Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's a 4 ring circus!

Every June friends and family say to me, "Am I in the dog house?"  "Did we break up?"and the like. 

June is a time of year where all of my weaknesses come crashing together into one big MESS.  All of that time I spent procrastinating and being unorganized comes back to haunt me in every space in my life.  My classroom is a disaster, the school kids' behavior is a disaster, my own kids' behavior is a disaster, and my own house is a disaster.  What with so many disasters in one person's life something has to give...yep it's sanity.  During June I barely speak to anyone that doesn't have an immediate and easily resolved need.  I have learned that I can handle chaos and disarray in up to 3 rings of my circus, but when you add that fourth ring into the mix I've met my match.

So sorry to anyone who had an unmet need this June.  Next year be sure to get your order in during May! 

Hooray for July!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Peach Leaf Curl

Last fall we started filling our yard with fruit!  We bought nearly 20 blueberry bushes and two peach trees.  A few weeks ago I went down to have a chat with the peach trees about healthy development and the role of all things living in my yard (You must be hearty to survive around here, but we will surely appreciate you if you can stay alive...).  As I was poking around I noticed that some of the leaves looked like they were melting.  Hmm.

After a bit of investigation I am sad to announce that both of these young peach trees have Leaf Curl.


I called our local garden center, where we bought them, and they told me to buy an organic fungicide spray for now.  Treat the tree every week or so after removing the worst of the effected leaves and disposing of them in the trash because this fungus can hang around and continue to infect the trees and near by (like my poor neighbor's nectarine and plum) trees.  I've pulled off all of the cute and fuzzy little orbs that thought they'd be peaches one day so that the tree can put all of it's efforts into fighting fungus.  In the fall, they will need to be treated with another fungicide that can be sprayed on as well.

They must be strong and hearty, huh? 

Let's hope so.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Seacoast Science Center

The Seacoast Science Center in Rye NH

If you've never been there, you must go!

My class goes each day for one week every spring.  We are immersed in local science topics!  It is a teacher's dream!
  • Did you know birds don't have a bladder so the pee and poop at the same time?
  • How about how to assemble the bones of a locally found seal?
  • I can tell the difference between a dog whelk and a periwinkle.  Ever seen a tiny hole bored into a shell?  Probably the work of a dog whelk!
  • Asian Shore Crabs are an aggressive and invasive species.
  • Poison ivy not only grows it's itchy three leaves close to the ground, it can grow into vines that can choke a tree!
  • Bittersweet, another invasive plant.
  • Coniferous forests vs Deciduous forests
  • Quaker's Rouge is a fuzzy plant in the Lamb's ear family used by Native Americans to line moccasins and Quaker women, not allowed to wear makeup,  rubbed it on cheeks causing a reaction on their skin, thus nature's blush!
This list could go on and on...the SSC is a treasure on our local shores.  Please visit them for a hike, some of their exhibits, or just a day digging around the tidepools!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How hard is it?

I've learned that it takes a serious amount of commitment and dedication to keep up a blog...especially one that people are interested in reading!  I love to read others' blogs about food, how they live their lives closer to nature and how they are trying to be more self sustainable.  I am inspired by them!

Today I'm also reflecting on emotional exhaustion.  Students at the end of a school year have so much to deal with...
  • the excitement of the upcoming summer
  • the stress of the upcoming summer (will I have friends?  will I have shelter? will I be bored?  will I have enough Xbox games to play?)
  • the crazy interruptions in daily schedules at the end of the year
  • multiple assessments
  • finishing up projects, with time constraints,
  • teacher's excitement of the upcoming summer
  • teacher's stress of the upcoming summer
  • seeing the classroom and school being taken apart piece by piece and stuffed into a box or a walmart bag
  • thinking about missing friends
  • stressing about the transition to next year's grade
  • did I return all my library books?
  • did I pass my math test?
  • what will my report card look like?
  • who will sign my year book?
  • will I get invited to that end of year pool party?
  •  winning Fun Day
  • owing the cafeteria money
Holy Crow, no wonder we are exhausted.  Tomorrow I will make extra efforts to see a bigger picture for my kids, big ones and small ones!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why aren't we all taking this??

