Thursday, December 21, 2017

Last Minute Finds!

 Are you scouring stores and the web to find that great gift? Here are a few suggestions that are budget friendly! 

1. A CUTE SLOTH GREETING CARD FOR LATE GREETINGS! (greeting card universe $1.89)




3. MICRO POPPER! (14.99)



5. PROTECT THE ELEPHANTS MUG! (uncommon goods)


7. KWIZNIAC, A FUN, FAMILY GAME! (uncommon goods-$18.00)


9 and 10. AN ADORABLE DIY ON WINE AND STOCKING STUFFERS! (cost plus world market-$4.00+)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

                               Its a Wrap!

This is such an easy way to wrap a small gift like jewelry or lotion. Draw, cut, glue, fill and tie!

1.Draw your sock template on the inside of wrapping paper. A solid metallic is easy like gold or silver. Be sure when drawing that you draw two sides and one side that is opposite.

2.Cut out both pieces of your stocking.

3.Leaving the top of the stocking open spread glue about 1/4" from the edge so it will have a border.

4.The hardest part is setting the top piece over the bottom piece as you fit this on slowly press the glue edge down as you push the glue to the outside edge. It will get messy but do not fear! After you have both pieces secure take a damp paper towel and gently rub any glue off the outside of the stocking. This will work great if using a metallic type of wrapping.

5. Fill the stocking with tissue paper and your gift. Seal with glue around the opening and tie your ribbon to tape to the top. Spread the bow gently apart and trim any edges on the sock that are showing. Finally, add a beautiful tag--(this one is from target) and THAT'S A WRAP!

         Happy Holidays!... Be well and Forge on, Penman

                      p.s.  Need A Tree Topper?
Spray paint a few branches of magnolia leaves the main color of your tree ornaments and set them around the top. I used silver and florist wire to attach mine and it added a few inches of height as well!
This can be made into a larger crown of sprayed leaves and twigs for a more dramatic look for the cost of a can of spray paint!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Hey guys! I am a foodie, I love food just too darn much! I am always fighting my fat loving genes (no, not the denim ones but I fight those too!) In trying to balance this affection for food with ulcerative colitis and a busy schedule I find myself knocking on a nutritionist's door....



1. Simply add a salad to every meal; you not only get more--you actually get much more: This is a divine opportunity to add two magical things....crunchy walnuts and a sulforaphane like kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli or cabbage to the salad. WHY WALNUTS YOU ASK? Because they add A.L.A. 1/4 cup of walnuts packs 2 days worth of alpha linolenic acid which reduces blood pressure and decreases inflammation in the vessels. WHY THE KALE OR COMPARABLE VEGGIE? Because veggies classified as sulforaphanes heal immediatiely by turning a fat cell into a stem cell!  Yep, like magic!

2. Sit outside for ten minutes or take a ten minute walk outside before breakfast. WHY? Fresh air and vitamin D stirs the metabolism naturally. Doing this before you eat allows the body to begin to burn calories and preps your whole system for better outcomes like your mood, your food choices and heart rate which can change our genetic susceptibility to gain weight.  Who knew!

3. Tall Dark and Handsome? Almost but definitely have these two dark things together: Dip dark berries into dark chocolate. BUT WHY? Because antioxidants in cocoa lowered blood sugar in mice. Dark berries contain more antioxidants than light ones and ferment with the dark chocolate in your tummy to create heart healthy anti-inflammatory compounds that are linked to insulin resistance! That's a mouthful - literally!

4. Fall in love with fat, wait, what??? Yes, but the  healthy fats that help replace the visceral fats from invading our bodies and blood:




5. Consume fluffy stuff like whipped egg substitute omelets or aerated coconut oil. WHY? It not only fills you up faster but by infusing oxygen into your food it assists in carrying the nutrients throughout digestion. Whip it good!

6. Smart swap--say what? Replace sugar with really sweet sugar alternatives and eat no more than 25 grams of sugar for women and 35 for men per day. Replace processed high fructose corn syrup and sugar with:





7. Romance the bacteria by grabbing some probiotics throughout the day: These little bacteria guys form a symbiotic relationship with our gut and aide our immune system in ridding many infections. Unfortunately fungus and fungal infections caused by eating too much sugar kill these friendly bacteria so probiotic foods replicate a darn good match of live cultures just for you! GO PRO BRO!







