Monday, December 28, 2009

Cute Words

 I think the words "nineapple" and "banamic" (pineapple and balsamic) are two of the cutest words in the world. I'm also thinking my two year old has sophisticated tastes. We frequently have blue cheese dressing on our salads and her Dad and I add Balsamic to that. The pineapple is a seperate snack.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas Part 2

Merry Christmas everyone. We celebrate Christmas today because my step-daughter is with us.

My husband totally surprised me and spoiled me. Here is the first way he spoiled me:


It's a Chickadee Nest. He spent a lot of time hollowing out the inside of that trunk to make it for me. I think they will enjoy it (and I also). Isn't it too cool? It has a dowel inside for the Chickadees to roost on.

He also got me a fancy schmancy food that can dehydrate at low temperatures for the health benefits of eating raw food. I'm so excited to get using it.

Here are some pics of the girls. They are so much fun. Enjoy.






Friday, December 25, 2009


I have no Christmas photos to share. They did not turn out to my liking. Darkness and I don't get along when it comes to taking photos. Then this morning there was great light, but there was a lot of glare too and I should have taken photos with the sun at my back, but I didn't.

My step-daughter Mariah is coming tomorrow. We decided not to open presents from under the tree until she gets here. So the girls had their stocking goodies to play with today. I made coffee cake for breakfast - half whole wheat and it was especially yummy. Rachel had her gluten free version from the gluten free store. We are pretty much all feeling sick again. Argh. I just felt better. Some kind of cold. I am, of course, praying we will all feel better soon - tomorrow morning would be great. The baby (well toddler) was QUITE GRUMPY today. She just didn't deal well with feeling sick today. But, she's so active she doesn't want to just be held - so there was a lot of whininess.

We are celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I have had such a great day today, on this lovely Christmas Eve. It was lovely and blue here this morning - crisp with lots of frost. Just a little ways away was a blanket of fog...which I was out in most of the day. This was probably where we got the fantastic frost from. My favorite part of today was that it didn't matter how crazy it didn't matter how gray and foggy it was...everyone was in a jovial mood. It made me want to smile.

Here is a secret...we took the morning this morning listening to Christmas songs and decorating the tree. No the presents are not all wrapped...although my children wrapped the ones they were giving. Many decorations are still out on the floor. And I need to make more Christmas cookies tonight. I made some for our business the other night and brought a few home, but tonight I need to make a few that are gluten free for my little gluten free girl. We don't do many Christmas cookies around here for two reasons. One) we have absolutely no self-control, and Two) they make us feel terribly ill. I actually feel guilty (can you believe it?) when I hear many of you talk of all the kinds of Christmas cookies you have made. If I could let them just sit there in front of me without indulging...I might do that too. Nonetheless, for the girls, we are making some cookies tonight.

Letting You All Know

I have neglected (for a couple days) letting you all know some WONDERFUL NEWS. Those gigantic BPA lines (the kind that feed a whole city) that they were proposing going in the length of our property have been dropped from the proposal (and they originally told us it would be two plus years till we would hear anything). We think they were dropped in part to lots of grass roots protesting...after all they weren't just going to affect us, but thousands of land owners. Isn't that an answer to prayer?

So, here are some pictures...not right on our property, but close enough I think to have had the prospect of potentially being impacted by those lines. Aren't these pictures gorgeous. And let me tell you that they just don't capture what I saw with my eyes. God is amazing.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Shhhh. Don't tell Jon I put this picture up of him. :) It might not stay up long.

This is what happens to you, when you are a Dad of girls, and you decide to take a nap on the floor.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I'm always amazed how intricate babies are from the very youngest gestation. Truly I was knit together by the creator in my mother's womb.

A Light Show

I just wanted to pop in here and share this fantastic light show we saw in our sky this afternoon just before sunset.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Family Photo

Just popping in to share a photo of my girls and some of their cousins (these are the quads with my girls - all eight years old, two boys, two girls - they are about the same age as my oldest, Natalie).


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nature Walk

I was reading and writing about Charlotte Mason today, so I decided that I should do what I feel is central in our style of education - and get myself outside with my children, even during these dark, rainy days.

