In Which We Express Our Frustrations About Toothpaste

Ramona Quimby Toothpaste Waster

I have been using the same brand of toothpaste for my whole life. I love it. It makes my teeth feel clean and my breath fresh. It is just the right kind of mint and provides the perfect level of teeth cleaning frothiness while I brush.

I have stuck with the same brand and upgraded to different “new and improved” variations within the same brand when one would appeal to me (and as I got older and was the one paying for it). I went through all the developments; paste, gel, cool mint, baking soda, tartar control, and finally my favourite extra whitening. Oh the joy when that little innovation entered my life!

I like taking care of my teeth. I smile a LOT. I want to be an old woman with a great and happy, healthy, smile. So, I prided myself on getting the best for myself and for my family.

I am not big into make-up and all that goes along with it, but I fell for whitening toothpaste –  brush, paste and flosser.

So, imagine my chagrin upon learning that my toothpaste is among the worst offenders from an environmental and health perspective. The very product I was so enamoured with is loaded with microbeads!

Do you know what microbeads are?

Microbeads are invasive little specs of plastic that are showing up in places they should not be. They are in so many cosmetics that it is easier to list the products they are NOT in than to name the ones they have invaded. It is pervasive. It is terrible.

Would you voluntarily give your kids plastic to swallow?

Never!

Would you choose to eat a healthy meal of baked, plastic microbead infused fish?

Of course not!

Do you think that rubbing your body with plastic makes it cleaner or worse do you think you need microbeads to have a good complexion?

Well …

I, for one, am horrified at the lengths we humans seem to be willing to go for the sake of some arbitrarily conjured beauty standard.

I feel betrayed.

I miss my favourite toothpaste.

We immediately threw out the offending brand and vowed never to use it again.

Then we had our teeth cleaned at our Dentist’s Office.

I bet you know where this is going …

You know those little tubes of toothpaste the Dental Hygienist hands you – along with a new toothbrush and a teeny travel sized floss – as she tells you you have no cavities, but you should floss more (even though you floss all the time. Seriously. Is there some kind of Dental Hygienist pact wherein it is written that they have to bring up the flossing at every, single appointment? I really want to know, but I digress .. where was I? Right! Dentist gifts!)? Yes the teeny tube of National Brand name toothpaste.. you know the one, right? Well it was the very same offending brand we had sworn off.

We had to ask.

Why is this brand being handed out? Are you concerned about the microbeads? How can we avoid them?

Now, you need to know that we happen to have a lovely Dentist and a fantastic Dental Hygienist. We asked our questions out of true curiosity and not at all with righteous indignation*. We intended to strike up a conversation about our concern not because our concerns are more important than anyone else’s, but because our concerns were (and are) very real and though in this case they are very much our concerns, they really ought to be your concerns too.

We had a good chat about it and the conclusion was they are in “everything” and you “can’t avoid them”. How scary is that?

I’ll tell you how scary. PFOA scary. That’s how scary.

You don’t know me well enough to know all my stories yet, but we here at Chez Peady are pretty savvy when it comes to the environment and we try our best to not make the planet – you know, the ONE place we have to call home – worse off by living our lives with nary a concern for our fellow humans, the water, the wind and the woods. Sometimes that means we need to take a stand.

And stand we did.

We went on the hunt for a toothpaste that had fluoride, but did not contain microbeads.

This was not as simple as walking into our corner drug store and simply selecting the competing National Brand. Oh, no, no. I won’t try to convince you, but suffice it to say that most of the alternatives also have microbeads.

We settled on a natural (and there’s a branded word that gets tossed around like a hot potato!) brand that doesn’t have microbeads. We purchased two – one for the kids, one for us – and went on our merry way.

And we brushed.

And it tasted weird.

And it didn’t froth.

And it wasn’t minty fresh.

And my teeth didn’t feel clean.

And all I wanted to do was grab my old whitening brand and use it so I could have the fresh from the Dentist feeling I had come to expect from my toothpaste.

