Thursday, July 31, 2008

Everything Is Breaking (and an opportunity to be nosy!)

Does it ever seem like things break in waves around your house? Within the last month, we've been having all these little things here and there going wrong. I emphasize the little and I am grateful they are little. 

Well I wouldn't exactly call the oven debacle a little thing, although a new heating element only cost $55 and we did the quick fix ourselves. Then our second bathroom sink wasn't draining. I tried my darndest to snake the clog free myself, but no I had to call our local friendly plumber. The power snake did the trick in about 20 minutes. Charge to snake the sink, $155 bucks.

To top it all off, my car wanted in on the action. A light appeared, the your tires are unusually low light, on my dashboard. I had no idea I had such a sensor on my tires. Turns out after two weeks of driving with it on, I had a screw in my tire, that was causing a very slow leak. The dealership did not charge me to plug my tire when I had an oil change. I don't know if they just forgot or what, but how likely is it that a car dealership would plug a tire for free? Luck was on our side.

Hopefully, this will be the final the house is falling apart, itty-bitty piece by piece, tale. The other night, we were going through the bedtime routine. First stop, bathroom business. The girls were both on the step stool at the bathroom sink waiting to brush their teeth.

GL is yelling on her tippy toes, "Choo, Choo, Choo, Choo" demanding her train toothbrush.

SJ attempts to open medicine chest door, when all of a sudden it makes a loud pop. The door, which weighs no less than 20 pounds, sticks a bit and then drops in the corner a couple of inches. I grab the door as quickly as possible, fearing it would crash down on my sink. My new shiny sink from our bathroom remodel last year, pictures here.
So now, I am in a pickle, as I like to call it. I need to problem solve fixing the medicine cabinet door with one hand while bearing the weight with the other hand. I send Sj to get screwdriver when I discover the hinge will not just pop back into the bracket. I am awkwardly trying to reattach screws and getting no where fast. That's not exactly true, I was getting frustrated rather quickly. 

Mind you my husband is on his way home from a business trip while this is all transpiring.

The one hand holding 20 some pounds of door and the other trying to attach or detach screws in two hinges and brackets now is fruitless. I send Sj for the telephone. I reach my hubby.

Me: Where are you? (typical wife question, may I add)
Hubby: I'm pulling into the driveway.
Me: Can you run inside as fast as possible, like right NOW!!! Run, Run, RUN.

Not sure what went through his brain in that moment, I will have to inquire. He came to the rescue. All I can say is thank goodness, because I was truly in a bind. Two adults, four hands,a screwdriver, and the mirrored door was safely removed. Big sigh. 

The next morning, I called the company, and they are sending a new hinge. The woman casually mentioned they make a THREE hinge version now because of all the problems they encountered with my version. Nice, thanks for the salt in my wound lady.

Here's your chance to be nosy, take a peek inside my medicine chest. It's currently doorless, but we have just received the hinge. Ummm, yeah, I have a weakness for products. I will refrain from showing you my toiletry closet.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Couldn't Resist The Urge To Speak Up...

Saturday I seized the moment and ran a few errands with out the children in tow. Late in the afternoon, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a Baby Superstore.

We all know who is in a Baby Superstore on a Saturday afternoon. Expecting parents, new parents, and doting new grandparents. Oh and me, picking up humidifier filters, which is the only reason I visit this Baby Superstore. The energy in the place was buzzing with excitement.

Pregnant moms were checking out the "most adorable Halloween costumes they had ever seen". Ever. Big husky dad's were contorting themselves into the straps of baby carriers, with the urging from their wives, raging with hormones, on the cusp of delivery. Then there were adorable itty bitty newborns, all bundled up, with coordinating blankets over their infant carriers, the new parents peeking at them around every turn, for their first public outting.

Expecting parents were armed with little scanning guns. Contemplating the smallest details from color, size, this one or that one. Choosing all the latest and greatest gadgets. I would love to give them my perspective on all those gadgets, but I refrain. I want to whisper in their ears, please go out to a leisurely dinner, go see a movie. Take a nap. Instead I smile at them, in love, relishing the moment of becoming parents.

I grabbed my two items, replacement humidifier filters and headed over to the booster seat section. My soon to be five year old is just about an inch away from moving out of her Britax Marathon. A five point carseat. Yes, my daughter commonly mistaken for a six year old, still rides in a carseat. It's the safest place for her, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I didn't see the Britax Frontier, but noticed an employee. I made my way over to inquire if they would be carrying it soon.

At the same time, a couple with an eleven month old approached the department specialist. Their son was ready to move into a big boy carseat and they were in desperate need for advice. I was surprised when the employee took them to the boosters, instead of the carseat section.

She went into her spiel about boosters and how to not bother buying a regular carseat. I could tell the parents were overwhelmed. Their son was small for eleven months and he would have been swimming in her recommendation. The mom asked if the back lowered because it just, "seems so big".

Now technically, I was not eavesdropping, but standing on the fringe of this couple's inquiries. I was patiently waiting for my turn. I grabbed the opportunity to ask about the Frontier, which they don't think they will carry until the new year. I walked away, grabbing a closer look at another 5 point harness booster seat, Graco Nautilus, the alternative that was rated very well.

Then there was a moment, a moment when the inquiring mom made eye contact with me. I couldn't stay silent. I said hello to the mom, mentioned how all the choices are overwhelming, then I looked her in the eye and said please do your research. Carseats are one of the most important investments you will make as a parent. She asked, so I told her about our carseat choices.

When I walked away, I felt content knowing that I shared my opinion with an impressionable mother. Knowing that I would have regretted not speaking up to that mother for the rest of the night.

My post on Booster Seats vs. Five Point Harness.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Child Passenger, Safety Program, webpage.

Car Seat Safety webpage.

Please I urge you, to do your research as well.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday Tips: Plastic Water Bottle Alternatives

Our Collection of Alternatives!

A few years ago, we began to phase out our plastic sippy cups and #7 Nalgene bottles. My concerns all started with an article that I read in a magazine called Organic Living. The article detailed the hazards of plastics leaching toxins into our food and drinking water. Very recently, the safety of plastics has been addressed more thoroughly, providing the consumer with alternatives to the unsafe choices that may linger in our own kitchen cabinets.

The main concern is Bisphenol-A or better known as BPA, which is used in many baby bottles and Nalgene water bottles. BPA is considered toxic because it's a hormone disruptor. Other plastics to avoid contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Studies show the bottles are more prone to leaching when they are heated (microwave, dishwasher) and scratched or the surface has been damaged.

