28
Apr

Garden Update

by Tiffany in Gardening

food freedom

Remember my challenge to grow a big chunk of my own food this year and declare some measure of food freedom?

Things are coming along nicely! So far in the garden we have lots of peas and radishes coming up, a nice strawberry patch, pumpkins, and about a dozen tomato plants. We still have some stuff growing indoors too and I hope to hit my local farmer’s market for some zucchini and cucumber seedlings. I am very pleased with how everything is coming along.

Strawberries:

Strawberry Plants

Our rows of sugar snap peas and radishes:

Garden Rows

Up close radishes:

Beans!

And our island of wild as I like to call it. It is a big kidney shaped island of wild flowers, bulbs, and onions that sits right in the middle of the lawn.

Island of Wild

How is your garden growing?

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

13 Comments on Garden Update

27
Apr

Summer Evenings with My Kiddos

by Tiffany in Photography

Not really summer yet but boy it felt like it! One really great thing about sports practice is that I am getting to spend some nice time with my two older kids one on one. I am also getting some great shots of them! Getting a shot of my daughter is easy because, well… she loves to have her picture taken. My oldest son, not so much. Getting a subdued shot of him is a rarity. Here are some of the shots I took tonight.

My daughter already has her team nickname… Speedy. Here is an old-timey picture of her:

Playing t-ball

This is the same shot but closer and softer. Can you tell I am learning to edit my photos?

Playing t-ball

My oldest boy…this one is untouched.

Payton

But this one has an edgy filter on it. I kinda LOVE it.

Payton

And with all color but the shirt filtered out. Yeah I like that.

Blue Shirt

And I seriously love my new Sigma lens… this photography stuff is addictive. ;)

27
Apr

Weekend Reading and Other Stuff

by Tiffany in Tidbits

My Niece

I pretty much stayed home all weekend and still have lots to tell….nothing terribly exciting though. I am pretty much exhausted after taking care of my niece for the weekend. The addition of a second three year old in the house was a little too much for me I think but I am happy that Racy (my niece – above) had a nice time. I was a bit worried after she cried for an hour the first night… sobbing “I want my mama.” It lasted a half hour the next night.

That is exactly why I don’t leave my kids until they are much older and able to handle it. I would never be able to handle having one of them cry for me like that. My husband has always thought I was a bit silly in that respect… cause ya know…normal people get “babysitters” and go for weekends away. After seeing how hard it was for his niece I think he “gets” it now. There is no way anything could be worth putting our child through that. There will be plenty of time for that stuff later when they are older.

It was also interesting seeing my three year old next to another 3 year old. My niece is 2 months younger than my son and yet she talks really well and she is potty trained. Yeah, it was hard to not make comparisons. My daughter really liked having a female playmate and it made me sad that she won’t have a sister. I had brothers just like her and always wanted a sister. :(

Yesterday afternoon I had to laugh when they were building towers with blocks and my 3 year old BOY would come and knock them down in true boy fashion. My niece would start to yell at him and my daughter would put a hand on her shoulder and say “When things go wrong…its best to try and stay calm.” LOL.

Of course I am wondering where THAT line of thinking was today at school. ;) She got in trouble at school for being too aggressive with another classmate. I guess she had a mean “tone” with a classmate who was doing the assignment wrong. So the teacher put her in time out for the first time ever and my daughter had a complete melt down and cried for some time. It was so bad they wanted me to come get her but I left my cell at home. In general I feel her school “shames” the children too much. After talking with her I realized she felt pressured by the teacher to make sure the assignment was done “right” so when her classmate  and work partner was doing it wrong, she started to panic a little and got needlessly angry. Honestly such is the life in public school if you ask me… pressure to perform, then punishment when you reach a breaking point and act out. Anyway I was more concerned about getting the story from my daughter who was reluctant to tell me because the teachers made her feel she had done something really “bad”.

But back to the weekend… I got caught up on reading as the kids ran through the sprinklers and played outside. I finished Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves – which was really good for the most part. It is all about respectful parenting and really letting kids write their own story while we just sit back and support them. Overall I liked the book but I was mildly annoyed at times with it. It took things a bit too far IMO with some of their examples and basically made the family relationship very one sided… if the kids needs are met then who cares about mom and dad.

I also started reading Attached at the Heart and so far I am LOVING it!!! It completely debunks the conservative diatribe about how society and children have gone wild due to permissive parenting. It shows how society in general started to be shaped in the mid 1800s by “experts” who declared the best way to parent was by being detached, unemotional, harsh with discipline, and with low to NO physical contact. For years parents were told that anything else would create lazy, dependent children. The book also shows how children have been mistreated for centuries and how all THAT history is why society is where it is. It is a must read book….great for a breezy day on a hammock. :)

This morning the first order of business was too take my oldest son (he played hooky today) to a thrift store to get him some summer clothes. FINALLY after 4 years of wearing the same clothes he is moving up to larger sizes. When he was 5 he was probably a bit on the chunky side and almost getting into size 7/8 clothes. Then he started taking the seizure medication and dropped to a size 4/5 in just a couple months. Of course we got him off the seizure meds with a specialized diet but he still was Mr. Skinny for years. Now at almost 9, his size 8 clothes he has had since he was 5 are too tight.

I was very pleased with what we found at the thrift store, I got 6 pairs of shorts with some being brand new w/tags, 8 t-shirts, 1 pair of shorts for my daughter, and 1 dress for my daughter… all for $25. Wahoo! I am thinking I won’t even bother to get anything new for school next year except for shoes. I LOVE second hand shopping! See all that tie dye? Oh yeah!

