Blissfully Informed Hippie Chick

Encouraging people to think critically about everything.

It’s high time…

…we decriminalize the use of cannabis! (Pun intended.)

In all seriousness, the more we are allowed to know about cannabis, the more ridiculous it is that it’s still illegal in most places in America. The most recent study confirms this, once again:

…there is a surprising body of evidence about smoking pot that could be worth revisiting: marijuana has been found, in decades of pulmonary research, to be much safer to smoke than tobacco, and even has been linked to decreasing the risk of developing lung cancer.

…According to Dr. Donald Tashkin, professor emeritus of medicine at UCLA, who has studied the drug and its effects on lungs for over 30 years, the smoke content of pot is similar to that of tobacco, even when it comes to high concentrations of carcinogens in tar by-products. But despite that,…logical health concerns could be misplaced. “Through my studies, we failed to find any positive association,” he said, saying that instead, “the association would be negative, between lung cancer and the use of marijuana. The likelihood is, that despite the fact that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, we don’t see the same heightened risks of cancers that we see in tobacco.”

In fact, Tashkin said that marijuana’s anti-inflamatory and suppressant qualities significantly cut down the chances of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is the third leading cause of death in America, according to the American Lung Association. According to a 2013 study by Tashkin, “the accumulated weight of evidence implies far lower risks for pulmonary complications of even regular heavy use of marijuana compared with the grave pulmonary consequences of tobacco.”

You can read the article in it’s entirety here. (Emphasis in the quote was added by me.)

Not only is cannabis associated with a lower risk of lung cancer, but it’s extraordinarily safer than alcohol.

Recreational pot…is less dangerous than both alcohol and tobacco, scientists assert.

The safety of marijuana versus booze is not a new claim but, for the first time, researchers measured the potential harm of these drugs in a more quantitative way — that is, by comparing a lethal dose to how much of the substance is typically consumed socially.

Their findings showed the dangers of marijuana “may have been overestimated in the past”, while the risk of alcohol has been “commonly underestimated,” researchers said.

The report, published in Scientific Reports at the end of January, compared the potential of death from the typical, recreational use of 10 drugs: marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, diazepam, amphetamine and methadone. Marijuana was, by far, found to be the safest, even when compared to alcohol and cigarettes….

Lead author Dirk Lachenmeier told NBC News the findings, “confirm earlier results of other study groups [but] with completely different methodology.” And while his results may not be surprising, “the absolute differences in riskiness between substances” was even higher than expected.

You can read the rest of that article here, and follow the links for further reference.

Does it even matter that death by cannabis overdose is virtually impossible?

According to one frequently cited study, a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying.

On the other hand…

In 2010, overdoses were responsible for 38,329 deaths. Sixty percent of those were related to prescription drugs. In the same year, a total of 25,692 persons died of alcohol-induced causes, including accidental poisoning and disease from dependent use.

You can read the article with those two quotes here. (Again, emphasis added by me.)

Doesn’t it seem a little backwards that cannabis is still illegal?? If you’re asking yourself that question, you’re in the majority of Americans now.

A majority of Americans support the legalization of recreational marijuana, according to a new poll from CBS News — and it’s the highest percentage in support since the news organization began asking the question in 1979.

…CBS News released a poll showing 53 percent of Americans are in favor of marijuana legalization.

Although that’s the highest amount of support for marijuana legalization CBS has ever polled, it isn’t the highest level of support ever found. And because survey methods can vary, it’s useful to look at a number of national polls to get a fuller picture of the issue.

…In 2013, Gallup found 58 percent of Americans supported legalizing marijuana — a 10-point surge from the year prior — but in 2014, the organization found a sharp drop in that support, to 51 percent. A report released last month by the Democratic-affiliated Benenson Strategy Group and SKDKnickerbocker found 61 percent of Americans in favor of legalization — some of the highest support for marijuana legalization to date. Earlier this year, General Social Survey, widely regarded as the most authoritative source when it comes to researching public opinion, found 52 percent of Americans in support of legalization.

If you would like to read the whole article, or follow the links provided, you can do so here.

