Friday, April 30, 2010

My Journey to Educational Eureka, Part II

In Part I, I mentioned what I had learned about early development from Maria Montessori and John Holt. 

While it made sense to me and I liked the ideas I had read, I was still struggling as it was so contrary to everything I knew and heard.  Everyone I talked to thought I was nuts (ok, so they may have had other reasons for thinking that). I wanted to know what it looked like in practice, and I esp wanted to find some people with Christian values and a solid Biblical foundation who also believed in that style of learning.  I'd only heard about it from humanistic thinkers.  That is when the Lord saw fit to guide me to 'When you Rise Up , A Covenantal approach to Homeschooling' by R.C. Sproul, JR.  He gave some history of education in America and gave Biblical reasoning and approach to parenting, as a covenant between God and the parents. And that included all aspects of training, liberal education being only one aspect of that.  And he was keen on not starting 'formal' work too young, but concentrating on character development and working with each child one-on-one.  Reading Sproul really helped me to start realizing what a big job God gave us when he gave us children. It's easy to become a parent, but hard to actually 'parent'.  But that is no excuse for passing that responsibility on to others.  Sproul was a bit 'harsh', but totally worth reading again and again.  Someday I will answer to God for my children.  Not their teachers or grandparents or friends-I will have to answer.  Phew!

Something else I realized about this same time is that I personally did not retain a fraction of the things I had learned in school.  And I also realized that with my studying of education, I started becoming truly passionate and found myself actually retaining information that applied to my life.  It was an amazing discovery for me.  I realized for the first time, that it is possible to love to learn.  To have a passion for knowledge and information.  But, it has to be important to a person first.  It has to matter and have an affect on the person.  I started to get an 'itch' to not only teach my children important information, but to make them love to learn.  And that passion has only intensified as I've begun to realize that it's possible.  Woo hoo!!!

Sproul learned a lot of what he knew about homeschooling from Raymond and Dorothy Moore.   They were a Christian couple who were very educated and intelligent and even involved in education for years before they started realizing there was a better way to teach.  So they started their own research and taught their own children and a number of others.  They were also greatly involved in the legal battles of the 1970s, which eventually allowed for more freedom in homeschooling in America (Thank you Moores!!!!).  They were actually pretty good friends with John Holt and highly influenced by Montessori also.  See, it makes sense, it really does!  :)

I read a number of the Moore books, including the Handbook, Homestyle Teaching, Home Spun Schools, and Home Grown Kids.   They all basically said the same thing (don't panic if you want to read about what they believe, but don't want to have to read 4 books-I can't even say I'd suggest one over the other).  They believe that children should not do formal book learning until they are at least 8, and sometimes as late as 12.  Children need a lot of hands-on, free play when they are young.  They even go so far as to seriously warn against a child under 8 reading for more then 20 minutes at a time, as studies show that it can cause them to become dyslexic, as their eye muscles have not matured yet for that kind of strain. How contrary to today's society is that?!?  I was so relieved (of course, my 6 year old daughter spends hours reading and I can't bring myself to make her stop, although I do try and distract her if she's been at it for awhile).

The Moore's did a lot of research into how children develop and how best to work with their God-given growth schedule.  They were big on teaching life skills and character when they are young.  Using chores and schedules and home-businesses, etc. to build character, skill and good habits.

Here is 'The Moore Formula' from their website:

1) Study
from a few minutes to several hours a day, depending on the child's maturity.
2) Manual work
at least as much as study.
3) Home and/or community service
an hour or so a day. Focus on kids' interests and needs; be an example in consistency, curiosity, and patience. Live with them! Worry less about tests; we'll help you there. With the Moore Formula, if you are loving and can read, write, count, and speak clearly, you are a master teacher.

How cool is that?  It's so natural.  Just the way I believe God intended parenting to be.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Journey to Educational Eureka, Part I

I don't like the term 'homeschooling'.  Home is a a place of learning and love and nurturing from the day you take the child home.  To suddenly start doing a particular curriculum at a particular age and date doesn't constitute 'schooling'.  Life is about learning.  It doesn't start when you're six, and it doesn't end when you're 24.

But, I didn't always think this way.  Not because I had studied and researched and knew better, but because that is what society says is true, so I just assumed it to be true.  But as I began reading and watching my children, I began to see 'holes' in the general theory of education today.  Which, naturally, set me to studying more.

