09/07/2014

At least I knew today was Sunday ;  )   A happy day.  I have been carefully working our way through our pantry items, as we had too much built up and not enough money to do a big shopping trip.  So today, a big check cleared and I woke up and went to Sprouts!  Especially exciting since they are having one of their BOGO sales.  I was able to get a bunch of organic chocolate bars, Muir Glen pasta sauce and crushed tomatoes,  celery, Earthbound spring salad mix, Boulder Creek olive oil potato chips, So Delicious Ice Cream, and Napa valley EVOO, all BOGO.  I forgot a few BOGO items- Yogi tea, Wolfgang Puck OG soups, Glutino pretzels, and Daiya cheese.  The last one I really need as I don’t seem to be able to tolerate much dairy at all.  And I don’t seem to feel satisfied unless I have something gooey and creamy regularly.  I make a vegan broccoli MacNCheese that is a-maze-ing!  I bought a GF butternut squash ravioli to try.  I got 10 pounds of Grassfed Rib Roast- currently one pound is in the crockpot for stew, we are eating our way through a roast coated in balsamic glaze, honey mustard, fresh pressed garlic, fresh garden rosemary and thyme, and rosemary salt.  It is excellent!

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I think it is one of the first recipes that comes up when you Google Cross Rib Roast recipe.

We made Niman Ranch bacon for breakfast.  Too bad those were not BOGO…I usually catch the drippings in a muffin pan and then W and I make a large batch of Banana Muffins.  I usually do some variation of the GF Banana Muffin recipe on King Arthur Flour.  With coconut sugar and honey and one of my GF flour mixes.  Usually rice flour or sorghum flour and some starch (tapioca, arrowroot, potato), with a 1/2 tsp. of Xantham Gum  per cup.  They always turn out well.  A few times ago, they expanded like mountains, with tall peaks, and were so light and fluffy!  I am trying to remember what I did to that batch.

After dinner, the kids and I broke into the Ice Cream.  I also bought GF cones on clearance, so it will be the first Ice Cream cone I have eaten in a long time.  And the first GF DF cone ever.  I am going back tomorrow to see if they have anymore!

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More schlepping books upstairs today to organize and up and down stairs to take care of J’s needs.  Hopefully my butt will look great after all of this.  I need to sort through all of them, figure out what we will use and make a sell/give away pile.  We have sooooo much downsizing to do.  Hopefully we will be able to sell most of our items, especially the nicer clothes and books.  By the time we are done with the tiny house, any little bit might make a difference.

More games today- Apples to Apples with all the kids, Harvest Time and A Walk in the Woods with the boys, and Dwarves and Dice with W.  And I found his wooden bear puzzle! Awesome!  Gotta keep those kids busy.  On that note, the boys savored swimming and W calmed down enough to sit still while I trimmed his bangs.  That’s right!  I have trimmed all three of the kids bangs.  This is gonna save at least $50 per month.

We harvested a bunch of heirloom tomatoes  and so I blanched and peeled them and made a yummy velvety sauce.  It is loosely based on my Italian MIL, Karen’s recipe, rest her soul.  I blended 6 large blanched/peeled tomatoes, added a large can and a half of Muir Glen crushed tomatoes with basil, sea salt, fresh garden basil, fresh pressed garlic, and a chopped onion, cooked down, and blended again.  The kids like it super smooth- no chunks.  I only got a jar and  half, but it was worth it.  Now we are ready for homemade pasta night and homemade pizza.

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After getting W to sleep, I had some time to start looking at knitting and crochet patterns.  There are so many out there that I love, but I am trying to find ones that will work with the yarn I have now.  I want to use up as much as possible, and then when we get to where we are going, I can start building up my stash again- with yarns that I love for patterns that I love.

Now I am catching up on my shows while I study.

Have a blessed night.