Once again, it’s time politicians start listening to not only the majority of Americans, but scientists, as well. End the madness, legalize!

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Today, Choose Love

Interesting, my husband and I were discussing something along the same lines as this just last night! Great post!

anewperspectiveperhaps

We have to remember how connected we really are. Whatever we do to someone else, we do to ourselves. It is explained so clearly in this explanation that it is hard to ignore.

“A Course in Miracles says that everyone we meet will either be our crucifier or our savior, depending on what we choose to be to them. Focusing on their guilt drives the nails of self-loathing more deeply into our own skin.”

Excerpt From: Williamson, Marianne. “A Return to Love.” HarperCollins. iBooks.

We think things like our hatred, our criticism, our anger are only feelings toward someone else but the truth is, whatever we feel toward someone else, we turn inward and feel more about ourselves.

It is so important to pay attention to your feelings and thoughts. It is time to heal your mind and the relationships that are holding you back in your own life. Remember…

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Facebook Page!

Ok, I’ve decided to take this blog to the next level! Thank you to all of my readers, new and old alike, and thanks to Danny, over at Dream Big, Dream Often for the inspiration to never settle!

So here’s my brand-spanking-new Facebook page!

https://m.facebook.com/BlissfullyInformedHippieChick

I’d sure appreciate it if you would go give me a like and share my page with your friends! Also, check out my group, where I welcome respectful discussion of literally any topic.

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Ricotta and Balsamic Pasta Salad

I’ve been cooking a lot more lately! When you’re on a tight food budget, you have to get creative! Especially when you’ve got 6 mouths to feed. Last night, I made a delicious pasta casserole. I had planned on making enough to send leftovers with my husband to work today. I was a little over-zealous, though, and wound up with a bunch of extra noodles. I immediately thought, “Pasta salad!” This one really doesn’t require a recipe, so here’s a quick description of how I made it…

First, I put the cooled noodles in a big bowl. (I used a mix of elbow macaroni and small shells, but any pasta should do!) Then, I poured balsamic vinegar over the noodles. I can’t tell you how much! I just poured a little, stirred, then poured a little more and stirred again! The goal was to coat the noodles so they didn’t dry out in the fridge. Next, I added some shredded dandelion greens, fresh basil leaves, and broccoli (stem, leaves, and crowns!) from my garden. You could really add any vegetable or leafy thing you want!

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I had planned on adding the ricotta, also, but my 9 year old doesn’t like it, so I just added it to my bowl when I served it.

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See? Easy and delicious!

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Non-specific Square-shaped Rice Cereal Party Mix

Without wanting to infringe upon any trademarks, I’ve come up with this rather lengthy name for my most recent recipe creation.

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Non-specific Square-shaped Rice Cereal Party Mix

– 4 1/2 cups cereal
– 1/2 cup corn syrup (honey would be better, but I’m nearly out!)
– 1/3 cup peanut butter
– 3 Tbsp butter
– 1/2 cup powdered sugar
– 1 tsp cinnamon

1) Measure the cereal into a bowl.
2) Mix the powdered sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
3) Heat the corn syrup, peanut butter, and butter on the stove until mixed well.
4) Pour the corn syrup mixture over the cereal and mix well.
5) Dump the sugar mixture in the bowl and mix again.

If your kids are like mine, put the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes to cool off faster, so they can eat it faster!

P.S. The picture does notshow the entire recipe. My kids ate most of it before I remembered to snap the picture! Ok, I ate some, too…

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1 Event That Will Help You Expand Your Readership: Meet and Greet

Time for another blog party! Go check it out!

Dream Big, Dream Often

imagesWhat day is it??!!  Meet and Greet Day!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!  So don’t be selfish, hit the reblog button.
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags (i.e. reblogging, reblog, meet n greet, link party, etc.), it helps, trust me on this one.
  4. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new bloggers to follow.  This helps also, trust me.
  5. And if you leave a link and don’t follow me, how about ya show ole Danny some love?

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and meet n greet your butts off!

The Social Media post will publish…

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Khan Academy Launches Pixar in a Box!

