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Showing posts from July, 2009

Just a Day

Today I spent lots of time cleaning the girl's room. With three of them in a smallish room, there's not any space for extra junk. Each girl has her own bed, a tall bookshelf and a drawer in the one chest of drawers, and closet space for hanging clothes. There's also some space at the top of the closet for big containers of things they are almost grown out of like dress-up clothes and doll stuff. Now, their shelves contain mostly books, figurines, icons, and CD/Tapes. There's a craft basket, a yarn container, and the beads got sorted and stashed at the top of the closet as well. My kids are definitely growing up!

And I'm so very very grateful that with three girls sharing a fairly small room, they get along very well and don't fight.

I've basically decided that Bethany needs to be on the GAPS diet in order to improve her health, but I need to wait until Wes is completely on board with it. Meanwhile, I've pulled her off grains of all kinds, and a…

Currently Reading...

Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, ADHA, Dyslexia, Depression, Schizophrenia, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride M.D., MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition)

Oh wow. This book is not just describing my daughter, but rather our WHOLE FAMILY.

Please pray for us that God would grant us wisdom as to whether or not to do this diet, and the willingness to stick with it, the finances for the supplements and the juicer and the water filter we will need, and the determination not to make excuses for ourselves.

I love the fact that the author is a doctor who has a clinical practice treating GAPS people, and that she has all those relevant degrees.

I've only read the first part so far, and will soon delve into part 2. Then I'll have to find a way to convince my husband to read at least part one, and then figure out how to implement this diet.

Meanwhile, I have some honey sweetened coconut macaroons baking in the oven. Might as well start giv…

Five For Five Meme

Ok, I lifted this off Mimi's blog. Here goes:

Five for Five Meme

5 things I was doing five years ago:

Being sick and getting diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
Gaining weight
Getting the kids out of bed and off to public school every morning
being president of PTA (was horrible)
feeling sick

5 things on my to do list:

grading some papers leftover from last year
exercise
filling out new patient forms for the dentist
folding laundry
taking kids to pool tomorrow

5 things I would do with a million dollars:

donate some to charity and Church
go on a trip to Europe and a trip to Alaska
buy a house
invest for retirement
set up trust funds for the kids

5 places I have lived:
Louisville KY
Lexington Ky
Wilmore KY
Bowling Green KY
Nashville TN
somewhere in the Jura mountains in Switzerland
Basel, Switzerland...OK, that's seven...whatever, I could keep going...Thalvil Switzerland, Munich Germany

5 things I want to be doing in 5 years:

Be the mom of two high school graduates, an eleventh grader and a tenth grader.
kn…

Getting Ready for a New School Year

I love the line in You've Got Mail about a bouquet of sharpened pencils. That just perfectly captures how I feel about late summer, and the anticipation of a new school year. When My kids are all grown up, I surely will have to get a job in a school somewhere so that I can continue to participate in this season.

In less than glamorous fashion, however, the reality involved me spending time today getting loads of books off the various shelves of our house and stacking them all on our bed, sorting them into "keep", "use next school year", and "discard" piles. The discard pile was rather huge because we bought lots of curriculum (workbooky type of stuff) that everyone ended up thorougly hating fairly soon after we acquired it. This disappointed Wes to no end, because of the expense of the hated workbooky curriculum that got ditched half way through the year, but I keep telling him that it's part of the process.

Each year we've spent around a…

A One-Eighty from a Liver-Hater

It's Fight Back Friday over at Food Renegade. Here's my contribution:

One of the yummy things that we've started eating in the past couple of months is organ meats. So far we have been able to find two types of organ meats that some of our family enjoys: Grass fed beef liver, and Scrapple.

The grass fed beef liver was a surprise to me. I'd read how very nutritious it is, and when I saw on my farmer's price list, how very cheap the liver was, I ordered a couple of packets. I made my first batch with fear and trepidation, childhood memories of bitter, gall tasting liver haunting me.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Grass-fed liver is good! Mild, and almost sweet-tasting.