So we went to see the falls. It's hard to believe there are so many beautiful falls and pieces of river so close to where we live. They are just breathtaking. Even this time of year. 






Charlotte Mason talks about visiting special places not just during one season, but during multiple seasons - to see how nature changes over the seasons and to make observations about those changes.

I searched through my old photos to try and compare the river now with the river is summer or early fall. It's really amazing the difference - the fullness, the smoothness, the swiftly moving and even swirling currents. All I could find is this picture - which isn't the exact picture of anything I took today. But you can see how different this look. Nowhere on the river do you see river rocks sticking up this time of year (except for the very biggest boulders).


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do You Do It All?

Do you ever find that your homeschooling doesn't happen in a vacuum. We should and do try to institute 12 steps to a cleaner house. We have the kids help out with chores. We try to limit how much the kids are allowed to get out at once. Yet, if we allow them to be creative at all, if we allow them to enjoy learning from time to time, then order turns to chaos. Well, at least for me. I know of a few perfect people, but I'm not one of them. I'll keep trying though. I'll keep trying to be a loving mom, homeschool with a passion, keep a clean house, eat well and feed my family well, love God, and take time for me. But, I for one, although I believe we should keep pressing forward, don't do it all. Do you?



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My Younger Homeschooler

I've taken a more laid back approach with my second homeschooler when it comes to reading and doing lessons. I read a lot to her. She reads a little to me. We go through the phonics cards. And she does math worksheets. Then, of course she listens in are her sisters lessons.

It's amazing how much she catches on it. She'll ask to write something on the grocery list and try to sound it out according to the phonics rules (which as you know doesn't always make it right). Lately, she's been taken to "reading" her older sister's chapter books - which really amounts to looking at the illustrations, but also involves trying to decipher some tougher words. I'm so proud of her when she comes to me and reads to me a fairly difficult sentence that she obviously took a long time deciphering. That's the power of reading to your kids and igniting their own love for learning. It's an amazing thing to watch.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Just Who I Am

It's funny how sometimes we try and be something or someone other than who we actually are, who our creator created us to be. I say "WE" because I'm assuming others do the same thing I do. Particularly we try to be that popular person or that social person. We worry that others don't like us. Perhaps it's a childhood thing...and perhaps it's just me...but I'm pretty sure others have walked this same path.

The really ironic thing is that others at the same time as we are trying to be liked by them, have their own situations going on underneath the surface. Maybe they are friendly to us, but a solid connection never comes from it. Perhaps they seem judgemental. But, are they really? I listened to a conversation lately, about a shy (but oh so sweet) young lady. Her mom said she had had some trouble with kids at school picking on her, particularly on the bus. This young lady would never outright tell her mom about it because she is such a people pleaser. But, the teasing and hostility built up and mom found out about it. The other partner in this conversation said that perhaps being shy and reserved was something intimidating to the other young ladies. What? Being someone who is usually reserved with all but those closest to me, I am unclear as to how being reserved would be intimidating? My view of being reserved is that it is a weakness. But, perhaps it really is neutral and that other people have their own weaknesses in how they view and accept others.

The best feedback I've ever gotten either on my photography blog or on my homeschooling blog, has been when I am writing just for me. On my photography blog, for instance, sometimes I write tutorials, mainly just so that I can go back to them myself - because I'll forget a certain technique even when I had previously mastered it.

In the homeschooling world, I like to ponder different methods of learning. If you're a long term reader of my blog, you probably know that I have a fondness for Charlotte Mason Methods, but also like the self-teaching philosophy of Robinson, and the serious nature of the Classical Method (although I'm not too fond of repitition - which in some forms of the Classical Method is a really strong component). Basically, my favorite teaching method is an old-fashioned, nurturing, self-learning style.

I think I'm getting more into my groove there. This is not to say that you need to follow my groove. In fact, unless you are an awfully lot like me, the things I do will probably drive you crazy.

When I started homeschooling and indeed before that when my oldest daughter was in Preschool, I was really itching to get started and wanted to get a good head start teaching. Now, under some influence of Robinson and Miss. Mason, as well as the influence of a child who definitely wasn't ready for formal learning at the age of five, I really see age seven or eight as the start of education. Before that intelligent conversation, phonics practice, reading practice, reading aloud, and some light math practice are on the menu. I just think, to do more than say two hours a day with my first grader, is unhelpful to her learning.

