good.

All the time.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

A blog pause to say Happy birthday Dad!

funniest b-day card I have read in a long time came from our Wildman Sprout:

Dear Grandpa,
Happy birthday to you. You are 68 and you were 67 two days ago. And because you are older, you can kick harder, and because you can kick harder, you and I can have more fun together.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Overcoming Heartburn or acid reflux

Oh the exciting topics on this blog just never stop.

Like I have said many times, we have learned so much and want to share so that others can benefit too. Our oldest sprout has had reflux issues since he was a baby. By 3, his voice was totally hoarse from the acid burning his vocal cords.

Docs suggested what all good docs suggest - drugs. Prevacid to be exact. And they said he'd be fine to be on this for the rest of his life.


The insert that comes with the drug that only a few nutballs like me ever even read said they'd only tested it on 66 kids for 6 weeks...and even they had quite a few reactions, from mild to severe.

But what about the thing that I come back to over and over again: is this counter to the bodily systems that God brilliantly put into action? Like the fact that we NEED our acid in our stomach to assimilate things like our vitamin Bs? Without the acid, our bodies don't absorb much vitamin B at all? And vitamin B is quite necessary - so is it at all possible that Prevacid, that neutralizes the stomach acid, would not cause any effects at all on a person who took it from the age of 3????

How's the liver gonna like to deal with a strong drug like this for all these years?

And on and on.

So I started researching and determined that many food sensitivities can trigger acid reflux. So, first thing we did was eliminate dairy...and greatly reduce wheat.

As well, we learned of fascinating techniques done by physical therapists that know how to do it that literally work on the smooth tissue of the stomach and other surrounding muscles to help reduce and eliminate reflux.

Our sprout probably had a hiatus hernia which means that the stomach was pooching up through the hiatus hole created from the esophagus going through the diaphragm to the stomach. So, in effect, the PT literally pulled the stomach back into place, like pulling a cork out of wine bottle.

We also had our pastor pray over little sprout because the docs were threatening surgery.

As well, we had little sprout take Deglyccerized Licorice (DGL) 20 min before any meal, probiotics, and sometimes aloe-vera. DGL is an incredible supplement for stomach ailments such as ulcers and reflux. Here's some of what it does:
· Licorice flavonoids help inhibit acid secretion*
· Increases blood flow to gastric mucosal cells*
· Promotes secretion of the protective mucosa*
· Promotes growth and activity of mucosal cells*

The combo has literally cured him. His voice is slowly healing and is less hoarse all the time, he does not complain of stomach aches and tingly juice, and he is NOT on Prevacid.

No dairy and an extremely low amount of wheat is a critical component to this. 80% of Americans have a varying degree of Wheat intolerance. It's what keeps the over the counter meds specific to digestion issues (i.e. constipation, heartburn, gas, etc.) flying off the shelf. A simple reduction to elimination of wheat and often dairy too can solve a ton of health issues - from psoriasis to ear infections, to catching a lot of colds, to even heartburn and acid reflux issues. I even notice a reduction in headaches since I nearly eliminated wheat from my life.

What has your experience been?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Are you down? Try this!

I just ran across a 20 page typed paper I wrote my senior year in honors Anatomy and Physiology in high school - it talked about the power of positive thinking on healing the body. This did not exclude the power of God to do His miraculous healing but I showed in this paper, tons of research that showed how physiologically the body produced more Killer T cells, for instance, to attack cancer tumors when people's attitudes were positive, and when they simply, laughed more. Many other physiological and biochemical changes occur during times of grief or times of laughing or times of stress. It's truly amazing. The immune system is intricately connected to our emotions. No doubt about that.

For almost 2 years I was in an Epstein Barr, Chronic Fatigue induced slump. I felt crummy so my face reflected that - it stopped smiling, which in turn, made me feel crummier. I am truly convinced this negative cycle was happening. I'd wake up almost worried each morning about how bad I was probably going to feel that day, vs waking up positive about a new day. My face was serious.

Our evening ritual during that bad year was to watch the most amazing BBC productions of James Herriot. THese are the most delightful shows based on his true tales of being a country vet in the 20s and 30s in the Dales of England. On one show, it opened with his wife waking up and turning around in bed to smile at her husband and say, "Good morning, darling.".

GEEZ!! Good morning darling was so far from what my first words of the day were that it seriously intrigued me to start an experiment. What if I started my day so cheerful? What if I simply started each morning believing that it was going to be a great day, smiled, and said something that seemed so ridiculous coming out of my mouth," Good morning, darling!"???

