Was born at 1:15am on Monday, October 28 in Salisbury, South Australia.
Congratulations, Makita and Joel!
Was born at 1:15am on Monday, October 28 in Salisbury, South Australia.
Congratulations, Makita and Joel!
Edited to add: We just got word that our newest grandson, Rodney, has arrived. Mama posted at 2am Monday, so we don’t know yet whether he shares her birthday (October 27) or the day after. Welcome little Rodney and congratulations Joel and Makita!!
Hey, all! Happy “end of October”!
This post may have to be “unillustrated”. Last week, I spent all my blogging time trying to attach a picture, with no luck. This week I’m blogging, picture or now. (I have always assumed that the picture helped you to know at a glance whether you’ve read this post or not. I guess the occasional pictureless post does the same job.)
A few months ago, I read about adding minerals back into reverse osmosis filtered water to replace the minerals that are filtered out. It seemed like a good idea, so I bought a bottle of mineral drops and started adding them to my drinking water. I used them for weeks, and gradually started to notice that I was feeling “corned”. I was achy all over and losing strength in my joints. You are probably figuring right now that the the obvious move is to stop using the mineral drops. In retrospect it *is* obvious. But I spent weeks trying to figure out where corn had sneaked in to my diet. Stupid, right? Anyway, I eventually figured it out. Duh! In food “minerals’, “spices”, flavours, or any other nonspecific ingredient is most often derived from corn. Why not bottles of minerals? I eventually figured it out, but it is taking forever to push the corn out. I am still aching all over and still have little strength in my joints. Rod says that minerals are absorbed very deeply so it will take a while to get them out of the tissues they were absorbed into. So far (three weeks later) he seems to be right. I think it would be better for me to stick to getting my minerals from pastured stock.
Gads, my WordPress (or my computer) is still acting up. If this looks weird, please accept my apologies. I just went through and deleted a bunch of code from the visual format. I hope it wasn’t needed.
Jack’s education is rolling right along. He has decided that maths is his favorite subject! Wow. That must be the Smith genes, because it sure isn’t in the Delaney genes.
But it wasn’t always that way. Rod was teaching Jack maths the way he learned them. It was working, but very, very slowly. He was nine years old and still working at multiplication. He could do it, but he was slow and inconsistent.
Then, last autumn, I pulled out a second grade math test. Not for the math, but because we want Jack to have some experience with tests just in case he ever needs to take them. He took it, assuming that it would be easy. He was devastated. He did very poorly. Partly because tests are not written in a straightforward way. It is very often not clear what exactly they are asking – that’s the part I wanted Jack to have practice with. But he was also way behind in the maths he was expected to know.
When Jack found out that he was “way behind the school kids”, it kicked his competitive nature into high gear. Come to find out, a part of his lackadaisical attitude is that he assumed that addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division was all there was, and he figured he was almost there. Now that he knew that there was more to be had and that he was behind, he was eager to go. He got his times tables down very quickly. Then we bought the Life of Fred curriculum. Many of his friends love it, and seeing all those books ahead of him kept Jack aware that there was much he didn’t know yet. In eight months, he went from kindergarten math with Fred to the sixth grade. The he also started spending much of his free time on the Khan Academy math program. His new goal is to start calculus by the age of 13. I have no idea whether he can do it, but it’s nice to see the new energy behind his approach to his education. Even better, that new energy seems to have splashed onto many of his other subjects.
Over the last few months, as Jack has begun to study with enthusiasm, he has also decided to add another subject each day so that he can get through this unit and get to the next Harry Potter book. In the beginning, he studied just two subject each day. It was slow, but it did the job.
By this year, he was studying five subjects each day, which takes him about two hours, unless one of the subjects is writing. That always takes longer. Then we added a math sheet to his five subjects for the drill he needed to get faster and more accurate. Next we added a grammar sheet. And then last week, Jack asked to add one more book each day, unless he has writing or his Scientific Method book that day. And he is still finishing in a reasonable time. I hesitate to add too much more, because at some point what he reads won’t make it beyond short term memory if he has too much to load. (It is fun, though, watching our latest movie, and hearing him predict correctly what the before the commercial break foreshadowing is referring to. Something is sticking.
It’s that time of year again! I am hard at work on my holiday cards. It’s going slowly though. I have been at it for three weeks and am now about 30% of the way to my goal. That means I need another 12 weeks and that’s not going to happen, so I have been sticking to a handful of pretty quick and easy designs that I can make up fairly quickly (12 minutes each or five per hour). So, really, I just need to find 20 hours in the next four weeks. (Oddly enough, birthdays don’t stop just because we’re busy.) It would help if Michael’s would deign to carry single colour paper. I need green paper for the next set of cards. Christmas green. The only answer Michaels has for me is to buy a package that contains a few of the green I need and a whole bunch of colours I don’t. It’s time to gird up and head to Joann’s – but that’s a much longer walk. (See the “corned” issue.) I just hope Joann’s are selling single colour packages.
Jack has wanted me to watch Star Wars with him for years. I have tried, but attempt after attempt found me wandering off to relieve the almost painful boredom. Then a few weeks ago, we found a way that I can manage to sit all the way through. We watch the movies with Lucas’ commentary and with the subtitles on. Jack can watch the movie, and with Lucas explaining what’s happening and explaining the choices he made, I actually find it interesting. Then we watch the clips and documentaries. The clips are about the right length to keep my interest and the documentaries are positively interesting. Success!
I saw my doctor for my biannual checkup recently. For many years, I struggled with my cholesterol. It was usually too high, and even more frequently, my HDL was far too low. Always, my triglycerides were sky high. In the last few years, though. my doctor stopped checking my cholesterol regularly because it had been so consistently perfect. That continued with this last checkup. To my doctor’s delight, my total cholesterol was 123 and my triglycerides were 81. (Once upon a time, 250 wasn’t all that unusual, and triglycerides of 300 or so were common.) It looks like we won’t need to test those for a couple more years. It may be a pain to be so limited in eating out, but I have to say my body clearly likes it!
Have a great week!
1 1/4 cups winter squash or pumpkin, steamed and mashed
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cup coconut milk or milk (or heavy cream – yum!)
Mix them well and bake for 1 hour in ramekins or a glass
The photos are our beautiful daughter in law, Makita, with her three oldest children, Joel, Autuma, and Rhazel. Makita is the fiancée of Rod’s middle son, Joel. They are expecting their fourth son, Little Rodney, in about six weeks.
Happy Saturday, all!
First off, for any one keeping track of my thumb injury, it has now been 6 weeks and a bit.
The wound is now closed, though the skin is still thin and fragile. The wound has been shrinking and now resembls a fairly small blister.
The thumb itself is still quite swollen, too. However I can now leave the bandage off most of the time, though I regularly bash the wound in the course of daily life and am tempted to go back to using a bandage just for protection. (I’d be more tempted except that I think that the bigger target made by the bandaged thumb may have actually gotten it bashed more often.)
The developing scar tissue is tiny compare to the original wound. I had no idea a wound could shrink like this! In the end, except that the thumb is now a slightly different shape than before (flatter in top), it’s not going to be evident without an inspection. All is well.
Last November, I started studying Spanish for work, since part of my job involved translating Spanish documents into English. I spent a chunk of time living in the Republic of Panama and was once semi-fluent, but that was 35 years ago. I had forgotten a great deal, and much had been “overwritten” by the Swedish I had been trying to learn from about 33 years ago. So, the Spanish is coming back pretty easily, and I am actually expanding my vocabulary a great deal. It’s been great fun and a lot of help.
However the class is after work, three days per week. That means that when I walk on those days, I am starting out very late.
Before that, I had been pushing for further and faster every day. I had started with a destination .7 of a mile from my office and was then regularly making it 3.2 miles in the evenings, most evenings. Starting out later meant that I didn’t get picked up until quite late, making dinner very late. Not good during the week. By Christmas, it had become so dark that I also felt that i was taking my life into my hands in crossing streets. So I still tried to walk, but I walked less and less. Not good. I missed the feeling of strength I got from moving a lot.
It took me quite a while to sort out what was happening. If I didn’t have time to make the 3 mile walk, I was often tempted to skip it entirely – especially when it was cold, or raining, or … well, just about any excuse worked. So, I started to rethink my goal. Now, if I “don’t ave time to walk”, I still walk – to the .7 mile destination. It takes me roughly the same 20 minutes as it takes Rod to drive from home to pik me up. It’s not a long walk, but it’s a great deal more than nothing.