Natalie (8) this year, though, is starting to teach herself math with Saxon 5/4. And it works out wonderfully. It really does. Not to say every day she wants to do 1-2 hours of math, but she does it, and she talks about her math and figures things out (like casually saying to me one morning "mom is 3/4's of 60, 45?") because she's thinking it through herself. She reads and does written narration. We also do read alouds as a family and oral narration. She takes her spelling from her own written narration - so it's not somthing foreign to her.

I also read recently about adding vocabulary memorization to her reading. Robinson does this (I don't currently own the Robinson curriculum, but I've read about it) - he has pretty challenging vocabulary from the texts they are reading and the kids are expected to memorize it. Do you know that what kids learned in order to graduate the eighth grade in the 1800's was as much as some learn through college now? Our kids can do more than we give them credit for.

And I want her to memorize poetry. But, the more I learn about self-teaching, the more I just want her to do it herself. So, I give her a fairly long poem at the beginning of the week and part of her reading time, she'll master that poem herself and present it to me at the end of the week. Having a more hands-off approach frees me up to clean my house, make bread, play with my toddler, go over phonics and reading with my six year old, and squeeze some time in for working at our business.

And, of course, being a Charlotte Mason fan, I want all my girls to do nature study. Having the girls do more self-learning frees up time for this - otherwise, it seems to me, with the duties of the house, there is just not enough time to fit that kind of thing in.

Well, these are just my new thoughts. The real changes for me are going to self-learning for poetry and adding vocabulary to the reading assignment. I also read recently that Robinson has the kids re-write their essay (written narration) the next day with corrections made. I'm debating about doing this as well.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


We teach them to cook early around here.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

I am thankful that we are just passers through on this Earth. As beautiful as it is and as rich as the contacts we make here, it is nothing like that which is promised for those who love the Lord. He holds us in His hand and the rich blessing of following Him far outweighs any possible trials we may go through in the here and now. How great is that?

It's been a beautiful couple of days here. I saw the sun! :) The girls were so giddy with anticipation of Thanksgiving. I was so dizzy with their giddiness. It's the equivalent of "are we there yet?" What are you making Mom?! Look at the picture I'm drawing for my cousin Mom? Are we leaving in the morning Mom? Look Mom I finished the cross-stitch I was making for Grandma! Do you need any help Mom? I know boys are a lot of energy movement wise, but some days I tell you the honking that goes on in our little flock of geese is deafening. And, lovely. They are so sweet.


Monday, November 23, 2009

This Morning

It's a lovely morning here in the Northwest, as in it is forcasted to be cloudy today and not rainy.

It is a trying time of year for me. My Dad loves to tell a story about me that when I was a little baby, he'd take me out in the rain or the cold and immediately I would start crying. I feel like that on the inside now. Oh, where I live is beautiful. The terrain, the wide variety of activities within a short distance from one another, the green...but the constant rain... Well, I'm sorry, you probably didn't come to my blog to hear a lot of whining. I live in the jet stream and I live on the foothills. This time of year I dream of moving somewhere a little sunnier. In the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall, I wouldn't dream of living anywhere else. Our ties have us rooted here anyhow.

This morning, I felt like a "normal" family. Jon was taking his oldest (my step-daughter) to school and he and I got up early (as in 7:00) to get her ready to go. I cleaned, the other kids slept. We have such freedom with our business that we tend to not get up till 8:30 or 9:00 and often Jon doesn't leave until 10:00. I'm always so behind in my day because of least this time of year when it's dark before 5:00. It seems like with most families the husband has to be to work by a certain time and that provides some routine. Of course, I know of other families where the Dad work swing shift. That would be a definite challenge. I am challenged enough to establish a routine for my family with a decently early bedtime and a decently early wake time.