I tried it. It was quite forced. But I willed my face into smiling before thinking about how I felt (which was crummy).

And you know what?? It worked! It seriously did. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I simply started to do one simple thing that I had neglected for a long time: I smiled. It's not going to turn me into a morning person, but, it is setting the stage for a happier day.

Most of us have assumed that the face is a billboard that tells the world what our emotions are, that emotions start somewhere internal and get expressed externally. That is true, but researchers Paul Eckman and John Friesen were shocked to learn that it also goes the other way. They'd do extensive research experiments forcing certain expressions, such as anger or happiness, and track the autonomic nervous system. They'd generate an anger expression and note that heartbeat went up 10 to 12 beats and hands got hot. (Blink, Michael Gladwell).

Emotion can start on the face. I have found it is possible to reduce the stress of a situation by not so intently focusing on it all day (resulting in a long scowl) but to engage in this simple experiment: smile!! Science proves that physiologically the body changes when we smile, laugh, and think positively. So, why not give it a shot?

I try this alot now - when I am getting down, I consciously work on smiling more that day, and by the end, I am not wallowing in a pit but instead dancing on the grass. When I succomb to the downer feelings creeping in and let myself be serious in gaze, at the end of the day, I feel exactly how my face triggered my body to feel - down.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My new highly functional, most reliable, Cleaner swifter Picker-upper

My floors have never looked so clean!!
Align Left

Cascade II

aka Cassey, Cass, Cassidy

A precious find at the Humane Society - gentle, sweet, mellow, and all puppy. She hardly ever barks, never jumps up on people, and is most content to simply be our shadow.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Summer all Winter Long!

Putting up summer fruit is fun and the easiest way to keep healthy and local organic options available all winter long:

Pictured - organic apple chips (with my little sprout helper!), organic peach, nectarine, and pear leathers, organic peach, nectarine, and pear chips. Our sprouts love these treats.

Just a few of the frozen peaches and nectarines in our freezer.

140 pounds of fruit!
Fruit leather recipe:
Blend up the fruit of your choice...mix and match for fun. Use peaches, nectarines, strawberries, any berry, plums, grapes, bananas.....

Add honey if you want, but not necessary.

Spread on the Teflex sheets in your dehydrater. Dehydrate at 110 degrees or less to maintain the raw enzymes

Eat and be merry!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For my fellow Oregonians

A man decided to write a book about famous churches around the world so he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to
Orlando, thinking that he would start by working his way across the USA from South to North. On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read, "$10,000 per call."

The man, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by, what the telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000. you could talk to God. The man thanked the priest and went along his way.

Next stop was in Atlanta. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Orlando and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 he could talk to God. "O.K, thank you," said the man.

He then traveled to Indianapolis, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. In every church he saw the same golden telephone with the same "$10,000 per call" sign under it.

The man upon leaving New York decided to travel out west to see if western states had the same telephone service. He arrived in Oregon, and again, in the first church he entered, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read, "$.40 per call." The man was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign. "Father, I've traveled all over America and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but in the East and South the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?"

The priest smiled and answered, "You're in Oregon now, son. It's a local call."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not-running girl

I have to confess...I have been injured. My first injury since 1991 and it's downright depressing. I did just what I was told to do and knew to do, I went to the gym and did my "run" on an eliptical machine. Indoors is just not where it's at. I stared out the window at the beautiful orange leafed-trees and dreamed of breathing in the fresh outdoor air as I remained in the sterile indoor world of the gym.

Thankfully, the front desk girl is also a runner and completely agreed that nothing gives the satisfaction of a good, hard run.

Anyway, I am not exactly sure why or how I am injured or even what it is at this point - I know that I did an unthinkable - I didn't get new shoes on time (like 500 miles too late, you know, save some pennies) and I crashed pretty good on my new Specialized Stumpjumper Expert mountain bike - putting a nice ding across the word "Expert". I suspect a strained calf muscle from either shin splints or the crash pulling my ankle and straining the leg muscles.

Tonight as I whined to StudHusband that when running gets taken from me I will just completely shut down ( I was laughing at myself as I said this...but I feel desperate at this moment!)...he calmly said to me, "Oh no you won't. You'll find something else to do."

To that I quipped, "but I'd have to shut my blog down!!"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Book Review: blink by Malcolm Gladwell

blink by Malcolm Gladwell

ISBN: 0-316-17232-4

General Runninggal rating: 3 1/2 stars (on 5 star scale)

I read tons. I think I have read at least 20 books since June 1st. I thought it would be fun to review some of them.

blink is a powerful look at the thoughts we make in an instant - a blink of an eye - and how learning to refine our skills at flash thinking could ultimately make us better decision makers.

