7 Oct

I have been thinking a lot about healing these days. On one hand, about emotional healing regarding me and my kids, our relationships, and about me as a mother/former child. And on the other hand, physical healing in light of my arteries, which I recently found out are “moderately narrowed” (with “perfect” cholesterol levels, very uncommon for someone my age).

I believe I will heal in both areas, and I am itaking responsibility in each area to improve my emotional and physical health. I am approaching my healing in direct ways that are as basic as possible, not to over-simplify, but to increase my chances of continuing these therapies. Also, I figure it is best to first try the easy things that are recommended so generally as to be almost mundane, before trying more complicated or costly measures.

For the most part, the steps are interconnected, addressing both areas of health. For example, I have started to take an evening walk, which gives me time to pray and invite God to be present with me, and which releases endorphins, all of which help both my physical and emotional health. Meditation is also in this category, as it has been recommended by so many traditions for both emotional and physical well-being. Prayer too has been said to improve health generally.

I am also excited to start trying some other more specific therapies to try to elicit a placebo response in my body. That may seem weird, like saying “I want to believe something false”, but there is nothing false about the healing that people experience through the placebo effect. The body has amazing healing powers, and one’s attitude has a lot of power to either enhance or detract from wellness. I am making the decision to 1) believe that I can heal, and 2) try many things to see what might work.

My doctor told me, “There is nothing you can do. Take a baby aspirin every day, and we will test you again in a year.” Well, I am not going to do nothing. There are so many therapies to try, and a year is a nice long time to test their effectiveness. Here are some of the things I may try (if my health insurance will cover them):
- changing my drinking water. Chlorine and fluoride are toxins, which may compromise my body’s ability to heal. I will see what options are available.
- taking Ginkgo extract. It is recommended for improving circulation, so who knows! – trying Chiropractic or an Osteopath if I hear a good recommendation
- finding some Natto, a high source of vitamin K2 which is supposed to help the body appropriately metabolize calcium so it doesn’t end up in the arteries. – eating more veggies, as just about everyone recommends this! – and as mentioned above, walking and meditation and writing

Most of all, I don’t want to stress myself out, because that would compromise my healing, both emotionally and physically. So I am taking this on as a fun experiment, to see what I can do in a year.

Some differences between School and Homeschool, to help you stop worrying

16 Sep

I recently wrote this on Facebook to a mom who was just starting to homeschool, and worrying about her son’s learning. I thought it might help some other homeschoolers out there, so here it is: A few differences between school and home to help you not worry

- a teacher has 30 or so students; you have way fewer
- a teacher must assess all 30 students, and show that assessment to an outside authority; you don’t need to show assessment to anyone–unless you have a really worried partner, or need to report to a school board
- so your assessment can take many different forms, not just a stack of 30 homework pages
- at school, kids have at least a couple different teachers over the course of the day, they go outside for recess and lunch, under the care of different teachers and supervisors. They have a bus driver or two. And then they come home and “tell you about their day” . And then next year they get another set of teachers.
- conversely, at home, You Are Constant! They are with you all day, including lunch, “recess” and “bus” time. Not only that, but you are constant across their whole Lives! Think of the millions of learning connections you can help them to make simply because you are always there. You can connect the trip you took 2 years ago with the documentary you are watching, with what you had at the restaurant yesterday. This is huge!
- learning outside of school is just so totally and completely different than what is necessary at school. And I just looked mostly at the learning and assessing differences, leaving out the social and disciplinary differences.
- so please take some time and just live and make your lives as fun and lovely as possible, and then maybe start writing down what your child IS learning, and what she DOES like, and see if you can give her more of that :)
- and also keep track of the kinds of things you like doing with them, and how you like teaching, and consider your favourite teaching style along with your kids’ preferred learning style. It is a combination of You, your Kids, and the curriculum, however you define that.

And don’t forget to have fun!!!! It is a great privilege to have the chance to be with them every day

Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle–get it while it’s still available!

15 Sep

It’s a good one! I bought this Fall’s Healthy Living Bundle last week, and am enjoying it immensely. This is the only affiliate thing I do, and I only do it twice a year. Why? Because it’s great value for anyone who loves real food, clean living and a healthy lifestyle. There are some great books, eCourses and bonuses in here. Check it out! There’s a money back guarantee. I feel it is 29.95 well spent.


Hummus Recipe

1 Sep

I’ve been making this hummus now for about 4 years! It is my go-to snack and pot-luck offering. It is easy but it uses SO MANY kitchen items: lemon squeezer, digital scale, food processor, garlic press, measuring spoons, a measuring cup, a small glass, a chopstick . . . Get ready for a lot of dishes ;)

I have tweaked the recipe somewhat over the years, so here is a slight update from my previous recipe.

Best Homemade Hummus

2 cups of cooked chick peas (save the “broth” from cooking; you can use 1 can of chick peas but it won’t taste as fresh)
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup chick pea broth (water if using canned)
25 g olive oil
75 g tahini

Process the chick peas, salt and garlic in a food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, until fairly smooth. Measure 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, then pour any remaining lemon juice into your 1/4 cup measure. Top up measuring cup with chick pea broth or water if you are using canned chick peas. While machine is running, pour in both liquids and process until smoother. While it is running, measure and mix together oil and tahini. Pour in a steady stream into the machine while it is running. Scrape down the sides and process until Very smooth. This provides the emulsification that makes really smooth and creamy hummus. Feel free to adjust the liquid content to suit your preferences.