There are a few top plastics to avoid, it's easy to find the type of plastic (#) on the bottom of the waterbottle or plastic container, simply by looking in the triangle, typically used for recycling purposes. Now, unfortunately a few of my daughter's cups don't even have the number on the bottom, so you have to do some detective work. I will provide resources for those issues.

Definitely Avoid or Throw Away-
#3- PVC Polyvinyl Chloride
#6-Polystyrene (PS)
#7- Polycarbonate

#7, Polycarbonate are hard plastic water bottles, typically your Nalgene style bottle or baby bottles. Nalgene and Camelback are now touting their #7 Polycarbonate bottles are BPA free. Obviously you are going to have to decipher if it's a good or bad #7 by the age of the bottle. If you purchased it within the last few months and it had a sticker stating BPA Free, you are good to go. If it's old, time to toss it.

With the new or old, safe or unsafe confusion, I have phased out #7 in my home completely.

Better Plastic Alternatives:
#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE), most commonly used for bottled drinks.
#2 High Density Polyethylene
#4 Low Density Polyethylene
#5 Polypropylene, most of your disposable style food storage containers are made of this.

Top Suggestions For Safely Using Plastic-
Start to handwash your plastics. Huge pain in the butt, unfortunately the alternative may be hurting your health. Yes, warm water is ok to use, it's the temperature in the dishwasher that heats the plastic. Stop microwaving plastic NOW. Use pyrex or glass storage containers. Sniff and then taste. If it tastes like plastic, avoid it.

My Favorites-
Klean Kanteen, hands down is my favorite alternative water bottle. Why, I can safely put it in the dishwasher! It's all stainless steel and they come with sport top or Advent sippy cup tops. We purchased ours here, but more and more retailers are carrying Klean Kanteens, which now even in come in a rainbow of colors. I also enjoy Sigg or Laken water bottles, but because of their internal lining they are not dishwasher safe.

The leading authority on this topic, protecting babies and children from the hazards is Z REcommends. They put out Z Reports on BPA, do extensive studies on brands to buy and avoid. Please check them out here for a downloadable wallet size "safe brand" card!

National Geographic informative link.

We also started phasing out our plastic food storage containers, although not completely. We most often use glass storage containers from Crate and Barrel.

Monday, July 28, 2008

As The Smoke Clears...

Old habits die hard. Habits that have been ingrained in daily ritual for years, for over forty years to be exact. How do you go about changing forty years of reinforcement?

My father succumb to the habitual addiction of smoking, over forty years ago. I will have to inquire as to the when it all started, I am almost positive he started smoking when he was in the Airforce. Smoking unfiltered Pall Malls to top it off. The label is imprinted in my mind, red with white lettering, some bizarre crest in the middle of the pack. Occasionally in the last decade, he'd go cold turkey and quit, but I don't think it ever lasted longer than a few months.

As with any addiction, the choice to stop ultimately has to be of one's own volition. Even if we know that addiction can kill you, age you beyond belief, stress out your organs, and permeate the smell of your hands, breath, clothing, and home. Aah, it's just a smoke, right?

Two weeks ago, my father quit smoking. He recently fell ill, so sick that he knew it was time. In a moment of weakness his mind convinced his ailing body, there's got to be a better way. His words spoke of seeing his granddaughter's growing up.

After spending a couple of weeks distracted by my father's health, we now know he's going to be okay. The beauty of this health scare is an opportunity to heal and live a fuller life. A life in a body not being polluted by chemicals and nicotine time and time again, through out the day. A life with out Pall Malls. Good bye little red pack. Good bye waste of money.

All my positive thoughts are being directed at keeping him on track. A box of special treats decorated by the girls, with some of his favorite quotes from them, adorn the labels of hard candy packages. A reminder that seeing his granddaughter's grow up is a wonderful thing.

I had to share these two ads from 1951 & 1954, mind boggling really: ---

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Au Revoir le Tour de France

The sun has set on the 95th Tour de France. My mornings shall return to normal, no longer will I be glued to Versus, but PBS once again. I won't be contemplating how I am not the demographic for TdF viewers, with all male enhancement and hair replacement commercials. And, I won't be tuning into Versus' newest brainchild, The Contender Muay Thai, even though I saw no less than 500 commercials for it.

Truth be told, this is what I will be missing:

Good bye lean muscles, aching bodies, and endearing smiles

And a final congratulations to 33 year old Spanish rider, Carlos Sastre, for winning the Yellow Jersey and the title, with a mere 58 second lead. What a wonderful race. Your win at L'Alpe-D'Huez was by far my favorite stage.

I may have even come out of this year's race with a new favorite, an up and comer, ready to watch move into the yellow jersey within a few years, Luxembourg's Andy Schleck. Winner of the white jersey, for best youngest rider.

Au Revoir Le Tour. Au Revoir. Until next year...

photo credits here and here.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Spreading Some Sunshine

Oh dear, it's a hot one today in Colorado. Sunny and hot. I decided to take a late morning run and haven't quite recovered in the sweat department with the heat. Is it normal for you neck to sweat profusely?

Anyway, I thought it would be a wonderful day to spread some Bloggy Sunshine.

Kristin of Jilli Java & Garden of Eden passed along this award to me, which made me blush and smile. It's funny, the awards come in waves in the blogosphere and I was kind of treading water, just wishing one would come my way. Now this award typically comes with a list of rules, but I am throwing caution in the wind, you can find the rules if you google Arte & Pico.

I am passing this on to one fellow blogger that lives about 10 minutes from my house. From her blog, I get to know her a little bit better with every post, even though we don't see each other regularly. So thanks Cathy for sharing, check out The Clothesline sometime.

This award came my way from Renee at But Why Mommy who makes me smile with her posts. I love getting to know people and Renee is very open and easy to like. On top of her blogging adventures she also has an Etsy site, Check her out!

This award I am passing along to Lisa and her two blogs, VeryBusyMomWith4 and her recipe blog, What'sForDinnerMommy. It's a great go to resource for last minute meal ideas! We share a love of Whole Foods, but I enjoy her thoughts, especially about Coming Out (in the blogging sense). Go see for yourself!

And, just a special thank you for Kristin and Renee, for thinking of me. Sometimes I wonder why I do this thing called blogging and I know in my heart it just makes me a happier person!

Friday, July 25, 2008

"1980-Something" Arrived In A Box Today...

My best guesstimates would pinpoint 1986 as the year, the contents of my brown card board box take me back to. One brown box, one portal to 22 years ago. Holy, I just said, 22 years ago!?!

