Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chocolate and it’s NOT SO SWEET side.

A couple of years ago I remember just starting to teach the kids about slavery in  the early days of American History.  We talked about the underground railroad and Harriet Tubman.  We talked about what it would be like to be an abolitionist.

At one point I remember saying, “ If I lived back then I would have been one OF THEM.” 

My thoughts were - If I lived back then….

I would have stood up.

I would have fought.

I would have used my voice.

I would have been a zealot.

I would NOT have stood by and WATCHED.

I couldn’t have stood by and KNOWN and done NOTHING.

I would have been moved to ACTION.

I would have been a rebel.


I kinda had an…..

“If only I had lived back then…” mentality.

I figured that slavery was a thing of the past.  Slavery was something that seemed far away and ancient.  Something that I only thought about as an “old world” problem.  A lesson in school to teach….not a real life current issue.

I could not have been more wrong.

Slavery is alive and well…all over the world.

Which to me seems like a global basic human rights issue…It seems like there is something terribly horrific about the fact that in 1st world countries we worry about our credit card debt and the newest trend…while, for the most part,  we ignore the fact that it is PROBABLY enslaved poverty-stricken people that MAKE most of our CRAP we feel we NEED to live.

Sick  .

And we are ALL part of the problem.


We CAN also be part of the solution.

There ARE things we can do to HELP.

Little things…things that DO MATTER.


Things like our MONEY and HOW we spend it.

In our home…one of the things I am starting to do lately is try and buy as many FAIR TRADE products as possible. 

“FAIR TRADE is a system that makes sure that poor farmers and workers in developing countries get a fair price for their goods/crops.  Enough so they can put food on the table at night, send their kids to school…”…Harriet Lamb in Chocolate: The Bitter Truth

Fair trade is also a system that keeps children OUT of slavery.  It is a system that MAKES SURE(or tries) to keep children from being sold into slavery because of UNFATHOMABLE POVERTY.

Fair Trade is something that we can participate in TODAY.

It is something we can DO and be a part of.

Because  …In the good ole’ USA- We all have MONEY.

Which means…we have POWER.

I mean…In this day and age I may not be able to GO TO AFRICA and personally save enslaved children with the MERCY PROJECT…But I CAN make sure that the stuff I buy doesn’t come from enslaved children.

One of those things is CHOCOLATE.

We all buy it…all of us.

In SOME way, shape, or form….we buy it.

And we buy a lot of it.

Especially NOW..around Halloween.

MILLIONS..if not BILLIONS of dollars are spent to buy candy that people hand out without a thought as to WHERE it came from.

Even in our house…we don’t celebrate Halloween, but don’t think I don’t get in on a good candy sale!!!  I DO!!!

We ALL buy it and eat it….

which means you either participate in the child slavery or you use your money to STAND against it.

Because ……

the connection between chocolate and child labor_thumb[1]


Kristen at Rage Against the Mini-van writes: “A report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. Some of them have been taken from their families, or sold as servants. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations since they don't own them. This includes Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and the US division of Cadbury . . . who collectively represent pretty much every snack-size candy bar that will be available in stores this Halloween. “


Who knew???? 

This has been happening for GENERATIONS.

Heart Breaking….

Why not use your money to MAKE SURE that this doesn’t happen?

Watch the video below and MAKE. A. DIFFERENCE.

Don’t be part of the commercial chocolate companies nasty little secret.

Buy Fair Trade.


Teach your kids what the fair trade symbol looks like.

Explain to them what it is.

You will be a modern day abolitionist.

slave 2


Watch this video and educate yourself…

you will be shocked.

Here are some other links you might enjoy:

My dear friend Heather..and her other options for halloween

Wanna know more about FAIR TRADE???

Educate yourself.  Empower Others.

You never know when…





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Better Everyday….



I remember years ago when they children were smaller and I was COMPLETELY overwhelmed.

Like Jay would come home from working 8 hours and I would want HIM to cook dinner….I know. Don’t judge.

I had 4 kids under 6 at one point.

I was actually losing my mind….a little at a time. True story.

No….I actually LOST MY MIND a few times.

And dinner????

Pa-lease……….can you say???






I just didn’t really do it.

I felt UNSURE of HOW and just not into it.

As I look back…that seems selfish.

But…I was in a funk.

For a few years.

Again…Don’t judge…Raising babies is HARD AS SHIT.

and raising 4???  That is certifiable.

But…I guess just like anything else…

life changes.

Circumstances change and things that weren’t important…

suddenly become important.

Things I didn’t THINK I could do in my life…

I am learning to figure out.

One foot in front of the other……

1 battle at a time.

Until one day….

I find myself standing over a homemade cheesecake with all the laundry done, and tomorrows meal in the crockpot.

Go Me.

I mean, raising kids is STILL hard as shit…

But, I think I might be getting the hang of it.


Check back tomorrow because…

you never know.

I mean…there are still 4 kids.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Those moments….

Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life's undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room, from which we go forth to more careful and guarded intercourse, leaving behind us much debris of cast-off and everyday clothing….Harriet Beecher Stowe


Have you ever had a moment that takes your breathe away???

A moment that you find yourself….outside yourself, looking in?

A moment that is you are sooooo consumed with LOVE that you feel like you will actually explode?

Sometimes, as I go thru my day, it hits me….

this time

these people

this feeling

these moments


is unimaginably beautiful and special.

This family that we have created is nothing less than miraculous.

We are tight-knit…like- “so tight knit we don’t even realize HOW tight we are” type of close.

Maybe- it is because we spend the MAJORITY of our time together.

It COULD BE  because I PUSH that vibe in the house.

MAYBE it  has something to do with homeschooling.

It MIGHT be because I have a hard time “letting go”.

MAYBE it’s because “our little tribe”  is  just a TAD bit different from most people around us…


Maybe it is a little of ALL of those things.

It’s like a neatly knitted quilt of all our personalities.

We all FIT each other.

Don’t get me wrong….sometimes we fuss and fight- but it’s safe to say we don’t know what to do without each other.

The dynamic in this home is striking sometimes.

Yesterday,  Zeek went to the middle school basketball game with family to see his cousin Sebastian play.  He was really excited, as you can imagine for a 12 year old homeschooled boy.  He was R-E-A-D-Y….all day. 

So…when he got home, we we’re all ready to hear what he has to say about the game.

“Was it fun, Bud???”

“It was soooooooooooooo fun Mom” he said with a huge GAPING  smile.

Then I watched as all the other kids surrounded him as if he had been away at sea for months…they we’re asking a million questions.

What did you do?

Who was there?

What did they say?


We all we’re.

We want to know how it was for him…out there.

Without us.

Separate from “the unit”.

We want to know all the details,

we want to know HOW.HE.DID….



Some people may say we are too co-dependent,  too- involved,…

Some people say that they need independence..

I say…..

I will hover over these kids and milk this time in this life for EVERY flippin’ second I can get.

I will send them out into that crazy world…then pull them back in.  to discuss it….a bunch.


these are THOSE  moments that take my breath away.

THESE are the moments that fill my heart….

and make it almost explode.