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The Top 5 Things To Say To Moms of Multiples

top5thingstosaytomomsofmultiplesWelcome back to our series on Life with Multiples! Some of your favorite posts in this series have been If You Were Born With Your Siblings and Ahhh, Those Newborn Days…x 3!!!.

Being a mom of multiples (MoM), I am no stranger to embarrassing and, oftentimes, challenging questions while out with my family. It comes with the territory: I remember the day we first tried to go to our local Farmer’s Market when the babies were really little. There were three adults with me and we did not have enough fingers between us to count the stares, looks, points, questions and whispers. No joke. (I did get some free cheese for having triplets, though, so I guess it was all worth it. Ha!)

We are a spectacle wherever we go. As the babies have gotten older, we have learned some tricks for escaping some of the spotlight that seems to follow us everywhere. For example, my husband usually has one of the babies and I’ll have the other two (or vice versa). People don’t notice us quite as often this way.

We also include extra time to be able to accomplish an errand. Talking to people throughout the errand takes a lot of time. And thought. It’s like having 15 mini-conversations in 45 minutes while trying to shop for everything on your grocery list. It is unusual that I don’t discuss how the babies sleep, how we do it, how they were conceived, whether I used fertility assistance or not, no you cannot take their picture, when I found out, they were a surprise, that I have family in town to help, that we are actually blessed and our hearts are fuller than our hands, that they are triplets, yes this is a big stroller and no it doesn’t fit through doors/on sidewalks, that the girls are not identical, that we actually don’t know that we are done (we hope to adopt!), yes we do get stopped a lot, and that they do all sometimes cry at the exact same time. Etc.

This is every neighborhood walk, every trip to Target.

Most people, I believe, are well-meaning. Many don’t mean to say hurtful things like “I’d kill myself if I had triplets”. And most don’t set out to embarrass themselves – like the Customer Service gentleman who asked, “Wow, so did you, like, do that fertility thing?” Generally, the people who say, “Having three kids close in age like I did is just like having triplets” are just opening their mouths before thinking. And I’d venture the majority of them don’t realize they are the 13th person that day to stop me about the exact same thing.

I get that. It just doesn’t make it any easier, less exhausting or less hurtful.

And I’d like to say I take every opportunity to interact with people about the blessings God has given me and David. But I don’t. Sometimes I even avoid eye contact. But I’m learning to tell the difference between rude gawkers and sincere encouragers.

And when the sincere encourager comes along with a comment that is supportive? Well, it’s like a fresh, cool breeze. It’s encouraging to know that this person, in this moment, does not think I’m a freak for creating three persons at once. It’s refreshing to hear that they don’t want to hear about my sex life and how the babies were conceived. It’s a relief to see their joy at finding I have triplets and not disdain.

So what are these comments that can be so encouraging?

The Top 5 Things to Say to Moms of Multiples

  1. You’re doing a great job! (Ohmygoodness! What mother wouldn’t love to hear this? And a mother who’s handed three babies from the doctor with a parting “have a great life; call if you have questions”? She may kiss your face. And it’s especially meaningful if you say it even if all three are screaming and tantruming.)
  2. What a blessing! (Right? Because they are! And so much nicer to hear than “I’d kill myself if I had triplets.” Triplets are super-duper challenging. But they are blessings. They are little lives. Little people. Tiny souls. And we have the privilege of moulding, shaping and growing their hearts and minds. What about that isn’t a blessing?)
  3. So fun! (We know it’s lots of work. Trust us. We do. There’s no need to tell us that because we’re doing it: hard work is right now! But it’s a lot of fun and we love to talk about that. It also helps us focus on those things that are fun in a particularly challenging season of their lives.)
  4. Incredible! (Only one in 8,000 bodies creates triplets spontaneously. And however they were conceived, we had 30 fingers, 30 toes, 6 arms, 6 legs, 3 heads and 3 hearts being sustained by our one body. God is amazing!! He created our bodies to do a phenomenal thing. There’s nothing freak-ish about it!)
  5. Can I help you? (Yes. Oh, yes, please! Holding the door open for our mammoth strollers? Bless you! Pray that we all sleep tonight? Oh, for sure! Push the cart to the car while we push the stroller that weighs as much as a small elephant? It’s not likely we’ll turn away help.)

