Friday, January 29, 2010

Tot School - January

Tot School

Esther is 38 months old

Tot school is back in session after a very long break. We have been doing "school" of and on, but i just haven't been taking pictures or blogging about it. We went away for a vacation for an extended weekend, so our school time was a little short. We are finishing up using our winter themed activities since I am getting ready for valentines day.
Esther loves the Five Little Snow Man song, to see the original, click here.

She matched the letters in her name using clothespins with snowflake letters on them. The penguin alphabet came from here. (it is labeled as penguin letter sequence)

She also did this measuring activity from Walking By the Way

Esther loves to cut, especially using her Kumon Cutting book

I had picked up a textbook of art this past summer at a library book sale. Every week we pick a picture from it and talk about it.

For science time, We learned about our lungs. I have been using the Usborne Science activities books and I love them.

We made a lung using a soda bottle, balloon, plastic bag and tape. As you pull the bag (diaphragm) down it inflated the balloon (lung). It's actually quite cool!

We also tested to see our lung capacity, or how much air we have in our lungs. This was a big hit since it meant she could blow bubbles all she wanted in the water.

That was our week, to see what others did, click the button below.
Tot School

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where our food comes from - meat and dairy

Since starting our new adventure in eating whole, organic, local foods, I have learned a lot. One of the thigns I have learned is that what I used to think was "normal" really isn't. Here is what I mean.

Have you ever had an egg from a free-range chicken who has been fed some of the best stuff. The inside of the egg is actually a different color. When I cracked open my first one, I just stared at it. It was orange. I mean bright orange. I actually had to call my mother to make sure it was ok to eat. Can you believe that!!! I was so used to the eggs from the grovery store that when I was faced with one of the healthiest eggs I could possible have I actually doubted if it was ok to eat. Truthfully, the experience kind of shook me up. If this was true with eggs, what else have I been eating that really was an impostor for the real thing. It turns out, a lot of things I have been eating are impostors.

Using the amazing website called Local Harvest and the advice of a friend, I was able to track down a farm 10 miles from my house that raises grass fed cows and pigs and is organically certified. We currently are receiving, milk, eggs, pork and beef from them. From the moment I first tried any and all of these I knew that there was no turning back. It was all so amazingly good that I can't even imagine buying from the grocery store ever again. And that is purely based upon the taste!

As you can imagine, the cost for such delicious delicacies is much higher than I used to pay. Which means, that from now on, mean is a side dish in our home. In fact two to three meals a week are without meat. In all truth I think this is a good thing. I am sure we will be feeling a lot healthier by eating more veggies and less meat.

The other really fun part is what we have been able to do with the milk. What we receive is raw milk, which means we get the small delight of having the cream on top. This makes fro some delicious baking. We also have made yogurt, kefir, cheese, butter and buttermilk.

The recipes can be found on this wonderful website. (you should try the ginger-ale, its delicious!)
Here is good instructions on how to make butter.

The yogurt and cheese was delicious. In fact my husband and I did the cheese together and had a great time while making it.

Making butter was fun, but tiring.

I did not like kefir and the buttermilk was easy, but got wasted since I don't use it much.

All in all, I am extremely happy with these changes in our life. the change has been pretty easy, with the hardest part being budgeting, but I'm getting the hang of it.

Still to come, fruit and veggies, grains, and cooking.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hi there...

It's been a while....

Guess Where I've been.

No, not completely frazzled out of my mind trying to overhaul the way we eat while caring for two little ones.

Ok maybe a little frazzled. But really we've been somewhere much nicer, here's a hint...

Yep, that's right, Florida!! Those of you living in the northern states must understand why this was so exciting. I don't think the temperature has gone above 35 in over two months. I miss the sun. Plus I think that I am really affected by the lack of sunlight and being trapped indoors for so long. Which is why when we were given an opportunity to go to Florida to see my husbands family, we jumped at it.

Here are the kids with their Great Grandma.

We were able to do some exploring and had a great time. Esther was in love with the beach.

My favorite was seeing manatees.

For my husband, I think it was just being able to spend time with his kids in a place that he loves.

Just before leaving for Florida, we also took a trip to Connecticut to see my family. I will have pictures to show when I am able to get them from my mother.

Well, now that we are home and I have a little more vitamin D in my system I think that I am ready to tackle my plans for tot school, garden, kitchen and home. I am excited to be back on blogger again as well. For a bit there I really was thinking of closing the account, but I am glad I didn't . I guess all I needed was a trip to Florida.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Story, part 2

First, we are all on the mend now. Thankfully I did not get hit with the bug, just the kids and hubby. We can't seem to keep illness from this house, I definitely could use some advice on how to keep us healthy. I know our new way of eating will help a little, but there needs to be something else we can do.

But for now, the story continues.....

So my husband and I watched Food Inc., and when it was finished all we could do was look at each other speechless. We were just in shock. I have known that the food that I buy and feed my family probably wasn't the best for us, but truthfully I didn't really want to know where it all came from. It was cheap, it filled us and most of the time it tasted good.

But now...after watching that.....

I could try to explain all that the movie was about, but really I would do no justice. You need to watch it. Be warned, it will affect you.

Click here to go to the official website or watch the trailer below.

That night I couldn't sleep. I am fully aware that Food Inc. is a movie that was made to show one view point and to show the worst of the worst to get their point across. The problem is that even if it is the worst, it is still true. Seeing how the animals were treated, knowing how farmers are being monopolized, how our food is being altered in a way that can never be repaired. I never realized how much corn is in everything we eat. Cows were made to eat grass, not corn. Does everything we eat have to have corn syrup in it?

I fully admit that I buy things on the shelf without even looking at the ingredients. I have no idea what I have been eating, been feeding my family. Since that night I have been reading ALL the labels on food and I have been shocked. What have I been eating things I can't even pronounce. We are just not meant to eat these things. Yet, we do.

The next morning we sat down to have breakfast and I looked at my plate and almost couldn't eat it. We had breakfast sausage from the freezer. It was the really cheep kind. I don't know if there really was any sausage in it. I knew that our pantry and fridge needed an overhaul and fast. The problem was were to start.

It was so overwhelming. I had to keep keep reminding myself that we've been eating this food for a while and a little while longer won't do too much harm. The first thing I had to do was figure out exactly what I was going to look for in the food we would eat. I decided it had to fit into at least one of the following categories:
1. Local (within 100 miles)
2. Organic
3. Whole (unprocessed)

If it fit into more than one category, even better. Essentially, I wanted to know where our food was coming from. What exactly are we putting in our bodies.

Now all I had to do was find the food.

Look for part 3 on how and where we found our food that changed our pantry.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Hey all, I really intended to continue the story right away, but then we got hit with an onslaught of sickness. Since writing the last post, we have been to the doctor 6 times and the hospital 4 times. as well as celebrating the holiday and driving to and from CT to see my family. And now, we are all sick, again. sigh..... I'll be back, I promise....just don't know when. I'm thinking we all may just hibernate until spring :)