That freed me up to ponder when I *can* take the long walk. On Tuesday, I don’t have Spanish class *and* Jack has a late art class. So I take that opportunity to stretch my walking time. I can start earlier and Rod has to start later, so it works out. On Friday, I feel like we can afford to be later, so I also try to make the longer walk then. When it’s raining, I still wimp out. I have to carry everything with me and I don’t want everything I care enough about to carry it all the time getting soaked. Maybe I’ll pick up a plastic poncho that’s big enough to cover my backpack one day…but meanwhile, I stay indoors.
I don’t feel as strong as I did when I was walking further, but I’m not sure whether that’s because of less walking or because of the “healing exhaustion” I have been dealing with for the last 6 weeks. Time will tell. But I am getting out and stretching my legs more anyway.
I am working on gearing up to cut my hair short. It will probably take my most of a year to get comfortable with the idea. My hair isn’t “magazine” pretty. Actually, when it’s down, it’s really pretty “underwhelming”. Thin and wiry on the ends and sort like a silver cloud. Nonetheless, I really enjoy my long hair. It looks pretty good up, and that’s how I prefer to wear it in public anyway. And in the few minutes that it’s down to be combed before my shower, I love how it feels tumbling down my back and brushing my hips. My long hair may not be gorgeous or even particularly flattering, but it makes me FEEL beautiful, and really that’s all that matters to me.
About seven years ago, my doctor changed my thyroid medicine on me. She changed it from a medicine that actually works to what amounts to a placebo. It took me a year of exhaustion and falling hair to figure it out – all the pharmacy bottles look the same and I hadn’t taken a moment to actually read it. (Have I mentioned that cloudy thinking and poor memory or major symptoms of unmedicated hypothyroid?) I lost over ha;f of my hair and had bald patches throughout. It was heartbreaking. There wasn’t a lot of point in cutting at that point; it would just make the bald patches harder to hide. But now, the new hair that grew in has grown to a decent length, and the ends are looking more and more ragged.
It’s time to cut it short and start over. *sigh* One of these days.
*Deep sigh* It’s almost time to declare my 53 year old Vitamix no longer viable. I can no longer get parts- they were discontinued a few years ago when we were struggling financially and unable to buy spares. And I can’t justify a new Vitamix at $500, either. However the “action dome”, the part that keeps the fod inside is so cracked that I can only use half of the pitcher without losing a large part of the food to leaks.
Rod has been amazed at the symbolic meaning of this machine in my life. He has recognized it for years, but he didn’t really understand it. It is, after all, just a machine. An old machine. A very. very loud machine. I discovered that this morning when I finally made my peace with giving it to my friend who has the same model. Linda, at least, will have spare parts for a while.
So…how can I love a machine? It’s a long story, but I bought the Vitamix very used in 1983. It was a 20 year old machine that had been reconditioned and resold by the Vitamix folks. We were very poor at the time, and I saved and paid it off over a couple of years with whatever spare change I could lay my hands on.
I had always been very interested in health and nutrition, but we were unable to afford the kinds of things I wanted to feed my family. The Vitamix allowed me to take our health into our own hands – it allowed me to use raw, unprocessed foods in a way that was yummy and also convenient. A handful of wheat berries, a few eggs, an apple and a piece of cinnamon stick and we had very fresh, very wholesome pancakes! A couple of quarts of frozen fruit and a splash of milk and we had “no added sugar” ice cream. It was extremely empowering.
Over the years, through better times and harder times, I built a lifestyle around that stainless steel machine. You know how wonderful home baked bread is? Well home baked bread from fresh-ground flour is that much more amazing. I could make hot applesauce from fresh apples – so much more flavour than cooked. I could make baby food from whatever we were having. I could make coconut milk for pennies, rather than the dollar per can the stores charge. I could make extra-special canned tomato sauce with the skins pulverized right into the sauce for more flavour, more colour, and more vitamins!
The message in my heart was always about having control over what went in to my “home processed” foods. Scary ingredients didn’t have to scare me because I had a choice.
So losing the service of the Vitamix feels sort of like losing my freedom.
Except that, in looking at the situation , I am coming to realize that there are other choices that would work now. We no longer eat grains or legumes, so grinding them ourselves is no longer an advantage.
In 1983, the Vitamix was, as far as I can tell, one of a kind. Now there are many other options – the BlendTec seems capable of everything the Vitamix can do. And with what we actually still use the Vitamix for – making coconut milk, smoothies, applesauce, tomato sauce, and other canning purees - we might even get away with a Ninja blender. At 10% of the price that’s looking pretty good. (I am having trouble with the idea of paying $500 for plastic.)
So…it’s been a week of losses. Some more meaningful and some less.
Jack loves video. He adores is. On one hand, I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of video as a primary educational resource. On the other, it seems that Jack retains a lot MORE of the detail from video than from reading. So, we do the reading which generally contains a lot more information, and then I try to use video to reinforce what he has learned.
Over the last few weeks, I have found several that are worth mentioning: World History Crash Course is funny and concise. I think it’s meant for much older children than Jack and the humour annoys me, but it’s worth a look if you are looking for a high level review of world history. I watched enough to feel comfortable letting Jack watch it when the time comes.
Khan Academy, of course. It’s got videos, but oddly enough Jack has been mostly ignoring those. What he LOVES is that it is set up like a game. You can earn “awards” for you work. You can see the colour spreading in your progress grid. And you get “credit” once you get five in a row correct! I find Khan to be the “monkey method” of teaching math. They show you HOW to solve the problems, but they don’t tell you why. Not why you might want this skill, not why it works that way. But he has Life of Fred for that – and I love that for Jack, math is FUN! He wants to get through calculus before he turns 13. I can go with that! :) (And I have given myself the challenge to get through elementary arithmatic before I explore the “more interesting” parts of the Academy…like science and humanities!)
I am also exploring the Big History project. It is right in line with the approach that we have been taking. It explores history, starting with the big bang and moving through anthropology. I don’t think it goes deep enough to be an entire history education – it is supposed to be a one-year course. But it’s aimed at the high school level, too, so what an excellent review when we get to modern times! And the information is likely to be way more up to date than the 19th century stories we’ve used as his childhood resources.
I think Big History is intended to be a part of the Core Curriculum movement, and I have found that to be the case with all of the Common Core State Standards. There is nothing wrong with them, per se, but they don’t go very deep into anything. They are a pretty decent review, but I can’t see them as curriculum materials.
Over the last few years, I have come across several stories like this and this. It does, of course, start me thinking. Beyond the first, most obvious, question (how does one decide that a 12 year old is “finished with high school”?) it got me to wondering how we would handle something like that if it did happen. It crossed my mind again when my sweet little velcro boy used to cry at the very idea of growing up and going away. He was much littler then and I think he is adjusting to the idea nicely, but it reinforced the idea that we won’t be sending him to University until he is socially and emotionally ready, regardless of the state of his current education. That sent me hunting for resources for continuing his education at home. We have found several resources. Great Courses, of course, has audio and video courses on hundreds of subjects. They aren’t cheap, but they are often available at the library or used. Then there are the free college level courses available on-line at Coursera and EdX. I’m not sure that they could all be built up into a real curriculum, but they could keep us busy in the time between whatever it is we decide is “the end” of high school. (I am very interested in those for myself, too. I have always wanted to earn a Ph.D. That may never happen – but the Ph.D. represents for me “being really educated”, and *that* could happen!)
Oh, and on the subject of “college at 12″, Penelope Trunk thinks much like I do.
Have a great Hobbit day (today, September 22, is the shared birthday of Bilbo and Frodo baggins) and a great week!
I had a dozen topics in mind for today’s post. They’re gone. Wiped entirely out of my mind by the sudden loss of a good friend.
On Monday, my friend Sue was having some physical discomfort.
“a bit of a muscle grab and a little breathing challenge”
is how she put it. Instead of heading to ER, which she considered, she called her chiropractor. She was very young. It seemed the rational move at the time. The exercises the chiropractor gave her worked immediately to relieve the discomfort. Unfortunately the problem wasn’t just a stiff muscle.
