Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Garden Of Eating

I received a book from Chef Rachel Albert-Mastesz over at The Healthy Cooking Coach about 2 weeks ago to read and review.
This is a very comprehensive book and is simple not just a cookbook. The first 1/2 of the book covers many things that are very important to myself and to others. Proper nutrition with lots of references to the works of Weston A. Price (score!), primitive diets and health, touches on issues with getting good healthy fats and proteins, the great grain debate, etc etc. Then there are also sections on stocking and building your pantry, on menu-planning, and sample menus. Good references and full of good tips for everyone.

There are great recipes for Bone Broth and the benefits of broth. Which I really like and feel is SO important. There are lots of tips and recommendation for using some sea vegetables in your broth. This is something I have been thinking of doing, sea vegetables are definitely a power food and something we all should have in our diets.

Oh, and there is even a section at the way back for jerky and pemmican making. Which is super interesting. Jerky is something I love to eat, but have never made myself.

We have tried a few recipes and have had some good success. I will be posting about them soon! There are a few things I make that are very similar and some that I have never had, such as Steak Tartare, Savory Shrimp and Coconut Bisque, and Squash Pudding Pie.

I plan on making a few in the weeks to come and letting you all know how they turned out. There is a recipe for a chilled cherry gel (which I'm envisioning is kind of like jello) that is top of my list. My kids would really enjoy that!

Overall, it it kind of reminds me of Nourishing Traditions in a sense. Full of lots of good information and the recipes are a plus. It is naturally a gluten and dairy free book. Which is great for us, we are not gluten free, but we try to be as much as possible. I'm seriously thinking going gluten free in the near future and need all the help I can get haha! I think if you can get your hands on a copy, it's definitely worth reading (and it's a big book FYI) for reference and for recipe ideas. Thanks so much Rachel for giving me the oppurtunity to check out your book!

Weekly Wrap Up

I skipped last week, sorry! It was just so busy and I just was lazy. My grandmother spent almost a week in the hospital last week also, so needless to say.....................I have been preoccupied to say the least.

The boys had so much fun at the Petroglyphs last week, that they wanted to do lots of Native American things this week. We took home some coloring pictures and worked on those.


Jack made a small diorama of a Sioux Indian site. He was quite particular about how things were put together and I think he did a mighty fine job. I did the gluing with a glue gun, but he handled all the other fine details. Not to shabby, eh?

He had a friend come over yesterday to play and was eager to share exactly what everything was and to let him know how each thing was used and how it was made. He still relishes in the fact that the cooking pot is made out of a buffalo stomach Hahahahaha!
We made some totem poles and talked about the history and meaning of them. Also about who made them and that they were not found in our area.

We used an egg carton and in hindsight something else probably would have worked much better, but the boys still enjoyed the craft and Jack liked drawing faces on the pole.

Clay has been working with some Kumon workbooks, which he LOVES. I didn't really want to spend any money on things to cut and trace, after all I can make those myself............but he really wanted his own things to work out of like Jack has. So I splurged and got him the Kumon cutting and the tracing books.
They are worth every penny for him, he's super excited to do his "school work" and his cutting has improved SO much. He really enjoys it and is so proud of himself. Heck, I'm super proud how much he has improved.

We had some super great weather earlier then got hit with more snow and crud. A dance party was JUST what they needed and they have been dancing fools at any chance they get :)

And yes, just in case your wondering.................Clay did wear the same shirt two days in a row. Oops! It's greatly cut back on my laundry to do this hahaha :)

To help Jack out with his writing, I bought him a small notebook that has become his journal. He enjoys writing in it each day. He writes a sentence or two, draws a picture to go with it, dates it, and then signs his name. And I think that about wraps it up. As you see, the whole idea of learning about the body was completely thrown out the window hahaha. But that's okay, they grasped the concept pretty well on the time we spent on it.

We had planned on attending a class on Chipmunks, but it was cancelled due to some bad weather. Hopefully this next week we will go to that to break up the week more :)

I have NO clue what we will cover next week. It will be a surprise as much to me as it will be to you! For more weekly wrap-ups, visit Kris over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Spend Challenge

I will be challenging myself to a No-Spend Month here in March. I'm just putting the finishing touches on just what is okay to spend on and what is not. It was part of my goals for the new year to have a few months were we did not spend any money on anything that was not needed.

