Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Budging the Organic Budget Part 2

I have to be honest with you. If you want to eat better and you have a limited grocery budget, not only do you have to simplify, but you have to work harder. Yep. Make your own. Hate the idea? Well, if you want to eat better, then get over it. Life takes work and getting where you want takes work. Convenience costs one way or another. Hard work pays one way or another.

It's daunting at first, I know. But once you get into the swing of things, it isn't so bad. It's ok to pick and choose, too. It may behoove you to make your own yogurt, but making your own bread is just too much. Just figure out what works for you and go with it, so long as you are actually saving money.

Another thing to consider when making your own is the total cost of the end result. Remember, when comparing how much it costs to make your homemade bread that you don't compare it to Wonder Bread, but rather the finer, natural loaves. Sure, it may cost you more than a loaf of cheap Aldi's white bread to make your own bread, but you're paying for health benefits here!! White sliced sandwich bread is pretty much a non-food.

Here is my grocery list for this week (not counting my raw milk and eggs that I get at the farm):

Total spent: $81.00

3 boxes mussels (they were on sale and my family LOVES them)
1 bag collard greens
nearly 5 lbs bananas
3 lbs pears
1 Avocado
1/2 gallon milk (for yogurt making)
1/2 gallon local milk (to try)
Buttermilk
butter
vermont sharp cheddar cheese
feta cheese
organic yogurt (I have to revamp the culture in my yogurt)

skippy natural peanut butter (yes, I know there are better options out there, but you have to consider what your family will actually consume)

natural ground chicken (oh, for an organic source of chicken....I bought ground because I'm in the mood for chicken patties. This is healthier than buying the premade patties in the frozen dept.)

2 loaves of Bimbo bread (ugh, but again, as I said about the peanut butter)
Natural, recycled toilet paper 12 pk
5 lbs grapefruit
Egg noodles (ummm....yeah...)
Organic spaghetti (angel hair, c'mon, goes great with the mussels)

cake donuts (ok, my bad. My really bad. But they were marked down and the kids have been begging me for donuts for a month now. I'm considering ways to make a sprouted or soaked grain donut with rapadura or maple syrup or something healthier....maybe adding applesauce)

Hard cider 6 pk (hubby's special treat, especially since I took away his Lipton Iced Tea in the 12 oz bottles in favor of my homemade iced tea).

If you're wondering how in the world I'm getting meals out of this, I have meat in the freezer and staples in the pantry. This is really good considering I've been spending over $200 a week on groceries before starting this series.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Halfway Through!

If anything, I am more than halfway through since I tend to birth early. (Every time I say that, I have this superstitious feeling that this one will be late!) In fact, I get so busy with everything else that I have to remember to stop and rub the belly! Thankfully, baby boy is pretty active and likes to kick little reminders into my lower abdomen as if to say, "hey, mom, I know I have siblings out there taking up most of your attention, but don't forget about me in here!"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just Out of Curiosity....

Is there a burner on your stove that rarely gets used? Why?

For me, it is the front right hand burner. The front left gets used the most because it is the only big burner on my little stove. The back two get used for safety reasons with curious little fingers. Thus, the front right hand burner is often on the "back burner."

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Life Should Have a Soundtrack

Life should have a soundtrack, I think. I can't tell you how many times I've walked somewhere, or driven somewhere and thought about the music that should be playing in the background. When I was in Scotland, I remember hearing distant bagpipes as I viewed the beautiful, natural surroundings. When I head up to the Adirondacks, I often hear the theme song to the movie "Last of the Mohicans" in my head.

Lately, we've been listening to instrumental hymns and celtic tunes.

What is your soundtrack today?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Herbal Teas for Picky Eaters?

I've mentioned before that my daughter is a VERY picky eater. She refuses fruits and vegetables 99% of the time to the point of rather going hungry than being subjected to eat them. It boggles my mind because when she was an older infant, she ate it all! I have a chart made for her hanging in the kitchen where she gets a sticker every time she eats something listed on it. It's a slow process. I also sneak fruits and veg in where I can, though she can usually tell. On top of it, I limit her intake of junk foods since she isn't getting the good foods.

