Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Creativity in Education

Take 20 minutes and watch this TED video about creativity and education.  Totally encouraging.  Link was sent to me by my local HS group.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Poo-less

Poo-less: to no longer use shampoo (or conditioner) to wash your hair.

Over the last year I've been mostly shampoo free.  For me, I would just go a long time between washes.  It worked well for me but I really wanted to be totally free from shampoo and conditioner. 

The problem, as I have always seen it, is that I have long hair.  I mean it is long.  Really long.  I climbed into the van today and I sat on it.  Down to my tailbone.  It is also fine.  AND I have a lot of it.  A lot.  Washing and conditioning my hair is an event.  Takes about 20 minutes in the shower and about 6 hours to air dry on a warm day.

Resently, I read a post, didn't bookmark it, that said the secret to no shampoo is to leave the vinegar in your hair. 

So, armed with 2 tablespoons of baking sodain a large glass; a pitcher with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and some free time (not really,) I gave it a try.  I also added some lavender oil in with the vinegarbecause my husband likes the smell.

I wet my hair very well and added about 1 1/2 cups of water to the baking soda and mixed well.  Then I slowly poured it over my scalp and tried to scrub it into my head.  You only need to sctub your scalp, just water will clean most everything out of the length.  I decided to just see what happened and rinsed it very well to find my hair squeaking it was so clean.

Then I filled the pitcher the rest of the way with water and dipped the length of my hair into it for about 30 seconds.  I then slowly poured the vinegar water over my scalp.  I DID NOT rinse the vinegar out.
(I was afraid, I'll tell ya.  Afraid to try, because I didn't want it not to work.  I wanted it to work but didn't think it would work for my hair.)

Are you ready for my verdict?


It's fan-tas-tic!  I'd even say it's better than shampoo and conditioner.  I am shocked actually.  This is so much cheaper, faster and easier, with my long hair, than regular washing.  I can't even believe I can brush it without conditioner but it is easier to brush through than before.   AND shiny!  Silky and shiny.  Even a day later it is still soft.

So if you are on the fence like I was, jump over to my side and enjoy more freedom from cemicals.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby

This day is one of celebration.  My Honey is one year older today.  Bench mark days, where we can look back and remember what has happened in the last year.  Part of the flow of life and family.  Where we can celebrate who we are as individuals and as a family.

Wow, I. love. him.  It is a hard core, from the belly, almost primal kind of love that is soft and all consuming.  He is my best friend.  He can be dark but his smile speaks of the torrents of laughter and passions that lay within him, just beneath his handsome face.

Oh, how. I. love. him.  I would not change a thing about him but I pray for God to grow him into who he is to be.  He so lovingly tolerates my failings, my faults, without so much as a word of harshness.  And if I am harsh or unfair to him, he never brings it up.  When I am sad or overwhelmed his hug, oh his hug, restores me reminds me things will be right again, too keep believing because God is in control.

This year he became the father of a little girl.  There is something about a man who is the father of a girl.  There is something about a man who is the father of a boy or four.  There is something about THIS man...

What a gift I was given when God gave him to me.

You are my heart, baby.  I will love you fiercely and with all I am, forever.

Caleb's pics 097

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fermented Dill Pickles

Oh yum!

fermented sour pickles 005

Last weekend we went to the local farmers market where I purchased some wonderful vegetables, grass fed beef burgers and some honey.  The honey is marvelous in my tea.  We had BBQ hamburgers for supper last night.  There is no comparison to store hamburger.  Ketch-up and mustard are not needed.  Nor a bun. Just some fermented sauerkraut...yummy.  The meat has a flavour and is filling! 

I bought some pickling cucumbers and they are being turned into sour fermented pickles, if all goes well.  This recipe comes for Nourished Kitchen.  She has how-to's for many ferments without whey including an apple beet relish that I'm going to try next.

fermented sour pickles 006

For sour dill pickles you need only the cucumbers, garlic, onions, pickling spice, water, celtic sea salt and oak leaves.  On the Nourished Kitchen site she says to use horse radish leaf but I do not have access to any.  It is needed for the tannins to keep the pickles crisp and I hear oak leaves work.  (I hate mushy pickles.)