Catch is, this month is one of our Birthday months. Jack and my husband. I usually do not buy a big gift for my husband, so that is a no big deal. We will give him some homemade things from the boys and I always cook a special meal. Jack, well I all ready have 2 things for him and plan on getting him one more. He has really wanted a new game, so we will see. We have 2 huge hams in the freezer, so ham it will be at the party!

Anyways

$450 ~ Groceries, Household, Pet supplies
$50 ~ Present and Party Stuff
$50 ~ Unplanned but necessary spending (someone losses a show or something like that, pretty unlikely but need it there)
$50 ~ Homeschooling; supplies, $ for classes, trips, etc etc
$100 ~ Gas

So, I will be putting this money aside and this is all I will spend on anything besides revolving bills. I think I will put something up in my side bar that is easily updated and will help me keep on track. I find when I start tracking my money like this, it gets kind of scary haha. I have no idea how well I'll do since it IS a birthday month and I tend to go overboard right at the last minute *blush*. I always think I handle our money really well too, until I start writing everything down.

Sooooooo, I think that will be about it? Hopefully I didn't forget anything. Anyone else up to the challenge? It always sounds easy to do, but sometimes that American Mantra to Spend Spend Spend gets the best of us!

I'm hoping to also sell some things like some of my books, cloth diapers, and I have a ton of baby boy clothes that I should list on ebay or something similar. So, hopefully I can even make a few bucks ;)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beef Shanks with Root Vegetables


The other day I saw a cooking show that had a great looking recipe for veal shanks with vegetables. I don't eat veal though, I do have some mental block with that one, I think veal is only meat I do have issues with. Anyways, I always get a lot of beef shanks with our beef order and this sounded like a great recipe. I modified it to fit our needs and its very forgiving!


2-3 lbs beef shanks
1lb carrots, peeled and cut
1lb turnips, peeled and cut
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup chopped tomato's
1/2 cup red wine
Salt, Pepper, and a whole slew of seasonings; I used Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Basil, and a few red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Chicken Stock

Take your veggies and layer in crock pot, add to the vegetable 1/2 cup red wine.

Then lightly season your shanks with the above seasonings and then sear in a pan. Place your shanks on top of the bed of veggies. Add some more seasoning on top of the shanks and then add in 1/2 cup of chicken stock.

Cook on low in crock pot for about 8ish hours. When it's done, the shanks will be very fork tender. Very worth it, it got some high ratings from the littles!
We used the leftover broth and meat in the crock pot to make a very hearty beef stew. Yummy! Enjoy :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our Day At The Petroglyphs

Tuesday we spent the afternoon visiting the Jeffers Petroglyphs for few hours of learning about Native American history. The games they played, they way they hunted, and a little on how they lived. We were a little bit late, so we did not get a chance to go out and to check out all the rock carvings. Next time :)
Listening to some Native American stories (for example, an old story on why dogs sniff one anothers butts, which was pretty funny actually). They also talked about the tipi alot.

Clay looking for some buffalo, well, not really. He did really enjoy the binoculars though!
Jack making a mock corn husk doll with Alicia's daughter, Victoria.
Can't see the sign, but it was the highlight of my day (haha, maybe not the highlight but I did like it!). It says "Please Touch". Absolutley fantastic. And my kids did!

Playing a game with a rock and moccasins.
Jack waiting his turn to attempt to throw the atlatl. Which is not as easy as it may look. It was actually a gorgeous day out, about 40 degrees and it felt great to be outside!

We have been reading from the book "If You Lived With The Sioux Indians" to supplement the day. We also picked up a few books at the library to go along with that for this next week. So to go along with that, a few things we learned this week about Native Americans that inhabited the land around here are.....