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09/06/2014

I thought today was Friday. Really, I did! When you don’t go out very often, and have a very similar routine everyday, I guess the days blend together. So it is Saturday, and time for Z to go to Kung Fu.
I spent all morning cleaning and organizing. I went down to the basement because I knew that we had more games and books than are up here in our house. Sure enough, there are boxes and boxes of my books, some boxes of kids/homeschool books, and a large box of games. A few of the games were missing pieces, and some had their boxes broken, but there they were! I found Dwarves and Dice for W, Harvest Time, A Walk in the Woods, In a Pickle, Zingo, Cranium and Cranium Cadoo, Apples to Apples, Scrabble Junior, Junior Pictionary, Connect Four, Hi Ho! Cherry-O, Trivial Pursuit, Don’t Make Me Laugh, Sleeping Grump, My Word!, and a skill game called Shuttles. Awesome! Needless to say, we played a lot of games today.
I also decided to bring up the rest of my yarn. We bought a huge bag at an estate sale a couple of years ago, and I have slowly been working through it. I have some huge cones of boucle in all weights, a lot of lovely linen thread and lace, and 12 cones of fisherman’s wool. So I got it all into my new yarn area and organized it and am going to start planning patterns tomorrow.
Other exciting activites: making pasta with my lovely daughter! B wanted spaghetti and we didn’t have any and had no money but had some organic wheat flour. She is not much for gluten free. Some things. With lots of sugar and butter. So since she doesn’t always trust my cooking and was feeling down, I decided to go with wheat. It went well. We made linguini and fettucini and farfalle and experimented with rolling little tubes.

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Everybody ate it up- even me. I had to try some. At least my stomach didn’t freak. Now I am waiting for some superfine rice flour to come in the mail so I can make some. Maybe I will try with sorghum flour for now. I am so jealous.  I also made a crumb cake from a mix that G-ma gave us that I can’t eat but made the kids happy and a huge pot of Split Pea and Ham soup that I can eat.  Yay!  It is so good.  I am longing for Fall and soup weather.  They say it may rain tomorrow.  Or maybe not.  Or maybe Monday.  But probably not.  Boo.

While the girls were in the kitchen, W and Z watched The Hobbit 1 and 2. I love the Hobbit and LOTR series. I used to read the books once a year when I was a teen. J read them even more than I did, especially the Hobbit. Now we watch them all a few times a year and J reads the books to the kids sometimes, especially on long car rides. It is a great family tradition. Excited for December when the Hobbit 3 comes out!
Oh- and I trimmed Z’s bangs today. He has not been able to see without brushing them out of his eyes, and it is an issue at Kung Fu. He will not wear a headband or clip, so shorter it goes…I think I did a great job, considering it is my second attempt.

Then studying.  Studying.  Studying.  It will not end for 5 or 6 months.  It keeps me from keeping the house as clean as I would like.  It keeps me from crafting as much as I would like.  It is a necessary evil.  At least I like the content.
Between all of that, cleaning the house, and going up and down the stairs 20 times to bring J his meals and keep him supplied in coffee, I am tired! But a good kind of tired, like we are on the right track and everything is going to be okay if we can just make it through this stage of the journey. Poor J has been outside the last week chugging through the tiny house foundation. That’s right, after weeks of planning and a week of looking at the trailer and figuring out what materials we need, we are finally getting the base up. Home Depot delivered hundreds of pounds of materials and so we have what we need to do the floor and shell. Check out ourblissfullifeblog for more info.

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Good night!