I'm trying to get her to ingest more vitamin-rich plant-based foods. She also needs to drink more water. She prefers milk and will refuse water. She'll drink juice, but commercial juices aren't exactly healthful. (I'm looking into a juicer.)

My next idea is herbal teas. Of course, I'll make sure she only drinks teas that are suitable for children. She has recently become fond of tea parties, and would probably enjoy cold tea as an alternative to plain old water.

Do any of you out there give your children herbal teas? I'd like to hear from you. Tell me anything about it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Loving Cornmeal

www.ansonmills.com

Lately, I've really been enjoying adding cornmeal to my sneak-attack quickbreads*. I love the texture and the reduction in the use of gluten since I seem to be gluten sensitive this pregnancy. It also adds a sweetness to the bread.

*My sneak-attack quickbreads are made from leftover fruits and veggies I have laying around my house. For example, my latest one was made from banana slices not eaten at breakfast and pears that were past their prime. I made a carrot orange quickbread before that from leftover carrots and greenbeans and an orange that was getting too juicy on the inside. I've also made spinach bread, zucchini bread, apple, mixed vegetables.....any combination thereof. I use as little sweetening as possible. Bananas are usually add to the mix to add sweetness. Raisins help. I like to use maple syrup and/or molasses (depending on the bread), but if it needs it, I'll add a little Florida Crystals sugar. I follow no recipe. The result is a moist, cake-like quickbread that my children LOVE served with plenty of butter and sometimes a dab of maple syrup.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Budging the Organic Budget Part 1


I am desiring more and more for my family to eat as healthfully as possible, especially since 2 out of 3 of my children are very picky eaters. Unfortunately, our grocery bill is through the roof and I STILL pass up important organic foods because of the expense.

So, I am starting this series, Budging the Organic Budget, as a sort of brain storm of ways to keep the grocery budget down and healthful foods up.

Part 1

Eat more simply.

Variety is the spice of life, but now that I am a busy mom of 3 going on 4, variety can be an added burden. I used to love making all those ethnic, different and gourmet dishes. Planning all those different meals is time consuming and expensive, not to mention all the leftovers that go bad in the back of the fridge because heaven forbid you eat chicken twice a week.

With 2 picky children, making dinners such as casseroles, or gourmet flavorings means a lot of waste. They don't eat it. So, I am taking inventory of simple, healthful meals my children will actually eat and sticking to the healthiest versions of those ingredients that I can afford.

I grew up with the idea that you HAD to have variety in your meals. Then, I found out that back in the old days, meals were quite simple and healthful. Lots of soups, stews, bread and cheese, eggs, oatmeal, apples, etc etc etc. Quick, simple, healthful. Our foremothers had enough to do without spending HOURS and expense on meals. It's ok to eat simply! It really is! Not only that, but you'll savor and enjoy the flavors more! Want variety with less expense? Buy in season!

Here's my first week of buying more organic:

I spent a grand total of $124.00

Deli
.29 lbs olives
Hummus
Marble Jack cheese

Grocery
Hunt's Natural Ketchup
All Natural Heidl Raisin Sunflower Bread
Dried Zante Currants
Kate's Sea Salted Butter quarters
Store brand baking soda
Sorrento Mozz. Cheese
Bimbo Whole Grain White bread
Attitude Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Diapers
Half Gallon Whole Milk (from a local source)
Organic pickles

Meat
Naturally Raised Stew Beef
Angus Loin Tips
Natural Breast Cutlets
Nitrate-Free Bacon

Organic Department
Evolve Kefir
Organic Frozen Green Beans
Organic Frozen Mixed Veg.
Organic Frozen Blackberries
Organic Frozen Blueberries
Organic Brown Basmati Rice
Dried Pineapple slices

Produce
Mini Watermelon
Bananas
Organic Apples 3 lbs
Organic Potatoes 5lbs
Slice Mushrooms
Organic Spring Mix
Organic Celery hearts
Organic broccoli crowns

I get my eggs and raw milk from a local farm.

Review:

I should get organic ketchup, especially since my family treats it more like a food than a condiment

Bimbo Bread....yeah I know, but hubby is a Wonder Bread sort of guy. At least Bimbo doesn't have high fructose corn syrup in it!