On Tuesday she died. Heart attack in women looks different than heart attack in men. Her cause of death hasn’t been announced, but that’s my bet.
I will miss Sue. She was the one we hired to take our first family portraits and she taught me a LOT about portrait photography. She was also my “go to” for technical challenges with this blog. We had just started to get to know her when life swept her away to Arizona, so while I knew her in person, she was mainly an “on-line friend”.
Sue exuded love and wisdom. A devout Christian, she had a clear view of right and wrong. But what I loved about Sue was that as deep as her devotion to her God was, she was content to leave my soul between me and my gods. She truly “converted by example”. One of the truest Christians I ever knew.
Sue loved life. She adored her husband and her 11 year old son. She loved to cook. She researched health and nutrition endlessly. She loved, more than anyting, being able to help people. Sue truly understood what makes people tick and her advice always got right to the heart of the matter.
The world, my world, is a poorer place without Sue in it.
Bon Voyage, my friend. Wherever your next journey takes you, I know you will make that, too, a better place.
Hi, guys! Sorry about that 365 thing, but I’m a bit busy. This is my latest crack at Photoshop.
ripped off and adapted from Myra Kornfeld
1 large *onion
1/2 pound of Yucca, peeled, cut into large chunks
1 turnip, chopped into large chunks
2 *carrots, roll cut
1 stalk of celery, cut into diagonal chunks about 2 inches long
2 large *tomatoes cut into chunks.
1 sweet potato, cut into large chunks
1 pound of winter *squash (kabocha, if you can find it) cut into large chunks
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of olive oil
4 tablespoons tamari
1/2 cup of almond butter
5 cloves of *garlic, minced
1.5 inch piece of fresh *ginger, minced
water to make the spice mix smooth
Put the garlic, ginger, tamari, olive oil, and nut butter into a food processor with enough water to allow it to be “creamed”.
When the vegetables are soft, add the creamed nut butter and spices.
Use the greens and pepper flakes to garnish.
Serve hot – yummy over sauted spagetti squash
Hey, everyone! We’ll be home two weeks as of midnight Sunday and we’re back in the full swing of daily life. It’s funny how time flows so differently at home with the usual routines than it does when on vacation with seldom seen loved ones. Then again, we packed our visit especially full this year, so there is more to remember about that three weeks than we usually have in many months. I have gotten most of the thank you notes out – it took all of the two week, and added to the 10 days it will take them to get there, they will come very late. Next time I’d better take some note cards with me!
I can start doing my chores again in about a week – if the healing is as far along as the doctor expected. I finally got brave enough to have a look once Rod told me that it was all scabbed over. It looks much smaller than I expected from the descriptions I was getting from folks when I was too cowardly to look. (It always seems to hurt more when I know what an injury looks like.) The scab is small in diameter, though much thicker than any I’ve seen before. Rod says that it is MUCH smaller than it was when it happened, and in that case, it must be healing pretty well. Since chores involves washing dishes, I’ll probably need to get rubber gloves. I don’t think hot soapy, filthy water is going to be a good idea for a while yet.
These photos are of Corey, Marika, and their daughter, Sara, at the wonderful BBQ party at the lake near Marika’s home.
You know, I don’t think it’s possible to take a bad picture in Sweden – it’s such a lovely place! And my family makes that even easier because they’re all so beautiful. more…
Note from Author
VERY IMPORTANT! DO NOT SKIP!
This world is set in the year 5000, when it is very hot due to global warming. The technology has improved vastly though, and people have adapted to the heat, and have developed more melanin. They keep cool with automatic water systems that are stuck all over their bodies. I would also like to warn you that none of the books in this series are for the faint-hearted. For all people who have not lived in the fifty first century, all unknown terms will be explained in the glossary. Have fun reading, From Your Author, Jack Smith
Îhil was platforming and texting on his new iPhone643, when he bumped into a billboard that said “Don’t text while platforming!” Fortunately he had slowed down to 5 miles per hour while texting, and just sat down hard.
“Darned signs!” he grumbled as he picked himself up “There’s one of them every 20 feet.”
He continued a bit more carefully and managed to get home before rush hour. He was at a loss at what to do next. He had just passed to manhood. “What next?” He asked himself aloud. Then he decided that, before money ran out, he’d better get himself employed. After much thought, he decided on being a NASA scientist. Back when 3D movies were expensive, and almost no one owned personal 3D glasses, you had to do a lot of studying to get a job in NASA. All you have to do now is sit in front of a high-frequency, very sensitive telescope, mainly to verify what the machine was telling you. So, he went over to the public teleporter, looked up the area code and punched it in. He hadn’t been in a teleporter before. He had a tingling sensation in the pit of his stomach. He felt numb, but when he fell over from numbness, there was nothing to fall onto, and he certainly did not obey the law of gravity; he was spinning in flips- that is, until he got there. He appeared in the receiving teleporter, and fell unceremoniously onto the floor.
“Ow!” he complained. “I had to land in the splits!” He picked himself up.
“Wow! That was interesting! Though I think I could have done without the uncomfortable landing.”
He walked around, and got himself totally lost. “Ok.” he said after coming to the same building for the third time. “I need to find my way to the main NASA building.” He pulled out his iPhone and activated the 3D GPS, and soon found that it was just outside of the little circle that he had been walking in. He headed there, entered the revolving door, and exited into a huge place with weird gadgets. He looked around. There was nobody around.
“Hello?” he called.
No answer. He wondered whether they had navigational signs. His eyes were drawn to an encased dead Plutarian. He shuddered and thought to himself, is this a solar history museum, or is this a place to study space? He wandered around and found the signs- and all of the missing people. There was a long line waiting in front of the sign saying “New Inventions and Discoveries”. He looked perplexedly at the line and asked the nearest person what on or off of Earth was going on. He was met with an informative answer.
“The professor of solar science has placed high intensity satellites to watch for wormholes around the earth’s area. If for example a wormhole had high intensity radiation coming through it, we would want to know.”
“Ok, thanks, do you by any chance know where and when they employ people?”
“Yeah, they employ on Sunday of each week.
“Ok, cool thanks!”
They waited in line. It was moving pretty fast! Soon it was Îhil’s turn to look.
“Wow!” he said.
What he was seeing was extraordinary. He was looking through the satellites “eyes”. He could see very faint flashes of light very far away. He noticed that the pattern was in the ancient code of Morse code. The pattern spelled out SOS, a long forgotten abbreviation. It stood for “save our souls”. He couldn’t help feeling uneasy, but moved away from the telescope. What he didn’t know was that the machine that he had just seen through would be the savior of many lives.
Hello, all! I am just back from visiting Sweden, where we helped my oldest son, TJ, celebrate his 33rd birthday! Well, actually, we landed at midnight last Sunday but jet lag, work, and recovery have kept me from having the brainpower to blog.
Anyway, we were gone for almost three weeks and we had an utter blast and an action packed adventure!
My youngest granddaughter, Sara, lives with her mother in Stockholm, so (after 35 years of visiting Sweden) we finally visited Stockholm!
What an utterly beautiful city! And, as a bonus, having heard concentrated “Stockholm accent”, I was finally able to hear the “Skåne-ish accent”! I’m told that “Skåne-ish” is a kind of Swedish “hillbilly” dialect, but it sounds very pretty to me – perhaps because it’s the Swedish I am most familiar with, though I have never learned to pronounce it properly, much to the amusement of my oldest grandhildren.
Bella has cultivated a “television accent” that she uses to entertain her friends and family and when I am completely flummoxed with trying to pronounce a word she and Ollie are trying to teach me, she teaches me how to say it in her fun accent -which I can almost always manage. ;)
Did I mention that we had a lot of fun? There was something very special about this visit.
Hey! Happy Saturday!
First off, another homeshooling bit. I have been gazing longingly at the Junior Great Books program for years. It looks like a really great program., but I’m not able to find anyone running the discussion groups near here, and I can’t afford the “whole kabooble”, which I figured I’d need if I was to try to have a three person “book club”.
However, I found some of the books at the Friends of the Library shop, and I bought one to have a look at it. Come to find out, it has questions and advice throughout the book that we could use to approximate the book club on a small scale.