So the next time you see a mom with multiples, say something like the above and you will knock-her-socks-off bless her! Seriously!

I’ve found these comments can really open doors for some meaningful conversations. We’ve talked with complete strangers about battling infertility, struggles with raising children, experiences with a sibling/friend/co-worker who had multiples, high-risk pregnancies and the challenges of having special-care, preemie children. All intense, serious stuff!! …and in lines at Costco and by the swings at the park.

MoMs what would you add? Share your story of the nicest thing someone’s ever said to you!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Family, Triplets

 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {What to Feed Baby}

Welcome back! If you’d like to get caught up on the previous posts in this series, click here: Bon appétit, bébé! Today we’ll be discussing great starter foods for Baby. And next week? How to avoid picky-eating.

making real food

There are lots of yummy foods you could feed your baby, right? And, whether you choose to make babyfood or not, it just makes sense that we want to offer the most nutrient-dense foods possible. We don’t want to waste empty calories to fill a tummy that may not be hungry the next time the breast (or bottle) is offered. These empty calories are found in cereals and sometimes in fruits and vegetables.

The Alligator Pear

avocadosA great first food is avocado (nicknamed the alligator pear – fun, huh?). One avocado has almost 30 grams of deliciously good-for-you grams of fat and over 300 calories. Erase what you’ve been programmed to think about calories and fat – they are vital for your baby. And this makes avocado a wonderful first food! It’s also a great source of protein. Even better? You can often get great deals on these little yummy fruits!

I did freeze a bunch of avocados in the beginning of my babyfood days but I quickly learned that this was pointless. It is far easier to buy a range of ripe to unripe avocados and store the unripe ones in the refrigerator until a couple days before you need it – then stash in a drawer or a paper bag till ripe. Easy-peasy!

The Incredible, Edible Egg

I shared briefly my love of eggs in last week’s post in this series (). And it’s true. I think eggs are amazing. They are a great source of complete protein – vitally needed for Baby’s growth and development. Eggs, though small, are very filling! One egg yolk has about 50 calories, 5 grams of fat (remember, it’s good for baby to have good fats!) and 3 grams of protein.

I often hard-boiled a bunch of eggs and served up the yolks as needed (whites are typically a no-no before the first birthday – especially if there is a family history of egg allergies).

Nanas and Taters

bananasAnd of course, bananas and sweet potatoes make great starter foods! Bananas are super yummy and, while there’s no great nutritional value (no fats, little protein), they’re fun for baby and have a decent caloric amount (around 100 calories). They are high in fiber, so take it slow with your little one.

Sweet potatoes, while also low in protein and containing no fats, are very high in vitamins and minerals. Your baby will receive plenty of vitamin A after a few bites! And like egg yolks, it’s also a great way to get iron!

Bananas are so super easy to prepare – just peel and mash or slice! Sweet potatoes are easy as well: bake ‘em up and slice open the skins to get to the yummy tater. I dare you to not snitch a bite. Double dog dare ya.

The Rest

Freezing? Not worth it! Stay tuned for more tips!

Freezing? Not worth it! Stay tuned for more tips!

There are many more wonderful foods to introduce to baby soon after he begins! We also gave them carrots, peas, pumpkin, squash, green beans, eggplant, green peppers, summer squash, broccoli, prunes, peaches, mangos, apples, pears, cherries, watermelon, blueberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, apricot, kidney beans, black beans, quinoa, etc. Anything I could get my hands on, I was feeding them. Now, I chose to not give them dairy right away (more on this soon) and we waited a bit for meat because I wasn’t convinced their tummies could handle this. I erred on the side of caution. I’ve since come to the conclusion that I could have given them meat at that time and they would have been fine. However, being breastfed as often as they were, they still received the necessary nutrients from me. So I’m ok with my decision. And they eat plenty of meat these days. Pa-lenty.

