About Me

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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Primal Bread Substitutes

Bread.  In the past I've been known to eat it as part of a sandwich, dip it in soup, smother it with butters, jams, anything!  I have been a lover of bread.  But, honestly, I haven't thought about it much now that I'm primal.  It must be true that once I broke that addiction to carbs and gluten, I no longer had cravings for them.  Cool, huh?

However, I'm the only one in the family who doesn't eat bread anymore.  Tyler has "toast jelly" every morning.  Gracie is working on getting on the primal wagon, but still eats toast probably three times a week.  Jace is doing really well, in part because he loves primal cereal with almond milk, and only has toast once or twice a month.  Scott doesn't eat bread during the week, unless he goes to Subway.  He's not committed enough to order a salad there.  When he goes to the galley for lunch, though, he forgoes the hamburger bun and has just the meat and cheese.  And, of course, everyone loves pizza!

So, as a mother/wife who's not willing to deal with the aftermath of simply not buying anymore bread I've turned to sprouted loaves of bread from the store and trying to find homemade substitutes that the kids, at least, will enjoy.  Here's what I've got so far:

I've tried two different crusts.  Here are links to them: almond flour crust and cauliflower crust.  And I just came across a third variation that I haven't tried yet, but I will.  I'll share it here so you can take a stab at it if you'd like.  If you do, let me know how it goes! 

Dessert/Snack Breads
Bananas always seem to get gobbled up until there are one or two left.  I've always been certain that it's because everyone loves banana bread!  So now, instead of pulling out my flour, oatmeal, and whatever else went in the old recipe, I open the cupboard and grab my almond meal.  Here are my two favorite recipes:  Carrot Banana MuffinsMoist Banana Bread

Soup and Sandwiches
I just made some really tasty ham bone soup with sweet potatoes, summer squash, carrots and mushrooms this weekend.  Scott doesn't like warm liquids and has made this very clear on several occasions.  However, I do.  Mom used to make left over soup and it is one of my favorite food memories from childhood.  I love kitchen sink soups, you know...where you through in whatever's left over from the week and let it all cook together and maybe, if you're good, you can drink it out of a mug instead of having to use a spoon.  You know that one, right?  Well, if you don't you should get acquainted.  It'll warm you inside and out, and I love it.  So, every so often I make it and Scott gets a little broth and a lot of whatever else is in it.  In the past I've always tried to have a hearty sandwich (who doesn't love dipping) and maybe a salad to round it out.  Now that we're not eating bread I had to find something to replace the sandwich.  I made two somethings to try out.

Spinach Bread

This recipe is directly from Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Cookbook

What you need:
3-4 eggs, whisked (for a firmer version, add a few more eggs)
16 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves crushed garlic
small bunch of basil (about 15 leaves)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

What you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Squeeze as much moisture from the spinach as possible, set aside.  Melt butter over low heat and add pine nuts and garlic, toasting until golden brown.  Pine nuts burn easily, so watch closely.  When browned, put into a food processor with basil and pulse a few times until the nuts are broken up but not completely smooth.  Add spinach and salt and pulse for ten seconds.  Stir in the eggs.  Scrape into a buttered pie pan or a 7"x11" baking dish.  Bake 20-30 minutes until set.  Let cool, then cut and enjoy. 

Mark notes that this can be used to make sandwiches is you need something for that purpose.  We tend to just roll our meat, cheese, and veggies up and call it a day.  But this could work too!

Spinach Bread, ready to go in the oven
Onion Crisps

This recipe is from my new cookbook, Grain-Free Gourmet: Delicious Recipes For Healthy Living, by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass.

What you need:
3 cups almond flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, finely diced

What you do:
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Combine the almond flour, cheese, parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, salt, and baking soda in a bowl.  In a second bowl, combine everything else.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. 

Onion Crisps, ready to go into the oven the first time!

Pour the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 40-50 minutes.  Cool the loaf completely and refrigerate to make slicing easier. 

Once cool, heat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the loaf in half length-wise and slice each half into 1/4 inch thick pieces.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for two hours, or until they are very hard.  Turn off the heat and let the crackers cool in the oven.  Store in an air tight container to maintain crispness. 

Onion Crisps, ready for their second baking

So, what did we think?  Jace loved the spinach bread.  Scott and I thought it was OK.  If I'm yearning for a sandwich I think I'd make it to use for that purpose, but it didn't dunk well.  And, surprisingly, it tasted like spinach! 

The onion crisps smelled incredible when they were baking and tasted pretty good, too, I thought.  None of the kids liked them, though.  They dissolved in the soup, so weren't so great for that, but tasted good just to eat along side it.  I didn't bake mine long enough at some point, though.  I think I should have left them in their longer the first time, at least.  They were pretty soft going into the second baking.  Even after more than two hours in the oven with the second baking, they never got crisp.  I'm still eating them, though...yum!

salad, spinach bread, and onion crisps

What do you do when you want bread?  Just dig in or look for something a little different?  If you're looking for something new...try these recipes and see how your family likes them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

How Do You Do It: Parenting - Do We Need a Change?

