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Seeing a mom use anything BUT chemical free baby products and household cleaners is something I can get really worked up about. I can hardly believe my eyes when I go to another mom’s house and see poisonous chemicals in the bathroom and under the sinks.

So what if you have reliable cabinet door locks to keep baby from taking a swig right out of the bottle when you put the products within reach every time you clean the house? When harsh cleaners are used to clean the toilet there a risk of poisoning the thirsty family dog as well as the toddler who thinks the potty is a small and easily accessed bathtub. To avoid this situation in your home, do some research on using chemical free, natural toilet cleaners!

I’ve been exposed to my fair share of chemicals in my lifetime as most of us have. When I think of how much crap I’ve breathed into my lungs when helping clean the house on Saturdays it scares me to no end. I’m determined that my daughters are going to have a better start in life and know better than to release nasty chemicals into our water supply and to use natural household cleaners and natural pesticides whenever possible. Now is the time for the world to stand up and take notice that using natural based household cleaners and chemical free baby products is better for everyone.

I started out using chemical free baby products but I still see more than a few moms hanging on to brand names filled with stuff that (in my opinion) adults much less babies should never be exposed to. There are many green, chemical free baby products samples giveaways and lots of information posted on why fewer chemicals are better and it is our responsibility as parents to make the right decisions!

Return to Family Recipes, Babies and Parenting Issues to find more opinionated rants about the need to go green in our homes.



ticks removed

We had an incident yesterday that required me to refresh myself on how to remove ticks from a human. Dear hubby had gone out in the field to dump some grass clippings and apparently picked up an unwanted hitchhiker and before I would commit to helping him out, I went in search of the best method of removing ticks. Here are some tick removal tips.


Clean the area with rubbing alcohol and then with clean tweezers grab the tick as close to where it has attached itself to the skin as possible.
If you don’t have tweezers handy, avoid handling the tick with your bare hands. Once you have a good hold, pull it straight out of the skin with a firm, steady motion WITHOUT SQUEEZING THE TICK’S BODY. Crushing the critter’s bulbous little body will cause it to regurgitate its stomach’s disease causing contents. And friend, if there is anything more disgusting in this world than tick puke I can’t name it.
Once you have removed and destroyed the tick, go over the area once again with rubbing alcohol and when dry, dab on some bacitracin ointment. Our doctor says bacitracin (available without prescription) is better than Neosporin.

I have one suggestion on how to teach your kids how to remove ticks from a human being; let them practice on the family dog. Growing up in the country, I had to remove ticks from dogs all the time that they picked up running through the woods and I got really good at it. For all practical purposes knowing how to remove a tick from a human is the same as knowing how to remove ticks from dogs except for the fact that my daddy’s hunting dogs were nowhere near as squeamish as my husband!

Return to Family Recipes, Babies and Parenting Issues to see if my patient feels that I did a good job or if (God forbid) the spot gets infected.



I just accidentally deleted or rejected a comment asking what kind of yeast to make wine muscadine wine to be exact. I don't know if the would-be winemaker will check back here to get the answer to his or her winemaking question but just in case I wanted to leave a reply.

I'm told that you could use the same yeast that you might use to make bread, but the taste would be terrible but to be clear I've never tried it so I can't say. I would advise that you use specifically cultured yeast for winemaking. And that is a perfect example of things I wish that had been asked of the old folks before they passed on. I would have loved to be able to ask what kind of yeast was used to make muscadine wine in those days. I doubt seriously that my great-great grandmother had access to special ingredients; so what DID she use? My guess would be that in the old days they grew their own special cultures or just allowed the muscadines to ferment naturally without using yeast cultures.

As far as what what kind of yeast to make wine that we would use today, I have seen Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast recommended by people who say that it works great and is very cheap to use. If you don't have a home brewing supply store in your area, you can order it online. The only problem there is that I'm told most wine yeasts should be refrigerated until used and I'm not sure how that could be guaranteed in the mail.