   Dark Chocolate eaten with a probiotic (though not a probiotic it can endure the harsh acids of the digestive system and carry probiotics further to the colon.) Hey another reason to eat chocolate!

8. Pay tribute to JuiceMan, Jay Kordich who beat cancer flat, years ago by juicing. Include your kids in this fruitful activity by watching rainbows pour out of your juicer! The payoff is big here with juice that has live cells vs. store juice that has dead cells. When you drink the juice immediately from live fruit and vegetables you get them before they die after 20 minutes. Your body's work is minimal requiring very little digestion so the liquid nutrients get straight to your blood stream. Wash all raw fruits and veggies first then juice carrots, apples and beets for liver, blood pressure and overall immune health, (Watch for my juicing tips for kids in two weeks!

9. Dig in the dirt. Plant a little garden or a few vegetables and eat them the way our ancestors did. The hope here is to nourish yourself with iron through your hands, grow food that is nutrient dense, reduce our dependence on corporate made crops that use toxic herbicides and nicotinoids that kill our pollinators (bees, butterflies) and damage the soil. 

And finally, these foodie hacks are here to help strip the sticky oily build up from our gut and arteries by allowing  tissue cells to breathe, reclaim organ function, reduce inflammation through better vascular circulation,  heighten your mood and turn off gene related weight gain. These tips will wake you up feeling renewed, satisfied and energized! Be well and thrive my friends!

Please share your hacks for living better through food.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Threat or Thrive?.. Common Parent Misfires

Parents are here to be the grandest of teachers, the most inspiring of guides and the strongest of protectors.

Working in beautiful Hawaii years ago, I had the grand fortune to be mentored by two Doctors of Philosophy in Sociology and several compassionate counselors in developmental and clinical psychology who shared my passion to lift the lives of children and families at risk. Aside from their impressive degrees what we learned is that we all have something to learn every single day. Instead of our jobs defining us we should define our jobs with empathy and humility, humans helping humans, lest we fail the lives we pledge to help. 

We should all be as humble as we wish children to be. A badge of authority and a rush for rightness can be a bad combination. Entitlement and impatience rarely reach justice. I couldn't be more serious when I urge everyone in a position of authority to put themselves into the very position they are condemning. Like crossing a street, slow down and take another look. 

The definition of a good parent should not be up for judgment but up for improvement at any time. There are so many different types of parents and ideally we'd all have unlimited patience, energy, flexibility, depth of understanding and brilliant parenting skills. But that is not always the case. Nor do we live in a perfect world! Parents juggle many outposts and bear momentous burdens all while raising our children.

Considering all that life throws at us, I yearn to share some kind tips that might help those harried reactions grow into pro-actions by bringing some parental diplomacy to the family table--- to the amazing but tough mission of raising our kids.

#1 MISFIRE: The Boss The child-parent bond is NOT one of boss and employee. It is closer to one of teacher and student except it is sewn by a deeply nurtured sense of trust. The bond a child has with a parent is the eternal pattern for all future connections with people. (I kid you not!  forgive the pun)

Alternative:  Ditch the need to be authoritarian, parents need to be better teachers not better punishers. You can ask for help in safe tasks around the home but don't expect a child to be your work horse and do your job. They are kids, not performers for love; they should have your unconditional love whether they help out or not. Always find time to sit and discuss such items with your children. When frustrated say, "Love and trust" first then repeat three times to negate the heated cauldron of harsh words. A child sensitized to this beneficial pattern will be shocked if another pattern is used and they learn to respond to subtle cues rather then harshness. (being able to  assess subtle signals is also a life skill) 

#2 MISFIRE: The One Word Answer  I urge all parents to negate this kind of lazy response; it teaches nothing. A child has to learn everything from scratch many times a day. It is a big world and the need to better understand it, produces a gobbling hunger for all the whys. The more you engage the developing brain in good explanations the smarter and more cohesive the child. One word answers short change this important hunger and teach the child NOT to be curious.

The Best Alternative: Explain your issue, your reasoning, instead of opting to just say, "No!" Does it require more time? Yes, but cultivating receptive ears for listening and good judgement takes creative explaining and a little more time. It will be worth it in the long run! 

