10 Alternative Uses For Alternative Medicines

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.


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10 Alternatives Uses For Alternative Medicine

I couldn’t listen to another puerile sales pitch in someone’s living room, promising the moon and then selling you something that “tastes just like sugar.” (It doesn’t. Not even sort of.)

That’s all the warning you’ll get for this one.

If you are an American woman, because I can’t officially speak for other countries who may or may not have similar circumstances, you have been invited, and have probably attended, a MLM meeting.

A MLM meeting is a “multi-level marketing” meeting, where someone you know is selling something you either already have or never thought you needed and they will bring someone into their house to do a song and dance about why you not only need it, but your life will improve because of it.

Think of it as LARPing informercials.


I have an EO that will cure orcs….


The thing with MLM meetings is that they suck. So much. I have no love for MLM meetings, and real friends don’t invite me.

My snark is available in glossy catalogue form with a tear-out page in the back for subscriptions. Pro-level snark, my friends.


There was one year when Pampered Chef got ahold of my church, and I went to a different Pampered Chef meeting every few weeks for ever.  I watched them showcase vegetable peelers, knives, pots, colanders, bowls…you know, all the stuff I already have in my kitchen. But their bowl will cook a chicken….in a microwave…in 40 minutes!!



1. I don’t cook dinners in the microwave. I am far too kitchen-elite for that.

2. It is quicker in the pressure cooker, anyway. (noob)


At some point I am in the back of the room, trying to keep my brain from ejecting itself from my skull, with a pencil and some random envelope I found at the bottom of my purse doing the math on this lady. “Half the time,” “you can cook this in 5 minutes,” “steaming is a fraction of the time.”  Dude…according to her, and math doesn’t lie, you can cook a whole chicken, with steamed green beans, and mashed potatoes, in 2.3 minutes.  #win.

Yeah, so anyway that was when MLM really, finally jumped the shark for me.  I was done. I couldn’t listen to another puerile sales pitch in someone’s living room, promising the moon and then selling you a bowl.

It’s a bowl. I don’t care how you cut it….a bowl is a bowl, no matter if it is glass, plastic or baby seal leather.  IT’S A BOWL.  I am listening to someone sales pitch me a bowl. gah.


We have all been there, and I know some people who love MLM meetings so much they have made it a part of their life.  And more power to those ladies. It brings them joy in life, and I can’t disagree with that.




The rest of us are stuck with yellow Tupperware bowls, sundry kitchen gadgets, essential oils, coconut oils, carrier oils and pink drinks.

What do you do with all this stuff??

I’ll tell you what you do:


10 Alternative Uses For Alternative Medicines

1. Essential Oils

We’re getting the big guns out of the way first.

If you are a friend of mine who uses essential oils, I just want to tell you I love you.  But maybe you should skip to the part where I tear apart amber teething necklaces…

I think essential oils are really amazing oils. No two ways about it, they function in pretty amazing ways.  I think you can burn warts off with the lavender, or maybe it was the basil.  Even if you have a cold, the aromatherapy is very helpful. But I draw the line when they start curing epilepsy or sciatica. I seriously draw the line when women tell me they spray their backyard chickens with lavender essential oils.  It is just snake oil and crazy women at that point.

So what do you do with the bottles you are stuck with? Because you bought a few bottles to support your friend. I know it.

Lavender – use a carrier pigeon to carry it away.

Frankensense –  This is a great anti-fungal oil, and you can spray it on windows, or onto facebook, to wipe the smug off.

Peppermint, Grapefruit, Chamomile, Lemon – Apparently this is helpful for mood-enhancing, and possibly time-travel.

Tea Tree Oil – Great for healing and re-growing limbs.

Essential Oils For Cats – Because they weren’t imperial enough, as it was. I would suggest rosemary, if you must. Or lemon. Honestly, if you are putting essential oils on your cats, maybe you should ask them what they like.

It is important to remember that essential oils do have the ability to turn you into a vampire, and will be unable to stand in direct sunlight after applying.

2. Coconut Oil

The ugly step-sister to essential oils, coconut oil will cure diabetes, help you lose 50 pounds and fix your broken sprinklers.

Experts in the field highly suggest using coconut oil to lubricate sticks lodged in difficult places.

3. DIY-everything

Have you ever thought, “I could probably make that”?  Sure! We all have!

Have you ever thought, “I should make my own sunscreen?”  or “I should build my own goat”? Of course you have, and you have a Pinterest page to prove it.


