February 28, 2010

There's a New One

It's been a while since I've done an installment of Things I Never Thought I'd Say... not that I don't have a lot of them piling up...

For example, the other night Samuel and Elisabeth were having their bath when a new phrase came out of my mouth before I could stop it...

"Don't lick your sister's head."

I am not sure what is more shocking to me-the need to say it or the fact that it doesn't surprise me anymore. These things just come out as if I was saying, "Would you like cream in your coffee?"

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February 27, 2010

You Know You Are A Homeschooler When...

Home schooling is a way of life. Learning becomes something you do all the time and in many unique ways. Schooling becomes part of the family experience and the family is the key to education. At first everything must be carefully considered and thought out and it is an effort to conform to your new status. Slowly we evolve into creatures we never thought we could be until one day you forget that you are home schoolers at all. It just becomes... part of your existence.

Once in a while, though, some little thing pops up to remind you that you have chosen a different path. At times when those tid bits come to the forefront, you might even shock yourself.

For example, when someone asks our children about their pet dog and the children say, "We don't have a dog but we have pet... tadpoles, salamanders, lizards, caterpillars, butterflys, moths, stink bugs, prayingmantis, newts, frogs... you have to know that you are a homeschooler. Yes, you can tell a lot about a person by their pets.

When the kids ask why we have to have the cat fixed instead of letting her have kittens and before you know it you spend a half hour doing math on the white board to demonstrate how many cats we would have had in seven years if we would have allowed the cat to breed at will. And then you write in the lesson book, "Math lesson on exponents." You could be accurately accused of being a homeschooler.

When the lizard gets lose and the entire afternoon is interrupted trying to capture her... and you can't understand why some people think it is icky to have a reptile at large... well, you must be a homeschooler.

When the pet lizard dies and there happens to be five feet of snow on the ground so the kids can't bury him... you tell them to put the reptile in a box and put the box in a zip lock bag and put it in the freezer next to the OTHER dead lizard from last week until the ground thaws... you must admit that you are a homeschooler.

When you come home one day and tuck your four year old in for a nap and suddenly hear him shouting with an enthusiasm reserved for Christmas morning about all those neat things crawling on his bureau... and you run to his room to see what blight has taken over your home... and it happens to be that his pet praying mantis has just hatched one thousand (YES, ONE THOUSAND) young... which happen to fit through the air holes of the tank... and you don't even bat an eyelash... and kids start running in every direction while shouting things like, "Should I get the vacuum?" and "Mom, look at those cool babies!"... you have to know that you are a homeschooler.

When the kids realize the mother praying mantis is dead (part of the hatching process) and the kids say, "Cool! We'll put her in the freezer, and have a triple funeral," it is likely you are homeschoolers.

Even if you could explain those all away in one way or another, there is no way to deny your homeschool status when you open your calendar to preview March and the first item you see is, "Order ants now that it is warm enough for them to be safely mailed."

This post is part of Steady Mom's Thirty minute blog challenge for moms.

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February 26, 2010

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Friday Photo Flashback


I am joining Alicia in her Friday Photo Flashback. This week I am going back to 2004. Aedan was just 16 months old. My little curly top helped himself to an apple. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE... this face he made when he took a bite.


Wishing you all a great weekend!

Hugs,


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February 25, 2010

Week 45 of 52


Forever In Blue Jeans


I've accepted Carin's challenge, as a Mom, to get back into the picture. The idea is that once a week you take a picture of yourself. Give the camera to your hubby, the kids, the grocer. Who cares? Just pass it off and say, "Cheese." It's that simple. If you'd like you can post your picture on your blog. You can let me know you posted so I can check out your pics. You can check out my previous weeks or Click the button below to add your name to the Linky and take a look at all the others. If you want start fresh for 2010, Carin has a new challenge, "Shoot Me!" Check it out on her blog at Forever in Blue Jeans.

I am missing all of you and hope to be able to get around to visit this week. And dear Carin, I do hope your little man is feeling better. Every day I think I am going to write you a note and let you know that we have been praying for him, but somehow the day comes to an end and I never quite can get to it. We praying for his quick and full recovery.

