Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thrift Store Find

I'm so excited. I just paid $1.91 (yes, they're strange) for American Indian Medicine, by Virgil J. Vogel.

I will hopefully get around to reading it before too long and post about it. But I had to share my find right away!  One never knows what simple, natural remedy one can learn from such a book and use at just the necessary moment.  This kind of info is hard to come by.  Maybe it will become my Nourishing Traditions of natural remedies.  And maybe not, who knows. 

My husband rolled his eyes at me when I showed it to him.  He thinks I'm a 'kook'.  :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Biology for Kids

I love 'The Magic School Bus' books.  We are not ready for the chapter books, so I don't know how good they are. But we love the picture books.

We found a copy of 'The Magic School Bus, Inside Ralphie, A Book About Germs' a few years ago and we read it over and over as you do with young children.

I had no idea how good that was going to be for us.  I was just learning about nutrition and the body and how it all worked together.  And the visual of what is going on inside a body when it's sick was really good for me.  And I played off it when the kids got sick or just didn't feel well.  And for the last 2 years, I've been doing that and only recently have come to appreciate how much it has helped us to visualize and understand the body.

My kids are 5 and 7 and their knowledge and understanding of biology is impressive already!  They know more of what is going on inside their bodies then most adults.

Now, I don't nearly understand it all, or even a decent percentage I'm sure.  But what I have learned over the years, I have translated into 'kid talk' and discussed it with the kids.  Much of it in relation to what we learned and saw in the Ralphie book.  It's fun to see it more cumulatively.

I also bought DK's Encyclopedia of the Human Body.  And we refer to that whenever the kids are interested in something going on inside of them.  Yesterday Samuel was showing us his rib cage (I swear I feed the boy!) and so we got out the Human Body Encyclopedia and read about our rib cages and what they do and how they are formed.  Which, of course, led to looking at other pictures about red blood cells and DNA and germs and vaccines.  It was great!  I learned as much as he did!  

The biology talk started out more as a way to get the kids to not want to eat junk. And I felt guilty at first. But the more I came to see the real connection between what we put into our bodies and how they feel, I became more confident in talking about it with the kids.

We started out mostly talking about the 'good guys' verse the 'bad guys'.  At 3 and 5, that was about perfect for them.  They ate junk and I explained to them that the food they were eating was feeding the bad guys in them, but killing the good guys. To my surprise, the kids were fascinated by the concept.  And it got so that every time they ate, they'd ask if they were feeding the good or the bad guys.  And when they got sick, I'd talk about what they had eaten that might have fed the bad guys.  My son loves to get graphic with swords and guns and bad guys falling left and right and the good guys doing heroic deeds. It's cute. 

As I have learned and expanded my knowledge, I have been able to do the same with them.  Even going into more detail as to why sugar and refined foods feed the bad guys.  When we eat broth, meats, fats, veggies, raw milk, yogurt, kefir, eggs, etc. they know that the food they are eating is giving the 'good guys' strength so they can fight the bad guys.  But when they eat the processed foods, it feeds the bad guys who then get stronger.  Some foods seem to feed both, like soaked grains, fruits and some sweeteners.  

They understand the concept of fats and how they are necessary to take all of the vitamins and minerals to the cells in their bodies.  We talk about how people have been told things that are not true and how it has hurt so many people. 

We talk about how our foods are supposed to be full of vitamins and minerals, but instead are full of chemicals, because farmers don't farm the way God intended.  They have a pretty good idea of what minerals are (ground rocks), and how things like broth, celtic salt, molasses and bitters are full of minerals that we don't get enough of. 

We often discuss why we eat yogurt and eat kombucha, kefir and fermented veggies.  They understand that guts have bacteria in them and some is good, some is bad.  And most of us have messed up guts, so they can't break down the food as well.  And eating foods high in enzymes helps their bellies to break the food down and send it where it belongs.

Sometimes my husband thinks I'm a bit nuts for going into the detail I do, but it helps me understand it better.  And I love watching the kids 'get it'. It's so fun!  I love that I am building a foundation for the kids as they get older.  If they make bad choices in their food, they will be fully aware of the consequences they will have to face.  Which, for me, makes it easier to make good choices.

And, of course, as they get into the higher sciences, they will understand it so much better, as it will make sense to them.

Plus, I can rectify any bad biology in books and videos by explaining that they don't really understand some parts of it, and then going into details of how I believe it actually is. :)

A few weeks ago, we were at the beach (we love the Jersey Shore!), and the kids were eating cookies and other 'junk' that we don't keep around ourselves.  I warned them that they were still going to have to behave themselves the next few days, no matter how hard it was.  And it could make them sick.  But I allowed them to choose.  Well, Myia ended up with a painful ear ache before we left for home and she was crying and miserable.  It was no fun for her, but it was a great biology lesson!  I explained that her body was already fighting a minor cold and the affects of a bad sunburn from the week before.  And then she goes and eats the junk, and her 'bad guys' won out because of it.  It may have been more complicated then that, but it was a great lesson.  And hopefully helpful in making her want to make good food choices.  :)

I look forward to better understanding the body and passing that info on to my kids.  One more tool in my mansion building toolbox.

Who knew that Deuteronomy 6 is the best way to teach kids biology as well?  We talk about our bodies (and always in awe of God creating them with a word) when we sit, walk and lie down.   