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We tasted them last night and they aren't quite done...but they are very good. I'll give them two more days and try them again. Next time I going to use more dill. Can't wait to give some to Jelly-Bean and the boys.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dragonfly Wishes

We found this dragonfly craft over at Twig and Toadstool and I thought I'd share it here.

They are made from sticks and maple keys that we gathered while walking one day.

So pretty and sparkly.  We glittered the bodies as well as the wings because we like glitter.  I didn't know.  (After using glitter, the boys what to glitter everything.  My world is becoming sparkly and glittery and I like it!) 

Here they are...(well...some of them.)
dragon flies 134

So sparkly...
dragon flies 141

I really like blue...
dragon flies 148

Do you see this one hiding?
dragon flies 138

Now go make your own crafts from found nature objects and come back and share them with us. Add a link in the comments please so we can see what you've made.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fermented Rice Milk

Being unable to get raw milk in Canada, we are left with little choice but to drink what is available.  Unfortunately, my husband, Monkey and Little-E all have a food sensitivity to pasteurized milk.  Using purchased analog milk, I learned last week from Kelly, is just another possessed food with no real "food value."

So what is a mother to do?

She makes her own milk analog, of course. (I want to make milk kefir but I don't have the grains.)

Almonds cost too much (especially when they are raw) to be throwing away most of it.  I like to do things without spending much money.  So how about rice milk. Rice is cheap (for now.) Cheap is good. This recipe is also fermented. Fermented is great!

I found this in Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (seems I'm always using this book) but I put it together a bit differently.

Fermented Rice Milk

You will need:
*1/2 cup brown rice
*8 cups spring water
*1 1/2 teaspoons celtic sea salt
*1/4 cup whey
*1/4 cup raw honey or to taste (I'm thinking of trying another "good" sweetener because of the anti-bacterial properties of raw honey. Might be killing what I'm trying to grow.)
*vanilla to taste

Place the water and rice in a pan and simmer, covered, on low for about 2 hours. I know it sounds like a really long time, but it needs to be very very soft.

Whizz it in small batches in your food processor and pour into a glass bowl. (Add the salt in with one of the batches.)
Rice Milk 3
A food mill can be used or maybe even a blender. The resulting mixture should be thick and white.
Rice Milk 5
Cover the mixture and let it cool to about body temperature.  Add the whey and stir well. 

Cover again and let it sit on your counter for 2-3 days.

After 2-3 days strain the rice mixture through a fine mesh strainer.  It's not necessary, but gives a nicer texture.

Warm the honey in a sauce pan just until it is melted,  (This time I used half honey half maple syrup.)

Stir the melted honey into the fermented rice milk and add the vanilla (or whatever flavouring you wish) to taste. 

Add spring water to get the desired consistency. 
Rice Milk 1
Store in the refrigerator in a glass container.

I hope you enjoy your rice milk.  It is possible to buy fermenting cultures in the US if you do not want to use whey, but I have not researched them.

Also, if you like this post check out some of my other fermented recipes:

Easier Fermented Salsa
Beet Kvas
Fermented Dill Pickels

This is part of Fight Back Friday and Monday Mania.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Insight

I should not try to assess my life when I'm suffering from a three week head cold.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lime Green and Brown Jelly Bean

My little girl has been here for over six months now (like I've mentioned before) and it has been killing me that I haven't sewed any clothes for her.  After 12 years of boys, you would think I'd get right on the "sewing for girls" wagon.  Ruffles and frills and lace...oh my!  The problem though, not that it is a problem, is that as a mother, I still have to look after the little girl and four boys.  What should only take an hour takes days and I'm grouchy the whole time because, darn it, it should only take an hour.

So, Friday I decided to try to sew a dress for Jelly Bean.  A T-shirt dress.  I thought about taking pictures to do a tute for it but I was making up a pattern as I went (using a pattern but changing it to work for me,)  it would take forever to finish, if I ever did finish it and it wouldn't turn out how I wanted it to anyway.  (Perfectionism rears it's ugly head again!) 

Well, 2 hours later (sure the baby cried a bit and I unfairly wrangled Monkey into carrying her around for about 20 minutes) it was FINISHED!

Hurray for me!  I used this tute to change my t-shirt pattern from Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby into a lap t-shirt pattern.

Get a load of the cuteness, dipping like honey, off this little girl!

Anita's Creations 016

The pictures are a bit dark...