I've been on a quest (yes, there are a lot of quests...) to find alternative ways to support my busy 7 year old's attention issues.  This has presented itself over the years; in Kindergarten it was "he can't stand still during the pledge", in First grade "he swings his body around all about the room, but it's getting better", and in Second grade (this is the killer) "just think of how much more he could be learning if he were not wandering around the room"  OUCH.

My frustration with this is that where does a busy boy (or girl for that matter) get to be themselves?  Keeping in mind I teach in a public school, I am at a loss for kids like this.  We expect kids to fit into the mold for "Sit at your desk, read, write, calculate.  Do some at home.  Come back and do it some more tomorrow."  There are so many opportunities to teach kids as they move...outside, in a hallway, in the community, in small groups.  Yet we don't take advantage of these opportunities nearly enough, in some cases EVER.  Tied by so many factors; prescribed curricula, standardized test scores, curriculum maps that must fit teachers into the same mold, meeting after meeting, standards, data.  

This was not meant to be a rant actually.  I got a bit carried away!  I love my job.  I love my kid.  I so wish I had an educational solution for him and others like him...I'll keep working on it!

But today I learned about the health benefits of HEMP OIL.  Are you gasping?  In many places it's labeled the perfect oil that contains the most balanced and richest natural single source of essential oils for human consumption.  
There is a long list of health benefits:
lower cholesterol
increased energy
reduced symptoms of arthritis, PMS
improved psoriasis
healthier hair, skin, nails
improved brain function
the list goes on and on.

SO, now, on the door of my fridge I have a large brown bottle of this nutty oil and while I bought it with my 7 year old (and his teacher) in mind, it will bring good health to everyone in our family.

I'm off to see how clever folks on the internet use this dynamic oil...I'll keep you posted!  :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My 7 year old knows everything...

I wonder how it is for my 7 year old to know everything there is to know already...where is there to go as an obnoxious teenager?  :)

He assures me that when a skunk sprays it hurts the skunk.  I can't find any evidence to prove or deny this, can you?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Whole lotta learnin' going on...

Almost an entire month?  This is not good, hopefully you all can't possibly think I've learned nothing in a whole month.  In fact it's been quite exciting since the beginning of April around here...

I've learned
*that Mother Nature has a weird sense of April Fools humor
*how to navigate the NH unemployment website
*that sending out resumes and applying for jobs in 2011 is very different than 8-10 years ago.  There's no one to talk to, no one to impress with your follow up call or your fancy paper.  A lot of times you don't even get to show off your artistic formatting skills because the computer actually pulls pertinent information off your resume and automatically fills the cells it sees fit!
*Discouraged is a dirty word, and an easy one to hang on to
*how to find a broken tooth in the burn pit
*that our on call family practice doctor "is not a dentist", and therefore can offer absolutely no advice on knocked out teeth
*that you should try very hard not to break your tooth on a weekend when there is a regional dental conference in Boston, because it is very, very difficult to find someone to answer your panicked call about said broken tooth.
*that breaking off one's front tooth is not dire, and despite the weird feeling of it and the pain of having a large piece of wood jammed into one's mouth, you can actually wait several days for a dentist to fix it.
*that an accomplished dentist can actually GLUE the bottom half of a tooth back on.  I am most surprised about that one!
*that nature and gardening saves a tiny piece of my sanity
*that losing weight is hard
*that I love sweets...a lot
*that losing weight is hard
*that faith is not just the bible and what you learn about in church
And while I already knew this one, I am reminded of how great my kids are and how fast time flies! 

***Don't get distracted, you might miss something really great like that flock of wild turkeys, or that third hug before you run out the door! It's been an interesting month! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Report Card Season

During report card week, I am met with comments like this..."You look tired today, you don't usually look tired.  You OK?"

It takes me forever to settle into the rhythm of doing report cards, my attention span comes and goes (well, mostly goes actually) and I always wait until the weekend before they are due.  Thus, I am indeed tired!

I did learn today that you can eat an entire 11 WW points plus whoopie pie and still lose weight!  I'm starting to learn how to eat in a pretty normal way and continue to lose.  Very happy.

Sleepily yours,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Somerize Yourself!