Deuteronomy 6:6-7   These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Homeschooling, The Right Choice, by Christopher J. Klicka

My cousin told me about 'Homeschooling, The Right Choice', by the late Christopher J. Klicka. Wow, what a great read! I'd love to read some of his other books as well.  It sounds like he was an amazing, Godly man, who fought tirelessly for the rights of parents to raise their children in a Godly manner. 

I already knew I did not want to send my children to the public school. But, after reading this, I'm even more sure!

It was a very eye opening book. There was not a lot about methodology, but he did give some awesome biblical reasons and verses to back up his premise that children need to be taught at home by their parents.

The first section is a dismal history of public education in America.  I knew it was largely based on John Dewey and Horace Mann's humanism.  But I did not realize how deeply it penetrated it, nor did I realize the long-term affects of it on our educational system today.  This quote from Mann sums it up: 'What the church has been for medieval man the public school must become for democratic and rational man.  God will be replace by the concept of the public good....  The common schools... school create a more far-seeing intelligence and a more pure morality than has ever existed among communities of men.'

But the problem is, of course, that man is sinful and incapable of good in and of himself.  And if left to his own devices, becomes more corrupt, sinful and selfish.  And that describes the majority of the children in American schools today.  The utopian idealism is a great thought, but it doesn't work out in sinful man.

Part II was excellent. Esp the first chapter (which is chapter 4).  The section was titled: 'The Rising Hope of Home Schooling'.  And chapter 4 specifically is titled: 'The Biblical Principles: A Support for Home Schooling and an Indictment of Public Schooling'.

"I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth."  Martin Luther

I'm going to give a summary of what he calls 'The biblical principles of education which support Christian home schooling.' And, of course, I will quote half of the chapter because it was so profound. 

1.  The Raising of Children is Delegated to Parents by God.  
Psalm 127:3-5 Behold children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.  How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Children are blessings AND arrows.  I love this quote: "What kind of arrows are we making as we educate and train our children?  Are our 'arrows' straight or slightly bent?  Are our 'arrows' completely finished and ready, able to endure their tasks ahead?  Or are they half made, weak, and not properly balanced?  Have we diligently crafted our 'arrows' so they can be trusted to hit their target as we launch them into the world?  Or have we simply worked on our 'arrows' here an there when we can fit time into our busy schedules?  Have we personally guaranteed our 'arrows' are the most carefully crafted and have the sharpest point, or did we hire some stranger ignorant of the way the Creator demands that arrows be made?  Are we training our children to be the best-prepared warriors for God?   These are the questions we must ask ourselves as we raise our children-the never-dying souls whom God has entrusted to us'.  Ouch! Wow, how succinctly put is that?!? 
He also makes the point that nowhere in Scripture has God delegated the raising of children to the government. It's always to the parents.  The times in Israel's history when they were educated by the state was when they were occupied by heathen nations (Moses, Joseph, Daniel).  God used those times, no doubt.  But he makes it clear that the responsibility lies first with the parents. 
"Parents can delegate their authority to raise and teach their children to someone else, but they can never delegate their responsibility to teach their children to anyone else.'  God holds parents responsible. 

2.  Children Still Belong to God.
Ezekiel 16:20-21-Moreover, you took your sons and daughters whom you had born to Me.  And sacrificed them to idols to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter?  You slaughtered My children and offered them up to idols causing them to pass through fire.

God has given them to use to raise.  But he has expectations of us.  They ultimately belong to him, and he expects that we will take care of them like they are his.

3.  God's Conditions for Educating Children
Ephesians 6:4-Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord

He defines nurture as 'loving, providing for, and carefully instructing them.  And admonition as discipline (spanking, admonitions, training, etc.)  'Let us train our children diligently in order to sear the truth of God into their very souls.'

Deuteronomy 6:6-9  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates

One of my favorites.  :)  Parents are to teach their children diligently in the instruction of the Lord. 'How can this be achieved if a child spends six to seven hour a day receiving a public education that teaches him to think as a non-Christian?'  Good point! It must be done daily, not just on Sundays or for a few hours in the evening.  

Psalm 78:5-7  He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children,so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.  Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 

So we (parents) are to teach our children two things daily: 1. To put their trust in God and 2. To remember his deeds and keep his commands.

Galatians 3:24  So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.

Our daily teaching of our children, of God's laws, will prayerfully lead them to Christ and salvation.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

But what happens if we train up our children in the way they should not go 6 hours a day, and only train them in the way they should go for 2 hours?

Some other verses us uses: Exodus 13:3, Joshua 4:20-22, 24, Isaiah 54:13.

4.  Commands to Train our Children's Minds

Jeremiah 10:2  Learn not the way of the heathen.  

Psalm 1:2-  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

II Corinthians 10:5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Colossians 3:2  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

 'This responsibility is immense. Parents must train their children to think God's thoughts after Him. A godly education, therefore, is learning not only to believe as a Christian, but to think as a Christian.  Since Christian parents in the past have neglected their duty to follow this comprehensive approach in their lives and workplaces, while simultaneously believing as Christians.  In essence, many parents are raising humanistic Christians, many of whom are 'lukewarm' and not thinking God's thoughts after Him.'

'Parents are casting a stumbling block (Matthew 16:23) before their children by having them trained to think man's thoughts, instead of God's thoughts, over thirty hours a week.'  