Return to Family Recipes, Babies and Parenting Issues if you have questions and I'll try to answer them.



red eyed tree frog baby halloween infant costume endangered species

To draw attention to the shrinking habitat of the red eyed tree frog, I’m having a Baby frog Halloween costume giveaway contest! These bug eyed frogs have kind of become the poster child for saving the rain forests of the world if you have seen many posters advertising the need for action. This may be because their eyes make them look horrified and the organizations behind this very worthwhile movement know that WE SHOULD BE HORRIFIED that these priceless treasures are being destroyed at an alarming rate of speed.

There is another contest taking place that you can reach by following the link above that allows you to choose your own costume (if you win) from ANYTIMECOSTUMES.COM if dressing your baby like a tree frog is not what you had in mind for baby’s first time out Trick or Treating.


– Comment on what you feel can or should be done to slow the destruction of the rainforest. Don’t forget to leave your contact information so that I can get in touch if you are the winner.


The winner of the free baby frog Halloween costume giveaway will be drawn on October 15th at Midnight and announced the following day. I will contact you and give the winner 2 days to contact me with shipping information. If the winner fails to contact me within this time frame, another winner will be drawn.

Just so you know, I won the costume that will be the prize in my blog’s baby frog Halloween costume giveaway and there was a no return or exchange policy attached to the freebie. When it didn’t fit my little one I was disappointed at first and then I had the idea of turning lemons into lemonade by offering another mom a free baby Halloween costume AND using the cute baby tree frog costume as an opportunity to talk about the disappearing rainforest.

FYI the red eyed frog is not considered to be an endangered species YET. But where will they go when the rainforest is gone?

Return to Family Recipes, Babies and Parenting Issues to see more giveaways that give me a chance to rant and rave about the lack of attention being paid to the environment.



muscadine grapes growing picture scuppernongs wine recipe

Hubby said I should share our old-fashioned, southern muscadine wine recipe after I told him that I had posted Gran's muscadine cobbler recipe. I was reluctant to do so not because of its secret ingrediants or because it's acidic and you have to acquire a taste for it. I didn't post it because all of the kids would have been in big trouble if we had ever so much as whispered out loud that somebody in the family had made wine or anything alcoholic.

This recipe for muscadine wine will produce a sweet version. If you want your wine to have more kick to it, some people add vodka.


8 quarts of muscadine Grapes
8 pounds of granulated sugar
4 quarts of warm spring water (un-chlorinated)
1 package of dry yeast

Wash the muscadines and then one by one, mash the grapes in your fingers.

Pour the sugar in the warm water and stir still dissolved. Dip out a small amount in a cup and dissolve the yeast and pour it back into the main mixture.

Pour the liquid over the mashed muscadines.

Stir the muscadine mixture every day for a week.

Strain into a crock or churn that can be sealed and let sit for six weeks.

Strain mixture again and put in jars with the lids screwed on very loosely for the first few days (about 3) so that there's no chance of the jars exploding (ask me how I know!).

Tighten the jar lids and store in the cellar or a cool place.

The south, as I'm sure you know from watching old timey movies, has a reputation for making moonshine whiskey. But what you might not know is that for every man who had a still and made "shine" there was probably a wife who sang in the choir every Sunday that may have helped in the process to raise a little money to feed her children. The enterprise was necessary but shameful at the time and in the south, if you had relatives who made whiskey it is not something that is discussed.

The one and only reason that my grandmother shared her muscadine wine recipe with me is because she believed in its medicinal properties. And as muscadine grapes contain as much if not more resveratrol than grapes, it seems that she was right.

Return to Family Recipes, Babies and Parenting Issues to find more of my family's favorite recipes.



fire ants

Yesterday I needed a natural way to kill fire ants, preferably without the use of chemicals. After all the rain I could look out over the yard and see ant mounds everywhere! Before you recommend that I pick up some fire ant poison at the discount store I feel that I should remind you that I have four little girls who play in this same yard where those mounds have popped up like mushrooms and I don't like the idea of their running through chemical pesticide residue in their bare feet.

I knew from the start that their extermination would be a delicate balancing act. Fire ant stings could be deadly to my youngest and I will protect her at all cost but I don't want my babies exposed to pesticides in order to do so. What I needed was a fire ant mound destroyer that would leave no poisonous residue once the job was done. Because not only have they built mounds out in the yard but there are piles of ant dirt right next to the patio where we spend a lot of time as a family. These suckers have to go and if at all possible I was determined to make it happen using the most natural means available to me.