If you say things like, “This is like soap,” then it isn’t soap.

An alternative use for something that is like soap could be to plant it in the ground and grow a Sancimoni-Tree that produces it’s own Self-Righteou-Sap.

4. Amber Teething Necklaces

You can chew on them all day long, and they still won’t give you the DNA you need to make dinosaurs.

Might as well just hang them on your rear-view mirror.


5. Sugar

Sugar could possibly be the downfall of Western Civilization.

It could be.

Is it really an alternative medicine, though?  Well, Mary Poppins thought so…and are you going to argue with Mary Poppins? Have you seen anybody argue with Mary Poppins?  Of course not. Because technically they don’t exist anymore.

If you know someone who believes sugar is the work the Devil, and thinks it is completely normal to make birthday cakes out of whipped cashews, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil and almond paste…then maybe they need to step slowly away from the naturopath cookbook they bought at a MLM meeting, and remember that sugar is actually okay. It’s okay.  We’ll all just say that together: sugar is not our enemy.

But these Pinterest alternative recipes sure are.

Because saying something is like a cake does not make it a cake. It makes it a gray, gelatinous goo in a cupcake liner that has the consistency of toothpaste.

And no one should blow out a birthday candle in toothpaste.


6. Gluten

Oh yes. The Gluten.

Gluten is also not the downfall of Western civilization.  Gluten Free is not the alternative to life.

Simply put, anything replacing gluten is an alternative to taste.

I don’t have a choice in the matter, but you still do!  Go! Save yourselves from the overabundance of rice flour and potato starch!

An alternative use for gluten free cinnamon rolls: solar panel epoxy.

Gluten free pasta may be used for: fish bait

Gluten free tortillas could possibly substitute for: bridal wedding veils.


7. Fermented Anything

For a while, anything fermented would cure anything. A cold? Autism? Measles? The pox? Syphilis? Fermented green beans will cure them all through the magic of ferment.

If you have to hide something in the back of a hot closet in a pot for 3 weeks, and bring it out and try to convince me that it is the best wet moss I have ever tasted, I am going to tell you my opinions on the matter. And unlike your 3 month old mostly forgotten sauerkraut, my opinions are fresh and zesty.

Fermented foods can be great. Truth be told, I do love me some good sauerkraut.  From a jar. That I bought. From a store. That has the FDA backing it up.

The back of someone’s pantry that has mice and pantry moths traveling through it does not.

So, what else can we do with the thousands of mason jars filled with seasonal vegetables, fermented with milk and forgotten in time?

You back slowly away and do not make eye contact with the jar.



8. Any Drink That Rhymes With Pink.

If you think

any drink

that rhymes with pink

might help you shrink…

Perhaps an alternative use for the money you spent

would be better used, in a large percent,

On a bridge I have to sell

through a certified London cartel.


9. Bone Broth

Bone broth is not an anagram for bourbon.


10. Hugs

There is no alternative to hugs. Apply liberally and with great umph.

You will cure many ills and ailments with this one, though.




Itza Pizza! Recipe

Hey, anyone else stupidly excited about Jurrasic World?

Because I am stupidly excited about Jurrasic World. I’m taking a couple of the older kids to the movies this afternoon, and I am going to dream about dinosaurs all night.

I love dinosaur movies. Godzilla. The Land Before Time. King Kong, especially the recent King Kong .  I think I love that we are trying to recreate the world using our imaginations…and sometimes that is amazing.  Sometimes, it is weird. Sometimes it is terrifying…but that’s what a good story is. It takes you somewhere that you could never get to on your own.  And I love a good journey 🙂

SO, with that being said: today is a great pizza day!



The best thing about this recipe: it actually tastes like pizza.

It isn’t made out of cauliflower, quinoa, tofu, asparagus or unicorns.

It is a straight up, solid, easy pizza recipe.


Okay, so I have been making this pizza all week for lunch, because it is amazingly easy…and the kids go nuts over it.

There are no leftovers with this pizza.

Ben tried it the other day, and even he said it “tastes really good,” was “very filling,” and is “a great lunch.”

These are reviews us mothers live for. 😉  Seriously, after a few days of sandwiches at home, you have to start thinking outside the box for meals.  And since we eat at home every day, I run out of interesting ideas unless I spend a good hour in front of a notebook once a week brainstorming meal planning.

So here you go! An easy pizza recipe anyone can make!