The whole idea from my point of view is to help Jack take the next step in his reading proficiency by learning to really think about what he’s reading. These books seem like a good first step to do that. (We had a look at Deconstructing Penguins, but he’s not quite there yet. He found the whole concept frustrating, but maybe in a couple of years, after addressing literature this way, he’ll be ready.) more…
Jack thinks that I should tell you about a few of his recent passions. First is iCivics, an on-line game that teaches kids US civics in reasonably painless way. he especially likes the “Do I have Right” game.
Next, several months ago, Miss Nerida (Connor’s mother) told us about Horrible Histories, the BBC television show. Jack loved them on You-Tube! Then we found out about the books! So, I bought him a couple of DVDs and a handful of the books and he has been having a blast with them.
Warning. They are aimed at 10 year old boys with plenty of gross and scatalogical humour and heaps and heaps of irreverence and the like – you do not want to watch them over dinner if you have an active imagination and a sensitive stomach. But then, that’s exactly why the folks who like them love them.
More recently Jack mentioned that there is a whole HH world! I was intrigued and went exploring. I found Murderous Maths – the same irreverent approach, but aimed at Mathematics. I got him a handful of those books, and while he likes them, he isn’t quite as excited about those as he is aout the history book., I think it may be because many of the books are about maths he hasn’t learned yet.
The humour is definitely adolescent – aimed at slightly older kids than You Wouldn’t Want to books - but it seems to me that that gate lasts until at least age 35, so I think these books might have staying power for Jack…and his nephews later on, too, probably.
Edited again – Disqus seems to have solved the snow storm of spam. Moving this back into line.
Edited to add: I have just installed Disqus and I hope that will resolve the issue once I learn to use it. If that means you need to re-register, I am so sorry. :( But I really hope to stop losing comments like the one I just found, from Sue Talbert, from way back in 2012.
I have more than 57, 000 spam comments today and it just gets worse every day to the tune of ~2,500 posts every 24 hours.
If you have posted here before and your comments are visible, I have already made you able to post comments without approval. If you haven’t, I’m afraid that your comment may never be seen unless you take the extra step of letting me know. When you post your first comment, please send an e-mail to me, misti, at the domain of this blog letting me know to go look for it.
My apologies. I want to hear from you, but the spammers have won and I won’t unless you take this extra step.
Thursday was a great day! I love holidays mostly because I get to work with Jack on his studies.
(He gets days off when I have to work – mainly when he “gets a better offer”, so I don’t feel too bad about making him work on my “holidays”.)
I think he enjoys it, too – once he gets past the “But I want to …” stage.
I can understand that. I, too, can often think of 1,000 thinks I want to do when it’s time to buckle down – even to something I want to do.
But Rod and I have different approaches to Jack’s studies, and I think that most days a change is as good as a holiday for both of us.
Once we were done with his book work, Jack and I started work on our new “time lines”. I gave up on the one on the soffit because every breeze tore another piece of it off the wall, breaking the board that it was backed with so that we couldn’t put it back up.
So now, we are making a time line notebook.
We have a couple of pages at the front that cover long periods, and then the time line settles down to a century per page. (We may add another page to the front that covers pre-homosapiens, since we covered pre-history as a part of his “history” cycle and Jack wants to add those details, as well.) more…
Well, it’s the fourth of July, and I still haven’t planted anything but my lettuce box. (And I was amazed at how few seeds there were in the packets! I have barely enough lettuce all told, for one salad every few weeks, out of 7 packets!) Odds are I’m not doing a garden this year. I’m disappointed, but really, when it was time to deal with it, I had nothing left to give to a gardening project. Oh well. I would have liked to, but it’ not the end of the wold.
Since Rod has been feeling better, and now that I have my feet back under me, Rod and I have been taking a good hard look at Jack’s curriculum. Going in to this unit, I had been concerned that we were too light on maths and science, two subjects I know relatively little about. I had provided science materials, but the more organized materials didn’t work for Rod’s style of teaching – and many of them, though it wasn’t obvious from the research I had done, really required a group setting. With maths, Rod was working on arithmatic “without a net”. I trust him…but it was hard to see what Jack was learning and I worried that we might miss something important. more…
Incidentally, this is the birthday cake Rod made for me:
It is TRULY AMAZING!
The changes he made: I can’t have “natural lemon flavour” – flavourings are made from corn. So he left that out and put in the zest of one lemon. I thionk he also put the zest of two lemons in the glaze sine I an nuts about zests.
He says that it’s a bit fiddly to make but SO worth the time.
Hello, my friends.
It’s nearly July. Wow! Last January, I complained about “blogger’s block”. And then, though I posted the occasional recipe, I disappeared for the most part. But I missed blogging.
The last six plus months have been really hard.
I hadn’t put words to it until really recently because I tend to cope with crisis without getting ruffled, only to collapse once the crisis has passed, and that’s what I did this year.
I told you at the beginning of the year about Rod’s “not a stroke” – the cardiopulmonary urgency, as they called it at the hospital. That was scary. There was no blood clot and there was no bleeding, so it wasn’t a stroke, per se, but the blood vessels in his brain constricted to try to protect his brain from the very high blood pressure and they stayed constricted long enough to cause brain damage. He still staggers and has no feeling in parts of his legs. He is taking oxygen treatments in hopes of healing the damage, but so far he hasn’t mentioned an improvement and when he tired, I still see him stagger.
In a desperate attempt to get his blood pressure under control, his doctor put Rod on an ever-changing series of blood pressure medications. Rod called them “stupid pills”. As in, they made him feel stupid and unable to function.
They also sucked the life right out of him. For six months, I was living with a beautiful zombie. He reacted slowly, if at all and he really couldn’t do much but sit and stare – he and Jack got through their studies every day, and that took all the poor guy had left in him. Once a week, he would do a shop of sorts, but remembering what we actually needed was beyond him, as was remembering that he had a shopping list in his pocket. Rodney was walking the world in fog and had no energy. It was worse than before his diagnosis with celiac!
I have some friends who are thinking about homeschooling. They’ve asked me about the “day to day” and while I suspect that it varies a LOT day to day and family to family, I also couldn’t really answer because I rarely get to be around for the day to day.
Over the Easter break, I *did* get to work with Jack on his studies for several days. I wish I had had time to sit down and record my impression then, but life got crazy again, so I didn’t.
This is my best attempt to record what I do remember.
We started each day with a big, relaxed breakfast and some chores. Then Jack was ready to sit down. As always, he wanted to start with maths. I heard his math chapter, and then we both wrote down our answers from the Your Turn to Play page, and then we compared notes. Jack LOVED that and chided his Dad for not playing along when he hears the lessons – the difference is, I was actually learning something. I didn’t learn much math at all at school while Rod majored in it. What was a mildly pleasant challenge for me would have been very, very easy for him.
But that was my first observation – what done together seems to really speak to Jack.
Jack went much further with math than I would have asked him to – because he really enjoys it. After we did about five chapter of his math book, he also wanted to do a sheet of problems, so he did. I didn’t have extras printed for me, so I didn’t do those with him. Besides, I had to…ummmm…wash the dishes.Yes, that’s it, I had to wash the dishes. Uh huhn, well anyway, math took a couple of hours, and I noticed Jack’s energy flagging toward the end, so I suggested that he go outside and run around for a while.
He went outside and ran around and played for a while, and he got really involved, so I let him stay out as long as he wanted to. (I think that real breaks between topics are an excellent way to give the long term memory time to process the topics so that each days work doesn’t become a blur. It also gave me some time to do my own chores, which would be even more important to a parent who was doing this every day.)
After an hour or so, he came in ready to go again, so we pulled out his history survey and he read several chapters to me from that. It’s not his real favorite, so that took some time – and because the survey is covering matters he has covered in greater depth before, we discussed what this book had to say that was different from what he had learned before and why this author may have left some particular things out.
We have discussed before that this book is written from a christian point of view and tends to be aimed and rather younger children, so it doesn’t discuss ancient religions in any depth (or with any respect) and they tend to play down some of the things that many children would be horrified or confused by (human sacrifice, relationships between the sexes, etc.)
It went on like that, covering a topic for an hour or an hour and a half, then breaking for a run around and a snack between subjects. We covered five subjects per day that way – always the maths, the Core Knowledge book, and the history survey, plus two other topics that change day to day. If Jack was younger, we’d have spent far less time working and tried to cover far less, of course.