09/05/2014

Today was a little better than yesterday. I woke up sore, due to the workout last night, but it felt good to use my body more. The boys had lots of energy- they went swimming twice again, especially since we talked about how the seasons are changing and we will only have good swimming weather for a few more weeks. Thankfully, that means the weather is slightly less searing…It may even rain this weekend. Yay!
We went to Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us to spend the kids birthday gift cards. B bought some young adult books that she has been wanting. W got a dragon figurine and a lego Star Wars kit. Z got a Beyblade figure and two Slug Terra figures. And as a family, we got the games Set and Munchkin. I love Set- it is a game that you can play by yourself or others, and it is a very good brain and skill builder for recognizing patterns. You can make it work for many different skill levels, and you can play for as short or long of a time as you want. Munchkin is a little more advanced than the games we are used to, but it seems like once we get it down, that it will be a lot of fun. It is the kind of game that will be different everytime, similar to Fluxx.
We have been needing some new games. We are planning on getting a few more cooperative games for Winter Solstice. Right now we have Monster Fluxx, Labyrinth, blokus, Quirkle, Settlers of Catan, Life original and Star Wars, Double (similar to Uno), Scrabble, Hoot Hoot Owl, Max the Cat, Princess, Count Your Chickens, 50 dice for dice games including Tenzies, Anomia, Lord of the Rings, Adventure time Monopoly, Apples to Apples, Hedbanz, Feed the Woozle, Animal Upon animal, and Clue. And probably a few others in storage that I need to get out. I can only play a game so many times before I need a new one.
We sharpened a bunch of colored pencils today. It seems like all of ours were stubby, so we got a good variety sharpened and got to work on coloring some mandalas. We also talked about multiplication circle patterns and played Tenzies. B and I made a lemon cake, so she got some good fractions there : )
And we defrosted some Yellowtail tuna that Grandpa caught on Easter. It was so yummy just with salt and oil!
Z practiced his writing and form drawing while I drew a wombat and a koala for W.

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B worked on some speed sheets for the four processes. And we made white playdough!

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Perfect for lightening the colors that we have. W has had varying colored globs in his hands almost nonstop. Next I want to get out our clay and work on some pottery and sculptures.

09/04/2014

Well, it has not been a very blissful day. Papa had a super grumpy morning dealing with the post office, and we all felt the effects. I, in particular, was affected, as I have not been feeling great lately anyway. My lungs do not do well in the searing heat, and I am totally exhausted from trying to fit in homeschooling, studying for my licensing exams, keeping the house clean, and prepping for the big move. Add that DH is busy all day and night building the house, so he can’t help out much.
I decided to take it relatively easy today. No big craft project, light on the lessons. We did still manage to get a bit o’ that learnin’ in, though. The boys and I played Double in bed and then read some books. We drew using our 1-2-3 books. I drew a Pachycephalosaurus!

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Z drew a Guinea Pig and an Archaeopteryx!

The boys went swimming a couple of times while I worked on my knitted bathrug and then they had some electronic time.

I made a large loaf of whole wheat bread for DD, who won’t eat Gluten Free bread and I made a pan of gluten free brownies for myself and the boys. We also made a big pot of Gluten Free chicken noodle soup.

And, although I am still feeling very fatigued, I am feeling the motivation to work on my body more, so I did a half hour of yoga and some toning exercises. Not too much, as I get drained easily, but it’s something.

It is hard when I think about how I used to be- I spent 1-2 hours a day on Yoga and walking and had a strong body. But now, after going through an insanely challenging Masters program while homeschooling three kids, one of them born while I was in the program, and having to work part time on top of it, I am toast! I am taking adrenal support herbs and trying to get in as many superfoods as possible, but sometimes finding the time just to get a piece of toast in my mouth is a challenge. And now I have to accept the fact that my body really doesn’t like wheat or dairy so I need to make almost everything from scratch. I know there are many GF options available at the store these days, but they all have ingredients like carageenan or modified food starch. And the cost!!! We are at the point where every penny counts, as I still need to buy more Waldorf supplies and we are putting everything else we have into the Tiny House.

At least there is one thing I am doing that is helping…I have not driven on the freeway all week! I can feel my adrenal glands slowly healing from not being exposed to that stress. Now I just need to see how long I can pull the no freeway driving-thing off…

Now the boys and I are watching the Quest. This is only the second episode we have watched, and it is pretty cheesy, but it is family friendly and we are very interested in Medieval Times and the Renaissance Period. Off to study and be inspired by the Questers!