Now, you may notice that in none of these “first foods” did I mention pureeing anything. That’s because I now believe the blender to be more work than necessary. It is just as easy to mash a sweet potato as it is to puree it. Or to mash steamed carrots. Or peas. Pretty much anything is easily mashable. And, call me lazy, but if it needs to be blender-ized I’d just as soon wait till they show more interest in finger foods than messing with all those ice-cube trays, Baby Bullets, and the like. If the thought of not blending freaks you out, hold on. I’ve got some recipes, tips and ideas I think you’ll feel comfortable with…more importantly, I think Baby will love them!

Oh, meal-plans? You want those? Calm down. We’ll get there. Soon. =)

 
 

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Conscious Box {review}

BoxIt’s pretty much one of my favorite things – getting packages in the mail. I mean, who doesn’t love Christmas-time with lots of boxes being delivered? And all those mini-Christmases all throughout the year? My babies know how much I love the Big Brown Truck and that I beg the driver (from inside my home, don’t worry) to stop at our house next. Opening the door to find a package (who cares if it’s just wipes!) is so super fun.

So when I was asked to review Conscious Box I thought about it for all of two seconds.

Conscious Box is a wonderful way to try out the best natural and eco-friendly products on the market right now. With everything vying for our attention, sometimes it’s tough to know which products are right for our families without investing hundreds of dollars in each item. So Conscious Box saves us that work, time and money!

They hand pick items they know we’ll love and ship them out to us on a monthly basis:

Conscious Box has created an easy, fun way to discover new favorites! The Conscious Box subscription is a monthly delivery of pure and sustainable products that are handpicked from businesses that care for the planet—just like you! We selectively choose our products, only allowing the purest companies working toward the most ethical goals. Each month, you meet 10-20 of these companies right at your doorstep!

As you discover new favorites, Conscious Box makes it fun (and rewarding!) to leave reviews and ratings so businesses can improve their product, packaging, and business as a whole. We place YOU at the core of helping natural products go from good to great! Earning points along the way, you’re then able to apply savings to your favorite products. Simply choose how many points you’d like to spend and boom! You’re on your way to enjoying your favorite product at a fresh, low price.

The best part of all? They are offering a box to you for free! If you haven’t yet tried Conscious Box, you can use the code FIRSTBOXFREE to try it out (just pay $7.95 for shipping)!

Oh, what’s in the box? Well, check out what I got in this month’s delivery:

Box Contents

Yup. There’s pretty much a ton of stuff packed in here. I have been reeeeeally wanting to try Earth Paste – and, lo and behold, I got a full-size tube of it ($8 value!)! I’ve been wanting to try the Ecover dishwasher tabs – got two loads worth of samples. And there’s a full-size shake for the kids and a couple of all-natural sleep aids for the ‘rents! There’s a fun snack that I tossed in my diaper bag to try when I’m out and get the munchies. And they somehow packed lots more samples of supplements, teas, sunscreens, etc.! Plus, tons of coupons to try these same products.

What are you waiting for? Get your first box free (with just $7.95 for shipping)! Click the link below and use the code FIRSTBOXFREE. Don’t forget to come back and tell us what your fave item is!

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links which basically means, for introducing you to them, I earn a small amount that goes right back into running this site.

 

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The Back Porch

David and I let the M&Ms play on the back porch and eat their snack and I brought my camera. This is the result:

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Fighting for food frenzy.

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:rosy lips:

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:juicy fruit:

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:getting sticky, getting dirty:

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Dada is sooooooo cool!

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Love those wispies! <3

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Sweet Girl in a whine-y moment.

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Baby Girl! So silly!

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Noah was determined to keep a grip on his snack while trying to get into the swing by himself.

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Letting brother push her on the swing.

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Snuggles with Dada.

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Very dirty feet.

