My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Our Halloween

I know some people have spiritual convictions about not participating in Halloween, but my dietary convictions :) don't allow me to pass out candy.

Last year we passed out some coins. John said our pumpkin got assaulted by big kids that expected candy and that you must pass out candyor get egged. I think John wanted the candy.

Considering I have a garden, I was hoping to do some decorations that looked like harvest (not goth and grave), but never got around to it. 

We live in a quiet neighborhood this year and people coming to the door is not an issue. Because we were so busy on Saturday with community fund raiser activity, my youngest were happy to stay home today. Scott and David took Max to the Humane Society Mutt March Saturday am, Heathcote Haunted gardens in the early evening, and PALS haunted house in the evening. William went to his friends house for Saturday night co-ed party and stayed over all day until trick or treating. (He didn't care about T or T for a few years, but a renewed interest this year with friends.) William is the only one of my sons who dressed up.


One of my sons is not eating any candy this year!!! Can you guess which one?  Nor is a single piece of candy is passing my lips. I am not having any sugar cravings today and I know how to make my own dairy- free smoothies and treats.



In the top photo William is in the middle between his friend and his friend's mother. She actually looked really good. His friend was not a vampire, and doesn't like vampires love stories, but to me he was a a very good looking Edward Cullin.  Next photo, David is playing a game at Heathcote. I am glad he had so much fun. He is usually forced into being a teenager and doing teenager things, that finally he got to totally enjoy himself.  And next photo Scott is loving on a 4 month old Corgi. Obviously, I am blogging for Halloween. :)

Have fun but don't eat too much candy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scott's Reading Progress

It's taken almost a year to help Scott complete Level 7 BartonReading! We have lots to blame: moving and  taking time off, remediation and reviewing. At the beginning of October we made it a goal to finish the remaining lessons.Despite the length of time its taken to make progress through this level Scott is a good reader now. In this level, Scott had learned how an "r" following a vowel changes the sound the vowel. He has learned a lot of rules for spelling and reading. So many, don't ask me what they are, I can barely keep them straight. He seems to comprehend the (dis)logic behind our language. As long as their is a reason, he gets it. Level 8, I can't wait to meet you, not!

Here is a post back when we began this reading program.

LLL Enrichment Meeting, Nov 13, 2010

I am honored that our Treasure Coast LLL has invited me to be the speaker at the November 13, 10 am, Enrichment Meeting in Port Saint Lucie. As my days are filled with activities for older boys now, I don't get out much and don't have the chance to meet you in a casual setting, especially to meet the newest mothers. I sincerely look forward to meeting those of you I have not met before and see how the little ones I know are growing.

I'd like to know what you want me to "speak" about. If you plan on attending would you e-mail your questions or what you would like to know more about. I'd like to stick with Permission to Mother topics: birth and breastfeeding. Not very original subjects, but let me know specifically what you want to know more about. Please don't be shy. I do want you to help me focus on a useful and fun discussion.

One other thing I was wondering since I hardly get out to do this kind of thing-- I am so behind on technology, isn't their a way to record the discussion for Internet access for those who can't attend or for later viewing? Is there anyone who can take charge of this or offer tips on how to do this?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

World Culture: Contributions for All (William's Completed Lesson)

I posted Scott's discussion a few weeks ago because he did such a fantastic job on his own. I helped William with the brainstorming. I knew he would come up with some good stuff with some probing. He surprised himself at how many ways he contributes to society.



Name anything that you are already doing to contribute to society. What is it and how is it a contribution? This can be something simple or something big.

The last two Halloweens I volunteered to scare little kids at the botanical “haunted” gardens. I dressed up as a scary zombie and some parents took pictures of me. I’d do it again this year but I we were too scary for the kids.

I helped my neighbor move furniture.

At the PAL Karate (Police athletic league) we have a yearly Saint Jude’s sparring tournament to raise money and awareness for the children’s hospital.



Name three simple things that you CAN do to help with your family or your community. What are they and how can they help? Refer to the Quest portion of the lesson for ideas.

I have participated in two PAL litter pickups. I picked up trash at two different parks. This helps because the community is nice and clean and sidewalks and the pond are not filled with trash. If you’re on a boat and something falls over you can drive back and get it. This helps because picking litter in the water helps the environment a lot. I volunteered to be in a PAL karate parade. The parade inspires community to come together and I helped with the little kids. As a black belt I set an example for the little kids about peaceful conflict resolution. PAL’s is affiliated with D.A.R.E. (Drug Awareness Resistant Education) by participating in PAL’s activities it makes me a good example and it’s about keeping dopey kids off the street. I won’t do street drugs.



