Friday, February 29, 2008
I am really enjoying the Nourishing Traditions book, although I'm not sure that it is from a Biblical perspective as other religions are thrown in there from time to time but not enough to make anyone convert or anything like that. Whether she meant to or not, for the most part it does encourage a Biblical-type diet and goes along the same lines as Michael Jacobson, Jordin Rubin, and others in their category. Everything she says is explained very well and lots of evidence is provided to back up what she says. It is very educating, and I appreciate that.
I think the first book I ever read on this subject was Toxic Relief by Don Colbert. After that, I read Maximum Energy by Ted Broer and Train Up Your Children in the Ways They Should Eat by Sharon Broer. Then of course I had to get the two Jordin Rubin books - The Makers Diet and The Great Physician's Rx.
I could recommend all of these books, but once again, my favorite was the Michael Jacobson book - followed by Sharon Broer and probably Nourishing Traditions (not finished yet).
I became interested in healthier eating about six or seven years ago at the time we started to homeschool. It's funny how when we began homeschooling, I was introduced to a world that I never knew existed. I had never heard of milling your own wheat berries to make delicious, fresh, homemade bread. I was fortunate to belong to a group at that time that introduced me to these concepts, and from that point on, I've been able to learn and grow on my own as I've been able to find time to research.
The first thing we did was switch to filtered water (although I am jealous of you people with that great-tasting, much-needed-minerals-infused well water!).
We also purchased surgical-grade stainless steel cookware. Unfortunately, we weren't as frugal at that time and probably spent way too much money on that. I now know that there are less expensive options that are probably just as good. But nonetheless, we have really enjoyed this cookware, and it has lived up to our expectations. I have seen it on EBay, and I was thinking the other day that I need to add to our collection. I would love to get some high-grade stainless steel bakeware, too. Since a lot of my bakeware has seen better days - muffin pains, cookie sheets - I'm going to have to look into doing that soon.
Next we started milling our own wheat berries and baking our own bread. I first used a milling attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer and a couple of years later was able to upgrade to a stand-alone milling machine - the K-Tec Kitchen Mill, and I love it. A year or two later, I learned the importance of soaking and sprouting wheat before cooking with it, so we added a dehydrator to our collection - the L'Equip Dehydrator. (I've recently had some problems with this dehydrator and am going to have to send it in for repairs, but it comes with a 12-year warranty! You can't beat that.)
During this time, we've tried to buy as much organic produce, meats and other groceries as possible. I guess that's why our grocery budget is what it is and why it's hard to get it much lower. When we first started all this, we realized that it was going to cost more than what we had been accustomed to spending, but my husband made a good point. We can spend more now or spend more in medication and doctor visits later in life! Having said that, I know that doing all of these things is not a guarantee of great health, especially since we are not perfect in this area. I can honestly say, though, that when we do follow the diet that we've been shown, there is a noticeable difference in how much better we feel. Not to mention, organic almost always tastes better! For example, I used to buy a bag of regular apples, and they would sit in the refrigerator until they were about to rot. Now I buy a bag a week of the organic apples as they have all been eaten by the end of the week! Once you taste food the way it's supposed to taste, you won't want anything else.
Another thing we try to avoid is pork products, shellfish, and other "unclean" seafood. I know we're no longer under the "law" so to speak, but I feel like God had a very good reason for not allowing His children to eat these foods. In fact, if you do a search (and it doesn't take long), there is plenty of evidence against eating these things.
We take a few supplements also like Garden of Life Icelandic Cod Liver Oil and a liquid food-based multi-vitamin. We use Peter Gillham's Natural Vitality Liquid Organic Life Vitamins. I can definitely tell a difference when I forget to "drink" my vitamins. I like the liquid form as it allows for better absorption, and sadly I have a hard time swallowing pills! It also makes it easy for my children to take as I just add it to whatever they are drinking for breakfast. I order these from Vitacost at half off of retail. I've yet to find a better deal.