And now...

Brianna took this first one before I ran to town with Allen on Friday. After a whole post of me sleeping last Thursday we thought we should be sure to get with me vertical this week.

Kaitlin took this one while I was laying out a new quilt I am working on. Which before anyone tells me how impressed they are, you should know that I bought the fabric to make a baby quilt for Aedan. He is going to be seven in April and I am just now getting around to it. As a matter of fact, I had to add the blue and change the design because I had enough fabric for a newborn not someone as tall as Aedan.
Sunday we were so happy to be able to go to worship. Between my migraine and the back to back blizzards we haven't been to church in a number of weeks. This was also the final service our departing Pastor was in. He left on Monday for their new home in Texas. The Pastor had asked a young man from our congregation to take a photo of our family for a scrapbook. I figured as long as we were all in one place and relatively neat and tidy and since I had my camera (yes, I always have my camera in my purse) I might as well have him take one of us for me, too. So here it is. Kaitlin closed her eyes in both shots.
I am including this second picture because I think Elisabeth's eyes are so funny. I have no clue what she was looking at. It is amazing her eyes didn't get stuck that way! Just kidding. Somebody used to say that when I was growing up. Can't remember who.

Love til next week,

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February 24, 2010

In Chaos There Is Opportunity

That was printed on the wrapper of one of those Dove dark chocolate hearts Allen gave me a few months ago. I thought it was so well suited to some incidents in our house that I hung it on the bulletin board in our kitchen.

Take for example what happened a few weeks ago.

The morning that the second snowstorm hit Maryland this February, we made a few calls to friends to be sure all was well and see if anyone was in need of anything before getting snowed in for a few more days. One friend who lives a bit off the beaten path, in Virginia, reported they had been without power for five days. This was not a huge inconvenience for them since they have a generator. However, after running it for so many days they were low on fuel. The husband decided to go out for more fuel before they were buried for five more days.

Being recent transplants from California, neither of their vehicles were four wheel drive so he was just a few yards from their garage when he got stuck and was unable to move even another foot. "No problem," Allen said, "We will run over the hill, fill our gas cans and be over in a few minutes." (For those of you who live in more urban areas, us hicks in the country keep a lot of gas cans around for lawn mowers, tractors and only God knows what else.)

Not being out of the house for several weeks, we decided it would be fun for all of us to go for a visit. Allen and the boys hopped in the Suburban to go to the filling station leaving us girls with instructions to be ready when they got home. Yes, sir! That gave us fifteen minutes.

Except that we were in our pajamas. With no makeup. I thought I should gather some groceries, too, as they must be getting low. Not to mention my hubby had been home for more than a week which meant my house had been seriously neglected. A good vacuum and a quickly tidy would be a pleasing thing to come home to. As we all took off down the hall to our various rooms we devised a plan shouting back and forth to each other.

To save time Kaitlin put her makeup bag by the door so she could do her face in the car. The next fifteen minutes went like this. Run-tidy boys' room-breakfast dishes-pull hair up-run-vacuum-lip stick-"Emma is Elisabeth with you?" Yes? "-run-vacuum-"better get some eggs"-braid Emma's hair-coat on Ellie-cat out- bird's in-vacuum-"I don't know where my boots are"-run-coffee off-potty Elisabeth-run-coat on- finish vacuum-"OH NO!"

Ellie discovered that in chaos there is opportunity. She found Kaitlin's makeup bag and while no one was watching decided to give herself a makeover. (Which is not really her fault because I let her play with my makeup while I do my face.) She didn't do half bad for a two year old. She knew right where to put the mascara.


She might need to work on the fine motor skills. We managed to finish the job, get the baby cleaned up and still be finished before the guys got home to fetch us. Not bad for a fifteen minute blitz, if I do say so myself.

But I did forget those eggs.
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February 23, 2010

Lake Champlain Chocolates

For Christmas our friends, Tony and Carrie sent a delightful care package for a family movie night. It included Cocoa, marshmallows, popcorn and a video. Oh, did I mention that the stash was all natural and organic? Did you know that? You can buy all natural, chemical free marshmallows? For those following along on my healthy eating post, you can have your marshmallows and eat them, too!