In my search of a natural way to kill fire ants, I came across some suggestions that seemed reasonable and some...not so much. And then there was one that looked like it would be downright fun! Would you care to guess which method I decided to try first? Being such a fan of family fun and all, you just had to know I'd choose the lighthearted way of bug extermination.

I'm going to use baking soda and vinegar to kill these red devil fire ants.


The instructions I found said to pour baking soda all over the mound and poke as much as possible deep into the mound using a stick. EXTREME CAUTION is necessary to avoid attacking ants while you are poking soda into their mound. In fact, I recommend wearing tall, rubber boots for protection. I tried a skinny, wooden dowel rod first but ended up using my backup which was a straightened wire coat hanger but your experience may vary depending on your soil.

After the baking soda was in place the next step was to pour a gallon of vinegar over the mound making sure that it comes into contact with the soda to facilitate the desired reaction. That mound started to crackle and fizz like crazy. I saw dead fire ants everywhere. It seems that your elementary school science project would have done better to educate us on a natural way to kill fire ants without chemicals rather than be just a lame volcano spewing on the table for a minute. Did this kill the fire ant queen or will the mounds pop back up again?

Return to Family Recipes, Babies and Parenting Issues to find out!



scuppernong pie cobbler homemade southern old fashioned

My grandmother's muscadine pie recipe may be the most delicious way I know to get your daily allotment of the trendy, anti-aging flavonoid known as resveratrol. Who would have dreamed that muscadines, or scuppernongs as we always called them, are supposed to be loaded with the same stuff that has red wine flying off the shelves of your local liquor store! Another added benefit of this pie is that I know that the muscadines I pick myself have never been treated with any pesticides!


4 pounds ripe scuppernongs (muscadine grapes)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch (or plain white flour)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Teaspoon of Lemon Juice

1 Recipe of your favorite double crust pie crust

Wash the scuppernongs then pull the hulls off off the pulp over a bowl to save the juice.

Pour the hulls, half of the saved juice in a heavy boiler and cook till tender. If the hulls are tough, it could take a while.

In a separate container, combine the remaining juice and the pulp until the seeds come loose, stirring constantly. Then run this mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds.

In a large pot, combine pulp mixture and hull mixture and stir until mixed.

Remove 2 cups (freeze leftovers for later or make another pie) with sugar, cornstarch, butter and lemon juice stirring well.

Pour into a pie plate lined with crust, top with remaining portion of crust. Trim and seal the edges. Flute the edges and cut slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees or until crust is brown.

As for me, I don’t like the taste of wine. Fermented beverages of any kind have never held much appeal for me. I’ve tried it and not only did I fail to appreciate the bouquet and flavor; the stuff makes me sleepy and gives me a headache. Dessert has yet to produce those side effects so I think I’ll stick with getting my flavonoids the old fashioned way.

Lucky for me that this old, southern muscadine pie recipe has (reportedly) many times the amount of resveratrol than is supposed to be packed in a bottle of Bordeaux. And I can cook it for a fraction of the price unless you count the time that I spend picking them off the vine and the time I’ll be scratching the redbug bites after the fact. Why do I always forget to spray before I head out the door to the woods with bucket in hand?

Return to Muscadine Pie Recipes to find more easy dessert recipes using old fashioned ingredients.



I call this Mama’s Quick recipe for pear cobbler because this was the dessert that was served when fresh pears were coming in by the bushel basket full and quick family meals were to be expected. After the crops were in and jars of canned fruit were lining the shelves, when a more relaxed pace fell in place we could look forward to pastries that took more time to produce. Another good thing about these pears is that I know they have never been treated with pesticide.


2 cups of peeled, sliced fresh pears 2 cups of sugar (1 ½ if using canned pears)
4 ounces of unsalted butter
¾ cup of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sweet milk
1 whole egg

Pour 1 cup of sugar over sliced pears in a bowl and set aside (if using canned pears, half the sugar and use a little syrup out of the jar). Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt your butter in a 2 qt oven proof baking dish either by placing dish in the oven or microwaving for a few seconds.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar with the rest of your dry ingredients including spices and salt (less a half cup of sugar if you chose to use canned pears) and mix well.