If I have a job to do, I'm going to do it the best I can.  And esp an important job like parenting.  I wish I thought that from the beginning, but alas, it took me awhile.  But I'm there now and so grateful!

As I mentioned here, John Holt and Maria Montessori were the first two people that I read that really resonated with me in regards to early education.  They were really big on allowing kids to be kids.  Going along with their individual learning styles and time frame.  While there was some humanism, there was also a profound understanding of human nature, of how God made humans, and how we are not what we were meant to be because of sin.  They didn't call it that of course, but that is what it came down to in essence.

What I learned from Holt and Montessori was that kids, up to ages 8-12, depending on the child, do best with loose schedules, consistency and lots and lots of free play.  Kids learn by playing.  It's how they make sense of their world.  And it's what they use when they are older to understand the humanities, science, math, etc.  Letting a child 'play' is foundational to their ability to retain information and make sense out of it later in life.  'Play' being free, open exploration.  Using all of their senses.  Touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing in everyday life.  The very annoyance of little children are what they need to lay the foundation for future learning.  How can we take that away from them?  If we do, wets and sandy sheets are annoying, but they are a part of a child's world.  The more hands-on they can get, the better.  Therefore, the best way, according to Holt and Montessori (what I took from them I should say) to help a child is to keep them in a safe environment with lots and lots of things to explore.

Both conducted studies, and Montessori actually set up a number of schools to implement her 'style' of child development and learning.  And there are many preschools/early elementary schools in the US that use her method today.  She encouraged simple, 'open-ended' toys for children.

Both also made it clear that a child needs to have his physical needs met and to be 'loved on' and to be in a safe environment in order for the proper development to take place.  The brain can not make the developments necessary without proper care. Including surroundings, sleep, rest, food, discipline, etc.  

I was hooked!  It made so much sense.  Instead of shipping them off to preschool at 2 to 'prepare them for kindergarten', it made so much more sense to me to prepare them for 'life' by nurturing them when they were young and in need of it.  The long-term studies of state sponsored Head-Start were dismal.

I wanted better for my kids!  To be continued.... 

Part I, Part II , Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha and fermented cod liver oil for all:

Monday: Potato Pancakes and Roast
Tuesday: Roast Sandwiches
Wednesday: Fish and rice
Thursday: Liver and Onions
Friday:  Salmon and Rice with white sauce
Saturday: Roast Chicken
Sunday: Fried Potatoes and Eggs

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eureka, I've Found It!!

When I realized our nutritional needs were not being met and we needed a major overhaul, I came to the conclusion that modern science had NO idea what a body needed and the only logical place to look for answers was from past traditions who had survived without technology for generations with little or no health issues.  Man, when I first realized that I wanted to cry.  How the heck was I supposed to find all of that out?  How could I begin to study past cultures to learn how to feed my family?  I'd be a great grandma before I had it figured out!  And then *hallelujah chorus plays in background* I found Nourishing Traditions.  Sally Fallon had asked the same question 15 years earlier and found Weston Price's book and realized that was what she was looking for!  I devoured NT and about a year later, read Weston Price's book (twice).   But I remember the relief and amazement I felt when I realized that I was not alone in my quest and that others had gone on before me.  I kept reading (both books, along with many others based on the same principle) and wanting to shout 'exactly!' 'Yes!' "That's what I thought too!', etc. etc.  Seriously, it was so amazing.  I had already come to the conclusions they had drawn, I just needed help with the details.

Well, I realized, before the nutrition thing, that the educational system of America was greatly failing our children (myself included) and it also needed a major overhaul.  When my husband mentioned that he wanted his children homeschooled, my kids were 2 and a baby.  Quite young.  But I realized that I needed to do a lot of studying and learning to figure out how to go about it.  That part took longer to come together then the nutrition thing.  I was more distracted and possibly even more prejudiced.  But it's finally coming together and I'm so excited!!!

I read probably 20 different homeschooling books from the library.  Really random ones, just to get a feel for it.  One book in particular was about 21 homeschooled families. It gave a daily as well as a more 'over-all' look at the various families and how they homeschooled.  Each one was so unique, it was fascinating. But I found myself identifying more with the 'unschooler's then with the 'school at home-ers'.  Many of the unschoolers mentioned John Holt and Maria Montessori. So I naturally checked both out from the library.  WOW!!!  DOUBLE WOW!  Holt knocked my socks off.  He knew children!  He totally understood them.  It was like he was peeking in my window.  I had to keep in mind that he was very humanistic in his thoughts, but he was so right on also!  It jived.  My interested was piqued.