IMG_4066 (1)





  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp yeast


  • 3 cups of canned/diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese


What’chu Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 125F
  2. Add the yeast, warm water and sugar to a mixing bowl. Let sit and froth for 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour, salt, and oil and mix until smooth. You may need to add a little more water, but add it ta tablespoon at a time.
  4. Pour the dough onto parchment paper on a baking sheet, smooth out to all corners and put the sheet into the oven to rise for 30 minutes.
  5. While the dough is rising, make the sauce, slice up the bell peppers and shred the cheese
  6. Take the dough out of the oven and raise the temperature to 375F
  7. Pour the sauce and bell peppers onto the dough and spread gently with a spatula
  8. Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce
  9. Place back into the oven for 20 minutes
  10. Let cool before you start cutting it…and then enjoy thoroughly!!




IMG_4070 (1)Happy Pizza Kids


If Matt Damon Made A Mom’s Movie

I just watched the trailer for “The Martian,” and to say I am under-impressed is putting it lightly.

My kids are upstairs writing poetry on a free app I downloaded for them last night, and the poems they are writing about the moon have more originality and depth than the screenwriting this movie puts out.

“I’m going to have to science the sh*t out of this.”

“Take that Neil Armstrong.”

A rogue team of astronauts use the power of wit and unremarkable quips to go under NASAs radar to rescue one of their mates before no one notices?

Cool it, Hollywood.  I’ve already seen “Toy Story.”


But Matt Damon is rolling in money from all of his formulaic, “I can see the plot holes from orbit” movies.  Plus, it seems like he’s a nice guy with a lovely wife and a few darling kids, so I can’t be all Hater McHate on him.

(not a big fan of his movies)


Naturally, this conundrum got me thinking.

Given Matt Damon’s propensity for formulaic movies…I bet I could design a Mom’s Movie from clips of his movies.

*cracks knuckles*


Mom’s Town


“In a town, there was a man…I mean a woman…who worked for NASA as a top rocket scientist, and volunteered at orphanages on the weekends.  This woman’s world was about to change.



She remembers her childhood, and playing dolls with her friends, like it was yesterday.  Ah, those were the days of sweet, childhood innocence.



When suddenly, this woman who fell in love…

And had kids. And got a dog.



She was now a NASA rocket scientist mom who organizes her kids’ birthday parties…



When SUDDENLY YOU REALIZE… one of the kids had the flu.



This incredible woman who makes Pinterest bento-box lunches for her kids like a pro…



Diaper changes…


And the harrowing moments of trying to sneak away with her SO to have some “adult time.”



This movie shows the intimate,  funny times when she is bloated after too much kale hummus…


the times when she tries in futility to clean the house, after realizing the kids had found her secret chocolate stash….




And the quirky moments when she accidentaly buys something out of her price range on Amazon.


“Why can’t I return it??  Amazon has a 90 day return policy!!  This was an impulse buy! I didn’t really want a zoo…I just wanted a pet!  Like a dog!  Or a fish!

There has to be something I can do!!!”


“Yes, I’ll hold.”


“I have been on hold so long, my hair is falling out. And my fashion sense has changed. I am wearing a scarf.”


In the end, she discovers what is really important in life.




Ruth’s Relationship Status: Uncomplicated

Last week we enjoyed Shavuot, which is the Jewish festival of firstfruits of the wheat harvest, as well as the day celebrating when Moses brought the Torah to Yisrael: “Finally, G-d gave Moses the two stone Tables of Testimony, containing the Ten Commandments, written by G-d Himself.

An easy way to remember Shavuot is that it is the same day as Pentecost: God gave the Torah, and He gave the Spirit.


The Torah was given by G‑d to the Jewish people on Mount Sinai more than 3300 years ago. Every year on the holiday of Shavuot we renew our acceptance of G‑d’s gift, and G‑d “re-gives” the Torah.  The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven-week counting period betweenPassover and Shavuot.” (chabad.org)

Traditionally, the entire book of Ruth is read on Shavuot, so, I was reading all 4 chapters of Ruth…I remember it being a little longer than 4 chapters, for some reason.  But, 4 chapters it was.  I always had read the book of Ruth as a love story between Boaz and Ruth, but now I am reading it and noticing that the whole thing basically took place in the fields!  So, that makes sense, being the festival of wheat harvests.