I think it's important to make these changes slowly, especially where children are involved. For example, when I first started making our own bread, I had to use half white flour and half freshly-milled wheat flour. I slowly took away the white flour, and now we only use the milled wheat flour. Had I changed immediately to whole wheat, I think my family would have rebelled because the taste is quite different. This way, they were able to adjust slowly.
Now we've reached a point where we are going to make further changes - or at least try. On occasion, we have purchased raw milk. It's not only better for you, it tastes unbelievably so much better. The place where I buy it is not very convenient, but I think it's important that we make this switch. I visited there today to stock up on wheat, millet, sucanat, and several other things as it has been a while since I've been there, and she had one gallon of fresh milk available. I had hoped to buy at least 3 gallons and freeze the other two. I'll have to visit earlier in the week next time before she sells out. She also had fresh butter and eggs, which I was more than happy to take advantage of.
And last but not least - our BIGGEST problem around here is sweets. Sadly, all the good we do is probably sabotaged by our sugar consumption! We've had a family discussion, and we are going to try to make an effort to do something about this. We cut out soft drinks in the house a long time ago (except on special occasions), but we have allowed them when we're out or visiting in someone's home. I know it will be next to impossible to totally do away with these, but they have got to be cut back on. There is absolutely nothing good to say about soft drinks. If they can take the acid off of a car battery...... And don't get me started on diet drinks! I rarely buy desserts around here either (except when M&Ms are on sale at CVS!), but it seems like they are always available. The Nourishing Traditions book has some great recipes in it for desserts that are sweetened with honey, sucanat, and maple syrup. I've often used honey and sucanat as sweeteners, and I'm looking foward to trying these new recipes.
It has taken several years to make all these changes, but I think we would have gone broke or stressed ourselves way too much if we had tried to do all this at once. One of the most important things I've learned about all this is to not get stressed about it. If I'm at someone's home, and they serve me a pork chop, I'm not going to be rude and refuse it. I don't want to worry about every little thing that goes in my and my family's mouths. Stress can be just as bad on your body as eating a pack of Oreos for supper every night. I love my family dearly, and I feel like it is my job to give them God's best when it comes to the way we eat - but not at the expense of our joy. At this point, as long as we're eating well a majority of the time, that makes me happy, and that seems to be where we're at right now.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I found a beautiful book from Southern Lady called Gracious Tables.
Have you ever been to one of those ladies luncheons/dinners where everyone decorates their own table - complete with dishes, centerpiece, tablecloth, etc.? We had one at our church a few years ago, and everything was just beautiful. If you enjoy that type of thing, you'll LOVE this book. It has page after page of table decorations and also has what looks like some tasty recipes to go along. I keep our dining room table decorated since we don't use it very much, and I enjoyed getting some new ideas.
A few months ago, my sister interviewed Jan Karon, and I had been thinking I would like to read one of her books. I usually don't read fiction, as I always feel like I need further instruction in my role as mother, wife, Christian, etc., and that I need to read things that are going to teach me something. It's been quite a while since I've done any "entertainment-type" reading. I was first reminded about Jan Karon when I was looking through the children's books and found a book that she had written that my younger two daughters would probably enjoy. I hadn't thought about looking at the library for her novels, but when I did a search on the computer, there they were! They did have the first book in the series, so of course that's the one I chose.
Lastly, I wanted to mention a book I had been waiting for at the library through inter-library loan, Nourishing Traditions. I've been wanting to read this book for a while, and I love to read anything about healthy living/cooking. So far, this book goes along with all the other books I've enjoyed reading along this topic. I've learned some new things also and have once again been inspired to make further changes. I'll have to do a separate post sometime about this book as there's just too much to say and not enough time right now.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Why do I like to participate in "Menu Plan Monday?" First of all, my daughter told me I needed to post our menu for this week. She likes to look on here and see what we're having for supper. That works for me, too, because she loves to cook, and if she sees something on here she can take care of, she usually does! Even my eight-year-old daughter loves to cook. My dad's birthday was last Friday, and we made his German chocolate birthday cake for him. She did most of the work as I offered instruction. It's never too early to get your kids in the kitchen with you! - even my 2-year-old enjoys adding the ingredients to the bowl after I have put them in the measuring cups for her.
