Monday, December 21, 2015

Because we NEED to Know This Stuff

Just in time for all your holiday festivities!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Useful Internet Links for Writers & Teachers



Aesop’s Fables
Perfect for Unit I/II note taking and rewriting; has links to lesson plans & other Aesop miscellany. Also contains a complete collection of Anderson’s Fairy Tales (127) for reading and Unit III summarizing:
http://www.aesopfables.com

Audible Audio Books
Downloadable audio books and podcasts. Great for the road! Choose from 50,000 titles:
http://www.audible.com - Try Audible Now and Get 2 Free Audiobook Downloads with a 14 Day Trial. Choose from over 60,000 Titles.
Description: http://www.ftjcfx.com/image-3288652-3216886
 
Bartleby’s Great Books Online
Fiction, non-fiction, and reference source texts online. You can even download Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style and Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.
http://www.bartleby.com

BookWire
A huge web site where you can research book awards, read reviews, actually download hundreds (with links to thousands) of entire books—fiction, non-fiction, children’s, public domain, classics by Hans Christian Anderson, Mark Twain, R.L. Stevenson, etc. All free!
http://www.bookwire.com

Commas!
For a quick and easy to understand guide to using commas in American English, see the The Owl at Purdue, a writing guide for students:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02

Common Errors in English
A good source for keeping your students’ compositions error-free.
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html

Institute for Excellence in Writing
Our most up-to-date seminar calendar as well as product descriptions, a order form, student samples, useful links, answers to common questions and our online store.
http://www.excellenceinwriting.com
For an explanation on Narrative Stories. For teaching tips, Click here

IEW Families email loop
Sign up for an email loop of parents and teachers discussing the products and applications of the Teaching Writing: Structure & Style syllabus . This is an independently run web loop and is not administered or moderated by IEW.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IEWfamilies/

Librivox (Acoustical Liberation of Books in the Public Domain)
LibriVox provides free audiobooks from the public domain.
http://librivox.org

Project Gutenberg
The major source of etext transcriptions on the web. Everything from Dante’s


Inferno (in Italian or English) to “The Miller’s Daughter” by Emile Zola. All free:
http://www.promo.net/pg/

Society for the Preservation of English Language & Literature (SPELL)
A fun organization with a humorous and informative newsletter as well as a Scholarship-Essay Competition for High School Students. Richard Lederer (author of Anguished English) is VP and contributor.
http://www.spellorg.com/

Writing from Pictures - Helpful Tips from Laura B. Unit 5 Helps from Laura Bettis.pdf

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Kupa Kupa (Plantain)

Many people go to all sorts of crazy measures to eliminate this "weed" from their gardens and yards. But! There are some astonishing uses for this little plant. It is, actually and herb that is native to Asia and Europe. You can find it all over the U.S. It is called Plantain or White Man's Foot (I don't know why). Other regional nicknames include:
Doc Leaf

Indian Tobacco
Kupa Kupa (New Zealand) I like this name!

There are two variants of Plantain – Broadleaf and Lance. The leaves of this herb are edible, and you can cook, steep, chew, crush, juice, and use it in salads. It is normally found growing in the rocky, poor soil alongside the dandelions. The great health and medicinal values of plantains are numerous. There is even a pill form called plantago mayor or Llanten. People who have allergic reactions to grass and weeds might want to avoid this -- get tested for this specific plant. Be SURE you are not using a plant that has been sprayed or affected by pesticides!

Plantain can be a wonderful solution for hikers and all nature lovers, who are highly susceptible to mosquito bites. This astringent nature of this herb enables it to extract the insect toxins from human body. Simply crush (or chew up) the leaves and place leaves on the bite as a poultice. This is helpful for bee stings, also. There is usually immediate relief.  

It can also be used as a natural cure for rashes, acne, slivers, and glass splinters.
After applying the poultice, cover the area with a clean and soft cotton cloth and leave on four to twelve hours for the healing to take place. 


