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.

Friday, October 2, 2009


I have some cow pics for you. These cows and our chickens too are such a part of our a pet. Of course the steers are for eating, so they aren't really the same as a pet. But, the cows are endeared to our hearts. Our girls are so big and strong for being around them. Everyone except Abigail who likes to hide her head when we bring her near.

The first picture I want to share with you is of Ruby and Jewel. Do you remember Jewel? Here she is last March:

Here is Mom and baby now.


Doesn't Jewel look like she needs to be weaned from her Momma?

The next set of pictures is of Little Ann. We may have to sell her... :-( ...but it isn't that sad because it's all working out well. My husband wants to switch over to Red Angus...which is great. I wasn't as fond of the Black Angus cows and the Pinzgauers aren't easy birthers. We'll still keep a few Pinzgauer Mommas(the red and white cows) Yeah! our most tame cows are Pinzgauers. But, in order to afford to buy more Red Angus Mommas we can't keep every Momma we have, we have to sell some. So, we might sell Little Ann. Little Ann isn't really little. We just call her that because she's the baby of Dora Ann (we didn't name her).

Here she was a few days old.

Here she is now. Isn't she gorgeous? For a cow, of course.