I was pretty impressed that Jack always came back refreshed and ready to go after not terribly long breaks. It speak volumes about the sense of responsibility Rod has helped to inculcate into Jack’s view of his studies. It also, I hope, speaks well of my close attention to his learning style, so that the core of his studies are in his favored style, with extras in various other styles.
(He’s developed a fondness for ‘worksheets’ in his Geography lessons, logic introductions, and math practices and is warming up to writing out lessons on the computer or by hand into notebooks, though those will never be his favorites.)
Re-reading it, I have no idea whether I’ve answered your questions – if I haven’t, please ask either here or privately.
Dear Representatives Stanley, Santana, Durhal, Dillon, and Smiley,
Ok, you want home-schoolers to register with the local school district. Why?
Well sure, it’s only registration, but for what purpose? No matter how I look at it, I see no reason what-so-ever why you should ask us to register in anything, not even as home-schoolers. I have read your legislation thoroughly, but I see no words describing why we should register.
I do not agree with Representative Stanley’s assessment at all.
“Kids must be in school in order to learn.” This is not true.
He is “looking to crack down on homeschooler’s truancy” if Mlive.com has quoted him correctly.
“This legislation is a no-brainer.” This is not a no-brainer at all. I’m a nine year old home-schooler, and I’m learning just fine with my dad.
“It is imperative that kids are in school.” Not at all!
“This is a non-partisan issue that will give the proper attention to all K-12 students. When we work to improve Michigan’s education system, we are helping the entire state.” He is tripping over his own words. He, if he succeeds, will not, what-so-ever, improve Michigan’s education system.
In fact, if he succeeds, I think that the effect will be disastrous. Said simply, the education system is a mess. For example, many people’s eyes “glaze over” when the word “math” comes into play, because they have been fed by the tea-spoon from the math book. They probably don’t remember half of what they were supposed to learn. I don’t want that to happen to me or rest of Michigan’s home-schoolers.
Another question: If we register, will you make another proposal for everyone who registered to not be allowed to home-school? If we sign this bill, we do not know what we are getting into. Is this the first step in an attempt to eradicate home-schoolers from Michigan? As I mentioned two paragraphs ago, I can’t see any point in this registration.
What I’m asking you to do is to please with-draw your legislation. That all I’m asking for.
Jack Smith, Ypsilanti, MI
18 February 2013
To the Honorable:
Fred Durhal, Jr.
Dear Representatives Stanley, Santana, Durhal, Dillon, and Smiley,
You have introduced before the Michigan legislature House Bill Number 4250, a bill that would require home-schooled children to be registered with the Michigan Department of Education.
My question to you: Why?
I understand your concern for the future of the young people whose education is being neglected, but it alarms me that the state legislature now proposes to require home-schooled children to be registered with the Michigan Department of Education, a requirement that can serve no purpose useful enough to justify the enormous cost in precious resources that this state can ill afford. House Bill 4250 can not do what it promises to do while it unnecessarily violates citizen autonomy.
The law [1561(3)(f)] as currently written, requires that for a student to be exempt from compulsory education, the education taking place in the home or non-public school must cover, at minimum, 8 specific subjects. In the event that they are challenged, it is incumbent on the non-public educators to prove that their scholars qualify for the exemption to the compulsory attendance act because they study those subjects outside the public schools.
The law already gives truant officers legal and substantial recourse if they suspect that insufficient education is taking place in the homes of those who claim to home school. If the child will be better served by being forced back into the school system, those responsible are obliged to use the existing truant laws.
Even if they complied with the proposed mandate to register, those families who neglect their children’s education would not be more readily identified simply by registering them with the State Board of Education.
Complicating matters, for every tale of woe about an irresponsible family who neglects their children by failing to educate them, there are a thousand cases of publicly educated children in our state who enter high-school without basic literacy skills. House Bill 4250 amounts to a bureaucratic non-solution to a truancy problem that has been with us since compulsory education was introduced in this country.
I fully agree with you that every child deserves an education, but the department of Education’s scarce resources would be better spent prosecuting irresponsible parents, rather than registering responsible ones. The eager scholar is ill-served when we squander the limited resources we have for the education of the children of this state on the staff and infrastructure that would be required to collect, maintain, and use home school registration information.
As a liberal, non-Christian home-educator, I can assure you that while home-education will continue successfully, as it always has, with or without registration, the already burdened state system will have an insupportable increase in its workload in registering its home-educators and their students.
There is no evidence to suggest that home-education in Michigan is broken. Surely there can be no fruitful end to an endeavor that would burden an already under-funded system with redundant information.
Please reconsider your sponsorship of this bill that flies in the face of our freedom and adds to the already substantial burden that the people of the State of Michigan bear in these difficult times
Misti Anslin Delaney
To my readers: please feel free to take this letter, make it your own and send it to your own Michigan representative. I will be sending paper letters to Lansing tomorrow.
3 cups blanched almond flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoon cinnamon
3 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil melted
4 cups carrots, grated
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, honey and oil
Stir carrots, raisins and walnuts into wet ingredients
Stir wet ingredients into dry
Place batter into 2 well-greased, round 9-Inch springform cake pan
Bake at 325° for 75 minutes, checking every 15 minutes after the first 50 minutes
Cool to room temperature and spread with frosting
2 cups unsalted cashews
1 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup Grade B Maple Syrup
2. Whip cashew butter, coconut oil and maple syrup in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes.
3. Cool in the refrigerator and then whip until fluffy before frosting the cake.
And another discovery
I love Citrasolv. It works amazingly well and it smells wonderful. The problem is, when I have it, I use it for everything, and it’s pretty expensive. (I see that they’ve added a lavendar bergamot scent to their line. Just as well I didn’t know about that!)
I came across a “recipe” for a similar cleaner that is very inexpensive, and almost as effective. If you add a few drops of essential oil, it even smells pretty good.
The “recipe”? As you eat your winter oranges, tangerines, lemons, and grapefruit, put the peels in a glass jar filled with white vinegar. When it’s full, set it aside for a few weeks. (You may need to add more vinegar as the peels absorb the vinegar you started with.) The longer it sits, the stronger it gets, so I start a new jar every time I fill one.
After a few weeks/months, pour the now citrus oily vinegar into an old spray bottle, squeezing the oil from the peels as you go, and add 2-10 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Shake before using.
It couldn’t be much easier and I now have a large supply of kitchen cleaner and degreaser sitting in the pantry to last me through the summer and into next winter’s citrus season.
The sun is growing stronger, even as the cold winds continue to blow. The buds of baby leaves swell in response to the stronger light. They serve as a promise that summer will come again.
Hey, all! Wow, it’s been a long while; my apologies.
Mainly, it’s been a problem of writer’s block, but also a bit of being very busy. I think I’ve mentioned that only bringing my computer out on weekends makes it harder to blog. Weekends are packed pretty full most weeks, and even making time for a brief post seems harder for some reason. (Maybe I think at some subconscious level that since they’re less frequent they should be more important. If that’s it, I need to get over it.)
Anyway, soon after I got the last of the cards made and mailed, we had quite a shock here at Chez Smiffy.
Rod ended up in the hospital with a minor stroke! YIKES!!
I experimented with adding honey to my homemade skin lotion and it does indeed keep my skin feeling soft longer. It feels nice and will be more important as the weather gets colder — so I’ll add it to my lotion bars, too, next time I make them. (Probably fairly soon, since I seem to be going through them pretty quickly.)
My home made skin lotion is even easier than the lotion bars — just melt coconut oil and combine it 50/50 with extra virgin olive oil (in winter) or jojoba oil (in summer). Add a few drops of essential oil, and you’re done. Pour it into a shallow jar that you can easily reach into the bottom of, because most of the year the lotion will firm up as it cools. Scrape a bit off, warm it between your hands, and then smooth it over your skin. I use a little witch hazel or aloe vera on my face under the lotion to help to thin the oil a bit and let it soak in more completely. If I’m wearing makeup, I pat the extra off my skin with a washcloth or bath towel after a few minutes, if I’m not wearing makeup, I leave it to soak in longer and it’s generally gone within a couple of hours.
For most of my adult life, I have suffered red, itchy skin on my arms and legs all winter. Skin moisturizer – the kind with no alcohol — helps, but it can be messy to apply. Especially as I’ve stiffened up over the years – and even more so now that I’m using coconut oil, which melts fast at body temperature.
