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!)

We Like The Moon! (‘Cause It Is Close To Us.)

Behold, the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Moon!

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Oh? That’s not what it’s called?

Huh.

Well it should have been!

My photos – hard earned, mind you – don’t even come close to doing this situation justice.

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If you could know how long it took to get one half-decent photo, you would laugh. Or cry.

I nearly did.

Mostly because of the beauty of the night, though.

Did you go chasing after the perfect shot of the amazing Super Blood Moon in September? How did your photos turn out?

Why is it that our eyes can see it so clearly and so gigantic and yet when we look through the lens of a camera it is suddenly puny and not at all the image we are trying to convey?

Do you know?

Why?

It is all an illusion. Isn’t that amazing?

Our brains want everything to be awesome! Logic doesn’t always provide what we want.

Here is an explanation of why we can’t capture the Moon unless we have very fancy photography equipment.

Oh well. Even though I know it is an illusion, I am sure when the next Super Moon event rolls around, I’ll be excitedly rounding up the Things, checking the moonrise times, charging my iPhone, grabbing my camera, and trying yet again to capture the moon.

Maybe it’s the romantic notion that I can get something really special if the conditions are just right. Maybe it’s all my exposure to George Bailey and his promises of lassoing the moon. Maybe, every now and then, I simply must give in to my childlike wonder of celestial things. Maybe the (somewhat futile) exercise of photographing the moon is about more than the final product.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps …

Oh, science! You may be right. I may be crazy, but (as Billy Joel sang) it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.

 

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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On The Double!

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Okay, okay. I know. I know.

I promised a post every day all month, but you know what? I simply couldn’t deliver one every single day, in order, on the actual day. The actual days were jam packed with events, meetings, planning sessions, absolutely-have-to-be-present school related stuff, a fun dinner date on a Saturday night to meet new people and reconnect with special friends, a narrowly avoided parenting sit’i’ation, an awesome launch of an awesome national program, drop-offs, pickups, and mix-ups, musical instrument acquiring, a whole heck of a lot of form filling, and I even managed to somehow squeeze in a lot of extra hugs, get two gigantic yellow Fall Mums,  and have a coffee date with some of my peeps and a couple of tweeps who are now included in my #tweepstopeeps people I have met in real life (IRL).

I will however reimburse you with an equal number of posts by month’s end because, as I have said before, you just don’t show up with a problem. When you are able to do so, you show up with a solution (or two), too!

Welcome to my solution!

My last post was Friday, September 18. It was a photo post because by then the pressure of September was already starting to squeeze me like a Boa Constrictor. Oh well. At least I know better than to stress myself out over a blog post – for Tempered With Kindness.

Oh, I totally stress out over blog posts for other people’s blogs – like, 13 revisions and a near panic attack over photographs stress out, followed by a sanity-stealing screen shot scenario that really was quite the comedy of errors (that I am still not quite sure has worked itself out – whoopsiedoodle!). Thank goodness no one is here at my desk with me as I am giving a colourful language peppered, colour commentary on just exactly why computers are the ruination of all good things in the world.

Ha ha! Hee hee! No worries.All in good fun! I feel much better now.

You have to go through it to get through it and all that jazz …

Anyway, here I am. I am going to post this and then I will somehow post another. I am not sure the second one will be posted tonight, but by the end of September I will be all caught up. I will! I know I can do it.

I hope your September is going well!

Let’s catch up soon!

How has your month been going?

Are you Crazy-Busy?

How are you handling it all?

*Never Google images of the phrase “double header”. You’re just going to have to trust me on this point. Scarred for life, I am!

**Does every single blog post really require an image? Really?!

 

Foto Finish Friday (Sorry*)

The weather, in Bedford, has been spectacular this week.

This very, very, very, long week.

I’m letting the photos speak for themselves.

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Goodnight.

*Not sorry.

Peak Performance Day: Dance Edition

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Sometimes bloggers like to talk about music (some of us a bit more than others) and when two people who happen to love the same tune find each other, well, it’s a bloggy goodness match made in heaven!

A while back, Becky – Hi Bitsy! – over at A Little Bit of MomSense began sharing what she called “song obsessions”. Well, I was all over that because it is very happy-making to learn that a person you enjoy in the Twitterverse is really that cool/nice/kind/friendly IRL (or as close to RL as we can get – for now!) Facebook is not quite IRL, but it can be close, especially when people are themselves and not trying to make everything all shiny and perfect. Becky is one of these real people.

Her last song obsession (or two) was different. For once I wasn’t totally in agreement. I loved one and the other, well, the other I felt wasn’t the best offering from Flo and her machine. In fact, I had moved right past “What Kind of Man” (which I found … umm … yell-y) onto “Ship to Wreck” because I feel it is truly Flo at her best.

So I am here to share it … and a few others … with you and Bitsy. I hope everyone enjoys this random, Peak Performance Day, dance party.

Florence + The Machine = Awesome

Said the Whale -live no less!

And here is the recorded version I dance to on the regular at Chez Peady.