9/03/2014 Our Day and a Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

We seem to be moving really slow in the mornings. It is a wonderful luxury to not have to wake up early and be somewhere, and I am savoring it. The kids have all been sleeping in and waking up wanting electronics. I am not inherently opposed to it, but we are trying to not go there immediately everyday. It seems to set a tone of low motivation for the rest of the day. But Z is getting better at self-motivating. He has been picking up books instead of his DS and being really patient for electronic time. We have to do some limiting, as both of the boys would stay on all day, and I am not okay with that much radiation, noise, and utilizing only one area of the brain for that long. I know, I know, I am not a true unschooler…but it is what works for our family.

We had another delightfully busy day. We made some yummy cinnamon applesauce that tasted like apple pie with no crust. We have been dreaming about driving up to Julian to pick apples- and may even go early next week! Last year we didn’t go at all, and the year before not until the end of the season. Maybe I’ll even do some canning this year.

While the boys were busy building block towers, I used a little nightstand to create a nature table and put a few summer/fall transition items out.

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Wes was excited and when asked who had put it out, proudly proclaimed, “I did!” We have plans to craft more items, focusing on the present season. Dad just got some new tools to work on our tiny house with, so he will cut out some wooden animals and trees and we will sand and paint/stain them. I am also planning some needle felting, sewing, and knitting of fairies, gnomes, etc. And…I am buying some silk scarves to dye and batik for playsilks!!! Yay! I have been wanting to do this for so long. I am so grateful that I now have time to devote to my lovely little ones and create a beautiful space for them to play and learn in.

Speaking of beautiful spaces- I finally reorganized my yarn collection!  My plan is to whittle it down over the next six months, so that 1)we don’t have to carry it with us when we move up North, 2)we can have nice items to use over the winter, 3)I can buy new yarn and not feel guilty because I already have so much, and 4)clear out the old energy and bring in the new.  Some of the yarns I have now are quite old- handed down from a little old lady who couldn’t knit or weave anymore.  Now I just have to figure out projects for them all…

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I am already working on a few knitting projects- I will post pics soon and maybe even some tutorials.

I have to brag a bit.  11 year old Z helped a lot with breakfast- chopped the potatoes with our handy crinkle cutter and prepped and cooked the scrambled eggs. He has been having a difficult time focusing over the last year, but finally seems to be coming into his bigger boy body and mind.  His birth Papa was a chef, trained at the Culinary Institute in Portland, where we are moving in 6 months!  We talked about what it means to be a Chef, and how he ad a lot of the qualities needed and how if you want something, to work at least a little bit on it everyday so that you can achieve it. We talked more about money value and counting by’s/multiplication as extended addition. We were inspired by a Faceboook post to look up information on Jellyfish, who are apparently taking over the Northern coast of Japan. This happens regularly around the world, and is called a “bloom”. It happens when currents meet and push the drifting jellyfish into one area. We learned that they are trying to make medicine out of the jellyfish mucus, and that they are basically stomachs with tentacles.

Form drawing at night with Z. The Shifting Sands with both boys, The Giving Tree again with Wes- this time in a song version to keep it interesting.

I even got DD to come hang out with us for a while today. Normally she just does her own thing during the day and comes out at night for some math work and to hang out once the boys are down. But she has been quite nice to the boys and even playing with them some. We did a first Calligraphy lesson by the pool. I loved Calligraphy when I was younger, and was relatively good, but it as been a long while. And DD is generally low on patience. We also went over some geometry- area and perimeter and started looking at advanced form drawing with Celtic Knots. I am so excited to see her starting to come into her 14 year old self. She has been really uncomfortable in her teenage skin this last year. I bought her an embroidery hoop and we are planning a few other projects- quilting, knitting, jewelry, etc.

I also…cut DD’s bangs. We were both hesitant, as I tried to cut W’s hair before, and it did not go well and I tried to trim DD’s hair a few years ago and it was disappointing. But it went okay. A little short, but they will grow quickly and they are even and a nice shape.