I also like to post my menu as it holds me accountable to do whatever I need to accomplish to have supper ready on time. I hope this also encourages other moms to cook more at home and save money and health by avoiding a fast food run. The key to all this is planning ahead of time what you're going to cook for the week and being sure you have all of your ingredients on hand. Right now, I'm using my menu plan page in my Yearbook for the Homekeeper 2008, but in times past I have posted the menu on the refrigerator, and this works great to help me remember what I'm cooking and if I need to do any prep work ahead of time.
I generally create my menu for the week on Friday evenings while I am going through the coupons and circulars and making my grocery list for Saturday morning. I try to cook based on what is on sale and what coupons I have. This week worked out rather well, and most of my recipes required a lot of the same ingredients. This was a money saver that I had not really anticipated when I was creating my menu. I've been wanting things a little spicy here lately, and not that I really did it on purpose, but I ended up with mostly spicy meals this week. Also, since basketball is officially over, we have more time in the evenings for meals that take a little longer to prepare.
So, here's my supper menu for this week:
Saturday - Grilled hamburgers and hotdogs (all-natural, all-beef, and organic of course) on whole wheat buns, pasta salad, and a wonderful salad that my friend, Heather, brought to the meal
Sunday - out to eat at a Mexican restaurant
Monday - White chicken chili (from The Fix It and Forget It Cookbook p. 47)
Tuesday - Fish, baked red potatoes and onions, whole wheat pasta, hushpuppies
Wednesday - Cowboy chicken casserole My mouth is watering thinking about this one! I generally half the recipe for our family of five, and that is plenty, but I guess I could make the whole recipe sometime and freeze a casserole for another day.
Thursday - Super Nachos!
Friday - ?For more menu plan ideas, visit The Organizing Junkie.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Here's a bit of what he has to say:
Unfortunately, many of these false teachers are abundantly available on the television programs of T.B.N. and other affiliates across the world. One of the most popular television teachers who must be categorized as a heretic and a false teacher is Joyce Meyer. She is extremely popular with women and many men alike. She teaches on many practical issues which make her popular, but hidden beneath her practical teaching are damnable doctrines that need to be exposed. Joyce Meyer (like most false teachers) teaches extrabiblical doctrines as if they are divinely inspired. Meyer even goes as far on one occasion as stating that the Bible is insufficient to reveal the truth and you must get specific knowledge through divine revelation.
To read the entire article, as well as listen to an audio file that provides further information, click here.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Another book I read during this time also encouraged me. I can’t remember the title exactly, but I think it was something like, "Should I Homeschool?" Pretty simple and straight to the point. I think I still have it down in my basement in a storage container, but I really don’t want to go dig through all that right now. This book had several good points, but one point in particular stood out to me. It was/is as follows:
"Children who are homeschooled early on and later enter a public or private school setting are often leaders among their peers." That statement was not the deciding factor in our choice to begin homeschooling, but I have to admit I liked the sound of that.
In recent days, I’ve actually seen that statement come to fruition as far as our oldest is concerned, and it is so hard to believe. (I had never really thought that would be the case with her as when she was younger it was all we could do to get her to look at anyone while they were speaking to her much less actually speak any words! After years of training her to at least look people in the eyes and smile if she can’t think of anything to say, she finally appears comfortable around adults.) During the time that she couldn’t play basketball because of her injured wrist, I made the comment to my husband (who was helping coach the team) that they appeared to have a third coach now. You could hear her from the bench cheering for her teammates and giving added instruction on what play or specific press they were supposed to be doing. When teammates returned to the bench, she would give them the congratulatory slap of the hand. When she got to play at the end of the season, she continued to behave in similar fashion on and off the court. What a blessing it has been to see these qualities being formed in her young life and to see her being an encourager to others. I’ve noticed it in other areas also, but I think we’ve been so consumed with basketball the past few weeks that this is where I’ve noticed it the most.