I'm planning on going out and soaking in some light and doing a bit of shopping before the Thanksgiving rush. Then, I'll homeschool. Wish me God's blessings.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Big Two Year Old

My big two year old had her first potty success tonight. A poo poo on the potty! I've been telling her "poo poo" when I see her making that face and tonight she told me "poo poo" so we sat her on the potty and soon enough she had a success. It may be silly, but I couldn't be prouder.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Toddler Cuteness

My little Abigail just recently turned two. Don't you just love how God made children extra cute during the more challenging ages?

This morning as sister got Abigail up, Natalie asked Abigail if she wanted a banana whole or in a bowl. Up until now Abigail has been wanting to hold her banana herself. "I hold it.", she says. This morning though she said, "bowl, bowl, bowl." Later she got really upset and Natalie couldn't understand what she wanted. So, I went into the kitchen. For spoon she says something like "oon" or maybe even a little less intelligible. But she points in the direction of the silverware drawer. All their little communications at this age are such a struggle, but one, if everything is going normally, these little ones really want to do.

It's funny to me, Abigail loves to say, "no". Big surprise, huh? She was one of my cute little one year olds that was so compliant, I thought maybe she'd always just say "yes". She said yes before no, after all. But, sure enough, here she is at the twos loving the word "no". It doesn't matter what you say, she answers "no". Last night we were trying it out. And my husband said, "do you want a treat?" The automatic response, "no". But, then it was followed by "treat, treat, treat." She wanted the treat (but she didn't get one).

The other cute stage advancement Abigail is showing involves potty. We had her sitting on her potty last night. She didn't want to stop sitting on the potty. And, she didn't want her diaper back on. That is a welcome sign of readiness.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Red Robin

I am just really enjoying this photo of my middle daughter taken at Red Robin tonight. This one really captures her.


We worked today, but we had a laid back day at the same time. We brought the kids into our place of business towards the end of the day and they played. Then, we went to Red Robin. Actually, I prefer my own cooking now, but it was nice to not have to cook.

We are really just so ambivalent about celebrating the holiday (Halloween) at all as it is so full of, well, evil. I'm so impressed looking at it from an outsider's point of view that this is the center of Halloween. Sure, kids just want to dress up. But, pretty quick it goes beyond that. And why should we be so comfortable with playing around with darkness? Anyhow, not to judge anyone, my kids want to dress up too. And we have before, just not this year.

A lot of the direction on this whole thing I owe to my husband. And I'm glad, really, because it always made me uncomfortable. I want to give my whole heart to the Lord and not to in any way give place to the enemy. It's funny. My husband grew up trick or treating. He doesn't have bad memories. He just matter of factly is grumpy about anything about Halloween. Not so with Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July.

Anyhow, our kids don't want to not feel included in what everyone else is doing. And, I read on someone's blog that this is also Reformation Day. So, we were talking about doing something for that. I was going to make Pumpkin Bread. And I'm not sure how to tie that into Reformation Day. But, with working, I didn't cook that. But, I bought the cans of pumpkins (our pumpkins in the garden never turned orange this year...I'm thinking of putting them in a windowsill...does that work). Tomorrow. So, I feel guilty that I didn't do something for my kids...and my husband says to me, "so that's what we're supposed to teach our kids, that when we don't do what everyone else does, we have to make up for it?" (Tongue in cheek.) Or, he said something like that. Well said. I think.

Well, whether you agree with my judgement of Halloween or not, I hope you can appreciate the angst with which I wrestle things over in my mind.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


My littlest girl and my step-daughter happen to have the same birthday. It's so much fun to celebrate two birthdays on one day. It makes it a little more like Christmas because it's not all about one child. Our girls are so cute about wanting to surprise their sisters and be involved in the party preparations. This year we started having the older ones pay for their own gift out of their piggy bank. It's a wonderful experience for them. They are really thoughtful, yet frugal in their choices. Well, here are some pictures of the celebration.








Friday, November 6, 2009

Medical Day

It was a medical day today.


The Shots

I gave in and got the H1N1 vaccine for two of my daughters (my oldest and youngest) and for me, complete with Thermisol (mercury) for my older daughter and me. I have very well-managed asthma that has occasionally gone totally South on me in the past. Real misery.  30-40% reading on my peak flow meter kind of stuff. And my eight year old has CVS, which she has gotten sick before from a cold and it causes her to not be able to keep things down at all, once for almost a week. So, despite my misgivings, and outrage at them STILL putting things like Thermisol in our vaccines, I got the vaccine. My littlest daughter got the one without thermisol, but it was "unavailable" to us who are older. We even had a flu like thing come through our house, but not everyone got it and it wasn't that strong or long-lasting, so I'm figuring it wasn't H1N1.

