Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How to Master Baking With Einkorn - Are You Interested?

I am considering doing a video tutorial series on the advantages of using einkorn, how to use it, and step-by-step recipes. Before I make such a course, I would like to gauge how much interest there is in such a course.

Are you interested? What's your biggest Einkorn Challenge? Link to sign up for more info if interested in this einkorn baking course: http://eepurl.com/g40a5L

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Silence is not always agreement

Today, I am writing to you from the vantage point of a pastor's wife. If you have been a reader on my blog for any length of time, you know this is very rare for me. I am, first and foremost, a wife and mother - as are many of my readers. My posts reflect this. 

However, I have also been by my husband's side through over 14 years in the pastorate. We both have learned many things, and are hopefully the wiser for it. Yet rarely will I share those lessons, because there is usually some pain involved in the learning curve, that of a church member or my own. Some things are better left unsaid. 

Yet, today I was inspired to share a little bit about my life as a pastor's wife after speaking with a new mom at our church this morning. She had come to thank me for some unsolicited advice I had given her just last week regarding a health issue I observed in her child. She had followed my advice, and her child had dramatically improved in just a few days' time. 

And herein lies what I want to talk about: I do not like to give unsolicited advice, and rarely do it. I am talking about person-to-person advice, not in general terms such as on my blog. That in spite of the fact that like anyone else, I have opinions about many things. Furthermore, I believe my opinions to be right (duh - who knowingly adopts a faulty view??). Many times, I see something that I disagree with or even find alarming, yet I do not say anything. In fact, 9 times out of 10 when I wonder whether I should say something, I don't.



"Unsought advice is seldom heeded, and often resented." - Unknown 


There are many reasons for keeping my opinion to myself. 

- It's none of my business. Duh. Your life is yours to live as you choose. Even as the pastor's wife, I have to be very alarmed before I will give unsolicited advice.

- It can come across as rude. There's no all-around nice way to tell someone that you think they are wrong, or overlooking something important. 

- I could be wrong. It happens, trust me. ;) The last thing I want to do is worry someone that something might be seriously wrong, when I'm actually the one in the wrong. 

- It's risky. For the aforementioned reasons, there is a real chance that the recipient of my unsolicited advice will take offense. I am not one to want to give people one more reason to be offended. 

- It wastes time. As a mother of 11, my time is extremely limited. Taking a chance and spending my time giving someone unsolicited advice, which is likely to not be well received and go unheeded, is simply something I don't have time for.

- I might not have a solution. Identifying a problem, and having a solution, are two very different things. There is no point in pointing out something wrong in someone else's life, if I have no advice on how to fix it. 

I was thankful and encouraged today to know that my recent unsolicited advice had not only fallen on willing ears, but had yielded such great results, so soon. I had given similar advice other times, only to have the recipient take offense, not even consider my words, and then continue watching them (or worse, their child) suffer. 

The longer my husband is a pastor, the less I am willing to say anything, even to a fault. One glaring example that comes to mind are midwives. Sadly, there are many charlatans or clueless ones out there, and they are typically the ones with the sweetest personalities, the most effective referral system, or the lowest fees. More times than I care to remember, there have been midwives that moms  in our church have chosen, that I had serious concern about, but didn't say anything. I did not want to come across as telling other moms what midwife to choose, even as some particularly clueless ones have seriously hurt or endangered some of our moms. Even so, I was recently criticized yet again for having a "blacklist" of midwives that the 60 or more moms of childbearing age in our church can review before hiring anyone.


With that in mind, here's my unsolicited advice, but it's generally speaking: 

- If you want to know my opinion on your personal matter, you will most likely have to ask for it. And rest assured that if I do give you unsolicited personal advice, it was after much consideration and prayer, and never flippantly. 

- You may assume that if you have a pastor and wife who love and care for you, they will come to you if they notice anything concerning. They might, or like us they most often might not. Please do not mistake silence for agreement, or an approval of your choices. This is true in all walks of life.

- If you are facing a challenge, please reach out to those whom you trust for good advice. Don't assume they will come to you and volunteer their wisdom. 

- Before reaching out for advice, take some time to decide whom to seek advice from. One good rule of thumb is that you ask those who have succeeded, not those who have failed, in your particular area of concern. For instance, don't ask marriage advice of divorced people, child rearing advice from those with errant children, or health advice from the ill. 