Beat the egg and sweet milk together with a spoon, pour over the dry ingredients and blend until a batter forms. Pour this batter over the butter that you melted WITHOUT STIRRING. Then pour your pears including syrup on top of your butter and batter, AGAIN WITHOUT STIRRING.

Bake your preheated oven for about an hour at 325 watching to see when batter (which has now miraculously risen to form the top crust) begins to brown.

Most cooks would leave it at this, but Mama would brush the top of the crust lightly with butter and sprinkle it with sugar which gave it better flavor. In my traditional southern home, more butter and sugar were added to practically every recipe.

Pies with rolled pastry were more time consuming than Mama’s quick recipe for pear cobbler and more visually showy but it would be impossible to find fault with the sweet, buttery filling of this easy pear dessert no matter whether what!

Return to Oooh Baby Parenting, Family and Environmental Issues to find more frugal southern recipes that include fresh fruit and produce.



From as early as I can remember, August was the month mama made her pear honey recipe with pineapple. My favorite pear tree, the one that my daddy planted the day I was born, could be depended on to deliver many bushels of firm cooking pears around the first of August and this treat was just one of the many delightful dishes made from its bountiful harvest.


12 cups of firm, peeled, sliced pears
12 cups of white sugar
1 (20 oz) can of crushed pineapple undrained
1 washed, thinly sliced lemon including the peel

After you wash the pears and cut them up, keep them covered in cold water until you have twelve cups. Drain the water from the pears and run them through the coarse blade of your food processor or thinly slice them. Put pears and sugar in a large pot and heat over very low heat (to give the juice a chance) stirring occasionally and don’t worry about crushing the pears. Simmer until the pears are cooked clear (I’m not going to put a time here because pears in different stages of ripeness take different amounts of time to get the right honey- like consistency) stir in the crushed pineapple and lemon and cook 5 to 10 minutes more. Pour the Pear Honey recipe with pineapple into hot, sterilized jars and seal. The results should be 6 to 8 pints of a delicious treat that is wonderful on a hot biscuit and makes an attractive gift.

1. Some cooks drop a cherry in each jar for a little added color if you want to dress it up to give as a gift

2. If you have some over ripe pears. Half the amount of sugar recommended for crisp pears

3. Try using Pear Honey on your kids peanut butter sandwiches instead of jelly

Some cooks use pineapple juice instead of crushed pineapple in their recipe. But Mama’s pear honey recipe with pineapple just tasted better to me, had a better texture and was easy to make with less cooking time than when juice was substituted. There were times when frugal cooking was a necessity that the juice from a can of sliced pineapple was substituted for the crushed pineapple. Many reading this may be thinking that a can of crushed pineapple is so cheap that they could not imagine altering the taste and appearance of the pear honey recipe to save a dollar. And I pray that those ladies never have the need to watch every cent like our family had to when times were bad.



pear recipes

I have more favorite pear recipes than for apple, peaches or most any other fruit. The reason for this might be that my daddy thought of an old family tradition to commemorate the birth of his baby girl. He headed right out to that pretty, field right beyond the pasture and planted a pear tree. Actually, he planted a bunch of pear trees, but I always knew which one he planted on the day I was born because he pointed it out to me regularly every time we took a walk in that direction. So, we have always had lots of canned pears on hand.

But that’s not the only reason my childhood memories are packed with every kind of pear recipe from pear cobbler to Pear Butter most of which were cooked for our family by my grandmother who says that she did her best to duplicate her mother’s recipes in spite of the fact that the only directions she was ever able to pry out of her was, "Oh, I throw in a little of this and a little of that and never have used a measuring cup or spoon".

I do not want my girls in the very distant future to have to guess at how I made their favorite old fashioned southern pear recipes like Pear Honey with Pineapple, pear preserves and mama's famous recipe for pear cobbler. My plans are to leave them with detailed recipes so that long after I’m gone they can enjoy natural goodies that they had when they were at home.