When I came across the idea of a lotion bar, I was intrigued. I bought some bees wax and some soap forms over the summer, but it took me a long time to get around to trying the recipe I’d found.
The absolute BIGGEST news this month is the birth of our youngest grandson Rhazel James Motto on Friday, October 5, in Adelaide. He’s the third son of Rod’s son, Joel, and Joel’s partner Makita Motto. Word has it that the birth was quick and smooth and mother and son were home to same day. Rhazel is gorgeous, but that will have to wait – we’ve been asked not to post photos of him publicly just yet.
This is one VERY happy grandma! I have also been seeing more photos of most of the grandchildren on Facebook! They don’t have to be babies to make me smile. That may be as a response to whinging there that I’d lost all my photos a few weeks ago, but that just makes it a bright side of the loss.
It fascinates me how happy my grandchildren make me. I have always been a sucker for photos of my children – but I am just as much a sucker of photos of our grandchildren. I expected to love them, but I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to love them as much as I love my own.
With thanks to Sarah Fragoso, over at Everyday Paleo, this is my take on her Mexican Meatballs.
(I really want her cookbook! Every recipe I have tried from her site has been amazing.)
For the sauce
1 medium onion, minced
1/8 cup coconut oil
1 pint tomato sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
for the meatballs
1 pound of ground pork
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons of granulated garlic
1/2 small onion, minced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 pound of frozen spinach
Hey, all. I can’t believe that I had a three day weekend, with nothing planned, and I still didn’t manage to post! I did however, have a wonderfully relaxing weekend and the one following was also delightful, if not as calm.
I’ve been getting a decent amount of crafting done, which always leaves me feeling relaxed and contented. It’s more expensive than meditation, but it also leaves a record of my love for my beautiful children and grandchildren and it leaves me feeling as refreshed as what other people describe as the benefit of their meditation. I’ve never really gotten the hang of the more familiar meditation, I think. I do sometimes sit alone with my thoughts and wander whither they lead. Daydreaming, my mother calls it. That might be sort of like meditation.
Come to think of it, I also get that sense of calm from washing dishes and doing laundry. My mother would faint if she read that. I hated doing the dishes when I was a kid. But the repetition and mindlessness that drove me nuts as a child, now soothes me and leaves me alone with my thoughts. It’s funny what a half century can do for one’s thoughts on a task.
CZECHOSLOVAKIAN CABBAGE SOUP (Adapted)
3 lbs. pork soup neck bones
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 c. water
1 medium chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 small head coarsely chopped red cabbage
1/4 eggplant, chopped
4 stalks chard, chopped fine
1 zucchini, sliced
1 summer squash, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper
2 pint cans tomato sauce
3 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c. parsley
We’ve been home from Australia for three months, and I don’t think I’ve written about one of the big changes that happened while we were away.
Jack has experienced a huge developmental leap. It shows in the way he carries himself, the way he asks questions, and all kinds of subtle ways. The most obvious is probably his approach to his studies. Before we left, Jack whined and complained and tried to distract his father when it was time to get out the books and do school. Once he started, he seemed to enjoy himself, but it was a pain in the neck to get him started.
On the first leg of our trip, we stayed with Rod’s sister, Ann, who has two young adult sons. Martyn is in his last year of high school and Hayden has just started University. From the first, Ann and her sons treated Jack like a big kid — and after a moments hesitation, he responded as a big kid. While we were there, Jack also watched his cousins study hard, and postpone fun things until they had done their work for the day. This seems to have impressed him with the idea that being a serious scholar is a part of being “almost grown”.
When he got home, Jack showed a whole new attitude toward his work. He buckles down with enthusiasm, and has been tearing through the work I had planned to last until the beginning of next year so fast that I expect we’ll be needing the next unit much sooner than that. (Interestingly, he is also almost ready to start the last books of his spelling and writing “how to” series. I guess he’s right on schedule.)
But more than that, his approach to learning is also changing. In the “Grammar” stage (from ages 4 or 5 to about ages 9 or 10), kids are keen to know facts. They memorize arithmetic and spelling easily, and they delight in knowing all kinds of things. As they grow older (into the Logic stage, from ages 9 or 10 to ages 13 or 14 ), they start to want to know more. Not just what, but why and how. Jack is showing signs of moving in that direction intellectually, too. He get frustrated with books that pleaswed him not long ago.
So now it’s not just a matter of finding “more books” and expanding Jack’s knowledge. Now it’s time to research the next level — how to help Jack examine the “why”. This should be exciting.
It’s funny about 9.
A year ago, Jack still did a pretty good “velcro boy” imitation. Now, he spends almost as much time away from home without us as he does with us. Well, not true. Not really. It just feels that way.
He was at a chess tournament last night from 7 to about 11. (He won all of his games and took first place.)
Today, he is out for the day with his buddy Connor and Connor’s family for Connor’s birthday. I am happy for him to spend time with them; they’re excellent people. Good to the core. He has to learn about the world outside our home, and outside his parents influence. I feel safe with Nerida and Neal being his guides to a first glimpse of that bigger world. they don’t see it quite the way we see it, but they won’t lead him astray. But I still miss him.
It’s only going to grow from here.
In a few short years, Jack will be headed out to college, and then introducing us to his partner, and then his children. I know this path. I am more ready than I was when TJ and Corey walked it, in part because I knew it was coming. I took the time to enjoy the moments that seemed like they’d never end. Those long nights, walking the baby who can’t sleep. Those days when one more “why” seems like one too much. When it feels like the mess is forever. This time, I *knew* how brief that really is, and I soaked in every moment of it.
So…I’m more ready. And now, so is he.
Playing with his nephews, it seems as though Jack came to realize what a VERY big boy he is. As far as Joel and Autuma are aware, he will always have been a grownup. By the time they are the age he is now, he will be an adult. We discussed that after we met the babies for the first time, and the changes started in earnest.
I’m proud of my last son. Even as I miss those baby feet and the intense need of his younger years, I am getting excited to see the adult he will be. If he’s half as cool as his four big brothers, we have a lot of joy still ahead of us. I just hope he’ll stay closer, so we can watch the developments.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
It’s been quite while since I’ve had a chance to be truly still.
Weekdays are always rushed, of course, because the guys have to get me to work and then get about their day. I am up early, but the time is filled with getting my chores done then preparing for work. I rarely boot my computer during the week…unless I’ve forgotten what time and where my first meeting will be.
Weekends aren’t much different, we generally get up and have to rush off somewhere or prepare for guests, so we’re getting chores done and getting ready for the day as soon as our feet hit the floor.
This weekend, however, Rod is doing all the rushing. He has a conference across town, so he’s in for meals and then off again like a shot. Jack is at Connor’s house for a sleepover. I expect him back this afternoon after karate, since he and Connor are in the same Saturday morning karate class, but meanwhile I am on my own in blessed silence.
Today, I got to sleep in until I woke up on my own, and since I don’t have anywhere to be until Monday, I can do my chores as slowly as I like, blog, haunt Facebook, or whatever I want to do with my time.
I do, of course, have several scrapbook pages in progress that I really want to finish up today and several I want to start — and some new techniques I want to try and several (dozen) letters I want to have written before payday…but getting to them is up to me. Such luxury!
Anyway, things have been going well. I am now so busy at work that I rarely have time to write letters – which is why they’re this weekend’s project – a good kind of problem to have. I just have to start focusing on taking a lunch break and writing then. I’m not sure yet what the changes at work mean, but they seem to be good ones. At the very least, more to do means the days go faster.
Jack is really really enjoying his soccer class. (See the photos.) Usually, I am in the woods picking berries when he plays, but this week I didn’t have a chance to change my clothes and I don’t want blackberry thorns to tear up my work clothes, so I played with my camera instead. I’m glad I did. Of course, it means we don’t have that gallon of berries this week, but I got to see how much Jack loves soccer and that’s well worth picking the berries later. I also got these photos — so now I can scrapbook his love of soccer as well as karate. Good deal.
I have no idea how to gauge how good jack is at soccer (or not), but he certainly plays with great enthusiasm and puts his heart into it, and to me, that means he’s very good.
Rod and I continue our super-low carb detox. (He did the calculations and has determined that we’re eating about 40 or 50 grams a day.)
