Tuesday, July 31, 2012


For the month of August, I'm going to start eating a whole lot more raw foods, and hopefully start a new habit that I'll keep up after August is over.  
I didn't come up with the catchy title of Rawgust- that was my friend and pastor.

I've eaten a high raw foods diet before.  Once for a month almost 100% raw, and a high percentage of raw off and on.  Lately, I've only been eating raw fruits and veges as a snack, but almost entirely cooked foods for meals.  I'm feeling drained and I know I'll feel better if I get back to eating raw. 
I'm working on my menu plan for next month. I will go shopping on the 6th and start after that. I'm going to attempt a combination between OAM... um NC  (Once A Month Not Cooking) .... and raw foods. 

I don't have a food processor and so many of the recipes I want to try require one. So, if I can plan ahead and spend one day chopping everything up at my mom's house, then I can freeze those things so they are ready to go. I hope it works!  I'd love to hear from anyone who's had experience doing that.  I'll also freeze fruit when I find a really good price and use it for things like smoothies.
So far I have:

Smoothies- which I do pretty often anyway, but I've kind of fallen into a rut of the same old ones. I need some new ideas!

Kale Avocado Sprout Salad

Rosemary Oregano Noodle Salad

Mango Breakfast Cobbler

Chickpea of the Sea

Pineapple Icebox Dessert

Several of those recipes came from this website, which looks like a great resource.

Something I learned from my fruititarian friend is how yummy and filling something as simple as a half a watermelon or a half a dozen bananas can be.  So I'm going to do a lot of just straight fruit, but I'll probably do recipes for dinners. 
How are you eating these days?  Have you ever tried eating raw?  How did you feel?

Thursday, July 26, 2012


This evening I walked into the kitchen and the magnitude of the girls' earlier fun with paper really hit me.  I knew they had been cutting up paper hours eariler and I knew they made a mess, but when I really stopped to look at it was shocking. It was EVERYWHERE on the table, the floor and the worst thing is that we have carpet in the kitchen, so there was no sweeping up the million pieces that were just big enough to be too big for the vacuum. *sigh

This morning, I had woken up to a similar mess because they had done the same thing the night before right before bed. I left it last night, because the baby was the one who dumped a lot of it on the floor and it was late and we were all tired. So first thing this morning, I took care of the bulk of it, and then my 4 year old woke up and helped.

So I called both girls into the kitchen and told them that I was frustrated at the big mess again. (I was very calm though, and frustrated just doesn't express the same intensity of emotions for me that it used to.  Yay for growth!). I said that I needed them to stop putting paper, especially little cut up pieces on the floor and that we needed to find a solution. They had no ideas, and said that they did it because they were just having so much fun with so many pieces and that they would forget to pick it up when it dropped. So I suggested that I would put the paper up and they could ask me for one piece at t time from now on, so it didn't get to be too overwhelming. They liked that idea (yay for solutions!).

My 4 year old had hurt her arm not long before that and was still holding it and hurting. I reminded my 6 year old that her sister and I had cleaned up the paper that morning, and I told her it was her turn.

E: I caaaannnnn'ttttt! Not all by myself.

Me: I think you can.  :)

E: NNNOOOOOO!!! You have to help me!

(Keep in mind here, that I frequently help them clean up, but I wasn't tackling that paper again today).

Me: Hhhhhmmm. Which part of that paper would you say is my responsibility?

E: None of it.

Me: Which part would you say is your responsibility?

E: Not all of it, because L made a mess too.

Me: Yes, but she cleaned up your mess this morning without any complaint and she is hurt right now. I'm sure if she can clean it up, you can too. :)

E: I'm just not like her. I'm not responsible.

Me: (Backtracking from comparing her to her sister- woops!) I didn't mean to compare you. It's ok that you are different.  You are different people. What I mean is that I know you are capable of doing it. :)

E: Well, yah, I *can,* but I just don't want to.

Me: So you're saying you *won't.*

E: Right, I won't clean it up by myself.  (Said very firmly)

(I shocked myself here by feeling absolutely..... nothing.  Even when I handle things perfectly well, there is a trigger inside me that says "Don't you tell me no, I'm your mother!" which I promptly self talk myself through. But this time, it just didn't phase me. Yay for growth again!)

Me: I trust that you'll decide to do what needs to be done. :)

And I walked away. I snuggled with L who was watching a movie and E came and sat with us for a few minutes. After a while she said:

E: Really, I'm just not responsible enough to do it. 

Me: I think you're very responsible.

E: No, I don't do anything responsible.
Me: Just this evening you ran and told me when L got hurt. That was responsible.

E: Well, ok ONE thing! But I'm not responsible with paper.
Me: You cleaned up your room last night. You are safe in the street when you go out to play.

E: Well..... yah....  AND I walk the dog! That's responsible!