This is really cool! And I’d like to point out that education doesn’t have to be abstract. It can actually be relatable all the time! Kids don’t have to lose interest in school!

Unschooling Momma and Poppy

pixarKhan Academy launches Pixar in a Box, a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process

“Free online curriculum shows how Pixar filmmakers use science, technology, engineering, art and math to create movie magic”

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Today, Pixar in a Box – a new online resource that explores the academic concepts behind Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process – goes live on KhanAcademy.org. Through a series of video lessons, interactive exercises, and hands-on activities, students will discover how the academic concepts they learn in school enable Pixar filmmakers to create new worlds, animate unique characters and tell stories through animation. Although designed especially for students in middle and high school, these resources are available to learners of all ages, completely free of charge.

“Our mission at Khan Academy is a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” said Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Khan Academy. “Sparking student…

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Organic Vegetable Gardening: Harvesting Food!

We have harvested quite a bit more vegetables since my last update! While I realize that my garden is quite small and unproductive compared with some, I’m excited because this is my first garden! Besides that, any food that I grow organically for my family is something to be proud of. So here are some things we’ve harvested:

Two of the few turnips we’ve pulled..(You can eat the greens, too! Terrific in soup or stew, or just boiled in vinegar!)

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Some of the corn…(The parts with no kernels are common for corn grown at home, it just means they were under-pollinated.)

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A couple of small broccoli crowns…(You can eat broccoli leaves, too!)

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One of the few small onions I dug up because the green part on top was dying…(Again, you can eat the green part of the onion! If you just use one or two of the green stalks at a time while the onion is in the ground, they will continue to re-grow until you pull the onion from the ground.)

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Best yet, a huge zucchini…

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There is still a lot that continues to grow and produce. Our few tomatoes are still green, but I’m holding out hope that they’ll ripen. If not, I’ll use them green once the plants start to die! We have a couple bell peppers growing. The strawberry plants are still producing a few berries at a time. We have continually used thyme, basil, and chocolate mint (the latter of which makes a delicious tea!). There are a few bush beans that will be ready for picking soon. One cantaloupe and one watermelon are just about ripe (both are small, but I’m proud of them nonetheless!). Popcorn has grown and will dry on the stalk before we pick it to get the kernels off. There are a few spaghetti squashes beginning to grow, along with a yellow squash and a couple more zucchinis. And I have one lone cucumber growing thus far!

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I hope you enjoy reading about this journey of mine and seeing pictures of what food looks like as it grows! I realize that a lot of people have no idea what fruit and vegetables look like before they hit the produce section of the store, and it’s a goal of mine to familiarize people with the growing process, as well as inspire you all to grow your own food!

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Our Unschooling Life

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I haven’t written much about unschooling lately, partially because it has truly become so ordinary to us that it doesn’t strike me as noteworthy enough for a post! For the last week or so, however, I’ve been very excited about the things my kids have been learning.

Elizabeth, my 11 year old, was given a huge stack of books for her birthday, back in April. My husband and I got her the first four Harry Potter books, and her grandparents bought her the Percy Jackson series and the spin-off series, The Heroes of Olympus. Elizabeth had already read the books once and had started reading through them a second time, when Meghan, my 9 year old, decided to read them as well. This was a big deal to me; not only because they are quite lengthy books, but because Meghan has not previously shown a whole lot of interest in reading. She quite enjoyed the Goddess Girls books that they have, reading through them two or three times each. Other than that, she has not read a whole lot of books, especially fiction. She is now finished with all the Percy Jackson and on the second of the Heroes of Olympus books (I believe we are missing a few from the tail end of the series), which adds up to a thousand or so pages, in just a few short weeks! I firmly believe that reading a wide variety of material is the best way to build an extensive vocabulary and to become an exceptional speller. Not only that, but reading opens the door to so many new ideas and concepts that you might not have thought about before. Even fictional stories can spark conversations and deeper study into topics, such as history, science, and mythology. For example, the Goddess Girl books are based upon the Roman deities and the Percy Jackson books are based upon the Greek deities. A couple weeks ago, Elizabeth began talking about these gods with my husband, and he ended up telling her more about Norse mythology and they watched some YouTube videos explaining it more in depth. Both girls have been quick to point out the striking similarities between the different mythologies.