- Pray that God would reveal His advice through the person you are going to approach, by laying the right words on their heart. I have done this myself countless times: telling God who I was going to ask for wisdom regarding a matter, and asking Him to give His answer through that person, then resting assured that I could follow that advice as if it had come down directly from God. 


And one final piece of advice: Beware the people who always know everything, and freely share it with anyone who will listen. Asking for advice requires humility, while spouting off advice left and right appeals to the prideful (and often clueless). Rule of thumb: the more unsolicited advice someone is willing to share, the more clueless or wrong they tend to be. 

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out. - Proverbs 20:5

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Cruise the Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo is currently closed, but is offering a "drive-thru" zoo experience instead. This is the first (and quite possibly only) time in their history they have done this, and we just had to take advantage of it in honor of Chloe's 4th birthday this coming Monday. 



My van's clearance of 9' 4" exceeded the recommended maximum by several feet, so I borrowed one of our church's vans instead. We brought along some friends from church to fill the extra seats. 



The event was a blast! They even allowed us to do the drive with the sliding door open, and the little kids up in the cabin with us, for a better view of the animals. We were going super slow, so no worries. 




We left first thing in the morning and got there before the gates opened at 8 a.m. to avoid waiting in line for hours. The drive took about 45 minutes total and we saw SO MANY animals. We even heard lions roaring several times, which was a first for me. The zookeepers said the animals had missed seeing visitors every day, and were getting lonely.




Rhino in the back




Zebras




We got home shortly after 9 a.m., at which time it was still beautiful and cool in our front yard, so the kids kept playing out there. It was a wonderful day to remember!




Wednesday, April 29, 2020

How to not wear face masks at Costco or elsewhere

I am NOT against face masks. To date, our church has sewn over 1,200 surgical masks, and approx. 200 cotton masks, for use by medical professionals and the public during this pandemic. 






However, this should be a voluntary action, not mandated by a store and forced on everyone, especially when there are no laws requiring the wearing of masks in many places, such as my entire state of Arizona. 


Costco is set to implement a policy that mandates all customers must wear face masks starting Monday, May 4th. I have many reasons to be against such an order, which I will share in a separate post. 


In the meantime, here is what you can do to fight back:






1. Contact Costco (local store manager, corporate customer service number, website, email, social media). Every local manager I spoke with welcomed this feedback, and it was obvious that the vast majority of them do not agree with this policy.


2. Cancel your membership for a full refund on May 3rd, 2020 (or before that date). This will send a strong financial signal to Costco. 


3. Take your business to stores that have no such policy, or use Instacart and Amazon instead. Locally, Sprouts stores have stood out above and beyond every other store in how well they have been treating their customers, keeping inventory in stock, continuing to run great sales, etc. 


4. Tell the person at the door that you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face mask. They are not allowed to inquire about your condition, nor are they allowed to turn you away. Several store managers have confirmed to me that they will permit members to enter without a face mask who tell them they cannot wear a mask. 



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Baby blessings

***Warning*** This post may induce baby fever. 


Like everyone else, my life has its ups and downs. Life in any size family is not without challenges. My mother used to say, "Little children, little woes, big children, big woes" and that has held true. Not because the older kids are more trouble, but because as they turn into adults, their problems are adult problems, making them so much more relatable, while at the same time less fixable, and thus more painful to a parent's heart.

But oh, the joy that a baby in the house brings every single day without fail! I have been incredibly blessed to have had a baby in the house every day for over 18 years now. Incredible! God has been so good to us. We call the babies "joy bringers" because that's the best way to describe them. They are pure, innocent, perfect beings that daily spread joy just by their existence. And that's to say nothing of the fact that they are squishy cuddlebugs that smell like heaven. 




Little Eva has been an exceptionally easy and pleasant baby. She has literally never even caused us the typical baby "trouble," sleeping and eating nicely from birth, and always so content. On the rare occasion when she does cry, it is only ever for something major, like getting startled, and even then it's more of a whimper than an all-out scream.





With Chloe only 3 years old, I have two sweet little girls in the house right now. Chloe herself is a very gentle soul. She loves to sit, completely absorbed in an activity for long periods of time, quietly humming and singing to herself as she plays.