Me: Yep, and you give her food and water.

E: Yah! And I take her outside and I help my sisters when they need help and I make sure the door is closed so baby Z doesn't get out!

Me: I think you are one of the most responsible 6 year olds I've ever met.

E: I guess I am responsible! What else do I do that's responsible?

Me: Well, when I take a nap with your sisters I can trust that you will take good care of things in the house. I know you won't get into things you aren't supposed to or mess anything up. I know you'll be safe and not open the door

E: Wow! Yah! I'm really responsible!  (She was very excited at this point)

She went on and on listing other things and repeating the things I had said she does.

I went on about doing other things, and after a while she came to me and said:

E: I'm ready to clean up the paper now. I just don't want to be alone.

Me: I need to do the dishes. How about if we both work in the kitchen together and we can talk while we work?

E: Yah!

So I did dishes and she cleaned up the paper.  She asked me to sing the clean up song while we worked, and she wanted me to add verses to it about how she's so responsible.

It worked out well, but I really was ok with however it worked itself out.  Obviously, I wanted it cleaned up and felt that it was her responsibility, but I didn't let my focus stay there.  I didn't know if she would clean it up this evening or ever.  It's a really amazing feeling just being at peace with whatever the outcome of a situation turns out to be.  It feels really good to just trust that when my focus is on relationship, not "shoulds" or "have tos" or my frustrations, things tend to work themselves out when given a little time and patience.  I don't always hit that sweet spot.  Sometimes I get too focused on what on want or how I want it. But I find myself in that place more and more often, and it's a great place to be.


Some more thoughts a few days later:

I don't think I communicated very well to *her* that I was ok with  however it turned out.  When I went back and reread what I wrote I saw that I said, "I trust that you'll decide to do what needs to be done."  However, at some point, I also remember thinking, "What if she NEVER picks it up?  Will it stay there all day?  All night?  FOREVER?!............... (mentally shrugging shoulders) meh, oh well.  I'm sure it will work out."    I'm not sure at what point that shift in my brain happened, but it's obviously not what I communicated to her.  hhhhhmmmm- something to think about for next time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Miserable Failure on Learn Nothing Day

Today was Learn Nothing Day.  

Naturally we failed at today's objective, but of course that just proves the point. ;)  

This morning:

E made a new friend and got her phone number. She started drawing bees which is a new addition to the recent skill of drawing pictures that look like more than abstract art.

L was introduced to the word "trick riding," at the park while she stood on the back of the bouncy horse thing.

So, nothing too extraordinary, but of course there are all those connections being made in the pathways of the brain that I can't see to report.

A picture E took of some flowers outside the newspaper office today.  The girls have been taking lots of pictures and videos the last few days.  

This afternoon:

Yesterday, dd1 discovered that she could make this whistle thing she has sound like a variety of birds. Except, we didn't really know exactly how enough birds sound to try to mimic them. So, this afternoon, I found this bird website for the girls. They got to see and hear owls, eagles, blue birds, doves, and more. We were at my mom's house and she mostly helped them with the site. They talked about birds that are nocturnal, what owls eat and eagles eat, and they got to hear some stories about eagles and owls with which grandma had close encounters.

We also watched a video at my mom's house of a guy singing Leaning on the Everlasting Arms the way it might have been sung if it had been written in the '40s, '50s, '60, '70s, '80s, and '90s. It's funny, and the girls got to hear the variety of music styles from the different time periods.

Baby Z coloring

Some other things we did today from which there was learning or at least connections in the brain being made:

We rhymed words
They looked at books
They ate strawberries from grandma's garden and helped her water it
They played pretend games with each other and kids at the park
We played with the dog
They watched a movie

Learn Nothing Day is not just for kids either! I failed miserably as well though.

I learned there are Blue Birds of Paradise in Australia, that sometimes middle age white guys *can* rap (kind of... watch the video), that strawberry plants produce more during their second year and beyond than the first year, and I'm sure many other things that were just so effortlessly processed by my brain that I can't even recall them but the information or skill is now stored for later.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bacterial Cells

E's drawing of a bacterial cell

E stepped on a nail a few days ago, which prompted a discussion about Tetanus.  Since then, she's been asking a lot of questions about bacteria, so today I went online looking for something that would show her the structure of a bacterial cell.  We found some videos, including one that showed step by step how to draw one.  She followed along and drew the cell, and I labeled it for her.  Then we found a game where she had to match the label to the part, and then it did some fun graphics. 

I'd still like to find a more fun game about bacterial cells or cells in general, so if you know of one, send it my way! 

While looking for those videos and games, we found one that involved introducing herbivores to a grassy environment, and then introducing predators to the environment, and watching how the presence of the different types of animals influenced each other.  L really liked that game. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reading- Oh SO close...