I somehow stumbled across this book by R.C. Sproul Jr (and can't find my copy-grr! I'm ready to read it again).  And it really pulled together Biblical parenting with a more laid back approach to school.  Now that I've read and learned so much more, it doesn't seem laid back at all, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I knew my husband and his family would esp have a hard time with the concept.  My family fell somewhere in the middle.  Both of my sisters went to school for teaching and both homeschool their own kids.  But they knew the approach I was heading towards was a bit of a tight-rope walk.  But for whatever reason, I can not settle for 2nd best in something that I put my mind to.  And God was really starting to give me a sense of how important my job as a mother was, and I couldn't just settle.  I had to keep studying, reading and praying until I had some peace on it.

R.C. Sproul was greatly influenced by Raymond and Dorothy Moore.  So, naturally, I looked up and read a number of their books.  Again, wowed, amazed and excited.  It was all stuff I had pretty much figured out and proved with my own children, but it was so helpful to see it put into practice, and approved by 'experts' with degrees. :)  As foolish as that is, it's the American way.

I was still not exactly sure what it was to look like.  What was my job as a parent?  What should it look like daily in the home, what should it look like down the road?  I knew I was on the right path, but still missing some puzzle pieces.

Next a friend lent me her copy of Thomas Jefferson Education.  Which, again, had me yelling and jumping up and down and crying.  Yes, yes, yes! That's it!  It gave me a more long-range vision for why and how I wanted to raise my children.  It was still muddled, but it was a huge step in the right direction.  That was last spring.  I finally got around to ordering my own copy of that book and 2 other books that were basically 'how to guides' for leading your children in a mentor/classics approach to education.  I didn't, however, get around to reading them until last month.  I saw them, knew I needed to read them, but somehow knew I wasn't quite ready.  Weird, I know. 

When I ordered the TJE books, I also found all 6 of the Charlotte Mason books on amazon for $30, so I bought those.  Due to some errors, I only received one.  They refunded my money and that book sat for awhile also.  I had read a lot about Charlotte Mason and knew I wanted to teach in similar fashion.  But I had not yet read her books.  They were actually articles written in a newspaper in England to parents in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Someone published them and they have been reprinted a number of times since.  I finally got around to reading the Charlotte Mason book I owned, and one from the library I managed to find.  And I devoured them also.  I literally underlined 1/4 of the book that I owned, and lent it to a friend.  Wow, good stuff!  (I have since ordered the 4 that I had not read, but have not read them yet).

To take a step back for a minute.  In September when I ordered the TJE and Mason books, I had also ordered some curriculum to do with Myia.  As she was in '1st Grade' starting in September.  I knew I still had to figure out a lot before I could implement what Myia needed in regards to education.  But I also knew that a lot of people were going to be wondering why I wasn't doing more 'formal' work with her, even though I knew in my heart it was all wrong.  So we started in Sept 09 doing daily work.  I had it all maped out for the year.  By November we were both miserable and I knew more harm was being done then good.  By February, I gave it up altogether and told her that I needed to read, learn and pray more before trying anything else.  My in-laws and husband were pretty good about it all.  :)

So, that is where we were when I picked up the Mason books.  And then I read TJE again and then the 2 'how to' books.

Finally, I had my 'Eureka!' moment.  Just like the Nourishing Traditions.  After reading all that I had read, and esp the last 2 TJE books (not especially, without the rest, they would have just been rules and regulations and a burden, I needed the foundation first), I finally felt like I found it!  It was starting to come together for me.  Yeah!!!

Now, I have a lot more to learn, I know that.  But I finally know where I want to go, and have a pretty good idea of how I want us to get there.

And since I was in this exact same position 2 years ago with food, and can honestly say that we are where I want us to be, I am confident that we will get there with education as well.

I'll post on the details of my  'Eureka' a different day.  I'm so excited and grateful (ok, and a bit overwhelmed, but 'I think I can, I think I can').

Related Posts:
My Journey to Eureka:
Part I, Part II , Part III, Part IV, Park V, Park VI 

Innis Family Classics

What my Eureka Looks Like

Book Reports

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Full Moon Feast, Jessica Prentice

It was a very interesting book.  It was very 'new agey'.  But also very thought-provoking.  She has done a lot of alternative/Chinese medicine history study and came to some interesting conclusions.