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Lots of very dirty feet!

makennacollage

Makenna was being especially photogenic. =)

Happy Friday! =)

 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {Myth Busters}

Welcome back to our series on feeding Baby! If you missed the other posts, you can click to read the “intro” and “how and when to feed baby.” If you’re all caught up…read on! =)

making real food

The Munchies

When thinking through how you’ll begin feeding your baby, you may want to take a look at which produce is the “dirtiest.” The EWG has an excellent list of items ranging from the dirtiest to the cleanest. (If you’re unfamiliar with why organic is often super important, you may want to read my recent post documenting how our food has become a literal science experiment of nastiness!)

Once I knew what was in our food, I just couldn’t see how putting that into their bodies made any sense: chemicals, viruses, unknown DNA strands? Yeah, this is a recipe for disaster. A recipe spelling: ADHD, asthma, allergies, organ damage, autism, sterility, etc.

Of course, I can’t control everything about my children and certainly not every particle of their food, unless I grew it myself. So I simply did the best I could in making choices today that will affect their tomorrows. And I trust God to give me both wisdom and help me to walk in peace for decisions like these.

So there’s kinda a lot of food out there – what should I start with?

Glad you asked! Actually, I do hear this question a lot. There are so many contradicting voices, blogs, moms and books, aren’t there? Here is some of what I have learned:

Pass on the Grains

Many pediatricians recommend rice cereal or some other type of grain. But recent research has been shown that this is not necessarily the way to go. Babies actually don’t have the ability to digest grains until after they turn two!

What?

I know, right? I was shocked. I thought everybody fed their baby SOME type of cereal from the get-go. And baby formulas are chock-full of grains. The Weston A. Price Foundation (which I looooove!) explains why this shouldn’t be the case:

Babies have limited enzyme production, which is necessary for the digestion of foods. In fact, it takes up to 28 months, just around the time when molar teeth are fully developed, for the big-gun carbohydrate enzymes (namely amylase) to fully kick into gear. Foods like cereals, grains and breads are very challenging for little ones to digest. Thus, these foods should be some of the last to be introduced. (One carbohydrate enzyme a baby’s small intestine does produce is lactase, for the digestion of lactose in milk.)

Foods introduced too early can cause digestive troubles and increase the likelihood GMOsof allergies (particularly to those foods introduced). The baby’s immature digestive system allows large particles of food to be absorbed. If these particles reach the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a response that leads to an allergic reaction.

Can anyone say gluten-intolerant? Yup. This is often the result of feeding grains so early, albeit years down the road.

My babies got small amounts of formula during the months I was working to bring my supply up to breastfeed all three of them. And I’ve spent the past year protecting them from having to work overtime to digest something with which they don’t know what to do. And you know what? I don’t miss it! No need for goldfish crackers, Cheerios or toast! There are plenty of whole, real food options to feed babies, instead! Eventually I’ll start them on sprouted grains, but…that’s a topic for another time. =) Suffice it to say, grains are not only not necessary as first foods – they can be very harmful for babies!

The Chicken or the Egg

The most allergenic properties lie in the egg white. However, it is very, very, very beneficial for babies to eat egg yolks. If your family has a history of egg allergies, it would be wise to hold off till at least a year in giving your baby the complete egg.

The recent dismissal of eggs as a super-food due to high cholesterol levels is easily explained away: cholesterol is vital for babies’ development. Seriously. Studies also show that babies who eat egg yolks also have higher levels of iron! So there should be no need for nasty, hard-to-digest and bottled iron supplements

But, please consider farm-fresh, pasture-raised eggs over store-bought eggs. The difference is really quite massive. Eggs from the store are laid by hormone-shocked, grain-fed chickens who spend all day in a tiny crate laying more eggs per day than they were intended to. Sounds yummy, right? Eat up, baby!

The Better Butter

Our generation has been brain-washed to think that fats are bad. Well, this is partly true. The processed fats we typically consume on an, sometimes, hourly basis are bad. True. But there are several good fats that serve many purposes in a baby’s growth and development.

Coconut oil is one of these. It is personally my favorite because of its versatility (lotion, toothpaste ingredient, cooking oil, conditioner, etc.). It also is high in good fats and is a stable saturated fat. It is recommended to give small amounts to smaller babies to help them gain weight. And it helps with digestion, as well. If your baby is on formula it can be especially helpful. Add a ½ tsp of coconut oil to the bottle and you should soon see constipation disappear!