I'm not sure when to make the official announcement that E is reading.  Right now she can recognize some sight words, and she's getting better and better at sounding things out.  We frequently have conversations like:

E: Mom, how do you spell bat?

Me: Buh- A- Tuh.  What letter says Buh?

E: B

Me: What letter says A?

E: A

Me: What letter says Tuh?

E: T

Me:  So, how do you spell bat?

E: Oh!  B-A-T!

She's sounding out letters- like Cuh- A- Tuh, but then to combine them into CAT is a little harder for her.  Sometimes she can do it, and sometimes she needs help.   

So I wonder, when schools say kids should be reading by first grade or whatever, are they really reading?  Can they pick up a book, even an easy one, and just go?  Or are they reading like this?

I wonder, not because I'm comparing her to what schooled kids are doing, but because sometimes I hear homeschooling/unschooling parents with kids at her same reading level express concern because their state's school standard website says kids their age should be "reading."  That sounds like really, truly, reading, but somehow I doubt that is what is really happening.  Sure, some kids are.  But I think many, many others are where she is or reading even less.  Homeschoolers tend to get concerned lest their child be "behind," but I'd rather focus on my child, who she is, and where she is than focus on her in relation to anyone else. 

I've also seen some parents get their kid to this point without doing much formal teaching and then say, "She so close!  Now she needs some direct instruction to just push her over that hump."  I find that sad, because I think if they would just be a little more patient, they'd see natural learning in progress.  I've read of many unschooled kids who have a great amount of confidence about their "learning to read," as opposed to their schooled/ schooled-at-home peers who were "taught to read." 

Personally, I'm excited to watch her develop at her own pace.  I'm always here to help her, encourage her, and support her, but I'm not running out to buy a curriculum NOW, that's for sure!    

I've also found it interesting how much linear time and how little cumulative learning time it has taken for her to progress this far.  What I mean is that I'm pretty sure if you searched the archives of this blog, you'd find a post from when she was around 4 years old where I thought she was pretty close to reading.  Having never witnessed a child learn to read other than myself, I thought that knowing the names and sounds of most of the letters was "close."  In linear time, it wasn't, because her brain wasn't mature enough to grasp the concepts that it now is.  That has taken 2 or 3 years, and who knows how long from now until she is really able to just pick up any book and go.  On the other hand, the amount of time that we have spent actually doing reading related activities, has been very little compared to what she would have done in school.  Other than me reading to her, which we do almost every day, she doesn't spend a lot of time writing letters and words, learning letter sounds, and sounding out words.  She goes on kicks where she'll spend half an hour a day for a few days or weeks, then not do any of it for months while she's busy learning other things.

It's all really fascinating to watch.  I think I'll wait until she reads her first whole book or something before posting the official "She's reading" post.  But she's SO close!

L's 4th Birthday

Photobucket Photobucket 

L turned 4 on July 7th!  She's getting so big!

I went into labor with her on my birthday on the 5th, and she was born 2 days later.  My first VBAC baby, my lover of all things creepy crawly, my quiet child.  She generous, kind, easy going, and sweet, with a love for jumping off anything high, digging in the dirt, bugs, critters, and swimming.  Happy Birthday, L!

We went camping for her birthday and the 4th of July weekend.  She got to swim in the hotsprings and the cold pool, which is quite a treat since we don't have a pool near our house.  We also hiked to a waterfall where she swam.  She's not *quite* swimming yet, but getting close to swimming under water, and she likes to jump off the side.  

Snakes and Worms and Snails- Oh My!

L with her bug catcher she got for her 4th birthday. 

L has a thing for bugs, snakes, frogs, and pretty much anything creepy, crawly and slimy.  We got her a bug catcher kit for her 4th birthday.  It has the containers with air holes and magnifying glasses to see the bugs better.  She's used it just about every day. 

A snail L caught.

Today L caught a snail and put it in her bug catcher.

L with a HUGE worm she found in the yard.

She also caught this HUGE worm.

A few weeks ago, she caught a frog. Unfortunately, it died, since she has not yet learned to be very gentle with them.  She just grabs them and holds on tight.  She frequently comes to me with a handful of bugs she wants me to hang on to for her, or spiders she's caught by the legs that she wants to keep.

I wish I had a picture of the big bull snake D caught on the day of the eclipse!  It was 4 feet long- bigger than L.  It escaped the terrarium we were keeping it in, and D was trying to catch it with a stick.  L ran up to it, grabbed it around the middle and held it up.  "Here daddy, I got it!" she said.

I love watching her love of all things crawly, but I get a little concerned.  We've showed her the difference between a bull snake and a rattle snake, and we've shown her pictures of black widows.  Still, she's so young, that I don't think she'd remember or have the impulse control to stop herself if she saw either one.  At least she's having fun though!