Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 5: In Which We Think A Lot About Food and Mummify Some

I have a son who is growing into a man. He eats. A lot.

We do not eat junk food. I am not sure what you would classify us diet-wise, but it borders on paleo / primal because we do not eat many grains, but it isn't paleo because we occasionally eat rice and raw dairy. Aside from this, we also eat beans, soaked and / or sprouted. Therefore, all of these minor indulgences mean that we don't fit into any particular diet scheme except for "real food."

It may be easier to say what we don't eat:
- foods containing gluten
- refined sugar
- high fructose corn syrup
- meat that originated in a c.a.f.o.
- most grains, except basmati rice, buckwheat, and rarely, gluten free oats
- foods containing non-fermented soy
- foods containing nasty oils that tend to be high in omega-6 such as canola or vegetable oil.

What this means is that I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately. My son is probably getting ready for a growth spurt because he cannot get enough to eat, and everyone in the household is doing rigorous CrossFit workouts which keep the apetite up.

This week I made this recipe for breakfast twice, and you should too, because your kids will think you are THE BEST MOM in the world. I served it with bacon or sausage, and it was a great stick-to-the-ribs breakfast. Looks fancy, but it's super easy.

Dutch baby with apples and almonds. MMMM!
And, inspired by the new Food Network program Rachel vs. Guy Kids Cook-Off, I decided my girl was definitely old enough to start cooking dinner with me. So we did this. 
The growing man ate three full plates of this, his ultimate comfort food; meatloaf, mashed red potatoes and green beans. Wasn't exactly paleo, but hey, the kid must eat!

I also made yogurt, granola, muffins, and soup, and eggs, and bacon, and whatever...but it was a lot of time in the kitchen, and honestly it's not the making that takes so much time, it's the clean-up.

Please remember as you are reading this: This blog is my journal. I am not writing this to boast or to brag about what a great mom I am. But I will pause to make this point to you who may be reading this and thinking "Great, another perfect homesteader-mom who picks her own food and milks her own cow, then brags about how she lives in paradise with all the health and abundance." To you, I will say that while I was busy cooking, all my plants died. I even managed to kill my poor daughter's Nile-flooding project, which is kind of a no-brainer. I do not have my own cows, chickens or anything, and I have one hopelessly neglected garden. I can make up for being a crappy gardener by going to the farmers market or the store. I would not be able to make up for feeding my kids poorly, so that is where I put my efforts. I can't do everything and neither can you.

Also, I should note that all this food prep is not my favorite thing to do, but I count it as part of my job of being a good mom. I have friends for whom cooking is their hobby and delight. While I do enjoy aspects of cooking (mostly the eating part), it is not what thrills me. But in order to do this well, one must be at home. A lot. You must be at home to homeschool well, eat well, and rest well. Okay, back to our week...

We had co-op on Tuesday in which we
tested how sound travels through different substances
sent funny messages
mummified chickens
and named them, of course
and had week 3 TOG discussion with our peeps!
After our Tapestry discussion the kids ran out and engaged in an epic battle of capture the flag, boys against girls, the end of which I have not yet heard! They constructed weapons for themselves using craft sticks and hot glue, and battled it out in the woods. Fun! They plan a do-over this coming week and hope to find some new recruits.

We also watched a video called Exodus Decoded put out by the History Channel. I didn't realize when I rented the video that it was produced by James Cameron, so I was immediately suspicious, however, it was very interesting. I personally don't agree with all that they posit, but it was refreshing to see an attempt by a secular source to prove that something Biblical actually happened, instead of trying to tear it down. If you have a dialectic student and want to give them food for thought and debate, I would recommend this video. My son had his Bible out and was checking their claims against scripture to see how they measured up and questioned their positions through the whole video.

The kids did a great job of meeting the goals that we set out at the beginning of the week and managed to cross everything off!

On Saturday we all pitched in together and did a deep clean of the whole house and that makes me very, very, very happy. The best part of it, though, was that I began listening to the The Great Courses audio on The Iliad, and covered quite a few lectures while I was cleaning and scrubbing. It is my goal to study the Iliad and the Odyssey this year on a Rhetoric level, which is something I have never done (I am sorry to admit). The lectures were very interesting and stimulated my thinking in completely new ways towards classical literature and the study of ancient history, which to this point has not been my favorite era of study. 