Okay, I can’t really explain why I love this one so much, but I love it! It’s so groovy and melancholy and yet boppy all at once. The refrain “don’t think I could forgive you” over and over through a myriad of scenarios makes it a pretty rad “forget you”, don’t you think? Forgive me the ahem full moon in the video, but hey it’s already so odd you might never even get there. Wait. Did I just intrigue you into watching the whole thing? Tee hee hee. Please enjoy Lilly Wood & The Prick and Robin Schulz “Prayer In C”.

This Jimmy Eat World song is very catchy and I really love it. I feel like I have been hearing it for many years and that’s because I have, but it seems to get fairly regular airplay, here in Halifax, on one of my favourite radio stations Radio 96.5 FM and every time I hear it I find a new reason to enjoy it. It’s happy-making. The last time I heard it I decided to dig a bit deeper and when I read more about it’s origin I liked it even more. Here’s “The Middle”.

And for awesome, if not obvious, reasons I leave you with this bonus tune from the Foo Fighters, who clearly are amazing human beings as well as musicians.

So there you have it. These are the mind worms that have invaded my brain of late.

I hope you enjoy them.

What songs are on a permanent loop in your brain or on your playlist lately?

Go ahead and share with me in the comments. You can even add a link to your favourites!

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A Hot Tip

I have two pretty adventurous kids, where food is concerned, but as any parent can tell you each kiddo always has his and her own preferred tastes.

Thing 1 is my the-hotter-the-better guy. Need I remind you of his little adventure with Ghost Pepper salsa?

Thing 2 used to think ketchup was “tooooo thpicy!” when she was a wee thing (with an ever so slight developmental lisp).

So, in the interest of keeping “thpicy” things out of Thing 2, I always found little ways to distinguish spicy from mild foods – even if they looked remarkably similar.

Picture a food such as homemade burritos or chimichangas. How can you decipher which one is mild and which ones are sweating-from-your-eyeballs spicy?

Well, in each of the aforementioned cases I would place a hint on the outside to remind me of what was on the inside. I bake chimichangas and if there are chilis or hot peppers inside, I always place one on the outside, so it’s easy to tell. Since Thing 2 loves tomatoes, I would place a thin slice on hers, just so she still had the “Ooh! Fancy!” reaction when it was time to eat.

Tonight’s supper was oven fried rice with red peppers and Italian sausages – mild and hot – and as I was preparing to pop everything into the oven I was reminded of this little life saver of a tip. I have been meaning to share it, but it is old hat to me and easy to assume no one would really care.

Then I thought of busy Mummies with little kiddos and how sometimes one little tip can bring joy and decided to make an effort.

I am building this up way too much.

Sorry!

I’ll get to my point now.

So I know which sausages are mild and which sausages are hot I simply place the mild sausage with the curve turning up, like a smile, and I place the hot sausages with the curve turning down, like a frown.

See?

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Can you tell which ones are spicy?

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Mild.

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Spicy!

Isn’t that helpful?

I hope so!

 

Three Movies I Can’t Wait To See

I used to go see every single movie (within reason) that hit the theatres.

Then I had kids and every movie became every children’s movie or every family movie.

I still love the movies, but I haven’t gone to a grown up movie since … ummm … what year is this?

Okay, I don’t know. I really can’t remember.

I haven’t seen an Oscar nominee – save for The LEGO Movie* – in years and years and years.

BUT!

There’s hope**.

The Things are getting older and one of them is definitely old enough to babysit so that maybe, just maybe, the parents can go see a movie that doesn’t have a specially themed snack pack at the concession stand!

Although, if I am being honest, I would totally buy a specially themed snack pack if there was one for “Steve Jobs”.

I can not wait!

I am also really looking forward to seeing Matt Damon in “The Martian”. This movie was first brought to my attention as I was walking down the corridor to auditorium number 17 with Daddy-O and the Things to take in “Shaun The Sheep” (another NOT Oscar winner!). A last hurrah of sorts to say goodbye to summer break before heading back to school for good. You see the Things returned to school before Labour Day along with all the other students in Nova Scotia, but only for 2 days. Then we had labour day weekend and then back for a full … well no … short week. Where was I? Oh yes! Matt Damon, I mean, “The Martian”. The poster is excellent and I was intrigued enough to read it which is how I learned Matt Damon had a new movie coming out. (Reading! So important!) Of course, now that I know about it, I keep seeing ads for it and they have made me want to see it even more.

Look! He gardens!

I think “He Named Me Malala” is going to be really interesting. Do you know the story of Malala Yousafzai? Have you read her book, “I Am Malala”? It is wonderful (if difficult to process in parts) and very important. I think Malala is charming and smart and she has captured the hearts of many who admire her undying determination to fight for the rights of girls (and boys) to be educated in her home and anywhere else they are denied such basic human rights as education.

I seriously can’t wait!

So those are my top three at the moment. I wish I could go right this minute, actually.

I’ll be patient though. I mean, I’ve been waiting this long, what’s another few weeks?

Do you like going to movies?
What genre do you like best?
What is the last movie you saw – in the theatre – that was for grown-ups?
What coming soon movie is at the top of your list?
How do you like your popcorn?
Butter or no butter?

Just kidding. Because butter!

*”Everything Is Awesome” was nominated for Best Song.

**There’s always hope.