Scott and I get asked a lot how we would handle a specific situation with our kids.  How we get them to go to bed.  How we get them to listen.  All sorts of questions that imply we're good parents.  I'm always a bit baffled that others see us as such great parenting role models.  I certainly don't feel like the best mom, at least not all the time.  But, on the other hand, I also feel like our kids are reasonably great kids.  There's a decent chance that Scott and I had something to do with that, I guess.  Right?  (Don't I sound confident?)

So, maybe we do have something to offer about how to parent.  But maybe not.  I guess it's up to you to decide. 

Scott and I are talkers and planners.  I think this helps as parents.  We can take any one subject and analyze it from every which way until we end up with a plan of attack that we think is a good start.  We usually have a Plan B, just in case.  When we learned we were going to have a baby we discussed how we'd do x, y, and z.  I think we felt pretty confident in our strategies and, like I said, haven't done too badly.  However, there's always room for improvement.  Always.

We've been known to let our kids cry it out, even when I didn't feel totally OK with this, but didn't know what else to do.  Scott's famous (really...it was on the radio!) for his two rules about crying:
  1. Stand up when you cry.
  2. Only one at a time.
We also have shared this little gem more than once, "Children are like terrorists and we do not negotiate with terrorists."

Now some of you might be reading this thinking we're right on.  Others might be hoping our kids make it to adulthood without any serious emotional scars.  I have to admit I stand someplace in the middle at this point.

As you know, I've been working on creating a more primal life for our family.  I was first inspired to revamp our food choices and strategies for being active.  Over the last several months I've begun reading some other blogs and articles that have me wondering about many other areas of our lives...including our parenting plan.  I read an article on parenting in Hunter-Gatherer societies and really began thinking about how we parent.  Was it time for some improvements?

The article mentioned a book by Alfie Kohn, Unconditional Parenting: Moving From Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason.  I decided to read it and see what improvements I could make.  How can I be an even better mom?

Well, I've read some of it.  I read the first few chapters and found myself wondering, "So, what do I do?"  Kohn seemed to have some pretty good reasons why my current strategy of parenting was more about control than helping my children become well-rounded and responsible adults.  I found myself agreeing with him that it does seem a bit childish to punish kids for not doing something by taking something else away.  The tit-for-tat auto response I seemed to have never felt quite right for me, but I didn't know what else to do.  And Kohn wasn't much help in the beginning of his book. 

So, I skipped several chapters.  I jumped right to the middle of the book and the principles of unconditional parenting.  First of all, the main focus of unconditional parenting is that our children feel loved unconditionally.  And it's about what they feel not what I think I'm portraying.  I know, I know...it sounds tricky, doesn't it. 

"When you come right down to it, the whole process of raising a kid is pretty damned inconvenient, particularly if you want to do it well.  If you're unwilling to give up any of your free time, if you want your house to stay quiet and clean, you might consider raising tropical fish instead."
That's probably my favorite quote from the whole book, at least the whole of what I read!  And I'm so glad Kohn sees that he's asking a lot from us as parents.  He also shares times that he struggles to live up to the standards he's set for himself.  I always feel better when others struggle like I do and when they want to struggle and be the best they can for their kids, like I do too.

So, it's not easy.  There's no special formula.  But do what you can to ensure your kids feel loved as often as possible. 

But, how do I do that?

Kohn suggests not rewarding for good behavior or punishing for poor behavior.  What?  That's what I said.  He wonders how our relationships would improve with our children is we stopped assuming they were testing limits, acting with malicious intent, trying to push our buttons and started asking why they're acting the way they are.  And what if we approached situations as problems to be solved rather than behavior to be punished or corrected?

He asks us to determine our long term goal as parents, and keep them in mind.  Sometime we need to stop the behavior immediately (running into traffic) but other times we just want the behavior to end (fighting over chores).  When the immediate ceasing of the behavior isn't necessary, what if we looked at the "problem" with our long term goal of creating responsible adults in mind.  And what if we gave our children enough respect so they could be part of the solution.

Just the other day I wanted Jace to do his math work and he wasn't.  He was digging his heels in and wanted to stand on his chair and all sorts of other things.  Initially I thought that he was simply testing me to see how far he could go.  I'd been reading Kohn's book, though, and decided to ask more and talk less, and see if the two of us together could reach a solution.  I first gave him the option of sitting in his chair or standing on the floor, letting him know either would be fine with me.  He (of course) asked if he could sit on the floor.  I didn't give an immediate "NO" without even thinking, which I'm quite guilty of doing.  Instead, I thought for a second and responded, "Not yet.  I'm helping Gracie too.  But if you'll sit in your chair or stand on the floor while I explain what you need to do, then you can sit on the floor with your lap desk to complete the assignment."  And that's what he did.  In fact, he sat on the floor and did three lessons instead of one!

So, maybe Kohn's on to something.  I'm not completely sold that I don't need to have a little control, but I do agree that controlling the kids should not be my goal and that if it appears to them that I'm not loving them then I'm not being the mom I want to be.

All in all, I don't know if I was any help to you!  But, if you're curious to learn more, go find the book yourself and give it a go!  Let me know what you learn.  As for my reading of it...I have to take it back to the library.  Someone else has a hold on it.  But I'm putting a hold on it again so I can get it back out and read more and again!

