Friday, April 18, 2014

Crawfish Feast

We like to find new foods for our children to try.  The last time we had crawdads was years ago when we were visiting New Orleans.  These were previously cooked and frozen so we just threw them in a pot of boiling water 'till they were heated through and then it was time to eat.

It's creepy to pick one of these things up and break it open to eat it.  Ugh, I don't like looking my dinner in the face!

I served them with cabbage, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs and veggies with dip.

The children were excited to try them and didn't have any hesitation in grabbing one to break open(unlike me).  Elijah, the boy not holding up a crawdad, doesn't like shrimp and gets sick when he eats it even though a blood test has shown he's not allergic so he doesn't eat shellfish anymore.  He got a chicken thigh instead.

The little boys were fascinated.

Baby didn't eat any either but she did want to check one out.

And here is the aftermath.  The little boys were eating claw meat.

And that was our fun and gluten-free Saturday night dinner.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gardening And Renting? Yep!

 We moved in February and brought our raised bed garden with us.  Crazy?  Maybe, but I'm glad we did.

Here's most of our new rental backyard.  It's covered in gravel which is typical of backyards in the Albuquerque area.

It's a little rough to play on but the children each have a garden box to take care of and will have a sandbox to play in.

My son even dug up the arbor my husband built so we could bring it along.

I have two big boxes, the herb bed, and a flower box for my gardens.  The children are sharing the rest.

We lined each bed with weed barrier before adding the soil.

Here's the herb bed.

To move the boxes from the old garden we just used shovels along the bottom edge to pop them up out of the ground.

There's a red mini rose in the green pot with some peppermint and moss rose.

And then we shoveled the soil onto a trailer, covered it with a tarp and drove it to the new house.

Here's my flower bed.  I brought some of my perennials with me.  Most of them survived being transplanted.

We could have just bought some new soil which would have saved a little work.

Elijah's bed.  He's saving a spot to grow a pumpkin.

Then we had to unload it into a wheelbarrow and dump it into the boxes.

Elijah has been growing cacti for a few years so we set up a cactus corner with my bike as a centerpiece.  The other children each bought a cactus to add to the collection and I'm adding an aloe.

Here's the work crew enjoying some sunshine.

And the Santa Fe tortoise holding down the rug.

We plan to rent here for a few years before we decide to buy, move, or who knows what.  Do you think it's worth it to garden if you are renting?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


My little Miss Abigail is 1 year, 1 week, and 2 days old in these photos taken last week

That's it.  The first year is over already.

She's all grown up.  Not really, but she has made an amazing amount of progress in the last year.

And doubled her birth weight, grew out of three sizes of clothes and diapers, two notches on her car seat and now seems to fit in her crib.

Now if only she could grow some hair.  And learn to talk as long as she skips learning to say "no".

A new adventure awaits her every day.  It is refreshing to see things for the first time again through this child's perspective.  There is so much to learn!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Garden Inspiration- 10 Ways To Start The Season Right

Today I thought I would share my favorite and most viewed garden entries since spring is upon us and we are looking for gardening inspiration for the upcoming season.  Happy Gardening and I hope you find something useful or inspiring today!

All about and how to grow one of my favorite summer flowers.  Sunflowers!

Spring is the perfect time to divide and transplant perennials.

How we built our raised beds.  We brought these with us and they will be the foundation of our new garden.

Our finished raised bed garden.  I designed a more formal take on a raised bed garden with a fun octagon for a center piece.

And even the best gardeners(not that I am one) experience failure.  Here was how we fought the war against squash bugs which we eventually lost.

How I store and organize my seed packets.

A photo log of one week of daily harvest baskets from my garden.

How to grow potatoes in a tower to save space in the garden.  This didn't work well for us.  My theory on our failure is the towers dried out too much in our climate.

Carrot flowers- I grew carrots in the flower beds and left them to overwinter and flower the next year.

The kitchen sink- a fun water feature.

And now head out to the garden and plant something!  I will be planting my garden box full of early crops this week.  Each of my children have their own garden box and have already planted theirs full of yummy things to eat.  I need to get to work!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Emotional Eating?

The 90% is mine the others are treats for the children.  

Sometimes I want to eat the chocolate even though I know it may give me a migraine.  And then I get the migraine and I still think the chocolate may have been worth it but get discouraged that I am so easily readicted to the stuff even if it is dark chocolate and healthy for me.  I even tried 100% chocolate in the hopes I wouldn't want to eat every last bit in one day and no, the bitterness did not stop me, my willpower did.  Do I want to fight chocolate on a daily basis?  If I'm wanting to eat it every time I get stressed then I know it's not just my body seeking needed nutrients.  Sadly, I have to make chocolate a rare treat.

I'm back in my prepregnancy clothes so now I can experiment with carb amounts and types.

