Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I recently (this past weekend) started culturing Kefir. I have heard of the benefits for a while, (try googling Kefir, or look HERE) and a friend cultures her own. In fact, she has "converted" several mutual friends to drinking Kefir.

If you have never heard of Kefir, it is cultured milk. You can drink it plain (I haven't yet, though I tasted the yogurt-kefir I made, and it is fantastic), or in fruit smoothies (our choice thus far). You start with Kefir grains (which are a cellulose compound of bacteria, yeasts in a complex matrix of sugars, proteins and lipids) that looks somewhat like translucent cauliflower. You simply place the Kefir grains in a clean glass jar, pour fresh organic milk over them, and let it sit at room temperature for anywhere from 12-48 hours. I cover mine with a clean towel, so bugs don't get in, but have also sealed in a glass jar - sealing causes a fizzy, effervescent effect: makes our smoothies "sparkly". Each morning, I strain the kefir grains out, put them in a clean jar, and pour fresh milk over them, for a new batch. We then use thestrained kefir as outlines above. Any remaining kefir can be stored int he fridge, in either glas, or non-leaching plastic, free of toxic chemicals.

Handsome Buffalo was ready to try anything - he's become lactose intolerant recently, and the Kefir grains break down and partially digest the lactose (from my online reading), helping correct lactose intolerance. In fact, my wonderful friend has assured me that he will eventually be able to drink regular milk, as long as he continues kefir, to keep his gut balanced.

The kids were less enthusiastic. They both refused it at first. I simply ignored them and drank my smoothie, declaring it to be (truly) delicious. I put the remaining smoothie in the fridge for later.

That evening, I decided to drink more of the smoothie. This time, MiniMe was curious, so I gave her a very tiny bit. I did not want to waste my new treat, after all. She made a face at first, then broke into a smile, and asked for more. I filled her teacup, and she drank every bit. LittleBit became somewhat curious at this point, and, as she often does, decided she wanted to follow her sister’s footsteps. So I poured her a tiny amount, which she loved, and then some more.

MiniMe has declared kefir smoothies to be “even better than tortellini” (her until-now-favorite-food).

I am going to start looking for a source of raw milk, but for now am using organic store-bought milk (which we’ve been drinking since the kids were born).

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Have you seen THIS? The Zoku QuickPop Maker. Here's the Video (it does work, despite the comment to the contrary)

I think I know what Santa will be bringing us this year.....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Yes, I covet

I covet the Para P10-45. I covet a fence, so the kids can play out back without me next to them every minute.

And now, I covet Sarah's phone. Samsung Fascinate. Crap. I just killed my verizon contract, and was eligible for New every 2 on BOTH lines. Crap.

Who would have thought I'd be a Happy Home-schooler? Not me.... but it's true, I am.

Most of you know the drama we've gone through with our neighborhood school - a school we chose FIRST, then found the house (in our case, bought the lot and had it built, to be near the school). I won't re-hash all of that here, but suffice to say, my child's needs were not being met. She was bored, frustrated with waiting for the others to catch up, and generally being taught to accept less. Because apparently, not "rocking the boat" is more important than LEARNING, and excellence is a foreign concept.

SO, this year, we embarked on a home-school partnership. Specifically the k12 curriculum through Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA). I am the "learning coach", and the girls share a homeroom teacher (a LOVELY woman, who has helped us more in a matter of weeks, than the old school did in TWO YEARS). The curriculum is excellent, the lesson plans well written, and since we are public school, the girls will have transcripts, like any other school. We also have the same testing, etc. So I can compare apples to apples, when determining if this method is working.

The first day was scary. VERY bad. A combination of the OLS crashing ("On-Line School" - where we log in to see the daily plan, mark attendance, and correspond with the teacher, among other things), the kids not wanting summer to end, one child having never done "school" before, etc. Only the fact that the two preceding years were a COMPLETE disappointment kept me going that day. The next day was better. And so on.