You can easily incorporate these weeds in your DIY natural emergency kits to prepare insect repellent balms. 
The uses continue!  It is an effective ingredient in  homemade skin wash.
Steeped like a tea, it can be applied as a natural solution for hemorrhoids.

The leaves and seeds of Plantain have a positive impact on the human digestive system. It has a soothing and healing effect, especially for those whose digestive system is affected by the prolonged use of anti-inflammatory, analgesic, or antibiotics drugs. Plantain is also beneficial for those who have Celiac disease or food allergies.

While leaves can be used in the form of tea or prepared into soup, seeds are either used in ground or soaked form. The ground seeds of this astonishing herb bulk up the absorbant fiber, mucilage.  The plant is closely related to psyllium. 

Consuming this before meals is known to aid in weight loss.
 
Plantain is a good source of silica and is a gentle natural expectorant. These properties make it an ideal natural formula for colds, coughs, and lung disorders. The natural diuretic properties of this herb transform it into a powerful solution for various kidney disorders. Plantain helps soothe menstruation by slowing down the blood flow. As a styptic, you can use it topically to ease the bleeding from wounds. It is also beneficial for healing various types of skin disorders.
From the digestive issues to the skin disorders, menstruation troubles to arthritis, plantain is a one-stop solution for various troubles affecting the humans. Include it in your diet as a salad leaf or chew it to quench your thirst. This versatile herb is worth learning about and incorporating into your life.


Sources:
http://www.lifeadvancer.com/this-little-weed-is-one-of-the-most-useful-medicines-on-the-planet
– Project.Nsearch: Most Useful Medicines on the Planet
– Wikipedia: Plantago Major
– Prescription for Herbal Healing: 2nd Edition – Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
– Hygieia: A Woman’s Herbal – Jeannine Parvati
– Healing Secrets of the Native Americans – Porter Shimer

Other good references:  
Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss 
http://www.urbanoutdoorskills.com/cookingplantain.html 


A side dish recipe:Wash leaves thoroughly. Younger leaves are less bitter.
Boil (?) for a minute.  (NOTE! Many people stress that boiling it kills the nutrients)
Soak for 3-4 hours
Rinse 2-3 times; squeeze leaves a little to remove some of the bitter juice.
Mix with garlic, soy sauce and perilla oil
Stir fry
Soak them again for 3-4 hours
Put leaves back in the pan over medium heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally.
Let them cool down, mix with sesame oil and seeds.
Enjoy!

Another recipe and good detail:

http://www.urbanoutdoorskills.com/cookingplantain.html
There is really a sweet spot between 3 and 5 minutes of boiling. 3 minutes for young leaves (nice bright green) and 5 minutes for older leaves.

For simplicity's sake: You can boil both for 4 minutes.

Place in cold iced water and call it a day. 

Some of the leaves can be a tad bitter after 4 minutes (nothing wrong with bitter) and it helps adding some salt to the water when boiling.

The "algae" characteristics makes it perfect for creating Asian-style dishes. The leaves won't taste like algae but you can add the right condiments and you could fool many people into thinking that  they're actually eating algae.

Seasoning:

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy
1 garlic clove
and, in my case because I didn't have sesame seeds I used roasted white sage seeds and some of my California black walnuts.

Mix and let rest for 5 minutes. Super yum!




Friday, May 8, 2015

When I Am An Old Horsewoman



I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.
I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel.
And I will be an embarrassment to ALL
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.
Author Patty Barnhart
Photo Credit: Just My Tidbits

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Unrecognized Dangers of Formaldehyde


The following information was pivotal in my decision to work from home with a world renown Wellness Company.
The Cancer Prevention Coalition reminds us about a two page article in the New York Times, "When Wrinkle-Free Clothing Also Means Formaldehyde Fumes," published on December 10, 2010, which stated that "formaldehyde is commonly found in a broad range of consumer products." These include sheets, pillow cases, and drapes, besides "personal care products like shampoos, lotions, and eye shadows." This is STILL true.
 