The radio was playing hot pop such as Whitney Houston's Greatest Love of All, Madonna's Live to Tell, Prince's Kiss, or Wang Chung's Everybody Have Fun Tonight. But quite interestingly enough, I was more enthralled with boys on skateboards, so my Yellow Sony Walkman contained a mixed tape blaring alternative sounds such as Violent Femmes' Blister In The Sun or The Dead Milkmen's Big Lizard In My Back Yard. More Hits from 1986 are simply a click away. Go ahead, take a peek, remember when.

What a true juxtaposition of chasing the alternative scene, all the while keeping up with the rich girls. Yeah you know the type, the preppies with perfect hair, alligators on their shirts, and fancy hood ornaments on daddy's car. I ran in my own circle, but I could keep up with them, shopping at the Limited for some leggings, a big belt, and an oversized striped shirt, the same day I bought a vintage dress at Salvation Army. I am sure after pizza Friday in my house, someone's mother dropped us off at Crossgates Mall to get our shop on. Of course to meet boys from other parts of town, to watch movies, to spend money. Suburban adolescence at it's finest.

All the while I was rockin' a pair of sneakers. Tretorns to be exact. My friend Brown delivered a brand spanking new pair of Tretorns to my doorstep today. I owned 2 pairs in the 80's, white canvas with blue gingham stripe and white on white in leather. I am still amazed at how the contents of a brown box can make me smile and take me back, to the memories from so long ago.

Just for fun, I had to throw this in, if you could see my feet, you would see that I was rockin' my leather Tretorns. Freshman Field Hockey, circa 1987. And yes, it turns out our coach liked the ladies. I don't quite get the collars tucked in, for that fashion faux paux my memory slips me. I do remember it was hip to wear men's boxers under our uniforms. I hope this makes at least one of you laugh, for I couldn't contain myself!

Special thank you to Zappos for making my day! Don't they rock!?!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday 13: Mile High Music Festival Observations

1. Going to see live music when you are not totally obsessed with the musicians is a huge load off and quite fun actually. People talking, screaming, singing along, no problem with me!

2. Rodrigo y Gabriela, a guitar duo from Mexico City, are incredible musicians.

3. Although we all know he's got a shy, sensitive side, I firmly believe after all his boobie comments, that John Mayer is one kinky guy behind closed doors.Here he is at the Festival, covering Van Halen's Panama sans t-shirt. More live show footage here.

4. People look awfully silly taking photos at night from the very back of a crowd of the stage. What is the point of that?

5. Overheard by a young male, obviously already intoxicated at 4pm, "Dude, I can't make it anther 4.5 hours to see Dave".

6. People I would have called dirty hippies a decade ago, with long white boy dread locks, now rock Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. Gosh, where have I been?

7. The festival was at our local soccer complex, so I kept expecting to see David Beckham. Keep dreaming.

8. $8 beer on a hot day is delicious.

9. Traffic does not have to be a huge cluster when you are attending a festival with 49,999 other people. I kid you not, we hit no traffic. Still amazed by that.

10. Food on the other hand was a MAJOR cluster.

11. If you see a fellow blogger waiting in line, that you email with, but haven't met yet, just say hello. I didn't and I wish I did now.

12. Ben Harper should have played. Damn him touring in Europe.

13. Free tickets made the day better than anticipated. So did my friends. Thanks for a fun time! Finally a girls DAY & NIGHT OUT all rolled into one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Tips: Five Food Ingredients To Avoid

I'm a firm believer in being able to easily read and understand what ingredients are in the food I purchase and ultimately my family consumes. There are some ingredients that I avoid, if I see them listed on a label (READ YOUR LABELS!), I pass. It's that simple. Some of them may be considered food additives, which is another post completely. Food additives are added to foods to improve flavor and taste. Typically they are chemicals.

Ingredients that I choose to avoid have been proven to be of no nutritional value to our bodies. Beyond lacking nutritional value, many ingredients and additives are harmful to our arteries and have been linked to cell damage.

So what are these ingredients you wonder?

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup-
This is a big one for me. HFCS is in everything, go look at your ketchup label. Yep, it's in there. You'll be amazed at how many food products contain HFCS. But why is it bad, it's made from corn right? Probably, GMO, genetically modified corn to start with.

Fructose has to be metabolized through the liver, which means it's not easily processed by our bodies. Fructose is converted to a fat which in turn contributes to raised triglyceride levels in our bloodstream. And to top it off, HFCS blocks the release of the hormone that tells our bodies we are full, which means you overeat when you drink soda or eat food products containing HFCS. Adding those extra pounds. Speaking of sweeteners, skip the artificial ones, they are chemicals and the word is still out on their safety.

For the record, Whole Foods 365 brand products never contain HFCS as a sweetener. They do the work for you!

2. MSG- Monosodium Glutamate & It's Other Names-
Many highly processed foods contain MSG, not just your Chinese take out. MSG can cause many side effects in people that they may not be linking to this chemical additive in their foods. For example, headaches, numbness, tingling, nausea, drowsiness, weakness, rapid heartbeat have all been linked to MSG exposure. MSG may also be hiding in other ingredients, as it's always found in, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, gelatin, to name a few. Believe me if you are eating foods with MSG, they aren't the best choice you can be making, period. Find a healthier alternative.

3. Hydrogenated Oils & Trans Fats-
To extend the shelf life of products, oils are turned to solids with high heat and the addition of hydrogen atoms, creating hydrogenated oils. Since hydrogenated oils are not naturally occurring in nature, our body takes the toll in trying to process them. Unlike natural oils for example, olive, canola, or grapeseed oil which are healthy alternatives. Trans Fatty acids are one of the leading contributers to the increase of heart disease and in particular cholesterol levels in our blood. Avoid trans fats, your heart will thank you.

4. Enriched Flour & Bleached White Flour-
Let's face it, enriched and white flours, have no nutritional value. They have no dietary fiber, causing our digestion to slow down. Remember fiber keeps our digestive tract moving, which is a good thing. Choose whole grains, especially as a first ingredient in bread and cracker products. Make sure the label specifically states WHOLE next to the grain. Unbleached white flour is an ok alternative when baking, it's a refined wheat flour, fairly high in gluten, sometimes with up to 80% of the wheat germ restored. I always sneak some whole wheat flour into a recipe when baking, usually for one cup of flour, it's safe to use 1/3 cup whole wheat without compromising the finished product.