Every morning, Chloe likes to sleep in. Every morning, Chloe also likes to snuggle up with me in my bed. Due to her having 10 siblings, the two are incompatible. I typically get out of bed two hours before Chloe gets up. Every morning, the first words out of her mouth are, "Why did you get up before I could cuddle you?" It's both sad and cute. I would LOVE to stay in bed waiting for her until she gets up late into the morning, but it's simply not possible in a household our size. Occasionally, Chloe wakes up before dawn, and climbs into my bed for snuggles before I have gotten up yet. Those mornings are rare, but glorious. Most other days, when Eva wakes up (in my bed, and usually even later than Chloe), I go back to nurse her, and Chloe comes along to get those long-awaited snuggles while I take a short break. 

Chloe, like all of us, is smitten with Eva. As I lay next to Eva nursing her yesterday morning, Chloe hugged us both and said in her sweet little voice, "God gave us a very good gift," referring to Eva. Oh my soul! Later in the day, she again hugged me as I sat rocking Eva in the rocking chair, and said "God loves us very much." Oh the joy of glimpsing into a pure heart! Children are such precious souls. They must bring so much joy to God - like mankind before the fall.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. - James 1:17




God has blessed me abundantly in giving me 11 precious souls to care for in all these years. Not a day goes by that they don't remind me of His goodness and mercy. I thank and praise God for giving me these precious gifts.


Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 
- Hebrews 6:14






Wednesday, April 22, 2020

This is NOT homeschooling

Now that we seasoned home educators everywhere have sufficiently chuckled and needled at the fact that suddenly, homeschooling is the new government mandate, I wanted to pause and clarify that crisis homeschooling is very different from real-life home education.




We are not locked up at home all day

Parents who unexpectedly find themselves locked up at home most of the day with kids that are usually gone might be on the brink of losing their minds. If being on lockdown all day, every day were what homeschooling in real life looked like, I dare say few of us would choose it. No, it does not make you a bad mom to not want to be within touching distance of needy people all day without any outside activities or distractions. 

The fact of the matter is that most homeschool families are very involved in outside activities, and often spend time away from home on a daily basis. That could be anything ranging from co-op classes, to field trips, P.E. groups, and extracurricular interests such as chess, theater, speech and debate, archery, ballroom dancing, music lessons, craft classes, and on and on. And that's to say nothing of leaving the house for everyday activities such as shopping and running errands. 

Being on home confinement as an adult is hard enough for many. Being on lockdown unexpectedly with a house full of kids is NOT typical homeschooling. 




We socialize with others on a grand scale

The most commonly expressed concern with homeschooling is "socialization," i.e. making sure that kids grow up as part of, and integrated into, society. This as opposed to being a misanthropic recluse. I have met a few of the latter, incidentally none of whom had been home educated themselves. 

That's because in real life, home educated students are actually exposed to infinitely MORE people than students locked in a classroom for most of the day. In school, kids are mostly only able to socialize with other children, of their own age and aptitude. In real life, home educated kids interact with siblings of all ages and grade levels, observe working adults in the real world, get to spend more time with extended family, and are exposed all day long to the full gamut of those who make up society, including fringe demographics like the homeless or people with disabilities.

Hands down, home education is far more socially diverse and inclusive than a classroom setting ever could be. To suddenly be isolated is challenging for everyone, including homeschoolers, as this is entirely opposite our normal lives. 


It is well-planned 

Aside from a few exceptions, most parents who choose to home educate do so out of concern for their child's education and well-being. We are responsible parents who take initiative, fully realizing that if we take our kids out of school, it is now up to us to make sure they get a solid education. As a result, we spend many hours researching the best curriculum to match our kids' individual learning styles and aptitudes. We attend homeschool conventions, read every book available on the topic, connect with our local homeschool communities, and otherwise do all in our power to be fully equipped. 

We already have textbooks, lesson plans, and daily routines we rely on. No need to wait on the school district to figure out which way is up, how to switch from classroom to virtual teaching, no need to wait for laptops to be issued, etc. We know where our kids are at in each of their subjects, and stand ready to help them since we have been by their side, educationally speaking, the entire time. There is no learning curve or sudden adjustment. Our approach is not haphazard, we are not panicked or insecure, and we don't view this educational approach as an emergency measure, a band-aid until the school system bails us out. 

In other words, this is "just another day at the office" for us. 





We were not thrust into this

Those of us who have been homeschooling for years were not thrust into this lifestyle overnight, thrown into the deep end of an ice-cold pool as it were. Most of us had a gentle, gradual, planned entry. This is especially true for those of us who have been home educators all along, since we started with just one kindergarten student. 