One note I'd like to make about parenting...Do your best to squash the guilt.  Even though I'm considering the very real possibility that the way I've been parenting for the last seven years has not been ideal, I'm not going to waste time beating myself up over it.  Do your best to live in the present and do your best now...and love them!  That's what it's all about in the end anyway.  Love them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Provolone Taco Shells

Tacos...something everyone in my family actually likes, at least on some level!  We used to turn to this easy meal relatively frequently.  However, since becoming primal and not eating taco shells (hard or soft) we don't eat tacos in any version very often now.  I still like a good taco salad and Scott doesn't seem to mind, but the kids have not embraced salads as meals yet.  They eat salad as a side dish, but not the main event.

Anyway, I came across this idea in a new cookbook I bought recently for provolone taco shells.  It sounded like something that could be a bit of a compromise between flour tortillas and salads.

The cookbook is called Grain-Free Gourmet: Delicious Recipes for Healthy Living by Jodi Bager and Jenny Lass.  It's not only grain-free, but refined sugar-free and low-lactose.  Sounds kinds primal to me...what do you think?

So, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay pieces of provolone cheese on it, leaving some space.  Let them bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges are crispy and the rest is lightly browned.  Then take the shells and form them over a broom handle lined with paper towels (or something like that) so they can harden and look like hard taco shells.

I didn't let mine bake long enough.  You can see that they're not browned and crisp on the edges.  Therefore, they didn't hold their shape.  They were pretty darn tasty though!

So, next time you're looking for a more primal taco or even just something new and different...have fun with these cheese taco shells!

Sea Monkey Unit Review

That's right...two, two, two reviews in one day!  It took me so long to get to the Space/Sky Unit Review that we've already gotten through another unit.  Honestly, though, this was a short unit: Sea Monkeys.  I didn't know anything about sea monkeys before this and had never tried to raise them.  But Jace got some from Aunt Kate and Uncle Jared as a thank you for being in their wedding and he's been asking to open his little pets ever since.  That was in June. 

A few weeks ago Gracie suggested that we do a unit on them.  It didn't seem like such a bad idea, and if we did that we'd not only learn something but actually get to open Jace's three month old present!

So, this past week we looked at sea monkeys.  Honestly, I'm not sure our little brood is doing so well.  I can only see one in there today.  We might have to get new eggs, or cysts as we now know they're called.  If we can get some to live for more than a few days we'll have an ongoing study and pets!

We used a lot of web sites for our studies this week. 
The Official Sea Monkey Web Site
Captain's Universe

The reason we focused mainly on Internet learning is that there's not a lot out there in books about sea monkeys, which are actually called brine shrimp or artemia salina.  Looking at scientific classification, they're in the order known as fairy shrimp...Gracie was mighty excited about that little fact!

We took our vocab words from this study, but had shortened lists of five words for Jace and three for Gracie.  There are only so many words fit for 5 and 7 year olds in the world of sea monkeys!  Jace made a classification chart with the scientific names.  I gave him the option to use common names (crustacean rather than crustacea) but he opted for the scientific ones.  No surprise there!  Gracie colored a couple pictures of brine shrimp, a baby (naupilus) and an adult.  We labeled them together and compared them.  Jace noted that if our digestive tracts were as straight as theirs we'd probably have to eat in the bathroom.  Such a clever boy!

We did look in books to see other crustaceans that were more widely written about and ended the week with a field trip to the Poulsbo Marine Science Center.  They focus on our Western Washington coastal creatures and waters, but I figured it was close enough!  The kids got to touch and feed and enjoyed themselves a lot!

Sea Monkeys are a lot of fun and not a lot of work (so I read...our first attempt at raising them may not be the best example) so if you're looking for a fun and different gift for someone this Christmas...try a sea monkey aquarium.  Why not?

Space/Sky Unit Review

OK, so two weeks ago we finished our Space/Sky Unit.  Last weekend and this week were apparently quite busy, since I haven't written about our unit yet!  So, here's the (much anticipated?) unit review:

The kids have expressed some interest in space related and sky related subjects.  I know we could have (and may still in the future) spend weeks on each subject individually or even areas within each of these; stars, the solar system, clouds, weather, etc.  But I wanted to do a general unit that touched on a lot to see where their interests were mostly.  So, we spent two weeks studying a little of everything.

Like normal, we got a ton of books from the library.  We already had several at home, actually...both fiction and non fiction.  We read some books through completely and some of the non-fiction ones we just flipped through to see pictures and read captions.  Especially with the Eye Witness Series of books, there is a ton of information included in the captions! 

 We also made a rocket ship, the "Space School ship," and have explored all over in it.  Jace is a fan of flying right out of our galaxy and seeing space beyond!  Gracie likes to orbit around the Earth and look down at our own world.  Tyler just likes to fill it with his toys!

Animals Dancing Around a Bonfire by Gracie
 During the first week we focused on facts about space and sky, planets, stars, our galaxy and universe...lots of facts.  In the second week we focused on art that is about space and the sky.  We sang songs, read lots of fictional stories and poetry, looked at art and created our own. 