5. Sodium Nitrate (or Sodium Nitrite)-
Nitrates are used as a preservative, coloring, and flavoring in processed meats. Think deli meat, bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, corned beef, smoked fish, and other processed meats. These additives have been found to lead to the formation of cancer causing chemicals in our bodies, called nitrosamines. We purchase our lunch meat at Whole Foods, typically the brands are Diestel or Applegate Farms, which are organic and antibiotic free. Applegate Farms has a wonderful webpage. You can type in your upc off a product and it will track for you which farm your meat came from. Incredible! I love companies that encourage open door policies and are transparent to their consumers because they are passionate about what they do! I recently purchased Hormel Natural Choice Turkey, which is their new natural line, that does not contain nitrates. I didn't like it, but it's a step in the right direction.

I grabbed two boxes from my cabinet, to prove to you how easy it should be to read labels on food you are consuming.

Back To Nature- Harvest Whole Wheats (very similar to triscuits)-
Ingredients-Whole wheat, expeller-pressed oleic safflower oil, sea salt, natural tocopherols added to preserve freshnes

Kashi-Cinnamon Harvest Cereal-
Ingredients-Organic whole grain wheat, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cinnamon, natural cinnamon flavor.

That's it, seriously. Hope you find the same thing when you glance at a label the time you reach for a snack. Trust me those small additives add up and impact your health tremendously.

More Resources:
Whole Foods Quality Standards: Unacceptable Food Ingredients link.

Center For Science In The Public Interest & Food Safety link.

Garden CSI: Illustrated Version Update

Well my friends, I thought my earwig adventure story was a good one. I've spent about 3 nights now in the garden, Shop Vacuuming up the Pill Bugs and Earwigs. And last night, I didn't find ONE earwig in my garden. Can you believe it?

To my delight, one of my blogging friends, and a chuckle of a good time June Cleaver Nirvana, graciously offered up an illustration to complete my story. Now you must know that HRH draws quite the crowds with her illustrations, everything from experiences with an electrician and her fruit bowl to pretty nails or beaver traps. Yes, I said beaver traps. To check out all of her wonderful animated life, just click here.

Funny enough when I was writing my Garden CSI post, it felt like something was missing. So thank you, HRH for completing the story for me. It's now wonderful. I've been given clearance to publish this photo, so enjoy.

BTW..My regularly scheduled Tuesday Tips, will be coming shortly, we lost power today, so I am a bit off schedule!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Garden CSI: The Lettuce Has Been Devoured Episode

Preface: I've decided to garden. Nothing big, just my little patch of green, making me happy. Hopefully it will produce some beautiful vegetables that will make our bellies content. I'm not much into chemicals, so I am making my way blindly through this gardening adventure, taking the roadblocks as they come.

The other morning, I gathered up the girls to do our morning greeting to the garden. Check on the plants, assess any bug damage, feel delight with a new bud or fruit. When I gasped, noticing my lettuce patch had been devoured overnight. Gone. Like who let the starving bunnies loose in my garden. Only problem is, we don't have bunnies in our yard or neighborhood. Apparently we have hungry exoskeletal creatures roaming about.

How do I know this, you ask?

All day, I couldn't let go of the fact that something destroyed my lettuce overnight. I knew that the roly poly bugs were the culprits in my zucchini and bean plant demise, but now my lettuce? Just couldn't be. At 10pm I decided it was time for some Garden Crime Scene Investigation. I donned my panties, a tank top, Crocs, and a headlamp as I walked slowly and quietly towards my raised garden bed. Sorry folks, no pictures allowed. Although my husband had a heck of a chuckle.

Turned on the headlamp in a flash! And what did I find?

Earwigs, seriously with lettuce in their little pinchers. Having a divine supper in my garden. But they weren't just in my lettuce, they were in the already eaten zucchini, sunflowers, basil, pumpkins, beans as well. I never met an earwig I liked and this was just one more reason to destroy the buggers.

I took my heeby-jeeby-bugs-are-crawling-on-me-and-I-am-in-my-underwear self back into the house. Where for the next hour, I thought there was something crawling on me. Eeew!

This was war.

I went to the war headquarters, Google. This is the advice I found: trap them with a tuna can filled with oil and a dash of soy sauce or Shop Vac them up. Then, I sought advice from my family, brother #1 advises Neem Oil. Brother #2 advises some spray from Walmart (it's organic)...But you see, I'm cheap and don't want to spend a dime, so I???

Fast forward to 11pm, the day after the Earwig discovery.

Headlamp on my head, flipflops on my feet, more clothing than last night, and a ShopVac, armed and ready to go. I did it, I sucked the little buggers up. And some roly pollies to top it off. For the record it's very fragrant to vacuum off your basil plants, aromatherapy at it's finest.

Oh and it feels good, darn good, to suck up lots of hungry bugs. Mwahahahaha!!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pizza Saturday, huh? Marco's in Denver!

The Foodie buzz has been brewing about a new pizza place in Denver. Marco's Coal-Fired Pizzeria boasts authentic Neapolitan pizza, right down to the Italian sourced flour in their crust. With a broken oven, Pizza Friday was a bust in our house, so we headed downtown to give Marco's a try.

We decided to take the girls for lunch, with our reasoning being they are just more manageable around noon and we knew it would be less crowded, than on a Friday night. First of all, let me cheer with delight, when I share that there is FREE PARKING in the lot next to the building, huge bonus for downtown Denver. When we arrived, we were the only people in the restaurant. Granted it was about 11:30 on a Saturday.

We ordered two pizzas and their specialty coal fired wings. The wings are made with onions, fresh herbs and lemons, served up with focaccia that the girls devoured. They were a nice refreshing change from your typical buffalo style wings. The pizzas we ordered were the Staten Island, with salame, fresh mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and San Marzano tomatoes and the Campania with Bufala Mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil.

Honestly, I will say, ever since I dined at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, I've been chasing the culinary delight pizza truly can be. I have to admit, for Denver and for Colorado, Marco's does a great job. First you have to walk through the door, letting go of traditional notions of what a pizza should be. Neapolitan pizza has a thin crust, with thicker edges, tomatoes with seasoning, and light on the fresh cheese. The pizza is very basic, in a good sense. It allows you to experience all the flavors in a new way, with out being overwhelmed by toppings. I was impressed with the crust, chewy with some crispiness through out. Fresh cheese always makes eating pizza a bit more of a challenge, but it's a wonderful departure from traditional mozzarella. Very authentic. 

Thumbs up, Marco's, I will definitely put it on my Fabulous Pizza in Colorado list. Trust me, it's a short one. If you're in the neighborhood, give it a try.