The Book of Ruth was recorded by the prophet Samuel. It is appropriate to read the Book of Ruth on Shavuot for two reasons: First, because Shavuot is a harvest festival and the Book of Ruth gives us a picture of the harvest, and how the poor were treated in the harvest season with sympathy and love. Secondly, because Shavuot is the anniversary of the passing of King David, who was the great-grandson of Ruth and Boaz, whose story is told in the Book of Ruth.”  (chabad.org)

When I just started the book, though, I was completely struck with how close Naomi and Ruth were.  These were women who had come together through Ruth’s marriage to Naomi’s son, experienced deaths of husbands together, and clung to each other in friendship through life and through hardships.

Naomi was loving to Ruth and Orpah, and while Orpah decided to return back to her mother, Ruth wanted to stay with Naomi.

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.


This is such an incredible picture of friendship between women.

But…in reality, they had something more than friendship. The relationship Naomi and Ruth had was something akin to “kenzoku,” which is, “is a Japanese term which means “family”,  a bond that is shared by people with the same or nearly the same ideals,  have the same commitment or even destiny.  We know and feel the presence of  the deepest connection of friendship. These people may be family members, a friend from high school, co-workers who we probably haven’t talked to in decades but we know they are there for us when we need them. Time and distance do nothing to cut the bond we have with them.”

These women loved each other.  They were friends and they were family; they were kenzoku.  I am honestly moved just thinking about the two of them holding hands and traveling home, together.  

Sometimes, relationships in life can be complicated. 

Friendships in school when we were kids was rather uncomplicated.  We all had our friends, and we knew who definitely weren’t our friends; but adults can be complicated, sometimes. 

The other day I got a message out of the blue from someone I used to know.  We were not close, at all, and I had only talked with her once on the phone sometime last year, and it was for something in particular.  I did not have any sort of relationship with her, because we weren’t friends.  

I haven’t even seen her since last year, when we were both attendants of the same group; so getting a message from her was surprising.  Without any context, she simply said:

“I am sad you unfriended me.”

Which was also odd…because if I remember somewhat correctly, I closed the connection with this woman sometime around last summer.  It’s been almost a year. I haven’t talked with her or heard from her in ages.  Our kids never became friends, I never got together with her, our husbands never talked.  I really don’t know what this meant…there is zero context on this statement.

Odd.  A little complicated.  But odd.

Now, with any other situation I might have seen this as an open door to rekindle something.  But, there really aren’t embers to rekindle anywhere. 

There never was a friendship with her, because there was no relationship with her.


Friends, especially kenzoku friends, aren’t complicated because love isn’t complicated.  It really isn’t. You know when someone loves you, and you definitely know when they don’t.  This is one thing you don’t need to debate back and forth: if someone loves you, you feel loved. If someone doesn’t love you…what is there?

The thing about friends, is that they are part of your life.  They call you and see how things are going.  They text you once in a while to connect with you.  You feel better after being with them and sharing your life with them.  Friends include you. They encourage you. I can think of friends I have had for years, and I look forward to talking to them every time we get on the phone together.  I truly enjoy including them, and encouraging them in their lives, and I look forward to being included in their lives and being encouraged by their words.  I love the friends in my life because they are amazing people who are part of my life.  

Having a relationship with someone is so much more than just showing up and being a warm body.  Mere attendance is not the soul of a relationship: the heart is.

A relationship is understanding your friends in ways no one else can. A relationship with your friends means you don’t bully them into obeying your own dogmas and expectations; which seems like and overly obvious quality, I think. A relationship with your friends is kind and generous.

A truly wonderful relationship with friends means you love them.

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

It is a tremendous thing, indeed.

The Platypus Club.




The Platypus Club.

It is starting.


Loki approves.

“Listen, this is a crazy idea…and it is a little off the beaten path.

But I think we can do this.”

The thing is, if you identify with The Platypus Theory, then you are a Platypus.  Easy as that. And I think we should get together as a cool and groovy club once in a while. Except…

Except, most Platypi are not around my area.  Some are in SanFrancisco, some are in Costa Rica, I think there are one or two in LosAngeles.  There is another in the middle of California…so what am I going to do?

I’m going to have a club where I am….and you are going to have a club where you are.


Now, the thing with The Platypus Club is that it isn’t your normal club.

We aren’t going to have crafts, or speaker series’, or peddle stuff to each other.

We are there because when you meet a Platypus, you know it.  There is something different.  Something you can’t exactly put your finger on, but you can feel it. You can talk to them about religion, writing, politics, feelings, ideas, paleo recipes or face creams: it’s all good.