Needless to say, the public school, with it's humanistic agenda, would be considered 'heathen' and 'arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God'  and not something that God would want our children to mediate on day and night.  Our children's minds are too important to waste!

5.  Negative Socialization in School

I Corinthians 15:33  Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

Proverbs 13:20  He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

It does seem that the majority of friends at the public school (and many Christian schools) would be considered 'bad company' and fools.  I love this answer for those who ask 'what about socialization?'  I need to remember it next time I'm asked. :)

 6.  Content of True Education

II Timothy 3:16-17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

 Proverbs 2:6  For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Psalm 119:97-101   Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,  for they are ever with me.   I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.   I have more understanding than the elders,  for I obey your precepts.
I have kept my feet from every evil path  so that I might obey your word.

'The goal of education according to Psalm 119:97-101  is to train children in God's laws so they can govern themselves, be wiser than their enemies, have more insight than their teachers, and understand more then the aged.  If we train our children this way God will no doubt find us faithful stewards of the children He has placed in our care.  Scripture speaks to every area of life.  It is clear that education is inescapably religious. Every subject, as a result, needs to be studied through the lens of God's Word.  If parents do this, their children will be equipped for every good work and able to apply God's principles to every area of life.  Their beliefs will not be separate from their thoughts and actions, as is so often the case with 'Christians' today.  

That is fabulous methodology.  Add some classics to the mix and I think you have a fantastic, complete curriculum!  :)

7.  Does Sending Our Children to Public School as Missionaries Make it Right?  

I Samuel 15: 22   "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

"Many Christian parents rationalize that they are sending their children to public school in order for them to be 'missionaries' to the unsaved children.  However, there are no biblical examples of children being used as missionaries, but rather adults are always the missionaries.  This means it is important for adult Christians to become public teachers and administrators, school board members, truant officers, and social workers."   I love that!  We do need people in the public school as beacons of light.  But God knows that we need to be equipped for good works. And that takes time and study.  Even Paul studied for 3 years before God used him as a missionary. 
"Are we trying to make a 'sacrifice' to God by sending our children to public school to 'save souls' while disobeying God's commands to us concerning raising our children?  We must remember to obey is better then sacrifice."

8.  These Biblical Principles Apply to Children in High School

9.  Home Schooling is a Biblical Form of Education

A natural conclusion to the following 8 points.  

'The goal of home schooling is to raise the children so that each of them will 'be diligent to present himself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth'.  II Timothy 2:15'

'As parents, we cannot escape the responsibility for how our children are trained and educated.  God will hold us responsible for the choices we make in regard to our children and to whom we delegate the authority to teach our children. ' 

That was my favorite chapter in the book and the one I learned the most from!

He extols the benefits of homeschooling: better spiritual lives, family lives and well-rounded socialization, one-on-one instruction, academic advantage.

He gives a lot of graphs, charts and stats throughout the book.  As well as studying the education of early leaders in America, and the world over. Most of whom were taught at home.

Chapter 8 gives 'Seven Practical Steps to Successful Home Schooling'. 
1.  Seek first the kingdom of God

2. Attend a home school conference.

3.  Choose a Curriculum

4.  Join a local home school sport group

5.  Establish discipline in the home

6. Develop and apply a Biblical worldview

The rest of the book talks about the legal issues surrounding homeschoolers.  

Yikes, it's scary!  The HSLDA has worked hard to bring back parents rights to train their children over the last 30 years.  And I'm so grateful for that!  But, like he says, we need to work hard to keep those rights, and overturn some of the legislation that is still in effect.  He highly recommends joining the HSLDA.  For $100 a year, you will have access to their legal services in case a social worker does come to your door, demanding that you put your kids in school.  I am not yet, but need to for sure.  They are a great organization as a whole, but also good to have in case of personal issues.  They will fight free of charge if it's in regards to homeschooling your children.  Neat, eh? 

All in all, an awesome book to read if you are homeschooling, or considering it.  I would like to read some of his other books also.  I love reading books by people who are passionate about something worthwhile! 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and Supper Options

Lunch is served with Kombucha, Swedish Bitters and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

This week's meat is roast.

Monday:   Roast and Veggies (philly cheese steaks at beach for supper)

Tuesday: Salmon Salad

Wednesday: Fried rice with leftover roast

Thursday:  Liver and Onions

Friday:  Roast salad with asian dressing

Saturday:  Fried Potatoes and roast

Sunday: Deviled Eggs

Friday, July 23, 2010

Deodorant Alternative

I'm very excited.  I've managed to change most of my toxic household and body care products to cheaper, more natural and simple alternatives.  But deodorant was stumping me.

I've tried the coconut/baking soda/cornstarch deodorant, and it just didn't work.  I've tried just CO, just baking soda and water and soap.  But nothing worked.  I always started to smell relatively quickly and the smell just didn't go away. Yuck!  The only deodorant that ever made me not smelly was Degree for women.

But the more I read, the more I realize that deodorants are toxic because of their ingredients, AND they are near major lymph nodes, which means that the toxins spread quickly to my blood stream.  And, I just learned that sweat is a major form of detoxing, so not only do I put added toxins into my body when I put on deodorant, but I also hinder a serious form of detoxing.  So it's a double whammy.