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...but she is so cute! She's helping me with the laundry.

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That's Monkey holding her up.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Rock Monsters

From the Veggie Tales movie Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie (Widescreen) comes the idea of Rock Monsters. 

(I could tell you all about how the rocks were picked and looked over for texture and pleasing colours, shape and size.  But to be honest, we didn't do any of that.  The boys were loud and I've got a head cold.  I sent them outside to find rocks to give them something to do so I could have some quiet.  Isn't necessity the mother of invention?)

So lets make Rock Monsters!  Grroar!  (The boys are better at the roar than I am.)

You will need:
Rocks of all shapes sizes and colours.  You could even explore and talk about them....
Low temp glue gun (mine is a high temp)
Paper to protect the table

Wash your rocks if they are dirty or dusty.  We didn't and I've had to do some re-gluing.

Find two large-ish rocks with flat bottoms for the monsters feet. 

From there just glue and build.  Children tell the parents where to put the glue then the children place the rock (unless they are very young.  You can judge your own children skill level.)  It's best if you keep them balanced so they will stand.

Rock Monster 041

I wanted them to look sorta natural and peaceful, forest-y with birds singing in the background.

Yah...do you think there is a disco in the forest?  Maybe the cute little gnomes and elves have a disco ball.

Rock Monster 039


I've added this post to Natural Suburbia: Creative Friday. Go Check it out for some great ideas.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beet Kvas

Beet Kvas

(Photo taken by my son C-Rex.) 

We love Beet Kvas.  All it rooty goodness.  Salty and earthy.  Yum!

When I was pregnant with our last child I had some serious salt cravings. Chips were high on my list of necessities. I also had some uncomfortable indigestion and bloating. Kvas hit the spot for both.

My husband has been eating to heal his gut for about 17 months and kvas has been part of his daily routine. He also will drink some when ever his stomach feel a bit uncomfortable. It's very healing for him.

Beets are full of minerals. The beets root reaches deep into the soil to pull nutrients and minerals from the way down in the earth. These minerals are stored in the root ball that we then eat. Fermenting the beets adds wonderful probiotics to the mix.

To make Beet Kvas you will need:
-a 4 litre jar
-4-5 beet medium beet roots
-3-3 1/2 litres of spring water
-2 tablespoons of Celtic sea salt
-1/3 cup of whey (from yogurt)

Peel and chop your beets into 1/2 inch cubes. Put the chopped beets into your jar.

Boil 1 cup of the water and dissolve the salt into the water. (It will look dirty with floaties in it but that is the nature of Celtic sea salt.)

Then add the salt water into the jar with the beets.

Pour about half of the remaining water into the jar. The water will cool off the salt water so the bacteria in the whey won't die when added.

Now add the whey.

Fill the jar with the rest of the water until it is 2-3 inches from the top and stir it well. I love the way the red of the beets colours the water. It gets darker still as it ferments.

Put the lid on the jar and set it some where cool-ish (better flavour) for two days. White foam forming on the top is fine. Just spoon it off and don't tell anyone. People can be squeamish.

Strain out the beets and put the (liquid) kvas into glass jars in the refrigerator. I've read you can make a second ferment using the same beets and some previously made kvas instead of whey, but it isn't as strong. I've never tried it.

Occasionally, the kvas is very thick, almost like strange yogurt.  It fine!  After straining just whizz it with a stick blender to loosen it up.  I think it gets thick when the beets are sweeter and the bacteria have multiplied like crazy.  BUT I'm just guessing.

Drink 4 oz with meals or when ever you want to.

This recipe is adapted from Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.  It's a fun book.


Sunny Sunflower

Photo taken in our backyard by my son C-Rex. Thanks boy!

This post is part of Fight Back Friday.  Come and join us to learn some more about healthy food and preparation.

I've also linked up to Monday Mania

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Little Bloggers

Two of my boys have decided to join the blogging world. It's taking a whole lot of my time and I'm stressing a bit about what isn't getting done by me.

It's learning how to blog that takes the most time. Not to mention they want to add pictures which takes even more time. And I'm only just learning.

So here they are.
C-Rex's blog Little Toes.  He is 9 years old and did all the photography himself.
Little-E's blog Little-E's Blog-E.  He's 7 and had help from C-Rex with the photos.
Stop in and say Hi.  They'd love that.