It was one of the first books that I heard about after reading Nourishing Traditions and I really wanted to read it. It was probably a good thing that I waited, as I would have been really annoyed with it all.  But I've come to see things differently and come to realize that there are things to learn from just about anyone who has studied and read and applied just about anything.  Even if we think very differently, they would have thought of things that I never had.  

Jessica is one of the founders of 'Three Stones Hearth', a community supported kitchen in San Francisco, CA. I'd love to do their apprentice program sometime and learn new cooking skills and refine the ones I do have.  

The book is broken into 13 'moons' which she described and also gave various names and cultural symbols and traditions to go along with them.  Each 'moon' she discusses a topic that is relevant and at the end gives appropriate recipes for foods that are related to that topic and that are seasonal to that 'moon'.

She had a lot of soup recipes, stock, veggies, desserts, lacto-fermented fruit, veggies and drinks. She even has some neat looking herbal drinks that I'd love to try.  Some of the recipes are here.

I really enjoyed the 'epilogue' where she pulled it all together rather nicely.
"One of the things I find most fascinating about studying life in indigenous villages is that many of the so-called alternative values I cherish-frugality, stewardship, maintenance of cultural traditions, community life, and a deep ecological awareness, to name a few-are cultural norms rather than countercultural alternatives."  Isn't that a great thought?

"This frustration (of being different) may become compounded once you start following the principles of traditional nutrition.  Rather than merely free-range beef, you want grass-fed and grass-finished. It is not enough to eat sauerkraut made from organic cabbage, you want it lacto-fermented, preferably slowly in a ceramic crock. You don't just want bread from organically grown wheat, you want to make sure it was sprouted or naturally leavened.  It is no longer enough to have organic, nonhomogenized milk, you want it 100% raw from cows that ate biodiverse pasture. You're concerned about chickens' beaks being intact but also want to make sure they got to eat lots of bugs and grasses and feed without too much soy in it. Again, life can start to feel very complicated.  The healthy indigenous peoples that Weston Price studied didn't have to struggle with these things on an individual level...   What they ate was their everyday food; it was what everyone they knew, or visited, or invited over, also ate. Their nutritional needs were met by their culture as part of their survival strategy.

We face a different set of challenges. When you make a decision to eat nutrient-dense food and traditional fats, you place yourself outside the mainstream of our culture. The same is true when you decide to be an ecological steward.  Your family, friends, etc. might think you are a bit of a weirdo.  I think there is always a delicate balance between adhering to your convictions and participating in community. Because I believe community is so important in our lives, I often decide to set aside my nutritional or ecological preferences in order to share meals and other activities with people whom I value being in relationship with."

I think that is a nice attitude toward food and life. 

On a personal note, I am constantly amazed at how people of all races seem to have a sense of 'God' and order.  I don't nearly understand God's ways or thoughts, but it's been fun to see how He really did put a void in each human being and that is often expressed as a longing for a adherence to a religion of some sort.  And that goes way back to Creation.  God is go good and the more I read and learn and see the 'big picture' the more amazed I am at his orderliness and holiness. 

I'm glad I was finally able to read Full Moon Feast.  And I enjoyed seeing someone else's perspectives on nourishing our bodies and souls. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha and fermented cod liver oil for all:

Monday: Fish Cakes
Tuesday: Taco Corn Chips
Wednesday: Fish and Rice
Thursday: Liver and Onions
Friday:  Salmon and Rice with white sauce
Saturday: Roast Chicken and Peanut Sauce
Sunday: Fried Potatoes and Eggs

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Perceived Stress

Did you know that perceived stress is just as harmful to the adrenals as real stress?

I didn't, until recently.  After doing a lot of research on adrenals and realizing how deeply stress affects them, along with many other processes in the body.  I started watching myself more closely for signs of 'distress/stress'.  And I have been surprised at how often I feel 'stress'.

But, even at the time I am notice my body showing signs of stress, I often (pretty much always) know there is no 'real' stressors.  It's just my reaction and fear that is causing my body to feel stress, send out extra cortisol and other hormones to protect myself.  And then it has a hard time turning off.

It's a fascinating thing to watch in one's self when you know what to look for.

And even more fascinating to look back at the last 10 years of my life and see the real versus perceived stress and how I handled it.