Planets and Stars Colliding by Gracie
Jace and Gracie each did two paintings, one from the sky above Earth looking back down and one from further in space.  We looked at a lot of space pictures in preparation for this, and maybe because I think they're really neat!  Here are some of the sites we used:

Space Info
NASA for kids
Pluto with It's Two Smaller Moons by Jace
During the two weeks, the kids did their usual math and letter writing and practiced vocab words taken from our unit. I have been trying to handle Jace differently when it comes to vocab.  One of the tasks I had him doing was writing sentences using his words.  It was a huge fight.  I was quite frustrated by this since I knew he knew the words.  He could point them out in books and in the world at large.  He would get excited and tell me all about our galaxy after doing a little reading on his own.  But when I would ask him to take that excitement and put it into a sentence on paper...tears, refusal, "I don't know what to write."  Really? 

A Meadow of Bears and Birds by Jace
So, I asked my fellow homeschoolers and got some ideas.  During this unit and in the one we've completed since, we've used their ideas or having him figure out scrambled sentences and copy them or find sentences in our books and copy them down.  He's much happier and more compliant with these tasks.  And I'm not worried that he isn't learning the meanings, because he can orally tell me all about our galaxy or the Earth's atmosphere!  (Those were probably his two favorite vocab words during the unit!)

We also made a satellites.  When we were in DC during our travels from Georgia to Washington we visited the National Air and Space Museum and, among other things, got the patterns for these neat little satellite replicas. 

All in all, it was a great and interesting two weeks.  I'm sure we will revisit some of the topics we glossed over in the future.  Thankfully it seems my kids love learning as much as I do! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Fill-In #14

Here are this week's questions:

1.What characteristic about yourself has either been strengthened or weakened due to your experience as a Military Spouse? (from The Albrecht Squad)

Good question.  I think one thing that goes both ways is my confidence.  For us, when Scott is a phone call away it's easy for me to want to discuss decisions with him.  So, when he's away at schools and things like that I have a hard time stepping up to the plate and taking care of things.  When he's out to sea, however, I can't talk to him and figure things out...there's no one but me to answer my questions.  I do better in these situations! 

2.What is your favorite vacation spot and why? (from ‘Tis the Life of the Army Wife)

We went on a family vacation to Disney World last year and had such a great time!  That's high on my list, but also the only place we've been on a real family vacation! 

3.If you could have any fast-food restaurant in the food court on base/post what would you pick? (from The Only Pink in a House of Blue)

Hm...we don't eat a lot of fast food.  We eat a primal diet (gluten free, sugar free).  What would be really awesome is a family friendly primal food joint with an indoor play area...for all ages! 

4.Where did you go on your honeymoon? (from Pennies from Heaven)

We drove from New York to Washington in a U-Haul!  This year we did the same trek for our 10 year anniversary...except with a truck, trailer, van, and three kids!

5.If you could have any job in the world regardless of money, degree or experience, which job would you have and why? (from Proud to Be a Navy Family and The Calm Before The Storm)

Right now I love homeschooling!  I do think, though, that I'd also enjoy advising at a college.  I was an advisor for about a year before Gracie was born and enjoyed it.  Plus-I'd love the discount on classes I'm interested in and I think I'd enjoy the fresh atmosphere that exists on college campuses!  Someday...

So, that's what I have to say...what about everyone else?  Go check it out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Primal Successes

A few months back I was watching some silly news/comedy show that Scott put on and found myself interested in a story about a guy who was playing all over New York City. I tip-toed my way over to Mark Sisson's site and have been making changes ever since.

I started with the way I was eating and I also began playing with my kids more. (Right now I'm neglecting them and the dishes for the sake of this post...but they don't seem to mind. There's a lot of giggling going on in the other room! From the kids, not the dishes...they're just waiting patiently for attention.) It's been about eight months now and we're still working on things.

I'm chalking up "working on things" as a success in primal living. Why? Because I haven't given up. I've thought about it, but not because it's not working...I'm definitely healthier, feel better, have more energy, am more active...things are going well, in my opinion.

Now, in the opinion of my family members...well, then you might find some different answers. With all the changes that we've gone through in the last several months, changing their diets (pretty drastically) hasn't always gone over well. But I've realized recently that even as a family we're having success in living primally.

Right now we're in the midst of a 30-Day Challenge that Mark is running. There's a contest every day and one of the recent ones is to take a picture of your groceries. Here's ours for the week...

Don't you love my totally cute posers? Well, I do, and shopping with them has helped me realize that a lot really has changed with my quest to make our family primal, and in turn, healthier and happier. Jace reads the ingredient list before picking up anything off the shelf. They get excited by fruits and vegetables. They still don't always eat them once their home...but good things come to those who wait, right?

We also walk more and play more. They're not as hungry as quickly. They don't know this, however, and it's pretty funny! If they can see a clock then they're hungry at all our old regular eating times. If they don't know what time it is they'll play and be happy for at least an hour longer than our old normal! They usually notice that it's past lunch time by then and are suddenly ravenous-in their heads!

As a family, we aren't eating 100% primal, which is fine. Mark suggests eating at least 80% and I'd say we're pretty close to that. We're doing well with the non-food primal rules too...getting our rest, moving slowly and frequently, lifting things, sprinting sometimes. So, I'd say things aer going pretty well on the primal front. Wouldn't you?

