Best Wrap Since Sliced Bread – FLAXSEED WRAP!



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Discovering a new world without wheat….Flaxseed Wrap

Here is my new favorite “UN-Bread” – using Ground Flax!

What used to be “amber waves of grain” are now genetically modified, thick and short, altered by greedy food manufacturers for mass production and consumption and their own pocketbooks. Wheat today is not what our grandparents (or even parents) ate in the 20th Century!

Find out more in “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, M.D.

These are easy to make – and a great substitute for bread, flour or corn wraps. Now I just want to figure out how to put a SMILEY FACE on them!


  • 3 T. Ground Flaxseeds (Trader Joe’s has a version that includes BLUEBERRIES!)
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Salt
  • Pinch of fine sea salt or celery salt; Try different spices for variety!
  • 1 T. Melted Coconut Oil (plus a bit more to grease pan)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 T. Water


  1. MIX TOGETHER dry ingredients, stir in coconut oil, beat in egg and water until blended.
  2. Grease a microwave-safe glass pie pan with oil, pour in batter and spread evenly.
  3. Microwave on high 2-3 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Lift edge with spatula to loosen from pan.
  4. Fill with any desired ingredients – VOILA!

My Favorite Essential Oil? Wild Orange!


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Wild…Wonderful…Wow, is this an oil we all love – WILD ORANGE, MY FAVORITE!wild orange on tree


Cold extraction straight from the rind…

Besides a clean, fresh smell of Wild Oranges, what does this oil provide?

MANY HEALTH BENEFITS! Use it internally, aromatically or topically.

  • Uplift Moods
  • Enhance Immunity
  • High in antioxidants
  • Powerful cleanser and purifying agent

Find out more by calling Tracy at 704-661-2901

Lurking in the Laundry



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Sicilian Lemon Oil Made from 30+ lemon rinds

Sicilian Lemon Oil
Made from 30+ lemon rinds

We all have it – DIRTY LAUNDRY. 

Figuratively and literally, we all have dirty laundry…and need to clean up our act to avoid the chemical toxins lurking in all of it. Especially harmful are scented dryer sheets and fabric softener. Try these DIY options:

Static Cling? Crumple up aluminum foil and toss it in the dryer!

Softener? Add 1/2 cup vinegar with each load of wash.

Stains? Add a few drops of Lemon Essential Oil to your wash to remove grease and oil from fabrics.

Smell? Drop a wash cloth with a few drops of your favorite essential oil (mine are Wild Orange or Lemon) into the dryer!

Virginia’s Privy Race every October

This year (2012) marks the 30th annual Mountain Foliage Festival and Grand Privy Races…a race like no other in a small mountain town just 2 hours north of Charlotte.

Mark your calendars for the 2nd Saturday in October, you won’t want to miss it!

Doll up your outhouse and decorate it if you dare…then bring along at least 4 friends to help you man it, taking turns sitting ‘in the hole’ while you race it down Main Street in Independence, Virginia. Seriously, this is no joke and if you want to participate, there are rules you must follow. Check out: for more information. You can see a video here:

You won’t see another race like this in ‘these parts’ and you’ll laugh all the way to the indoor restroom (located next to the race at the county courthouse, where the local history is displayed).

Enjoy the mountain foliage and fun, blue grass music and grilled local food and vendors found at this festival. Don’t forget the toilet paper toss and pumpkin seed spitting contests!

Nice folk, good food and a Privy race…how better to spend a fall afternoon?

If you come Friday night, don’t miss the ‘Potty Princess’ competition where you’ll see interesting characters vying for the crown.

There’s a lot more to do in the area, check out the New River State Park, New River Campground and Canoes, Mount Rogers, Galax shops and much more only minutes away.

Where and why to recycle electronics

It’s time for a new cell phone, computer, printer or the latest electronic gadget.  As Americans we tend to upgrade our electronics at least every year or two.  So what do you do with the old ones?

You may have an older relative who thinks your first generation device is still high tech and willing to take it off your hands…but if your Uncle Sal is a little too hip to fall for that, where do you take it?

Landfills have been full of these types of common items for years, in fact they contribute to 70% of the nation’s toxicity found in landfills.  Now that we are heavily immersed in the electronic technology world, the disposal of our toxic discards are a monumental problem.