He explores many brilliant decisions made in these instant moments and then some that tragically went wrong to help uncover how our brain is functioning in those split seconds of rapid cognition. His investigations lead us all to reevaluate our prejudices, even ones that we swear don't exist, but maybe, if we are honest, are there...especially in those first split seconds - the Blink of a moment.

We all do it. We ascertain a lot about a person the first time we meet, often within the first 2 seconds, and he explores how accurate or not this first impression may be.

He explores through this journey what makes a marriage work or not work, what makes a Dr less likely to get sued, skills to acquire to be faster thinking to be a better fireman, politician, or teacher and the roots of prejudism and working them out of your unconscious mind.

blink redefines great decision making as not necessarily done by processing the most information or spending the most time deliberatin, but instead it's done by perfecting the art of "thin slicing" a situation. This requires learning how to filter the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.

Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker and draws un cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology to help us all better understand humanity.

If this description scares you off, I must assert here that it's an easy read, very entertaining, and often satirically funny.

Malcolm's Author Bio Pic

Next Book Review: 3 Cups of Tea

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Improve your Digestion Tonic made with Whey

Cabbage is an amazing food. I plan to feature different foods on this blog periodically, and begin with the mighty Cabbage.

Cabbage is an unusually rich source of vital nutrients, particularly vitamin C and carotenoids. Vitamin C is required by the body for the integrity of blood vessels, connective tissue, bones and every essential biochemical activity including the immune system function.

Cabbage juice is highly valued as a folk remedy. Its healing powers may be related to its high sulphur and chlorine content, which in combination is said to exert a powerful cleansing action upon the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract. Cabbage juice has been used in the treatment of arthritis, gastrointestinal ulceration, skin disorders and obesity. "Cabbage water for the complexion" is a truism among the Irish.

Even better than plain cabbage juice is the juice of fermented cabbage, with its content of lactic acid and enzymes. German folk wisdom values both cabbage juice and cucumber pickle juice for digestive disorders, infectious illnesses and many other complaints.
- Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, by Sally Fallon , p. 614.

Cabbage Juice Tonic
makes 2 quarts
1/4 organic green cabbage
1 T sea salt
1/4 Cup whey
filtered water

This should be taken in small amounts throughout the day to improve intestinal flora.

Shred the cabbage finely with a stainless steel knife and pound briefly with a meat hammer or a wooden pounder. Place in a 2-quart jug with salt, whey, and enough water to fill the container. Cover tightly and leave at room temp for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.

Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to 4 ounces cabbage juice tonic for a gargle and sore throat remedy.

These crazy new things really do help! Rolaids, Tums, cough meds, etc. are toxic for your liver, don't truly get you better, and make it easier for the problem to surface again. Cabbage juice actually has healing properties!

Try using God's ingredients and be amazed!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What do do with the Whey leftover after making your own cheese!

Whey is amazing. It has a lot of minerals (especially coming from raw milk). One Tablespoon of whey in a little water will help digestion. It is a remedy that will keep your muscles young. It will keep your joints movable and ligaments elastic. With stomach ailments, take 1 T whey three times daily to feed the stomach glands and help them to work well again.
- From Hanna Kroeger Ageless Remedies from Mother's Kitchen

Using Cheese Whey as a beverage in human nutrition, especially for therapeutic purposes, can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. Hippocrates, in 460 B.C., prescribed whey for an assortment of human ailments. In the Middle Ages, whey was recommended by many doctors for varied diseases; and by the mid 19th century, whey cures reached a high point with the establishment of over 400 whey houses in Western Europe. As late as the 1040's, in spas in Central Europe, dyspepsia, uremia, arthritis, gout, liver diseases, anemia and even tuberculosis were treated with the ingestion of up to 1500 grams of whey per day.
- V.H. Holsinger Whey Beverages: A Review

Whey Drink Recipe
1/2 C whey
1/2 C filtered water
juice of 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients and drink together.

Coming in 2 days: a special tonic recipe using whey for arthritis, gastrointestinal ulceration, skin disorders, and obesity. High in Vitamin C and carotenoids too.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Make your own Ricotta or cream cheese

The more I keep learning to do as the years go by, the less dependence we have on stores. I just love this! In fact, I haven't been to a grocery store as of this post, for over 10 days. That's impressive when I used to some times end up at the local grocer 3 times in a day!