So, it is my goal at the present time, to face my 'stresses' head on and deal with them, one at a time and teach my body not to set up for 'fight or flight'.

I mean really.  I think there is enough real stress in life to let my body deal with, without adding unnecessary extras to the mix.

Maybe it's a trust thing.  Maybe it's a fear of consequences.  Maybe it's a selfish thing, or a pride thing.

Sure am glad I know the Maker of the world, and esp glad he offers me his peace that passes all understanding!  Now to accept it...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

My parents are here for the week and we are so excited to have them!  I'm going to post a menu for my own sake, but we may not stick with it much. 

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha and fermented cod liver oil for all:

Monday: Fish Sandwiches with Cole Slaw 
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Roast Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuits
Saturday: BBQ Party for Drew's birthday
Sunday: Leftovers from BBQ

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oil Pulling Therapy and Eat Fat, Look Thin, by Dr. Bruce Fife

I've heard of Bruce Fife for some time and was finally able to get a copy of two of his books.  I enjoyed both of them.

Eat Fat, Look Thin, was very similar to Eat Fat, Lose Fat.  He talked about how our modern foods are failing us, and how fat is essential to health.  He also took the general view that if you are taking care of your body, your weight will even itself out.  He didn't take that as far as I think he should have, but the general idea was there.  I do think that the whole 'looking thin' mentality is just unhealthy and needs to be rooted out of our minds.  And his title obviously does not help. 

His book discussed good versus bad oils, cholesterol myths, carbs and their role in the body, and how calories cause one to gain weight.  He strongly encouraged drinking a lot of water daily, which I still am not convinced is healthy.  I just don't remember hearing of cultures who drank a lot of water. It was often a rare thing, but they still maintained amazing health.  So, the jury is still out. I do know that I've been dehydrated lately and I need to rehydrate myself.  I'm just not sure how best to do that.  Water washed out minerals and unbalances the precious balance the body tries to hard to maintain.  Fife did say that if you drink a lot of water, you need to consume extra sea salt, which makes sense.

He gave a comprehensive plan for ridding your life of unnecessary stress, adding daily exercise and consuming a 'good' diet. He encourages daily consumption of coconut oil for it's metabolism boosting properties.  And at the end he has some recipes.

I can't say I learned anything new, but review is really helpful for me, so it helped some of the biochemical properties to sink in more and made me think about things like whether drinking a lot of water is actually good for a body.

Oil Pulling Therapy was a book I have been wanting to read for some time.  I had read about it here, and a number of other places and wanted to read more.  Essentially, Fife took Dr. Karach's oil pulling therapy and changed the oil to coconut and added a whole diet to it, and he used it in his clinic to heal many patients of various health issues.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It was short, but full of information on how bacteria work in the mouth to cause diseases not only there, but throughout the body (systemic).  Again, not a lot of new info, but good for review to get me thinking again. Teeth health is a major issue in my house and I want to come up with some daily regimes that will be good for healing our teeth/gums and maintaining them for life.

Fife went into a lot of details as to how bacteria wreak havoc and why.  And then he explained the science behind oil pulling, explaining why it worked and how.  It had been considered a bit of a mystery and 'oriental medicine' type of thing.  But he studied it to understand it from a scientific perspective.  He found it really helped him with a number of his own issues, and his patients as well.

For the oil pulling itself, he suggests taking 2-3 tsp of coconut oil and swishing it around your mouth for 20 minutes a day.  He suggests doing this daily for life.  Starting with just a teaspoon and working your way up is suggested. Also, starting with a few minutes and working up time-wise also.  Don't gargle and DO spit it out.  It is supposed to have picked up any bacteria and toxins from bacteria and you do not want to put them into your gut.

Like Fife says, it can't hurt.  Unlike most medicines, you don't know the side effects, and this certainly can't have any bad effects.

He also gives a lot of testimonials of people who have been helped by oil pulling.

The diet that he suggest is basically the same as the diet in 'Eat Fat, Look Thin'.

Some interesting tidbits that I learned and hope to use:

Cilantro is an amazing detoxifier-1 Tbls daily is the minimum necessary for detoxing effects.

Our salivia's ph level is what causes the bacteria to be able to thrive or die.  Anything that causes it to be too acid (lower ph) allows the bacteria to grow and thrive.  Carbs of any kind are what feed them.

Vitamin C is useful for mouth health.  I'm trying to find a really good source of Vitamin C to add to our diets daily.