Here's how I cook it:

Rinse thawed liver well. Cut into strips. Dredge in salt and pepper seasoned unbleached flour. Pan-fry in skillet using lard.

I like to serve this with rice, and a nice crisp salad. Gravy seems a bit too nineteenth century for us, although once the liver is cooked, the pan i…

She without arm, he without leg - ballet - Hand in Hand

Dance anyways!

What If? My thoughts on our health care crisis

When I think about the health care situation in this country, I always think of the people no one thinks about very much, the ones who fall through the cracks of consciousness. I think, first, of the mentally ill.

Mentally ill people are really despised in our society. They are not easy to live with and often their lives, and the lives of their families holds a level of stress and chaos that is simply unfathomable for those not affected. Mentally ill people often have trouble organizing their lives, trouble with personal hygiene and sometimes proplems with substance abuse. Chaos, stress and poverty are the offspring of mental illness. (I'm not saying that mental illness is the sole source of chaos, stress and poverty, but often when when mental illness is present, poverty follows).

The reason I think so much about the fate of the mentally ill is because my daughter is mentally ill. Will she get better? Is there a cure? Some enzymes, the right vitamins, a special diet? …

A Persprective on the Health Care Reform Issue

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I'm going to be weighing in with my own thoughts on this subject next. Meanwhile, I want to share this article written by my brother-in-law, Kevin. Interstingly enough, what he wrote could also be used to point a finger at the meat producing/processing systems in this country. I guarantee you that Kevin, and my sister, and their kids are now eating family farm raised beef, or no beef at all:

This coming week will be one year since we almost lost our daughter, Milla, to E. Coli.

June 26th 2008 I purchased ground beef from Kroger. July 10th 2008 we found out that there was a beef recall because of E. Coli on the beef I bought. Of course we had already eaten this beef.

July 12th 2008, Milla woke up sick, fever of 103 and above, and diarrhea. After a couple hours and a half dozen diaper changes we called the pediatrician’s office. I talked to a nurse and told her what the symptoms were. I also told her about the recalled beef. She told me it wasn’t E. Coli but a virus going around.

Jul…

Switching to Real Milk

A few months ago, I made the big switch to Real Milk a.k.a. raw milk. After knowing about the benefits of raw milk for a while, and after knowing some friends in Lexington who had gone this route, I finally found a trustworthy source that was accessible to both my budget and my shopping routine.

As a bonus, my quest for raw milk from grass fed cows has also given us access to grass fed beef, liver, pastured eggs, cream and butter. Down home locally grown goodness.

At first, some of the kids were suspicious about the taste and the differences in how it looked, the fact that cream was floating to the top, etc.

And face it, raw milk just tasted different than pasturized milk. Not worse, but definitely different. I think it tastes better, and so do lots of people.

I would like to share with you the strategies I used to get my family used to the differences in raw milk. As I've blogged before, I have the world's most picky eater in the person of my son, and I am happy to re…

Rudimentary Soap Carving

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I have some fond memories of childhood soap carving attempts. Failed childhood soap carving attempts, but fun nonetheless.

Today, I was chipping soap shavings off a large block of old fashioned lye laundry soap that I'd bought from a local farmer, so I could melt those shavings into a gel by adding water. And before I knew it, I'd been inspired to get a smaller knife and have fun creating shavings.

So I did.

Here is the result:

A wildcat head. Or perhaps he's a dog. The photos look like a dog. I sort of looked at what my soap block was already looking like, and just went with it.

I think one difference is I'd never carved anything but commercial soap before, and it has something in it to make it much harder, more brittle. This stuff was much easier to work with.

And now I also have a nice jar of laundry gel sitting atop my dryer.

Giveaway at Food Renegade

www.foodrenegade.com is having a blog giveaway. I don't want you to win. I want to win. But still, now you know, so you can go over there and enter.

