Tag Archives: food

Homeschool Adventures

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This year was our first attempt at homeschool. We ended up doing Oak Meadow through an online charter school. I had read in various places that other homeschoolers do not feel that charter schools online are “real” homeschool. I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now. Being tied to the state, having to deal with the stress of testing and the results, and being given extra work on top of what we are already doing is stressful. And it’s not particularly productive. These tests are not an accurate assessment of what my daughter knows. She completely freezes during the tests and loses all ability to comprehend. Her posture changes drastically and she looks so dejected, just from having to answer questions. It doesn’t help that it’s also timed. How ridiculous! Next year we will not be doing the charter school thing-even if it does have perks (like free curriculum and a learning fund to pay for horseback riding lessons). I would rather find a way to come up with the money myself to pay for all of these things than to subject her to this inefficient and inaccurate system of testing. No wonder people get up in arms over education. Thank God we are able to homeschool and she doesn’t have to go to a public school that would focus on testing and where she fits in that system. She doesn’t fit in their system.

This would have never have been a problem if we hadn’t been forced to test out of first grade into second grade simply to get the curriculum that best suited her learning. The first grade testing she flew through and did very well. She felt proud of herself. Now with the second grade testing (which is a very different test than first grade) she acts as though she has somehow failed. I know I am part of that problem as well because I am putting pressure on her to pay attention, click on the right answer and do well. We are now doing practice work that is formatted like the state tests everyday until the next round of testing in April. Oh joy. At least maybe it will help ease the unfamiliarity she faces every time we do a test. Ugh.

I am so over it. It looks like I will be heading down the unschool path. Because I would much rather have her discover which work is meaningful to her and do that. I want her to be free to pursue what she is actually interested in, rather than what a curriculum or state standard tells her is important. That to me is the inefficiency of the educational system in general. A bunch of students learning a lot of things that don’t appear to be relevant. Even in college-how much time/money did I waste taking a bunch of general education classes that had nothing at all to do with my major or my interests. I didn’t discover my true passions until I was nearly 30. I have a business degree, but I could care less about business-in fact, I hate it. It’s mind-numbing to me. But I love nutrition, love health and wellness, love learning about the way the body works together, love discovering natural remedies that strengthen the body and help it to heal. It’s fascinating. The body is so intricate and complex, this whole system working together to keep you alive. I could literally go on and on. That’s what I want for my children-to find what it is that makes them come alive, that captures their personal interest and then to find a way to do it, be it, etc. That is success, that is living life with purpose.

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Getting in touch with nature

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These are the new green grapes I bought this past weekend. Aren’t they lovely? And so full of promise? I am a big novice when it comes to gardening. I hate dirt. I hate bugs. I don’t even like to be outside that much. But I am learning to get over it. Learning to enjoy nature, dirt, life cycles and especially the way life is intertwined. So, I put on my gardening gloves, grabbed the shovel and dug a big hole for my new vines. Then I did it again for my new fig tree (which I do not have a picture of) and was sweaty and a little tired. But tired in a very satisfying way. Here’s to hoping they flourish in my yard.
This other picture is one of 3 peach trees that came with the house. They are full of tiny little peach buds. And it smells heavenly. I love peaches. How much better to love my own peaches?! I might even share πŸ™‚

Musings and a recap

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I haven’t been on here in quite some time. Clearly πŸ™‚ But I have good reason….my oldest is out of school for the summer, we are buying a house and I am packing (sort of). So, now that we have gotten through my list of reasons for being absent-let’s move forward.

First a recap….it got so hot here this summer, with one day reaching 117 degrees, that my plants almost died. They all tuned brown. But I still harvested some tomatoes. The one at my daughter’s school did very well-once I killed 6 green tomato caterpillars. Ugh. After cutting off all of the dead branches and such, I noticed significant new growth from my plants today. That excites me!

Next, I gave up on making sourdough bread for now and will resume after we move with more kitchen space and time. Yay! So be sure to check in for those updates. I have been enjoying coconut flour immensely-it makes some excellent pancakes and for anyone doing the whole Paleo thing-it’s a nice chance to eat what feels like a carb πŸ™‚ It also makes to die for brownies-courtesy of the recipe on the back of the package.

Third, we’ve started drinking raw milk. It’s delicious. I haven’t been a milk drinker since my early teens because I didn’t care for the over-production of mucous. (eww). But I don’t have that problem with the raw stuff. I get it at a very reputable dairy here and am thrilled. It’s pretty inexpensive considering what I’m getting in health benefits. Did you know raw milk is a natural probiotic? Cool huh? And I made some butter with the raw cream, as well as whipped cream to dip strawberries in. Yum! I even tried to make my own yogurt with it-it was a little runny, but nothing a cheesecloth can’t fix.