This has repercussions in countless areas: we are accustomed to cooking for and feeding our kids three meals a day, rather than relying on school to provide lunch and in most cases even breakfast. Our homes are set up to handle people living in it all day long. Our routines are based on having kids around, rather than being kid-free most of the day. Our parenting and discipline are such that we can handle being around our kids, all of them, all day long without life becoming one long, miserable countdown to bedtime. 

Most importantly, we CHOSE homeschooling. It was not foisted on us, unexpectedly, in the middle of a world-wide pandemic, amidst unprecedented measures and the anxieties they produce. 


How are the current situation and regular home education alike? 

Take heart, there are some things that are the same. We all are far from being perfect parents, doing our best. We all can only make it by the grace of God. We all could do better. We all get irritated by and tired of our kids at some point. We all second-guess ourselves daily. We all have kids who resist learning and feign cluelessness to wiggle out of school work or other responsibilities. We all think our kids are the best, smartest, and cutest in the world. We all love them with all of our hearts and want only the best for them. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


This post was inspired by a German news article I read this morning. The German ministers responsible for education are actually using the English word "homeschooling" to refer to the current state of education, in which parents are to continue their kids' education at home with textbook assignments sent through online portals (but no online teaching). Imagine the irony in that! For decades, Germany has been one of a few European countries where homeschooling is not just illegal, but actively squelched. Parents who choose to home educate anyway face anything from government harassment to fines to termination of parental rights or even imprisonment. It would be unfathomable to see children of school age accompany their parents in public spaces during school hours. Those who home educate have to do so in secrecy and fear, not the freedom and widespread acceptance we are accustomed to here in the US and other parts of the world. 

Even now, those same German authorities are stressing the fact that this "homeschooling" situation is temporary, because children need social interactions beyond their immediate family. Whoa there, Sherlock! Tell us something we don't know. To compare unexpectedly doing school at home while being locked up with little to no outside activities or interactions to homeschooling is unfair and deceptive. 

If you had considered home education in the past, but this current crisis has you pulling your hair out, please do not let it dissuade you from pursuing homeschooling in the future. This is NOT our normal.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

New homeschool curriculum now available for purchase!

I am thrilled to announce that my new homeschool curriculum is now available for purchase!!




Framing the World ($5 below list price!)


Kindle ebook on Amazon


You can get a PFD of a free semester preview on my website, Read Yourself an Education. Alternatively, you can utilize the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon.

This project has been a long time in the making. I wrote the curriculum I always wanted to have myself, but couldn't find. We have been using the unit-study based approach in this book for about a decade now, and it is our favorite way to learn together as a family. 

Please consider giving the free preview a try. I am certain you will LOVE learning this way!




Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thoughts on Grief

(All images courtesy of everydaypowerblog.com)

Several sweet mommas close to me have had to bury their babies, some very recently.

This is absolutely the most heartbreaking thing any mother could ever have to go through. There simply are no words to express that soul-crushing, rip your heart out of your chest while you're alive, kind of pain. Pain that is not physical, yet takes the breath out of your lungs and squeezes the life out of every fiber of your being.

I wanted to share a few short thoughts from my limited experience. I don't know the level of grief that other moms have suffered. 

I have never lost a child after birth, nor had a full-term stillborn baby. My worst loss has been that of Jachin, Boaz' twin brother, who died midway through their pregnancy. I carried him until Boaz was full term and ready to be born. Jachin was born first. He was perfectly developed, just a tiny version of his brother. We buried him at a local cemetery, and visit his grave on the boys' birthday every year. As hard as it was, I don't think it begins to compare to the loss of a child after birth, or a stillborn baby at term. My loss was further alleviated by the fact that I did get to keep Boaz, and had his little life to carry me through the worst of it. 

These are my thoughts from my limited experience. Maybe they will help someone just setting out down the road of grief, which does not end until it reaches Heaven. 


Grief is inescapable 


Grief, by definition, is painful. As humans, we seek to avoid pain at all cost. The pain of grief is inescapable. It will not go away if you ignore it. 

The extent to which you loved will determine the level of your pain. It has been said that only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow. This same necessity of loving serves to counteract the grief and eventually brings healing. 

Give yourself permission to grieve. Don't deny the pain, grit your teeth, and hold on. It WILL get better. The pain will subside, and you will survive. All of us can endure heartache far beyond what we think ourselves capable of.  