Plans for a "nice quiet day"

Done so far:
-Matins
-Coffee with my friend R. (God has really really blessed me with some wonderful friends here!)
-cooled tea poured into Kombucha "tanks"
-milk heated up (oops I overheated it!) and cooling to make cheese later
-soaked beans rinsed and into crock pot
-laundry started

Still To Do:
-Do lots of laundry, fold and put away
-Stretching video and a weight lifting workout...although I think I'll stretch after doing the weights.
-Make fromage blanc
-get a batch of lactofermented cabbage sauerkraut started (will then be ready by Saturday) with some of the whey from the cheesemaking which is why I decided to make cheese in the first place.
-meeting tonight
-take kids to library
-call and place my farm foods order
-clean bathrooms
-continue reading Harry Potter: Half Blood Prince
-continue watching all the Harry Potter movies with the kids this week (with one eyeball while I work on the most boring crochet project ever), in anticipation of seeing the new movie out this wee…

This and That

For some reason last night my body just would. not. go. to. sleep. I lay there for what seemed like forever. Well past one, before things finally decided to shut down. No idea why. I'd not even had any caffeine. Go figure.

Well, here's hoping I get better sleep tonight.

The baked oatmeal was a success. So is the menu plan. My kids LOVE knowing what's coming. I like not having to figure stuff out, too.

Tonight I tried a new pasta cooking technique: I got the water started boiling, added the noodles, covered it and turned off the heat. And then I went to vespers. An hour later I came back and drained the still warm and nicely fluffy pasta (twas a wee bit softer than I'd normally cook it, but very very edible) and we ate dinner. I'd done the sauce up in advance, too. So, in addition to baking stuff in the oven while I'm at vespers, now I have another vespers-friendly menu item. Yay.

The Waterfront Park is just lovely. The kids and I explored the…

Well I Finally Did It!

I made a menu plan for this week.

One of the challenges (I know I've mentioned this before...blah blah blah) is my son, Eric, who has some sensory integration issues for which we've never been able to afford therapy. One way, the main way actually, that this manifests for him is called, apparently, Sensory Eating Disorder. I've also heard it called resistant eating.

At any rate, I'm very concerned that it not degenerate into Anorexia at any point. I must keep him eating. And so, part of planning a menu is planning meals that the whole family will love, and which, with as few modifications as possible, I can feed him.

So, here's what I came up with for this week:

Monday Lunch: Egg salad sandwiches/or on salad with fresh veggies. Eric: Scrambled egg and apple slices.

Monday Dinner: Meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans. Eric: meat patty (reserved from before adding meat to meat loaf ingredients) and oven baked fries. (and halleluja, we had a peaceful din…

Today

-slept too late to go to Matins.
-breakfast, made sandwiches for Wes.
-Did some reading on the net. Blogging perhaps, can't remember.
-Got myself ready and went and picked up milk etc. from the farmer. Enjoyed seeing and crossing the Ohio River. I love rivers.
-Lunch: Smoothies.
-Put pen to paper and made some workout plans. Finally found the missing dumbbells I'd been missing in the coat closet. Funny how things get put in odd boxes and stashed variously when one moves. Did a wee bit of lifting today, but will go hard at it starting either tomorrow or Monday.
-Ran out to try and buy a swimsuit for Maia. Every summer this happens. One of my kids will need a swimsuit in July and let me tell ya: Those things are HARD to find in July. It's already all a bunch of school uniforms and school supplies filling up the stores now. Every. Stinkin'. Year. Someone wears out their handmedown swimsuit. I think I just need to buy them all new suits at the beginnig of ev…

United Breaks Guitars

This guy made a music video for youtube because United Airlines wouldn't pay for his broken guitar, which they broke. Squeaky wheel, and all that.

Brilliant!