(And, just in case you were wondering what's in our groceries picture, here's the meal plan for the week:

Breakfast/Lunch (interchangeable) - primal cereal with almond milk, 100% juice for the kids, water for me, Tyler and Gracie still like toast with (100% fruit) jelly -OR- eggs (scrambled with cheese for the kids, sunny side up for me with spinach), bacon, avocado, fruit

Snacks - fruit, kefir smoothies

Dinner -
Tuesday - Parmesan and garlic crusted cod, carrots, and broccoli
Wednesday -primal pancakes and sausage with fruit
Thursday - tacos (kids will have flour tortillas Scott and I will have salads, but we're trying something new...provolone crisp shells)
Friday - Scott and I are going out (if he doesn't have to work) TBA
Saturday - ham bone soup with spinach bread and onion crisps (both are primal even though neither sounds like it!)
Sunday - chicken, salad, acorn squash
Monday - leftovers or if there aren't any, freezer schtuff

And now you know!)

Juggling In My Head

I feel like I'm not posting as often as I want to. I don't know if I'm keeping up with your expectations, but I'd like to post more often. I'll try to increase the frequency. However, there are no promises being made here!

I would like to tell you a few reasons that I'm not posting as often. For one, we're having lots of fun in our homeschool. Last week we went beach combing with our new homeschool group. And today we went for a walk in town and watched some construction happening. There's a new YMCA going up and lots more to do. The kids are really excited to see the progress!

Another reason for the infrequency is time. I feel relaxed most of the days, but at the end of it I'm beat. After the kids get tucked in and the evening's chores are done, I've usually got less than an hour before I want to be tucked in too. Sometimes I post in the middle of the day, during our after lunch rest period (one of the brighter ideas I've had, may I say?), but I also like to use that time to not think. I catch up on facebook, DVR'd reality TV, and play games. Sometimes I even try to read! In the morning before school could also be a blogging time for me, except there are usually dishes, laundry, floors, and toilets to clean. So, when I get the time or make the time...them I type to you. I'll try to start neglecting my other responsibilities so that I can do this more often! ;-)

And the other reason...there's a lot going on in my head. I need to write of the Space/Sky unit review and I have three other topics I've been playing with in my brain too. I tend to "write" in the shower and when I'm drifting off to sleep, but then there's no time to get in in print...so all this good material sits in my head! I'm determined, though. Over the next week or so, as long as I stay focused and no one minds putting on dirty socks and we don't stop to watch the marvel of construction, then...maybe I'll (possibly) post more often.

How's that for determined?

Friday, September 17, 2010

WHAT Do I Do With a Seven Year Old Boy?


Jace was a sweet little boy who loved to cuddle and swing and get his tummy tickled.

He liked to sleep on Dada's chest and knew all the names of any construction truck you can think of before I did.

He still is a cuddler...sometimes.
He still likes to be tickled...sometimes.
He not only knows construction vehicles, but planets, weapons, and probably the anatomy, eating habits and mating rituals of the Nile crocodile.

He isn't much of a swinger anymore, but loves to climb all over any playground, grouping of rocks, fences...whatever. He's not picky he just wants to see how he can end up on top, especially if he's not supposed to be.

And now my sweet little boy is seven. He drives me up the wall.

He comments on my driving ability daily. He even likes to turn my car around when we're playing life so that it better fits my normal driving skills...bad. He watches when I play computer games and laughs when I lose.

He cuddles as close as he can to listen to stories and wanted to look at pictures with me tonight, to remember when he was a baby. He loves to cook with me. He loves to walk with me. He loves getting tucked in by me.

He's loud. He screeches and does bird calls. (If you're a turkey hunter I really think he could help you out.) He eggs on his siblings and laughs when they're sad. He cries when they hurt him or even when his feelings are hurt.

WHAT do I do with him?

I love him fiercely.

But, what do I do with him?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Friday Fill-In #13

1.How do you spend your deployment money, do you save, pay off bills or enjoy the extra money while it is there to buy the things you do not normally have? (from Troop Petrie)

We don't get a bonus or anything during patrols, but I do try to save money while Scott's gone. And if I'm not saving I'm trying to pay things down whilst he's gone so we'll have "extra" money (in that we won't be paying so much each month for other bills) when he's home again.

2.If you could relive one occasion or moment, what would it be? (from Currently On Land)

Good question...and just one? Hmm...our wedding day/night was a good time...or the birth of any one of the kids (maybe not the laboring, just the new baby in my arms)....but if I had to pick just one moment, I think it would be anyone of the times Scott kisses me unexpectedly. You know the little pecks that are a little more than a peck, but not enough to lead to anything. The ones that make you stop washing dishes for a moment and ask, "What was that for?" The only answer you get is a shrug and a smile. Those moments are worth reliving...not too often, not routinely, but with a casual frequency.

3.What’s the worst job you ever had and if it was so bad why did you take it? (from Faith and Deploying)

I don't know that I've had any jobs I would call "worst," but the hardest I ever had was picking apples out of the orchard. That was exhausting and I was so glad when I got hired someplace else after just a few weeks. I was so tired and hot and sore...a job that's certainly not for the faint of heart!