Marco's Website, 2129 Larimer Street, Denver 80205

(photo disclaimer, I took one photo on my camera before the battery died, oops! So the photo was taken with my cell phone, decent, but not fabulous, so I am keeping it to one shot!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gentle Reminders

Last night I took a couple of hours to myself to decompress. It's been a long week for a few reasons, one being it's close to "GO TIME" for my hubby. He'll be wrapping up his project and heading off to Los Angeles with it, to officially finalize the movie. It's what he does every year, every August, leaves us for a few weeks. Which means, it's all me, all the time.

So when I can escape, I jumped at the opportunity to head out to see some live music and chitchat with my darling scottish, green card in wallet, friend. The music turned out to be a bit loud and not quite our scene. It was more of the 50-Something empty nesters rocking like no tomorrow. I was impressed, but was more thrilled with a cold Shandy in hand. I prefer my Shandy with 1/2 Bass and 1/2 Sprite. (miss you, BZ!!)

When I arrived home I was locking the door, I noticed a 4 year old hand written gentle reminder on the door. The back of our door, holds a clip for me to house all important reminders, with the theory being I'll see them before I leave and I won't forget whatever it was I was trying to remember.

This is what it said:
Written by none other than, Sj. I asked the background story to the note. My husband told me they were discussing that tomorrow is Friday, which is almost the weekend. Weekends are very celebrated around here, because we get daddy for 2 days in a row. I can guarantee something came up about pancakes which is the official Saturday breakfast of champions in our house. Then surprisingly talk moved to, trash day.

Where Sj said, "Dad, it would make mommy really happy if you could remember to take out the trash in the morning. Would you like me to write you a note so you can remember?"

Aaah, my daughter looking after her mom. Priceless.

Then I found this, wrapped up with a little hair tie around it, MOM scribbled on back. A portrait of our family. Well, almost our family. You see, we don't own a dog (bottom left corner) named OPREE. Wishful thinking on her part.
There's not a day that passes that I don't delight at the amazement and wonder that comes with being a few months shy of five years old. Or when I don't chuckle at the vocabulary that rolls gently off Sj's tongue, talking as if she were an adult. I just try to remember to seize the moment with her, every passing moment I can grab.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Farmer Envy, Roly Poly Bugs, and Lots of Patience

Early Saturday morning, I went on a leisurely stroll with one of my dear friends through the Farmer's Market in Boulder. Surprisingly to my delight, the market was not packed to the gills, nor was it hot and sweaty. It was refreshing, we chatted about all the local purveyors and how the market has evolved over the last 14 years.

Personally, I was thrilled to have a look at the vegetables the professional farmers produce. Holy. Awe and amazement are just two words that come to mind. At one point I had to pull myself back as I found my hand stroking some gorgeous golden beets. One of the biggest lessons I have learned from gardening this year is that beyond the regimented care and diligence, little buggers may just take hold of your precious plants in one night.

Enter the Pill Bug/ Roly Poly.

I noticed early on that something was eating my zucchini plants when they were pretty small. Close by I planted some beans as well and in eight hours, after sun fall, all the leaves were completely consumed from my beans. My zucchini is holding strong, but two plants were destroyed. In an attempt to keep the little critters away, I've rolled up a newspaper and wet it. They collect under there at night (probably after their bellies are full of zucchini leaves). I wake in the morning, shovel in hand, lift the newspaper,and physically remove them.

I looked into chemical/non-chemical treatments for the Roly-Polies, but it wasn't worth the cost. If they want zucchini let them have it. Just as long as they stay away from my coveted tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and basil.

Enjoy the pictures, from my little garden, a source of joy for the entire family...

Devoured zucchini plants...

Our cute roma tomatoes, love the oval shape.
Patience waiting for green to turn red. 

Early Girl Tomatoes, growing strong. 

Pumpkins, gourds, and watermelon are growing in this patch. Not sure which plants are which at this point, have to wait for the fruit, it's like a mystery...
A green lovely mystery. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Tips: Choosing Safe Lumber for Backyard Projects

In the past year we have completed a couple of projects for our backyard that we needed lumber for. For me it was a no brainer in choosing the appropriate wood, CEDAR. Cedar is not chemically treated, but is resistant to bugs and decay. As you may assume, cedar is also more expensive at your local big box hardware store, but to me what price would we pay for exposing ourselves to toxins in pressure treated wood, to save a few bucks? So, it's certainly worth about $4 more a board to protect our health.

In years past, arsenic was used in pressure treated lumber, which has been listed as a known carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Around 2003 the arsenic in pressure treated lumber started to be phased out due to it's toxicity to humans. Simply google Toxins Pressure Treated Lumber and Lawyer's websites are the first to appear, which is highly indicative of Class Action Lawsuits. Chemicals (amine copper quat (ACQ) and copper azone-CA) are still used to treat wood today against rot and insects, in pressure treated lumber. There are many applications where pressure treated lumber is fine to get the job done, but when my children are involved and susceptible to exposure to these toxins, I prefer the alternative.

What to do if you have Pressure Treated Lumber in your playset or deck?
First you can test for arsenic, if it is found in your playset or deck one alternative to removing the structure is staining it with a solid stain. Clear oil based sealants weren't found effective against creating a barrier within a few months, in tests by the Environmental Working Group.

EPA LINK to alternatives to pressure treated lumber.

2 Backyard Projects, where we chose Cedar over pressure treated lumber:

Our Sandbox, which has been the first choice to endless hours of backyard play. The girls rarely handle the wood, by why take a chance?

This year we built our raised garden bed. I spent about $20 more for Cedar, than I would have with pressure treated lumber. Obviously for growing vegetables (organically) I am not going to house them in toxic chemically treated wood. Please do not use Railroad ties (toxic creosote) or pressure treated lumber (unsure of chemical impact), follow these directions!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back To School Shopping: Crayons, Glue, and Thongs

Back to school shopping is almost upon us here in Colorado. As a little girl, I fell in love with back to school shopping. Picking out outfits, getting new shoes and sneakers, displaying them in my bedroom closet until the big day. It was always so difficult to decide what to wear on the first day. For the record, I was never ever allowed to wear any back to school clothing before the start of school. Official cardinal rule in my family. Probably won't be pulling that one off with Sj.

To top off the excitement, next month with my 4 year old, I will be heading back to school as well, to start my Master's Degree. I didn't anticipate any traditional "back to school shopping" for myself. For my soon-to-be kindergartener yes, for me no.