I don't buy organic milk because it is ultra-pasteurized. The milk I get is from local dairies that do not use growth hormones. This pasteurized store-bought milk is used to make my yogurt.

The watermelon was probably not a wise buy. It is most likely imported and definitely NOT organic. But it was on sale and looked so good!

Where To Save $$:

I'm going to start cloth diapering and cloth wiping to save $$. The Attitude diapers are only $9.99 a pack, but there's fewer diapers in a pack than Earth's Best or Seventh Generation. I chose Attitude because it says they're biodegradable. The other two brands don't say that. I'll use Attitude for traveling and nighttime.

The raisin bread....yeah...that was nearly $4.50 a loaf! I can make that at home AND soak my grains beforehand, making a healthier loaf for less.

The hummus I definitely have to start making on my own. My youngest LOVES hummus, but store bought hummus is so expensive and has questionable vegetable oils in it.

Nesting


Thank God for nesting instincts! I'm getting so much done!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dishwashing Daydreams

I prefer washing dishes when I have something on my mind because it makes the chore go by quickly and I don't realize how gross it is! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tuna

You know, it's bad enough they jacked the price of cans of tuna and lowered the contents from 6 oz to 5 oz, but then they went cheap on the cans! So now when you press down on the lid to drain the water, the lid bends and tuna goes squirting everywhere!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Giving Up Multi-Vitamins

During my second pregnancy, I gave up on prenatal vitamins. Forget those giant horsepills that are impossible to swallow, especially during the first trimester! Instead, I found Nature's Plus Children's Chewables, a whole foods multi-vitamin. I compared labels, found that I should take two of the chewables and supplement with folic acid. This is what I've been doing, but now I am considering giving them up, too.

The Healthy Home Economist posted THIS ARTICLE that discusses secondarily that synthetic vitamins are not good for you and not assimilated properly. I became very concerned about the Vitamin A, as too much synthetic vitamin A can harm an unborn baby. I am taking fermented cod liver oil and x-factor butter oil this pregnancy, so vitamin A really isn't needed in pill form. Not to mention that carrots are a staple in this family.

So, as an alternative, I'm looking into making my own herbal smoothies based on THIS RECIPE.

I think, overall, I may find it cheaper that buying those sucrose-laden chewables. Now, the only problem is getting it in a form that my children will ingest. Maybe I'd better buy a juicer, too.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Interesting Furnishing Finds

The Seventh Avenue catalog arrived in the mail today. Why I get this catalog, I do not know because I never order from them. But, I decided to thumb through it today and I found these:

What is it?! It's a "Greek Temple Fountain Console." I call it a waterfall fireplace. It's neat. It's a unique alternative to a fireplace, I think. I wouldn't buy it. The LED lights look cheesy and it certainly doesn't fit my decor.

Now, for some reason, this is like! I could see myself lounging in it wearing satin pjs and reading my latest Victoria magazine issue. Although, I think for comfort, I'd prefer one with arms. Of course, again, I'm not going to buy one.

Friday, January 20, 2012

In Fashion or Out?

Apparently, Princess Kate Middleton has boosted the sales of sheer hosiery with her proper royal attire. Hosiery sales were lagging? From what I've read, pantyhose are technically out of fashion. That never occurred to me before, but it certainly explains why I'm finding it harder and harder to find pantyhose in my size and color.

Yes, I am out of fashion. I wear pantyhose. And *gasp* I even wear tights at times, too! I always thought it proper to wear pantyhose rather than going bare-legged. Oh, in the warmer months I will go bare-legged under my skirts and dresses around the house and to the store, but not to church (unless it's pathetically hot outside). A proper, well-dressed lady wears appropriate hosiery. Thank you, Princess Kate for eschewing fashion for appropriateness.

Slips are supposed to be out of fashion, too. That is, unless you wear them as a dress or skirt with some other funky duds. I heard one fashion guru yell, "What are you, a granny?" to a middle aged woman who wore one under her skirt. "What are you afraid of showing through your skirt, leg," he asked her in his shocked tone.
Of course, I was brought up with the belief that a proper lady wears a slip under her dresses and skirts to avoid the sun-through peep show. If my mom could see the silhouette of my legs through my skirt or dress, I was promptly ushered back to my room to put on a slip. Yes, I still wear slips.