BUT, and this is a big but, I can't walk around smelly either.  I could try a bouquet garni around my neck, but it's just not a socially acceptable thing to do.  So I wanted desperately to find a solution to this age old problem. 

One day on Facebook (that huge waste of time, but yet I'm so grateful for it in this case), a friend was complaining about her deodorant having toxins in it, even though it was natural.  And one of her friends responded that her parents use hydrogen peroxide and just spray it from a bottle onto their armpits.

Well, I had to try it.  AND IT WORKS!!!!!!!  You can only imagine my relief to find such a simple, easy, cheap alternative.

Rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide both seem to work quite well.  I'm not sure about the alcohol and it's health benefits.  I do know that hydrogen peroxide is not harmful to the body.

It's funny how the obvious so often escapes me.  So often.  The hydrogen peroxide kills the bacteria.  And the bacteria are what cause the smell of body odor.  Sweat isn't smelly. Most of us sweat in places other then our armpits and it does not cause body odor. But the armpits have more glands and detox more then most of our skin, and so there is constantly bacteria there that cause us to smell.  And using the hydrogen peroxide/rubbing alcohol stops the problem where it starts-by killing the bacteria.  Without getting in the way of the bodies detoxifying process.  It's perfect!

I currently put it on a cotton ball and rub my face with one side and then turn it around and rub both of my armpits with the other.  It works great!

I hated getting body odor because even soap never seemed to really take it away.  But the HP/RA kills the odor immediately and completely.

I do find that I need to put it on a few times a day if I'm really warm.  So for long days at the office, I'm not sure how well it would work. You could of course, but it would mean extra effort.  Maybe taking a small spray bottle and keeping it at the office/job/car for easy spray on smell-control when it's needed.

I'll probably keep my Degree for times when I need to be out for a long time and need to worry about being smelly.  But I'm so excited to have an alternative for 99% of my life.

Now if I can just get Drew to try it...

*update*  Drew has been using it and loving it.  He still uses his deodorant for work, but he loves how the RA/HP gets the smell out right away.

I am posting this on Fight Back Friday

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Read-Aloud Hanbook, by Jim Trelease

I read about 'The Read Aloud Handbook' by Jim Trelease, on Passionate Homemaking and went out and picked it up right away at the library.  I'm so glad I did!

What a fantastic read!  I already knew that reading to the kids is important. But I didn't understand many of the different facets of it.  This book has a lot of anecdotes and scientific studies.  I tend to rely more on the anecdotes then the science, but both are fun to read and consider. He has some of the book on his website. 

As I had already decided to base most of my children's homechooling on books, this was more of an encouragement then a 'push'.  But encouragements are so necessary sometimes, and it's esp fun for me to realize the idea is more main-stream then I realized. 

It was one of those books that I wanted to write down half of the quotes in the book.  I love reading authors who 'get' children.  So many people in America truly consider children to be a nuisance instead of the blessings that God intended them to be.  This guys truly cared about, and understood, children.  I feel so blessed to have read it.

A funny story before I quote half the book.  Our church did VBS last week, and they have classes for the adults who drop off their children, but don't want to leave.  One of them was done by a friend on reading to your children.  I asked her yesterday if she had ever read The Read Aloud Handbook, as it was very much her style, plus she had done a class on the subject. And she said that was the very book she used for the class.  I love it when I hear about a book from different people and angles!  Obviously she highly recommended it. She is, after all, an elementary teacher, and she is going to school to become a librarian as well.

The message that Trelease gives in this (the 6th edition, originally published in 1979) book is that children need to be read to daily, from birth.  He gives a lot of scientific and anecdotal evidence for why this is so.  The man actually travels the globe doing seminars on this very subject.  He feels very strongly about it, and for good reason.

He talks about why reading aloud is so important to children (humans really).  "A school's objective should be to create lifetime readers-graduates who continue to read and educate themselves throughout their adult lives.  But the reality is that we create schooltime readers-graduates who know how to read well enough to graduate.  At that point the majority take a silent vow: if I never read another book, it'll be too soon."  That is exactly how I though until I learned by own learning style and started to truly learn and love it.  I can't read enough now, but that was not true until about 2 years ago.

"Human beings will voluntarily do over and over that which brings them pleasure.  We approach what causes pleasure, and we withdraw from what causes displeasure or pain." That is what I realized when I started researching the homeschooling thing. I realized that why they did things was as important as them actually doing them.  God cares about the heart, more then the actions.  Everyone has something that drives them.  And being aware of that is so important. Otherwise, Satan will get in and twist it for his use. But being aware of that fact has helped me to set my own priorities and make good decisions, and I'm enjoying guiding my children to the same knowledge and vision.

One thing that he mentioned throughout the book is that children from poorer homes had more problems in school and read less in general.  But the reason, he believes, is much like what I learned in 'The Knowledge Deficit' by Ed Hirsch.  Oral language is not as rich as written language.  More words and concepts are used in print then in conversation.  So, a child who is read to, will have a much wider base of knowledge and vocabulary.  And the harder you have to work to understand a book, the less you are going to enjoy reading. And the less you enjoy reading, the less you'll actually do of it.

He had some interesting numbers in regards to words spoken at various socio-economic levels of school and home.  I wish I could copy the charts.