Name one major thing that you can do to help your community to be a better place or to make a difference in the world. This can be an invention or volunteering or organizing a group project. Be sure that this is different than anything that you have discussed in the boxes above. Refer to both the Quest and Goal portion of the lesson for ideas. How can doing this make a difference in the world?

I am going to a nursing home to share a Shabbat service for the residents and I am taking my brother and his therapy dog Max with me. Since Scott did his assignment Max graduated to therapy dog. The residents can’t get out easy or go to synagogue and they like to see young people and dogs.



Why is it important to become a good citizen? It does not matter if it means just following the laws like obeying the speed limit or becoming the president of the United States. Why should people work to do good things in society? Be specific and use concrete details to support your opinions.

In Judaism and in my Bar Mitzvah training we do a volunteer activity for repairing the world. In Hebrew it’s called, Tikkun Olam. I want to set a good example to other people. All the activities I talked about above “repair the world.” Good deeds are called mitzvah. Mitzvah can be big or small. They all add up.



Name one person that you have learned about throughout the Quest To Be The Best Game that you feel made a big difference in the world. Who is this person? What did he or she do? Why is he or she important? You may need to quickly go back through some of the past modules to refresh your memory.

King Hammurabi of Mesopotamia made a lot of rules. He set the motion for future civilization. His rules applied to everything that happened in Mesopotamia. Modern society has applicable rules and laws but punishment not as gruesome (sadly). His most famous rule “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is very understandable.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garden Bug



My Container Garden has come a long way since my areogarden and window sill attempts. Gardening has become very popular and I have learned so much especially from Lauren (and Gail) (jackpot containers), Gerry (raised rows), and my mom(squarefoot). In the past I learned and admired Elizabeth's garden in Georgia. All had wonderful gardens this past year making it look so easy, I knew what I wanted this year. I want greens and herbs easy to grow and  those that most of the plant is continuously edible through the growing season. I want greens I can clip and add to a salad. I want greens to clip and put in my blender.

My garden is close to my front door. I had several containers already going with basil, mint, aloe, sage, and oregeno. Over at Lauren's we had a lot of growing containers and I decided to bring some back to my house so I can access these types of greens easy (several times a day if all goes well). I have had a lot more fun doing this  than I would have thought. John has helped with hauling big loads and the younger boys like spraying the hose and getting dirty. Numerous garden systems would have worked, I decided to make use of my resources.

For the record I added a mixture of course vermiculite, peatmoss, and compost to all my containers. At the surface of each pot, I added lime and Ric's fertilizer (US 1 Fort Pierce).  I also mixed in a little coffee grinds. (Thanks to Dino). I am recording this so if it works or doesn't work, I can remember what to do or not to do next time.) I got started on this seasons plantings Sept 26 when I noticed it cool down  a little.  I got all my soil ready ahead of time before bringing plants home. I've done a little at a time.

Also I am going to use much of the greens as young plants, unless it grows fast. I have planted some of these plants before and then wait and wait for a mature plant only to be disappointed because I can't keep up with watering, bolting, then death. If Sam'sClub can sell Baby Spring Mix, I can grow and harvest it young!

This is what I got planted:

Arugula in center, Romaine (right), cilantro (top)


Kale - I loved having Kale available to me last growing season... salads... kale chips... stir fry ... pairs well with garbanzos in soups. Lauren suggested to me to have 16 plants at my house with as much as I liked it. So that's what I  planted yesterday. This kale is from Lowe's. Over at Lauren's, the kale is from a local specialty nursery. Kale is the most nutrient dense green. Period. My kids like it. If it grows well, I am eating it everyday.


Collards - Not my fav when mature., but it looked healthy, and I can add baby leaves to my smoothies for nutrient variety.

Spinach - We didn't have much luck growing this last year at L's... one more try...

Chard - I understand it grows like weeds around here. I like it in my smoothies and salads. Had a few seeds and a few starer plants. I mixed them into one 18 inch container.

Rosemary, Ginger, stevia (top),: parsly, red sails, chard, (bottom)
Cilantro - I have missed fresh cilantro over the summer to add to salads, beans, guacamole. I can't wait. This is growing from seed I had from my aerogarden, but decided to put it in soil instead.

Parsley - Used a starter plant this time and I want to get more into the habit of adding parsley to salads, etc... Love it with hummus.

Basil - This should be easy  for me to continue growing in containers.

Chives - My favorite batch is garlic chives that Jyl gave me. It grows despite me ignoring it. (I talk about people like everyone  knows everyone.) I have several varieties of chives continuously growing.