Night night babies

27 Aug

Lacto-fermenting rutabaga (with chunks of beet for brilliant pink effect), keeping company with some single-rise sprouted sourdough bread.

Sleep tight!

Sprouted flour sourdough sandwich bread

22 Aug

Why, you might wonder, would anyone want to make sourdough bread with sprouted flour? Maybe they want to super-DUPER charge the nutrition and digestibility of their bread? Maybe they know some secret that the rest of the world isn’t yet in on? Maybe they’re just a little crazy? Actually, I just love sourdough, and all I have on hand right now is sprouted wheat berries!

So I’ve been making everything lately with my freshly milled sprouted flour. Including sourdough. The only problem is that I was getting really gummy bread. Even with conventional yeast and an overnight soak, it was turning out really gummy–and that was with over an hour and a half in the oven at 450, coming to an internal temperature of over 205, and a long cooling period after baking.

Why was it getting gummy? I googled around a bit and learned that not many people are making sourdough with sprouted flour! Huh. With these gummy results I could understand!

But I was spurred on in my research by a couple of comments mentioning alpha-amylase. I still don’t have the full story, but one thing alpha-amylase can do is break down gluten, causing–you guessed it–a gummy crumb. Some recipes suggest adding like a teaspoon of sprouted flour to a recipe to improve alpha-amylase production, thus improving the ripening speed of the dough. A teaspoon. And here I was trying to make a whole loaf with this stuff! And sourdough at that, with two prolonged rises.

But I was not to be deterred! I googled around some more and came across one nifty recipe on the blog Girl Meets Nourishment (http://girlmeetsnourishment.com/easy-sourdough-bread/#more-99) for a sourdough bread made with sprouted flour–and calling for only ONE RISE! This was my key!

The reason for long rise times is to unlock flavour and nutrition in the grain. Sprouting unlocks all that potential and more, so that part is done for you! The reason for the punch-down is to re-distribute food for the yeast so they don’t start producing off flavours before the grain has given up all the goods. But if you don’t need that further unlocking time, you don’t really need the double rise.

So here is my very loose “recipe” that turned out some very nice sprouted flour sourdough sandwich bread.

Sprouted Flour Sourdough

The night before, refresh your starter so you have about a cup or so of fresh starter in the morning.

At mixing time, I added 1 cup of water and gradually mixed in enough sprouted flour, plus 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten mixed in to the flour, to make a dough. The recipe I was working from says the dough will become less sticky as you knead, but mine stayed pretty sticky. I kneaded until it was nice and smooth, using unbleached white bread flour during the knead.

Once the dough was smooth, I formed it into a nice loaf shape and panned it right away. I covered it with a damp tea towel and left it to rise for about six hours, until it was nicely cresting above the pan sides. Once it was risen, I slashed it and baked at 350 for about an hour and a half.

I let it cool for several hours before slicing, then had some for breakfast this morning. It is delicious! Not too sour, nice and soft with a chewy crust.

Actually, this is Just the bread I have been looking for my whole life! I will be doing further experimenting with it, so please stay tuned for a better recipe coming soon–one with actual measurements in it ;)

I welcome any questions below!

My Homeschooling journey away from Waldorf

2 Jul

What a year it has been! We have really been around the block, which has been difficult and lonely at times, but we are in a really exciting place now, and I finally feel ready to share my journey.

We started really questioning Waldorf after a few weeks of Grade One lessons were leaving all of us frustrated and sad. On much reflection, I have found that, for me, Waldorf had led me to look at all the things that are not perfect with myself or my children, and really accentuate all of my perfectionistic tendencies. I know that others use Waldorf in a more healthy way–I have seen it–but on much reflection, and trying and re-trying, I saw it was not a positive influence in my own life.

We left true Waldorf homeschooling some time last Fall, and eventually tried out Radical Unschooling for a bit. But that didn’t work for us, or for me. We had worked so hard to develop these strong family pillars, rituals, routines, which held us all together, and I found RU was destructive to that. Those pillars were deeply supported by Waldorf, and were also supported by current developmental psychology and other sources. But more importantly I feel so deeply the benefits these pillars have brought me and my family.

So I had a few months feeling very much adrift. No longer at home in Waldorf communities, and not in line with Radical Unschooling communities, I had no label, no Yahoo group, no Google search terms to describe where I was! No mentors! It was scary. But it led me to my own values.

This Spring I sat down and wrote out a list of what I longed for in a curriculum: that it be open-ended, that it would serve both of my kids where they were, in a way that would not separate them by age or ability, that it be flexible and adaptive, hands-on and challenging, but also that it would support my own values without making me feel that I was “not enough”. Tall order! But I found what I was looking for!

Where it has led me is called Project Based Homeschooling, led by the engaged, funny, wise Lori Pickert, who has the blog and book by the same name. The method is based on Reggio Emilia, but extended to support all ages (even adults). It is perhaps in a similar vein as unschooling, but more structured, with the parent acting as mentor to the student, helping them develop learning skills as they extend their deep interests into projects. The best thing about it is that you can use these strategies alongside any curriculum you choose. However, it is child-led, so many Waldorf families would not be comfortable with that aspect.

You can check out Lori’s website for more information (no affiliation or benefit received in this link): http://www.project-based-homeschooling.com.

Have you been around the block with homeschooling styles? Ever felt adrift from labels and communities? I’d love to hear your story.


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