Recipe of the evening: Almond Mylk Hot Chocolate
I have not been able to do dairy lately, so have been experimenting a lot with dairy-free options. Here is one that worked well:
1)take a cup of almonds and soak for a few hours or overnight.
2)blend in VitaMix or other strong blender with two cups of water.
3)strain into a bowl trough a kitchen towel.
4)put the strained Mylk into a small pot with a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder, a quarter cup of sweetener (or more if you need, or use a 1/2 tsp. of stevia), and a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla.
5)heat through, stirring to mix.
6)do not let boil over.
7)pour, cooling with ice if necessary, and enjoy.

9/02/14

We all woke up a little grumpy today. The searing heat of San Diego summer has been unrelentless. I mean, last night we had a gentle breeze for a few minutes. But I am craving cool weather- fall, winter, spring- it doesn’t matter to me. I just want weather. Rain, luscious rain. Maybe even some snow. But I know that it is most likely not coming around here for a while. Summer basically goes until October and then winter is like an extended fall. I am sooo excited to be heading up North soon. Hopefully we will have some rain down here this winter, and then we will be in the NW for springtime–lots of rain.

Other than that, this has been a typical home day for us. I am trying not to drive much right now, as even with air condition it gets H.O.T. in our car. Also, I have been getting panic attacks from driving on the freeways out here. People are crazy!

So far, we have played Monster Fluxx, Labyrinth, picked oranges and made orange juice. While picking, we talked about the weather and how oranges grow and the physics of how we pick them, using a lever and a basket. While Z and I picked, W played with bubbles. While we were juicing, we talked about fractions and even did a little project with cutting the pieces up smaller and smaller, ending up with 1/8 pieces. Then we made a cute little design with them:

 

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We have also talked about what San Diego was like before all of the settlers came- from hunters and gatherers to Native Americans to current day- and talked about what local Natives ate, what they used for housing, and looked at pictures of the Kumeyaay- our local tribe.

The boys took turns drumming on our big Djembe and we talked about rhythm. We played with the playdough that we started yesterday and finished today- yay for blue! We experimented with rolling in balls, making snakes, and marbling. I love the marbled ones- they are so pretty.

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Z worked on his form drawing while I drew a Tyranosaurus for W.  It turned out okay, but I have had more success with other animals.  He wanted me to draw from a pretty realistic picture instead of using the Dinosaur 1-2-3 book that we have.  I’m still working on it, but I’ll post it when it is done…

We watched Eragon together, but I have to admit, I was not paying attention as I needed to get some study and homeschool research in.  but Z liked it so much, he wants to watch it again tomorrow.

We read books before bed- I am reading The Shifting Sands a Deltora Book with Z and I read The Giving Tree to W.

 

 

9/01/14

Well- It has been a busy and fruitful day. The boys (11, 3) and I decided that we are starting school today. We are still very unschooly, but needed some direction, so I bought the recommended books for Christopherus Waldorf 4th grade, and we are using them for inspiration. So far, we have played Labyrinth board game, made and played with 10 pints of natural play dough

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(recipe soon), watched The Desolation of Smaug, talked about how many days of the week/month/year and how it is the end of summer and fall is coming soon, did some summery finger plays, worked on our knitting projects, made music with flutes and drums and guitars, looked into math in nature, talked about how big our living room is (area, perimeter), made oatmeal and talked about fractions, discussed Norse Myths and where the Norse countries are (looked at a map of the world and talked about a lot of places, especially where people we know are from), played Monster Fluxx, had a Nerf Dart war, played on the iPad/Wii, read a bunch of books (me reading to them and 11yo reading aloud), did some tongue twisters, cleaned and organized/downsized the boys toys, played outside/swam, drew/painted, and did some art/form drawing.

In addition, I cooked lunch and dinner, tried to keep the house somewhat clean, got in an hour of studies for my Licensing exam, worked with DH on our plans for the tiny house, spent an hour listening to DD read from a book about different cultural rites, got lots of snuggle time in, and did some research on unschooling and waldorf strewing.