Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Country Pantry Goodies

The Country Pantry is the little Mennonite store in Guthrie, KY that we went to on Monday, and I think it's my new favorite store.  Not only does it remind me of the commissary we had in Peru, but it is just crammed full of good things, and good deals!  I went specifically to get the wheat I need (to grind in my new grain mill), and I came home with a load of hard-to-find goodies.

In addition to the 50 pound bag of wheat, I got a jar of local raw honey, wheat gluten, Real Salt, alphabet noodles, arrowroot powder, unsweetened carob chips, roasted peas, and whole, hormone/antibiotic free, non-homogenized milk.  When I got home and did a little research, I discovered that they also have grass-fed beef, which is hard enough for me to find that it would be worth going back just for that!  (They also have farm fresh eggs, but I'm getting those for free from a friend.)  After a little more research, I figured out that buying milk from them, I will save $3/gallon over buying from Walmart, and save $4/gallon over buying from the commissary (factoring in the $2 glass milk bottle deposit, of course).  That's a huge savings, AND the best milk I can find!  What a deal!

Are you wondering why all these things have me so excited?  It's partly because of what I've learned lately about food (Have you read that book I recommended yet?), and it's partly because, well, this is my life!  I am a wife and a mom.  I have two adults (usually) and four growing kids to feed.  A large portion of my time is spent in the kitchen cooking the healthiest food I know how.  When I'm not in the kitchen I'm probably thinking about making tasty, healthy food, and sometimes (because there are four of these growing kids!) my time is spent finding the absolute best deal I can find on good, healthy food.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed by my new choices, I have decided to enjoy the adventure and tackle the challenges.  Mary Poppins sums it up well, I think;  "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun!"  

Yes, I did just quote Mary Poppins.  (What is wrong with me?!?)  And yes, I am having fun!  :)

An Introduction

I'd like you to meet the newest addition to my kitchen.  Isn't it beautiful?  I haven't actually used it yet, but even so, I love that it came with a motorized base AND a free hand crank base too.

This is going to be fun!  :)

P.S.  It's a grain mill!

Monday, April 27, 2009

It Must Be Monday

We've had an exciting and eventful day already, and the day is only half over!

This morning my friend Amy and I went to a little Mennonite store in Kentucky for the first time.  I got all sorts of exciting things (food) that are hard for me to find elsewhere, and the drive was beautiful.  Anya fell asleep in the grocery cart, courtesy of the low fever she's running.

Then on our way home, we got to stop at the train tracks and watch an entire train rush past.  The van windows were down, the sun was warm, the tall dark green Kentucky grass was blowing in the was awesome.  I greatly enjoyed the chance to just sit and look at the scenery, and the kids loved the train; it was the highlight of their morning!

We stopped at Walmart for a bucket and some milk, and they had kid sized gardening tools on clearance...the kids are now the proud and excited owners of four little shovels and four little hoes.  If only I had a garden to put them to work in...but the girls have big plans of their own for the removal of the leaf pile, and for the digging up of the bricks embedded in the clay of our backyard.

Oh, but the excitement of the morning was not over yet!  After Anya crawled into her bed and fell asleep before lunchtime, Jaela and Macey were reading quietly in the office while Isaak wandered around offering each of us bites of his food.  He started coughing, so I encouraged him to spit out the food that was in his mouth so he wouldn't choke on it, and held out a kleenex for him to spit it into.

He threw up instead, right into my hands. 

It must be Monday.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A "Mighty Good" Menu

Dinner tonight got rave reviews, but not for the reason I expected!

Macey (on her way downstairs):  Something smells wonderful!

Macey (at the table):  These are mighty good!

Isaak:  MMMMMMMM!!!!!

Jaela:  Can we have this again tomorrow?

Anya:  I LIKE them!  They're delicious!!!

Macey and Jaela (split seconds apart):  Can I have some more?!?

And then I heard myself say:  No, not until you've finished your cinnamon roll.  When it's gone, then you can have more asparagus.

Yes, I served my children Roasted Asparagus, Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls (topped with peanut butter), milk, and Fresh Herb Salad for dinner.  We fought over the asparagus, (yes, WE, isn't THAT amazing!), and they ended up eating more food than I did!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Proper Word Usage...Optional

From Anya, last week:

"I KNEW I reneckerized that song!"

And from Jaela, tonight after dinner:

J: "Mom, could I have a scrimscram?"
Me: "A WHAT?"
J: "One of those little orange fruits we had yesterday...I don't remember what they're called."
Anya: "A kumquat you mean?"
J: "Yeah!  A kumperquan."
Anya: "They're called kumquats!"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Be Specific

Isaak was helping me unload the shopping bags after our trip to Walmart this morning, and I asked him to take the Nyquil to my bathroom.

