Friday, September 24, 2010

Homeschooling and food. :)

Aimee still gives me a hard time when it comes to sitting down and doing schoolwork (if you know Aimee, you know that she loves to give me a hard time about everything, not just school!), but every morning i can't wait to get started!!  Sonlight is literature and history based, and I LOVE to read and I have considered a degree in history many times.  It's perfect!  My kids may never love reading or history like I do, but if I'm passionate about what we're learning, it will make learning seem more exciting.  That's my hope, anyway.  :)

As for the zucchini bread I made, it flopped.  It was wet on the inside and burning on the outside.  I looked up the success of the recipe with other foodies, and they have had the same results.  I was really bummed. :(  I have had much success with these biscuits, though.  My kids loved them and have been asking for more.  I have about 7 pie pumkins sitting on my counter top to try my hand at my own pumkin puree.  I love making pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pancakes.  Here is a link for pumpkin muffins I will be trying soon.

I also have a friend who's mom has her own bees and spins her own honey.  I have been incredibly fortunate to receive some of the leftover comb, and this time I even got a jar of the honey!!

It was full of all the "good stuff" floating around!!  (Read about the benefits of raw honey here.)  The comb I packed into a quart size mason jar for when my sweet tooth needs to be indulged.  :) 

Lexi absolutely loves the stuff, so much that I have to hide it from her sight.  My older kids have been "spoiled" as far as junk food goes, but she's not even two yet.  She doesn't know about ice cream, fruit snacks, or candy.  I'm hoping that I can retrain the older kids, and I know she'll never remember a time that mom gave them the processed junk.  Things like raw honey comb, or fresh berries with raw (homemade) whipped cream will be sweets of choice.  :)  Someday, I hope to own an ice cream maker...

Tomorrow is the Farmer's Market again.  I cannot express how much I love going to Detroit's Eastern Market.  I ran out to our local fruit and vege market yesterday, and left with only a bag of apples and a couple more pumpkins.  All I could think, as I walked around, is, "I can get that at Market.  That, too.  Oh, they'll probably have that, also."  And I can almost always get my produce, eggs, grains, etc. from the farmer himself.  There's nothing better! 

I also picked a few things from our community garden (the Hope Garden.  Read more about it in this post).

 I filled a gallon sized bag with green beans, another with kale, and picked a few eggplants.  I'm going to hunt down a recipe for eggplant lasagna for tonight.  Mmmm...

That's a little bit of our life right now.  Before I go, I'll leave you with one last pic.  As I was trying to take a picture of the Hope Garden veges, my girls were stealing green beans to munch on.  I may not cook them at all, and just leave them as snack foods!!

Have an awesome day!  :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday morning...

It's Monday.  I stayed up way too late going over lesson plans for the week, plus I'm still feeling sick.  :-P  Half my kids are still in their jammies, and we're a couple hours later on school work than I had meant for today.

Those are my confessions.

I have been slightly productive, though.  I pulled out the zucchini I bought last week, made sure it was still good (I have a bad habit of letting food go bad.  I am working on this), and soaked some flour to make homemade zucchini bread tomorrow.  Today, I will be making the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook recipe for regular zucchini bread, and tomorrow I will make the recipe for Nourishing Traditions soaked grain zucchini bread.  I have to compare them, because I am a little afraid that the soaked version will be...well, a little weird.  We shall see.  I agree with the science behind soaking grains.  The forethought and waiting are something that I need to get used to.  Friday night, I mixed flour and yogurt to soak, covered them with a plastic plate, and left it in the oven for the next day.  I then spent Saturday running around metro Detroit, and came home exhausted and not feeling much like baking.  But I forgot to take the bowl out of the oven.  Sunday evening, my mom lit the oven for pizza.  Needless to say, she was not happy and we are down one Sesame Street plate.  :-/

This time will be different.  And I will blog the results, along with mine and my family's opinions about the two different baked goods.  I'm crossing my fingers for the soaked version.

While we're all on pins and needles waiting, I thought I would share with you links to two of my favorite food blogs.  Most recipes that involve baking include directions for soaking or unsoaking, depending on your preference.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!!

Passionate Homemaking's Recipe Index   This is a good blog.  Period.  Natural, Christian, Nourishing.

The Nourishing Gourmet

I also wanted to add, before I go, that I may have a cow lease soon!!  We shall see.  The vendor at the farmers market who provides me with my (very freshly ground and organic) grains and pastured eggs is opening up some cow leases soon.  I am #4 on a list of about 25, but when I asked (again) about the progress of the new leases, this time with my four children standing around me, the owner's heart clearly flip flopped and said, "For them?  Wow...we need to get you a lease very soon!"  And he put a star by my name and said he'd see what he can do!  So within the next month or so, we should be drinking fresh (raw) cow's milk!!  For the benefits of raw cow's milk, click here . For more information, I encourage you to purchase or borrow a copy of Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions, or learn more about Weston A. Price and the incredible research he did in the early 20th century.  The link to the Weston A. Price Foundation is here.  Click on "health topics" for a ton of information.