It was terrible.

There was no going back though. My health and health of my children is too important.

We continued to use the natural brand of toothpaste and we survived. I have since found one that suits me better, though it will never be the same as what I was using, and we keep our eyes peeled for changes in the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy.

There is good news on the horizon though. We have a new Prime Minister who is making a point of getting Canada’s good reputation as a world leader – in matters of the environment and otherwise – back to the standard we, as a country, would expect.

We have a Minister of the Environment & Climate Change. Her name is Minister Catherine McKenna and she is one of 30 smart, capable, forward thinking Cabinet Ministers (50% of whom are women – “Because it’s 2015.” – Oh that just never gets old!), who are charged with the task of getting Canada back on track. This is so logical and amazing to me that even a full day (almost 2, now) after all the oaths were taken I am still emotional about it all.

I am so hopeful that we will see the real change we have been hearing so much about and that we will begin to see an action plan take shape. One that is designed to keep our environment healthy and our children safe.

No, not from big scary monsters and men with pointy teeth, but from itty-bitty, minuscule, invasive, pervasive and utterly unnecessary pieces of plastic.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Yes. Yes it would.

You can read more information on microbeads here, or here, or here.

I really hope you do.

*A crucial life skill, by the way. There’s a whole post in those two words, actually. Another day!

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(Ramona Quimby is a beloved character from the talented mind of Beverly Cleary and she is, quite frankly, near and dear to my heart. We are kindred spirits!)

Sweet Sunflower Snacks (A Pictorial Snack Tutorial)

Did you know you can cut an apple almost all the way through, pop out the core, let the flower petals fall open, then add a dollop of peanut butter and a few mini chocolate chips, to make a delicious and nutritious sunflower?

You can!

See?

Isn’t that fun? It is a favourite around here, especially in Fall, when the Nova Scotian apples are at their absolute best. Delicious!

Easy, right?

Totally.

You can use what you like best, of course, but I tend to use a Golden Delicious Apple, Natural Peanut Butter*, and gluten free mini chocolate chips. You only need a few chocolate chips. They are chocolate chips! They seem to have a magical power over kids. If they find 2 in a mini muffin they’re thrilled, so I just go with what I have worked so hard to achieve. Happiness!

So, what do you think? Do you think your kids would like to try a Sweet Sunflower Snack?

I am willing to bet they would.

What is your favourite snack food? Do your kids have special snacks after school?

Let’s talk about it!

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear what you think.

Oh, just one more thing! I nearly forgot!!

Look!

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It’s a teeny tiny Thing 2 enjoying a Sweet Sunflower Snack a few years ago! Aww!

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This small Corelle bowl might be the ideal serving dish for this snack. Notice how it helps the apple slices keep the flower shape, while containing the Peanut Butter? That’s better than the larger plate for presentation. (Though the larger plate was best for an after school snack with extra Things!) I also like the mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips here. It seems more flower-like, to me.

*Of course, if you have a peanut allergy you can use another nut butter or a soy butter in its place. Still yummy!

Get Out The Vote!

Tomorrow is Election Day!

I am so excited!

I can’t wait to cast my ballot and then wait and see the results from riding after riding after riding come pouring in.

We always take our kids and talk about it a LOT leading up to the election. As you can imagine, my Things are pretty well versed at this point because it has been 77 days since the election was called. Tomorrow will be day 78 and every single day has involved a conversation about what Canada means to us. We can’t wait!

It matters.

It matters to me and it should matter to you.

I love this country and I have great hope for its future.

I know you have heard it a bazillion times over the past few months, but please, oh, please, oh, please go and exercise your right to vote tomorrow. The polls are open for 12 hours. That is a long time. Make sure you take the time to go and cast your ballot.

There are people in this world who would die for this right that we so often take for granted.

Think about that.

There are women who fought in this country for this right. It wasn’t all that long ago. It is shamefully recent history if you really think about it. Do not disrespect them by disregarding what they laid their lives on the line to accomplish.