Now, is not that a wonderful gift for a family like ours? We thought so, too! The goodies were put away for a time after the holiday junk food high wore off so we could really appreciate it.

That time came during the second blizzard here the week before last. Now, I want to tell you that I do not usually consume cocoa mix. I just don't care for it. It never tastes as rich and delicious as good old-fashioned made from scratch and slowly simmered to a nice steaming warm.

I was so unbelievably pleasantly surprised by this tin of cocoa! We stirred it into the milk and heated it up on the stove and tasted it expecting the sort of sweet warm milk flavor I have come to expect of cocoa mixes. But it was anything but bad. In fact, I would say, and my family doubled (tripled, quardrupled...) my opinion it was as good as home made. Yes, indeed! It was rich and full and tasted like... chocolate. Not sweet at all. Just flavorful.

The ingredients. Well, maybe there was the key. Just good old-fashioned sugar and cocoa. The very same things I use in my cocoa. Now that explains it.

The name of this wonder? Lake Champlain Chocolates Hot Cocoa.

I will be looking for more in my favorite organics markets. For those who are interested it comes in other flavors, too. I was thinking that this would make a delicious latte, too, if stirred into a cup of steamed milk and hot coffee. Just something to think about.

Thanks a million Tony and Carrie for turning us on to something great!


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February 22, 2010

Bagels-friend or foe?

In our house you get to pick the menus on your birthday. For my birthday I chose Lox and Bagels for lunch. My well meaning hubby was trying to reduce the amount of work I had to do for my celebration and was going to pick up bagels instead of me making them.

The problem was, a snow storm was in the forecast. Around here, when snow is forecast, there is a mad rush for bread and paper products. I can not imagine how people can not make it through one or two days without such. If there wasn't snow in the forecast would everyone need to run to the store??? Oh, sorry, that is another post.

So my hubby went to our favorite bakery to get a dozen fresh baked bagels. Only they were sold out. So he went to both organic markets. Sold out. Next the grocery store bakeries. Sold out. As a last resort he went to the freezer section of the market and grabbed a couple of bags of Lender's Bagels.

I have to give him an A for effort, but when I read the package I started a batch of homemade bagels in the mixer. I love this recipe, which you can find in this post. It takes no effort and no mess at all and they are the best tasting bagels you will ever eat. Go ahead, give it a try. If I am wrong, I have a few bags of Lender's Bagels for you.

Now, I hate to beat a dead horse but here it goes anyway. For those who have been following my health posts, let's take a look at these ingredients.

YUCK!

Now compare that to what is actually needed to make a bagel flour, sugar, salt, oil and yeast.

One of the big obstacles I hear to eating healthy is how expensive it is. Let's note that my bagels cost pennies to make and these Lender's cost a couple of dollars in the store. Mine taste better and are far better for you. Even for those who can't afford to go organic, just getting rid of these sort of items will make huge improvements in your diet and it won't hurt your budget either.

In fact, here's an interesting thought for you. Two bags of Lender's bagels is about the same as a gallon of organic milk. How much more could you buy organic if you simply made all your bread products at home from scratch??? Just something to think about.

Happy Monday!

This post is part of Steady Mom's 30 minute blog challenge.

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February 21, 2010

You All Are The Best!

Hello, my dear blogging friends.

I am so grateful for your prayers and well wishes in the last ten days or so. I am not sure what brought on such a severe migraine after so many years but after dealing with the pain and nausea for more than a week, I have a renewed sense of gratitude for being without them for almost eight years. Looking at the computer or a video seems to quickly take me from feeling pretty decent to sick very quickly even still today, which is why you've not seen much of me around here lately.

I have been using my energy to get my work done and move school in a forward direction. Actually, I have been wonderfully blessed that the children have been diligent to keep up with their studies and help each other so that they have managed to accomplish much.