An unexpected branch of study also arose from Meghan reading the Percy Jackson books. She came to me one day and asked, “What’s V I?” I asked for context and she told me that she had seen it at the beginning of the chapter in her book. I immediately realized that it was Roman numerals! I explained to her what it was and then proceeded to write out the numerals up to ten. She thought that was pretty awesome and understood instantly, so I kept going. I got to one hundred and realized that I didn’t remember what five hundred was! By this time, Elizabeth was also participating, so she quickly Googled “Roman numerals” and showed me a chart. The rest of the day, Meghan was practicing writing numbers, quizzing us, having me quiz her, and even counting aloud, saying the numerals in place of numbers! (“I, II, III”, etc.) The funny part to me is that, about a year ago, I had tried to “teach” both girls Roman numerals (back before I had completely let go of my grip on the control of their education.) Meghan had balked at my attempts and had ended up in tears. And here we were, a year later, her grinning from ear to ear and grasping the concept instantly; all because I let her come to it organically, learning it for a purpose instead of arbitrarily. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for us to grasp the concept that teaching someone who lacks the motivation to learn that subject is useless.

Yesterday, Meghan came to me and asked me to teach her Morse code! I told her that I didn’t know it, and I suggested she look it up. She Googled “Morse code” and was overwhelmed with descriptions and definitions. I suggested typing in “learn Morse code”, which led her to a very good teaching game for kids. She ended up writing all the dots and dashes for letters and numbers and practicing on her own later. This led to a discussion of the practical applications of Morse code, and then I went on to explain what a telegraph is and the concept of telegrams. Now, she wants to buy a couple of telegraphs so that she can set them up and communicate with Elizabeth or me! (Do I forsee that scenario actually playing out? No, but it’s fun to imagine!)

What else have the kids been doing? Well, Minecraft is a huge hit right now. Meghan prefers playing the games with other online players, and Elizabeth has big plans for the construction of a space station. She is very technical and enjoys creating very intricate, complicated mechanisms. She has been figuring out how to apply “skins” and other things that I really have no idea what they are!

Meghan has also been drawing a lot of animals, looking up pictures online of the ones she wants to draw. Elizabeth has been having fun using coloring apps on her phone. They are both very creative.

They both cook and bake when the mood strikes, and are both very adept.

I’ve really only scratched the surface of the depth of their learning as of late. As you can see, they absolutely don’t sit around doing “nothing”! It’s very exciting to watch the way their minds work, rather than attempt to “mold” them, as is what happens with “formal” instruction.

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HMO Hitmen and the Profits of Heroin Addiction

“The United States is home to just five percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 80-percent of the world’s prescription drugs – primarily opioid pain killers.
And this is where our epidemic begins.
Eighty-five percent of households in America have prescription medication in their house. Most of this medication is not locked up, typically found in the bathroom medicine cabinet. The ease of obtaining prescription drugs legally is a joke, but perhaps more disturbing is that fact that it is easier to get them illegally.
This is called supply. When supply is up, prices are cheap. When prices are cheap, new customers are found. With new customers, it increases demand. If this sounds like I am describing how to operate a for-profit business, I am. This is the for-profit business of legal drug dealing.”

takingthemaskoff

richevil

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

By Irwin Ozborne

“Susie is dead.”

I still remember the text message on that fateful morning.

Susie is a 24-years-old, hard-working, good-looking girl without an enemy in the world. She is the type of person who naturally connects to everyone and genuinely cares about others. How could she be dead?

“She died from a heroin overdose.”

I heard these words and it literally floored me. We hear the figurative expression of being brought to your knees – well this is where it comes from. It literally occurs when you cannot physically stand and the pain and anguish is so unbearable that you involuntarily sink closer to the earth.

Who does heroin? That was my instinctive reaction.

It must have been engrained in our culture and generation that if you touch the stuff, you…

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