Grief is unpredictable

Like ocean waves, grief will come and go. At first, the waves will be beating on shore in a violent storm, threatening to drown you. You'll struggle, struggle on. Eventually, your head will be back above the water. With time, the waves will settle down. They might even fall into a predictable pattern, such as learning to expect bigger waves when certain dates pass that force us to remember. But grief will always remain unpredictable. A sudden wave can wash over you out of nowhere, on an otherwise perfectly nice day. Something small, unpredictable, unavoidable will jog your memory and - bam! - you are spluttering and gasping for air once more. This is normal. When it happens, stop, and go back to square one of allowing yourself to feel the grief, so you can then let it go.


Grief is unique

No two people grieve in the same way. Others might grieve very differently from yourself, or even appear to not be grieving at all. That is for them, and your grief is for you. Do not expect others to grieve, or to express their grief in the same way as you. To do so is to set yourself up for hurt feelings and misunderstandings. I believe this point to be the main reason behind the marital disruption that unfortunately so often follows the death of a child. 



Grief is lonely


Because grief is unique, it is also lonely. How could you begin to explain your loss to someone who has never experienced the same? How do you talk to the one who also experienced it, but grieves differently? Grief is lonely, but it does not have to divide. God does know, and he does understand. Oh what comfort to know that we can always go to Him!


Grief does not travel alone

While grief will seek to make you lonely, grief itself does not travel alone. You will become well acquainted with grief's companion - guilt. This is as irrational as it is universal. Moms especially will blame themselves, no matter how unreasonable and unfair that is. Grief is inevitable, but don't allow guilt to set up residence. 

Also with grief travel two questions: "Why" and "What if ...?" To these, there are no answers. Only God knows. And if He who promised to love us like a Father allowed this loss in our life, then there must be some purpose in it, impossible though it seems. We do not understand now, but one day we will.


Grief is a luxury

There is the loss of a loved one, and then there is the loss of what dies inside those left behind, while they continue to live. It does not matter what agony of soul you are in, the rest of life will soon ceaselessly, mercilessly, march on. Even on the darkest days, the kids still need to eat, and life's many mundane responsibilities like paying bills and washing laundry, still come knocking every day. You may feel like having a long cry in peace and quiet, while your toddler follows you around chattering and demanding you read his favorite book - again. You will learn to value those short times when you are allowed to indulge your grief, and give in to feeling the pain. With time, you can learn to think of grief as sitting on a mental shelf - you can take it down when you are able to indulge in the luxury of it, and then put it back on the shelf when life's duties are calling. Always within sight, always within reach, but a luxury to be handled. 


~~~~~~~~~

We can accept the idea of our own death, but to accept the death of a loved one, especially a child, is almost impossible. It takes the kind of grace that can only come from God, slowly, over time. Little drops of healing, not on a wound, but an amputation. Something we will have to live without for the rest of our lives, always keenly aware of the loss, but eventually, hopefully, learning to work around it. Never complete, but functioning once again. 

You can never completely get over the loss of a loved one. But in a way, this is good news - in remembering, they live on in our hearts, even if the memories are painful. 

As Christians, our greatest joy is the assurance that one day, we will all be together in Heaven, never to die or suffer again. 

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:55-57

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14



Friday, November 15, 2019

How to make folded paper window stars




Here is a video tutorial I made for how to make folded paper window stars. They are a popular Waldorf craft for elementary age kids.






Affiliate links to the products used in this video:
As I explain in the video, rectangles for folding need to be cut in a ratio of 6:10. For 8.5" x 11" paper, the suggested cut sizes are 4.25" x 2.5". For DIN A4 paper, the suggested cut size is 11 cm x 6.6 cm.

Link to the PDF with the folding instructions (in German, but the graphics are obvious): Please note: I cut my paper in a different size than they suggest. 



Thursday, October 17, 2019

Birth announcement

Eva Rose was born healthy and safe on Sunday, September 22nd, at 10:35 a.m. weighing 7 lbs 10 oz and measuring 20 in. You can listen to me tell her birth story here.

We chose her name "Eva" in keeping with the Biblical theme for first names, picking a new first initial for each child. "Rose" is in honor of both of my Grandmas, who went by the German and Hungarian equivalents of that name.


 The weight shown on this board is slightly off... mommy brain... eek!


Eva has been a very sweet, easy, mellow baby. She has been smiling from Day 1! She is also a great nurser (no tongue tie - yay!).

To see more updates, please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.


Saturday, August 24, 2019

Read Yourself an Education FREE trial pdf now available!

I am excited to announce that I have released a free pdf version of the first semester of my new homeschool book, "Read Yourself an Education, Volume 1 - Around the World, Country by Country."

The full version is due to be released through Amazon later this fall. In the meantime, the pdf will allow you to get started using the book for the upcoming 2019/20 school year, if you so wish.

Get the pdf and sign up for the newsletter at www.readyourselfaneducation.com!




Friday, June 28, 2019

How to make cultured (real) buttermilk video tutorial

Made a 5-minute video tutorial today for how to make real, fermented, probiotic-rich buttermilk quickly and easily at home.




Any local peeps who would like to get some buttermilk starter from me (for free), please just let me know.

Milk can be curdled with any acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to mimic the consistency of buttermilk, but that is not real buttermilk. In a pinch, that will work for a recipe, but you are getting none of the health benefits that fermented foods such as real buttermilk offer.

This is the starter culture I am using: https://amzn.to/2Nm1FC7
2-quart mason jars: https://amzn.to/2NfrbbR

(affiliate links)