We’re into month two now and it’s getting easier. For the first several weeks I felt weak and tired a lot. I expected it, because I suspected that I was still a sugar burner. Being diabetic suggests that, as does low blood sugar if I hadn’t eaten for a couple of hours, even though I was undeniably fat enough to live off the “fat of the land” for more than a couple of hours.
Now, I still get hungry, but it takes a long time – 12 or 13 hours sometimes. And I feel hungry, but I don’t feel a ‘low blood sugar, cranky, don’t want to eat just want to sleep’ feeling. My stomach growls and my mouth waters and I feel an emptiness in my belly, but that’s all. I can wait, if I have to and my family isn’t at risk if I have to.
I still try not to let that happen at work, because there are endless temptations there that will make me hurt in every joint and make me miserable for at least three days — but which I find VERY hard to resist when I get too hungry. Well, I find it easy for a week or two after I succumb and feel miserable because I still remember that it never actually tastes good. I also find it easier if it’s not too prominent. Unfortunately I have VERY generous colleagues and there are usually open bowls of candy on at least several nearby desks and pastries, bagels, cakes, or something similar on the counter near the water fountain. I can walk past those for hours, but after a while, if I’m hungry, my resolve weakens, so, I try always to have something in my desk and plenty of food for the day.
As I’ve gotten to be more of a fat burner, it’s gotten easier because I am less often that hungry.
I have been doing some research and have come to realize that while we don’t “qualify” as paleo, we seem to fit much better under the “primal” umbrella. (Rod keeps trying to figure out why it matters to me that we do or don’t fit under an umbrella, since it won’t have much effect on what we do — we include or exclude foods based on how we feel (and in this most recent case, based on doctors recommendations for a specific reason and a specific period). I think it matters to me because it’s easier to explain. I’m bad at regurgitating information on command. I am good at research. I’m good at collating the research I do into a well-written white paper/blog post/letter. But I lose details pretty fast. Much easier if people I am talking with face to face have general questions to be able to say “research ** on the Internet”.)
Anyway, the primal lifestyle is similar to paleo, but is based much more on vegetables and fruits with meat coming in second place. Paleo recipes are still a mainstay, but we add more vegetables more often. I think Rod would be quite content on a strictly paleo routine, but I can only eat so much meat. I got very sick as a vegetarian, but I didn’t actually miss the meat.
Another thing I have come to realize is how lucky we were in the way we approached this. We weren’t looking for weight loss. We were looking for health and we gradually eliminated foods as we discovered that they made us feel bad. We could fine tune according to how we feel, and be happy when it worked to make us feel better.
People who are looking for weight loss would never have persevered the three years it took us to start seeing that.
The extreme weight loss actually took me by surprise and freaked me out to a degree that I “put a stop to it” for 8 or 9 months while my self image caught up. (By eating way too many potato chips – they’re not food, but they don’t make me hurt, either and they taste good. And because they’re carby-liscious, they also slow weight loss.)
Now that we’re detoxing from sugars, the weight loss has started again at about 10 pounds per month as best as I can tell. (We don’t have a scale, so I weigh myself only sporadically.) I suspect that when I add starchy vegetables back again in October, if it doesn’t stop, it will slow down. It has to end eventually, and I think I have made my peace with looking very different.
Folks who want to ‘be skinny by next weekend’ spend a lot of effort on tweaking what they’re doing to maximize weight loss and get frustrated that the weight doesn’t come off faster. We never went through that. We got less and less sick, and we were able to enjoy it fully for what it is. And we still got the (benefit?) of weight loss.
OK, Jack’s home. Time I went to play with him. Have a great weekend!
May this first harvest festival bring the fruit of your labours and mark the beginning of a beautiful new cycle for you!
3 tablespoons un-hydrogenated lard
1/2 red onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced fine
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 pound of ground pork or beef
1/2 red (or green) bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper (or cayenne)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground oregano
5 large eggs
6 large lettuce leaves (leaf lettuce, romaine, or iceberg)
1. Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the lard over low heat until the celery is soft.
2. Crumble the meat into the sauteed vegetables and saute until the meat is almost cooked.
3. Add the spices and the bell pepper, and stir to combine.
4. Stir in the eggs and cook until the eggs are the way you like them.
5. Serve the burrito filling in the lettuce leaves.
- you can add salsa if you like it and if dairy is in your work, it would be terrific with shredded cheddar, too.
Serves three — or six light eaters.
There is plenty to say … I hope to blog sometime today– but meanwhile, it would be good if I didn’t burn the burrito filling. :p
1 can of full fat coconut milk
4 tablespoons chia seeds
a dash of cinnamon
a splash of vanilla
1. Put the seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon in a bowl and stir them up.
You want to make sure the cinnamon is mixed in so it doesn’t just float on the top when you add the liquid.
2. Stir in the coconut milk.
3. Let it sit on the counter for several hours to sprout the seeds, then refrigerate overnight.
4. Next morning, mix it with a cup of your favourite berries and eat. Yum
Note: I used a lot of vanilla and quite a bit of cinnamon because Jack doesn’t like coconut milk–and next morning I used a tablespoon of honey in his share. He loves it.
Next time, I might try a tablespoon of lemon juice in the coconut milk to see if I can get a more sour, yogurty flavour.
Chia seeds are high in Omega3, high in fiber, low in carbohydrate, has a very good ratio of omega-3 oil to omega-6 oil, is 20-30% protein, 35% oil, 25% fiber. Gluten-free and very low-sodium. Contains the important mineral boron, a catalyst for the absorption of calcium, so it’s good for your bones,
Constituents: linolenic acid, linoleic acid; antioxidants: chlorogenic and caffeic acids, myricetin, quercitin, and kaempferol flavonol. chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and flavonol glycosides; mucin, fibre; 8 essential amino acids (score 115.)
Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, B17, C, D, E, K, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA.
Minerals: boron, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, strontium, sulphur, zinc, amylose (a slow-burning starch helpful in treating hypoglycemia), and electrolytes.
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!
by Dave Griffith
I adore stuffed cabbage, but I can’t tolerate the rice anymore. I also rarely have the time to make a real stuffed cabbage meal (an hour and a half *after* it’s assembled? Oh dear).
Anyway, I had a hankering for it tonight– and I went looking for a paleo stuffed cabbage recipe to adapt into a sort of “casserole”. I found one! Yay! Thanks to Jeff Nimoy for the head start recipe!
Technically, Rod and I shouldn’t be eating tomato sauce, but we’re compromising by not adding the tomato paste my recipe calls for.
8 leaves of cabbage
1 pound of grass-fed beef
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 1/4 cups of chicken or beef stock
2 stalks of celery
1 large onion
I pint of tomato sauce
Black pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Onion powder to taste
Lemon juice to taste
Chop the cabbage into bite sized squares.
In a food processor add the cauliflower, celery, 1/2 onion, and chop until cauliflower is the consistency of rice.
Saute the “riced” cauliflower in 1/4 cup olive oil, then add about a cup of chicken stock. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Saute 1/2 onion and 3 cloves of fresh garlic in olive oil in a deep frying pan. Add the ground beef, paprika, and black pepper and fry up until the beef is lightly cooked. (Optional, I like to extend the beef with a thick slice of eggplant chopped up. Once it cooks down, it adds bulk without much flavour.)
Add the tomato sauce and garlic powder, onion powder, and lemon juice (until it’s sour enough for you. (For a sweeter sauce, you could add in raw organic honey to taste).
Add the cabbage to the meat sauce mixture, a cook until the cabbage is limp.
Serve the cabbage and meat over the vegetable “rice”.
Originally published at Life at Chez Smiffy ©2010 Misti Anslin Delaney-Smith
If you have a two year old, you have lots of time to pull together a curriculum. If you are a newly minted ‘unintentional homeschooler’ at mid-year, this is going to take more time than you can expect to have in the short term. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing — unless you plan to re-enroll next school year. (In which case, grab a copy of the Core Knowledge curriculum. You’ll be fine.)
If you’re thinking this is for the long haul, writing your own curriculum may well be worth your while. It will take time to do the research, but the payoff can be great.
Meanwhile, you’ll want to spend some time “deschooling” researching your options, and learning more about how your child learns best before you start any serious planning. Focus on making trips to the library, museums, and into the community the basis of your child’s education for the time being and explore different education methods as you come across them. Don’t worry, your child won’t fall any further behind than you can catch up.