Now that they have both posted for the first time, the questions/fears I have are starting to edge to the front of my thoughts. How do I make sure they are protected? Will they consider each others feeling when writing? Will this just be another excuse to use the computer?

But then I think about the possible good that can come out of their blogs. First off, they are writing! Anything that can get them excited about writing can't be that bad. Plus spelling practice, which we have never really worked on. (Spelling comes with reading and writing. Using the language.) Communicating, getting your idea across to others (isn't that the reason for communication?) Plus, they want to teach. (I love it.) Either that or they want to tell others what to do but isn't that what we all want? ;) AND lets not forget computer skills.

They are reading and re-reading, editing, trying to make what they write say what they mean for it to say. Boy, can I relate. Building the skills needed in the real world and having fun doing it.

In school, I remember writing essay after essay that had no purpose. Just another essay in the pile of essays on my teachers desk. They were trying to teach form and grammar, punctuation and spelling but in the end I felt a failure for not jumping through the hoop well enough. Now look at me! There is spell check! Why did I have to go through hours of drills to only just get by? I spell much better now, thanks to my children learning to read.

If my children are not yet able to grasp some aspect of "school," at some mile stone age...so what! Sure, we will work on what they don't get, but not to the point that they think somethings wrong with them.  They'll get it later or there will be a new "spell check" that will render the inadequacy unimportant. Writing for the purpose of communication is what is important.

What a great way to communicate...a blog.

My fears have eased a little.  I'm almost excited.  Wish I had a blog when I was young(er.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

What Toy's for Our Girl?

Well, our little girl has past the 6 month marker. She's almost sitting-up by herself and trying to get her arms and leg working together in order to crawl. Not to mention the cutest little Jelly Bean I've ever seen.

She is always content. Laying quietly, being held quietly, in her saucer quietly, but at the same time very aware and attentive. She takes in everything.

On Saturday, her brothers were away at my in-laws for the day and my little girl wasn't so content. She didn't lay quietly or play in her saucer quietly. She missed her boys! She needed something to play with (which her brothers aways provide with their presence.)

Looking around I noticed that we don't really have toys for babies. I know that the boys had toys when they were little but somewhere along the way the plastic keys and plastic rattles and plastic rings have disappeared. But then again, I really don't want my little one chewing on plastic.

(It's amazing how we as people grow and change in a never ending, sorta, exhausting way. What is ok for one baby seem to change for the next, then change again when the third child is born. I'm not a purest when it comes to toys for this little girl but I'm going to do the best I can with the funds available. The idea of have just a few toys for a child really becomes apparent when you have five. Just look around my basement. WOW! It scary and the boys have know idea as to how to clean it up, and neither do I!)

So I asked myself what to do. Earlier in the day I had written down a few rules for myself and my life. One of the first rules is to not buy anything new. (It's all particle board and plastic anyway. No heart.) I do, however, have an unending supply of t-shirts coming from a local family who we get hand me downs from.

A little cutting, a little sewing, a little rice and 20 minutes later Jelly Bean had her first handmade toy from her mother. There is heart in that bean (rice) bag.

I cut the arms off of a t-shirt.
Bean bag

Then I placed them right sides together and cut as large of a rectangle out of the material as I could get.
Bean bag

Then I sewed, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving 2 inches unsewed so I could turn it. Filled it with rice and hand sewed the opening closed.
Bean bag, Ellenora sitting, Caleb's story 298

Finished! She loves it, not that you can tell (would it kill her to smile for a picture?) and it cost nothing but my time, and not much of that.
Ellenora with her new bean bag

Friday, August 6, 2010

How to Make Sprouted Wheat Flour



This is a post for Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade. Real Food is a passion of mine and I love to help others learn about Real Food, too. This is my first post to Fight Back Friday so I hope I'm doing everything right.  (I'm a little nervous.)

To me, real food means old food, traditional food. Food that my Great Grandmothers would have made to feed their families. Kinda connects me to the past while at the same time with the future. By feeding my children good food, their young bodies are gaining a great foundation to build the future on.