#3 MISFIRE: Public Scolding: This is akin to shaming, embarrassing, ridiculing and belittling. Misbehavior or mistakes made by growing children should be handled in private. Ask yourself how would you like to be treated. How do you treat a friend or a co-worker that does something wrong. You have thoughtful dialogue and discussions, right? Creating a bond that is based on higher intelligence has to be orchestrated with higher intelligence. Sloppy parenting results in a bond that is weak or based on fear. Sloppy practices make for a sloppy bond. If we can't treat a child with dignity and respect than we don't deserve any in return. An audience isn't necessary to provide fundamental information to your child. Don't publically shame anyone.

The Alternative: Never ever say, "you are the reason for my stress or you deserve this." Take a moment to catch your sanity and then explain what you need your child to do and why it is helpful.  Allow a few minutes for the transition then ask again. Don't expect instant changes. Kids are not robots. Transitions are essential to children, always add in extra time for a transitional change in motion so they can still be kids and honor you as well. Be sure to praise them with a "Thank you," when they have shown a considerate response.

#4 MISFIRE: Yelling: Yelling was meant for emergencies, long distance communications and outdoor fun. Yelling done in anger and in the presence of children only serves the yeller and desensitizes the children to it. Maybe more parents would stop if they knew it reverses the desired outcome. Unhealthy practices are hard to stop, we understand but
YELLING DOES NOT WORK, in fact, it creates unnecessary cortisol that will soon prompt the child to tune you out and even creates yellers out of them. Talking is the tool of choice.

The Alternative: Cover your mouth, look up to the sky and say, "grant me patience." This little method really does change things. Sometimes the person you are snapping at may be having a harder battle in life than you know. Logically explain why a particular behavior may be wrong. Allow for transitions not instant changes, then commend them for their kindness in doing so.  "Thank you so much that really helps." Remember kids are people too.

#5 MISFIRE: Slapping or Spanking: In contrast to generations of spanking and or slapping almost all modern countries have banned spanking as well as many states. Still, these practices remain a hotly debated topic and have been used in many families for centuries. However, ask yourself what message you are sending to your child by lifting your hand to hit a person half your size?  Hmmm, let's think about this for a minute ...What you are saying is "Yep, it is okay to hit a weaker person." "Yep, it is okay to slap or pinch someone when I am frustrated." Yep, we are always justified to hit someone when they fail our expectations, especially if they are smaller than we are." .....Anger can get the best of us but please try and get yourself under control before addressing an issue with your child. We are truly sending the wrong message and the wrong solution when we slap, pinch or spank. It does not work!....Unless you want to teach fear, trauma and nullify a child's sensitivity to hurting others.

THE ALTERNATIVE: First make a commitment right at this moment to never hit, slap or assault your child in any way. Then, if you feel yourself heading into nowhere land, walk away and take 10 breaths. Remember, you want to teach restraint and coherent thinking so you must show that you too are capable of these skills. Be creative about your response to stress. Write them a note, draw figures on it illustrating their negative behavior. They will remember that better than a spanking. They may even giggle but you certainly have their attention in a digestible way. 

A fabulous study I witnessed years ago was done by one of the leading F.B.I. criminal profilers who held a casual town meeting in Northern Virginia. The purpose was to enlighten parents on how criminals are inculcated (produced) by their own parents. There is no greater influence on a child than his parents and sadly we do things without intending to cause desensitized outcomes. The most intriguing part of their research was that the more defiant a child is the more love and tenderness they need. If extreme defiance and misbehavior is met with equally extreme punishment and/or detachment the child leans into the negative even more.  The emotionally frustrated child or teen now finds further justification to be cold, cruel or punish others. Children that exhibit extreme behaviors need extreme love and nurturing to permeate, heal and open their hearts. Love opens channels of communication, punishment or detachment closes it down. Not all children are alike but those with extreme behaviors exhibit the greatest potential for violence if punishment or detachment ensues. Parents are front and center at the most critical stages in these situations and must engage in loving discussions to try and forge kinder patterns of behavior.