Anyway, I certainly do NOT want to go on about my issues, I just wanted you to know I haven't abandoned you... just on a temporary forced hiatus. I feel better for longer spells every day and even made it to worship and lunch out with the family today. I am sure that this will quickly be a thing of the past and life will return to normal.

In the mean time, I know I owe Diann a post of baby food, a health post on why I chose a healthier lifestyle, a post of why I chose to home school and I think there was another request in there that is slipping my mind right now, but I have note of it on my computer and will be filling all those promised shortly. Also, dear Heather, there will be coming a series of posts on home school to answer all your questions. Anyone with questions, requests or comments to add to that post just leave me a note or drop me an email.

Last but not least... I feel so bad about skipping out on my health post this week... that I thought instead of my usual Not Me Monday I would put up a post I wrote a few weeks ago and saved for a future post. So stop by tomorrow for Bagels-friend or foe?

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February 19, 2010

Learning to Sew

Friday Photo Flashback

I am joining Alicia at More Than Words in her Friday Photo Flashback.

My mom was a wonderful seamstress. When we were little girls she made us beautiful clothes for our dolls that my little Ellie plays with today. I remember her winning Grand Champion in the County Fair and sewing her own negligees.

I often asked her to show me how but one thing my mom lacked was the patience to share her talents. Even though, I always desired to learn how to make my own clothes, when I got married, I had to get help from a friend just to sew a loose button back on my coat.

I still desired to master this practical and gratifying skill, though. I must have talked about it alot because one Christmas, I think it was 1998, my hubby surprised me with a sewing machine of my very own. It was the most wonderful gift I ever received. I have used it endlessly since, taught others to sew on it and my three daughters now sew prize winning garments and quilts on it.

When he gave it to me, Allen also knew that I would need someone to teach me how to use it. I am not particularly mechanically inclined and reading manuals puts me over the edge. I learn by seeing and doing. So, he asked a dear friend of mine who was a great seamstress to come and give me sewing lessons.

We still talk about the memories we made in those days at Joann's choosing patterns and fabric and the many hours at the machine sewing dresses. Here in February 1998 you see my dear friend Katrina with Kaitlin and Brianna wearing the first dresses I ever sewed. We had to make the photo black and white because it scanned so poorly.

We sewed many outfits together after that. She would bring her machine and while our babies napped machine beside machine I would sew a dress for one of the girls and she would sew for the other. She moved to California the following year, until 2007.

Since they were transferred back here, her daughter and Emma have worn many of those matching dresses. Each time we see them together we say, "I remember when we made that." or "Do you remember the dress with the chick buttons?"

You can see a more recent picture of Katrina in this post.



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February 18, 2010

Week 44 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans


I've accepted Carin's challenge, as a Mom, to get back into the picture. The idea is that once a week you take a picture of yourself.Give the camera to your hubby, the kids, the grocer. Who cares? Just pass it off and say, "Cheese." It's that simple. If you'd like you can post your picture on your blog. You can let me know you posted so I can check out your pics. You can check out my previous weeks or Click the button below to add your name to theLinky and take a look at all the others. If you want start fresh for 2010, Carin has a new challenge, "Shoot Me!" Check it out on her blog at Forever in Blue Jeans.

Mom is still suffering from the migraine. Tuesday she was much better then yesterday hit rock bottom again. Today is Thursday. Which means time for the "Getting Mom Back". Only problem is that Mom can't look at a computer screen for too long. So she asked me, her tech support, to do it.


And what pictures could be more appropriate then these? 


Mom cuddling with Ellie Friday evening. Or Mom trying to sleep and Ellie enjoying "Baby Einstein". 



Saturday afternoon after getting two shots that pretty much knocked her out. 





How does she do it? Even beautiful when sleeping. That's my Mom!




Nana (Brianna) writing for:


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February 17, 2010

Natural Cleaning Products


This week I want to share something that has really improved our quality of living. I am a cleaning fanatic. Yes, I am very particular about things being not only neat and tidy but also clean. I quickly wipe down the bathrooms every day to banish any germs lurking to attack my family. I clean the inside of my fridge on a regular basis. Yes, I disinfect the tooth brush holders and soap dishes weekly. You name it, I want to know that it is adequately clean.