I am getting better at planning out a month's meals at a time, which definitely helps this. But, perishables like milk, eggs, cheese, and produce all require 2 trips per week to keep stocked up on these things.

The last of the garden's fresh produce that kept us completely stocked sits in the fridge. From now on, if it's garden fresh, it's going to have to be things I put up for the winter by canning or freezing. As well, there will be more trips to the grocery store.

With our little farm around the corner where we get our raw goat milk, the need to go to the store for milk is now gone (and invariably "milk runs" to a store result in at least $40 of other items). And now, we don't need cheese!!

Making things from scratch is not just a fun hobby, in these times, it's becoming an economic necessity. Canning and freezing foods is not just a fun past time, like it was for me 10 years ago, it's truly now a budget saving reality. As well, when you know the source of your food it
  • reduces the amount of gas/petroleum needed to get that food item to your plate (the typical food item traveled 1500 miles to get to each of our dinner tables!)
  • reduces or eliminates the toxic residues/pesticides/herbicides that are in the food
  • eliminates the preservatives (carcinogenic)
  • Increases the flavor (is a garden tomato truly the same thing as those pale mealy "tomato" like balls they sell at the store? )
So, go grab a gallon of raw milk, if you can, and in less then 15 minutes, you will have soft, spreadable, delicious ricotta/cream cheese. If not raw, try regular whole milk. (Check out the whole truth about the benefits of raw milk and the health dangers of pasteurizing and homogenizing your milk here: http://rawmilkcontroversy.weebly.com/ )

Goat Milk is much easier to tolerate. The sprouts and I are "lactose intelorant" but seem to tolerate goat milk. It's actually got a pH that's basic not acidic and it's protein molecule size to calcium molecule size is such that it's easier to digest and easier to assimilate calcium from. The goat milk we get is from a variety of goat called Holstein. Like Cow's milk, it's sweet and creamy. Some Goat milk (store bought), is definitely less tasty to me.

Whole Goat Milk (or Cow's Milk) ricotta or Cream cheese
Makes about 2 pounds of cheese per gallon of milk

1 gallon whole milk
1/4 Cup vinegar (I use Organic Braggs apple cider vinegar)
3 T melted butter
1/2 t baking soda

Warm the gallon of whole goat's milk to 206 F. (I do this on a double boiler to avoid burning the milk). It doesn't ever get to 206 before it boils over the pot. When it's bubbling up and attempting to boil over, I consider it ready to acidify.

Take it off the burner and immediately pour in the vinegar. The milk will rapidly coagulate. It's so cool! The Whey (yellow liquid) quickly separates from the curds (your cheese!).


Drain the crud into a cheesecloth-lined colander. (Again, I don't have cheesecloth. I just line a colander with a kitchen towel and it drains the whey into the pot below and leaves the yummy cheese in the towel).

Place the curds in a bowl. Mix 3 T melted butter and 1/2 t baking soda into the curd. Mix thoroughly. I add about 1/4 to 1/2 t of salt.

This cheese is excellent in cooked foods.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Consider joining this Army of Women to help researchers find a cure for breast cancer

I have posted several things regarding breast cancer this month as it is breast cancer awareness month. In case there is confusion regarding my thoughts on getting screened for breast cancer, I personally plan to do exactly what the recommendation is - mammography or I might check out this thermography option. I have had some emails about this that seemed to question if they should even get screened. THis is a personal decision, of course, and I am going to chose what seems to be the most proactive approach - routine screens, mamograms or thermography.

Consider joining us in this movement that will take us beyond a cure by creating new opportunities to study what causes breast cancer—and how to prevent it.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation, a global leader in breast cancer research, joined forces to launch the Love/Avon Army of Women.

Their revolutionary initiative has two key goals:

  1. To recruit one million healthy women of every age and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high-risk for the disease, to partner with breast cancer researchers and directly participate in the research that will eradicate breast cancer once and for all.

  2. To challenge the scientific community to expand its current focus to include breast cancer prevention research conducted on healthy women.

Click here to check it out and see if this is for you:


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to Sprout

Overview on How to Sprout
by Thomas E. Billings

Copyright (c) 1995 by Thomas E. Billings. This document may be distributed freely for non-commercial purposes provided 1) this copyright notice is included, 2) the document is distributed free of charge, with the sole exception that a photocopy charge, not to exceed ten cents (U.S.) per printed page may be charged by those distributing this paper. All commercial rights reserved; contact author for details (contact address given at end).Note from Chet: Click here for excellent infomation on commercial sprouting at http://www.sproutnet.com/

Basics of Sprouting
Obtain seed for sprouting. Store in bug-proof containers, away from extreme heat/cold. Seed should be viable, and, to extent possible, free of chemicals.