Second Hand clothes

Well, that was my boring weekend and Monday morning. What did you do?

24
Apr

Its a Wrap – Cool Links and Blogs

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Green Smoothie

Have a great weekend all!

My weekend looks pretty uneventful. My hubby works every other weekend so that explains it. I will just be chilling with the kids +one. My niece will be spending the weekend with us. And I will of course be sending lots of virtual love to my new nephew who just arrived in America from China last week.

Earth Day/Week was nice even if I didn’t get to see the new Earth movie from Disney. My stupid, bass ackwards little town decided not to show it at the local theatre so we hope to see in the city next week. My son was totally in his element for earth week at school. He brought in several books about recycling and the teacher read them to the class. He even brought in his favorite documentary about recycling and they viewed it in class. He brought home a lovely note from the teacher saying that he really made Earth Week special.

One of the books was Michael Recycle Meets Litterbug Doug. This is a sequel to the Michael Recycle book we got last year about a child hero who recycles to help clean up cities and towns. In this book he meets a boy named Litterbug Doug who has some serious clutter and litter issues. Is is a very cute book, just like the original. The teacher liked it so much she told Payton she will be ordering it so she will have it for Earth week next year.

We did end up making those pineapple spinach Popsicles and they turned out quite delicious. The color was amazing! With all the fresh juice and Popsicles in this house it is no wonder my 8 year old has been going around the house singing “I love my mommy!!!!” He is in heaven with all the new treats. LOL.

Interesting links this week include yet another vaccine link. This one is a post written by Jim Carrey about the vaccine autism connection and how the latest court rulings are no indication that vaccines are blameless in regards to autism. Here is a quote:

The truth is that no one without a vested interest in the profitability of vaccines has studied all 36 of them in depth. There are more than 100 vaccines in development, and no tests for cumulative effect or vaccine interaction of all 36 vaccines in the current schedule have ever been done. If I’m mistaken, I challenge those who are making such grand pronouncements about vaccine safety to produce those studies.

I also saw this very nice tutorial for a May Day Basket using recycled materials you probably have around the house. Looks like a great crafty project for the kids.

My raw foodie friend Kristen blogged about freezing raw foods and why she freezes a lot despite the nutrient loss. Its a great article with some points I never thought of…

Also, one of my new favorite blogs called Green & Crunchy had a great post awhile back on using glass straws for your green kids. Very cool!! I seriously LOVE Sheri’s blog! She has 5 raw vegan kiddos.

And in the off chance that you are looking for a good DSLR camera I reviewed my Nikon D60 on Squidoo.

That’s all for now!

23
Apr

Juicing Away!

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Making Homemade Apple Juice

I decided a long time ago I really didn’t NEED a juicer. For one thing I like the fiber and nutritious “pulp” to stay in the juice. Second, we have a Vita-Mix and a Blendtec and they pulverize anything that goes in them. They make a mean smoothie for sure and for less pulpy juices or nut milk I just use a strainer or cheese cloth. When straining juice there were still some bits in it but that is okay with me. My kids, however, were used to super smooth juices in a bottle and did not like stuff floating in their juice.

When we started eating more raw and less processed and pasteurized I stopped buying processed juice…not even organic. I knew it had added ingredients that were less than savory because how else could juice sit unrefrigerated for weeks or months before you need to drink it? Sooo…I decided to buy a cheap juicer and see if we would like using it. I was curious to see if it was faster, smoother, and more efficient than my high powered blenders for making fresh juice. I want a Green Star juicer but since this was an experiment I decided to keep it at no more than a $100. We got a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. For every 5 star review it has on Amazon it also has a 1 star review to match but I decided to take a chance. I may end up telling you it burned up after 3 months.

Making homemade orange juice

So far we have made fresh orange juice and apple juice. The machine worked well except I had to clean the filter out once in the middle of juicing the apples…there was too much pulp. Since I have never juiced before I cannot tell you if this is bad…but I think it might be a bad sign.

The juice was outstanding though! All my kids loved the orange juice which was perfectly sweet on its own and I even cut the sweetness with the addition of one grapefruit. The apple juice was super sweet and my oldest insists it is the best apple juice he has ever had. My daughter liked the taste but she doesn’t like the film that collects on the top…it is not smooth enough for her. But you can’t stick fruit in there and expect a bottle of Welches to pop out.

The clean-up takes about 5 minutes so all in all I would say juicing is slightly more efficient than blending and straining. Juicing is also great for detoxing which I REALLY need to dedicate to in the coming months…I am positive I still have all kinds of Chemo nasties still in my cells even though I quit before my round was complete and two years have past. I can’t wait to try some green juices and do a juice fast. I also plan to make some juice popsicles as well…yum!

So far I think it appears that having a juicer is worth it but the next few months will tell me for sure. If this juicer doesn’t last I already have its replacement picked out.

We put our juice inside seal-able glass bottles and drink them within two days to get the most nutrition out of them. The bottle below that we used for the orange juice is a Sesen glass bottle and really quite awesome. The stopper is BPA free plastic with a stainless steel sealer for a tight close. It comes with an ice blanket too that has water and no chemicals, that way we can freeze it and take the juice to the park for a picnic. The stopper and the blanket are also recyclable so it is a very earth friendly, reusable glass bottle. If you are looking for a nice juice jug/bottle check into them!

Sesen Water Bottle with Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

24 Comments on Juicing Away!