At the moment I’m looking at a bushel basket full of pears that need peeling. But right after I get through canning them I’m going to start typing out all those old fashioned, family pear recipes and if you make it back to Oh Baby Green Living, Family and Parenting Issues I'll share them with you and yours. There are lots of pear recipes on the net, but I may have a few old southern recipes that you might like better.



vintage picture taken of magazine page windsor half knot tie

With my family consisting largely of females one might wonder why I’d need to know how to tie a tie. Over the past few years I have devoted a world of time to learning how to make baby girls’ hair bows and embellishing hair bands and barrettes with doodads and decorations. However, learning how to tie a necktie knot fell further on my to do list with every baby girl that popped out of the oven, so to speak but as we know life can throw you a curve when you least expect it and, no pun intended, tie you in knots.

At one of the birthday celebrations that my devoted husband attended with two of our daughters yesterday he volunteered to catch the littlest kids and be sure they had good footing in the blow up pool at the bottom of the big blue monster slide. To make a long story short, one of the kids flew down that slide like a rocket and dear husband jammed two of his fingers trying to catch the child. The hostess fetched a bag of ice and iced the swollen fingers immediately but hubby arrived home with throbbing digits that resembled stuffed sausages. Among all the other things I had to take care of due to his debilitated hand, I was informed if he was going to go to church with the family this morning, I had to learn how to tie a tie because there was no way that he could do it himself and as he is an usher, my husband always wears a suit and tie to Sunday services.

Thinking he was just trying to play hooky from church I stayed up after everyone else had gone to bed thinking that I would head him off at the pass and surprise him with my amazing ability to tie his tie in a perfect knot. Imagine my surprise to find that there are more than a few knots that are used for this purpose and I didn’t have a clue which one I needed to learn. What was the difference in a half-Windsor and a plain Windsor? Or did he use the Shelby also known as the Pratt? What I needed was to find the easiest way possible to get us (hopefully) through one tying so I did a search for the EASIEST way to tie a tie and found that I was not the only person that need help in learning how to tie a tie as there are not only colored pictures and diagrams with instructions but (God bless them) videos teaching us the fine art of tying a gentleman’s necktie in many, many ways. For simplicity’s sake I decided on the half-Windsor knot because the steps seemed to me to be the easiest.

About an hour ago, I laid out hubby’s shirt and tie like I always do and when he came out of the shower, he paused when he saw the familiar scene wondering how this was going to work. Before he could ask any questions, I said, "When you’re ready for your tie, I’ll take care of it for you". He hasn’t gotten around to asking me how or when I learned how to tie a tie so for now it’s our little secret and just one of those things you do for family.

Return to Oooh Baby Parenting, Family and Environmental Issues to see if he ever asks me whose tie I tied before his because I know that it will bug him until he asks.



I'm having trouble figuring out how to squeeze in quality family time this holiday weekend. I was not aware that September was a big baby delivery month but if the number of birthday parties that my kids were in invited to attend today alone, there must have been a premature ice storm or something four or five years ago if you catch my drift.

With such a busy schedule and dear daddy taking half the kids in one direction with mommy (yours truly) heading in the other with the remainder of our little crew in tow I had to ponder if trying to attend every get together was the best plan. The girls were so tired that they took a short, unsatisfying nap in the car on the way home and are now half-heartedly splashing in the bath while I'm heating spaghetti sauce and boiling noodles for supper.

Tomorrow we are going to have some quality family time, together, as a unit barring some unseen disaster. My goal is to pull the plug on the television and the football games (sorry, Honey) and to turn on the telephone. Mom, dad and the kids are going to play and laugh and spend some time making memories.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting, Family and Environmental Issues to see if I make good on my promise.



Ok, it's one of those mornings when baby is fussy but you have to go to the store and an old man walks up and slaps your child in Walmart. Not exactly a great way to kick off the day. This might seem like a fictional report of a friend's bad dream or perhaps a nightmare of your own. However, this scenario played itself out in a Walmart store in Georgia.

A 61 year old guy named Roger Stephens apparently got enough of a little 2 year old girl's crying and (alledgedly) told her to shut the child up or he would do it.