Total of words heard by a child by the age of 4 in said families.
Professional: 45,000,000
Working class: 26,000,000
Poverty:  13,000,000

And you add to that, the fact that most people don't choose books to keep around if money is severely limited. And it makes sense why kids in poor families rank lowest on the tests and charts.

Another 'chart' he had that I wish I could copy, but will try to write out:
The number of rare words heard through auditory means (conversation, TV, radio) is 9,000-22,000.  The number of rare words read through books, newspapers and magazines, etc. ranges from 30,000 to 128,000. 

So if you don't read print, you are missing out on 20,000+ words that would make your vocabulary richer and make reading more pleasurable and meaningful.  It's a process of course.

Trelease has lots of 'lists' that I enjoy also. :)  Summaries are helpful to me for some reason.

He mentions 4 factors present in the home environment of nearly every early reader:
1. The child is read to on a regular basis.
2. A wide variety of printed material is available-books, magazines, newspapers, comics.  (I'm not great on that, magazines annoy me as they are hard to keep organized and newspapers are expensive and annoying to keep around to recycle)
3.  Paper and pencil are readily available for the child.  'Almost without exception, the starting point of curiosity about written language was an interest in scribbling and drawing.  From this developed an interest in copying objects and letters of the alphabet.'
4.  The people in the child's home stimulate the child's interest in reading and writing by answering endless questions, praising the child's efforts at reading and writing, taking the child to the library frequently, buying books, writing stories that the child dictates, and displaying his paperwork in a prominent place in the home. 

I found this interesting: 'According to experts, it is a reasonable assertion that reading and listening skills begin to converge at about eighth grade.  Until then, kids usually listen on a higher level than that on which they read.' Fascinating!!!

He also talks about how reading one-on-one with children is important.  And how it can bring up difficult subjects that are otherwise hard to handle.  And that not only opens up discussion about them, but also builds a more intimate relationship with the child which will be drawn upon later in life.

He talks some about how reading is the first step to good writing. The more  you read, the better you write.  He had a quote from Jacques Barzun 'Words get in through the ear or eye and come out at the tongue or the end of a pencil'.  What a great visual that makes!

Another fabulous quote. "The reader is walking around with the brain of the author stuffed into a back pocket or a purse. With that arrangement, you're no longer limited to just your own experiences.  Every time you read, you're tapping into the author's experiences, tomorrow a different author, a different brain. it's the reader's advantage.

Really, doesn't it just give you goosebumps?  :)

He had a quote from the 1700s, Samuel Johnson, that I thought was interesting.  "I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning, for that is sure good. I would let him at first read any English book which happens to engage his attention; because you have done a great deal when you have brought him to entertainment from a book.  He'll get better books afterwards."

Which brings me to pretty much the only thing I'm not sure I agreed with.  There always has to be something. :)

He believes that reading is more important then what you read.  And while I agree with that to an extent, I think there are dangers involved.  I read for pleasure, but I find pleasure in learning and bettering my world.  Drew, on the other hand, can read for learning sake, but only for a few pages and then he is over it. Whereas, he can read for hours and hours, if it's fiction and entertaining.

So while I agree that the first step to reading for betterment is just learning to love reading, I think it's important that one take it past that also.  How to do that, I'm not exactly sure.  But I'll figure it out eventually.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with children (or grandchildren, or students, or nieces/nephews, etc.).  I love that his idea is for the betterment of all children, rich or poor, homeschooled or conveyor-belt schooled.  And all it requires is some time and access to a library.  Oh, and a parent/teacher who is sold on the pleasure of books.  Just like 'A Thomas Jefferson Education', role models and books are so important in a child's education and life.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and Supper Options

Lunch is served with Kombucha, Swedish Bitters and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

This week's meat is hamburger.

Monday:  Hamburger Patties with fixins

Tuesday: Liver and Onions

Wednesday: Hamburger crumbled over corn chips with salsa and sour cream

Thursday:  Salmon Melts  

Friday:  Cumin Hamburger over Rice

Saturday:  Cobb Salad

Sunday:  Roast and Veggies

Friday, July 16, 2010

How I Love Thee Coconut Oil...

Let me count the ways.

1.  Frying.  I use butter, lard, tallow or coconut oil for frying, as they are the only things that are heat-stable enough not to become carcinogenic when used for frying.  Coconut oil works great for frying eggs, veggies, stir frys, etc.  And it is actually more heat-stable then butter, although not as stable as either tallow or lard. 

2.  Baking.  When a recipe calls for oil for baking (like in my waffles this morning), I just use CO in the summer.  When it's cold, it's a pain as it's solid, so I don't always choose to use it then.  But when it's warm, it's great!

3.  Greasing pans.  It works great for greasing baking pans, for cookies, etc.  I just use my fingers and then wipe the leftovers on my skin. 

4.  Lotion.  We've been using it as lotion for some time now. It's amazing!  The kids use it with impunity.  We use it all over our body without any concern of chemicals or over-use.  It soaks into the skin and does some good internally as well! 

5.  Antiseptic.  When one of us gets hurt,  we pour hydrogen peroxide over it until the bubbles stop, and then we put CO on it and cover it with a band aid.  The CO gets put on whenever the kids think of it. I am positive it has helped us to heal faster and keep out germs in the meantime.  It's an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasite.