The catch? I am also an asthmatic. Dust, mold, mildew and cleaning products are all triggers that will send me into weeks of wheezing and inhalers and steroids. Which means that cleaning day is a virtual nightmare waiting to happen.

This became so problematic that we had to take measures to eliminate as much of my cleaning duties as possible. But let's face it... no matter how much you delegate there are still things that need to be done regularly and if you are a home maker there are things that only you can do up to your standard.

I have tried baking soda and vinegar and other organic cleaners and they work OK. But to keep up with the dirt and grime produced by this family of nine, they don't do what I would like.

When we were on vacation last fall, I was wandering through Walmart looking for paper towels when I happened upon my new favorite products. Green Works by Clorox.

I have used a lot of 7th Generation products and swear by their laundry detergent, however, many of their products cost a great deal more than the chemical laden counterparts. Natural dish washer powder is shockingly more expensive
than the walmart brand, for example.

This line cost no more than the good old fashioned all purpose spray cleaners but boasted only all natural ingredients free of phosphates and other dangerous chemicals.

But did it work? It sure did! I was so pleasantly surprised. It had no nasty lingering smell and best of all I experienced itching, wheezing, sneezing, coughing. I am trying desperately to remember what the boys spilled in the sink at our vacation home but
I can't get it in my memory. I do remember that I was afraid it would NOT come out and one spray with the Green Works all purpose cleaner and a wipe with a paper towel and there was not a trace.

I usually leave the household products I purchase for the next renter who comes through, but not this baby. For fear of not finding it back home, I packed her up and toted that bottle all the way to Maryland from Georgia.

Imagine my delight when I saw Windex on the shopping list and discovered not only did our Walmart now carry the green works line but that there was a new member in the family. The glass and surface cleaner lived up to all the expectations that had been set by my all purpose cleaner.

Even still, I was not so sure about the dish liquid. I have been a Dawn girl since I set up my own house keeping almost twenty years ago. Nothing cut
through grease or held the suds like good old fashioned Dawn. Even my frugal hubby knew never to mess with buying any generic dish soap. So when this came on the market I had doubts, despite the flying colors of her sister products. I bought the bottle of green works liquid but grabbed a bottle of Dawn just in case.

That night, I stood by the sink in awe watching the suds build up. When I put my hands in the water I had to grab the bottle and make sure I had poured the right soap in. It felt just like my dawn. And it cleaned as well, too. Those suds lasted through dinner dishes for nine, getting them every bit as clean. Oh, and for those who don't know this trick... a little Dawn or Green works is great for rubbing into greasy stains in your laundry. In case you haven't guessed, she passed the laundry test, too. I almost feel guilty saying it, but that huge bottle of Dawn moved to the back of my cupboard.

So there you have it. A recommendation from one very picky homemaker to the other equally obsessed housewives out there who like to find ways to make your families a little a healthier and to those who like to make their work a little easier.

For more Works-For-Me-Wednesday-Posts go to We Are That Family

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February 13, 2010

Out Of Blog

Hello Reader of Art's Chili Pepper,

For the past few days Chili Pepper has been down with a very severe migrain. This morning Pa took her to the doctor who gave her two shots that helped with the pain but left Mom very sleepy and in a fog. I know that she missed writing and feels bad about not getting a post up today and I also know that as soon as she feels herself she will return. Please keep in your prayers that this will not develop into a continuing issue.

Love and Blessings,

Nana (Brianna) writing for:


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February 12, 2010

Blizzard 1996

I am joining Alicia at More Than Words in her Friday Photo Flashback.

Since we have had a lot of big snows this year, we have been talking about other big storms. We have had a blizzard here and there over the years but the last time we remember having multiples, like we did this week, was back in 1996. Just for fun, we dug up these old photos from that January.

This first one is Kaitlin. She would have been around four then. We lived in a town house community at the time. This must have been before the actual blizzard came through because we can still see the cars.