4.If you could play any character on TV, who would you be? (from Many Waters)

I think it would be totally awesome to be on The Amazing Race. But for a character...I think Angela, on Bones.

5.If you could become the world’s expert in something, what would it be? (from Army of Two)

Right now I'd like to be an expert in parenting. I feel like I'm running in circles and the kids just keep running quicker around me! I was thinking recently that a vacation from them where I could regroup and figure out my parenting strategy would be really nice!

So, there you have it...my two cents. Be sure to read everyone else's answers, too!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Primal(ish) Pizza

Earlier I mentioned that we were going to have primal pizza for dinner tonight. I thought maybe you'd all like to try your own...

There are several recipes out there for primal crusts (ones that don't include white or wheat flour). I've tried Oopsie pizza and liked it, but it wasn't well-received by others in the family. I may try it again, though. I was pretty early in my primal days then and now I'm feeling more confident with ingredients I didn't use often in my pre-primal days.

Other than that, though, there's cauliflower crust and almond flour crust, which is what I'm currently making. The kids like it so I'm running with it! The recipe I use is from Comfy Belly.

(Here are some other versions that I have yet to try...low carber forum Son of Grok)

We've eaten pizza once a week for the past few weeks! Either Jace or Gracie has chosen primal pizza for their meal to make. Like I said, I'm running with it!

This week, Jace changed it up a bit, though. He wanted to try to copy something he saw on TV...a cheese stuffed crust that was so awesome it needed to be cut with a chainsaw!

We didn't get out the chain saw, but we did stuff the crust. I used string cheese and cut it length-wise into four strips and rolled it in. Well, Jace rolled it in. He did a good job, too...only a little leaked out.

If I do it again, and if Jace has his way we will, I'll try half a cheese stick instead of a quarter. But that's personal preference.

So is this primal? I'd say it's primalish. Many primal eaters don't eat cheese and this is certainly heavy on the cheese. Of course our pizza had pepperoni, which likely isn't found in many primal fridges. But, listen...I'm picking my battles and pepperoni and cheese aren't anywhere near the battlefield these days!

For our sauce we use tomato paste and water to desired consistency. I've seen others use slices of tomato. I wonder how a white sauce (butter and garlic) would be? If you try, let me know...I'll do the same!

And, normally, we make individual pizzas, but I thought it might be easier to stuff the crust of a full sized one. When we individualize them, Scott and I have more veggies (onion, mushroom, broccoli) and regular meats (chicken, bacon).

The Recovery

So, if you didn't read my post from Monday...that's OK. It wasn't very upbeat! In fact, I was doing a lot of whining and groaning. I'm leaving my claw marks on the walls as I dig my way out of the gloom I fell into then...upwards and onwards always feels better. I like being a positive person. So, let's be positive...

I've been walking at least once a day. Often the kids walk with me. I was thinking ahead and over the last month managed to purchase waterproof footwear and jackets for all of us. That way we have no excuses when the rain Washington is known for starts falling. Today I wanted to get out and take a good walk, but it was drizzling. I was tempted to tuck my tail between my legs, as I was quite annoyed with my beautiful children, and watch a good movie. But we didn't. We got on our jackets and boots and went to town, literally. We parked at the mall and walked around Silverdale. We found where Jace's new karate classes are going to be (they're moving buildings this month) and chatted with the owner for a few minutes. We had a great and refreshing walk. Then we had Kataluma chai for snack. Almost nothing makes me smile more than that!

After all that I was feeling less annoyed, more relaxed, and ready to enjoy "playing choo choo," as Tyler says. So, we headed to Barnes and Noble. This is one of my favorite hangouts with the kids. We were there for over an hour. Jace read most of the time. Gracie looked through books, played with the trains, and looked at the toys. Tyler played choo choo with me, Gracie, other children who stopped in. He even took a break to read a few books. It was a great afternoon!

What else am I feeling good about today? We're almost done with our space/sky unit...that means another unit review will be in your future! That's always exciting to me.

Some more joy:

  • primal pizza for dinner
  • heading to the beach tomorrow with our homeschool group
  • Survivor starts tomorrow
  • the check book balanced last night
  • I made some phone calls today that I've been putting off...no one likes being put on hold! Check those off the to do list!
  • we're going to do the Puyallup this weekend (the Western Washington State Fair)

So, what's not to be happy about? Like anyone, I go through down days, but I always bounce back. I really do like being a positive person.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Blues...

Today's Monday. I know Monday gets a lot of flack. Sometimes I stand up for Mondays. Most of the time I don't think they're all that bad. Today is a different story. I'm blaming Monday for pretty much everything.

To begin with, I have a head ache. I don't like head aches. I don't get them very often, thankfully, but when I do they're not any fun. Now, I know some of you get migraines and I don't want anyone to think my head ache is anything like that. I can't imagine having to go through that kind of pain and discomfort. I'm just annoyed and pissing and moaning. It's Monday's fault.

On top of my head hurting, there was traffic everywhere today. I was late and I don't like being late. In my book, on time is late. And I wasn't even on time. Thankfully there were no major repercussions, but next Monday I'll be leaving even a little earlier to get everything done on time...or early.