Raw milk does not cause cavities.  The bacteria can not use the particular 'sugar' in the milk.

Good salivia is helpful for protecting teeth, and digesting food.

Ending a meal with raw veggies, water or raw milk is good for the teeth.  Ending in dessert is NOT good.

Eating 3 meals a day and no snacks is good for teeth and digestion.

For healing, he suggests oil pulling 3 times a day.  For maintenance, he suggests once a day.

Toothpaste does more harm then good.  Glycerin and fluoride are esp destructive to the enamel of teeth.  

He also has a medicated coconul oil for mouth infections:
1 tsp coconut oil
1-2 drops oregano or clove oil
1 30-50 mg CoQ10 gel capsule. 

Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution) is better then a mouth wash, and whitens teeth while killing germs and bad bacteria.

Based on Fife's book, I would like my daily ritual to look like this:

Wake up, oil pull for 20 minutes.  Brush teeth with baking soda and rinse with hydrogen peroxide.  

At night, before going to bed, brush with baking soda and rinse with HP again.

For Drew, who has major mouth issues, I'd like to see him do the above ritual 3 times a day, maybe using the tooth powder I bought (but haven't yet used-soo expensive!).

For the kids, after I get into a routine, I would like to have them join me in the morning, only OPing for 2-5 minutes.

None of this has happened yet.  I've learned it has to start with me, and then I can get my family enthusized. We certainly need the oral help!!

*UPDATE 6/26/10**

I have been oil pulling with CO for 5-20 minutes 5 or 6 mornings a week and I'm very happy with it.  I hope to see even more benefits long term and I esp want to get my kids to start doing it soon.  It feels really good.  My gums have stopped bleeding when I brush (I still brush with baking soda as it feels funky to me if I don't), and the best part is, I have been able to scrap, what I believe to be plaque, off my back teeth with my finger nail.  It felt so clean afterward. I'm not positive about that, but 95% sure it was plaque.  Oh, and they are definitely whiter, not tons, but enough for me to notice.  It feels great!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cooking without an Oven

It's not exactly pioneering, but it is a pain.

Our oven has not worked for the last 6 months.  And the year and a half before that it was hit or miss. We rent, so we are not going to buy an oven. And our landlords are not really stingy or annoying.  It's just that I've adapted my cooking to not having a stove and rather enjoyed the challenge.  So we have not mentioned it.  I did finally mention it last week and they do have an extra working oven in the basement. It's just a matter of coordinating schedules to get it up here.

Roast chicken was the hardest to adapt. Ok, so it was not hard at all, it just took me the longest.  But, as it turns out, it's really easy to make a whole chicken on the stove top.  I cut it up (cut the thighs and wings off, and cut the body into half) and put it in my largest sauce pan with about a cup of chicken broth.  I set it on low and let it simmer for 2 hours.  It's nice and tender.  I also like to add seasonings to the broth, like garlic, onions, bay leaves, cilantro, salt and pepper.  It changes every time, but it adds some nice subtle flavor.  The reason this was a problem for me was because we love the skin crispy and it doesn't get crispy if you cook it that way. But... I found that once it was done, I could heat up my skillet with butter and lay down the pieces, a few at a time, skin down, and it got nice and crispy.  I also found that if the skin wasn't crisping, I could take it off and fry just the skin in the butter.  Easy peasy!!

Fish was another 'challenge'.  Not that it was a challenge really, but I just didn't know how to do anything but broil it.  My stovetop fish always ended up dried out.  Now, truth be told, I don't know how I used to bake it on the stovetop. But, I found that I can easily just fry it up in butter.  I melt some butter in my skillet and put the whole fillet in it.  I cover it and put it on really low.  It takes about 15 to 20 minutes.  I drizzle the butter over the fish and it's yumm-o!  And simple.

Bread.  Well, that is one that I have not managed on the stove top or oven yet.  But, I have been using this simple, yummy buttermilk biscuit recipe in my toaster oven and it seems to be an acceptable substitute.  I just bake them in my toaster oven.  That toaster has gotten a lot of use over the last few years!

We don't do much for pizza, but if I did, I think I could make smaller ones and put them in the toaster oven.

I've been able to do butterscotch bars and caramel corn as well. And sloppy cornbread works well in the toaster also.  Muffins are a pain, so I haven't done much with those.

But, it has been fun to be creative and find new ways of cooking things.