Did homeschooling play a part in this? In her case, I certainly think it did. I know there are leaders in a school environment who have never homeschooled, but I don’t think she would be who she is today had we chosen public school for her. She hasn’t had to face the ridicule, bullying, teasing, etc. that often occurs in that environment – especially among girls (we have friends in public school, so we know how horrible it can be.) Some children do great at ignoring those situations and handling them in a positive way, but with her personality, I’m not sure that would have been the case with her. We’ve often heard the comment that they’re going to have to face these situations sooner or later, so you might as well go ahead and let them experience it, i.e. "see what the real world is like." I completely disagree with that ridiculous statement. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to be home with her and her sisters all these years and train them in regards to their behavior (this is ongoing as we speak). By no means are they invincible, and they can still get their feelings hurt by friends at times, but I praise God that they haven’t had to deal with it as much as they would have if we weren’t homeschooling. They’re not perfect either and may have at times hurt their friends’ feelings. I may not have caught it every time, but it’s great to be in a position where I can catch it and use those situations for teachable moments and training in proper behavior.
I’m so thankful for this privilege of being able to teach and train my children at home. Lord willing, we never intend for them to do anything else. We’re in this for the long haul as long as God allows, and I pray that He does. And it’s not only Madison in whom I’ve seen these qualities. Cari is showing some leadership qualities as well. And then there’s Amelia. Sometimes she forgets that she is only two years old and tries to run the whole household….but that has nothing to do with homeschooling!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
2 - L'Oreal Excellence Hair Color (2/$9.98) Used B1G1 coupon
2 - 14 oz. Dark Chocolate M&Ms (2/$4.00) *Received $2 EB
2 - Colgate Max Fresh Toothpaste (2/$5.00) Used two $.75 coupons
1 - Softsoap ($1.50)
2 - 9.5 oz Dove Chocolates (2/$6.00) Used $.75 and $1.50 coupon, *Received $2 EB
1 - Soft Soap Body Wash ($3.99) Used $1 coupon,*Received $5 EB (because of purchasing $10 of Colgate products)
1 - Venus Embrace Razor ($9.99) Received $8 EB
1 - Fructis Conditioner ($3.99) Used $1 coupon, *Received $3.99 EB
1 - Maybelline Eyeshadow ($5.49) Used $2 coupon, Received $5.49 EB
2 - Orbit Chewing Gum ($1.19 each) Used B1G1 Coupon
Used $10/$50 coupon
Used $14 EB
Total Out of Pocket = $15.77
Received $26.48 in Extra Bucks!!!!!!
I then went back to CVS Monday evening to purchase a few extra things for our homeschool group's Valentine party yesterday and some treats for my girls tomorrow. I paid for all that with Extra Bucks and still have about half of them left. There are not very many deals this week at CVS, so I'll probably not go back this week.
Like I said, we had our Valentine party with our group yesterday and had a great time. It was quite a busy day starting out with a trip to our local library where the librarian talked to the children about the library, all the resources, how to locate a book, the Dewey Decimal System, etc. Then we had our party, and after that it was time for our tennis lessons. Then I took Madison to the gym to practice before her game last night. We then came home, and by the time I cooked supper and we ate, it was time to go the game. Her team is playing in a tournament with a local county in which there are several teams from different cities/towns. Her team won last night, so they have to play again tonight.
For the party, Cari made sugar cookies, and Madison made chocolate cookies that they each decorated. We put them in cellophane bags and added a note card at the top.
I put together a Valentine-theme bingo game (HEART instead of BINGO) that I found on the internet. I told the other moms that I was very proud of myself. I only printed three cards before I realized I was printing the same card! It would have been so like me to get to the party and give every child the same card. I don't think I would have had enough prizes for all the BINGOs that would have created!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Of course there are always things that have to be done that we don't necessarily enjoying doing, even as adults, but if we're trained to persevere even when we don't "feel" like it, I can definitely see how that can help with having the right attitude.
After reading that, I thought, "How often have I wanted my children to accomplish something but after receiving their input didn't encourage them to continue?"
