Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Upcycled OOAK Geocache Containers Hides

One Of A Kind Geocache Containers, Hand-made from Upcycled Industrial Cast-off Materials!

 Please allow me to introduce you to a truly unique item that we recently ran across while browsing Etsy shops for recycled and upcycled crafts.
 If you're not familiar with Etsy click any of the links in this post and see for yourself what an online crafts - artisan fair looks like.  Everything from jewelry and accessories, to home decor and arts, to children's clothing and toys; All made by hand, by artists and craftspeople around the globe.

 Etsy is also one of our favorite places to find those environmentally sound products that are crafted ingeniously from materials that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill, or worse.
 The artist is doing the Earth a small service, and we are keeping this cycle of positivity in rotation by shopping Etsy instead of one of the corporate outlets who routinely rape the planet and poison our grandchildren's future in the name of increasing profits.
 (OK, getting down from my soapbox now...Sorry.)

 One of our new favorite shops on Etsy is called Pops Gifts
Owned by the Reverend of the True Life church (TLC. I like that.), this shop has been an outlet for Pop's offline photography shop, selling a few tablet and phone backgrounds and wallpapers.
 Recently however, Pop has started turning industrial castoff materials into clever containers for Geocaching, a global game that is being played by millions using simple GPS devices or smartphones.
  *Look at for more details on this fun outdoor activity for all ages!

 Pop starts with the heavy role cores that held plastic sheeting. These are made with a water-based and non-toxic glue for the recycling option. Sadly however, only a few companies take advantage of this option.
 These cores are then transformed into cleverly artistic containers that can be filled with small toys (swag) and tradeable items for your little pirates to find and trade.

 Geocaching is an excellent way to get the kids away from the television for an afternoon, and to spend a day in the fresh air, getting excited about finding hidden treasures and without realizing it, actually getting some exercise while they discover new places.
 Pop's Geohides are intended for geocachers who like to place hidden caches of their own.
 Originally made for that other fun outdoor activity Family Scavenger Hunts, these (FiSH) containers were sold on Pop's Ebay store for the last two years, for about double the Etsy price.
  Pop is currently in the process of closing the Ebay store for that same reason: The high fees are pushing up the prices to the customer, which is unfair to both seller and buyer.

Geohides can be filled by Pop with fresh swag, ready to be found by your little pirates!

Each is weather sealed to resist warping and Nature's damage, and if you need a bit more room Pop also makes a footlong version shown below.

Drop by Today and see for yourself that this kind old preacher - grandfather with busy hands is creating just what Nature is prescribing for your family: A fun new way to get the children excited about being outdoors again!
 My grandchildren are in Love with both Geocaching and backyard Scavenger hunts, and Pops Geohides are a big part of the fun!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The next Food You Should Stop Eating: Margarine

To be and feel healthier, there are a few convenience foods you should stop eating today:

  In order to support your healthier lifestyle, you will need to make smarter and more informed food choices. We are all being hit every day with catchy words and phrases like "all natural" and "low fat" and similar triggers designed by food manufacturers to trick you into thinking that their wares are healthy for you, regardless of facts to the contrary.

 Sadly, there is an entire industry based on deceiving consumers with catchy and misleading terms like those worn out examples above.  When you hear the terms "low fat" and "sugar free" you should be thinking "chemical soup".

 Some go so far as to create and manage a campaign of propaganda designed to promote their foods as a healthier option, despite countless studies* that have disproved those claims.
* Another favorite tool of the Food Marketing industry is "fixed results' lab studies wherein the manufacturer sponsors a study with predetermined results stating that their product is healthy.

 Another example of this deception is also the next food you should stop buying and eating: Margarine.

 Originally crafted in 1869 from beef tallow and skimmed milk, margarine was intended as a butter substitute for the soldiers and lower classes of France by Napoleon III. Two years later the process here in the US was converted to animal fats and vegetable oils, mainly cottonseed oil.