As kids are so prone to do, the little girl kept crying which reportedly prompted Stephens to make good on his threat. It was reported that he (as gran used to say) rared back and slapped her not once but four times. He then had the brass to tell her mom, who was no doubt standing there gaping in shock, "See, I told you I could (or would?) shut her up". To quote Whoopie Goldberg, "WHAT THE HELL"?!

To follow up, Mr. Stephens was picked up, arrested and charged on Monday on a first degree cruelty to children charge. Before his arrest (or perhaps because of the impending?) he apologized to the mother for slapping her little girl. My questions is what kind of man slaps a child in Walmart or anywhere for that matter?

I tried to get a mental picture of my husband slapping one of our girls and I couldn't. We just don't discipline our children in that way. The image of anybody hitting a child in the face or anywhere is appalling to me because. It's my belief that violence never solves anything but creates bigger problems for the long haul. I'm not a fan of violence, but you better know that any man who slaps my child in Walmart or anywhere else better be expecting it. This peaceful mama would break out a big can of ass whipping like you wouldn't believe!

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting, Family and Environmental Issues


Frankly, I can’t say how I feel about the I PLEDGE video until I study it and give it a lot of thought. There is more work to do for a parent than to analyze the actual content of the video. First, let me go on the record as saying that I don’t like the idea of political messages being directed at my children while they are at school.

The question was brought up at a play date this morning whether or not the video had a political agenda. I'm not usually concerned with politics but I like to be informed on current events so I figured I had better check out some of the opinions on the I Pledge video posted by people who are more involved and intelligent than yours truly.
My findings were that President Obama’s speech seemed to be standard political fare asking the viewers to be more patriotic, responsible and helpful in nature. Then the celebrities are seen making pledges about how they plan to support the president and do their part in helping the world and that’s where the film became problematic and at times kind of goofy.

Some of the celebrity pledges shown in the I Pledge video concerned helping out in food banks, being more cheerful and helping the elderly population which I can jump on board with in a big way. And then there was the pledge not to shoot the bird to our fellow travelers on the roads which is a small contribution to world peace, but I’m not sure I want my kids to hear about adults giving the finger at school as I exercise restraint when I’m driving to keep them innocent as long as possible.

And then there are the more leading pledges that leave me scratching my head namely the one about the celeb promoting stem cell research and selling their old gas burner to buy a more fuel efficient hybrid. For one thing most kids know very little if anything about stem cell research and beyond being told they can’t use the car could not possibly care less about fuel efficient transportation.
Many pledges, such as supporting local food banks, smiling more, and caring for the elderly are not controversial. But other pledges, such as "to never give anyone the finger when I’m driving again", "to sell my obnoxious car and buy a hybrid" and to advance stem cell research some say cross the line. The question at hand is not whether these pledges or statements are harmful, because most of the stuff that I’ve read was in the I Pledge video is pretty mundane stuff other than the subject of stem cell research. The bigger issue is whether the children should be politically influenced at school.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting, Family and Environmental Issues to see what ladies in my neighborhood think about this video being shown in public schools.


Swine Flu, Babies and Asthma

The word is that Swine flu and asthma is a nasty combination. But then every illness is further complicated when breathing problems exist. The numbers of reported cases of confirmed cases are increasing with every newspaper that hits my driveway. And my anxiety is spreading through my body faster than the virus is mutating because I have children who are in the high risk group that have allergies and can't take the regular flu vaccine much less the H1N1 vaccination.

It depends on how I’m feeling at the moment but I’m waffling between being worried about the actual illness and what might happen if one of my girls catches it which would be bad enough under any set of circumstances but even more so given their existing breathing problems and fear of the girls being a guinea pig. The reports that this vaccine has not been put to the test and could possibly be more dangerous than the swine flu in and of itself.

What’s a mother to do when put between a rock and a hard place? Should I roll the dice, keep my fingers crossed and pray that the H1N1 bypasses our family or trust the medical talking heads and put these little souls in line to get a vaccination that some doctors are on record as stating that in their opinions the swine flu vaccine is not ready for use in humans?

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting, Family and Environmental Issues to find out whether we decide to vaccinate or not.