And hopefully, soon, I'll have a working oven again.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and supper options

Lunch, served with kombucha and fermented cod liver oil for all:

Monday: Roast Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuits
Thursday: Chicken Pizza
Friday: Fish Sandwiches on sourdough, with coleslaw
Saturday: Pot Roast and Veggies
Sunday: Fried Potatoes and leftover Roast

Friday, April 2, 2010

But I love Chocolate.....

Chocolate gives me a headache.  *whine and pout*  But I love chocolate!  I wonder if it's the caffeine.  Even cocoa powder and honey, if I eat too much, give me a nasty neck-head ache.  Like a tension headache, except there is no tension in my life at the moment.

I had maybe 10 chocolate chips this afternoon and a few hours later, I'm in pain.  That doesn't seem like enough to give a person a headache though!

After doing some reading, I came to the conclusion that sea salt water should restore the blood vessels to their proper course and take away the headache. It seems to eventually, but it's hard to tell for sure. 

I'm sure I'll continue to test my theory of chocolate and caffeine and sea salt water. :)  I really don't consume anything with caffeine except chocolate and kombucha, and I think most of the caffeine is gone by the time I drink the k-tea.  And my chocolate is greatly limited, as I know the sugar makes me crazy. 

Thankfully I have my raisins!  I start to panic when my stash runs low, as it has become my 'crutch' since giving up my refined carb sweets.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Winds they are A Changin'

I'm so excited, and so nervous. Those seem to be the emotions that go along with change.

I've spent the last 2 years really digging in and learning about the amazing bodies that God gave us, specifically how they work in relation to nutrition, etc. It's been such an amazing ride!  God has shown me so much.  And I'm very happy with where we are with regards to our daily food intake, and I feel I have a pretty good idea of how to deal with most diseases and other body-related issues.   Not nearly perfect of course, and I know it will continue to be a passion of mine, well, hopefully forever.  I hope to read the latest (and the oldest) scientific and clinical studies.  I hope to continue to expand my  knowledge on how best to care for my body and the bodies of the family God has given me.  I do believe, 100%, that it is of utmost importance to care for our bodies, as they are temples of the Holy Spirit.  And vessels which he wants to use for his glory.

I've also spent the last 5 years studying child rearing, development and education.  But, it kind of took a back-seat when I realized the huge gap in my nutritional knowledge.  I realized that no matter how much I taught or trained my children (or myself), it would do no good if we could not process the information in our brains, or carry through with our bodies.  I knew I had to get that under control before I could get back to concentrating on education and training.

About 6 months ago, my passion for studying education and child development started to be fanned and to grow again.  I was excited, because I knew that it meant that God was going to be leading me back in that direction of study and learning and implementing again.  And I was ready!! 

I started the school year (Sept 2009), with Myia in 1st Grade. We started with the daily schedule, but it was not working.  I knew that would happen, or expected it.  But I didn't know what to do about it.  Unfortunately, I can't do anything if I don't have a firm grasp on the whole concept. And I knew my knowledge of education and child development was lacking and not a strong enough foundation to build a solid education on. But yet, I also knew I was not able to study it or do anything about it at the moment.  We pretty much stopped in November.  I was doing more harm then good and knew it needed to stop. My main concern was for family who would be worried that I wasn't teaching my daughter like the main stream thinks a 6 year old ought to be taught.  Well, I swallowed my pride and decided to trust God that he would bring it back when we were ready.

That is why I was so excited to get the 'itch' about 6 months ago.

Woo hoo!!  Now, I'm on fire, I'm passionate. I'm so excited about training and teaching and educating my children (and myself).  I know that is where it needs to start.

I'm still not sure what it will look like exactly, although I am working out those details slowly but surely.  But I have a mission, a vision and a passion. I'm scared, I'm nervous.  I'm afraid it will make me even 'crazier' then I already am.  But... when God calls, I have to follow.

So, in regards to the blog, it will continue to be my 'diary'.  I'll keep it public, but it's really just my diary of my thoughts and ideas and links, recipes, etc. that I want to keep.

I'll continue to post recipes that I want to keep, meal plans to help me order my week and hold me accountable and book reviews, as they help me to think through what I just read.

I hope to spend less time on the computer, as I pursue my own 'scholar education' while also working on finding and implementing a daily routine that will take the Innis family where God wants us to be.

So excited!!!!!!!!!!