Today I learned a perfectly random piece of information. 


She sure does.  At our local library I found Suzanne Somers' Eat, Cheat, and Melt the Fat Away on the $.50 rack as a joke for my husband (an inside joke, that is).  I am a sucker for a recipes so I started to leaf through it...

In 2001, when the book was published, one could spend $25.00 to begin the process of "Somerizing" oneself!  Who Knew?  Her book is about the evils of sugar and how you can address changes in your metabolism, and thus lose weight, with different food combinations.  There are three stages to her plan...at this point I did stop reading.  I've got my plate full of Weight Watcher's tips and tricks for now.

But not before I found out she crafted her very own SOMERSWEET.  "Wow", I thought.  "That must not have lasted too long, never even heard of it."  Lo and behold SomerSweet Online Today!!

I am astounded!  How many of you knew?  Better yet, how many of you have Somerized yourself or your family?  Come on, fess up.  Please??

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Quest

I'm on a quest this year.
For the first time ever (well, maybe the second but I'm not counting that one other time) I have gardens ready and waiting for me to plant this spring.  I'm so excited!  Last summer Shawn built me 6 beautiful raised beds, three of which I planted in.
This year I want to be ready so I'm reading and reading and planning and planning (for those of you who know me you realize how difficult the planning and planning part of this is for me...) in hopes of being ready with a plan of what to plant and when to plant it.
So far I've learned I lack gardening instincts when it comes to planning...

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tricks of the trade...

Some of this may qualify as too much information and definitely not for Weight Watcher purists...for the bravest (and curiousest) of you carry on!

I've been a member of Weight Watchers at Work programs 3 times in the last three years...each time I chuckle with other participants about playing the system.  Like:
*'bulking up' the week before the program starts
*wearing my winter boots and heaviest clothes on the first weigh in and as little as possible on subsequent weigh ins
*eating and drinking as little as possible on weigh in days
It goes on and on really.  None of them show any fidelity to the program or that my eating mentality has reached the level of a true "Life Time Weight Watcher", which is why I keep signing up. 

One time last year I decided to weigh my shoes, normally I just wore whatever I had on for the day because they don't like you to step on the scale with undressed feet.  MY SHOES WEIGHED TWO POUNDS!!!  I was shocked.  You know I carefully chose shoes after that.

I am now a proud and somewhat obsessed owner of a WW scale.  I like to play with it to see how I can effect my weight in ridiculous ways.  "How much does this belt weigh?"  "How much do I weigh before and after an apple?"  Yes, ridiculous I know, but you get the picture. 

Another way some people like to 'play the system' is to be sure to relieve themselves just before weighing in.  "Ahhh, small potatoes," I thought.  NOT TRUE!  I hopped on the scale just as I got out of bed the other day (obsessed), then took care of a little business and hopped back on.  FIVE POUND DIFFERENCE!  I'm not talking about serious business either, just your average overnight business.  Holy crow!

I love the lessons WW teaches about living in a healthy and real way but I love the little science lessons I'm getting along the way too!  Thanks WW!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Today I am reminded to be thankful for all that we have, even when it doesn't go the way we want it to.

Thoughts and prayers to everyone effected by the tragedies in Japan.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Still Recovering from the Shock...

OK that was a bit dramatic but let me tell you what I found with that little electrical testing gadget...

If I run my yogurt maker for 9 hours four times in a month, my bill would increase $.50.

If I run my crockpot on low for the same amount of time in a month, my bill would increase $3.50.

If I run my dehydrator for that amount of time, my bill would increase $18.00!  GAAHHHHHH!

I am still planning to test out the other appliances in my house but this finding has sent me cowering into a corner for a little while.  I'm so disappointed in my dehydrator.  What's a dried fruit lover to do???

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NH Saves

Today I started learning about the energy detector I borrowed from work!  One part of it is a unit that you can use to calculate the monthly cost of your appliances...very cool.  However it involves a lot of numbers, not my favorite. I've been gathering data on items around my kitchen:
the yogurt maker
the crock pot
coffee maker

When my head is clear I'll do some of the very basic calculations and see what damage I'm doing when these things are running.  What do you think will be the biggest surprise?