Red Sails (Lettuce) - A starter plant from Ric's Nursery. It is growing fast and I am clipping outer leaves.

Romaine ( ans misc lettuce varieties)- Looks like I will be enjoying baby Romaine and if it grows big, all the better. Also if I keep things young, I can fit more plants in one space.

Aloe - Aloe is a vegan source of B12.  I clip a small piece and add it to my smoothie.

Sage- I don't use this much, but it keeps growing despite little attention.

Cuban Oregano - started from a clipping from Irma, John's mother. It grows fast and easy.  I add it to anything "Italian." I am wondering if I can dry it and powder it. I have a lot and I think my boys would use it more if it didn't overwhelm them with a big leaf. If I clip it and leave it on my counter, I swear it grows. If you want a clipping just ask.

Purslane - This is an edible and nutritious weed, growing all around my house. I am going to keep a batch intentionally  for eating. It can go in smoothies. A google searched revealed that it mixes well with arugula and balsamic.

Cherry Tomato - I have never had luck with patio tomatoes. This is my biggest experiment. I am doing exactly what the nursery lady said to do (her name is Denise, too). Do you like my trellis? It is closet shelving from our remodel. My mother gave me this idea. This plant is growing fast. Cross your fingers!

Dill - for cucumbers! And matza balls!

Ginger - I have not harvested any. I have established plants from L's and the farmer's market.
Rosemary - You can't kill rosemary. I just wish I knew more to do with it.

Peppermint and chocolate mint- the mints go well with chocolate bliss and I cut the greens and toss in with some salads.

Bay Leaf -  I have a very small plant. Irma's grew huge. It's nice to have a fresh bay leaf.

Thyme  - I don't seem to use this much, but still I am glad to have it for when I need it.

Pepper - John picked banana pepper. We got starter plants from the nursery.

Arugula - from seed and was ready to harvest in 2 weeks. I like that it is so close to my front door.

Artichoke - another experiment. Perhaps I am just curious. If it survives, it won't be ready for months, unlike everything else here.

Stevia - Going to clip a leaf and add it to my smoothie. I like the variety in the green's I can put in my smoothies. Obvioulsy I don't intend to put every green in everyday. I like the variety.

garlic - I buried a few garlic cloves. We'll see what happens. The whole plant is edible and I can clip the top no matter what happens underground and use as chives.

Wow! That's a lot and that's not including my citrus trees. I caught the garden bug.

If the harvest is good, you can read more at raw on the river.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Speech Therapy

David is making progress in speech and speaking at a great pace. The other day he was chatting away with  "Lunch Box" Julie at Nutrition World and she asked him if he was nine years old. He explained that he just turned seven. She told him that he spoke so well that she thought he was older. Ironically we were at Nutrition World following a speech therapy appointment. And he was speaking clearly to her. Maybe 'cause she made him some good lunch. I have had a hard time motivating my boys, but someone thinking he was older than 7 was like magic.

We found the perfect therapist, Libby, at Lawnwood, for David. She's motivating him with the indoor swing. For example,  if he could hold a long sound /ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss/ he got to swing for a long time. Another time if he could continue to think of words that begin with the /k/ sound she kept him swinging, but as soon as he paused the swing stopped. He also had to say the word correctly.

 She also was using erasable crayons on the mirror (cool idea for teaching) to list all the words he said.  I want a swing in my house. For me. :) Looks like fun.

Another game she plays with David is having stacks of  two different drawings with one sound difference. Like "ski and key" or "go and dough" and "corn or torn." She asks him for the cards and he has to listen and give her the right card. Then he has to ask (speak correctly) to get them back. He is learning to use his throat when he enunciates.  These games don't involve much reading ability. David is eager to please Libby and he has also quickly learned the name and sounds of his letters as he learns to pronounce them correctly. He is much more aware of phonemes and breaking 3 letter CVC words apart into sounds and spelling with tiles. He is aware of letters everywhere and trying to read them.
With the letters names and sounds mastered David is able to work with me at home on his BartonReading Level 2 lessons. We bring his tiles to therapy and some of his books and Barton worksheets and Libby is really good at using them to merge them into her lessons. David is very excited to tell her what he has learned at home.
I like this little desks that "trap" him in place. At home he is wiggling all over the seat and table. I like the mirrors in front of their work place because they look at their mouths and feel their throats during many of the lessons.  I've been taking him twice a week most weeks and it has been well worth our time.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thoughts on Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By all means if you are breastfeeding and have a problem, a mammogram and ultrasound are compatible with breastfeeding. You don't have to wean. You don't have to pump and dump. If you have a good supply you may want to consider nursing just prior to the mammogram so you don't squirt. But if you do squirt, no big deal, really.