I guess I'll just remain out of fashion!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Farm Animal Dreams

I'd like chickens. This family can go through up to 7 eggs at one breakfast. You know that number is only going to go up as our family size grows and our children (especially the boys) grow. Hubby isn't all too fond of chickens, though.

So, we've discussed quail. Of course, quail eggs are ridiculously small, sooooo....

Hubby likes pheasants. I do too, for that matter.

I'd also like a goat in milk. If we ever get a farm, hubby wants a cow, perhaps two (for rotation) to keep us in milk. For our current little slice of God's creation, we can really only have a goat, preferably a miniature or dwarf one.


However, this year, we are considering pigs. My garden has diminished in quality over the years despite crop rotation and compost/manure additions. My father used to let his garden rest every 7 years. I am considering this year to be a year of rest for the garden. In its place, we're thinking of some spring pigs to till it up and fertilize it. The pigs will then be butchered in Autumn and distributed to my family.

One thing for sure is we're getting ducks again. After last year's sadness at losing the ducks to a coyote (or other such predator), we've worked out better fencing and housing to protect our quackers. My oldest is eager to take care of "his ducks" come Spring.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby Announcement!

Another boy!! Very clearly a boy! Baby is doing well, but my placenta is low lying. I'll receive another ultrasound in a couple of months to see if it'll interfere with the cervix opening. Not sure what all this means for the delivery of my baby.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Boden Spring Catalog *Sigh* List

Oh, I folded over many more pages in the catalog that I'm showing here, but these are my stand outs, for sure! For some reason, some of them only came out as thumbnails, so for those, I linked them to the catalog page online.

Hubby likes this dress, too! They have so many dresses I love this year, and so many are just perfect for that post partum nursing time with their empire waists (to better deal with the leftover preggy poochy tummy) and their surplice tops (the easier to access for nursing.)

I always like to try to get away from plain ol' scoops and v's when it comes to the basic T for the warmer months. I like the ruffles on this one. Still basic, casual, but with that something extra.

LOVE this dress! Love the style!

Vintage cute blouse with the scalloped edging down the front!

Love the large, jeweled buttons on this cardigan. It is so vintage-y!


Not in taupe...not my color...but the style I like!

Plimsolls! I want plimsolls this year!

This "jumper" (sweater), is styled so nicely.

I love this fun, spring jacket!

Hubby likes this skirt, too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Whatever Happened To Paper Dolls?


Paper dolls were one of my favorite toys as a child. I had a grocery bag filled with them! It was such a treat to go to the bookstore or department store and browse through the books of paper dolls. It was an even greater treat to go home with one and spend hours carefully cutting out every little garments and accessory. I love when the books included a nifty little pocket to keep everything in.

Now that I have a daughter, the store shelves are devoid of paper doll books. Melissa and Doug toys have replaced them with their magnetic dress-up dolls, of which my daughter has one and likes it well enough. But, it is just not the same nostalgia. I search on Amazon.com comes up with paper dolls, though. If money is tight, or you just want to get your daughter started on paper dolls, you can print many out online. A google image search comes up with many paper doll sets you can print out. Some you can even color!

Just as an aside, I know Mary Engelbreit magazine features a paper doll. Does anyone know if Betsy is still in the McCalls magazine?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Building His Curriculum

After much discussion, research and thought, I am slowly deciding upon my oldest's 1st grade curriculum for this coming September. I've chosen so far:

Phonics Pathways OR A Beka Phonics: I'm leaning towards the former, but it is hard to ignore everybody and their mother telling me how perfectly wonderful A Beka Phonics is. I was given the K5 A Beka Phonics teacher's manual, charts and cards, so later this year I'm going to start it with my son. If it goes well, perhaps I'll continue. If not, I'm going back to square one with Phonics Pathways.

Saxon Math: I love the manipulatives this program offers. After reading the description in a couple of homeschooling catalogs, I think it'll be a good segue from the curriculum he's on now. Plus, it gets rave reviews in the classical education front.