~~~~~~~~~

Check out my new cookbook at http://bit.ly/2RsX7av.

If you sign up for the newsletter, you get Week 1 FREE as a PDF download so you can give it a try.

Order the cookbook here: https://store.framingtheworld.com/products/cookbook

Read more at http://www.stevenandersonfamily.com

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

How to buy a smaller (non-standard) Willow breast pump flange

The Willow wearable breast pump only comes in 2 standard flange sizes: 24 mm and 27 mm. If neither of these sizes work for you, please watch the video below to learn of a hack that makes it possible to size the flange down to whatever size you need:





Even though I have breastfed all of our babies, the older I get, and the more babies I have, the more I struggle to provide enough milk for them. I think it's a mixture of being more busy, getting older, and inevitable hormonal changes. I have heard the same from several other moms of many.

With Peter, in addition to supplementing him with formula, I also pumped to help build my supply. However, traditional breast pumps are time consuming and inconvenient, which made it difficult for me to pump as often as would have been ideal.

I am excited to have discovered this hack to make it possible for me to pump much more often after the arrival of baby #11 to help establish a solid milk supply.

 Please let me know in the comments below if you have a question.

Monday, June 10, 2019

What we eat and spend on food in a month - Week 4 of 4

This is over a month late. Eek! 

Week 1 here
Week 2 here
Week 3 here



Monday: Costco - $118.90

2 x 5 lbs tangerines, 2 x 4 lbs fish sticks, 2 lbs parmesan, 4 dozen organic eggs, 11 lbs lbs pork loin, 2 lbs organic strawberries, 4 lbs organic peaches (first of the season, yay!), 1 box ice cream bars, organic apple sauce packs, granola bars, 2 x 3 lbs organic bananas, 3 lbs organic baby carrots

The only conventional meat I buy is some pork (roasts, ribs) because finding organic pork is so difficult. We get our grass-fed beef from a local ranch, and the organic chicken from Costco.



Monday - Alpine Valley Bakery: $37.50

5 loaves organic raisin bread, 9 loaves organic white bread

That's probably the most I have ever spent in that store in one trip. The breads I bought that day were at full price, which at $3/loaf is still about 50% cheaper than how much they sell for in store. I normally only buy if they are $.50 - $1.50/loaf, but it had been weeks since they last had the white bread so I bought all they had while I could. 

I bake most of our bread at home using einkorn, but ready bread holds up better for sandwiches that the boys take to work, plus I won't be baking bread for a while after the baby comes. 

Click here to read why we don't eat whole grains. 



Tuesday (delivered): Dairy - $35


5 gallons milk, 2 quarts cream. We get the first 10 gallons each month at half price for being a drop point for the dairy, so this week was cheaper than the previous two. 

This picture is of an order from a couple of weeks ago that was exactly the same, so please ignore the bottling dates on the cream. 



Tuesday: Jovial Foods (online, delivered) - $111.65

Four 10lb bags of einkorn flour. That's about how much we go through every month. I had some loyalty points I redeemed for a bit of a discount.