And then last I want to mention GMO foods again. I have a few friends who are learning to eat better, think they are consuming healthy “clean” options, but in reality are not. The label “NATURAL” means absolutely nothing in manufacturing. It is not a regulated term and can be put on the front of any box, can, wrapper if that company thinks it can sell more under the natural label. I highly recommend the TRUE FOOD app for android or iPhone. It gives a list of brands by category that are non-GMO, and likely to be GMO. It gives a great frame of reference for shopping. Cereal grains, baking grains, etc tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Avoid those, buy organic. Most cereals and granola items have corn or soy products in them that are GMO. Know where your food comes from, ask questions. Grow your own, go to the local farmer’s market, join a CSA. You make a difference with your dollars.

Here is a list of resources for helpful info on what foods, brands, etc to consume:

True Food

Institute for Responsible Technology

Cornucopia Institute

Food Matters

It’s a JUNGLE!

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My tower garden is an official jungle now πŸ™‚ and it’s amazing! This thing grows like nobody’s business once it gets going! My tomato plants are 4 feet tall and branching off all over the place (thank goodness for a tomato cage!). We just harvested our first cucumber. There are people who have wondered if it would taste the same, especially since I’ve used grow lights. Well, I have to say…that was THE BEST, most delicious, perfect cucumber I have tasted in a long time. There are 8 more growing. And my tiny little watermelon that was the size of a marble is now bigger than a plum. Note: remember to always check the water levels! Mine got way too low and the plants got pretty wilted. They sprang back to life within 30 minutes of getting water again. Whew!

This has been the most fun growing experience I’ve ever had. And involves the least amount of back-breaking work. None. I’m going to start more seedlings and fill in a few of the empty holes in my tower and take some to my daughter’s school tower. I want them to be surprised when they get back in the fall πŸ™‚

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Blueberries!

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Last weekend I took the family out to pick blueberries. Thunderbird Farm has beautiful berries, rows and rows of bushes full of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. The girls had so much fun traipsing off to find the last bush and to see who could pick the most. The berries are free from all pesticides-a huge plus! And if you pick your own it’s only $3/lb. A bargain.
The sun was shining, breeze blowing and it was glorious. One of those moments where your heart swells, your soul is refreshed, and you realize that you are soaking in one of life’s important, meaningful, memories.
“Remember that time we went berry-picking and Zoe was covered in dirt?” and we’ll laugh.
“Remember that time we picked 13 pounds of blueberries?”
Drink it in. Life. Is. Full.

We’re going again tomorrow. We’re out of berries and I need more cobbler.

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Tower Garden Update!!!

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So after 2 months, a little help and lots of love-our Tower Garden is flourishing! The tomato plants are getting so high, the cucumber plants are HUGE, the lettuce is catching up, the strawberries are coming along and the peppers are beautiful. We have about 8 teeny tiny cucumbers. I am so excited to see them all mature!
We ended up needing to purchase a couple grow lights. We are using a 1 foot square LED panel of red and blue lights. It works like a charm! There just wasn’t enough sunlight on the deck, but now things are looking great. There aren’t too many pests either. The best part is that I spend a total of 20 minutes a week tending to it and that is primarily to check the water level.
What a simple way to grow!
I also have learned some very interesting things about this Tower Garden. The plastic is food-safe and UV stabilized. This means that when sunlight hits it, it can’t pass through-so the plastic won’t break down and leach chemicals. It stays intact! It’s very strong-you could drop it onto concrete and it wouldn’t break. The tonic mineral solution is pure and perfect for all the plants in the Tower. Most hydroponics use multiple solutions for different stages of growth and different formulas for each type of plant. That’s a lot of bottles and gets expensive fast! The Tower Tonic is easy, safe, pure and inexpensive. The man behind all of this, Tim Blank, said he wanted to do it right from the start. I admire that.
In short, I absolutely LOVE this Tower and want to add more πŸ™‚ if you want more information-this website has some very helpful videos, info, pictures, etc here

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Handy Resources

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I love health documentaries! I mean really love them. Any new way of presenting the information that helps educate people and get them on the starting path toward wellness gets me so energized. So, I want to let you know about my new favorite…..

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE

This movie was made by the same couple who produced Food Matters. (Which is excellent). This new film is all about the diet industry and some very practical ways to take charge of your health, well-being and weight loss. It left me feeling empowered, hopeful and with some new tools. They are able to keep things simple, which is important for people who are starting out. The BEST thing about this movie-it’sΒ FREE to watch online until March 31st. You can go hereΒ www.hungryforchange.tvΒ 

You also have the option to purchase the movie and along with it you’ll get some great bonuses. One of which is a recipe ebook called Food Matters. It’s so great…there are a wide variety of recipes, easy instructions and simple to do. I highly recommend you take a look at it-Ill be using for my menu planning for the week πŸ™‚ This bonus is only available until the 31st also-so go get it!

I’m planning to do a movie playdate this week and am going to use some of the juice recipes for my guests…it’s going to be delicious (and healthy).

Enjoy!