The Platypus Club is something akin to an alternative-Mother’s group.  Sure, we might be moms at this point in our lives: but we would really, sincerely like to have a group with other intelligent women where we are talking about subjects beyond the brand of toilet paper we use.  Granted, there are times when that is appropriate…and sometimes necessary.  But maybe we could talk about our 5 year plan.  Or even our 2 month plan.  Have a garden you can’t get going?  Dealing with an existential crisis this morning?  Not sure what to do with your unpublished manuscript?  Do you find yourself looking for exit strategies when you are stuck listening to conversations about where to buy picture frames for 45 minutes?

Listen, this is a crazy idea…and it is a little off the beaten path.

But I think we can do this.

I am planning on beginning my Platypus Club on the first Tuesday of the month.  Mostly because I found a pub with an Open Mic on that day, and I’m utilizing that baby in a big way.

I think you should have a Platypus Club in your area.

I think you should invite a fellow Platypus out for a once-a-month Club night.

Be the spark in your galaxy.

Have your own Platypus Club.

We can do this.

Who: Invite fellow Platypi.  If someone “doesn’t get it,” then I would say don’t push it. We are cool with who we are, despite whatever personal insecurities we might have (fear of big things in deep water, for example). The Platypus Club is not going to be a big club. We aren’t going to fill stadiums. But those who do want to come are some high quality individuals. You will remember being with them.

What: Have a beer, drink some tea, and own your night. It’s as easy as that. We have nothing to prove, and I certainly don’t think we need to conquer anything in particular. I think just an informal solidarity is pretty good. Overall, we are just chilling together because we have a very particular and unique understanding of each other…and that will speak volumes in itself.  No need to complicate things with budget forms or committees.

Where: I would suggest a Pub, personally, but that might feel too committal at first. We are a touchy, sensitive sort.  Start with a coffee house, and move up to a Pub.  Or, heck…start with a Pub and have a cool down in a coffee house.

When: First Tuesday of the month.  OR…whenever is good for you. It’s your club, baby 😉

That’s the plan!

Let’s make it happen!

/stickers and buttons coming soon!!

Gluten Free BBQ Recipes…For Your Sanity

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.

Featured on:Ravishly-300x102

How To Survive The Gluten Free BBQ

Tamarah's Gluten Free Stuffed Mushrooms with Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Asparagus Tamarah’s Gluten Free Stuffed Mushrooms with Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Asparagus

When you think of “Gluten Free BBQ Potlucks,” you may not be filled with spectacular joy.



The terror….it is overwhelming!!!!!

You may think of cardboard hamburgers.  You may think of translucent quinoa crockpot stews. You may even think that “gluten free” is just the open doorway to kale salads.

Everyone has their own culinary fears surface when they think of gluten free BBQs.

But it can be great!

Trust me: I am not a fan of bad food.  I like good food, and I refuse to give in to bland, questionable dishes at BBQs.  BBQs should be filled with culinary solidarity!  We should enjoy the meal, just as we enjoy the fellowship!

I have the pleasure of having Celiac, which I can unequivocally say has improved my quality of life.

Which is a weird thing to state, I understand.

“You ca’t have pizza??  Or doughnuts??  No french toast??  No KFC??  No burritos?!”

I don’t really miss any of these.  Okay, I actually do really miss flour tortillas.  There is nothing like biting into the soft flour tortilla for a burrito.  I have tried gluten free tortillas, and they are all unconditionally terrible.

But the rest of the items I am forbidden to eat…I probably shouldn’t be eating anyway.

Before I discovered I had Celiac, I just ate whatever I desired.  Since discovering this autoimmune blessing (yes, blessing), I have had to actually do research on what food I am not only putting into my body, but into my family’s as well.  I have taught myself how to cook nutritious food from scratch that actually tastes amazing (these two do not always go hand in hand).

So, in the end, I my quality of life, and my quality of cooking, is significantly better because I have Celiac.



So, come.

Come, my friends.

Enjoy these gluten free BBQ recipes links this Memorial Day.



Quick Pickles

Brilliant Baked Beans

Goat Cheese, Bacon And Asparagus Stuffed Mushrooms



 Potato Salad With A Kick


 Gluten Free Garden Pasta Salad




Gluten Free Octopus Hotdogs


Gluten Free Fried Chicken


Chickpea Burgers

and Gluten Free Hamburger Buns





Pistachio Salad: The Salad of Champions


Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie


Gluten Free Carrot Cake Truffles




The Real Life and Times of Celiac

I have the pleasure of having Celiac, which I can unequivocally say has improved my quality of life.