6.  Burn Cream.  When we get a burn, or a sunburn, we keep CO on the burn liberally until it's healed.

7.  Sunscreen.  I have not used it successfully when we are out in the super hot sun and swimming.  But for every day use, it's great for a sunscreen. 

8.  Oil Pulling.  I have been oil pulling for over a month and really like it.  I need to figure out a schedule to get the kids doing it every day as well.  I simply dip a tablespoon into the jar (about half full) and pour it into my mouth.  I could not put the solid CO into my mouth as it made me gag, so I used EVVO when I first started.  I'm hoping by the time it gets cold again, I'll be able to put the solid CO into my mouth and let it melt. 

9.  Tooth Paste.  I'm not a huge fan of it this way, but Myia likes it. And I have used it a few times and didn't mind.  It's great for traveling, as you can use it as first aid, lotion and tooth paste.

10.  Lip Balm.  It works great for dry lips.

11.  Dry/Itchy Skin.  Vaginal itching as well as just dry itchy skin.

12.  Rashes.  Myia had what I think was poison ivy.  And she put some on it and it stopped itching after a short time.

13.  Detoxing.  It's great for detoxing.  I put a spoonfur in my broth when I remember to drink it. 

14.  Weight Loss.  It can speed up a sluggish metabolism by helping the thyroid to work more efficiently. 

I love simplicity.  Multi-purposed items are my favorite things to have around the house.  And coconut oil definitely falls into that category.  The longer I have it around, the more uses I find for it. 

While I prefer local for most things, there is just no way to raise coconut trees here, and it's worth the extra money and resources to keep some on hand.  If we bought the vast majority of our food locally and only a few things from over-seas, this is definitely one I would choose to keep.  It's great for so many things! 

I keep a small jar of it in the bathroom for first aid.  I also put some in a small spray bottle for the summer, as it sprays fabulously when it's liquid.  The kids are allowed free access to them.  I would like to buy another small container for the car to keep along with some hydrogen peroxide and band aids for when we get hurt when we're out and about.

I love the expeller pressed coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.  It's inexpensive, has very little coconut-y taste, was responsibly harvested and processed and comes from a Christian company.  I bought 2 gallons when it was on sale in the spring.  I ended up paying approximately $30 for each including shipping.

Don't be intimidated by my gallon bucket though.  There is coconut oil sold at most grocery stores.  Just make sure it has no other added ingredients.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Have A Little Shadow

'I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me'

It's such a relief to not be so overwhelmed with the whole parenting thing.  Like I said, it's a huge job and I still have awful days, ok, weeks, months...  But, I also know that it's a task that I can manage.

One of the things that has struck me (like a ton of bricks *giggles* still funny!) lately is how much more my kids learn through me then by me.  That old adage-'do what I say, not what I do', strikes a note of truth. Only the opposite of course.  Children do what we do, it's natural. It's how God made it to work.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 

It has been so much fun to share things with my children as I learn them.  And they learn them along side of me.  I learn, I read, I grow, I change, and as I do so, I share openly (age appropriate of course) with my kids.  And they learn! 

It's like having little shadows all day long.  That used to scare me half to death!  I hated that idea.  But when the idea of parenting became overwhelming, the simplicity of being a good example for my shadows seemed less daunting suddenly.  And the closer I draw to the Lord, the more I want to be like Him. And there is nothing in the world I want more for my kids then for them to know, love, follow and serve the Lord. Nothing at all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and Supper Options

Lunch is served with Kombucha, Swedish Bitters and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

This week's meat is chicken.

Monday:  Roast Chicken and Veggies

Tuesday: Canned Salmon and Rice with white sauce

Wednesday: Chicken Tacos

Thursday:  Liver and Onions

Friday:  Chicken Soup

SaturdayBacon and avocado egg salad

Sunday: Chicken Salad

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Detox Book, by Bruce Fife

I really enjoyed reading The Detox Book by Dr. Bruce Fife. I had heard about it from a number of places (as usual), and finally checked my library.  I love libraries!

Like the other 2 books of Dr. Fife's that I read I did not agree on the low-fat diet, but otherwise loved it!  I hope to find it used some place for cheap so I can keep it around as a reference.  There is so much great info in it.

He started the book with true stories of a number of people suffering from various degenerative diseases.  And then went on to explain how they were caused by the various toxins their bodies could not rid themselves of.

He talked in detail about the toxins in our food, water, air, body care and household products, lead and mercury.

Chapter 2 talked about the Genesis of Disease, how our bodies succumb to the various degenerative diseases.  He gives a brief history of the various disease theories over the last couple hundred years.  The scientific community used to think that germs were the only cause of disease.  But with better technology, they started looking into genetics and how that could affect a person's ability to fight off diseases.  And recently, the scientific community has been realizing the important role that nutrition and food processing plays into it, esp degenerative diseases. Fife also talks about the role of stress on a body, and how the ever increasing stress has hampered our ability to protect ourselves as well.  None of it was new information, but a great review and reminder before he delved into the various ways and roles of detoxifying.  He certainly made a case for getting the toxins out!

He gives a Health Assessment Profile on page 36.  He describes 4 tests to give yourself.