Basic steps in sprouting are:
measure out appropriate amount of seed, visually inspect and remove stones, sticks, weed seed, broken seeds, etc. rinse seed (if seed is small and clean, can usually skip this rinse)
soak seed in water for appropriate time rinse soaked seed, put in sprouting environment for appropriate time service seeds (rinse) in sprouting environment as needed
when ready, rinse seeds. Store in refrigerator, in sprouting environment or in other suitable container until ready to use. If not used within 12 hours, seeds should be serviced (rinsed) every 24 hours in refrigerator. Best to eat as soon as possible, as freshness is what makes sprouts special!

Two Suggested Sprouting Methods
1. Jars: use wide-mouth, glass canning jars, available at many hardware stores. You will need screen lids - cut pieces of different (plastic) mesh screens, or buy some of the special plastic screen lids designed for sprouting.

Sprouting in jars is quite easy: simply put seed in jar, add soak water, put lid on. When soak is over, invert jar and drain water, then rinse again. Then prop jar up at 45 degree angle for water to drain. Keep out of direct sunlight. Rinse seed in jar 2-3 times per day until ready, always keeping it angled for drainage.

2. Cloth: soak seed in flat-bottom containers, in shallow water. When soak done, empty seed into strainer and rinse. Then take flat-bottom bowl or saucer, line bottom with wet 100% cotton washcloth, spread seed on wet cloth. Then take 2nd wet cloth and put on top of seed, or, if bottom washcloth is big enough, fold over wet seeds. Can add additional water to washcloths 12 hours later by a) sprinkling on top, or b) if very dry, remove seed from cloth, rinse, re-wet cloth, put seed back between wet cloths. Cloths used should be 100% cotton (terrycloth) or linen, used exclusively for sprouting, and of light colors. Cheap cotton washcloths (and cheap plastic bowls) work well and will last a long time.

Jar vs. Cloth Methods

Jar method is more versatile; can grow greens in the jar (e.g., 6-8 day old alfalfa greens), and the jar is less likely to mold than cloth for sprouts that require more than 2 days. However, the jar method needs a convenient drainage system (otherwise mold can develop). The cloth method can withstand some direct sunlight (direct sunlight in early stages of sprouting can cook the seed in jars), and needs no drainage system. The methods require roughly the same time, though 2nd service of cloth is very fast. Almonds, buckwheat give better results in cloth.

Other Methods of Sprouting:
1. Plastic tube - variation on jar method; opens at both ends - easier to remove long sprouts like greens from tube than from jar.
2. Sprouting bags - cotton or linen; also plastic mesh. Soak seed in bag in water, then hang up in side plastic bag (forms a little greenhouse).
3. Trays: very good for growing greens. Might need drainage system.
4. Clay saucer: used for mucilaginous seeds like flax, psyllium, etc.
5. Commercial sprouters: wide variety available. Often fairly expensive; most don't work as well as cloth/jar methods!

What is the best time/length to eat sprouts? Ultimately you will answer this question by experimenting - growing sprouts and eating them at different ages/lengths. My preference is to eat sprouts (except almonds, pumpkin seeds) when the growing root is, on average, the length of the soaked seed. Almonds and pumpkin seeds are discussed below.

A note on times: the sprouting times given below are based on cloth and/or jar method, and reflect an average time. The soaking times can be increased or decreased somewhat (except for buckwheat), with little or limited impact on the results. If you are using a different method, especially one of the commercial sprouting units, the times here will not apply and you will have to monitor your sprouts to decide when they are ready.

Grains and Similar Seeds

Amaranth: Soak 2-4 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth. Very tiny seeds, likely to flow through screen in jar method; line strainer with sprouting cloth to retain seeds. Sprout can be very bitter. Might be able to grow as greens, if you can get appropriate variety of amaranth.

Barley: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.25-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Use only unhulled barley; "whole" hulled barley and pearled barley won't sprout. Chewy, somewhat bland sprout. Hulls are tough; people with stomach or intestinal ulcers might find hulls irritating. Can be used for grass also.

Buckwheat: Soak 15-20 minutes only; sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth. Use hulled, *raw* buckwheat groats. Kasha is usually toasted, won't sprout. Raw buckwheat is white/green to light brown; toasted buckwheat is medium brown. Unhulled buckwheat (black hulls) are for greens, not general sprouting. Don't soak longer than 20 minutes as it spoils readily. Monitor moistness, rinse or change cloths every 12 hours to avoid spoilage. Good sprout, mild flavor. Sprouts much faster in warm/hot weather.