  • The women were in charge of the Tipi's. This includes setting up, taking down, and upkeep. A few women working together could set one up in a matter of minutes.
  • Tipi's were made from buffalo hides and they were fairly large. Anywhere from 8-20 hides would make up a tipi. That's alot lol.
  • They were mostly hunter-gathers. They set up camp where there was food (buffalo) and gathered wild berries, onions, etc etc.
  • Every part of the buffalo was used. The bones, organs, hide, fat, etc etc. At the Petroglyphs, they had an example of a cooking pot made out of a buffalo stomach. Hot stones were used under the pouch to cook the food.
  • They did not go to school :) Hahahahahahahaha...............the kids liked that one.

Valentines Party

Monday, we drove up to a Valentines Party. This was something the boys were really looking forward too, it was a long drive though. I would have loved to have something closer, but I guess that isn't always possible Haha!


The boys decorated their boxes and exchanged Valentines. Wow, they got TONS of Valentines too! They also had a Pizza Buffet.
The played a game of Musical Hearts, very good game for little ones. The older kids played Musical Chairs. It appeared to get a little rough there at the end, haha!
And they ended the day playing Duck Duck Grey Duck. I think this was the highlight of the day for Jack :)

And while Oliver spent a good amount of time being confined to the Beco..........................

This more accurately displays exactly what he is like. Running. Non-stop. Which is why I love my Beco haha!

A Little Blog Neglect

We had a busy week this week; recieved a book to read and review, a Valentines Party, a field trip to the Petroglyphs, a stomach bug that has slowly passed around the house, 250lbs of beef delivered, and we are now recovering from some cruddy roads..................oh and lets not forget to mention a computer meltdown. I ended up just purchasing a new one and am slowly catching up with all the chaos. So, please bear with me! I'll start working on a few posts here, even though it was really chaotic, it was a fun week (except the vomit duty!).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Great Thrift Store Finds


We ventured out and went shopping downtown today. The sun was shining and the wind was minimum, so that made the balmy 21 degree weather feel much warmer. Shopping around here, isn't very much..............but we did hit up the health food store and the thrift store. For as much stuff as I drop off at the thrift store, I really shouldn't step foot in it, haha. But it's always fun to look.

I found some really neat old Pyrex dishes, made in the USA! A pretty blue one and a christmasy one with snowflakes. Very retro, very cute. I really do not need anymore baking dishes, but I do love them.

I also found this neat book, Gross Anatomy. Can't beat 75 cents. It is missing some bones for the skeletal system, but we will make do. Full of lots of neat information, a game for each system, and lots of gross stuff.
Which will be right up their alley, my boys like all things that make you go "Ewwwww!".
And if you look above, there are a few things on this page that will certainly call for an "Ewww!" moment! All for under $6. Not bad and filled a little "I feel sorry for myself and want to shop" moment.

Weekly Wrap Up, The Slacker Edition!




Monday was busy and I posted most of the things we accomplished that day :) It was fun and laid back.


We also started learning about our body and how it all works today, we decided to start with the brain and it's functions. Jack was pretty interested in it. We put our hands on where certain parts of the brain would be and he thought that was pretty neat.



He also made a model of a play-doh brain. Fun stuff people, he's putting the *grooves* on his brain in this picture. We also have 1 paper Jack and 1 paper Clay hanging on our wall. That was interesting. I traced their bodies onto giant pieces of paper, then they colored themselves in. Wow. T.I.C.K.L.I.S.H. Did I make myself clear?


Oliver had to do some play-doh work himself. He's making eggs here. He only ate a little, it was cinnamon scented, who can blame the kid?

This creation, well I have no idea what it is. You can use your imagination here!


We went skating, which was a blast. Although there are only 2 more weeks left. Next year I think we will try and go every week. Hopefully we will be blister free then!


On Friday we did lots of Valentines day crafty type things. Made some bags to exchange Valentines between one another. The kids LOVED using a potato to make hearts.
Friday night, we went and saw a guy speak about Raptors. It was very interesting and I wish Mic could have been there. He would have really enjoyed it. Now, my other 3 children *sigh*. Lets just say they were not on their best behavior. I knew going into it, that I had a 90% chance that it would not hold their attention and that things may not go as smoothly as I wanted...........................and I was right. Haha.

What to you do? We stuck it out, I scolded them for being turd-bottoms and for being disruptive. After all, I was more upset that they could have hindered other people from getting what they wanted from the program. They apologized and we have moved on.