The Interloper at the Farmer's Market

A few weeks ago, I had to make a run into a major chain store to buy some paper products. While I was there, I looked around and really noticed something that I'd seen before, all the time, but had never paid attention to.

I think it was the contrast that struck me.

You see, for a very long time...like forever, my food budget felt tied to shopping at the major chain store. I felt like I had no choice. But now, somehow, without increasing my food budget, I'm shopping in a radically different way and not spending more money.

There's been a shift. But I digress from the point I'm going to make which I've not gotten to yet.

The contrast that really struck me, was that ALL the people who were shopping for food at this major chain store looked really really unhealthy. The fat ones (most of them were obesee) were very obese. The thin ones had that coffee-and-cigarrettes too-thin emaciated look with bad hair. Poor skin tone. The whole package. Everyone looked …

Today

-Spent morning making a huge batch of freezer waffles and reading snatches of Nourishing Traditions while waiting for the timer on the waffles to beep.

-Talked to my Dad on the phone about fibromyalgia.

-Took daughter to pharmacy (she didn't strickly speaking have to come with me but she did) to pick up her new prescription. It only cost 33 cents!

-Made some phone call inquiries about some psychiatrists. Dead ends, all.

-Took kids to the library and found ourselves there in time to see a special program by the Raptor Rescue Society. Saw some gorgeous birds: Two types of hawks, a couple of adorable little owls and a turkey vulture.

-Did my Whole Foods shopping.

-Cooked liver and rice and veggies for supper. I love liver (used to hate it when I was a kid). Can't seem to get enough of it. Resolved to have it at least once a week. Wish Eric and Ariana would eat it.

-Went to choir practice only to find out had been cancelled. Free time! Alone! Hit the thrift store inst…

Psychiatrist Woes

I don't like my daughter's psychiatrist, and I'm just about to the point-after six months of putting up- of finding a different doctor.

But sometimes a known annoyance is better than the unknown. How do I know I'm going to find a good replacement? Another reason I've been staying around is because the therapist is so nice and wonderful. But the doctor herself: I'd give her a D.

Does not listen to us. Does not discuss meds and side effects...basically she just throws one prescription after another at us. She's slow on the uptake when Bethany is not doing so well (stems from not being a good listener). No discussion about how things are interacting, or what side effects of these various meds might be. Me: "Bethany is dizzy all the time." "So, she's drowsy, you say." (while her back is turned and she's scribbling on a tablet) "No, she's dizzy. And non functional."

And although this is not her fault per se,…

My own little "Real Food Wednesday"

This week I made the ranch dressing described by Cheeseslave. Of course I had to also make a cherry pie/cobbler type thingy after I read her wax eloquent about pie crust. Mmmmm, blogging hero worship. I only had regular lard, but that is at least an improvement over partially hydrogenated lard, or even worse, Crisco!

Wednesday, is also the day I order my real milk, eggs, and such from my farmer. Milk, butter, liver and beef (all grass fed, of course) at prices that are either lower or comparable to grocery store prices. Win, win, win on so many counts! Doing my part to be supporting the agrarian lifestyle, one farm family at a time, baybee! That always makes me feel really good. And the food's good too.

What was for dinner? Well, I made a fabulous veggie bake:

2 zucchini, sliced (local)
2 egg plants, peeled and sliced (also local)
garlic nibs in generous quantities, cut up (yet again, local)
organic italian pasta sauce
coconut oil (not so local) on the bottom of the pan and d…

Fighting Depression

I got really really depressed this past weekend. I don't rightly know what was going on, just that I was extremely low. And I felt sick-sort of, and I pushed myself too hard and got too much done, and felt very depressed the entire time.

I'm still feeling the aftereffects, and feel not undepressed, but rather that somehow I've shoved it out to the edges of my existence, so I can carry on.

Today I remembered a really nice Akathist called Jesus Light for those in Darkness This is a lovely, lovely prayer for anyone fighting depression. The prayer was composed by Archpriest Lawrence Farley.