And this would have been afterward when we could no longer see the rails of the deck off of the kitchen.
Notice that car in the first picture is no longer visible. We had another couple of feet a few days later. The thing we remember most was being in a community with no grass to pile the snow on, we ran out of places to put the stuff in order to clear our parking spaces.

I do love snow. Especially, living in the country where we could care less if our cars ever get dug out!
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February 11, 2010

Week 43 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans
I've accepted Carin's challenge, as a Mom, to get back into the picture. The idea is that once a week you take a picture of yourself. Give the camera to your hubby, the kids, the grocer. Who cares? Just pass it off and say, "Cheese." It's that simple. If you'd like you can post your picture on your blog. You can let me know you posted so I can check out your pics. You can check out my previous weeks or Click the button below to add your name to the Linky and take a look at all the others. If you want start fresh for 2010, Carin has a new challenge, "Shoot Me!" Check it out on her blog at Forever in Blue Jeans.

How do the Wachters pass time while snowbound???

Get a jump start on Spring cleaning. If you'd like to know why read this post.

Make Belgium Waffles
Watching the Super Bowl... Yeah, Saints! Blogging... Email...
Baking...
Science experiments...
Birthday celebrating...
Drawer fixing... Go, Pa!
Oh, and here's an old one for you, Di. I forgot to post this a few weeks ago. I didn't want to wait til Summer to wear the new outfit you sent for Christmas so I threw a shirt and leggings with a pair of pumps... and Voila! Perfect for a day of school by the wood stove.


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February 10, 2010

Food Journal


Happy Wednesday already! How fast the week is going. If this is the first time you are joining us, this is part of a continuing weekly series on how to make simple changes to a healthier life style. To read past posts click here.

This week, I am going to, at last, get around to posting the food journal I promised a few weeks ago. As I mentioned, real life has been interfering with blog life lately. Before we get into the meat of this weeks health post, I need to take care of some business.

An Award...

In my bread post, I promised The Staff of Life Award to those who baked bread and told me about it. Two readers rose to the challenge.

You can check out Gaby's post at True Blessings

My friend at It Feels Like Chaos had this to say: "You are the reason I am converted to a bread baker!!! Yours was the first recipe for homemade bread I ever tried! You're right, you do just get used to making it and it doesn't even seem too cumbersome! I love how much better it tastes, feeding my family REAL food, and not having to ever put bread on my grocery list!!"

So here it is, ladies! Be sure to pick up your award. Of course, the real reward is the blessings that come from healthier eating, the simple pleasure of providing something delicious for your family, and the delight of seeing that beautiful finished loaf sitting on your cooling rack.

My Bread Baking Day...

As easy as it is, sometimes things get a little out of kilter. I was trying to grind the wheat while I was giving instructions to the children and making breakfast at the same time. I was eager to jump into our lessons for the day after a long weekend and wasn't paying attention to what I was doing. All of a sudden there was flour flying all over my kitchen. I didn't have the cup seated right in the grinder! It took the vacuum, a handful of us, and a LONG time to get the flour that had settled cleaned up off of EVERYTHING in my kitchen. While I was at it, I figured I might as well vacuum under the fridge and stove and get a jump start on my Spring cleaning. (The bonus was I found a bunch of our missing alphabet magnets under the fridge.)

Once the kitchen was cleaned up and the wheat ground, I set off again to make my loaves. I get the first three batches in the kitchen aid and they start kneading while I measure out for the next three loaves. The motor stopped. Long story short, I had forgotten how long it takes to knead enough bread for this family by hand. Allen felt so sorry for me he came out of the office and helped me knead the dough.

Praise God for stand mixers!

Comments, Questions, Reply...

JenT. brought up the prospect of triple grinding. "I have a friend who makes wonderful wheat bread. I used her recipe and mine still wouldn't turn out like hers. (Hers is so good they sell it to families in their church). Anyway, I asked her the secret and she said they grind their wheat THREE times! She said she puts it in the freezer between grindings so it doesn't get too warm and gooey. It turns out as fine as the white flour you would buy in the store."