I didn't specify where in my bathroom he should put it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

16 Signs

Signs that might indicate that there is a toddler in the house:

  • Things are never where you left them.
  • Toilets flush when everyone who uses them are all together in another room.
  • Groceries and dishes line the edges of the counters.
  • Water runs in the sinks at odd times.
  • Someone's pink bear smells like shampoo.
  • An entire bottle of whiteboard cleaner has been sprayed on the whiteboard.
  • Things get put where they belong.
  • There is a colorful drawing on your lesson plans page that matches the colorful Sharpies in the container on your desk.
  • Those Sharpies are put back, upside down and with the lids not quite tightly closed, but put back.  Along with any stray pens or pencils that have been rounded up.
  • There is chocolate (yes, it is positively chocolate!) on the handle of the toilet.
  • Deadbolts that were left unlocked are now locked, and deadbolts that were locked are now unlocked.
  • The toilet is plugged with an entire package of kid wipes.
  • You find a book of Tennyson's Poems on your desk, and you didn't put it there.  (T is at the end of the alphabet, which in our house means that it is on a low shelf...)
  • You left the oven open to let the leftover heat escape into the kitchen, and it is shut when you return.
  • You sit down in a chair or couch with a drink in your hand, and a coaster appears at your elbow.
  • There is dry laundry soap on the floor and inside the washing machine, on top of your pile of freshly washed laundry.
I think there might be a toddler in my house!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Things I Read

Let me introduce you to my new word of the week:

Orthorexia, from the Greek "ortho-" (right and correct) + "exia" (appetite) = right appetite

It sounds innocent enough, doesn't it?  Eating right is a good thing, but orthorexic is a term that is being used in America to describe people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating.  I am spending quite a bit of time and energy on the subject lately, but I am doing my best to avoid becoming one of them.  :)

On the other hand, when I began to avoid foods that contain "high frucsish corn syrup" (as Anya calls it), I began to wonder about all those other ingredients and chemicals (listed and unlisted) we were consuming mindlessly.  Diabetes runs in our family, and I was (and am!) determined to begin preventing it now, for both myself and for my children, but there are so many theories and diets out there that it seemed almost impossible to know which one is "right".  I've been reading blogs written by nutritionally minded Christian women, and there were a few books on the subject that were repeatedly mentioned.  However, since I refuse to take advice from random people that I don't even know, I decided to read some books for myself and draw my own conclusions.  First I did a bunch of research online and came up with a list of books I wanted to read, and then we made a trip to the library.  I came home with titles like Real Food by Nina Planck, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, and The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

First I read Real Food; What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck, and I learned about things like cholesterol (which I have never understood until now!), why eggs and milk are good for us, and how "they" raise and feed the meat we eat.  It was an interesting book, but as one critic pointed out, the author's sole qualifications are that "she grew up on a farm and her parents served good food, she is healthy and she has managed/owned greenmarket stores".  I also hesitate to take everything she wrote at face value for the simple reason that she accepts as fact the theory of evolution.  If she ignores even the existence of our Creator, how can I possibly trust her to guide me in my quest to eat right? 

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, was also very interesting (although also written from an evolutionist viewpoint), and better written (and researched) than Real Food.  It seemed to cover the same ground as Real Food did, but the last third of the book delved into more of how we Americans eat instead of what we eat.  The author gives advice such as "Eat meals."  "Eat at a table.  No, a desk is not a table."  "Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does."  "Try not to eat alone."  "Eat slowly."  I really enjoyed that book, but the same principle applied; the author ignored even the existence of our Creator.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway has nothing to do with food. But it was really, really good!  I had a hard time putting it down.  (But that has nothing to do with orthorexia or the subjects of food and nutrition.)

During my research I had come across another book called The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin, so I decided to look into it.  (Literally!  Amazon has that neat feature where you can actually read parts of books.)  It looked like too much of one man's experience and not enough of what I wanted, so I kept looking.  I got side-tracked in my search by the title of a book by the same author, The Maker's Diet for Weight-Loss.  (What mother of four with some weight to lose wouldn't get side-tracked by a title like that?!?)  I used the same neat "pre-read" feature, and found almost instantly that that book wasn't for me either.  However, the time I spent researching Jordan Rubin's books was not wasted, because on one of the pages in The Maker's Diet for Weight Loss, he quoted from a book called What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, MD.

Ah.  How refreshing!  A book about healthy living (not just eating), based on Biblical truths, written by a man who not only is a Christian, but who has his MD and is diabetic.  All of the qualifications I was looking for, all wrapped up in one author!  I bought this book, and as soon as it came in the mail, I started reading.  It was fascinating!  The text is easy to read, liberally sprinkled with Bible verses and references (as a book entitled "What the Bible Says About..."  should be!), and equal parts "ewwww factor" and funny.  When I finished the book, I immediately wanted to share everything I'd learned from it with everyone I know.  The only problem is that while I was immersed in this book, I was also finishing reading through Romans, (both books cover the subject of "the law").  While I would actually highly recommend reading through both concurrently (Romans shone more light on what I was reading in Russell's book and made it easier to understand, and vice versa), I came across a passage in Romans 14 (specifically verse 22!) that struck a nerve:

20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.

 22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

So, while I would love to tell you what you should and should not be eating, I will refrain, and instead I will just highly recommend that you read for yourself What The Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, MD, and form your own conclusions.  

Oh, and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan?  I decided not to read it at all.  It seems to me that only an orthorexic would read four thick books on the subject of food in one week, so I'm going to keep it to three, and go back and read What The Bible Says About Healthy Living again instead.  :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

1,221 Pages Later...

I blog again!

Remember back in mid-March when I wrote about putting away my computer chair and miraculously finding time to read again?  Yeah, I forgot to warn you...when I read, I READ, and I neglect all but the essential things of life.

I'm back now though, after over 1,221 pages read since last Friday (we went to the library, and I got books too, for a change), and I'm planning a blog post soon about what I've been reading.  

But first I'm going to go try to finish the book I'm part-way through, before the kids get up from their naps!  :)