They fought for you and me.

They gave us the right.

It is yours.

Exercise it.

Here’s a helpful video!

Once you vote and pat yourself on the back for taking part in the direction your own country takes, you will want to find out about the race and who is winning it. Who is doing well in your riding? Did your candidate win? Is your chosen party getting new seats in Ottawa? It’s all so exciting! You just want to know!

How will you know?

There are so many ways!

You will absolutely be hearing election coverage on radio and television both locally and Nationally. It will pretty much be unavoidable! Yay!

Here is another helpful tool from Elections Canada!

Since I am an avid Twitter user, I will definitely be following along on Twitter. You can follow Elections Canada here.

Essentially, the only way to not hear about the election on Monday October 19, 2015 would be to bury your head in the sand. And you don’t want to do that, now, do you? I mean, you’ll be in the dark and you will have sand in your ears. And that just sounds awful! * shudders *

Since we are all on Social Media why not go ahead and pledge to vote and show it? You can change your profile pictures! Check this out! Fun!

Okay! So we are ALL voting right?

Cool!

I knew I liked you guys!

Let’s do this!

So tell me, did you already vote? Will you vote tomorrow? Are you as excited as I am? Are you taking your kids with you? Will you be following along on social media and waiting to hear the exciting news at the end of the night?

I know I won’t be alone.

Twitter will be all, well – a twitter – with politics.

I hope to tweet you there!

AFTER you vote!

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STOP Signs

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So it’s about 3 PM and I have pretty much consumed a day’s worth of food.

I don’t really even know what happened or why, but there you have it.

Now I have to figure out how the heck to make a burrito for my dinner (It’s burrito night, don’t you know?) and somehow not go completely off the rails while doing it.

I won’t be derailed. I can’t be. Staying railed is crucial to my health and happiness. I need to follow through.

One bad choice cannot be the end of a good pattern. I can’t take it back, but I sure as heck can acknowledge it, stop my crazy train, and redirect it, right?

Going off the rails in a crazy train is not a part of my plan. It’s hard enough to keep this crazy train chugging along. Can you imagine the weight of lifting a whole train filled with crazy back onto the track!! It’s unbearable.

Not going to do it.

So now what?

Well for starters, I’ll be drinking a metric boatload of water.

Wash away the sins of the world. Yeah, I have magical water apparently.

I will also go for a walk tonight. I tried this morning, but it just wasn’t the right time and really 175 things were irritating me all at the same time, so after 15 minutes I stopped and went home. Sad, but true.

I will have a smoothie for breakfast tomorrow. A good start leads to a better day.

I will forgive myself right this minute for a bad day.

STOP!

It’s over.

Move on.

The kids will be home soon and I will not waste a second on beating myself up. Nope. Nope nope.

Do you listen to your stop signs?

Do you occasionally miss one and crash?

Any advice? For me or anyone reading?

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Sometimes You Should Just Do It Anyway

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I decided against posting a blog every single day for the month of June.

The timing just isn’t right.

Besides, I already did it in November and that seems a better time for such insanity. (It was no easy task, I assure you.)

There’s no reason to put that pressure on myself. Silly! I actually stopped for a second and thought about what I would do. I contemplated all the last minute stress it can cause when I already have a busy schedule. Then, like a grown up, (Who am I?!?) I told myself no.

It’s very freeing to say no – even to yourself. Try it.

I did it again last night, actually. I was peckish after dinner and  – even though dinner was delicious – I went in search of a little something sweet. You know how it is.

Anyway, I got halfway there (I’ll just wait here while you finish belting out the lyric and I told myself to do the right thing.

Me: Do the right thing.

Me: But we need something sweet.

Me: Listen, no one needs something sweet.

Me: Shadap!!!

Me: * stern look *

Me: But

Me: * raised eyebrow and head tilt of righteousness *

Me: * glance towards the cupboard of sin *

Me: You bought some yummy good-for-you Greek yogurt today. 100 calories. Good protein. Not too sweet.