Here's the beginning. Click on the link to read/pray the whole thing. It's wonderful:

Kontakion 1 (Tone 7)

Out of the depths of darkness and despair I cry to You, O Lord, You that hung upon the
Cross in darkness. From the pit of pain and confusion, I lift up this prayer, and with all
my heart I sing aloud to You: Jesus, light to those in darkness, glory to You!

Ikos 1 (see…

The Ice Cream Cake

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Stats:

Raw grass-fed cream, raw grass-fed milk, raw pastured eggs and real vanilla and low glycemic agave nectar went into the ice cream.

Overnight whey/water-soaked whole wheat flour, pastured eggs, coconut oil and low glycemic palm sugar (along with the usual other ingredients like cocoa and baking soda) in the cake.

Grass-fed raw butter, cocoa poweder, salt and xylitol for the frosting.

My only regret was that the cocoa powder wasn't organic. It was "at least it's not Nestle" Hershey's.

OK, so if I were more of a purist with my sweeteners, I probably would have used maple syrup or honey to sweeten this stuff, but then I couldn't have had any. Pffffft.

There are six of us in our family and so half the cake was six slices. I need to triple wrap the rest in wax paper and foil in the freezer and bring it out on a special occasion before the Dormitian fast next month.

What else did I do today? Well, I skipped church and took it really really easy this morni…

Letting Go

I realize I'm a control freak who has a really really hard time letting go of certain areas. And I yell and bluster, sigh and complain and make life miserable for others around me (my family), when I don't get my way. God have mercy on me, a sinner.

I woke up at 4:15 this morning with migraine symptoms. I put on an eye mask and went back to weird-dream sleep. When I got up I took an excedrine migraine, and pushed through my day. until. I. could. not. continue.

I went to liturgy, ate brunch, baked a cake, made homemade ice cream, went to the store for a new ice cream freezer...blah blah blah. busy day.

I should have paid attention to what my body was telling me and gotten some rest. I did lay down for a wee bit, too little, too late.

So after vespers (yes, I even ignored my body to that extent and went to evening vespers, shame on me!) I finally asked for help and the rest of everyone made supper. Not quite the way I would have made...

and what really frosts me abou…

Food Blogs

Sometimes I wish I had a food blog. Lately this blog has almost been a food blog, but not quite. I don't know if I'll ever get there, but part of me really wishes I could be one of that chic club of organic locovores who are amazing, who cook, who write well about it, and who are food renegades.

I'm talking about www.foodrenegade.com, www.cheeseslave.com and www.organicthrifty.com, among others.

But I'm too new at this. And I'm fat.

And being fat, I feel like I'm totally and utterly disqualified to talk in a reasonable way about healthy food and actually get an audience to listen to what I say, even if I'm saying the exact same things as all these appropriately-weighted writers who are saying the same things.

Who wants to read a food blog about being healthy that's written by a fat person? Nobody, that's who. Because obviously whatever I'm doing has not been being done long enough to make a difference...or at least not a difference that c…

Nourishing Traditions style Ice Cream Cake

Nourishing Traditions type of cooking...takes time and energy, let me tell you! And advance planning. But it also gives me such a sense of health and well-being that it's worth it. (Skin and hair look better too. The other day several people said they thought I was in my 20's, egads!)

The project: An ice cream cake.

Yesterday: got out my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and looked up the devil's food cake recipe. What changes do I need to make to it?

1. use whole grain soaked flour. Ok, so last night, I measured out the flour, but made it whole wheat instead of white flour, and then got some whey (off the yogurt, I probably had half a cup or more, and added enough water to it to make it the amount of water that the recipe called for. Mix those together with the flour, cover, let sit on the counter over night.

2. Today I added the other ingredients, using palm sugar (low glycemic) in place of regular sugar, pastured eggs and coconut oil instead of canola or ve…