Corn group:
Field corn: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 2.0+ days. Method: jar or cloth.
Popcorn: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.5+ days. Method: jar or cloth. Blue mold can be a problem, esp. with field corn. Sweet corn seeds (if you can find them) will sprout also. Field corn sprouts, if long enough, are tender but bland/starchy tasting. Popcorn sprouts are very sweet, but the hull doesn't soften much in sprouting - very hard to eat. Not worth the trouble; suggest eating raw sweet corn (including raw corn silk, which is delicious) instead.

Millet: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Hulled millet - most seeds will sprout, but some ferment, producing very sharp taste. Unhulled millet best sprouter, but hull is very crunchy and sprout is rather bland. Best used in recipes.

Oats: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.25-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Must use unhulled oats; so-called "whole oats" or oat groats won't sprout. Good sprout, mild flavor similar to milk. Thick hull makes it difficult to eat; best used in recipes (see sprout milk recipe). Can grow as grass also.

Quinoa: Soak 2-4 hours, sprout 12 hours. Method: cloth or jar. Very fast sprouter. Must rinse seeds multiple times to get off soapy tasting saponin in seed coat. Very fast sprouter; can grow as greens. Strong flavor that many find unpleasant. Small seed, line strainer with cloth. White and black quinoa are available.

Rice: Soak 12-18 hours, sprout 1.0+ days. Method: cloth or jar. Only brown, unprocessed rice will sprout. White rice, wild rice are dead and won't sprout. Standard long grain rice doesn't sprout. Short, medium grain brown rice, also brown basmati (but not Texmati) rice will sprout. Before root appears, rice can be eaten but difficult: bland, chewy, *very* filling. Once root appears, rice sprout is very bitter. The only rice I suggest sprouting is: Lundberg Farms "Wehani" rice, a specialty rice (sprout 1.5 days). It is least bitter - less bitter than fenugreek - of possible use in recipes.

Wheat/rye group:
Rye: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Nice sprout - good flavor. Rye harvested immature or handled improperly can have strong, unpleasant flavored. If it molds, discard (ergot mold possible).

Triticale is a cross between rye and wheat; used to be available from Arrowhead Mills, but haven't seen it in market for some years.

Wheat, including Kamut and Spelt: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Hard Winter wheat better than soft Spring wheat. Wheat can get excessively sweet at 2+ days of sprouting. Spelt has nice texture, but spelt and kamut are more expensive than ordinary wheat. Wheat, rye, kamut, spelt, triticale can be used for grass also.

Other Seeds
Almonds: Soak 10-14 hours, sprout 1.0 day. Method: cloth Use only unblanched almonds. Sprout+storage time should not exceed 2 days or sprouts may turn rancid. Best to peel sprouts before eating (peeled have incredible flavor). Peeling is tedious, reduced by blanching in warm water (15-30 seconds in hot water from faucet). One of the very best sprouts!

Cabbage, Kale: Soak 6-14 hours, sprout 1+ days. Method: cloth or jar. Very strong flavor, best used as flavoring in mixtures. Can also be grown into greens. Seeds relatively expensive.

Fenugreek: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 18 hrs or more. Method: cloth or jar. Slightly bitter, best used as flavoring additive in mixtures. Hindi name: methi. According to "The Yoga of Herbs" by

Lad/Frawley, fenugreek sprouts are good digestive aid and good for the liver. Hard seeds are common in fenugreek.

Mucilaginous seeds: flax, psyllium, chia These can be sprouted as flavoring additive in mixtures (alfalfa, clover, or mustard); to sprout alone requires special clay saucer method. Sprouts are not so good tasting, not worth the trouble for most people.

Mustard: Soak 6-14 hours, sprout 1.0+ days. Method: cloth, jar, or tray. Good flavoring additive for other sprouts. Available in 3 forms: black, brown, yellow. Brown seeds are smaller and harder to handle in mixtures; yellow or black recommended for mixtures. Can grow as greens also.

Pumpkin: Soak 8-14 hours; sprout (if you must) 1.0 day. True sprouting by pumpkin seeds (developing root) is quite rare. Bacterial spoilage and rancidity are problems when you try to sprout them. Best to simply soak them, then eat. Pumpkin seeds as sold in the market are not hulled - the variety grown has no hulls on its seeds.