1.  Skin Elasticity Test  (pinching your hand to see how long it takes for the blood to return

2.  Falling-Ruler Test (tests reaction time by dropping a ruler and catching it)
3.  Static Balance Test  (stand on one leg with eyes closed)

4.  Visual Accommodation Test.  (how far away you can read a newspaper)

He spends 2 chapters on eating and food.  And like his other 2 books, he talks about low-fat and minimal animal protein.  Which I think is absurd.  I really don't think he believes that anymore, but I'm not sure.  I pretty much skimmed those sections.  But, I do agree that our food, and lack thereof, is making us sick and causing toxic build-ups in our bodies.

Chapter 5 is entitled 'The Healing Process' and he talks about how what we often consider something negative namely fatigue, colds and flu-like symptoms, are often the amazing process of our bodies healing and cleaning themselves.  I first heard of that concept when I read Donna Gates' The Body Ecology.  And it rocked my little world!  I would have been so miserable this past winter if I hadn't read and thought through that concept.  We think of 'sickness' as bad. But so often, it's simply our body ridding itself of toxins. And the only way for our body to do it's job, is to rest.  So many of our symptoms are not only ridding our body of toxins, but they are also forcing us to rest while it does so.  God is so good!  And to think, he made it all with a word, a word!!!!

I loved some of the quotes he had in the side bars.  Here are a few of my favorites:

"It's supposed to be a professional secret, but I'll tell you anyway.  We doctors do nothing.  We only help and encourage the doctor within."  Albert Schweitzer

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."  Thomas A. Edison

"The physician is nature's assistant."  Galen, 2nd Century, AD

I was fascinated by Hering's Law of Cure-'All cure comes from within out, from the head down and in reverse order as the symptoms have appeared in the body'.   "While your body is cleansing, you will reexperience many of the illnesses you have had in the past, all the way back to childhood. This is called the 'reversal process.'"   What a fascinating concept. And I've heard of people saying that is exactly what has happened to them as they have slowly healed from various ailments.  I heard of a lady who worked with chemicals in the perfume industry.  She found out she had cancer and started a GAPS type protocol.  And over time, she smelled of the different chemicals she had worked with, but in reverse order. So the last chemical she worked with, she smelled first, and then backwards. It's so interesting!  A friend told me on Sunday about her own experience with detoxing.  When she was young, she had tonsillitis and eventually lesions on her neck.  Eight years ago she started working with some alternative doctors to try and heal her ailing body.  They told her to watch for those lesions and sore throat to return. And sure enough, they did. About 7 years into her healing, she woke up one day with a sore throat and lesions on her neck. They lasted for 3 weeks and went away.  They came back over and over, but with less intensity and duration.  Until one day, they came for 3 hours and left, and have not returned since.  How cool is that!!!!

'Some people, when they experience their first healing crisis, think it's a disease crisis and give up because 'the diet didn't work-I got sicker.'  You can't expect to clean 40 years of junk and rebuild an entire body in just a few weeks.'

After talking about how and why the body detoxes, he takes the next 10 chapters to deal with specific ways of detoxing.

1.  Fasting.  He talks about how fasting can help the body rest and focus on healing.  I'm not sure I agree with that one.  Jury is out still on my end.  But he did make some compelling points and many people have the same mindset.  I have fasted off and on in the past, but I struggled with it due to my low blood sugar issues. 

2.  Juicing.  Basically, he talks about a juice fast.  You juice fruit and veggies, so you are getting the vitamins and calories, without the fiber.  Which is supposed to give your digestive system a break.  Again, jury is out in my opinion.

3.  Oxygen Therapy.  This was a fascinating chapter, there was a lot of new info for me. 
Apparently oxygen is amazing stuff!  Again, God is so good!  The very things we need most are free for all.  Makes sense, really.  He talks about teaching ourselves deep breathing exercises and doing them purposefully every day.  Who would think that simply deep breathing could be so healing!  The use of hydrogen peroxide goes back to the early 1900s as a means of successfully fighting cancer.  He gives some info as to what happens at the cellular level in regards to oxygen and cancer, etc.  He talks about using ozone for healing also.  I am most interested in learning how to breathe properly and using hydrogen peroxide as a detoxifier.  He suggests finding 35% food grade HP (which I have yet to find), and using it in the bathtub, or diluted in a glass of water.  He even said that if you put the HP in water, it will dissolve most of the chemicals and make it safe to bathe in.  I love that idea, as our water has all kinds of nasty stuff in it.

4.  Exercise.  I do believe/know that exercise is a great way of detoxifying, as long as one is careful and does not over-do it.  I love to walk.  I am even learning to appreciate 'barefoot walking', which Fife does not suggest. :)

5.  Heat therapy.  "Give me the power to create a fever, and I shall cure any disease."  Parmenides (500 B.C.)  Wow, we think so differently of fevers now a days.  If  a kid has an even slightly elevated body temperature, we pump him with Tylenol to bring it down. When in actuality, the fever is simply the body riding itself of toxins!  Some of the methods he describes are saunas/spas/hot tubs.  He even suggests wrapping yourself in plastic and lying in the sun.  Leaving your head out of course.  I can definitely vouch for the benefits of a bath that makes you sweat.  I can feel the toxins coming out with the sweat.  Such simple things.  I love that!

6.  Colon Cleaning.  The one I want to try the most is enemas.  I've read a lot about them and am convinced of their usefulness in detoxing. I just need to get the apparatus for it.  Coffee enema, he says, it esp useful.