In the end I just figured I was going to worry about which was the right decision and I'd just get the vaccine and then put the worry behind me.

Abigail was cute as can be. Kids were there screaming before they even got the shot, just in anticipation. She, at first didn't know what was going on. Then I got a shot and Natalie (8) got a shot and then I picked up Abigail (2) to hold her. What a smarty she is. I pulled her sleeve down to bare it and she immediately grabbed her upper arm muscle to cover it. So smart. We all feel alright so far.


Jon went to the dentist. We belong to an HMO. He called for a dental cleaning and they told him it was three months or today. So, he took today. In customary fashion, nothing wrong with his teeth. I tell you, he brushes his teeth so fast and only once a day and isn't consistent about flossing. But, never any cavities or any other problems. He tells them about the difference between him and I. I don't know why Jon tells me these things, but he tells me he says they say it's just how you take care of your teeth. He tells them about how many cavities I have gotten when pregnant. They tell him that extra cavities associated with pregnancy have only to do with being distracted. You have got to be kidding??? These people just frost me! (Am I not supposed to say that on a blog?) I brush my teeth like a maniac when I'm pregnant. They tell Jon there is no nutritional basis for cavities and that teeth cannot have minerals leached from them. I don't believe that is true either...I do need to brush my teeth like crazy. That's true. But, it is my belief that I have some genetic thing going on with both my teeth and my bones and my moods that I need to address nutritionally as well The medical community can be so narrow minded sometimes. Medicine + a thoughtful (rather than bureaucratic) look at nutrition = powerful. Medicine the way it is = not so helpful.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Oldest

Here is my oldest waiting at the door for me to get her a plastic bag. She is heading out to the freezer in our garage to get us some meat. Don't you just love her little jacket? The arms are supposed to be short, although I think I'd like them better long. The jacket actually fits her correctly. It's like a Little Red Riding Hood jacket without the red. I wish I was a good enough seamstress to make something like that. I think I'd make them red ones just for fun.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cows & Falls

Here is a sweet picture of our just weaned calves being sweet on each other. Is that too sweet?


And here is another picture of the falls. This time at dusk. I took the shot without a tripod. It turned out because of a steady hand and a great lens. I love the feel of this picture. It's funny, but I have a hard time with this time of year, the darkness, wetness, and cold...but going to a special place like this and soaking in how the fog and the water and the dusk interact, soothes over all that.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Fun With Pumpkins

We went to the pumpkin patch. So, I put together these two pictures of my girls. Baby was in pack so she didn't get her picture taken. fun_with_pumpkins_5



Saturday, October 24, 2009

Never Grow Tired

Our family never grows tired of going here. The girls never want to leave. I love raising my girls with a love for God's creation, like what I have. If you look closely, you'll see a bald eagle on the rocks. He is there for a lazy lunch. There are probably about 50 salmon in the waters under those falls hoping to be able to jump up them. I think some of them actually make it. Other spawn down below. Incredible. Just like our Creator.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

God Knew

Before my oldest began Kindergarten I wasn't sure I would homeschool. I knew I didn't want to public school. But, we were thinking about private school. Natalie went to Preschool at the private school we were looking for our kids to attend. It was fun for her. Mostly it was play. She enjoyed it. I was attending MOPS at the time and other Mom there was a homeschooler. She shared with me her experience homeschooling. She recommended a couple of books. And she told me about the co-op she was attending. Natalie was still in Preschool at the time, but having those resources there at the time gave me confidence to try homeschooling. And, I enjoyed it. And, despite my shortcomings as a Mom, my kids blossomed and continue to blossom.