Spice of Life

saltThis one will really throw ya. Are you ready? Positive? Here goes:

Salt is good for babies.

No, really! However, don’t reach for the salt shaker on the table to season your baby’s food. Most likely you and I grew up similarly – eating chemically processed and super-refined salt. And this is where it gets a bad rap. There are virtually no health benefits from this kind of salt. The unrefined salt, though, provides our babies with much needed nutrients for brain development.

If it still makes you nervous to salt your baby’s egg yolk, stick with me and I’ll show you how. =)

And as far as other spices and seasonings? Go for it! As long as there’s no MSG or other fake ingredients, sprinkle away! My babies got a whopping amount of hot and spicy foods while I was pregnant and nursing – why stop when they are the ones eating the food? Herbs? Yes, please! A little cayenne? Why not?

Out with the Old

If it seems like everything you are reading here is new, it really isn’t. A generation or two ago, this was just a way of life! There were no baby cereals or Cheerios or mini hotdogs (gag) on shelves in the General Store. There was only real food. The kind we really do want to feed our babies – if we think about it.

Next week I’ll be discussing how I got the babies started and with which foods. Oh, and I’ll share how I skipped past having picky eaters!

photo credit: atmtx via photopin cc

 

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Parenting is…

large_3566194663 (2)Incredible. Overwhelming. Exhausting. Terrifying. Challenging. Rewarding. Tricky. Testing.

In a word…hard.

What parent hasn’t felt desperate for help, answers, and wisdom in knowing how to raise their child(ren)?

Which of us hasn’t watched a screaming baby who’s been fed, changed, and burped and yet refuses to be calmed or cuddled…at 3am?

What parent hasn’t wondered what in the world to do with a toddler who refuses to go near the potty…and considered how bad it would be for him to actually go to college with Huggies?

Who hasn’t stared back at an 8 year old with an attitude the size of Texas and wondered how she got you to argue back with her for the past five minutes?

Which father hasn’t doubted his ability to lead his daughter through the murky waters of dating relationships?

And what mother hasn’t dreaded the learning curve of not overstepping her married son’s new role?

Exactly.

So since we’re all in the same boat, I thought I’d let you know about this two-day event coming up about which I am super excited:

Redemptive Parenting

428538_477135709027855_805128574_nJoin Benny and Sheree Phillips, a pastor and wife with seven children, eleven grandchildren and authors of five books on parenting and related topics, as they host “Redemptive Parenting”, a free two-day event that will equip and envision parents of kids of all ages.

“I remember being a young parent and drawing on the wisdom and experience of other seasoned parents. Now that Sheree and I have grandchildren, we believe more than ever that parents need to make use of good counsel and effective resources to be successful. This seminar is designed to equip parents to embrace the task God has given them. We want to model and communicate the grace that God has shown us through the gospel to our children,” — Benny Phillips

The seminar will take place Friday night and Saturday morning, June 14-15 and will feature a session for women by Sheree Phillips, who homeschooled seven children, co-authored two books with Benny and wrote three books of her own on the topics of womanhood and motherhood. The schedule also allots time for an bennypreachinginteractive period of questions and answers. The seminar promises an opportunity for interaction with seasoned parents who have experienced the full range of parental failures and successes.

About the Speakers: Benny Phillips has been a pastor for 33 years and married to Sheree for 40 years. Benny and Sheree co-authored Raising Kids Who Hunger for God and Walking With the Wise. Sheree also authored Mothers At the Heart of Life, A Royal Calling and The High Calling of Motherhood.

So pretty much this is an event for anyone who is a parent, right? No matter how you got your kids, when you got them, why you got them (ha!) or where…this is for you. And me. For us!

You can register here for this free event, hosted by Redeemer Church in Lake Nona.

Whether or not you’re local, this video will hopefully encourage you. Weary parents, take heart: there is grace for us and God is at work!

photo credit: hapal via photopin cc

 

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Triplets Want Real Food, Too!