I'm talking about things on a bigger spectrum. If I tell them to go clean their room and they say they really don't want to, I don't say, "Okay, whatever you think." No Way! They have to clean their room whether they feel like it or not. Also, whenever we "sign them up" for something, we have for the most part made them continue to the end whether they were truly enjoying it or not. There may have been a time or two when this wasn't the case. The main reason we have for allowing an activity to stop is in the case of bad influences, which hasn't been often.
But, there have been times when I've had ideas for things I would like my children to do, but knowing that the cost and difficulty involved might be more than what they've been used to, I've backed down. Sometimes I think that we as parents realize it's going to be a lot of work on us also - if not more, and that makes it a little easier to not push our children. Sometimes maybe I'm a little relieved when they don't want to do something as it takes the pressure off of me!
I appreciate the lesson I've learned (hopefully - time will tell if it was actually learned) by reading what they had to say about this. I'm going to start on a smaller scale by getting back to those cross-stitch projects we started before Christmas! A little bit of frustration was all it took to stick those in the drawer. I think it's time to pull them back out.
Friday, February 8, 2008
After watching this film, your first thought may be to run out and buy some violins and get your children to the nearest instructor. After giving it a little more thought, you may realize this isn't necessarily the way to go. I was very encouraged by this family's faith and hope in the Lord. Although it would be wonderful if my children could play any instrument as well as these girls, what I really desire is that my children have a heart that seeks after Christ and desires to do His will in their lives above any other - just as the Miller sisters demonstrated in their testimonies.
I was left with a couple of questions that I would love to know the answer to. #1 - I wonder if Krista did get married and if she went into the mission field to Africa? and #2 - I would love to know the age of the mother. She was such a beautiful lady. With seven children ranging in age from 2 to 21 (whenever this was filmed), she looked amazing for whatever age she is.
Now I'm looking forward to watching the other DVD - A Journey Home.
I also received the Steve Sensenig CD, and I know I've used the word "beautiful" a lot, but that's the best way to describe this CD. I had it playing this morning, and it was so peaceful and encouraging. There's only one problem - this is the sort of music you really need to sit down and relax and have a cup of hot tea while you're listening to it, so I had to convince myself to keep moving!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
This CD by pianist, Steve Sensenig, has lots of my favorite hymns on it. I was wanting something inspiring to listen to while we're doing our morning chores, breakfast, and getting ready for school to start. (His web site says you can listen online to some of his music, but for some reason - even with DSL - I was unable to get any of them to work.)
PS - On a totally different note - Madison made the basketball All Star team as did one of her best friend's, Erin, who is also homeschooled. They're very excited and happy that the season is not over yet!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
to me! (Not to toot my own horn or anything, but since I don't have anything else to blog about today.....) I am so thankful that the Lord has blessed me with another birthday!
My friend, Angie, sent me a very funny card yesterday (Thanks, Angie! I loved it!!). It said "We'll be friends until we're old and senile.....(open the card) And then we'll be NEW friends!
Monday, February 4, 2008
Here's our dinner menu for this week (beginning with Sunday):
Sunday - Mexican Casserole.
1 lb. ground beef (I use hormone-free, all natural)
Can of Organic Pinto Beans, drained
Healthy Choice Cream of Chicken Soup
Enchilada Sauce (haven't found a good substitute for that - it does have MSG in it.)
1 lb. Velveeta Cheese (sharp cheddar might would work, but I've never tried it.)
Line a pan with flour tortillas. Fry ground beef with onions and then layer on top of the tortillas.
Next add pinto beans. Then mix the cream of chicken soup with the enchilada sauce and layer on top of the beans. Slice the Velveeta and place on top of the sauce mixture. Add another layer of tortillas, and then pour can of Rotel on top. Cook on 375 degree for 45 mins. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before eating.
Monday - Baked potato bar with organic chili, shredded cheese, and sour cream, Salad.
Tuesday - Beans in crockpot, baked sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, organic macaroni, and Mexican cornbread.
Wednesday - Dirty rice, cinnamon carrots
Thursday - Spaghetti with ground turkey, fried zucchini, homemade sprouted whole-wheat rolls
Friday - ?
See The Organizing Junkie for more menu ideas.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I usually go to CVS once a week also – usually on a day when I’m going to town for other reasons such as ball practice or library trip.