So, we've been homeschooling a little over three years now. I am just amazed at how God knew. I have one daughter that gets stomach migraines (or CVS - cyclical vomitting syndrome). It is better now that we know what they are, but during one spell (which would happen about once a month and last for various amounts of time), she kept nothing down for almost a week. One episode happened about a week before I had my last baby. I remember being in the Emergency Room with my daughter and how overwhelming it felt to need to be there for both my babies. One of my issues with pregnancy is that my pregnancies always went long, but still I thought, what if I go into labor early. What will I do? God knew. And, He knew about homeschooling too. Now, I can pretty much help my daughter avoid an episode by giving her Ibuprofen at the first sign. And, we have some stronger anti-nausea medicine to give to her if the episode goes further. Hopefully, no more ER visits to rehydrate her. Yet, what better environment for her to be in, than at home, where we can change her schedule around for one of those bad days. I pray for her healing and I work hard to take care of her well with a good diet, but still God knew. He provided extra grace for us, living in this clay vessels.

And, I have another daughter, that as it turns out has some developmental issues. Nothing that really stands out to anyone. I've debated about getting her diagnosed, but since I wouldn't want to medicate her, and since I've come up with ways of coping with some of her particulars, I've opted not to get her diagnosed. But, this daughter is a slow reader (but an enthusiastic one :) ). She still has potty issues and she is in the first grade this year. She enjoys repetitive things (and she's learned to do those in her room by herself). She's had speech issues, but only borderline. And, she can sometimes, especially if I or some other caregiver isn't 100% consistent with her, she can have a stubborn, angry streak. So, it's been hard. I think if it were clear what I was supposed to do, if it were clear she had a disability, I would find it easier to gather support. But, my point is, God knew. God knew that this little girl would grow in her love of learning with a laidback, read a lot to her, let her struggle in her own way, approach. School, I know, would have just been one frustration after another for her. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

God's Gifts

Don't want to read all my thoughts? Scroll down below for some weekend at the beach pictures.

Do you ever just experience those God gifts? We all do, I must say, or else we wouldn't be homeschooling. But, little-er gift than those. When, you are at your wits end, or almost there, and living there for a while. And He reaches down to you and helps. Oh...that's nice. I know when I don't experience those gifts for a while, it must be because I'm not really open and ready for them.

This morning I had a God gift. My God gift this morning was being awake at seven in the morning. Seven in the morning is really early for me. You have to understand that by the time I got to bed last night it was one in the morning. And, six hours of sleep, is really not very much for me. I'm more like an eight or eight and a half hour sleeper. But, today I'm fine. I know I better not do such a short sleep very many days in a row - or I get wired and it is not a pleasant kind of wired. I've been really having a hard time keeping my house clean this last week. And, have had a hard time directing the kids to have them help keep it clean. I got nearly two hours of cleaning done before the kids woke up. I can't do that at night. I don't have the brain for it then. But, now my house is (mostly) clean. :)

Plus, an idea dropped into my head. This may seem obvious to some, but to me sometimes when I'm in the middle of my frustrations, the obvious things don't seem obvious. My toddler is really impatient with our reading time. She likes to climb on my head, scream loudly, and be generally obnoxious when we are trying to read. She's that way when I try and cook. She's that way when I try and type. She's that way when I try and load the dishes (she thinks thats water play time). So, we have one of those big, round, circular gates. Today, when we were reading I put her in it, along with some toys. She protested loudly for several minutes, but soon settled down and played. And we read...Ahhhh.

Robinson Style Homeschooling

My experiment with having the kids teach themselves more (Art Robinson style) is working great. Really, I swear to you, if this style of learning fits you, it will fit your kids. It will work. Most of our country's founding fathers were largely educated this way. Charlotte Mason says it too. Don't coddle your child. Don't do for them what they can do for themselves. I upped Nat's math level this year and she has been teaching herself from Saxon 4/5 all year...AND LOVING IT. I've been using this approach a bit with Rachey (6) too. I encourage her to read her phonics books out loud to herself! Don't get me wrong I spend time with her reading and listening to her read, but instilling in kids the attitude of "wow I can teach myself" really works. So, like Robinson, we are doing Bible reading followed by 1-2 hours of math, 2-4 hours of reading/writing...Most of that is by themselves. Then my goal is to expand on their education, more Charlotte Mason style, in the afternoon. Nature, Art, Languages, Physical Eduction, that sort of thing.