Me: FINE! * mumbles “I hate it when I’m right.” under breath *

Sometimes I adult very well.

Speaking of doing things that are good for me (and you) I will be going for a short walk in a few minutes and as luck would have it one of my favourite radio stations played one of my favourite songs, “The Walker” by Fitz and The Tantrums. I think it’s a great walking song, actually. It’s an excellent tempo and it’s also (if you take it literally) about walking so it’s a fun fit for getting fit!

I had never seen the video and I have been wanting to post a song* so I went to YouTube to find it. I like it!

So, here it is!

Do you use music for motivation?

What song gets you up and running?

If you were to make a playlist for a 20 minute daily walk, what songs would absolutely make the cut?

*In fact, I was just talking about song posts yesterday with a friend. I hope she sees this! It made me think of her and her work in the online world and the lyric “can’t keep up with my rhythm, though they keep trying” brought her to mind because she is faster than the speed of light!

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Best Laid Plans

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Hello!

I planned the bajoopees out of last week and you know what? For the most part it really helped me. It also helped my family, though they might not realize it, because you know fairies and elves do most of the things around here. Just like at your place, right? (Ooooohhh! Maaaaagiiiiic.)

It was a crazy-busy week and some events I hadn’t even accounted for popped up then happened and I would absolutely have been flailing had I not put a basic plan in place last Sunday.

I intended to pop in and blog a few times throughout the week, but I simply couldn’t squeeze in any time for myself.

Now, don’t go getting all “but you said” on me. I eeked out some time for myself, of course, because that is essential to health, happiness and – let’s just tell it like it is – sanity. Plus, I put it right into the plan. Which is brilliant, if I do say so myself. (And I do!)

I said I would walk more and I did.

I said I would drink my required amount of water (Every. Single. Day.) and I did.

I said I would go to a new fitness class and I did AND it was awesome!

Here’s proof.

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Dinners were planned out and written on my snazzy chalkboard menu*, but were late every single night (except for Monday and Thursday) and some were even swapped out for better (or more convenient) choices on the crazy-busiest nights. The beautiful thing about a meal plan is that what you think might work on a Tuesday might just work better on Wednesday and since you planned and shopped, etc. you can easily adjust to suit your needs in the heat of the moment. Whew!

Frankly, I’m impressed. There was nothing different about last week except for the fact that I really made an effort to plan, to tell you about my plan, and then actually followed my plan.

It works!

So much so, that I did it again.

I have a few things that will carry over week after week and a few new things that need to be done, but the basic plan is in place and I can fill in gaps as the need arises.

I even have my menu for the week. That’s a huge help, plus it saves a lot of money when you shop once with a plan in mind. I highly recommend it.

Now, this week will be different for me in a lot of ways because, as I said, last week was cah-ray-zee-busy and this week has fewer Spring Fairs and Coffee Houses for instance, but it also has a lot more car maintenance. Blech. I mean, really. It’s life, though, right? There’s always going to be something pressing to get done. All the more reason to plan**.

I will make time for the important things (and Things!) like I always do and I have a bit of a new adventure I am embarking on, plus I really want to try and blog every day in June. Is that insane? It might be a little bit insane. I am giving myself until noon tomorrow to decide. I’ll let you know***.

I hope you have all had a great week. Have you?

I also hope the week ahead is a good one for all of us.

Ready?

Let’s go!

*So cheap! We should really talk about this someday soon.

**See how that just keeps coming up?

***Or, you know, you could come back and see for yourself, I suppose.

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Set It Up Sunday

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Good morning*!

It is Sunday morning and the coffee pot just beeped and as happy as hearing it makes me, I can’t help feeling that yucky sense of dread. Sunday stresses can only be a matter of minutes away.

They don’t always come when expected, mind you. Sometimes they can be held at bay for a really long time. A whole day. A week or two. Rarely longer.