I printed out Sj's school supply list, laughing at the requests, 3 boxes of 24 count crayons and thinking gosh, they must take coloring serious at Sj's school. 3 bottles of Elmer's glue with mention of no Rose Art glue, I have never noticed a difference. Now I am quite curious as to why Rose art glue is inferior. I was actually happy to see they wanted a large box of baby wipes, so I feel relieved her teacher will have the butt-wiping down with no problem. Sj prefers a wet wipe after she poops. Maybe they had a different intention for those. Time will tell. I believe the kindergarten list is very manageable and from here on out, the cost of buying school supplies will sky rocket. Grade 1 supplies are a whole other ball game.

After anticipating not making any new purchases for myself to start school, there was a huge media frenzy about the University of Colorado and Victoria Secret. Seems as if CU has partnered with VS (gasp, cover your eyes!!!) to make a line of Pink Clothing branded with CU logos. What's the big deal right? I'm not sure. I think a bunch of testosterone filled men envisioned freshman women walking 1/2 naked to class in a little teddy adorned with a CU Ralphie the Buffalo. Or a diamond studded Ralphie on the T-Bar of their panties. Not the case. The line, after I investigated on my own, is a bunch of cutesie sweats, so those college aged women can go to school in coordinating sexy lounge wear. Boring.

To top it off VS doesn't even have one photo of the underwear on the web (store only). I think being a mom of two girls officially counts me out of the Victoria Secret Pink demographic, but just in case you are curious, this is what they look like. Awfully outrageous, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cheating Wives, Police Officers, and Eggs Benedict...

Inevitably we all have some flaws, right? One of my flaws, which I don't really speak too openly about, is eavesdropping. Some of you know about this habit of mine, but many others may be quite surprised by this statement. It's not like eavesdropping in a room where you know everyone, but aren't a part of the conversation. I mean eavesdropping in on conversations of complete strangers, typically mid conversation, which makes it a challenge to figure out what's going in. To top it off, I may add, I have become quite good at reading lips. Gosh, I feel ten pounds lighter already.

Here truly is rock bottom for me. The four of us, on a whim, went out to breakfast one morning last month. Turns out I couldn't tell you one thing my husband said to me, because I was completely consumed. I had hit the eavesdropping JACKPOT. There were two men in a booth behind me, having breakfast as well. My radar first when off when I heard divorce, affair, in my bed. Talk soon moved to letters in cars, her mother's house, her bills that he's paying for, how she's already moved in with the new guy, and they were both police officers. Poor guy, sounds like his soon-to-be ex was a real loser. I may have even detected a sniffle or two.

And me, I just have a problem with listening too closely to conversations that weren't meant for me. The first step for getting help is admitting to a problem, I am on the path of recovery, and paying close attention to exactly what my husband is saying. Yes, this is definitely a work in progress.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Recording My Sloth-Like Nature

In the past, I've run, attempted to run, walked than ran, sprinted, ran, or just moved at a pace that would be considered sloth-like to most physically fit humans. But that's me. I'm okay with that part of me. I have never attempted a particular pace while running, say for example something completely ridiculous like a SIX MINUTE MILE. Holy heart attack, I do live at 5,500 feet above sea level folks.

Honestly, for me moving at the pace of a snail running, is just about getting out there. Clearing my head, blaring music at a safe level, letting go, listening to swear words to my delight, like Damien Rice singing about how the, loving is good if your dick is made of wood, which I have to totally agree with, but also sensor during most of my days with two little girlies in tow. Catch my drift?

Then in a bizarre way a new fandangled method to record my workouts just sort of aligned in my universe with out me having to seek it out. Last summer, I was fitted for a pair of Nike (not my first choice) running sneakers they were perfect. Then I notice they have the Nike + iPod slot in the left shoe. Guess what, my hubby had just gotten a new iPod. All I needed was the sensor. I had a gift card, so guess what I bought. Yep, the sensor. So now, I can workout with my hubby's iPod and the Nike running technology.

It plays special mixes for me, that I would have never thought of myself. Tells you how far you've gone, calories burned, and even talks to you. How cool is that. When you plug your iPod into iTunes it links you to the Nike website where millions of miles have been recorded. Where I go and lurk in awe of the physical fitness of so many of the participants.

This is what a work out last week looked like. 2 miles. I don't just run, I have been influenced by boot camp, so I do lunges and side steps, hills, and just mix it up. No where will you find the amount of time it took me to complete 1.96 miles. That's for me to know and well, for you to never find out. Feel like lurking, too?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How I Fell In Love (with a couple hundred men one july)

As with any good love story, I can't quite recall the actual day that I fell in love. But isn't that what love does to us? It sweeps us off our feet in a whirlwind, leaving us wondering if we can ever get enough. I do recall it was somewhere between July 3-25, 1999. It was the 86th Tour de France, when I fell in love with the race and a couple hundred men.

Cycling (not biking- that's what dudes in leather on motorcycles do) has always been a passion for my husband. So naturally his love for the sport, slowly began to wear off on me. That particular summer in July, the media caught hold of an American that was making a name for himself in the European dominated Tour. We all know now, that American was none other than, Lance Armstrong. Now a common household name, a World Champion 7 years straight and to me a personal hero, a beacon for hope in the fight against cancer.

I am still unsure as to how I got caught up in this whole Tour de France frenzy, that every July leaves me glued to my television at the crack of dawn (live coverage on Vs). Worried I am going to miss something major, so I better not venture out of the house until the stage has ended. The nervous feelings I still get, everyday watching this group of men battling unthinkable conditions with their bodies and a bicycle between their legs. Their bodies pay a price, no matter the weather conditions, they are on their saddles. Typically for 20 days and over 2,000 miles. Mountain climbs, sprints, time trials, and only two days of rest thrown in.

No other sport can compare.

It's not only the physical endurance that left me wanting more. It was the excitement of a break away from the peloton, wondering how far they would make it, before they were swallowed up once again by the group. Or watching a newcomer just hesitate in one moment, second guessing himself, that cost him a stage win. Even those moments where there are scary crashes and seeing the sportsmanship come out of that same man's fiercest competitor, when he gets off his bike to see if the man who just crashed was ok. They both hop back on their saddles and race up a few thousand feet in elevation to the finish line. What a rush.

I know I fell in love because it's the rawest display of human endurance, admiration, respect, and passion I have ever witnessed. I just wish the country I call home new what a beautiful thing cycling is.