Taking advantage of "now" while the brain's mold is still receptive is huge for explaining compassion, love, morality and good decision making. Trying to engage an older teen later after the brain's receptive mold closes off will take years or maybe a lifetime to change. So the power of "now" or soon for brain engagement is huge! Parents have the unique opportunity to imprint a beautiful comprehensive storyline by showing that we care and investing in a million creative ways to help or mediate something. Using visual stimuli like emotional photos and germane movies, doodles and drawings can open doors to great discussions.

In our raptly demanding world we must not put our parenting on the back burner we give these little humans our priority in patience. In other words, be attached, teach and SHOW compassion in everything you do, discuss all their curiosities, creatively engage, don't just protect them be their advocate and love them with all your heart.  A connection of trust, positive discussions and playfulness will build strong legs to stand on where punitive acts fail. In other words, a nurtured child that has acquired moral agency will likely make good decisions for the rest of his/her life. We never know what tomorrow holds and we hope our children are penetrated by love and not by anger.

Please let me know what solutions you have found for creative parenting in the comments below. Thank you, Penman

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Powerful Job of Motherhood, Be Careful  What You Trade It For.            

Today's society finds it terribly easy to dismiss the stay-at-home-mother as lowly and unambitious. Our culture seems to usher mom right out the door toward a "real job" as opposed to validating her for being with the developing life that desperately needs her. This discounting concept of motherhood not only devalues her commitment but also devalues the critical needs of her children. Being available for a family's needs doesn't always match a work  schedule!

Stay-at-home-moms don't get paid ($) for their tireless work at home but if they are lucky enough to have a spouse who works for money then their focus can have financial balance. Single mothers, however, have little choice in these matters as their finances are usually compromised from the start in the aftermath of divorce,  death or unplanned pregnancy.
Is this job valuable enough to get paid?

As we begin to re-evaluate the critical impact of stay-at-home moms the words of Jill Savage enlighten us. "Homemaking happens when we fully understand the value of a home in our lives. Homemaking happens when we unintentionally make a home a safe house, a trauma unit, a playground, a pep rally, a school, and more. Somebody has to have the time and energy to bring those roles alive in a family's life. Somebody has to make a house a home......" 

But first, before anyone worries that I am advocating a return to the old patriarchal systems, let me clarify by saying that I champion every success of the  Women's Movement as equal rights are human rights. It is almost impossible to imagine that women could not own property could not weigh in on the direction of our country, could not vote, could not own a locket given to her by her grandmother and had to give birth on the kitchen floor while biting down on a wooden spoon so they would not disturb anyone. A smart culture cannot allow one gender to reach for the sky while chaining the other to the ground. My question here is this... maybe..... just maybe.... we may have been too anxious to shed the very job that kept us lowly for centuries instead of properly repairing the status of that important role of respect and feminine magnificence......Motherhood.

For the power of a mother's love secures the psyche of the child fostering hormonal patterns of attachment and trust that continue on for the rest of his or her life. For there is only a short window to make this impact and after that window closes it will be much harder to try and comeback later to make the good stuff happen! 

With regards to all the intangible gifts that moms provide isn't is interesting to see that when mom's do go back to work they want child care providers to be a lot like a mother---caring and protecting our children while we are away? What we're really saying is "I can't be here right now so I need someone who will replace me while I'm gone but for a cost! You see I can't get paid for this kind of work so I have to leave my child and pay someone else to do it." It is a duplicitous message if you know what I mean!

I found it reassuring that other countries like Sweden, reward the parent that stays home with an allowance married or not. They realize that an investment into healthy children is in the best interest of any country. As broken or impoverished families struggle to bring up their children in the U.S.A. the "The foster-care-to-prison pipeline" is a constant reminder that we must strengthen all our families or we will pay in the form of more crime.

There is a movement in Sweden to add more to the already existing is called the "Network for Stay at Home Moms" and it currently has more than 20,000 signatures! An article in the Swedish "Hemmaforaldrar" Blog by Andre' Anwar promotes the Network. Good on those brave mamas!

It would be grand if our culture was readily able to address a widely troubled family demographic and repair our views of the reliable stay-at-home mom. If you agree please let me know in the comments section.

Monday, January 2, 2017


With so much emphasis on the challenges of single parenthood let's turn the tables for  a fresh reminder of all the benefits that are frequently overlooked or devalued.