Radish: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.0+ days. Method: cloth, jar or tray. Very hot flavor! Use sparingly in mixtures as flavoring agent. Can be used for (hot!) greens also.

Sesame: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Must use unhulled sesame seeds for sprouting; hulled seeds can be soaked to improve flavor and digestibility. A black sesame seed (considered superior to white seed in Ayurveda) is available; haven't found it in unhulled form. Sprout+storage time should not exceed 1.5 days; sprouts continue to grow in refrigerator and start to get bitter at 2.0 day mark, and can be very bitter by 2.5 days. A small bowl of sesame sprouts, with a bit of raw honey on them, is very nice.

Sunflower: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 18 hours. Method: cloth or jar. Use hulled sunflower; unhulled are for sunflower greens only. Need to skim off seed skins at end of soak period, when rinsing. If you leave them in, they will spoil and your sprouts will spoil quickly. Has a nice, earthy flavor; very popular.

Alfalfa, Clover: For greens: soak 4-6 hours, sprout 6-8 days. Method: tray or jar.For use when short: soak 4-14 hours, sprout 1-1.5 days. Method: jar or cloth.Alfalfa and clover are most commonly grown as greens. A good non-traditional use for them is as flavoring additive in mixtures, for ex: lentil, alfalfa, radish is nice (alfalfa counteracts "heat" of radish). Alkaloid levels can be very high in alfalfa. Need alfalfa seed with very high germination rate (over 90%) to successfully grow greens in jar - else unsprouted seeds will decay and spoil greens.

Garbanzo group:
Garbanzos, standard: Soak 12-18 hours, sprout 1.5+ days. Method: cloth or jar.

Kala channa: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar.

Green channa: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.0 day. Method: cloth or jar. Garbanzos, also know as chick peas or ceci, are common in commercial mixtures. They sprout easily but they also spoil easily (bacteria or mold). Kala channa is a miniature garbanzo, sold in (East) Indian food stores, that sprouts reliably - try sprouting it instead of standard garbanzos. Green channa is similar, naturally green, and sprouts very quickly. Green channa has stronger flavor; best to eat with turmeric or ginger.

Large beans: Anasazi, Black, Fava, Kidney, Lima, Navy, Pinto, Soy, etc. Except for soy, these are irrelevant to the sprouter - raw flavor is truly horrible. Also, serious toxicity/allergy/digestibility issues with these raw beans. Except for soy (edible raw if grown long enough), these beans must be cooked to be digestible, hence are not of interest to the raw-fooder.

Lentils, brown/green and red. Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.0 day. Method: cloth or jar. The brown/green lentils come in a variety of sizes; the smallest sizes generally sprout faster than the larger. Red lentils are usually sold in split "dahl" form; for sprouting you must buy whole red lentils. Red lentils are red inside and brown outside; their Hindi name is masoor (brown masoor). Lentil sprouts have a spicy flavor and are very popular. Might find hard seeds in lentils from India.

Mung bean group:
Mung beans: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 18 hrs - 1 day. Method: cloth or jar.

Urid/urad: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 18 hrs - 1 day. Method: cloth or jar.

Adzuki beans: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 1.0 day. Method: cloth or jar.

Moth beans: Soak 8-14 hours, sprout 12 -18 hrs. Method: cloth or jar. Urid (also spelled urad) is a black shelled mung bean, available in Indian stores. Stronger flavor than regular mung. Hard seeds common in mung and urid. Moth is a brownish bean, similar to mung, available in Indian stores. Very fast, reliable sprouter, with mild flavor - similar to mung. Discard "floaters" when sprouting moth. P.S. there is a mung bean that is yellow inside, in Indian stores, but so far have only found split (dahl) form.

Peanuts: Soak 12-14 hours, sprout 1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Must use unblanched peanuts; recommend removing skins to improve digestibility. Spanish variety peanuts have loose skin, can remove most before soaking. Other peanuts - soak 1-2 hours then peel off skins, return to soaking in new, clean water. With peanut peeled you will probably observe high incidence of (bright) yellow mold - possible aflatoxin.

Peas, Blackeye: Soak 12-14 hours, sprout 1 day. Method: cloth or jar. Flavor is too strong to be eaten alone. Makes good flavoring additive for mixtures, if used sparingly.

Peas, (Field): Soak 12-14 hours, sprout 1.5 days. Method: cloth or jar. Be sure to buy whole peas, not split peas (split won't sprout). Yellow peas are slower to sprout, and have stronger flavor than green peas. Flavor too strong when raw for many people. Insect problems common with peas in storage (beetle infestation); store in bug-proof containers. Can be grown as greens also.