I know I won't gain all of my weight back by eating dark chocolate every day but I don't want to be dependent on a food for emotional stability.  Not that it really helps my mood much beyond the few minutes it takes to eat it anyway.  Any food that I become dependent on I seriously consider eliminating for awhile or forever.  I don't want to go back to the habit of the Friday night binge on Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk.  Now I just munch on carrot sticks instead.  I don't know why but they satisfy when I'm wanting anything from sweet to salty.  And if I really do want ice cream I have to make it from scratch.  If your'e willing to take the time to make it yourself that usually means you really do want it and it won't be an emotional reaction to the quart container sitting in the freezer.

Little Miss looks like she has gained weight recently either from increased solids or because I'm eating more carbs.

Maybe I am extreme with my diet but I know what makes me feel healthy and I stick to it.  I will experiment with new foods from time to time but there has to be a probable benefit to my health not just pleasure for my taste buds.  I don't eat an austere diet I have retrained my pallet to appreciate the natural sweetness of a banana or green apple so I don't need the powerful taste sensation of a packaged food.  I had a major sweet tooth for most of my life so it's not because I'm genetically different either.

The veggie munchers

One thing I have noticed is that my children enjoy a wider variety of vegetables than I did as a child.  I think it's because their sense of taste has not been ruined by sugary foods.  They like and will beg for asparagus and many of the veggies I didn't learn to eat until I was an adult.  A simple dessert of fresh fruit and real whipped cream is something they enjoy.  As young adults I'm sure they will experiment with eating junk food but I'm pretty sure they will return to their healthy roots or at least eat wholesome foods most of the time.  I'm trying to set a high standard of food for their future lives and families.

Fresh herbs for tea and cooking

And finally to round out this random food discussion, I am still researching resistant starch.  Below is a link to a post from Mark's Daily Apple on trying a self experiment with resistant starch.  I plan to start adding some cooked and cooled white rice to my diet again and I might try some potatoes.  I'll probably let you know how it goes 'cause you know I can't resist sharing random food and health info.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How Important Is Bible Study In Your Home/school?

Confession: I have failed to make Bible study a priority in our homeschool.  As a Christian homeschooling mom I have always meant to make the Bible the most important part of our day.  The reason it hasn't been is because I am not a morning person and it takes me awhile to get going.  I don't become a coherent person until after I take a shower and eat breakfast.  I have taught the children how to make their own breakfast and get going in the morning so that we will all survive.  The children also start their school on their own except for my youngest two students who need my help with their studies.  I am supposed to read aloud a Bible story each day but that doesn't usually happen until right before lunch.

As my first try at solving the problem I asked the children to read their Bibles during reading time each afternoon but they often forgot.  I didn't want to turn their personal Bible reading into a struggle or discipline issue so I needed another solution.  After fussing at myself for not being able to get it together in the morning I figured out I needed to come up with something that didn't rely on me to work.  So, I am now having the children start school with 15 minutes of Bible time.  They can read their Bibles, a devotional, or work on a Bible story coloring page.  Simple and easy and I know it will happen because it is part of their daily routine. Our mornings have been more peaceful since we started this new habit.

I looked over many Bible workbooks and study programs but couldn't find anything I felt my children would enjoy using independently.  I don't want them to do busy work or something that will make them dislike their study time.  I did buy journals for the girls and have given them some ideas for using them but it is not a requirement.  I found some coloring and worksheets from Calvary Curriculum which are free to print(find link below) and I printed out a packet for each child that wanted one.  The little boys(5 & 8) usually work on theirs during Bible time.  

Calvary Curriculum

I also realized that I never learned how to study the Bible in all my years of going to a private Lutheran school, Sunday school and vacation Bible school.  So now I'm on a mission to learn how to study so I can teach my children also.  I do read my Bible and a devotional daily but I have never learned to really get into the word beyond reading the notes in my study Bible.

I did a search for study ideas and found SOAP(I have linked to an explanation below) which I have now used a few times.  I like it!  My Bible study method was to read something from the Old Testament and then something from the New Testament each day, copy a few verses into my journal and read a devotional.  Now I'm reading my selections and then studying one verse more in depth, applying it to my life and praying about what I have learned.  I often only have a few moments here and there to study and I am usually surrounded by little people needing something from me but this method is doable and I feel I can actually focus on my one verse and really think about it to make it relevant to my life.

SOAP method of Bible study

Do you have any favorite Bible study books, devotionals or journals for children or adults to share with me?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Crafting Failure

I thought it would be neat to make a fabric covered "A" to hang behind baby's high chair for her birthday.  So I got to work and cut a cursive "A" out of cardboard, covered it with felt for padding and then fabric to make it look pretty.  I held it up to check out my work, praising myself for how nicely it turned out and then...

Do you see it?  The problem?

As they say "pride comes before a fall".  Now I had a nicely finished back of my A and only a little fabric left.

Ah, yes, now you do for sure!  I don't have a glue gun and little patience to wait when the craftiness strikes so tape and push pins had to work!

I cut the remaining fabric into strips and wrapped them around the letter.  Hmm, that was much easier and it turned out cuter than carefully cutting and stretching the fabric over the letter form.  Well, at least everything turned out OK in the end.  I'm glad I don't craft often or I would be extremely frustrated with my ineptness(ineptitude).

This is not what I had planned but still cute.  The best laid plans....


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