That's it for now!  I have schoolwork to do.  ;-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's been a year...

I cannot believe the changes that have taken place in our lives this past year.  And I say wholeheartedly that there is no way we could have made it through without the Lord holding our hands, and at times carrying us through (yes, like in the "Footprints" poem...). I didn't realize how dark and scary it was until I made it out and was able to look back.  I know I'm stronger for it.

I am now a homeschooling mom.  :-D  I homeschooled Aimee for the first half of 2nd grade, but we put her in school shortly after Lex was born, because I had postpartum depression, four kids, a developmentally delayed 3 year old, and a stubborn "I don't feel like doing school" second grader.  It was too much for me at the time.  But things are different now.  For starters, the Lord blessed me with the use of my FAVORITE curriculum!!!  I have spent HOURS pouring over the Sonlight catalog and website, hoping one day I could homeschool (again) and at the very least, try to follow their curriculum.  About 6 months ago, before I even considered homeschooling again, I prayed, "Lord, You know how much I want this curriculum.  I need to let it go, but if it is within Your will for me to homeschool, and there is a way for me to get this curriculum, would You please provide it?"  About a month or so ago, my bestest friend and I decided to homeschool our preschoolers, along with a mutual friend of ours, and we were in line discussing curricula.  A woman behind us spoke up and asked if we homeschool.  I told her we were starting this year.  She said she was new to the church, had four children, and had been homeschooling for about 8 years.  I asked her which curriculum she uses, and she told me Sonlight!  I told her how much I love Sonlight, even though I've never used it, and asked how she liked it.  She said she had been using it for years.  We continued chatting and she asked me what grades my children were going into. When I told her, she said that she had the years I needed just sitting in her basement and I was welcome to them if I wanted!!!  Can you believe it?!  I still can't!!  This was our first week of school, and the books are everything I thought they would be and more.  My kids really do sit and pour over the books, even when we're not doing school.  And on our first day, my (now fourth grade) "I hate homeschooling" daughter said, "That's it?!  I love Sonlight!!"  She hasn't changed her opinion yet!  :)

I am also baby-sitting for my friend Ellisa a few days a week.  Her son, Max, is Amerie's age.  My sister Emma and I have made our own preschool curriculum (which I will share later if she's okay with it and I remember.  ;-)  I'm using it for Andrew, Amerie and Max, and incorporating some of the Sonlight P4/5 into it (which is what I went with for my boy). Andrew will also do Kindergarten math (his math workbook has a train on the front.  He is now permanently sold on math!) in the afternoon, during Amerie's naptime.

I am so excited about homeschooling!!  I have felt for years that i am supposed to be a homeschooling mother, and when God provided Sonlight for me, it was such a confirmation.  And no, I'm not getting paid for this advertisment by Sonlight.  :)  There are many, many different choices for homeschooling, and lots of them are incredibly good curriculums.  But I am a researcher, and research I did, even when I had given up the dream of homeschooling (I should have known then that it was something I should be doing, seeing as how I thought about it many times and researched it even after giving up).  After looking at many of my choices, I knew that Sonlight was the best for our family. Apparently so did the Lord!!  :-D

I am also trying to get back into eating a traditional diet.  I was so stressed with the changes going on in my life, especially after Phil filed for divorce in May, that I stopped eating.  I also stopped drinking pop like I used to.  Between the pop and the lack of food, I lost 25 lbs in just a couple of months.  My hair is falling out at such an incredible rate that it is worrying me, and I am sure it's because I'm undernourished.  So I spent this week planning out meals and snacks, grocery shopping, and collecting a ton of recipes.  Today, I made a roast for dinner (I am also anemic, surprise surprise, and want to try and build my iron supply through my diet, so I am incorporating lots of red meat and dark greens) and made a fresh batch of chiclen stock.  I haven't made chicken stock in months, but now that the air has a Fall chill to it, i'm craving some soup!!  I also have some pastry flour soaking in some yogurt to make this recipe for zucchini bread.  I have never made soaked grain zucchini bread before, but I'm excited to try it.  To read about the benefits of soaking grains, visit here or here.  Soaking grains allows our body to actually absorb the nutrients found in the grain, instead of passing them right through our bodies (think about this...most grain-fed animals have four stomachs, to allow the grains to properly break down and be absorbed in the stomach.  We have one stomach, so we need a little work done beforehand...).  In the morning, I am contemplating taking my four babies to Eastern Market.  It's a crazy place, in the middle of Detroit, so I might wait for the afternoon and drag my mom along to help me.  But I am almost out of raw honey, I need eggs and finally found a source of pastured eggs (whoo-hoo!!), and I'm looking forward to introducing my children to farmer's market shopping.  :)  It will be crazy, but fun!

That's it for now.  This mommy needs to get to bed...   :)