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., who chairs the Cancer Prevention Coalition, says, "The dermatologists and other scientists quoted in the Times appear unaware of the longstanding scientific evidence on the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde. However, this had been detailed in five National Toxicology Program Reports on Carcinogens from 1981 to 2004."


The Times assured its readers that "most of the 180 items tested, largely clothes and bed linens, had low or undetectable levels of formaldehyde that met voluntary industry guidelines." Accordingly, the Times claimed, "Most consumers will probably never have a problem with exposure to formaldehyde," since such low levels "are not likely to irritate most people," other than those wearing wrinkle-resistant clothing.
However, Dr. Epstein points to evidence that links formaldehyde exposure with increased incidence of nasal cancer and breast cancer.

This is my job. I bring awareness to the public, offer sensible solutions, and guide people in everyday shopping decisions that can make a huge positive difference in their health.
Keep reading for more in depth facts about this particular toxin. The information I offer is always free. Please email me with questions about how to make your home healthier.
PeggyCortez@yahoo.com



Continued . . . .
The Times article stated that "The U.S. does not regulate formaldehyde levels in clothing. ... Nor does any government agency require manufacturers to disclose the use of this chemical on labels."

But that could change. On March 5, 2008, Senators Bob Casey, Sherrod Brown, and Mary Landrieu introduced an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reform bill "that would help protect Americans from dangerous levels of formaldehyde in textiles including clothing..."
The Senators referred to a 1997 CPSC report on formaldehyde, which admitted that "it causes cancer in tests on laboratory animals, and may cause cancer in humans." Accordingly, the Senators requested the CPSC to "regulate and test formaldehyde in textiles - and protect consumers from this poison." 


In August 2010, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warned that "a small proportion of the U.S. population does have allergic reactions to formaldehyde resins on their clothes." However, the GAO made no recommendations for any regulatory action. 
Dr. Epstein supports both regulatory and legislative action based on scientific evidence in the five National Toxicology Program Reports on Carcinogens that classified formaldehyde as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," based on limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, and sufficient evidence in experimental animals. 


This evidence was confirmed in a series of reports by the prestigious International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Its 2006 and 2010 reports explicitly warn that formaldehyde is "a known cause of leukemia in experimental animals - and nasal cancer" in humans.
"Strong" evidence of the nasal cancer risk was also cited in the May 2010 President's Cancer Panel report, "Environmental Cancer Risk: What Can We Do Now?" 


"Nevertheless," says Dr. Epstein, "and in spite of this explicit evidence, a September 2010 Government Accountability Office report attempted to trivialize the cancer risks of formaldehyde on the alleged grounds that exposure levels are low or 'non-detectable.'"


Of further concern, Dr. Epstein warns, "occupational exposure to formaldehyde has been associated with breast cancer deaths in a 1995 National Cancer Institute report, while environmental exposure has been associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer in a 2005 University of Texas report."
"Disturbingly," observes Dr. Epstein, "none of the dermatologists quoted in the New York Times appear aware of longstanding evidence that most cosmetics and personal care products, commonly used daily by most women, besides on their infants and children, and to a lesser extent men, contain up to eight ingredients which are precursors of formaldehyde.


These include diazolidinyl urea, metheneamine, and quaterniums, each of which readily breaks down on the skin to release formaldehyde, Dr. Epstein explains, warning, "This is then readily absorbed through the skin, and poses unknowing risks of cancer to most of the U.S. population."
 ___________________________________________________________________


I am including a strange cartoon I found . . . . only to remind us that formaldehyde is used to embalm dead bodies. I certainly want to limit it in my environment, don't you?  I know people react differently to this kind of information. Go to HBBN and scroll just below the video clip to see what I mean.
May I suggest that we start with manageable things. Personal care items, make-up, etc. I started by switching where I shop. I shop with a company that uses no harmful chemicals in anything they make. They put wellness first. 
Simple (cost effective, to boot) and an assurance that I can shop with my family's health as a first priority.