 The other big difference in the US was the original design. While the French wanted to express yet another form of separation between the classes, the Americans of 1871 simply wanted to find a cheaper feed for their pigs that would also help to fatten them up.
 To meet this need: Margarine was born.  

When we look back over the last 40 years in an attempt to determine where the roots of our current obesity epidemic began, one of the primary turning points was the heavy marketing of margarine as the "healthier alternative" to butter.
 The motivation was simple and fairly obvious. While dairy farms are messy and unpredictable, a chemical plant can be controlled and far more profitable. Profits that don't need to be shared with a farmer.
 Margarine today is in fact one chemical reaction away from being plastic.
  Rancid oils such as cottonseed (Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops) and Canola ([Rapeseed] considered a healthier oil, despite being banned from infant formulas because it causes vitamin deficiencies) are leeched from seeds with the toxic cancer causing solvent Hexane.

 The oils used in making margarine are the Big Four GMO crops: Soy, Corn, Canola, Cotton.
 The raw oils are steam cleaned, thus destroying all vitamins and antioxidants. Not all the pesticides, but any trace of healthy benefit. They are then mixed with finely ground and highly toxic nickle, as a catalyst for the hydrogenation process.

 Emulsifiers (soaps) and another steam cleaning, along with bleach and deodorizers are all a typical and necessary part of the process of turning undesirable GMO seeds into a tub of chemical sludge that can be sold to the unsuspecting public under the "Healthier Option" label.

 The bottom line is this: A good organic butter is going to be far healthier than any commercial margarine on the market today. Fresh jellies and jams are an even better choice.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Contaminated Marie Callender's: Hair

Contaminated Marie Callender's Pot Pie

  Some may call it a rant, but a recent event involving a frozen Marie Callender's Chicken pot pie made me feel that this issue needed to be addressed.

 Now, as far as I know the process is such that contamination by foreign matter is nearly a non-issue, but as you know, no system is perfect when humans are involved.


   The contamination in this case is a human hair. Clean, sweaty, coated in Who Knows What?
 A rather long and dark human hair, sealed inside the pie like a Crackerjack prize. Gross.


 I contacted ConAgra, the parent company of the Marie Callender's brand. I have yet to hear a reply from their Customer Service dept. Not sure what to expect from them, but my primary question was, "How does something like this happen?"

 I've spent nearly half of my working life in production, and I know the basics of a sterile line job. This is why the human hair in my food is such a mystery that I would like to solve.

 Obviously, the food was inedible at that point and had to be thrown out.
 We buy a few of this type each week because it's an easy meal that the granddaughter can make for herself. I am as yet undecided about whether or not to buy in the future, but for now we will not be putting any Marie Callender's in the shopping cart.

 I would like to hear from any of you who may have had a similar experience.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Care and Feeding Of Your Zombie

 You may have a pulse inside, but on the surface you're dead.  You Beautiful Zombie You.

  When you consider that your body is in a constant state of repair due to the regeneration of cells, from the major organs to the skin that holds it all together, you realize that we are all looking at a zombie in the mirror every morning. That's because the skin is rebuilt from the inner layers outward, thus the outer layer that everyone sees is comprised of already dead skin cells.
 Caring for those zombie cells is not nearly as hard as most corporations would have you believe, but it will require a few special considerations.


  First: Avoid Axes To the Head:

 There are a few tips to skin care that most people are barely aware of. All of the expensive creams in the world are useless if your zombie is dealing with suicidal habits.

  •  Avoid touching your face.

 Dirt is transferred from your fingers that can become lodged in the pores. Use an oil-absorbent paper or get in the habit of carrying a packet of Kleenex. Acne-prone skin types are especially susceptible to those finger germs.

  •   The Sun is not your friend.

  Drying and premature wrinkling are just the beginning. Skin cancer can take decades to brew to the surface, so the Summer tans that you enjoy showing off in your twenties can easily become the melanoma that drops you to your knees in your fifties.

  •  Garbage In, Garbage Out. 