Backyard Science: I thought I'd NEVER be able to settle on a science course for him. I know it isn't necessary for first grade, but his Answers in Genesis curriculum we're using now is very science-heavy and he loves it. As soon as I saw Backyard Science in a homeschool catalog, I KNEW this would be perfect for him. He loves relevant to him science.

Music: We plan on starting him on piano lessons....that is if I can get my foggy pregnant brain to remember to call the piano teacher to set up lessons!!!
s:
Handwriting: Handwriting without tears appeals greatly to me. His handwriting is currently legible, but he doesn't write his letters correctly. Oh, they're shaped as the letter ought to be, but the flow isn't there. I guess the best way to describe it is that he draws his letters rather than write them.

I still need to settle on these subjects:

Reading:possible already connected to the phonics program
Language Arts: Spelling, Grammar
Art: I'd like to do one of the beginner/early drawing books
Copywork/Writing: He loves his copywork now. I plan on continuing, but I haven't settled on what.
Social Studies: A lot of programs for 1st graders are based on just community stuff, but he's doing that now in K5. I'd like to find something that broadens his horizons a little. Maybe I'll create my own based on our local community and branch out to the history of our area. I don't know yet.




Saturday, January 14, 2012

Home Spa


Let's face it. Spa treatments and a jacuzzi aren't in the budget. To top it off, it is getting harder and harder to find a trustworthy babysitter these days. Mine ate a multi-vitamin and grew up all of a sudden and is off to college. Don'tcha hate how fast kids grow up?

Anyhow, a couple years ago, hubby treated me to a day spa. 1 hour massage, full mani and pedi treatment. Oh, I loved it. LOVED IT! I decided after that that the only way I'd support Obamacare would be if such treatment was included. ;b

I've been wanting to treat myself again, but let's face it (again), it ain't gonna happen. I compromised by having my son drive his toy tractors on my back and taking showers while laying in a tub with the plug in.

I guess I got spoiled because it wasn't enough.

2011 Christmas season gave me an upgrade for my "home spa."


My parents got me the Conair Hydrotherapy Footbath Massager with Heat. Oooohhh....that was the springboard into my other purchases. It felt good! Not as good as a pedicure with massage, but hey, no machine can take the place of a human. By the way, don't you just love the sexy pointed foot in the picture. I thought that went out with cigarette ads in magazines! LOL!

Of course, in my search for the picture with the pointed foot, I found THIS foot bath massager, and now I want this one!


A trip to our brand new, local Kohl's yielded me this beauty. It's the Homedics Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat. Inexpensive (at least at Christmas time), and it works pretty well! Again, nothing like human hands, but it really does a good job. I use it on my back and even my feet. It's been a blessing with the aches and pains of this pregnancy.



My Kohl's shopping trip also got me this! It's not a fancy jacuzzi, but it does work pretty well! The jets are soothing in either jet or bubbly. They're adjustable and you can move the unit up and down your tub side to pinpoint where you want it. It won't break up muscle knots a jacuzzi, but the movement of water is very soothing. It's also got a nice white noise to it. Not too loud. It gives those rare soaking baths I take that extra little something.

So, while I feel a little twinge of guilt having bought some non necessities, I try to remember that I do a LOT and could use these treats. Plus, hubby is free to use them, too. The kiddos get a kick out of them. My sister tried the shiatsu massager and said, "I have to get one of these the next time I'm pregnant!" Life's little luxuries in a home with one simple bathroom. My own little home spa.....and far cheaper than the real deal!

Friday, January 13, 2012

See, God Knows!



My God shall supply all your needs!

With this new baby on the way, hubby and I discussed what we will need. After all, 3 active children can do a hurtin' on baby gear. Our infant car seats both needed to be discarded. Our double stroller was torn, stained, and otherwise looking grim. The pack and play mat is damaged and flattened and unable to be used in the bassinet portion (where our babies spend their first several months sleeping, if not with mommy.)

This being our last child, I really did not want to spend a lot of money on new baby gear. I also didn't want to bother searching endlessly for used items (and having to travel hill and dale to retrieve them only to see they aren't what I'm looking for and feeling obligated to buy it anyway). I didn't want to borrow, either, since all of my children have been pretty destructive to things. One good puke in the carseat, and I'm not going to feel right returning it, no matter how much I clean it.