Next week will be our 6th week of school all together and week 4 of TOG. Time is flying, but it's been a great term so far.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Week 4: In Which We Have Interruptions

Much like the Deer Interruption from Week 3, we had a couple of cool interruptions again this week. Thankfully I keep my camera within reach most of the time.

So THIS is who has been eating our tomatoes!
Found guarding our front door. He was enormous--perhaps 3.5 in.

This was the closest thing to a "normal" school week we have had. Both kids had recovered from their colds and were functioning normally, both went to CrossFit and did their WODs, both did their school work wonderfully. I am so pleased with their progress. Having Molly reading independently in many of her texts has opened up new worlds of possibility, and I am enjoying instructing her so much more than before. I'll admit--teaching my children to read has been the most challenging, stressful job, and now that we are over that hump, we can do anything!

She has happily accepted any reading assignment I have given, loves reading Beast Academy Math, Apologia Science, and has even started reading for pleasure more than she ever has. I am breathing the proverbial sigh.

This week the family who hosts co-op fell ill in myriad ways and we decided to keep our distance and do just the grammar-level co-op at my house. We covered science, Story of the World and Geography, and played with colors in jars of water, just because if you have the food colors out, you should play with them!

To top it all off, it is Friday night and I have managed to get all of the school planning done for next week! Wow! I don't think that has ever happened before!

It was a productive, colorful week, and I am thankful. I can't wait to see what next week holds.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Week 3: When the Buses Start Rolling

This was the week that brick and mortar schools opened in our county. The big yellow buses are at the end of the street each morning, forcing me to time the departure for my workouts very carefully so I don't get stuck behind them. Even so, it seems that those buses magically bring the two things I love about this time of year: the weather, and field trips! When all the other kids go inside for school, schedules, lunch room, and homework, we go outside for picnics, lessons, field trips, and play, because the weather at this time of the year is the best we get! This week was no exception, and we took full advantage of the fact that most venues are virtually empty right now and visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. We also started our science and Tapestry of Grace co-op with friends. It was a short, but lovely week. It went something like this...
Break time!
Flooding the Nile
Deer interruption...
measuring the density of various liquids
Teacher's pet daughter
listening well
building our Swimming Creatures box
all done! Ready for creatures!
Let's see some swimming creatures!

feeding time for the catfish
It's not a trip to the aquarium without dolphins!
a very kind, patient trainer answered all our questions!

My one regret is that I forgot to take a photo of the rest of the kids when they came over for TOG discussion. The same kids from last year's group joined us, and we had a wonderful time doing geography, history, and literature. I was so involved in the discussion I forgot to snap a photo. It was amazing to see how much each of the kids seemed to mature over the summer. Longer attention spans, better discussion skills, deeper understanding...It's going to be a great year. I love each of the kids so much, and count it a privilege to get to spend so much time with these wonderful people.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Week 2: Stepping Up

Had a great conversation with my son after the first week of school ended. The end result of it was that he was going to have to take some initiative and be sure to have everything that is on his weekly goal list completed. Then at the end of the week he would report to his Dad all that he had accomplished. At this last bit of news his eyes grew big, he looked at me, then across at his Dad then back at me and said, "Okay. I'll do it." I'm not sure if it was fear or excitement or some combination of the two, but this past week in school he really stepped up his game and cheerfully completed all of his work.

Throughout the week the kids participated in a fundraiser put on by CrossFit to benefit the families of the 19 firefighters who were killed in June in the Arizona wildfires, many of whom were CrossFit athletes. The kids' class alone raised $2200, and along with their coach pledged to do 1 burpee for every dollar raised. I'm wondering how they are going to pull that off--hopefully not all in one day! In addition to selling raffle tickets my son participated in the Hotshot 19 memorial WOD held on Saturday. Boxes all over the world were doing this WOD (Workout of the Day) to honor these heroes who lost their lives. We were so glad to be part of this incredible community and contribute to this cause. I was so proud of my son who completed the entire WOD, which was not scaled for kids, except in the weight that they used. (Read about his performance here, if you're interested!)

Here are the highlights of this week's lessons:

Reading easily on her own
TOG assigned reading
Timeline work. With helper.

Reading limericks together
180 squats, 114 power cleans, 42 pullups, 2400 m run
This week we begin our Tapestry of Grace co-op with a few friends. We will gather to discuss Geography and hold Socratic discussions about the assigned reading. I can't wait...I think the kids are looking forward to it as well.