Saturday: POWWOW market - $12

Not all organic, but mostly: 2 honeydew melons, 6 English cucumbers (plus they gave me a whole extra box to give out at church), 17 cucumbers, 9 beefsteak tomatoes, 7 orange bell peppers, 7 red bell peppers, 4 acorn squash, 8 tomatoes on the vine, 4 zucchini, 15 Roma tomatoes, 3 spaghetti squash



Saturday: Sprouts - $95.87 (delivered by Instacart)

4 boxes organic cereal, 1 bag Love Crunch granola, 3 lbs organic onions, 3 lbs organic egg noodles, 5 lbs organic apples, 5 lbs organic Russet potatoes, 2 organic avocados, 1 bunch organic cilantro, 1 bag organic garlic, 2.5 lbs organic leeks, 2 dozen organic pasture-fed eggs, 4 organic Siggi's Icelandic yogurts, 1 24-oz organic sour cream, 5 lbs tangerines, 30 jalapeno peppers

Total for Week 4: $410.92

Total for all four weeks: $1,811.85

Since four weeks are not quite one full month, I'm guessing this month's total will climb a little higher to maybe around $2,000. I do feel that these weeks represented well what we eat and spend in one month. I went into it with a lot of foods in stock already, but still have a lot of the foods I bought during this time left to make meals with.

Breakfasts:

Mon: Crepes
Tue: leftover birthday cake
Wed: Banana Bread Pancakes*
Thu: Pudding
Fri: Danube waves cake
Sat: German Apple sheet cake
Sun: Oatmeal cale*

 Dinners:

Mon: Calzone Pizza
Tue: Chicken Paprika and spatzles
Wed: leftovers
Thu: Pork roast w/ veggies*
Fri: Schnitzel, potatoes, cauliflower
Sat: ate out (Burger Fi)
Sun: Creamy Tomato Soup


Other:

Birthday Cake for Boaz
Strawberry ice cream




Pizza Calzone. I am planning to include these in the Einkorn Baking Book I am currently working on.



Crepes - it's hard to tell how large they were, but the ones on the left are 9" diameter, the ones on the right are 15". They are on my massive Thanksgiving turkey platter.


I can't believe my Boaz is 5 years old now!! Where does the time go!?!


I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series. Thanks for checking in!


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

New book: Read Yourself an Education, Vol. 1




Calling all homeschool moms!

I am looking for volunteer testers for my new book series, "Read Yourself an Education - Volume 1: Country by Country Around the Globe", to be released later this year.




I would like to get feedback on the overall concept, layout, content, user-friendliness etc. from real homeschool moms.

The book is intended for literature-based unit studies. This means that all students, regardless of grade level, study a common topic (in this case geography-based), each at their own learning level. Books (rather than textbooks) are used as the primary source of learning.

My book is a compilation of extensive book suggestions for each chapter, complete with short descriptions, and the catalog number for public libraries in the US to make locating the books fast and easy.




I have six different chapters available for review:

From the section "The World (general)":

- Basic geography: The continents and oceans
- World exploration and using a map
- Global perspective: Life in other countries

From the section "Asia":

- China
- Koreas
- Japan

Each chapter covers enough material for about 2 weeks of learning, tying in history, geography, social studies, science, literature, and related activities. Resources are included for all grades K-12. (The only thing not included is grade-specific Math and English.)



For your reference, I will also include the book introduction in each section being reviewed. 

If you are interested, 
- have at least one child in 3rd grade or higher 
- with at least 2 years of homeschool experience, 
- have access to a local library with an average or better selection,
- would be available to give one of the chapters a trial run during the weeks of May 20 - June 1st, and then 
- share your feedback with me, 
please comment below (will not be published) or message me on Facebook to let me know which chapter you would like to try out. Please choose only one so you can really put it to the test. You would need to take a trip to your library to locate the suggested books. If I do not know you in real life, please include a couple of sentences about yourself and your homeschool in your message to me. IMPORTANT: Please include your email address to send the pdf file of your chosen chapter to.


Disclaimer: The first chapter, "Basic geography: The continents and oceans," has limited book suggestions of books available at public libraries due to the fact that library books tend to be steeped in evolution. There are suggestions for books to purchase, which you are under no obligation to do for your chapter review. The chapter does contain topic-related picture and other fiction books.

Future volumes, Lord willing, will follow the same general concept and layout, each covering material for 2 years: 

Volume 2: State by state around the US
Volume 3: World History
Volume 4: US History
Volume 5: Companion book that will contain lists of fiction books sorted by age group and author

I am hoping to release one new volume per year.