It’s no secret that I’m big on no-GMO foods over here. Even the triplets don’t like GMOs. It’s true! This was their reaction when I showed them some GM corn:

Monsanto

Ok, so really they had no idea what I was telling them. But I do and it’s my job to protect them however I can until they do understand and can make decisions for themselves. Amen?

GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organisms” and you will find GMOs in just about every item on the shelf in your grocery store.

What’s the big deal? Why should we care?

tomatoBasically, it’s like this. That tomato looks fresh and juicy and should hurry up and jump on your burger, right? Wrong. That tomato has been scientifically engineered in a lab. Way back when it was just a baby seed, it was genetically modified with genes from totally different plants, fungi, viruses or animals! What?! Why?!

To make rich people richer.

How? Well, scientists have modified seeds for many different crops to help them withstand many, many sprayings of pesticides, herbicides, etc. Essentially, the plant lives but the buggies die. This means a better crop for the farmer (or the company that “owns” the farm, but that’s a story for another day!).

Doesn’t sound that bad? Oh, just wait!

cowSee, these seeds – the ones that were injected and cloned with DNA from foreign sources like animals, humans and viruses! – are grown in massive quantities and turned into food that is fed to animals. Corn, for instance, is highly GM and is a big source of food for beef cows, chickens, pigs, etc. These animals eat food they were never intended to live off of (including candy sometimes!!!) and basically their digestive systems can’t handle the new “DNA” strains. Those that seem well enough are passed through to slaughter…and arrive at your dinner table. Yum. Who knows how that meat has been affected and what it will do to your family’s health?

Or take the produce section of your fave grocery store. Most of that pretty produce (unless USDA-certified organic) is GM. Which means that your body literally has no idea what to do with much of it!

And if you’ve ever read a food label, chances are you’re seeing ingredients like: canola oil, soybean oil, cane syrup, corn flour, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Am I right? Quick – go check your pantry, fridge or freezer…I’ll wait for you.

Waiting…

Waiting…

You’re back? Ok! I’ll bet you anything there are GM ingredients in just about everything in your kitchen that is not in its original form. If it has to be packaged, and isn’t organic, you can bet there is something GM in it. Ugh!

Some of the highest GM food crops are corn, soybeans, canola, sugarbeets (from which HFCS is made). And lots of other foods are being tested – like a salmon that will grow four times faster than normal!

Getting Sicker

Ok, so we know that GM ingredients are bad and are found in produce, in conventional meats and in most packaged/processed food on shelves. So what does that mean for us? Our families? Well, since those GMOs aren’t recognized by our bodies, they create holes in our gut and leak food into our bloodstream. Yup. So gross. The result? We now have new diseases, and others that are skyrocketing each year, like celiac disease, infertility, food allergies and diabetes. What we eat is making us sick.

We have become a scientific experiment – unable to process the food correctly.

The Big Guns

Who benefits? Companies like Monsanto. They benefit greatly. They hide behind labels like “all natural.” They develop and implement marketing ploys that tout saving the world with stronger, hardier crops. When asked, they refused to label their products with which ingredients are GM. …Of course, because who would buy them? (I hope not you and I!) And then they would lose money. Which would be bad. Of course.

And then Obama recently signed a bill that stops federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from eating these products may come to light in the future. Gee, thanks, Pres.

Get Your March On!

So what do we do now? We march! On Saturday, May 25, you can join thousands of others around the world and fight to keep your food clean, real and in its natural state. And you can do so in your own city or from the comfort of your own home. (Click here to find info on where your city is marching; and click here to find out how to march online.)

no gmo orlando single

So What Do I For Dinner Tonight?

Well, I heard the White House is serving a yummy special – all organic, of course. Maybe you should stop by? Kidding. =)

But seriously, it can most definitelydefinitelydefinitely be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start in overhauling this (and other!) areas of your life. You can read my Baby Steps to Natural Living for how to do so slowly and effectively.

Are you going to join the fight to keep your family out of the science experiment? Where are you marching?

Sources: Eat Taste Heal, Genetic Roulette – Are You Playing?

Photo Credit

 

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