All posts by John Ryan

Homemade Toothpaste!

What we didn’t know about becoming vegetarians, is that Bethany and I would become more and more health conscious than we have ever been. Becoming vegetarians has opened our minds to the benefits of raw foods, healthy living AND the dangers of processed foods, chemicals, and pesticides. If I can eliminate a chemical from my life, I will.

About a month ago I heard a friend say that floride  kills a bacteria on our teeth that helps them rebuild themselves naturally. He said he had a cavity and someone told him to stop using fluorinated toothpaste. He stopped using fluorinated toothpaste and his cavity went away.

I was intrigued. I had to look this up. So I went to Wikipedia. Just kidding, I use Goggle scholar. As I searched though scientific journals and abstracts I found that floride is highly debated and the majority consensus is that it isn’t safe and can cause cancer. According to the IAOMT (International Academy of  Oral Medicine and Toxicology) floride in only effective in tooth decay at high, cancer causing, levels.

Because of this, I took time to make some awesome natural toothpaste. Here is the link to the directions.

We have been using this toothpaste for a month now and I can say that this toothpaste is awesome. I feel cleaner and fresher.

Next post I write will be about the importance of flossing.

NES – Don’t Nintendo Player Hate Me!

I have been dying to play some old school NES & SNES but keep getting flashing screens and funny noises. After doing some research on youtube and the Goog, I found that the problem is due to bad a connection with the cartridge.

The Fix

Step 1 – Clean the cartridge (for NES or SNES).

  • Windex
  • Cotton swabs. A.K.A. Q-tips

Apply some windex to the Q-tip and wipe away years of dust and oxidation from the cartridge. Let it sit for about 2 min. and you are done!

I hate to say it, but blowing on the bad boy does more harm than good. The moisture in your breath takes along time to dry and helps the build up of crud.  Also don’t use alcohol to clean it. It is too harsh a chemical.

If this doesn’t fix the game then either your game is dead or the 72 pin connector in your NES is lose and doesn’t get a good connection with the cartridge.

Step 2 – fix 72 pin connector (NES Only)

To fix the 72 pin connector you will need to disassemble your NES and replace it with a new 72 pin connector. You can get these online for about $15. However, if you have a steady hand and patience you can bend all 144 pins back into place with a needle. I picked the cheap route and used a needle. Before I knew it I had be NES back together and as good as new.

Unfortunately some of my games were too far gone to bring back from the grave but the good ones are still golden like Super Mario Bros.

Also, Duck Hunt doesn’t work with LCD or Plasma TVs. The Nintendo Zapper gun only works with CRT Technology. LAME.


Last week I tried my hand at sprouting for the first time. It was surprisingly easy and really fun! I know that there are jars and lids made for sprouting, but who wants to buy all that? That is why I sprouted with everyday objects that you most likely have on hand right now! (This mean you have no excuse not to try this!!) I used lentils but you can pretty much sprout any legume. I can’t wait to try radish seeds. They give the sprouts a spicy flavor!

What You Need

  • Glass jar 1 quart or larger
  • Cheese cloth
  • A Rubberband
  • Any legume

How To Get It Done

  • Take 1/2 a cup of lentils and putt them in the jar
  • Fill the jar with 2 cups of water (use about 3 times as much water as seed or bean)
  • Let sit for 12 hours then strain the spouts using the cheesecloth and rubberband
  • Now rinse the sprouts twice a day for 3 or 4 days

Thats all there is to it! Each day the sprouts will get bigger and bigger. Once they have grown you can keep them fresh for about 10 days in the refrigerator.


  • Keep the sprouts out of the sun for the first three days. Once they are larger you can put them in sunlight for good mesure if you want.
  • I started sprouting at night and let them soak while I slept. The next morning I drained them and started the rinsing process. From there I did it when I woke and when I went to bed. It was really easy.
  • If you don’t want to use cheese cloth you can also use a mason jar and some tulle. Cut the tulle to size and use the outer rig of the mason jar to hold it in place.
  • Enjoy in salads, sandwiches, tacos (sprouts + salsa = muy bueno), and more!

St. Emillion & Agen – Day 8

We left Amboise early Sunday morning. We had about five hours of driving ahead of us and we wanted to get it done fast. Our first stop was St. Emilion, one of the most famous wine producing cities in the Bordeaux area. We had a great time as this beautiful town looking at wine and watching a one hour film on the wine making process. Who knew it was so complex?!!

After St. Emillion we got back in the car for our penultimate stretch of driving, the route to Agen. By this time Bethany and I were so tired that we could barely talk to each other. One whole week of nonstop site seeing had taken its toll!

I don’t think there was any better feeling than driving into the driveway of my French family. Bethany and I both knew that we had finally found refuge! The Galan family was so excited to meet Bethany for the first time. She was a great addition to the family. I don’t know how we lived without her in this multi-cultural adopted family!

That evening the Galan’s made an amazing dinner for us, (well they make great food every night so maybe it wasn’t just for us.) We also had a visitor come over for dinner. It was great to see Flo and Max’s mother one more time. She is a character, as you can tell from the pictures. All this to say…being at the Galan’s has been better than any other place we have been!

Amboise – Day 7

Amboise is in the middle of Châteaux (castle) country in France. The people who live there think that it is still the capital of France. They are very proud of their heritage and of the kings who lived there. The Duke of Paris, the man who is in line to be the king of France if there was still a royal family, lives in Amboise. It was also the home for Leonardo Da Vinci in his retirement and final years. While we were there we visited a chocolate shop that has been run by the same family since the 1800’s. It was amazing!!! That evening we went to the Châteaux of Francois the 1st for the weekly sound and light show put on by the people of Amboise. It was a great story that led us thought the life of Francois the 1st, the king who at age 23 brought Leonardo Da Vinci to France to be his mentor. Along with Leonardo, Francois also brought the renaissance to France.