I'm reading a book called Unconditional Parenting, by Alfie Kohn. Thus far I find a lot of it resonating with me. In fact, I'm only on the first chapter and have already used two quotes as status updates on Facebook. If that doesn't say I'm interested I'm not sure what does! The problem with this book is twofold, however.

The basic premise of unconditional parenting is that kids aren't malicious intentionally. There's an underlying emotion that they're unable to resolve or express that's coming through as misbehavior. That sounds great, except I happened to look in the rear view mirror this afternoon in time to see Gracie nail Jace is the face with her fist. Seemed pretty malicious to me. (shrug)

Secondly, even if I buy into the idea that most of the time when one of my children hurts another one it's accidental or some misdirection of emotions...what do I do about it? So far I've read that timeouts and spanking are ineffective in the long term. They may cause the current action to stop, but can leave kids feeling unloved, or loved conditionally. I guess I'll have to keep reading to find alternative ways to guide my children to less painful experiences with one another. (shrug)

Ready for more complaining?
  • the woman in front of me in the express line with fat-free dressing and a 10 pound bag of sugar, apparently that's all she needed tonight
  • the long-sleeved shirt I bought Tyler yesterday may have been on a 4T hanger, but was actually only 18 months. I didn't notice this, of course, until folding the laundry today.
  • there was only one long-sleeved Thomas the Train shirt, which Tyler wanted badly, and it wasn't his size
  • bed time is still hours away...think anyone will notice if I move all the clocks ahead a few hours?

OK, that's enough. Even Monday can only be blamed for so much...plus I'm a believer in negativity leading to more negativity. I like to acknowledge my feelings, put them out there, and move on...

...so, moving on...

A little good news: I got myself a lemon today for my water at home. It's a little thing, but I'm pretty excited about it. I always get lemon in my water when I go out and lately I've been really wanting something other than water to drink. I'm sipping my lemon water now...quite refreshing!

And one more thing...homemade applesauce for dinner tonight! Yum!

So, I hope your Monday's haven't been as grump-a-lump as mine. And, here's to a lovely and lively rest of the week!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Friday Fill-In #12

Yes, Ma'am...another week has past! It's time to fess up with some questions from Wife of a Sailor. It's time for Friday Fill-In!!!

1.Do you set goals for yourself during deployment? What are some of them? (from Military Mommy)

I think my goals are probably the same as many others: save money and lose weight!

2.What would you say to someone dating a military guy or gal? (from Mothering Off the Cuff)

I wouldn't say anything, probably, unless advice was asked of me. I might, however, talk to the military guy or gal...I think it's his or her job to prepare their loved ones for patrols, deployments, crazy schedules, etc. I might think that because my husband did a great job of letting me know what I was getting into before we got married and he continues to keep me informed. He's good like that!

3.If you have children, how do you prepare them to move to a new place? (from The Random Ramblings of A Household 6)

We just did our first move that the kids were old enough to really care. The approach we took was to be honest with them, and future focused, all in a very positive way. We let them know when we'd be moving, what would be happening. They got to pick a toy that drove with us instead of getting packed on the truck. We had a party to say good bye to friends. We got addresses and write letters. And, when they were or are sad about moving, we'd talk about it and let them know it's OK to miss friends or warm weather or whatever they're missing. But, then we talk about things we have now that we didn't have then. They have done well adjusting!

4.Name one hobby that gets you through alone time. (from My Sailor’s Mistress)

I'm not sure if you mean "alone time" as in deployments, alone because our spouses are gone, or time to ourselves, like how do I get it? So, a little on both...

It's been a while since I've been through a deployment. During the last one I sold Passion Parties, which was great for taking up time and I really enjoyed it! However, I'm no longer a consultant. So I'll have to come up with something new this time around. It'll probably revolve around homeschooling and activities with the kids!

And as for taking time for myself, when Scott's gone I do tend to watch more movies and stay up later. Both when he's here and gone, I get massages, monthly. That's my time and usually accompanied with an extra hour or so on my own for drinking chai, reading, walking, whatever!

5.What’s the one food you don’t ever get tired of? (from That Army Wife Life)

Currently, avocado. In fact, for a while that's probably been it! I love avocado in my eggs, on a salad, rolled in sliced meat, mashed in deviled eggs, even just plain....love it!

So, that's what I have to say...go check out what the other spouses have to say! Go on, now...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

30 Day Challenge

Mark Sisson has been talking up this 30 day challenge on his site...so much so that I'm very excited about it. I've been living pirmally, for the most part, for 6 months or so. There were a few months on the road that it was in the back of my mind rather than the forefront...but for the last two months the Primal Blueprint has been a big part of our lives. So, I'm ready to commit whole-heartedly for 30 days!

Woo hoo!

Check out the challenge here and join in...you'll feel better, mind and body! Can't beat that! And if feeling better and being healthier isn't enough motivation for you...there are prizes! That's right, you could win things for living better! So, let's see...who's with me???

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Do You Do It: Planning Homeschool

I'm not an expert on anything. In fact, I'm not sure what qualifies one to be an expert...there's always more to learn. That said, I have some experience in a few places. And I get asked often, "How do you do it?" So, I'm starting a new series to explain how I do things. I'm not committing to posting once a week or even once a month, but whenever I get around to it I'll answer a question about how I do it...whatever "it" may be. So, if there's anything you're curious about, just ask...