Sometimes on a long weekend they magically disappear. In summer they are practically nonexistent. I love summer.

Or contrariwise they morph into Monday Stresses and no one needs that on a Monday because let’s face it some of us already have major issues with Mondays.

Poor Monday. It gets a bad wrap. It’s just another day. Logically, we all know this, but if the traffic is bad or you forget your morning coffee or there is a pop quiz or the grocery store is out of that awesome bagged salad you so desire and desperately need, chances are it’s going to happen on a Monday.

At the very least, that is how you’ll remember it.

Tuesday is terrific. It’s got it made in the shade with it’s, ‘Yay! I’m Taco Tuesday! Everyone loves tacos. Go ahead and add some guacamole!’ swagger. Everyone loves Tuesday.

Wednesdays are weird. They are either completely wonderful or the worst. It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose, but some Wednesdays are all Peak Performance, eat all the right things, go for a great walk at lunchtime, skip the chocolate, take the stairs, do one more lap, days. While others are more, what’s for dinner, why didn’t I thaw that, oh shoot I have an appointment, I have to sign how many forms immediately, the bus is late, I might as well just eat that now anyway because I am already doomed, days.

Thankfully, over the years, I seem to have gotten a handle on Wednesdays. I will them to be wonderful, more often than not. Typically, Brinner*** has its moment to shine during Wednedsay’s dinner hour. So easy and satisfying. Wednesdays, also tend to give me a WHAM! mindworm. If you are a WHAM! fan, I bet you know what I am talking about.

Thursdays. Well, Thursdays have always usually been good. Once upon a time it was “Must See TV” day and who could possibly deny the awesomeness of that? Habits. They really can work in your favour, you know? Plus Thursday is Friday Eve and everyone is excited to welcome Friday back into their lives at the end of a long work week, right?

Friday. You beautiful, happy-making, party all the time, sight for sore eyes, you. Are we ever glad to see you! You make the work week worth it and the school week tolerable. You make the secular among us religious – that’s power – if only for the time it takes to utter the letters T, G, I, and F.

I love Fridays. We always take the time to make Fridays fun. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but there are more Fridays than not, that are Friday Family Fun Nights at Chez Peady. We do enjoy our traditions. Sometimes it’s a movie night or a make-your-own-pizza night or a family game night. Sometimes we just relax and do our own thing, but Friday night is sacred. We try very hard to respect it and not make plans away from our Peady peeps!

Saturdays are best, though. Hands down. Zumba, time to get stuff done around our space, relax. Even laundry feels like less of a burden on Saturdays. Now that’s saying something, because we all know how I feel about laundry. Saturday is the freest day. There’s enough time left in the weekend that even if you have a lazy start to the day you can ramp it up in the afternoon and evening – especially as the warmer weather starts to grace us with it’s presence. The peepers are singing. The air is warm. You can take a late night stroll. Go have some froyo (yo!). Pick out a movie to watch even though bedtime is approaching. On Saturday all bets are off.

Oh dear.

Here comes Sunday again. It happens every week. Sigh.

So what can I do to make Sunday less of a bitter pill?

I can take a few minutes and set up my week so that Sunday is just another day, falling in line with the others, with a plan in place most stresses can be minimized. For me, for my Things, for all of us.

I have not been very good at this lately, but the time has come.

Today is Set It Up Sunday.

Today I will make a plan for my week and I will reap the benefits of that basic plan all week long – including next Sunday when I do it all over again.

I have taken a few minutes throughout the day today to set the week – and myself – up for success.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Filling in any and all grown up events for the week on the Mom CPU
  • Asking Things for any notes from school
  • Adding any and all remaining school events to the Mom CPU
  • Thinking about, researching, and then creating a menu for the week
  • Taking stock of the contents of the freezer
  • Making a grocery list
  • Planning to exercise/walk more
  • Committing to attending a fitness class on Monday with my NS BFF
  • Planning an earlier bedtime for myself
  • Recommitting to drink 4 litres of water each day
  • Finding and buying new sandals and sneakers
  • Avoiding sugar like the plague
  • Writing more
  • Learning how to set up a proper editorial calendar
  • Going outside to play. Every. Single. Day.