There are a lot of factors that will affect the quality of flour you get. Not the least being the type of wheat berries you buy. A lighter, softer berry will give you a finer flour. The type of grinder you use will also have a lot to do with the quality of your flour. My grinder has a pastry setting. I keep it set there and find that even biscuits, cookies and our scones are delightfully light. Some people prefer a heartier loaf. If you want the option of adjusting the coarseness of your flour, be sure to find a grinder with this option.

If you use Jen's suggestion, please be sure to follow that freezing in between grind step! Otherwise your mechanisms could become clogged and your machine will be ruined. In case you are a manual reading person, be sure to grind only the amount recommended by your manufacturer at one time. My girl friend lost a $300 grinder when her helpful hubby ground too many wheat berries at once and it backed up into the motor.

Jen, perhaps you will share that great recipe with us sometime???

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Gaby sent me an email asking if I would keep a food journal for a week and maybe take pictures of portion sizes. I wrote back and asked... are you serious? I wasn't sure. To which she replied:

"Hello Kathleen! Thanks for responding and no I wasn't kidding.I enjoy your posts very much by the way~I just thought it would be fun and encouraging ,also to get some ideas as to what to eat and how much . I think for the most part we eat pretty healthy.I myself also love to read about nutrition and health ,but at times I get so overwhelmed.For example,I know for a fact that at this time we just can not afford only organic foods,I pray for the food and trust that God sanctifies it. So instead I try to serve homemade meals,whole grains,lots o fruits ,veggies,coconut and olive oil,meats,not so much processed foods. I think if I think about it too much ,I can get obsessive,but I also believe portion has a lot to do with it.I am overweight and have been wanting to lose weight ,growing up I never had weight issues until I started having children.I want to lose the weight but not have to be counting calories or points and just eat normal and be healthy.Like this morning for breakfast I made whole wheat tortillas ,bacon and eggs. I would say I don't eat too much ,maybe get more exercise .I don't know .Okay,so hopefully you can help me?Thank you~
Gaby from True Blessings

Wow! Where do I start? For one thing, keeping a journal no big deal. Because of my diabetes, I follow a careful meal plan and often keeping a journal of what I eat and when. And for kicks, I took some pictures to give you some ideas.

But before I go into that I want to make something clear. I eat the way I eat, and I choose to feed my family the way I do: not to be a specific weight, although that is often a nice side affect, but in order to feel my best and have the best quality of life available to me.

As I started addressing this and some other parts of Gaby's email, I realized that to say all that I think needs to be said would take far more time than I have tonight. So please stop by next week to read about why I have chosen this path for myself and my family as well as my philosophy on weight loss and dieting.

When reading through my menus below there are several things you must remember to get the whole picture.

1- all bread or starch products are whole grain and home made unless otherwise noted.

2- all meat and dairy are organic

3- fruit and vegetables, when the option is available are both fresh and organic

4- Coffee and tea after lunch is decaffeinated

5- I only drink fresh juice so you can assume that if juice is on the menu it is freshly made with organic produce when available

6- Due to snow we ran out of produce toward the end of the week so you will see an unusual lack at some meals.

7- In order to keep my glucose from fluctuating, I eat every 3 hours or so.

8- You will also note that I allow myself treats as I desire them, but I keep the portions to just the amount that satisfies me. For example, we received a box of Sees Chocolates (my very favorite) for Christmas. Often I will crave a little something sweet with my afternoon coffee. When you see a See's chocolate in my journal, more often than not I take one bite (about 1/3 of a truffle or chocolate) and then hand the rest to whoever is standing nearby. One nibble is all I need to satisfy my craving so why fill myself up with more calories and junk than that? I don't want to dwell on this, but I will touch on it more next week.

9- Lunch is often leftovers on school days so sometimes the menu is hit or miss

10- I drink 8 glasses of water each day... and water is an entirely different post so don't get me started...

11- My strict rule is that desserts must be homemade. That eliminates preservatives and other unwanted ingredients as well as the amount of dessert floating around.