For some reason, I'm starting with the thing I probably know the least about...planning homeschool. But I did say I'm not an expert...

Gebel Family Homeschool is only a few months old and everything about it is still evolving, but in general this is how I plan. Every day we do math and vocabulary. The rest of our subjects are connected to whatever unit we're studying. I plan a unit or two ahead...and it goes something like this...

Once I have a topic in mind I do a catalog search of the local libraries to see what books they have on the subject. I also do a google search as well as looking on the sites of some of the homeschooling blogs I follow. If I'm looking at space I might also search for astronauts, weather, the solar system...related topics that can give me ideas. I use those searches to come up with a book list, web sites to visit with the kids, movies to watch, foods to cook, and activities to do. We don't necessarily do all this with each topic. Once I have all that info it gives me an idea of how long I think the unit will take, too. But I'm willing to give it more or less time once I see how the kids are enjoying it, or not.

During all of this I sit down with my planner (seen above) and bracket off the week(s) for a particular unit and the gist of what I want to accomplish that week. If I want to build a moving box rocket ship during the first week of space study, it gets penciled in...but it's always subject to change.

I didn't photograph the next page of my planner, but after the monthly pages there are weekly pages. On those I write down each day what the kids have done. Washington doesn't require me to keep detailed records so this informal way of tracking them works well for now.

And that's how I do it. Our units are very organic and based off their interests, my interests, holidays, family plans, time constraints, and trying to find a balance of things that make everyone excited about learning!

How do you plan your homeschool days?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Importance of Proper Support

Support...depending on where you are in your life that one word can bring to mind so many images.

If you're young and going through your first major heartbreak it could be a group of girlfriends who eat ice cream with you and talk bad about the boy who stepped on your heart.

If you've got kids you might think of your own mother, who talks you through those throw-your-hands-in-the-air times where said kids have you wondering if you're going to stay sane long enough to see them reach adulthood.

If you're military you might think of other spouses who help you laugh and cry and keep perspective during lonely nights and long days missing your loved one.

Maybe you think of your husband, who's strong arms hold you up when you need it. Maybe your best friend, a teacher, a neighbor. Support can mean so many things.

For me, at this point in my life...it means a good bra. I mean, seriously...I've nursed three children. I'm 32 years old. A couple of $7 bras that I bought almost a year ago aren't going to cut it. They no longer have any support. None.

And I'd started noticing other women without proper support. That's always a sign to me. It seems to me that when I'm at a certain place in life I notice others, everywhere, at the same place. When I was pregnant it seemed like every other woman I saw was too. There's probably just as many pregnant woman out there now, but I wasn't noticing them. Instead I was seeing the women whose breasts did not have proper support. I was wondering if they needed to be sized and when the last time was they bought a good bra.

So, I went bra shopping. And unlike the last time, I actually got a bra! In fact, I got two. They didn't cost me $7 a piece. But I did save $20.02 on the two of them. Don't you love thinking you saved money? They were still that much and a little more. Sometimes, though, spending $25 on proper support is just the lift you need (literally) to hold your head up high. I feel better knowing that women aren't looking at me wondering when the last time I went bra shopping was.

Hmm...I wonder what they are wondering?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friday Fill-In #11

Yes, it's Friday...again! Already! And, with the beginning of this holiday weekend comes the next edition of Wife of a Sailor's get-to-know-you style survey. If you're a milspouse, head on over and enjoy the fun!

1.What is a weird/funny superstition that you have? (from A{muse}ing Mommy on a Pink Park Bench)

I don't know of anything anymore. I'm sure I had more when I was younger. Probably the oddest little thing I have now is on escalators I always think something is going to get caught and drag me down so I kind of jump on and off...it's best to skip the part where the steps move out of sight.

2.What are your hopes and dreams for the years AFTER the military? After all, we aren’t in it forever! (from Stetsons, Spurs and Stilettos)

Ultimately we'd like to travel a little as camp hosts. If he gets out at 20 years that'll be after he retires again from some other career. But if he stays in longer we'll likely move right from our military lives to one that focuses on us as a couple and our goals with hiking, seeing the country, enjoying nature, and visiting our kids where ever they may be!

3.Since [this] month is National Apple Month (no really!), I’d probably ask: What is your yummiest apple recipe? (from NH Girl Displaced)

I love homemade applesauce. Peel em', slice em' up, cook em' down.

4.How long have you gone as a military spouse without talking to your husband/wife during service? (from A Navy Princess and Her Little Sailors)

I'm not sure. I think probably close to 2 or 3 months. That's how long his patrols are and there aren't always mail drops or even email access, but it's been a while since we've been on sea duty, so I don't remember for certain.

5.I occasionally watch When I was 17… on MTV. So, what was something that was significant about your 17th year of life? (from Ashley Amazing)

Well, that was my senior year of high school. I was dating this great guy and all was going well. He decided to join the Navy, broke up with me, made me cry and went to the prom with his ex-girlfriend. (Thankfully, he came to his senses a few years later and married me!)

Now, go check out other great answers from fellow military spouses! See you next week!