 Healthy skin starts and ends with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Fruits and veggies are vital, especially those citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C, along with lean meats and at least thirty minutes of heart healthy exercise every day. Dump the trans fats and fried foods that are adding toxins to your diet.

   Basic Zombie Care:
 Proper skin care doesn't have to be expensive, and you don't need to get up an hour earlier just to look good. You will however need to use a little common sense to keep your favorite zombie from falling apart and scaring the neighbors.

  The hardest part for most people is learning to ignore all of the misleading marketing from companies that want you to feel insecure about your ability to care for your body, so that you will pay anything for their "magic solution" that does little, if anything, for your skin.
  Look at it this way: The profits to be made from a cure are a drop in the bucket, compared to the ocean of profits to be made from treating your problems.
 The cancer industry has fallen into this profitability model, and as long as corporations are allowed to control the health industry, this won't be changing anytime soon. The real money is in the treatments.
 The point of this rant is simply that nearly all of the big promise products start with a natural ingredient like Aloe or Lanolin and then add nasty chemicals and perfumes that you don't want or need as their signature.

 Respect yourself and your wallet by keeping it simple. A six month supply of Aloe Vera gel runs about five bucks, so why would you pay a company ten times as much to whip it up with toxins?

 The care part is just as simple, and should include the two prime steps: Clean and Moisturize.

  > Exfoliate.
  You've heard it before because it not only works, it's vital to healthy skin. Scrubbing those dead flakes of skin from your face allows the world to see those healthy, pink skin cells underneath, as well as removing the dirt and oils trapped between them.
 Loofah or sea sponge, washcloth or spinning brushes, proper cleaning is best served daily.
For my money, it's natural sea sponge. Cheap to replace, easy to rinse clean after use, and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.
Habits are the key, and new, healthier habits are easy to start. Simply decide, and do.

Finding the right cleanser for your skin type is not quite as simple, but simplicity is still the theme of this story. Did you know that you can cleanse the skin with milk or yogurt? Not many do, but it's not only true but for the organic types out there, it's the best solution to proper zombie care.

 > Moisturize.
 Between your soaps and shaving, air pollution and the Sun, your skin takes a beating and tends to dry out. It is dead, after all. Replacing lost moisture isn't hard and starting a daily habit of lotion or oils is just as easy.
 Choose water-based lotions and avoid those that use an alcohol base. Apply a thin layer after the shower to replace the oils that you just scrubbed off.
 Dry skin types will benefit from a routine of vitamin E oil instead of lotions. A bottle runs just a few dollars (I found it at a dollar store once), and makes an excellent prime for those who like to blend their own moisturizers as I do.

 I mentioned Aloe Vera gel earlier in Basics: I have an Aloe plant on the kitchen windowsill that grows very well, and provides me with organic Aloe gel for my twice-weekly moisturizing treatment.
 I just snip a half-leaf and squeeze one of Nature's greatest moisturizers directly onto the face and massage it in.   The plant cost me $4 at a local farm, and has paid me back for years.

 Told you it was simple.
Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind, though they won't apply to everyone.

 - Avoid the sun during peak hours (10-4). 
  Drying and wrinkles are avoidable. If you must go out, use a sunblock of SPF15 or more.
  - Quit smoking.
 Premature aging and wrinkles are the free bonus, Especially around the mouth.
 - Keep showers under 15 minutes.
 Hot water is harsh on the skin, and long showers remove too much of the good oils.
 - Wait 20 minutes after a shower to decide if you need a moisturizer.
 If the skin starts to feel tight, apply a good lotion or natural oil.
 - Wash the face in warm water and rinse in cold water.
 Warm water helps to open the pores, but again, hot water has minerals that dry the skin.

 - Use olive oil as a natural makeup remover.
 Not only is it one of the natural oils that are good for your complexion, but this one tip can save you from those ugly crows feet in the sensitive areas around the eyes.

  Copyright JB Stran  2015