Which is a weird thing to state, I understand.

“You ca’t have pizza??  Or doughnuts??  No french toast??  No KFC??  No burritos?!”

I don’t really miss any of these.  Okay, I actually do really miss flour tortillas.  There is nothing like biting into the soft flour tortilla for a burrito.  I have tried gluten free tortillas, and they are all unconditionally terrible.

But the rest of the items I am forbidden to eat…I probably shouldn’t be eating anyway.

Before I discovered I had Celiac, I just ate whatever I desired.  Since discovering this autoimmune blessing (yes, blessing), I have had to actually do research on what food I am not only putting into my body, but into my family’s as well.  I have taught myself how to cook nutritious food from scratch that actually tastes amazing (these two do not always go hand in hand).

So, in the end, I my quality of life is significantly better because I have Celiac.


Unfortunately, there are drawbacks.

I cannot trust anything that has been pre-made.  Anything.  Even gluten free items.  Even certified gluten free items.

I had to stop eating gluten free pasta, because I would have violent reactions (lack of breathing, flush cheeks, muscle spasms, etc) after eating gluten free pasta.  Why is this…it is gluten free!  Maybe the labeling says gluten free, but legally a company can include up to 0.025% gluten in their food, and still be considered gluten free.  That 0.025% makes a difference when my body sees that as eating 0.025% poison I am putting in my body.

Lately I have had to stop eating the gluten free pizza in the Costco freezer section.

And last night I was in bed with another violent reaction to Udi’s Gluten Free Bread, which I never thought was a problem before. It is incredibly frustrating, since this was a safe option for me; but after a few tests over the course of a few weeks, you at some point you have to admit there is a problem.  You aren’t just tired, you aren’t just imagining things. Laying in bed with muscle cramps and not being able to breathe, and then feeling fine 2-3 hours later, is a big indicator that there is something wrong.

So what is the problem with Udi’s Gluten Free Bread???  The ingredients are all gluten free…

I think I found out why – after reviewing the ingredients – they have added a mold inhibitor which may be a sensitivity problem. I know with the Kraft Cracker Barrel cheese – this has been added as well – which may be why Kraft does not have this cheese on its gluten free web page. The other cheeses yes, but not this particular brand. The inhibitor is natamycin – and it seems that some do have a sensitivity to this type of preservative.”  (celiac.com)

You are going to have to forgive my language for a second:


The mold inhibitor?!!!!


So, I’m back to square one.

That is Celiac, my friends.

By Hollywood’s Standards, I Am Ahead

This article originally appeared on Ravishly.

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37 Is Too Old To Date, Says Hollywood

Old guy, younger woman. Nonsense.Old guy, younger woman. Nonsense.

What if an accomplished actress was not just the love interest of an older man?  What if being 37 meant I was worth more than being an attraction?  What if being a 37 year old woman with a career had value beyond my bikini lines.  Wouldn’t that be crazy?

Apparently women who are 37, by Hollywood’s standards, are way too old to date a male protagonist in his mid-50s.

While our first reaction might be a flavor of, “I’m sorry, what??” it isn’t that surprising.  Remember “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart? Dude, Hepburn was 25 in that film.  25. Bogart was 55.

Not much has changed.

What threw me when I read that Maggie Gyllenhaal was too old, by Hollywood’s standards, to play the love interest of a 55 year old dude, was realizing that I was turning 37 this year.

I had to walk that one off.

This means I am too old to date anyone who is 55 such as the enchanting Hugh Laurie, or the elegant James Spader.  I may be young enough to date Tom Selleck, who is completely owning his 70s, but really, no one is that lucky.

But that got me thinking: who else am I too old to date?*

Jim Carrey: This amazing actor is sporting his 53 years with vigor, and enjoying life with Cathriona White, who is 28. So I am waayyyy too old for Jim.

Johnny Depp: Albeit still a youthful 50, Johnny’s illustrious lady friend, Amber Heard, is still an even more youthful 27.

Leonardo DiCaprio: This overly talented man has not even reached his 50s, and yet he has never had a woman on his yacht that has reached their 30s. 