After borrowing (hee hee) my Mothers grain mill and finding an organic wheat supplier I started to grind wheat for all our cooking and baking needs. Then I heard the benefits of sprouted wheat but couldn't find any information on the web as to how to "do it." Wouldn't it clog up my grinder? I had heard that the Vita Mix blender could grind grain but with that price tag, it just wasn't an option. (Not to mention I'm also wanting to be frugal so I didn't want to buy anything.)

Then I had a huge "TA DA" moment.

Why couldn't I sprout then dehydrate  wheat berries?

(Long pause...light bulb...on!)

I could...I could sprout then dehydrate wheat berries! When dry, it would still grind in my flour mill. So now, I sprout my wheat and grind it in my mill...and I want you to do it too!

With all the tasks we do everyday, why would we spend the time and effort to sprout grain?

1. Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats has a few pages about the reasons to sprout grains and seeds. She has done a much better job than I could ever do, so if you haven't read it, borrow it from your library. (It's really awesome.) The short of it is because it's sooo much better for you and your body is able to absorb more of the nutrition from the grain.

2. Sprouted Wheat flour is really expensive.

3. Products made from sprouted wheat are really expensive. Here a loaf of sprouted wheat bread is $5.00. I am not going to spend $5.00 on a loaf of bread! I don't care how good it is for me.

This is how I do it.

You will need:

-One large glass container.
-One large, strainer with a fine mesh (mine has expendable arms that reach to either side and sits flush with my counter top.)
-A long handled spoon
-One dehydrator with small screen so the wheat won't fall through as it dries and shrinks. (I read that tulle from the fabric store can be cut to fit and works just fine.)
-Water, spring is best, but I'm "frugal" and use tap water.
-Organic Wheat berries

First, take a berry and bite it. You need to know what a dry berry feels like for later.

Fill your glass jar about 5/8 to 2/3 full with the wheat. Rise and clean the wheat the best you can/feel like.

Fill the the rest of the way with water. When sprouting, you usually add some whey, lemon juice or some other acid. Somewhere I read that it isn't needed with wheat berries. I've never used any and it has always sprouted.

Sit it on the counter and stir it every few hours to help separate the grains. It's not really necessary but I feel better about it if I do.

When the grains are very plump, (12-18 hours) drain through your strainer. (I'm sure this water would be wonderful for your garden.)

Rinse the wheat well and leave it alone to drain...and sprout.

Rinse and stir/move things around every 12 hours until your sprouts are about 1/4 inch long.

Spread the sprouted wheat berries on your dehydrator trays about 1/4-1/2 inch thick and turn it on. The little "sprouts" will dry, so just ignore them. They will grind up just fine later. If your dehydrator has a heat setting go ahead and use the setting for seeds OR you could crank it up, because your going to cook with it anyway and kill the enzymes then, so why not dry it quick.

Check them frequently and stir them up or change tray positions if drying is uneven. You will know when they are done when you bite into one and it is just has hard and dry as before you did anything with it. Could take 4 hours or 36, it depends on how much you are drying per rack and how high your heat is.

Let the berries cool then use as you would un-sprouted wheat berries.

Look to see if there are little bits of the dried "sprout" laying on the bottom of your dehydrator. Brush them out into your compost before putting your machine away.

It only takes a few minutes here and there to sprout than dry wheat, so give it a try. The ground sprouted wheat works just like regular ground wheat and it only takes a few minutes here, a few minutes there to make. Nutritionally, it packs a much bigger punch so the effort is well worth it. Please, let me know if you try to sprout your own wheat berries. That would make my day.

I've also linked up to The Health Home Economist's Monday Mania. Go have a look at the wonderful and informative post over there.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yard Sale

The boys have been asking and asking for us to have a yard sale. I've been putting it off.

Too much work, I'd tell myself. Don't I have other more pressing matters to take care of?

Wow, I'm surprised at how easy it actually was! Easy peasy!

Not only was it easy, the boys did most of it. It was their idea. They gathered, sorted, priced and sold their own toys to earn their own money. (I refuse to give an allowance. "In the real word" people earn their money, it isn't given to them.) They took out the tables and set everything up themselves, even the few items I had out there. They collected the money and gave out change. They even kept track of how much money they each made.

During the slow times (and sometimes when busy,) they played with bubbles, their baby sister, friends and neighbours. We read books on a blanket and tried to keep the mosquito's away...then we counted the mosquito bites.

Talk about school! But isn't life school?