Once you have a plan in place, there will be plenty of time to catch up. Remember that even the high school valedictorian, even a Ph.D., doesn’t graduate knowing everything there is to learn. The important thing for now is to make learning interesting and learn how you learn best together. If your scholar learns to learn and learns to love learning, there is no “gap” he or she can’t close. If that love of learning doesn’t happen, it doesn’t matter what you teach because there will be little learning happening.
On average, families finish in two hours what it takes the schools to cover in six. Really, there really will be plenty of time!
We’re doing a barbeque for 20 or so today — and none of our barbeque sauces or brines we going to work for us, because we’re on the zero sugar, almost zero carb detox until October. Never a pair to let a little thing like that stop us, we did some research and found Lou and his sugarfree brine recipe. (A barbeque sauce without any sugar at all – no molasses?!?!? — just doesn’t sound that appealing.) Thanks for sharing, Lou!!!
Many brines call for the addition of sugar, the theory being the sugar helps crisp the skin. I say that’s bullshit and hence no sugar.
½ cup kosher salt
1 TBS coarse ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed (skins on are OK too)
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf, crushed
5 whole parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
1 TSP dried oregano
1 TSP dried or fresh chives
1 TSP dried thyme
1 TSP dried rosemary
In a 4 quart bowl or pot fill with 2 quarts of cold water. Add the pepper and salt and stir until dissolved (this will take a bit of time)., then the onion and garlic. Take all the herbs – fresh and dried – and coarsely chop together. Add chicken and place in fridge according to times below. Try not to exceed these times as the chicken may become too salty.
Boneless chicken breasts: 30 minutes
Bone in chicken parts: 40 minutes
Whole chicken: 60 minutes
Rinse chicken under cold water prior to doing anything.
What an amazing and wonderful weekend! It’s been hot, of course, and that was a bit of a challenge. Interestingly, though, we are more comfortable these days at 110 than we used to be at 85. (I was even able to walk about 3 miles on Independence day, in addition to watching the whole parade standing in the sun — because the shade was taken and I dislike crowds more than I dislike heat.) Increased good health is wonderful!
We spent pretty much the whole weekend getting together with friends we don’t see nearly enough of. On Saturday, the Star Ladies – as Jack called them when he was three - a group of astrological enthusiasts we have been a part of since before Jack was born threw their annual summer party/birthday bash for the Cancers amongst us. We used to get together with them every week and often more, but life got busy and Rod’s choir and Jack’s karate class are on the same evening they meet so it had been about a year since we had sen most of them. It was glorious to catch up!
Then today, some dear friends came to visit, bringing their lovely daughter — the first time we’d gotten together since last August! We used to be very close and I have known their daughter since just after she stopped wearing diapers. We used to get together at least once a month, even though we live about an hour apart, but when life got busy and stressful for both families at about the same time, those visits waned. Today, we just had a BBQ at our house. Low key, relaxing, and a salve to the souls of old friends.
It’s late and I want to be asleep, but still, I feel relaxed and contented, like these two days were as long as the month I was away. It probably helps that last week was two two day weeks, but good times connecting with old friends was amazingly refreshiong, nonetheless.
This week should be cooler–in the 80s rather than over 100. I’m glad. 87 is sounding positively moderate and I’m ready for some moderate heat. Can you believe that I had to stop crafting because my adhesives were melting and unable to stick ribbon to paper?!?! I hope to finish that poor page this week just in case the heat returns.
Oh…I recently discovered that I have been neglecting to label my recipes as recipes so they’re not available on the tag cloud. oops, sorry about that. I’ll try to get to that starting this week.
This is great in Berbere Lentil stew — a traditional Ethiopian dish. It’s also fantastic in any kind of meat – -meatballs, stews, roasts.
Keep the rest stored in a tightly closed jar in a cool dark place.
16 servings, or about 2 cups
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
2 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chives, finely minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely minced
In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk with the lemon juice and vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy; cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to meld and the dressing to thicken.
Keeps well refrigerated for up to one week.
This is an excellent recipe that we like to use for a rich creamy salad dressing, over f’lafel, and with lamb.
Put the garlic through a garli press, then mash into the sea salt. Whisk together the garlic paste and the ingredientds other than the tahini and let sit for up to 4 hours. Add the tahini, whisk, and serve. Keeps for a week or so covered in the refrigerator, I’m told, but we have to to have leftovers.
Makes about a cup and a half.
(We’re thinking we could cut the oil down or maybe out completely to let the garlic and lemon shine. I’ll let you know if that’s a disaster.)
I don’t know whether it’s literally true, but a local paper announced that we were in one of the three hottest cities on the planet one day recently.
Hyperbole or no, it has been unseasonably hot here since shortly after I got back — maybe before that. I have been coping a lot better than I did previously, though days at home are very “not hungry” days. So far, as of 4pm, all I have wanted was an ice cold green smoothie.
Rod has been diagnosed with a systemic fungal infection, so for the next 90 days, starting today, our diet is about to get even more unusual. Yay, right? Oh well, my pancreas will probably be very happy for the rest it will get from 90 days with no sugar and virtually no carbohydrates.
Really, the big things that we’ll be avoiding are starchy vegetables (carrots, beets, parsnips, potatoes, and winter squash) nuts, and fruit. Well, and the occasional bad habit of potato chips.
Jack isn’t going to do this with us, but he will be more limited than usual because if the stuff is in the house too much, it will be almost impossible to stay strict. It is, after all, 90 days, not forever. So, Jack will have a potato or sweet potato with dinner and his usual apples, oranges, and bananas, and Rod and I will have…other things. We can do anything for 90 days, right? And it will be good for my pancreas, right? *sigh* I’m glad it’s summer so there will be lots of non-starchy vegetable options available. I’m not, as you might guess, looking forward to this.
I have finally gotten around to printing some of the best photos from our trip to send to the family. One interesting problem is that I am now getting happy enough with my work that there are more choices than make sense to print — and I am even printing a few in large format. A interesting new problem, though one that’s been growing in the last year or so. It’s a cool problem to have really.
And I have whole new vistas opening up to me! Rod bought me my first tripod for my birthday. It’s so light that I can (and do) carry it around everywhere I go. Of course, I have switched from a purse to a gigantic backpack, and that’s how I can carry it. It lacks class, but it’s practical and while I would rather elegant *and* practical, that doesn’t work for me these days so practical wins.
I have also switched my lunch containers over to glass rather than plastic, which makes my load that much heaver when I walk after work. That’s terrific for my training (I am in training to walk across Southern Sweden as a retirement gift to myself) but I am finding that the extra weight discourages me from taking the camera out of my backpack and taking photos. Hmm. Maybe as I get more accustomed to it, it will be less disabling. If not, I can start leaving the glassware at work when I walk and double the washloads when I don’t. I’d rather not, because I want to be able to walk 3 times per week or more and I’ll run out of glassware if I walk more than every other day. Oh well. I’ll keep doing this way for a while and see if improved strength makes it easier. After all, I’ll be loaded down on my walk across Sweden and I want to take photos then, too!
The photos with this post were taken at a trash dump not far from Melbourne, Australia. My sister in law, Ann, had a photography assignment, and I tagged along. It never failed to amaze me how much beauty there is in the world, in the places where you’d least expect to find it, once you open your eyes to look for it.
It’s Thursday, and well into the work week. I’m still not caught up at work, but I am enjoying being very busy. It was also very nice to hear my boss say that he know viscerally gets what I accomplish.
I am still pouring through the over 700 photos I took — plus the many that we got from Rod’s brother and sisters. The Smith clan has a delightful custom of swapping around all the photos everyone took at at event, so I have some of the photos I wasn’t able to catch myself. How cool is that! Trudi is a genius at getting those babies to smile — every shot I took, they’re looking about to cry. She was also there when Jack fed the wallabies and kangaroos and when he cuddled the koala. I was home with a cold that day, and she got some genius shots of Jack and Lisa having fun.
This photo was one I tried based on Ann’s description of Lee Friedlander’s work. I came home and did my research and realized it’s not even a little close…but I like it anyway. (I call it “Journey”). It was taken on the train from Adelaide to Geelong, in the few minutes Jack consented to hang out with me.
Friedlander’s style is far from my own, but I have decided to try to emulate it on my next photo adventure, just for the practice.
But now, I have an early meeting and had better hit the shower. I hope you have a great rest of the week!