Now, I confess, I have not gotten into the pink ribbon campaign or other breast cancer awareness campaigns because I am not sure what we are suppose to be aware of?

1. Get your mammogram? Is that what the pink ribbon means? The current recommendation is baseline at 40 and every other year till 50, than once a year. Somewhere in 70's it becomes optional. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong or you disagree.) (1/2 my patients want annuals in their 40's, 1/2  delay or space apart)

2. Is the pink ribbon a reminder to donate to breast cancer research or cure?

3. Does it stand for something else or a combination of reminders.

I am not comfortable wearing something I am not quite sure what I know it stands for. Especially if there is a chance I might disagree with it.

Second confession, I have not had a mammogram or breast ultrasound, or any other alternative diagnostics. I missed my baseline, 42, and 44 yo mmgs. Wow! I would have had three by now.  And more if they called me back for additional views which is a very common request by Radiologists who over-read. And more if I had a doctor that ordered them annually without discussion.

In my last post, Jenny encouragingly  commented  that women who breastfeed for a long time (such as yourself) have about a 0% chance of ever getting breast cancer =). Her comment sparked me on to write this post.

Early in my professional breastfeeding career along term breastfeeding expert, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it is hard for me to forget that. After reading the book, The China Study, I found a compelling argument that one of the increase risks for breast cancer (or any cancer is animal protein). The author actually feels we are in much better control of cancer than one would think we are by manipulating our diets to a plant-based diet. It's been a long time since I read the book, but this is what sticks with me. I continue to think of all the daily toxic and chronic exposures we pile up on our selves and never have any detox. That is why most of us should have cancer screening tests.  I am consuming a a high raw plant based diet, not exclusively plants, but very AWARE of high antioxident, anti-cancer types of foods. Because of my diet, I'd like to think I have reduced what little risk I had to even more minimal. I also think about how devastating breast cancer would be and it is no joke. I find peace knowing that my breasts have been used to their fullest capacity over the past 14 years.

That brings me to the next point. Like everything else, I individualize my recommendations for others. Some people may need an earlier baseline, some may be like me and want to delay the baseline (there is also risk to unnecessary exposure). Some may need annual mmgs in their 40's. Family history is an important consideration in the litigious community. Our 40th birthday milestone makes many of us aware of the damage we have done to our bodies and past damage may not always be able to be undone.  The greastest benenfit of screening mmgs is probably in our 50's.

In my personal breast cancer awareness outreach the suggestions I have:  lactate longer for your benefit, provide milk for your daughter for her risk reduction, eat more plants, less animal products, more wholefood, avoid nicotine and second hand smoke, and consider the other toxins in your life. Since I don't follow breast cancer awareness groups that close, let me know if there is a group who promotes the power of lactation and detoxification in their breastfeeding awareness campaign.

I've been meaning to write this out for a while and now my thoughts are flowing with more thoughts. I feel about an inch deep in a very broad topic. There is plenty I haven't touched on. Is this topic of interest to  my readers and is it worth writing more on?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

David's Squirrel and Butterfly

 These two coloring pages were in David's Phonological  Awareness Skills Program (PASP). For a while he got stuck on "squirrels" and colored me a million brown squirrels. Finally, I helped him picked some color and as a result, I got a psychedelic rodent and nuts. I REALLY like it. I want to frame it.  Hoping for a a co-ordinating drawing, I finally got him interested in coloring the butterfly.

Arts and craft skills don't come easy in my house. I am sure that I've posted before on a teacher who blamed our homeschooling for the older boys not being able to color, cut, glue, etc...

I am not good at it, so she's right, I don't spend much time coloring or with crafts. We have plenty of other skills so no big loss.

Also, with undiagnosed dyslexia (and diagnosed) fine motor skills are often lacking. These are the skills needed for arts and crafts. Uncorrected dyslexics often hold their pen or crayon with the thumb crossing to compensate for lack of fine motor at the finger tips. I spotted this immediately in David and have been able to show him how to hold a crayon and  have some control.  His coloring is so much improved because of all the brown squirrels he colored.

Besides a great opportunity to hang his art like its a Mona Lisa--to me its much better-- he got the essence of our house. He used colors that go with the inside. As for the outside, we have two mature acorns trees, dropping nuts and attracting lots of squirrels. We also just planted Mexican Petunias, which are purple. His art is perfect to display! Now to get mats and frames and decide which room to hang these in.

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