We've had a couple of rough days, had a few that have made me wonder how I will be able to give them the education I am trying to, when they fight actually sitting down and getting the work done, etc. All along, though, I see great improvements:

  • My kids are actually LEARNING. I meant REALLY learning, not just sitting there filling in busy work that is beneath them, for the sake if classroom management.
  • I know what they did today; instead of trying to drag it out of them, I am right there, and see it all (I was putting in many hours each week volunteering in the classroom, but even MY efforts then had to be divided amongst other children).
  • I can then incorporate our daily activities into the lesson; when we drive somewhere, I hand MiniMe a map, and have her "navigate". When we pass road construction, we compare it to the methods used in ancient Rome.
  • My kids work at their own pace. Sometimes that means more time to complete a difficult task; more often than not, it means vaulting ahead. LittleBit will finish her Kindergarten Math before Christmas, and move on to First grade math. No egos here, no red tape, no one telling me I am abusing my kids by letting them move ahead, at THEIR pace....... because all COVA seems to want is what *I* want - to help my children learn and master each skill, then move on.
I overheard a conversation the other day, wherein a mother said, "I am not raising doctors and lawyers; they don't need to excel in math, just finish it". How sad for those children, that they already have 2 careers removed from their possibilities. Simply because their mother wanted to "get done with" the math, rather than go in depth and push them to conquer it. So lest you misunderstand, my children aren't rushing, they are simply moving at their own pace; and they are thriving. I saw MiniMe becoming bored, frustrated, and lazy at the old school. Never having to try hard at anything (because nothing was ever hard for her), she learned to dislike the WORK of it all.

Now, I see her reaching for more, learning to push herself, and taking delight in her sister's progress, as well. We still have ground to make up, with regards to changing her feelings about education, but we are getting there!

I may NOT be raising lawyers, I may NOT be raising doctors. But I am giving them the chance to become WHATEVER they want. The point is, it will be THEIR choice, not mine. And EVERY choice will still be available for THEM to make. BECAUSE MY JOB IS TO TEACH THEM, to push them, to ready them for the work it takes to achieve their dreams......

And giving them the wings to "get there".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pain relief

I just wanted to tell you about something that has completely changed my quality of life. I'm not selling anything, just sharing information. (some of you know pieces of this, but not the whole thing).

For quite some time, I have been dealing with knee pain (most of my life, as you all know, but worse in the last few years). Meds don't help, exercise made it worse, etc. My left knee has been nearly twice the size of my right for at least the past three years. I have also had other all-over-body pain, to the point where I would cry if Dan hugged me too hard, and was being told by several people I might have fibromyalgia.

Went to a doctor who was only interested in giving me narcotics, not finding the source and actually fixing it. Actually seemed angry that I refused them.

So, I went on a radical diet, gave up starches, sugars, and refined foods of any kinds,etc.

Lost 30 lbs, which was nice (I will soon start another round of the diet, since I have much more to lose). Fibromyalgia-type pain went away. If I have sugars and refined/processed foods, that pain comes back, as does the restless leg syndrome. So I avoid those foods, but my joints were still hurting and still swollen. No increase in mobility.

Then I read an article about tart cherries, and their effect on inflammation an arthritis pain. I'd read before that cherries and pineapple were good for joint health, but neither made a huge difference for me. In the article, it specifically stated "TART cherries". Pie cherries. So I bought some tart cherry capsules from Whole Foods (Vitamin Cottage and others also carry them). I started with two a day, in the morning. Noticed within 1-2 days that my pain was greatly diminished. Started taking 2 more capsules in the evening. My pain in my knees (the arthritic pain) WENT AWAY. The swelling WENT AWAY (took about 2 weeks for all the swelling to be gone). My knees match again. I can walk without pain (spent three hours at the State Fair the other night, and didn't even THINK about my knees, I felt so good).

I also chased my kids around the yard, and yes, RAN. And even jumped. The kids are shocked, because I haven't been able to do either of those things, well....... EVER in their lifetimes.

Anyway, just wanted to share that with anyone in chronic pain.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is absolutely the most AMAZING thing I have ever seen.

The applications are unlimited:

Sunday, October 5, 2008


MiniMe: "LittleBit, let me smell your armpits. I need to see if they are stinky."

LittleBit: "I'm not stinky"

MiniMe: " I need to smell if you're stinky".

MiniMe apparently smells LittleBit's (freshly bathed, and too young to stink) armpits, and screams, "EEEWWWWWWW, your armpits are stinky. I'd better put some deodorant on them".

LittleBit: "Let me smell your armpits." (smells MiniMe 's freshly bathed, and too young to stink armpits) "EEEWWWWWW, you need deodorant".

Back and forth while they clearly have found my deodorant, and are having a ball.