But, to be fair, the most beautifully talented Robin Wright is pulling off her 50th year with a 35 year old Ben Foster. And although you wouldn’t know it, Joan Collins is sashaying her 81st year with a 49 year old Percy Gibson.  So, men may have similar limitations with gaining the attentions of phenomenal women in Hollywood.

The other day Melissa McCarthy had a quality moment with the press:  McCarthy then asked him if he had a daughter: “If she comes home and someone says, ‘You can’t have a job because you are unattractive,’ are you going to say, ‘That’s right’?”

“Just know every time you write stuff, every young girl in this country reads that, and they just get a little bit chipped away,” McCarthy said. “I just think we tear down women in this country for all these superficial reasons, and women are so great and strong.”

I just wonder…if my daughter came home one day and said she couldn’t have a job because she was too old, how would that be right?

What if an accomplished actress was not just the love interest of an older man?  What if being 37 meant I was worth more than being an attraction?  What if being a 37 year old woman with a career had value beyond my bikini lines.  Wouldn’t that be crazy?

You know what that makes me think, though?  It makes me think that us older women have the upper hand with Hollywood.  Sure, Maggie Gyllenhaal can’t be a love interest to a 55 year old actor…but, stay with me here: what if she didn’t have to be a love interest, at all?  What if a woman was the hero, like Katniss Everdeen?  Or maybe the women fought for themselves, like in “Mad Max”?  What if the leading woman was like Emma Stone’s role as Sam Thompson in “Birdman”? 

What if women had worth as more than the romantic interest to a man?  It seems that if Hollywood shuts the door to women in their 30s for this position, that the doors of opportunity for greater, world-changing roles actually open up for us.

So, with all this being said: at a distinguished 37, I believe I am actually ahead of the game.  By Hollywood’s standards.

*obviously, hypothetically speaking. 

We Invaded A Viking Festival, And Plundered Their Doughnuts

Last Friday, I discovered that there was a Viking Festival on Saturday.

They had Vikings.  They had the most amazing doughnuts that I could but only gaze upon, but everyone thoroughly enjoyed.  I did thoroughly appreciate some handmade orange truffles in a chocolatier’s shop, which was simply amazing.

We saw boats, dragons, swords, Vikings, fake beards and monster trucks.

I may have found Heaven.




Viking Festival?

Oh. I was made for this.



And so are my daughters.


We got there just in time for the parade, so we are just hanging out in a very Norwegian town.  Across the street was Thor’s Hammer Tattoos and The Norse Maid.


Found some awesome helmets, and had to pry ourselves away from the weapons’ booth…



Vikings in the wild.IMG_3755

I think they were the friendliest Vikings in the history of Vikings, though.


Sons of Norway, represent!




Poor Conrad.  He was plundered by a sticker.



Most vicious Viking marching band.
IMG_3782The kids were loving the parade and waved to them all.



And there was ELSA AND ANNA.

At which point everyone freaked out and lost their minds.


They were fantastic and took pictures with tons of kids.



Did you know there is a Viking roller derby for girls?  Oh, you better believe I am looking into this.



Horses. Princesses…what is that in the background??


I stole some pictures off of Ben’s phone this morning.  Apparently this is my “I am navigating little people through crowds while not tripping on my skirt” face.



There were so many families at the parade.  I love this place.  Kids and dogs and grandparents and lots of friendly people.
























My girls.




My son.





This Is Only Another Opportunity

The pleasure of writing includes the freedom to write about very certain and particular topics.

This means there is a process of editing and filtering of my life involved.  Otherwise my writing would be a diary, instead of a blog.

This process of filtering gives a certain voice to writing. You know the difference between Poe’s writing and Tolkein’s writing because they have very distinct voices in their works.  I actually wrote this huge long post last week that I thought would be great, but the next day I reread it and it just wasn’t the voice I had curated for my blog.  It didn’t sound right, and so even though I spent hours  writing it, I had to shelf it because it just didn’t fit.  It was not part of my voice.

Something that is difficult to see in writing is the hardships of the soul.  If I filter the hardships out, no one will ever know they even exist.  And on one hand, that is nice.  I am a rather private person, despite having a blog, and I am very selective with what I share with the world.  I am not entirely comfortable sharing problems, for a few reasons.  One is obviously pride, if I am going to be honest with myself.  I know we will get through whatever we are going through and be stronger in the end, and I am not entirely comfortable sharing my vulnerabilities with everyone, at least on a regular basis.  Another is that I do believe some things are genuinely private, and only the business of our family.