1. A LIFETIME BOND: The one-on-one time with your children is more emphasized and has a greater impact. As single parents fill the void of the missing parent they focus more on each other as a family and build stronger bonds with their children that last a lifetime.

2. DEEPER FRIENDSHIPS: Relationships with certain friends, family and the single parent community can be more meaningful and authentic as they are not based on status but more on joint experiences. 

3. YOUR CHILDREN LEARN EMOTIONAL AGILITY: Your children learn emotional agility and creative resolutions at a younger age. Because single parent households are balancing more... children's ideas and assistance are inclusive and valued. They build authentic confidence through these efforts when the parent is steady, loving and reassuring. Not to mention, successes that are harder won resonate on a deeper level.   

4. YOU ALL LEARN THE VALUE OF MONEY: As children grow in single parent households they have first hand experience in seeing how money helps and or hinders life. This is a perfect lead-in to teaching good money management as it pertains to all the goods and services of life.

5. LIFE SKILLS: A single parent gets used to making thoughtful decisions and weighing out every option. This fuels an innate sense of balance and an obligation to others.

6. SERENITY: A more peaceful household can occur without two-parent arguments.

7. YOU CAN BE YOURSELF: With just you and your children sharing your home you can be extra silly, goofy and be completely yourself. Your children will love you for it.

8. THE VALUE OF COMING FIRST: In a traditional family mom and dad must give each other a certain amount of attention but in single parent families the children are the priority.

9. YOU MAY REALIZE YOUR DREAMS: Without having to attend to a partners wants and needs and your children's needs all at the same time you can clarify your own core, find your passions and begin to build upon a new foundation.

Let us never forget the privilege of being a parent, hard as it may at times be. Be well, brave on and remember you are nothing short of amazing!

If you have found some special benefits to being a single parent we would love to hear more in the comments! Thank you,


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

              Lipstick Logic For Fall...

Lipstick is usually the first cosmetic a young girl picks up. Adolescent memories of my own were linked to endless afternoons trying all the tinted gloss flavors at Fred Meyers with my cousins. We had no idea how insanely unhygienic this was! My mother and grandmother were devoted connoisseurs of "the lipstick drawer!" Their daily attire would be naked without that final sweep of lip color.  Today, lipstick has taken on a more neutral role but it is still a magnanimous addition to any beauty routine especially with options for a homemade lipstick devoid of chemicals at the bottom of the post...
1. Lipsticks or lip balms give essential emollients and protection to chapped, dry or cracked lips in the cooler months.
2. Some women may feel that lipstick over-sexualizes women and this depends on how it is used. A kinder mindset sees lipstick as simply bringing nature's own theory to us. That pop of color we love in flowers growing on a neutral vine has the same affect as lipstick on a face! 
3. Yes, it is true that lipstick makes the teeth look whiter!

4. No matter the color, lipstick or lip tint gives the face definition and a finishing touch.
 5. Lipstick also heightens your facial expressions whether sad, happy or surprised!

6. Lipstick, depending on what color you choose works to complement hair color.
7. Lipstick or lip gloss de-ages us...
8. Queen Elizabeth sure agrees and uses lipstick at 90 almost religiously.
9. Tired? There is no faster way to awaken and freshen your face then with a light dab of color.
10. Under the weather? No will notice as lip tint adds a look of freshness and vitality!
11. Whether you use a neutral hue or a vibrant one, lipstick is the fastest way to add sophistication to your day.

12. No matter what you say lipstick emphasizes your speech, your words, and makes you appear more confident.

Here is an easy homemade recipe for lipstick so you don't have to worry about some of the harsh commercial chemistry found in store bought lipsticks:

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon beeswax pastilles
1 teaspoon shea butter

Melt in a glass double boiler over very low heat almost like melting chocolate.  Then have fun with adding different natural colors like a 1/4  t. turmeric or 1/8 t. red beat powder or even coco powder for different hues. Pour into a cup until it sets.

* You don't have to add any color if you just want a clear smooth natural lip cover.
This recipe was provided by Wellness Mama. Check out her free recipes for cosmetics.

If you have any lip stick or lip balm ideas we would love hear about them. Forge on sisters!