So, off I went on my regular shopping trip to Target to pick up my usual supplies. I almost didn't turn the corner to look at the pack and plays and strollers, but I did. Lo and behold, they had the perfect pack and play and the perfect stroller (with car seat!!) on clearance! One box left of each!

The pack and play is the same as the one shown above, except with a different pattern on the fabric. It's a really soothing, soft gray and yellow dot. What I really like is that the bassinet can adjust to raise the head in case your baby has reflux or a snotty nose!!

The stroller is a sit and stand stroller. It comes with the carseat that hooks in the front while a toddler can sit or stand in the back. With my peanut children, I could probably even fit 3 in here (check weight requirements)!

Retail: $280.00
I paid: $170.00!!!

Now, I just need a booster for my daughter. Not too worried. I'll keep my eye out at Big Lots, but Target has one that'll suit her just fine, AND has an added head support feature that I like for only $50.00!

We should be all set for the baby now! 5 more days and I'll find out the gender!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food Rules and Compromises


In my ideal world, I'd be eating 99% local, organically grown foods, many that I grew or raised myself. As it stands today, that is not the case, so I shop by some food rules and compromises.

1. Buying local doesn't work to well in the great northeast when you're dying for citrus or bananas. In this aspect, I try to at least buy USA only products.

2. Because we eat apples frequently, I have begun buying organic apples when I can. As for local, I don't know of any apple orchards in my local area that doesn't spray.

3. I have decided to buy tomato products in glass jars the best I can to avoid the BPA leeching from the acid.

4. I won't buy tomato soup, sauce or ketchup made with high fructose corn syrup or canola/soybean oil. (I did have major sticker shock when I bought a small glass jar of pasta sauce made with sugar and olive oil. Around $5.00!! Thankfully, my local Big Lots had larger jars of other brands, many organic for only $2.50. That still seems steep for someone used to buying the conventional can of sauce at under $1.00, but I'd rather spend the money on quality than waste it on non-foods.)

5. With 3 children, I cannot seem to break the cold cereal, pasta and mac and cheese habit. I do limit what kinds of cold cereal I buy. No colored sugary stuff, preferably organic (though I did just buy 5 boxes of Cheerios.) I try to limit pasta as much as possible, but sometime, you're just in the mood for a pile of angel hair! Mac and cheese, I buy organic/natural, either sales or store brand. Target had Annie's Mac and Cheese for 5 for $5.00 this week! My kiddos get mac and cheese once a week when Grandma babysits them. I send a box along to make it easy on my mom.

6. Meats. Once you go farm, you can't go back. I buy most of my meats from either a local farm, or a farm about 3 hours north (it gets shipped.) The one 3 hours north offers grass fed, pastured meats. They're actually not that much more expensive than what you'd find at the grocery store, unless, like me, you're used to buying whatever is on sale and has a soon-to-expire coupon on it. But after tasting these locally farmed meats (and having some bad experiences with grocery store meats), I'm hooked on the farmed meats. I do have to compromise occasionally with chicken

7. Eggs. I get local eggs. They're partially grain fed, but at least they're local and get sunshine, air, and scratching rights to the ground. When you live in the great northeast, it's hard to avoid grain feeding animals when half your year is winter. ;b I cringe at the expensive eggs in the grocery story where it proudly proclaims on the box (chickens fed a vegetarian diet of soy and corn.) And that's supposed to be good? I want to get my own chickens, but hubby's not at all fond of the birds.

8. Milk. No compromise here. I HAVE to get raw milk. My daughter cannot drink pasteurized milk. It messes up her digestive tract BAD! I'm intolerant to pasteurized milk. I can drink a little, but more than a few ounces and I'm digestively off, too. Amazingly, we drink 4 gallons a week!!!! That's expensive, but SO worth it!

9. Bread. I would love to make my own, but there's only so much a woman can do in one day! Besides, it would take a while to break certain members of my family...ahem... from eating crappy white bread in a bag. I compromise and for the kiddos and hubby, I get Arnold's sandwich bread (no high fructose corn syrup.) For me, I do better with the sprouted grain breads you buy frozen in the organic section of the grocery store.