It is in this house.

We do do workbooks...sometimes...but this is so much more fun. Learning, while applying what you have learned, in real life, make so much sense to me. An over simplification of what I'm talking about would be the abstract concept of 2+3=5 vs. harvesting apples from the apple tree you and your family planted together; your asked to pick 5 and you already have 2 so you pick 3 more to end up with 5. Then you take the same five apples and make them into other groups (4 and 1, 5 and 0, 1 and 1 and 3) but you see, there are always 5.

Then you take the 5 apples and either pass them out to your family (1 and 1 and 1 and 1 and 1 is 5) or take them inside to make an apple pie from scratch. This means measuring ingredients, thinking about how many more apples you might need and so many more things to learn.

For us, we learn much more with real life math than workbook math.

Now I want pie. Time to teach. (Too hot to bake were going to the store.)

p.s. I'm hoping to add a picture. Need to figure a few (more) things out first.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Growing-Up

My two oldest, Monkey and Rex-C, have just completed their first paying job outside of our home. They looked after four children while their mothers were busy but in the same room/area. It boggles my mind that they are big enough, old enough, responsible enough to have a babysitting gig. When did that happen?

The transition between child and adult is so gradual, sometimes painfully so, when they repeat the same childish mistakes over and over and over again. When they refuse to remember to do the chore you've told them every morning for a year to do. When they behave like children...wait...they are children. Aren't they?

I get lost trying to know when I should expect what, from whom, at what age. Just that sentence is confusing enough let alone thinking along thous lines. I pray often that they would grow-up...er...mature, and become more responsible. God always seems teach me through my experiences. Shouldn't my children learn through theirs? Do I expect God to just poof my kids with maturity? Look what happens....

To have a job for an hour and a half...is that my boy, who sometimes has trouble being kind to his brother, he is being kind and helpful to a younger boy. My boy who tends to get angry so easily; he is showing so much patience.

Well...Why not my boys? They have grown so much. Little by little they have become, if not men, at least young men. They help with their sister all of the time. Just today they fed her some banana so I could make lunch. They fold laundry, help make meals, shower daily and many other grown-up-ish tasks.

But what about their hearts? What about my heart? I think that is what it really comes down to. Is my heart ready? They will keep growing, hearts, minds, souls and bodies, given opportunity. But my heart? Will it continue to swell with joy while simultaneously breaking from letting go? Do I bandage my heart and step back, hold back (hold them back) to save the ache, or do I plunge in head first into this roll of mother to young men and relish every moment while my heart breaks...and grows.

What a ride. Don't forget to hang on!

Summer Learning

Summer Rocks! We've had so much rain that there has been very little time spent outside. So when the sun is shining you won't find us indoors. Boys need to run and run they will. It's better if we are outside.

Our home education never stops. (We been home schooling for 6 years and I still can't come up with a phrase that I feel comfortable with...home schooling...boring; home education...pretentious; child led learning...sounds like I've read to many books on the topic. The last might be the closest.) The best school for my boys is when they don't even know that they are learning at all.

Just being outside is a great teaching tool. They found snails (one with eggs on it's back,) leaches, minnows that they couldn't catch. Hills to run on, flowers to smell. Sticks to find, compare and chase each other with while I'm praying that everyone still has all their eyes at the end of the day. No pictures of that, I was busy not looking ; )

These are not all my children. The five on the right are mine and the two on the left belong over here.

(Just as a side note...I hope I get better at this format. Two hours I have spent on this, mostly trying to get it to look right, and I'm still not happy with it. Grrr. Typing this note has probably thrown everything haywire again...I'm past caring.)

So here we are...




Phys. Ed.




















Reading...









Science...









Drama...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good Food...Good Soil



I love dirt!

To be a little more exact, I love microbes. Nematodes, protozoa, Bacteria, fungus, mycelium and many more fascinate me. One of my favorite books is Teaming with Microbes. I know way to much about compost, but I feel I must learn more. Seeing what was waste turn into something akin to gold (although different in colour) thrills me. There are composting worms in my home and I look at them everyday. Experimenting with compost/worms/bacteria/bokashi/fermenting is something I an passionate about.