This year there are 4 Americans racing in the Tour de France, one of which is my favorite, George Hincapie who has entered the Tour every year since 1996, Christian Vandevelde, Danny Pate, and up and comer William Frischkorn.

I cried on July 25, 1999, the day Lance Armstrong stood at the top of the podium, wearing a yellow jersey in Paris. Here's the shortest clip I could find paying tribute to his amazing Tour de France seven year streak:

If you get a chance, tune into the Tour, take a peek into what all the excitement is all about.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday Tips: How To Save Money Shopping At Whole Foods!

It is no surprise to any of us these days that with an increase of energy costs, the price of producing and shipping food has dramatically impacted the price of groceries. Every time I walk through the door at the grocery store, I just grab ahold of my cart tightly. I prepare myself to be in awe yet again, even if it had only been a few days since my last visit. In awe of course of the skyrocketing prices. If you could catch me at the right moment, you might even find me with my eyes bulging slightly from my head before it starts shaking back and forth, for I can no longer contain myself when I see the increase in prices.

We choose to do the majority of our grocery shopping at Whole Foods, but I am very keen on our other local markets such as Safeway, King Soopers, Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers Market, or Super Target. I have honed in on the best deals at those markets as well, for I am constantly comparing prices. Constantly. With them being in such a state of flux, I suggest you compare prices as well.

I can not tell you how many people in conversation tell me how expensive Whole Foods is and how they can't afford to shop there. I have to disagree. Obviously, specialty items are going to be priced at a premium, but for the majority of our weekly shopping, we buy the basics. There's a method to my madness and I am going to share some of my money saving tips with you!

1. ALWAYS USE A LIST. Most importantly, no matter where you choose to grocery shop, use a list. Sticking to your list can be quite the challenge, but impulse buys are where they get you everytime. Also, when creating a list, you can have meal ideas built into the list, so you are not running out mid week with the kids in tow, to buy the soy sauce you forgot, oh and this and that, and then $25 bill at check out. For soy sauce. Been there too many times.

2. Buy in BULK-(BULK BIN AISLE). I can't emphasize this enough. The savings are dramatic. Take for example brown rice. A 2lb package of Organic Brown Rice is $3.59, but in bulk brown rice is only .99 cents a pound. Grains, flour, dried fruit, nuts, cereals, maple syrup, honey are all priced dramatically lower in bulk. Plus there is an added benefit, close to no waste in packaging!

3. BULK HERBS/SPICES . The savings here is beyond dramatic, it's astonishing. To refill a regular sized spice jar it costs around a $1.00- $1.50. We typically don't buy an entire jar full of replacement spices, we prefer them to be fresh, so our bag usually costs around .50 cents. I kid you not. AND... they are organic. Don't fret when you see the bulk pricing, it's for a pound, at most you'll buy a few ounces.

4.BULK CLEANERS/SKINCARE PRODUCTS- refill your detergent bottles with environmentally friendly products and save a pretty penny. Most Whole Foods Markets even have bulk personal care products. Refill, reduce, and save money at the same time!

*** RELATED BUYING BULK TIPS. Take any containers you may be reusing to customer service first, so they can do a tare weight of your container. That way you are only charged for the product you buy, not the weight of the bottle as well. I will be the first to admit, of the local 4 Whole Foods markets that I frequent, 2 of the stores have a phenomenal bulk department. Turn over is the key for purchasing bulk, and not overbuying is also important. After a few repeat bulk buying experiences, it's easier to determine a usable quantity. Plus you'll become more familiar with what your store stocks.

5. 365 BRAND. 365 is Whole Foods Store Brand. Beware not all of the 365 products are organic, but there ingredients are top quality. From frozen vegetables, crackers, canned goods, they have it all. One of the girls favorite snacks is the 365 Vegetable Straws (in the chip aisle), they are great! I've never purchased a 365 brand item that I was disappointed in. If you do, bring your unused portion back for a refund, they stand behind their name.

6. EMAIL LIST & COUPONS. Sign up for their emails. Our regional Whole Foods markets have been mailing out phenomenal e-deal coupons. Most of them have been valued at or around $10, when you make a purchase $25. Can't beat that! Also, look for Mambo Sprouts, little coupon books at the check out or on a rack when entering the store. If an item is on sale, you can double your savings.

7. BUY WHAT YOU NEED. The cheese department will happily cut a piece of cheese in half for you, if that's all you need. Pay close attention to how much meat your family consumes at a meal. Their bacon, sausages, and meats are truly a cut above conventional markets. Their meat department offers discounts on family packs, which requires a purchase of 3lbs or more on items like ground beef. After a recent price comparison, Whole Foods Meat Department was actually cheaper than Costco for the same product. Unbelievable.

Whole Foods, The Real Deal, is part of their company blog. Customers write in and share their money saving tips. Take a peek and find ways to keep your family healthy and save a penny as well. Submit a tip, if they use it, they'll send you a $25 gift card, now that's a deal!

My other tips, I'll save for a follow up post, I seriously could go on and on, but these are the big ones. Please feel free to share any grocery store, money saving tips you have!

Couldn't pass up ending with this, for we know all too well, Whole Food's infamous mantra:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Family Camping In Colorado (it could happen)...

One could call purchasing a six person tent as a Father's Day Gift, planting a seed. Now that our baby is nineteen months old, it was time for our first family of four camping trip. Heck, we do live in Colorado, one of the most scenic states in the country, where in less than one hour you can arrive smack dab in the center of a scenic dream. A landscape painting come to life. Breathtaking. 10,300 feet above sea level, may I add.

After much debate, discussion, and research, ultimately we decided on Brainard Lake as our destination. The campground features the beauty and splendor of a back country adventure, with the perks of two wonderful amenities-vault toilets and drinking water. Now don't get me wrong, vault toilets are what you would expect, a bit rustic, but the facilities were kept surprisingly tolerable.
(Here's our site, tent off to the left, snow still lingering)

The beauty of our three day excursion was watching J transform into "man of the camp mode", as I like to call it. I kid you not, I went to bed while my husband made lists, packed food and gear, and even shopped. I will be the first to admit, I completely surrendered control of packing and I actually liked it. Much to my delight, my husband's enthusiasm for our trip went beyond packing and straight through day three. He cooked the entire time, cleaned the dishes with snow, played with the girls, set up and took down camp, and had a smile on his face while doing it.

I lounged, I read, I ate really good food, I wrote, and I had one heck of a time.

So did our girls. They were magnificent, I always feel so lucky when I witness how easy going my girls actually are. How they can just go with the flow, even if the flow is swatting mosquitos, wearing wool hats to bed because it dropped to the low 40's at night, or playing in the snow with shorts on!