As a general rule of thumb my meal plan goes something like this: Each meal includes a serving of fruit. Lunch and dinner also include a large portion of raw or steamed veggies. I always eat my fruit and veggies first and if I am still hungry have meat or starch just until I am not hungry.

Wednesday:

2 cups coffee with half and half
fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
2 granny smith apples
1 slice home made toast with butter

I worked through lunch so my daughter cut up a bunch of fruit for me to eat while I was teaching.
boat load of apple slices
herb tea with sugar (out of honey)

1 cup carrots, steamed
1/2 whole grain roll with butter
1/4 boiled potato with butter and sour cream
3 bites pot roast

coffee with 1/2 and 1/2
1 Sees lemon truffle

Thursday

2 cups coffee with half and half
grapes 1 cup
fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 pumpkin muffin (I lost the other half when Ellie walked by and snitched it off my plate... you snooze, you lose)

1 cup steamed carrots
2 oz. chicken Parmesan
1 cup cantaloupe

1 sees truffle
1 cup coffee with half and half

Tuna noodle Casserole
green beans
apple

coffee with 1/2 and 1/2
plum pudding

Friday

2 cups coffee with half and half
fresh grapefruit juice
grapes
1 cup kashi cereal

2 deviled eggs
raw carrots with hummus

Greek salad
1 slice BBQ pizza

Sees Chocolate Lollypop

Saturday

2 cups coffee with half and half
1 granny smith apple
3/4 tortilla with cheese
1 oz. sausage
1 fried egg-no yolk
1/4 cup fajitas
1/8 cup refried beans
4 oz. grape juice

1/2 tortilla with cheese
1/2 ounce sausage
1 Sees chocolate

1 cup tomato soup
1/2 grilled cheese with apples

coffee with half and half
1/2 slice lemon cake, minus the icing

Sunday

2 cups coffee with milk
4 ounce grape juice
1/2 cup grits
1 fried egg, no yolk
1 ounce sausage
1 green apple

1/3 gyro without pita
hot chocolate

6 pieces sushimi tuna
salad
1 slice bread with olive oil

Monday

2 cups coffee with half and half
1 granny smith apple
1 muffin
4 ounces grape juice

Worked through lunch so KK brought me leftover grits with cheese

coffee with half and half

We have class on Monday nights so we don't get dinner until 10 pm. At class I had a snack of a Latte and a handful of trail mix

After class we go out to dinner with our oldest daughter who goes to class with us. She and I always split something and I usually still take 1/2 of mine home.

2 ounces kobe burger with avocado but without bun
salad
1 slice bread with olive oil

Tuesday

2 cups coffee with half and half
4 ounces grape juice
1 tortilla with cheese

1 cup Mexican casserole

1/4 slice lemon cake without icing
coffee with half and half


Now let's take a quick look at some of the plates that were on my table the last week. This first one was lunch the day after we had company... so there were leftovers. 2 clementines, antipasto (sopresso, asiago cheese, roasted red pepper, fresh Parmesan) Salad of kalamata olives, fresh mozzarella and tomato. Notice, the portion of fruits and veggies compared to meat and cheese.


And here was my birthday breakfast. Again you should note the juice was fresh squeezed, the scones home made and the nice portion of organic berries.

Look at this lunch. Homemade bagels, with lox, tomatoes, lettuce, onion, cream cheese, berries, raw veggies with home made hummus.


One more thing you should note, is that even though I was served all that, this is what was left on my plate. Even though, I thought it was rather disgusting to take a picture of my dirty plate, I didn't want to disappoint my friend, Gaby. No, seriously, it is important to know when to stop eating. But that is really another topic, too.

And Now It's Your Turn....

I would like to challenge you to keep your own journal for a day or a few days or a week. Email it to me. I will go over it and email you with ways to improve your diet for a better feeling you.

So there you have it folks. I hope I have answered your questions. If you have any more leave them in the comment section and I will either email you with answers or address them here next week.

And speaking of next week, don't forget to stop back next Wednesday for more incredibly exciting information on making life healthier for you and those you love.

For more Works-For-Me-Wednesday ideas stop by We Are That Family.



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