7.  Kidney Cleansing.  Some things he suggests for helping to dissolve kidney stones: apples/juice, hydrangea root, gravel root, parsley, marshmallow root, uva ursi, vegetable glycerin, ginger root and cayenne pepper. 

8.  Liver Cleansing. I was excited to read about a similar cleanse to the one I just did.  I think Drew is going to join me when I do it in July.  Yeah!  :)

9.  Herbal Detox. He specifically deals with fungal and parasite infections.  There wasn't a lot of info in this chapter, but it was interesting and good to know if one suspects either parasites or fungus.  On a side note, a good friend of mine just passed what she is pretty sure is, tapeworms. She is excited to see if it helps improve her overall health.  Gross, but progress is good!

10.  The Mind.  That whole stress thing again. I've come to realize how damaging it is to a body and I've done my bestest to rid myself of it in every way possible.

All in all, it was a fantastic book to read and open one's eyes to the dangers of stored toxins in the body.  And to the wonders of getting rid of said toxins.  I will definitely read it again in a year or so, trying to retain even more info for the future. And if I find any of us needs an emergency detox, I'll know where to go for the details.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Building a 'Mansion'

Almost 1 year ago to date, I posted this on building a mansion, using only a hammer and some nails.  I was feeling so overwhelmed with the whole parenting thing.  I was only coming to realize what a truly big job it was, and how incredibly incapable I was of doing it.

I was thinking a few days ago, about how far Drew and I have come with the whole parenting thing.  I don't find it so intensely overwhelming anymore.  It's still a lot of work, but I don't mind working.  I just hate it when I have no idea how to get the job done.

And I thought back to the analogy of the mansion, hammer and nails.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks. (hee hee, come on, laugh with me, it was funny!).  The tools are out there.  Many, many parents have built mansions, and done a great job of it too. But they had the tools, or they found the tools from other parents who had already built their own mansions. The tools exist to build the most exquisite marble winding stair case in my daughter, I just need to find the right tools to cut the marble into the right shape.  And for my son's more rugged mahogany stair case, I can find the right tools for that also. I may not have the tools.  Actually, chances are that I don't. But I can find them.  I can pray and look around until I've found someone who was given the same materials and get the 'tools' from them.  And that is exactly what I am learning to do.

The Bible is my final authority, but for the details of parenting, where the Bible doesn't have much to say.  I am finding that God has 'mentors' (Titus 2:3-5) out there for me to find and learn from.  To find out what tools worked for them and to try them on my own children until I find what works.

I know we'll make mistakes, tons and tons and tons of them. I see it everyday.  But I no longer have this overwhelming sense of dread when I look at my children and see their sins and misbehavior.  I simply pray and ask the Lord to show me what tool I need to help guide my children in this area of their lives.  And I know he will.  He cares far more about them then I do. And he knows exactly what the final products need to look like, for whatever jobs he has for them.  So we can trust him to guide us each step of the way.  Even if I can only see one step ahead.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast and Supper Options

Lunch is served with Kombucha, Swedish Bitters and Fermented Cod Liver Oil

This week's meat is meatballs.

Monday:  Meatballs and mashed potatoes

Tuesday:  Pasta with meatball

Wednesday Superb Afghan Liver

ThursdayBacon and avocado egg salad on tortillas

Friday Salmon Salad

Saturday:  Meatball soup

Sunday:  BBQ at friends

Friday, July 2, 2010

Book Reports

I'm very excited about our book reports and had to share.

Since I want to do most of our learning through books (see here for more info), I wanted to figure out how best to record that for my sake, as well as legal purposes.  I am generally good about asking the kids what they heard and learned and getting a feel for how much they understood, etc.  So doing oral reports is something we already do.  But I wanted more then that.

So I decided to do reports on all things educational.  It's nothing fancy or original, but I'm excited about it nonetheless.  I think it's going to work well for us. I'm sure it will expand and change over time, but I'm excited to start here.

I bought 3 ring binders for the kids and myself.  And Drew typed up 3 'reports' for us: Book, Video and Activity.  And I am going to make copies and punch them and keep them in separate tabs in each of our binders.  And then we can fill them out after a book, video, etc.  Aren't they cute?  :)

I want to go back and do reports for some of the books and videos we've already read/seen.  And I'd like to actually start doing them on the books I read.  I post some on here, but the majority of books I read I don't make myself 'think through' much. And I find that helps me so much, to regurgitate what I've read and force myself to put my thoughts into some cognizant format.  Weird sentence.

I hope to get the kids into the habit of thinking about what they read early on, instead of just rushing through and on to the next item.  Plus written reports can develop and mature with the person.  Right now I'll probably do most of the writing for both of them.  But over time, they will take over that responsibility and it will become more elaborate and involved as they age and grow.  That way we can also keep track of all the books we read and make sure we are covering all of the subjects properly.  Plus, how much fun will it be for them to look back and see how they have grown over time.

I find myself bucking the 'grade' thing.  I told Samuel he is in kindergarten now and Myia she is in 2nd grade, but I intend to do reports on the books we read throughout the summer and keep our general 'schedule' year round.  But since everyone asks 'what grade are you in?', I don't feel comfortable not telling them either. I guess I just won't make a big deal out of it either way.

I love being in control of my kids' education.  It's so exciting and fun and challenging and rewarding!  :)  Who knew researching the what and hows would change me so much.