People have looked at me strangely while picking-up bagged leaves out of back alleys.
We try not to throw away anything that can so easily be turned into compost. If you throw away compostibles (that you probably paid for, so your throwing away your money, you might even have to pay/bag for garbage pick-up) then buy fertilizer for your veggies...well it doesn't make sense to my distracted, yet highly compostible brain.

Don't misunderstand, compost is not fertilizer. It is food for your soil microbes. If you feed them, they will feed your veggies and your veggies will feed you. If you have ever had a tomato grown with compost and vine ripened...you know how much better they taste than even organic tomatoes from the store. Health soil grows health and yummy veggies.

One of the easiest ways of making compost is to just pile compostable things on the ground and keep it moist (not wet, not dry.) "Like a rung out sponge." is the general consensus. If it starts to stink add some dry fallen leaves, shredded cardboard or shredded paper. (I like leaves because they would otherwise go to the land fill. Cardboard and paper can be recycled.) In a year, under the top layer of stuff, you'll have compost. If you want it faster, stir it every 4 days-ish for 2 weeks-ish, then let it sit for 2-4 months-ish. (It's better if it sits...some say. Others say not. I can never seem to wait.)
You can also contain the pile with chicken wire or a bin made of pallets. Almost anything will work. Don't be fooled into thinking you need to buy something because you don't. Well, maybe a garden fork. Besides, it is fun to scrounge for stuff. One persons garbage, another persons treasure...and that.

GardenWeb has a forum called Soil, Compost and Mulch if you wish to learn more, not that I won't tell you more but probably not in a timely fashion. Use the search engine.

We found the book Compost Stew in our library. Very cute and good to help your children to get into composting. (Not that mine are all that into composting. They are some of the people I was talking about earlier.) If you know any other book about composting for children (or me!) please let me know.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Worth it!

After having my friend think through my excuses for not blogging... http://indietutes.blogspot.com/2010/07/worth-it.html I'm giving it another go. (Not that I gave it much of a go to begin with.) She is a wonderful friend, very creative, always there for you and one of the smartest, most interesting people I have ever met. (She is not a hippie, she tells me!) She says it's worth it.

Seeing pictures of my home and family on her blog helped me to see that I do a lot of stuff and others should know how to do these things, too. Easy and healthful. Fun and rewarding. Beautiful...or not. Sometimes I wish I could live in a 2D world, if only for a little while. Gain a bit of perspective.

Our moments, although not always chaotic, do seem to blend into one another. The moments become hours and the hours become days. Even the good stuff. All blending together to form a jumble of knotted yarn, like when you cannot find the end that's in the middle of the skein. You pull but you can not find the end...or is it the beginning? What is it I'm looking for? Wasn't I trying to make something beautiful with this mess?

Frustration begins because there is know time to look at life. At what has been accomplished. The house is a mess and the kids are fighting. The picture in your head of "family" just isn't jiving with what you see around you.

Oh, to take apart the day and visit each moment for what God intended it to be. To look and savour... to taste it and roll it around in our heads... to really understand what has taken place and learn from it.

Re-visit the day and what has been done. To take the time to really see the joyful smile your baby gives to you, because she loves you. To hear the excitement in your sons voice when he tells you something he's learned. To not be so concerned with what family should be and just praise God by loving, enjoying and truly living with the wonderful family He's given.

To re-visit life.

Maybe taking time to write will help to break up my moments. To pull from my skein a moment made beautiful just by really seeing it for what it was made for.

Now I just need to figure out all this computer stuff (be thankful for spell check,) hold my breath and click "publish post."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hello!

This is my first time into the blogging world. Don't get me wrong, I read many different blogs, just have never written one before. I'm hoping this will be a place I can share some things I know and maybe even learn something...I love to learn. (Might be a bit nerdy in the desire for information in the areas I am interested in but I don't care.) I also love to help people learn about what interests...me.

What interests me at this moment is my 6 week old baby girl who wants to nurse. (She is so nice. After four boys it's really nice to hold a little girl.) I made some breast pads using some worn out cloth diapers and child labour. The two youngest boys traced out the circles using CD's that flopped and the oldest two boys cut them out using rather dull sissors. I sewed them together using the serger so I wouldn't have to worry about fraying. They work alright if I double them up and change them often which wouldn't be the case if I had used new matterial. We'll problibly make a few more a which time I'll take some pics and do a want-to-be tute.