“E-Waste” is the term for electronics that have no useful life remaining.  E-Waste contains many elements that are hazardous and need to be recycled, like lead, mercury and cadmium, to name a few.  The components in electronics leach toxic chemicals into the ground, making them more than just a nuisance. Yes, they take up a lot of room in the landfill, but the chemical cocktails they contain are dangerous and even deadly in mass quantities.  If we continue at the pace we are going, our ground water will be too contaminated to consume. According to the EPA, only 25% of electronics were recycled in 2009.

Many states (25 as of this writing) have passed laws requiring recycling of electronics and putting a ban on disposal in the traditional sense.  Manufacturers are also implementing programs and making design changes that help.  Below are several online resources for recycling or donating electronics for recycling, including take-back programs and fundraisers, all of which promote and encourage ‘doing the right thing’ with your gadgets.

Will the E-Waste police show up at your door if they detect an electronic device in your trash can?  Not likely, but let your conscious be your guide.  Think about the ground water we toxify with our common household items and the long term effects of our short term disposal choice.

In North Carolina, the e-waste recycling efforts are paying off.  In it’s first year of banning electronics from its landfills, the state has more than doubled it’s electronic recycling efforts. The impact will be immediate and significant around the globe when we all take the same steps toward a more responsible use and disposal of our electronics.

Take a look at these resources to find one suitable for you.  In the process, you could make a few extra dollars or help a worthy charity (and get a tax deduction).  Either way you will be able to embrace that new techno-device, knowing your last one is resting in peace, not in a landfill.


The BAN (Basel Action Network) website has a list of companies that have signed the Electronic Recycler’s Pledge of True Stewardship, a pledge to maintain strict criteria for sustainable and socially just electronics recycling. See your local area by state.


Get paid to recycle your electronics at Collective Good. You can keep the money, or donate it to one of their charity partners, and they make the process free and easy to use.

COMPUTER TAKE BACK Your best recycling option is to see if there is an e-Steward near you. E-Stewards are recyclers who agree to operate under strict environmental controls, to follow worker safety protections, and to not export toxic e-waste to developing countries. They have a full list of take-back programs listed here by TV and computer manufacturers.


Customers who use the service receive online discounts good for future purchases. Dell has partnered with the National Cristina Foundation (NCF) to help disabled and economically disadvantaged children and adults receive the gift of technology. They have partnered with Fed Ex to provide FREE at-home pick up service, so it couldn’t be any easier!


Green Disk makes recycling easy for all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges. For just a few dollars, you can ship in your own boxes, or for larger loads or company collection sites, Green Disk will send you a cardboard “Technotrash” box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees.


At Project KOPEG, they offer an e-waste recycling and fundraising program that can help you raise funds for your organization. Recycle iPods, MP3 players, cell phones and chargers, digital cameras, PDAs, palm pilots, and more.


Recycle for Breast Cancer provides a FREE recycling program so that anyone, anywhere, can participate. Free prepaid shipping labels, envelopes, collection boxes or they will send a truck to your home or business.


Recycles is a national exchange network (Buy-Sell-Trade Network), focused on assisting local teachers, technicians, schools, churches, and nonprofit groups interested in recycling and reusing computers, laptops, office, and school equipment.


At Recycle Net, you can BUY/SELL/TRADE computers, phones, radios, televisions, etc.


A Washington based company, Recycle Techs specializes in computer sales and recycling of retired computer and office equipment.


From cameras to televisions, the Sony Take-Back program gives Sony customers a free and convenient way to recycle up to five Sony products per day by dropping them off at designated Waste Management e-Cycling drop-off centers throughout the country.


“The technology place for nonprofits” offers comprehensive listings of places to find recycled computer hardware for your nonprofit organization. Tech Soup also offers legal software and operating systems for nonprofits.


The Trade-In and Recycle Program by Toshiba provides you with a way to trade-in or recycle used, working technology products (any manufacturer) in exchange for a cash refund by mail. m/toshiba


World Computer Exchange has reused donated computers to provide learning labs in 2,600 schools, libraries and youth centers that connect one million young people per year.