Next stop, St. Emilion and Agen!

Mont St. Michel

After we left the the D-Day beaches, Bethany and I headed to Mont St. Michel. What we didn’t know was that the GPS planned our whole route through back roads that were only big enough for one car. Not to mention that the whole thing was up hill… both ways!!! As we drove through the small towns the mirrors on the sides of the car were just inches away from hitting the old farm houses. It was amazing! There was no way to know what was around each corner.  At one point we were I saw a sign that said, “Warning, turn without visibility!” As we came around the turn there was a tunnel big enough for one car.. literally one car. Needless to say, the trip was great!

But, what was better than the drive, was what was waiting for us. As we got to the coast, we saw a small point sicking out over  the rest of the country side. As we got closer and closer the small point slowly turned into a grand castle built on a small peninsula. The view was breathtaking! The most unusual thing about this place is that it has the highest tide in Europe. It can rise over 50 ft in less than 24 hours! There are parking lots in the day time that are literally underwater during the night!

Mont St. Michel is also known for it’s Puffy Omelets. It is like eating an omelet full of air. Photo below.

Day 6 – D Day Beaches

From Honfleur Bethany and I went to Mont St. Michel. On our way to St. Michel we stopped off in northern Normandy to see the D-Day beaches. For those of you that know me, this has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I cannot tell you how great it was! We started off the trip back in time with a 360 degree theater. The film was amazing! It spliced the old footage of the Normandy invasion with modern day shots of the same places. It was a great way to link the past with today.

After the movie we visited some of the German batteries. It was amazing how well preserved they still are. There was one that had a long hallway underground  that kept going and going. I wanted to flow it but it was pitch black and I  had left my flashlight in the car. Next time I am going to bring my headlamp.

We then made our way to the U.S. cemetery and Omaha Beach. It was amazing. The view of all of the grave plots was breath taking. It makes me realizes how great a sacrifice was made during WWII.

Next stop, Mont St. Michel!

Honfleur, France – Day 5

Our first stop after Paris was a special surprise. Bethany and I didn’t know exactly what to expect when we got to Honfleur. But, as we drove into the small fishing village we were blown away! This cute town is were the Seine river meets the English Channel. This provides Honfleur with sweeping views of the ocean and grand beaches.  The town also had the most amazing gardens/parks!! Everything we saw was green and lush. After checking into our  simple, modern, yet cozy hotel room, we went on to explore this quaint village. We took a long walk uphill to the highest point of this town….the view was unbelievable! We found a few random cows grazing in a pasture on the top of the hill as well as an old stone church.  We ate at the cutest little cafe’ set behind the main street.  Honfleur was a stark contrast from Paris, but beautiful in a whole new way!!

Bastille Day – Paris Day 4

Well, it has been exactly a week since Bastille day. Sorry it has taken us so long to get this posted. July 14 is French Independence day.

In the morning Bethany and I went to the Champs Elysées to watch the French Military parade. The street was packed and security was tight, but we managed to get a pretty good spot close to the street. The parade was only ok becasue it got rained out, but the experiance was amazing. I even got a good photo of Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.

(Author: Bethany)
We were not prepared for rain at all!! All we had was a shammy towel from REI for coverage!! We looked everywhere to find refuge, but the streets were so packed with other unprepared souls that we were soaked by the time we found covering. We ended up in the most unlikely place, McDonaolds! We were there for over an hour and finally decided that we would weather the storm since our hotel room would be way more comfortable. We spent the rest of the rainy afternoon in our room, but the sun finally came out in time for us to grab dinner and hit the metro!

We planned to meet up with Heidi and Heather, Tristan’s sisters, at the Eiffel Tower for fireworks!! We also met Corentine, John Ryan’s French exchange buddy from highschool, and his girlfriend, Emilie (who looks a lot like Rebekah, my sister!!) there!!

The fireworks were amazing!! The best I’ve ever seen and probably will ever see again!! The whole show was like a dream!! That may sounds dramatic, but it really was hard to believe!

We had a wonderful time being with everyone and even enjoyed that long walk home in the rain!! It was hard to be frustrated with the weather while in Paris!

Day 3, Tuesday – Paris

What can I say about day 3 in Paris? It was wonderful! We took over 520 photos in that day alone!
We started off the day with a long walk to the Orsay. When we got there the line was sooooo long, even for museum pass holders, that we decided to hit up the Orsay later and go to Rue Cler instead. The Rue Cler is one of the last places one can go to see Parisians at their best, shopping for food. The street has a small two block long section filled with wine, cheese, chocolate, fish, and fresh produce shops. Most Parisians make daily trip to the market. This is for two reasons, small refrigerators (due to the small kitchens) and of coarse their love for fresh food.

Bethany and I picked up some food on Rue Cler and walked the few blocks to the masterpiece of Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower. Lunch in Champ de Mars was amazing! It was the best place to people watch and of course gaze at the Tower.

After lunch we conquered the Tower on foot and took in the amazing view. It was starting to get late when we got down and we still wanted to see the Orsay, but we had to make one more stop; the Army Museum. This is quite possibly the most exciting museum in Paris! We had one hour to run through this spectacular place. When we finished we had 20 min to run 12 huge city blocks to the Orsay before it closed. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it on time and the doors had already closed.

Our tired feet couldn’t go any further. So we decided to go back to the Louvre to soak our feet in the cold fountain. We finished our day with a walk down the Champs Elysees, an exciting dinner, and a climb to the top of the Arc De Triomphe. On top of the Arc is the best view in all of Paris of the Eiffel Tower…we arrived just in time to see the Eiffel’s sparkling night lights display! A metro ride back to our hotel gave our tired feet a well deserved rest!