I recommend a little adventure in your life, especially the rustic variety. How often do we experience life completely unplugged from appliances, electronics, and all the distractions we fill our days with? A few days for me, having conversation, just being with my family, taking in the beauty that surrounds us, filling my lungs with crisp mountain air, allowing starlight to gently light our path when the sun went down, helped pass the time. Maybe just a little too quickly.

As for the fireworks, they'll be here next year.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Brainard Lake Rocky Mountain Majesty

*Please click on photo for a better view!

Less than an hour drive from my home is an incredible Mountain getaway. For $16 bucks a night, we had this view about 30 seconds from our campsite. The photo features Brainard Lake and with the help of some software I stitched together about eight photos to create this panorama.

We had a wonderful time and honestly I can't wait to return. The weather was a bit chilly at 10,300 feet the first night, but the second night wasn't so bad. There was still snow at our campsite, so it made for a wonderful distraction for the girls.

Snow in July, wearing shorts. You just have to love Colorado. Details to follow.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Journals For Your Children

Mothers that blog, assume that one day their digital journals will become a part of their children's history books, so to speak. While many of my posts contain content about my girls, my blog never was solely intended to focus on my children. Instead this blog was created as an outlet for me, something of my very own. I am not sure how many things are my very own these days and sometimes, the blogging outlet is a blessing. If you happen to be a regular reader of this blog, you know it's a big mishmash of this and that, ponderings, giggles, and happenings. I wouldn't have it any other way.

But I got to thinking. As my interest in writing has peaked, I feel I need to share this interest with my girls. I've decided to pick up two blank journals, one for Sj and one for GL. Each month on their day of birth, I am going to write them a journal entry. I would be kidding myself if I didn't mention that I was inspired by the one and only Dooce. Every month she writes a post to her daughter, touching upon her life.

For me, honesty and intimacy will be most truly spilled upon the pages, not in digital format. But instead in my own handwriting, maybe even a doodle here or there. A little special piece of me, accompanied by a piece of them, to one day read and reflect. Hopefully I can even include a photo from the month to help create a visual journey as well.

Which makes me wonder, how do you celebrate the little moments as well as the big ones in your children's lives?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Thursday Thirteen Camping We Go Story...

ONE car loaded up to the gills. We're off to the mountains, around 10,000 feet to be exact, for a little adventure with our TWO girls who have been rearing to go. THREE days camping, not a hotel in sight. It feels wonderful to know the FOUR of us are finally getting away, escaping our cellphones, laptops, televisions, and google reader.

So what exactly are we bringing? FIVE must have favorite stuffed animals, of course. The new SIX person tent, which was a brilliant father's day gift. Probably no less than SEVEN varieties of snacks. In all reality, enough food to feed a family of EIGHT, I am assuming. I like to over do it in the food department, especially when we are one long bumpy road and miles from civilization. NINE beautifully colored crayons and paints galore, to keep our artistic juices flowing. I hope the TEN activities I packed are enough to keep us busy over the next few days. Certainly there will be collecting of beautiful natural treasures, at least ELEVEN rocks.

TWELVE o'clock departure time. Off we go for THIRTEEN hours of sunshine to fill our lazy days!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday Tips: Farm Raised vs Wild Salmon

Let's face it, our bodies need a variety of sources of high quality lean protein, with out all the saturated fat traditional protein sources offer us. Throw salmon into the equation and in addition to a high quality lean protein, we find a source rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are essential to our bodies brain functioning and cardiovascular system (in addition to numerous other health benefits). Often times people suffering from lifestyle induced heart diseases are lacking in Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Salmon should be a part of your diet.

But are all sources of Salmon safe and equal? Unfortunately, they are not.

Farm Raised Salmon, Hidden Dangers:

High levels of PCB's, dioxin, and toxins are found in farm raised salmon, mainly derivative of their fish meal diet.

Pesticides are also found in the flesh of farm raised salmon. They are used to control parasites such as sea lice, but are regulated to not be administered 28 days before harvest, to help avoid a build up in high levels. So why are they still found?

Unfortunately one day a scientist discovered that farm raised salmon's natural grey flesh turns the "normally associated" pink tone when fed a chemical called canthaxanthin. The chemical has been linked to retinal damage and banned in Scotland and Europe. Farmers carry charts as seen below, so they can decide how pink they want their farm raised fish to be. Nice touch, huh?

The fat content of Farm Raised Salmon is 11%-20%, with some of that fat being higher levels of saturated fats, and ironically enough lower content of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Wild Salmon, Obvious Choice:

Unlike it's faux counterpart, Wild Salmon contains 7% fat on average, with much higher levels of Omega 3's, with out elevated levels of saturated fats. Wild Salmon also contains some of the lowest levels of Methyl Mercury which is also a concern with fish these days.

Oddly enough the Wild Salmon season is Mid-May to October, even though you will find Wild Salmon other times through out the year. Please be weary of those sources of salmon, as farm raised can be brushed off as Wild. Trust your fish monger.

Our natural fish sources are being depleted. The majority of Alaskan salmon (safest source of salmon) is highly regulated to maintain sustainability. Once quotas have been met, harvests are closed. Biologists are working with fishermen to help keep the sources safe from depletion.

Higher Cost, a Couple of Solutions:

As you can imagine, Wild Salmon is going to be more expensive than farm raised salmon. Two things I suggest, buy only the amount of salmon your family would consume in one meal. We typically don't eat left over salmon, which in turn is a waste of money and natural resources. If at all possible underestimate the amount you will need and make due!

Secondly, try frozen Wild Salmon filets. The cost is going to be cheaper when you buy it pre-packaged in the frozen section. Try to stay clear of previously marinated filets, they are typically high in sodium, and you are better off seasoning the fish to your family's taste anyway. I know Costco sells Wild Salmon FROZEN for about $7.99 lb.

Like More Information?

Marine Stewardship Council's Where to Buy Guide, list ranges from Whole Foods to Walmart. The website in general is a great fish resource, it's a non-profit organized to find a solution to overfishing.

Fish Farms Become Feedlots of The Sea, L.A. Times Article, December 2002, by K. Weiss

In closing, please remember to not confuse wording. Fresh does not mean wild, it just means not previously frozen. Many restaurants use Farm Raised Salmon, so pass on it. If they aren't advertising it's WILD, simply ask. Keep an eye out for the Marine Stewardship Council Seal, you'll find it on menus and in grocery stores.