10. Otherwise, I try to buy local when I can, or at least USA food products. I try to avoid big name brands like Kraft. I try to make my own when I can. I try to eat as many natural products as possible (as opposed to processed). Instead of a bag of frozen french fries, I buy a bag of potatoes and make my own. Stuff like that.

What are your food rules and compromises?

For another family's food rules and compromises, check out: http://plainandjoyfulliving.blogspot.com/2012/01/food-compromises.html

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Preparing for Next School Year

It is never to early in the year to prepare for the next in regards to homeschooling, at least for this beginner. I also live in a State that has stricter rules and requires more from parents. I'd like to have all my i's dotted and t's crossed.

I love the Answers in Genesis curriculum I'm using for my 5 year old. I LOVE it. It makes me wish they'd continue with more full on curricula for every grade. It seems as if they lean towards Alpha Omega, though I could be wrong, for continuing home education.

I looked up Alpha Omega and it didn't feel right.

A Beka is probably the most popular curriculum in the local homeschooling community. Having the local support (and access to cheap, used curricula) is a plus, but it doesn't settle with me, either. I have been able to look through the K5 phonics, reading and writing teacher's manual, and it makes my head spin. Not the academics, mind you, just the way it is set up and presented.

Vertias Press is appealing to me ego. Yeah. Supreme Classical Education!! Yet, I have a child who is not a classically minded learner. I think I'd have to redo kindergarten for him. I think their 1st grade would be too much. I may be wrong, though, so it is on the list.

Sonlight has always felt good to me. For some reason, when I look at the Sonlight curriculum, I feel like it is best suited for my son and I. It is also terribly expensive, but I think I can whittle down the expense.

I'll be honest. I'd really hate to bounce from curriculum to curriculum. I'd like to stick with one and go, so for me it is intimidating to just choose. The other option is to custom build a curriculum. I'd rather have it all laid out for me, mostly because I want to make sure I cover all the bases.

I'd be eager to read your opinions, suggestions, and stories about what your homeschool curriculum is.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Citrus Season!

I could never be a true locavore. I don't even think our summers could sustain a citrus tree! I just love citrus too much to give it up, however, I do check to make sure it comes from the USA.

Last week, I was finally able to purchase my favorite orange available here in the frozen north; cara cara oranges!

Cara Cara Oranges
Pink Grapefruit
Lemons
Limes

That is how my citrus love list goes.

I'd love to hear from you what your favorite orange or citrus fruit is!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

There's Something About Dreft




I splurged and bought a bottle of Dreft laundry detergent.

There's just something about the smell that I love. It relaxes me and makes laundry doing more enjoyable.

There's just something about baby clothes washed in Dreft.

There's just something about using Dreft that makes me want to redo my laundry area!

There's just something so vintage and homey about Dreft.

Do you have a favorite detergent?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Something About Library Books


We have books.

We have a lot of books.

So, I go to the library and get more books

because

There is something about library books.

I feel compelled to read them whereas books I own don't seem to beckon me so.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Apron Therapy

You can download patterns for these aprons HERE.

It felt good to get back into routine after the holidays. Thankful for the burst of 2nd trimester energy, I was able to get plenty done today.

As I worked, I thought about my 3 year old daughter:

She loves to help me in the kitchen.

I wish she helped more around the house. Even with asking/telling/leading/instructing she is very reluctant to do her tasks.

She is upset that Daddy spends so much time with big brother. Big brother is at that perfect little boy age where he just HAS to pal around with Daddy.

She is emotional and prone to break downs.

She craves one on one attention.

While thinking these things over, a thought popped into my head: APRON THERAPY!

When she's reluctant to help,
When she's upset that she can't go with big brother and Daddy,
When she's over emotional and breaking down,
When she obviously needs some one on one attention,
I will do my best to set aside time for apron therapy.
We'll don our aprons and set to work together on something. Just her and I. Perhaps baking some cupcakes, or preparing dinner together....I'll start with kitchen tasks since she loves to help in the kitchen. Then I'll slowly move on to other chores we can work together on, in our aprons, chatting away and taking plenty of breaks for hugs and snuggles.

After all, that's what Daddy and Big brother do, in their own manly way. :)

And yes, we do make sure she gets one on one Daddy time, too.