And lastly, I have a very English-Victorian mindset way in the back of my brain that thinks, “Oh, I don’t want to be a bother…

This all being said, I do think it is fair to share some struggles here.  Otherwise there would be the impression that we live in a magical wooden fairyland surrounded by beaches and unicorns.

Now, I haven’t found a unicorn yet.  The rest is rather true, though.


Some things we have had to weather through include the huge break-in of our California house that we are trying to sell, which I wrote about a while ago.  That was definitely a tough one to get through, but we are doing fine.

Another is that a week after we moved in, the empty lot behind us went up for sale, and so we had a for sale sign in front of our house for a month or two, as well as calls from real estate agents letting us know when people were coming to look at it.  The reason why we needed to know was because our long driveway as an easement at the front, and it is the only method by which to reach the lot.  So, now I had cars finding our remote house and people walking around in the 2 acres around us during the day.  All in all, everyone was extremely respectful and very polite, and we never had any problems whatsoever.  It was just frustrating that we just moved in, and we finally thought we could relax and let the kids play in the yards safely, and now there are cars driving up to our house and unloading people to walk around.  Not entirely the best situation, but it all worked out in the end (I believe the property has sold, as the sign was finally taken down the other day).

We had to take down the fence around our backyard as soon as we moved in, because the real estate agents informed us that the previous owner had built it almost entirely on the property behind us; so that was kind of annoying.  Again, we just moved in and we already have to start tearing things down.

We still have to fix the septic system and have mold removed from our roof, which we have needed to do ever since we moved in, but have been up to our ears taking care of other things. Oh, and our house ran out of propane last week and we can’t get a truck here to fill the tank until later this week, and I haven’t been able to use the stove or have had a warm shower in days…

This weekend we got another call from the police department, and they let us know that the California house that we are really, sincerely, eagerly trying to sell, was broken into again.  The front door was kicked in and the frame is demolished.  Our agent sent over a handyman to screw a huge piece of wood onto the frame to keep it somewhat secure.

10348224_10203840098664937_8855671420198016848_nThis was my front door when we lived there.

2015050995212004This is what the home looks like, now.

So: recap. The front door is gone.  The carpets are gone. The kitchen is totaled. The ceiling is caving in. No stove, island, cabinets, oven, cupboards, sink, dishwasher, etc because the upstairs flooded when the first break in happened and they unplugged the toilet and flooded the house. No doors on any bathroom cabinets because they were stolen. No closet doors. My sewing machine is gone. My laundry baskets are gone.  The kids’ bikes are gone. My telescope is gone. The wagon is gone…and on and on ….it is ridiculous.

I almost want to think….I don’t know what the hell is happening anymore.  I just don’t understand this madness.

But, it is what it is.  And we can only move forward and be stronger in the end.  I certainly am not going to let bastards who destroy homes of good people also destroy my deep-rooted belief that there are still good people in the world: and anyone who says differently is a damn fool.

Good will always triumph.  There will always be people who will rise up and make the world a better place.  There are people from every corner of the world who bring peace and joy to our lives, and they are the ones who will triumph the most.  The men and women who spend countless hours volunteering to make sure kids have safe places to go, or that families have warm meals or clothes for their children.  The groups that work tirelessly to get clean drinking water to third world countries.  The men and women who look after single mothers and help their children out of the love from their hearts.  The men and women who do even simple things, like being good friends to people in their lives, or love their neighbors.  The men and women on the streets just seeing things that need to be done, and finding the time to do it.  Good people see their time as the biggest opportunity to offer to others, and they spend it finding ways to serve others in ways that would make a real difference.  Not just something you can put on paper, but something that will really impact their community and bring genuine peace and earnest love into the lives of those around them.

Now, this all doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen.  There will always be toil and grief in life.  Jesus even said Himself, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

It means good will be given the opportunity to triumph.

That is the entire point.

And if you cannot see the good in people…if you cannot see how much good is in our world…if this wooden door that encases the shell of a house I used to live in is the blinder on your vision that keeps you from being able to see the incredible, unending love that people will always bring into our lives…

then this is opportunity to take this plank out of your eye.

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Life can be tough, no doubt.  Not all roads are paved with brilliant sunlight and easy journeys.

I have faith, though, that the roads never end, despite that some roads may travel in periods of shadows.  But the love and inherent good in ourselves and in people will always be the most triumphant, and one criminal alone cannot undermine the countless hours of good that thousands of people invest into the world.

That’s what I think 🙂