___________________________________________________________________

Author Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; and former President of the Rachel Carson Trust. His awards include the 1998 Right Livelihood Award and the 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention. Dr. Epstein has authored 20 scientific articles and 15 books on cancer prevention, including the groundbreaking The Politics of Cancer (1978), Cancergate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War (2005) and most recently Toxic Beauty (2009, Benbella Books: www.benbellabooks.com) about carcinogens in cosmetics and personal care products. 


Author's contact information:
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Chicago, Illinois
Tel: 312-996-2297
Email: epstein@uic.edu
www.preventcancer.com



SOURCE:  
CHICAGO, IL, January 10, 2011 --/WORLD-WIRE/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-s-epstein/unrecognized-dangers-of-f_b_804156.html 


 ___________________________________________________________________


Facts to remember-

Precursors of Formaldehyde:
• diazolidinyl urea
• metheneamine
• quaterniums
  
Each of these readily break down on the skin to release formaldehyde.
This is then readily absorbed through the skin, and poses unknowing risks of cancer to most of the U.S. population.
 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

6 Crock-Pot Secrets

I am a busy Mama with a career that allows me to choose where I work. Home is my first choice . . . but that doesn't mean I have extra time for elaborate home cooked meals. I like simple but delicious home cooked meals for my family. That is why I love my crock pot. Here are six sumptuous secrets that I have learned about crock pot cooking.  Bon Appétit!

 
1. Use fattier meat
Lean meat cooked for a long time-no matter what the temperature-gets tough and stringy. Big hunks of fatty meat like short ribs and pork shoulder work best in a crock pot. The fat will keep the meat moist, and the slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue that makes those types of cuts tough. So with a slow cooker, fatty meat = good. You can always chill and lift the fat off later.

2. Always brown beef on the stove first
Everyone wants a crock-pot recipe where you just toss everything in the pot, then magically have an amazing dinner eight hours later. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Do not throw beef in raw. Always brown your meat on the stove first- it adds a layer of caramelized flavor you can’t get otherwise.

3. Add ingredients with low notes or sweetness
A low note is a flavor that adds a depth and richness to a dish-like bacon, browned onions, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce-and they’re integral to any good crock-pot recipe. As are sweet ingredients like brown sugar and tomato paste. Because most flavors break down and become one, those types of strong flavors make a great base for a sauce.

4. Add bright notes, crunchy vegetables, and dairy at the very end
Bright notes are fresh flavors like acid and herbs. They’ll get lost in the mix (and your herbs will turn brown and limp, ew), so it’s better to add those ingredients last. If you want some kind of crunchy vegetable in your dish, it’s also best to add it toward the end to avoid mushy veggies. And dairy? It will curdle, which looks terrible. Stir in any dairy at the very last moment.

5. Take that skin off of the chicken
Do you like rubbery, chewy, gelatinous chicken skin? Then take it off before throwing your bird into the crock pot. Do leave in the bones, though-they’ll help the meat stay tender. And chicken is the magic meat that doesn’t need browning before going into the pot, mostly because it would be cooked too much after a long stint in the slow cooker.

6. Cook things that do not need to hold structure
Macaroni and cheese? Lasagna? Sure, there are slow-cooker recipes for them out there, but you definitely shouldn’t attempt to make them. More often than not, pasta (and other things that should hold their shape) becomes a mushy mess. Just don’t do it.  If you really want a delicious and easy crock pot meal, make something like chili, stew, or soup instead.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Unrecognized Dangers of Formaldehyde

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-s-epstein/unrecognized-dangers-of-f_b_804156.htm

Due to numerous requests I am sharing this info here at The Best Nest . . .