In an earlier post, I noted that we have cut our grocery budget down to $100/week. It’s worked out nicely for the past two weeks, but I’m hoping to cut it even further. I’m still learning, and of course we are a family of five – which includes four adult-size eaters and a two-year-old with a big appetite. We try to eat at home for all three meals every day with few exceptions. We usually eat out once a weekend as a family, and the girls and I eat out for lunch once a week.
I didn’t get a picture of my CVS deals this week, but I’ll list them here:
2 - 14 oz. Bags of M&M’s ($3.49 each, used $1.00 off coupon) Received $3 in Extra Bucks
2 – Garnier Nutrioniste Facial Cleanser ($5.99 each, used $3.00 off coupon) Received $7 in Extra Buckets
1 – Aqua Fresh Toothpaste ($1.99, used $2.00 coupon) FREE
1 – Arm & Hammer Toothpaste (on sale for $1.99, used $.75 coupon) Received $1 in Extra Bucks
1 – Purex Laundry Detergent (on sale for $2.99, used $1.00 coupon)
1 – Fem. Product ($4.89, used $1.00 coupon)
2 – Orbit Chewing Gum ($1.19 each , used B1G1 free coupon)
Used $5 off of $30 coupon and then used $7 in EB.
Total out of pocket after coupons and EB = $12.24
Received $11 back in ExtraBucks for my next trip!!
Friday, February 1, 2008
Another reason we were home all week was because Madison didn't have ball practice or a ballgame until Thursday evening, which was unusual. She did get to play in the last two games of the season. In fact, amazingly she was the high scorer in her first game back, and her team won. The girl was ready to play! They also won their last game. She was on a great team, and they only lost two games the entire season. There's still the possibility of being on the All Star team, but we'll have to wait and see about that.
She has decided not to play softball this year unless we can find a church league or something of that nature. Our rec. dept. uses the pitching machine up to age 10. After that, it's live arm, and since the pitchers generally haven't had much training, you risk getting hit by the ball quite often and the games can be really slow. With that in mind, she really wasn't interested in playing.
This Tuesday, Madison and Cari are going to start having tennis lessons with our homeschool group. A local tennis coach has agreed to work with our group once a week, and I think it will be great for the kids (which there are a total of 16 participating in this) as far as exercise and learning a new sport. We went today and purchased tennis rackets, so we're all prepared for that now. I'm just hopeful that the weather will not be too cold!
I continued the kitchen clean out this week, and my pantry and refrigerator are now looking very nice and organized. I have just a few more cabinets to work on next week, and that project will be complete.
Lastly, once again this week, I have to testify to God's awesomeness and power! About three years ago, I did one of Beth Moore's Bible studies, "Believing God." It was a wonderful study and came at a perfect time in my life when a few months later I was placed in a position where I needed to believe God more than I ever had (I need to blog about that sometime). In this study, she made a statement that I have not forgotten. It was - "When you don't know what to believe God for in a certain situation, just believe Him to be Big!" He was certainly BIG in my life at that time, and I've been praying for Him to be Big again. Since January 1st, Brad has had some problems with his job at UPS, and we have not really known how to pray about it or what to pray for. On Monday, I remembered that saying, and I began praying for God to just be "big" in this situation and really show Himself to us through this circumstance. I realized that He was much bigger than the problem (even a large company like UPS is nothing compared to Him!), and like I said in my post on Tuesday, I was determined not to worry about it! I have to say that He showed Himself to be BIG in an amazing way. He strategically placed Brad where he needed to be today to see something that was not meant to be seen, and God was able to work it out for our good. I wish I could explain what happened, but someone could actually get in really big trouble for what took place. Brad could really take advantage of this situation, but he doesn't want to take any of the credit for what God performed. He knows that this was all about God taking care of the situation, and he doesn't want to get in the way or appear prideful like he had something to do with it. This situation still may not be completely taken care of, but once again, God has met our needs in a way that only He could have. (I'll be glad to tell anyone in person, but I don't think it should be blasted over the internet.)
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!