I was actually shocked when Jack told me he DID learn something. Such that raptors only eat meat, they throw up corn (his words not mind haha). That some birds have pointed wings and some have rounded. That they have strong talons and that the moms are bigger than the dads. So, it wasn't a total loss. He got a nice poster and had to hang that up right away.

Next week will be really busy, lots of running around. So eeks, it may not be very eventful either haha! I think we will stick with learning about our body for another 2 weeks and then move on to something new.

Remember to visit Kris at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers to share what you have done!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ice Skating


Today I took just Jack to home school skate. It was a lot of fun! Why just Jack? Because Mic still attends school and it would have been disastrous to bring Oliver and Clay. I love them to death, but they would not have faired well today haha :)

We also meet up with Alicia, again :) Jack and Jack seem to be getting along pretty good and play well together. Jack said he loved playing tag on the ice. Thanks goodness for the handy dandy walker for the ice, haha. It allowed him to have a little more control of his movements.


It was his first time ice skating and he did really good. I also haven't skated in about 12 years, so I though I did good too *wink wink*. We made it about an hour before his ankles started to hurt. He also got a nice blister on his foot. No pain, no gain, right? I told him we would search for some good skates this summer at garage sales.

Tomorrow we are planning on going to a presentation on Raptors. I just need to find someone to watch Oliver, cross your fingers for me!

Coconut Flour Pancakes and Muffins




The other day, I finally got some coconut flour. I've been saying I wanted to do this for a while, but it just never happened. I ordered some through Amazon and it was out of stock for a while, but it finally came.




It was, by far, the cheapest option I have seen for. I ordered it for $21 something actually. Cheaper than what amazon has listed in the link because I ordered it on a subscribe and save. So I get it on a recurring basis every so many months. Great deal!

I also do this with my coconut oil.




Anyways. I followed the recipes from Ann Marie's blog, Cheeseslave. With the pancakes, I used coconut oil but it made them a tad bit too coconutty. Next time I'll use butter. Otherwise, they were very good and got 2 thumbs up from everyone! Oliver is enjoying some in the top picture.


I even got adventurous and got out the cast iron mold for a Stegosaurus and made them into Dino-Pancakes. Ups the funness on breakfast haha :)

For the muffins I used some recipes from Cooking With Coconut Flour. I did not have any blueberries, which was my original plan, so we did a lemon-poppy seed version. I wasn't crazy about them, but the kids loved them. I think I'll try a banana version next time!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Playing Catchup

My big boys are playing nicely in their room and Oliver and Clay are watching Word World so I wanted to mention a few things here really quick!

I was included on Kris's Homeschool Showcase this week. I'm honored! Check it out, there are a lot of really great ideas there. Great inspiration for all of us.



Also on The Make It From Scratch Carnival for the tutorial on making cloth menstrual pads.



Fun stuff :)


****
One more, on Jimmies page on Making A Shoebox Diorama Thanks, Jimmie :)

Another Award


I'm blushing here, haha! Alicia over at Magic and Mayhem was kind enough to pass this along to me.

Thanks so much! Here are the rules…

*List 6 things that make you happy.
*Pass the award on to 5 other bloggers
*Link back to the person who gave you the award.
*Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.


So my six things that make me happy'

  • My family, I don't know where I would be without them. My husband is there for me when I need them any my children. Wow, my children are the world to me! They have their moments where they drive me crazy, but never do I like to be without them.
  • Snuggling with my kids in bed. Wither it's Oliver waking up to nurse in the middle of the night...........or a little body who makes their way into my bed in the early morning hours. I even enjoy their little snores.
  • The thought of spending more time outdoors. Flowers, animals, gardening, and getting baby chickens. We are ready for spring!
  • Books. They really do make me happy, reading them, looking at them, collecting them. I love books, haha :)
  • Cooking for my family. Oddly enough, I really do enjoy cooking every day. I'd pass on the clean up if I had too though!
  • Sleeping, hate to cop out like that. But even the thought of sleeping really makes me giddy!
I'm going to pass this along to.......................................................................