Note: if purchasing kala channa, green channa, urid/urad, red lentils, etc. from Indian store, be sure to obtain the whole seeds, and not the split (dahl) or oiled form of the seeds.

Some Sprouting Seed Mixtures of Interest:
mung/adzuki, fenugreek
mung/adzuki, urid, dill seed
lentils, blackeye peas, alfalfa, radish
sunflower seed, moth, fenugreek
alfalfa/clover, radish/mustard (for greens)

Experiment and develop your own favorite mixtures!

Soak Instead of Sprouting:
Herb seeds: fennel, celery, caraway, cardamom, poppy, etc.
Filberts: soak 12 hours; makes crisper, improves flavor.
Pecans: soak 8 hours; long soaks can make mushy.
Walnuts: soak 12 hours; flavor changes - you might like or dislike.
High fat nuts (brazil nuts, macadamias) may benefit some from soaking, but difference (soaked vs. unsoaked) is small.

Staple Foods for Sprouting:
(first tier) wheat, almonds, sunflower, sesame, mung/adzuki, rye
(2nd tier, obstacles) oats, barley, buckwheat, rice, lentils*, other legumes*
(flavoring) fenugreek, mustard, radish, kale, cabbage * see question on legumes below

Easy for Beginners:
wheat, sunflower, almonds, lentil, mung

Indoor Gardening (grown indoors, in soil):
Grasses: wheat, barley, oats, rye, kamut, spelt, triticale, and others.
Vegetables: amaranth, mustard/mizuna, fennel, kale, cabbage, etc.
Legumes: peas, snow peas

Other greens: buckwheat, sunflower

What are hard seeds?Seeds that are hard, like rocks, and they stay that way during soaking and sprouting. Hard seeds are a sort of natural insurance in the sense that if planted in soil they will eventually sprout - late in the season or next season. Hard seeds may be a threat to certain types of dental work, esp. porcelain crowns (porcelain on gold crowns are stronger and hard seeds are less risk; metal crowns are stronger than natural enamel). To minimize hard seeds, suggest you soak seeds as in the cloth method: in shallow water, in a large container with a flat bottom. Then at the end of the soak stage, you can visually inspect the soaked seeds and remove those that are still hard. This technique is not 100% foolproof, but if done carefully, will substantially reduce the number of hard seeds. The method will work with any seed, but fenugreek seeds are so small that picking out the hard ones is quite difficult.

Anything wrong with sprouted legumes?If you can digest them without the production of a lot of gas (flatulence), there's nothing wrong with them. Legumes are very high in protein, hard to digest, and cause gas for many people. Gabriel Cousens (Conscious Eating, pgs. 70, 372, 490) recommends that consumption of sprouted legumes (except alfalfa, next question) be minimized. Ann Wigmore (Rebuild Your Health, pg. 73) tells us that flatulence gas is toxic and harms your entire system. From an Ayurvedic viewpoint, legumes aggravate the vata dosha; individuals with vata body type or a vata disorder should minimize legumes. Ayurveda suggests eating turmeric or ginger with proteins (legume sprouts) as a digestive aid. A number of other herbs/spices can serve as digestive aids and/or counteract the vata effect of legumes. Among legumes, mung and adzuki beans are considered easiest to digest.

What about toxins in alfalfa sprouts?Alfalfa sprouts contain saponins, a class of alkaloids (7.93% on dry weight basis, sprouts from commercial sources) and L-canavanine sulfate, an amino acid analog. Saponin levels are at their maximum when sprouts are 6-8 days old (most common time for eating); L-canavanine sulfate is present in the seed and decreases as the sprout grows. The issue of whether these factors are significant is subject to debate.

Livingston et al. (Nutritional and Toxicological Aspects of Food Safety, pgs. 253-268), citing research by Malinow, report negative health effects in animals and humans from consumption of alfalfa sprouts. They believe that consuming large amounts of alfalfa sprouts is risky.
Cousens (Conscious Eating, pg. 372) , citing relevant client cases, reports no harmful effects from consumption of moderate amounts of raw alfalfa sprouts.

Readers are encouraged to check the above references and decide for themselves on this issue. An alternate, experimental approach is to hold your diet constant for a few days, then add alfalfa sprouts to your diet, and observe the effects (if any) of the alfalfa - that is, listen to your body.

Don't Sprout: Sorghum (potentially toxic levels of cyanide in seed coat)