CHICAGO, IL, January 10, 2011 --/WORLD-WIRE/-- The Cancer Prevention Coalition today is drawing public attention to a two page article in the New York Times, "When Wrinkle-Free Clothing Also Means Formaldehyde Fumes," published on December 10, 2010, which stated that "formaldehyde is commonly found in a broad range of consumer products." These include sheets, pillow cases, and drapes, besides "personal care products like shampoos, lotions, and eye shadows."
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., who chairs the Cancer Prevention Coalition, says, "The dermatologists and other scientists quoted in the Times appear unaware of the longstanding scientific evidence on the carcinogenicity of formaldehyde. However, this had been detailed in five National Toxicology Program Reports on Carcinogens from 1981 to 2004."

The Times assured its readers that "most of the 180 items tested, largely clothes and bed linens, had low or undetectable levels of formaldehyde that met voluntary industry guidelines." Accordingly, the Times claimed, "Most consumers will probably never have a problem with exposure to formaldehyde," since such low levels "are not likely to irritate most people," other than those wearing wrinkle-resistant clothing.
However, Dr. Epstein points to evidence that links formaldehyde exposure with increased incidence of nasal cancer and breast cancer.

The Times article stated that "The U.S. does not regulate formaldehyde levels in clothing. ... Nor does any government agency require manufacturers to disclose the use of this chemical on labels."
But that could change. On March 5, 2008, Senators Bob Casey, Sherrod Brown, and Mary Landrieu introduced an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reform bill "that would help protect Americans from dangerous levels of formaldehyde in textiles including clothing..."
The Senators referred to a 1997 CPSC report on formaldehyde, which admitted that "it causes cancer in tests on laboratory animals, and may cause cancer in humans." Accordingly, the Senators requested the CPSC to "regulate and test formaldehyde in textiles - and protect consumers from this poison."
In August 2010, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warned that "a small proportion of the U.S. population does have allergic reactions to formaldehyde resins on their clothes." However, the GAO made no recommendations for any regulatory action. 

Dr. Epstein supports both regulatory and legislative action based on scientific evidence in the five National Toxicology Program Reports on Carcinogens that classified formaldehyde as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," based on limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, and sufficient evidence in experimental animals. 

This evidence was confirmed in a series of reports by the prestigious International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Its 2006 and 2010 reports explicitly warn that formaldehyde is "a known cause of leukemia in experimental animals - and nasal cancer" in humans.

"Strong" evidence of the nasal cancer risk was also cited in the May 2010 President's Cancer Panel report, "Environmental Cancer Risk: What Can We Do Now?" 

"Nevertheless," says Dr. Epstein, "and in spite of this explicit evidence, a September 2010 Government Accountability Office report attempted to trivialize the cancer risks of formaldehyde on the alleged grounds that exposure levels are low or 'non-detectable.'"

Of further concern, Dr. Epstein warns, "occupational exposure to formaldehyde has been associated with breast cancer deaths in a 1995 National Cancer Institute report, while environmental exposure has been associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer in a 2005 University of Texas report."

"Disturbingly," observes Dr. Epstein, "none of the dermatologists quoted in the New York Times appear aware of longstanding evidence that most cosmetics and personal care products, commonly used daily by most women, besides on their infants and children, and to a lesser extent men, contain up to eight ingredients which are precursors of formaldehyde." 

These include diazolidinyl urea, metheneamine, and quaterniums, each of which readily breaks down on the skin to release formaldehyde, Dr. Epstein explains, warning, "This is then readily absorbed through the skin, and poses unknowing risks of cancer to most of the U.S. population."

Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. is professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; and former President of the Rachel Carson Trust. His awards include the 1998 Right Livelihood Award and the 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medal for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention. Dr. Epstein has authored 20 scientific articles and 15 books on cancer prevention, including the groundbreaking The Politics of Cancer (1978), Cancergate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War (2005) and most recently Toxic Beauty (2009, Benbella Books: www.benbellabooks.com) about carcinogens in cosmetics and personal care products. 

CONTACT:
Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
Chairman, Cancer Prevention Coalition
Professor emeritus Environmental & Occupational Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
Chicago, Illinois
Tel: 312-996-2297
Email: epstein@uic.edu
www.preventcancer.com
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