A Weekend Away

We went to the beach this last weekend. I love the beach. I could just sit on the beach, watch the waves, talk to passers by for days on end, I think. I'm not into crowds, which unfortunately comes with the beach. But, usually, you can avoid them, anyhow. This weekend fell a little short, but was still fun. When that happens I'm always trying to analyze what went wrong. My analytical nature is a blessing and a curse. I have to learn to let go sometimes. Well, one thing that went wrong is my step-daughter got quite sick and didn't want to do anything. Poor thing. That was unavoidable. Secondly, the food I ate in restaurants, it just made me feel ill and spacy. I thought this...why when we go camping do we manage to pack our food and prepare it in the outdoors and I think that's impossible when staying in a hotel, unless there is a kitchen. Even though there was a free breakfast, who says I have to take advantage. Some cereal and milk would have been better. I could have brought hard boiled eggs. Salad mixings and chicken. Fruits and veggies. All I'd have to do is keep it cold. I could manage that.

Here are some pics from the weekend.










Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Beautiful Place

Some days are harder than others. The whys and whens and hows all get lost and jumbled up, and it's just survival. I don't know why. But, on those days, God's creation gives me comfort. Did I tell you I live in a beautiful place?



Saturday, October 3, 2009

Soaking My Grains

Here are some pictures I want to share with you. I made Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes this morning. I took Soft White Wheat kernels and ground those last night. I soaked the fresh flour overnight in buttermilk and put in a warm cabinet. Then, I made pancakes this morning. These pancakes, while slightly different than regular pancakes, are very tasty.





Most of us know how many nutrients we are missing when we cook with white flour. I've been doing some research lately and the difference in nutrient levels between white and whole wheat flour really captured my attention. We are only getting 17-40% of the nutrients depending on the nutrient when we eat foods made with white flour. Our society tells us that white flour isn't good because we aren't getting fiber. But, beyond that, when we think about only operating on 17-40% of the nutrients we otherwise would get, we've just got to realize that our diets (especially when you add all that sugar to the equation) are not sufficient.

But that isn't the whole story. Whole grains as they are marketed to us in our grocery stores, really aren't much better than white flour. This is mainly because of two reasons.

One, is that wheat (and other grains) go rancid quickly once they are ground, and also lose their vitamin content. One source tells me that 40% of the B vitamins are lost in 24 hours and 80% are lost in 48 hours. All flour purchased from the store has lost 80+% of its B vitamins!

Additionally, wheat products (and most grains) have a substance in them called phytic acid. Phytic acid binds any minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc) that you might otherwise get from the grain product you are eating, and probably binds other sources of minerals in the food you are eating with the grain product. Fortunately, God also put a substance called phytase in most whole grains, which can neutralize phytic acid. The grains just need to be soaked.

When breads are eaten that haven't been sprouted or soaked only 1/12 to 1/2 of the nutrients are absorbed (how much is absorbed depends on which nutrient) when compared to eating properly prepared bread. Compounded with the most likely less than fresh flour the store bought bread contains and all the additives added to store bought bread, you can see why we are nutrient deficient in these modern time.

You can neutralize Phytic Acid in a number of ways - you can sprout your grains, then dry them, then grind them. (I have yet to do this myself.) You can soak your grains in buttermilk (or other acidic substance) for 12-24 hours. Or, you can make a long-rise sourdough product. Up until the last hundred years, this was common practice.

Natural food preparation is a favorite topic of mine. I love researching it. But, if you are not as "into" scientific research as I am, don't let that intimidate you. Bottom line, the way I was eating, I was sick all the time and dealt with major depression and anxiety. I needed to find a solution. And, for me, baby steps would move me in the right direction perhaps, but they weren't going to cure my problems. I truly believe, I was suffering from major deficiencies (and probably still am to some degree, but as time goes by it's getting better). If you have health issues don't give up. Nourishing Traditions is a great book and a great cookbook. Another good bread making cookbook is the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. She doesn't soak the grains, but she has great breadmaking instructions and lots of long-soaking recipes. She also explains a lot about using fresh grains. Another great website is Rebuild From Depression. And, this blog entry and blog is also interesting: Reversing Tooth Decay.