You Renew provides an easy way to get cash for your electronics, phones, gaming systems, iPods, etc. 

Beware of Kids in Creeks!


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What you may not know about your local streams and creeks!

At my family reunion in High Point, North Carolina, my son and his cousin played in a creek, catching crawfish for hours.  It was the highlight of his weekend and reminded me of my own fond memories of fresh water ‘frolicking’.  My friends and I would sneak off to neighborhood creeks, where we would wade in search for similar critters. All sense of time would escape us and we could easily spend an entire Saturday afternoon there.

When my husband came home a week after our reunion and announced that “most of Mecklenburg County streams and creeks are unsuitable to walk in”, I was taken aback.  As I challenged him, hoping he was mistaken, I felt sick and remembered the recent crawfish hunt.  Great, another worry to add to the Mommy list!  Poisonous creeks?

Turns out, his source was very reliable.  My husband works for a General Contractor and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Land Use & Environmental Services monitors water quality and construction procedures, which is where he heard the statistic.  I confirmed on that 81% of watersheds in Mecklenburg County have streams that are “impaired” by state standards!

Mecklenburg County officials don’t recommend swimming, wading or having any recreational activity in these local waters…and there are 2,000 miles of streams in the area, according to Adopt-a-Stream, so the polluted waters represent a significant portion of our local land.  These streams are deemed unsuitable to even walk in, much less drink from!

I asked my husband, ‘what about the lakes’?  Apparently they are safe for recreation, but beware of consumption of the water or fish.  PCB’s, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, man-made compounds used in electrical equipment, paints, paper and many more items, are found in large-mouth bass in Lake Wylie and other areas (Lake Norman was not tested…one of those things that make you go ‘hmmm’).  PCB’s affect neurological development of children, can impair their ability to learn early on and are tied to reproductive and immune system damage and can even cause cancer.

Mercury is also found in our local fish in quantities that are concerning. Mercury is released into the air and falls into the water from coal-burning power plants (think energy plants on Lake Norman). We all need to watch the types and frequency of eating fish, due to the alarming mercury levels in our waters.  Mercury affects brain cells, spinal cord and nerve cells, especially in young children and unborn infants. This prevalent element acts as a nerve toxin and can impair the way we see, hear, walk and talk (EPA, 1997).

Water quality is the environmental elephant in the room.  It is a catastrophic problem in many parts of the globe. Did you know that the Ancient Romans had better water quality than half of the people alive today? It’s a topic worthy of much discussion and quite complicated.  What I do know is that it’s dangerous to let my child be a kid in his own backyard….and that is very disturbing to me as a concerned parent.

Playing in streams is an important part of being a kid. The experience is an environmental life lesson, not just a simple walk in the creek.  I shudder to think my son and future generations will never experience this lesson in our local area.

How can you and I help wrestle this elephant?

Look at the biggest sources of water pollution:  Sediment, Bacteria, Toxic Metals, Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Petroleum Products.  On a normal day, we don’t control most of these elements from our home, it’s up to the building contractors, industrial manufacturers and big businesses to do the right thing, follow regulation and be good stewards of our planet.

However, we can make an impact when we take a look in our garages, and view the publications on planting and maintaining lawnswithout the use of toxic products.  Anything we put on our lawn goes directly into the storm water drain when it rains. With some education and better, safer product selection, we can do our small part in helping the problem.

When there are safer, effective options, why would we choose to poison our world at the expense of our green grass and perfectly manicured lawns? Finding safer alternatives may be the least we can do, but it’s the least we can do!

I pray that our children and their children can play in the local creeks again, without fear of disease and bacteria, but beware of the current conditions…and in the meantime, please spread the word!


Happy Butts, Healthy Planet



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Below is the newspaper column I wrote in July and it has a special place in my heart. Ivy goes to the same school as my son does and her Mother, while no longer with us…is an inspiration to me. I am honored to share her story. Even if you don’t have a need for diapers, you will wish you did after reading this!

Mike Madden picture

Mike Madden carries on his wife’s legacy

Tragedy, meet triumph.

I want to shout it from the mountaintops: Cloth diapers are easy to use! They are cute, simple, with modern-day “snappies” instead of diaper pins. They are much better for babies and will potty train them 6 months earlier. They save money, make life easier, and you never have to wash them!