So that’s it. That’s my pl****. It’s not quite a full plan, but it is certainly better than nothing and way better than my flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach of late.

Set it up Sunday!

What do you think?

Are you a “Fail to plan, plan to fail” kind of person?

What happens when you make a plan?

Do you follow through?

100%? Kinda sorta?

Tell me about your approach or what you find works best for you and yours.

Have a fabulous week!

*Or afternoon or evening or night depending on where you happen to be.**

**Now that I brought it up, where are you? No really. I’m asking. Feel free to let me know in a comment.

***Breakfast for dinner! Brinner FTW! Try it! Here, here, or here!


 

On The Go

I feel like I have not stopped to take a breath in the last two weeks.

I don’t think I like it.

I mean I am busy and busy can be good, but there is a fine line between busy and crazy-busy.

Busy is having something to do and managing to still get the basics taken care of.

Crazy-Busy on the other hand leaves me feeling like I am always forgetting something, barely meeting commitments, scrambling to take care of pretty basic stuff (Oh hai couch covered in clean laundry! Stop looking at me like that. I’ll get to you. Eventually.), not being as careful as I should be with the care and feeding of myself, skipping exercise (because surely all this running around must be good for something, right? Wrong.) Feeling like I can’t do it all.

It is not balanced.

I want balance.

How the heck do people achieve that? Seriously. I’m asking.

I want to write more and I love having something to do. Honestly. These things make me extremely happy.

I need to take charge of my shedule.

Maybe I should actually construct one, even. Oh ho! Now we’re talking!

I love knowing that something fun is coming up and I love looking forward to family events and fun with my Things.

I have no qualms making sure that they meet their commitments, get sleep, eat well, exercise. (Thing 2 is even taking part in the Drs. NS Youth Run this morning at the Blue Nose Marathon.)

Time to take a step back and make sure I am doing this for myself.

Yesterday, was actually lovely. We had a family day and we haven’t done that in a long, long, time.


That’s the first thing getting entered in my work life balance schedule.

How do you manage it all?

Do you even try?

When is the last time you felt at ease with the way everything was working out in your life?

Do you live a Crazy-Busy life?

Do you secretly love it?

Monday Motivation Needs More Motivation 

  

Good morning! 

Today I need a bit of an extra boost.

These days are a challenge for everyone, so I’m sharing!

Mini Eggs have 210 calories and 28g of  carbohydrates (not to mention 10g of fat, 6g of which are saturated!) for 42 grams, or about 17 eggs .

  

Hmm? Whassat? Oh, no. No reason. Just a random fact*. 

WHAT?

I like to educate.

I do.

*kicks invisible pebbles*

*sighs loudly in exasperation*

Okay! Okay!

Maaaayyyybe I found the hidden Mini Eggs. Maybe. 

Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really.

Anyway, before I do any more damage to my plans, and to circumvent any damage you might be about to do to yours, I thought I’d come and share these facts with you. 

The truth hurts.

The truth shall set me free.

Contradiction. It’s a fact of life.

A life I’d like to keep living for a really long time.

Now excuse me while I take those seventeen Mini Eggs and disperse them between the Things’ Easter baskets. They won’t divide evenly and though that could drive me mad, I will not eat another stOOpid egg! One Thing will just have to get an extra egg. It all evens out in the wash, as they say.

Oh, and I have also sealed the bag and tossed it way up into the cupboard of sin that I can’t reach.

Done!

  

So, how is your Monday going?

Any hurdles to share?

What is motivating you today?

Whatever it is, I hope you have it in abundance.

*Here’s another fact: I ate another Mini Egg when I went to get the bag to check my facts. Somebody stop me!