Their evil twin, disposable diapers (which I used, so no judgment), are a good-idea-turned-environmental-disaster. They may seem easier, but the price is too hefty, both in your wallet and in our world. But it’s not the activist in me that wants to shout, it’s the mom in me. Here’s the story that has me wanting to climb Mt. Everest with a megaphone.

Three years ago, a new mother moved from Cincinnati to Charlotte and couldn’t locate a cloth diaper service. She was accustomed to using natural, unbleached cotton on her baby’s sensitive bottom and was passionate about avoiding plastic toxins. So she started a new company and named it Ivy’s Diaper Service, after her daughter.

The revival of cloth diapering helped the company prosper, and the owner found herself busy with many new customers and a lot of dirty diapers to wash. Her favorite part of the business was meeting with new moms and playing with babies, while being able to spend time with Ivy. She was living her dream, enjoying motherhood and helping babies avoid chemicals on their skin (think petroleum/crude oil).

The company expanded into a warehouse to use commercial-sized washing equipment, but Garrett Burfield, the mom with a passion for “healthy butts and a happy planet,” continued to do all of the laundering, sales and deliveries, even throughout her pregnancy with her second child. In August of last year, tragedy struck. Garrett and her unborn child were killed in a car accident in Cabarrus County while delivering diapers. The community and her family mourned.

But the story, and Ivy’s Diaper Service, didn’t end there.

It would have been easy for Garrett’s husband, Mike, to close the business in his hours of grief and sudden status as single dad. But within a few days he decided to fulfill his wife’s legacy and make sure all the baby customers got their refill orders. He knew they didn’t have options and he needed to act quickly. With the help of family and friends Mike was able to pick up the pieces. It became and still remains a labor of love for Mike as well as for Garrett’s friend, Jessika, who handles new business and meets with customers, in memory of her dear friend.

Ivy’s is now the only cloth diaper service in the Charlotte market. They have diapers made from cotton, bamboo or organic hemp and a new compostable diaper made from wood pulp and corn sugar, a great disposable option to avoid dyes, fragrances and other synthetic chemicals.

You can find more information at Did you know the average child uses 6,000 diapers in their first two years and contributes 1.5 tons of untreated human waste each year to the landfill? The plastic will take 250-500 years to break down. More importantly, disposables contain dioxin (listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals) and TBT, a pollutant known to cause hormonal problems.

What would Garrett think of Ivy’s Diaper Service now? She would be very proud. She also might get a laugh out of the fact that it takes four or five employees to handle the workload that she single-handedly managed, at nine-months pregnant with a toddler at bay. Either way, she would know that because of her passion to protect her own children, many more babies have “healthy butts” — and the planet is a happier place because of it.

Top 5 Reasons Pampers are Evil Sign

Real affection for Real Estate


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From Apartment life right out of college…to Medical buildings in Texas…to a horse farm in Carolina, I’ve rented it, managed it, financed it, developed it, bought it, invested in it, sold it and flipped it – IT is REAL ESTATE.
I just love it!                      Here is my journey:
1979- College student leasing apartments as a summer job
1980-UNCC Graduate, Residential Property Manager of Barcelona Apartments
1988-Commercial Real Estate Developer career started, traveling the Southeast US
1993-NC Real Estate Sales License obtained, kept active every year since
1994-Bought my first home on Old Post Road (after seeing only 44!)…proud homeowner
1998-Bought 10-acre Horse Farm in Concord, rented out first home
1998-Hung up  hard-hat to attend Carolina School of Broadcasting
1999-Associate Producer of “Moving America’s Lighthouse” with Walter Cronkite

Cape Hatteras Light House

Cape Hatteras Light House (Photo credit: dharmabumx)

2003-Bought current home in subdivision for new family life
2004-First Retail project at Renaissance Square, Hwy 73, Concord/Davidson
2008-Charleston, SC temporary move to manage new Cancer Center and Medical bldg.
2010-Guilt set in, environmental education began, became columnist (In Honor of Planet Earth)
2011-Wrote first book and blog, Think Outside The Bin (
Currently – Developing a legacy, stay tuned!!