Monday, February 28, 2011

What's it called when you mix two great things?

Pepperidge Farms has given my picky eater something to smile about!  

Imagine this:

 Plus this
My youngest found them on a corner shelf at the end of an aisle at Hannaford today.  GOLDFISH SANDWICH BREAD!  They come in whole wheat and white and they look exactly like these smiling goldfish! I looked them up on the internet (Pepperidge Farm's site and I googled around for a bit) and came up with nothing.  Are they new? 

I realize that giving in to kids' whims in the grocery store is a bad habit which is why we don't have "gummies" in our cabinet very often.  BUT if this will get him to eat a sandwich with a smile on his face?  No question, I'm buying it!  Now I'm off to search for PF coupons so I can afford them! 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ants update...

Well, the vinegar spray seems to work!  Love it.  However I'm just sending them away from my counters and to somewhere else right?  So I've added another layer...Ortho makes a liquid ant poison.  It's sick but I get a tiny bit of satisfaction when I see those little buggers lined up for a sip. 

Hopefully this added to my more natural approach will finish them off before the snow melts and and the mice come in...oof.  That's for another day of learning!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ants, Ants, Ants...In Winter??

It's not even spring yet we are battling ants already.  YUCK!  I've been digging around the internet.  My least favorite find was "likely infestation" or "nest in the house".  My favorite (in relative terms) was at ehow.com.  Here's the meat of it...I'll let  you know!

  1. Mix 2 cups of vinegar with half a bucket of warm water. Pour some of your vinegar solution into a spray bottle.
  2. Soak a clean cloth in the diluted vinegar solution, then squeeze out the excess. Use the vinegar-dampened cloth to wipe down kitchen countertops, the inside and outside of kitchen cabinets and the exterior of your kitchen appliances. If ants have been spotted in any other rooms of the house, wipe down hard-surfaced and non-upholstered furniture in the infested rooms, as well as hardwood or tile floors, with the vinegar solution to repel ants.
  3. Clean your floor with an ingredient that also repels ants: vinegar.
    Mop your floor with the remaining vinegar solution. Vinegar's smell dissipates as soon as the vinegar dries.
    mop head image by green308 from Fotolia.com
  4. Spray ants seen in your home with the vinegar spray in the bottle. Keep the spray bottle handy in the kitchen or other areas where ants are prevalent.
  5. Place pet food bowls inside shallow cake pans. Fill the cake pans halfway with water. This creates a protective moat that drowns ants as they attempt to get to your dog or cat's food.
  6. bottles of ground cinnamon & allspice. oregano image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com
    Ground cinnamon is one spice that repels ants in your home.
    Sprinkle cinnamon along the back of your countertops to repel ants from trying to get to the sugar bowl or other food items. The cinnamon repels the ants, while giving your kitchen a pleasant fragrance.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Side effects

This weekend I learned about the symptoms of pneumonia....
  • Cough, often producing mucus (sputum) from the lungs. Mucus may be rusty or green or tinged with blood.
  • Fever, which may be less common in older adults.
  • Shaking, "teeth-chattering" chills (one time only or many times).
  • Fast, often shallow, breathing and the feeling of being short of breath.
  • Chest wall pain that is often made worse by coughing or breathing in.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Feeling very tired (fatigue) or feeling very weak (malaise).
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea
I learned what would keep my kids busy in the waiting room of an ER for several hours while Shawn learned what it means to wait and wait some more.
  • DVD player
  • snacks
  • not the book Farmyard Tales
Later that day I learned that one of the side effects of an allergic reaction to Azithromycin is having hives.  Great.  Now I'm waiting to learn about the side effects of augmentin.

I am now a wealth of medical knowledge. 


As with all good New Year's Resolutions one must reevaluate in February...clearly a daily post is not in my realm of possibilities!  I'll plug away at it, stick with me!  :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coolest glasses ever!

We were having basketball photos taken the other night and I watched one of the photographers get kids into the just right frame of mind to have their photo taken.  She was amazing!  Great attitude, knew just what to say to get it right.  As she looks to the image on her digital camera she lifts two separate lenses of her glasses up to her eyes and they snap together so she can see the image clearly, as she looks back to her audience of one she separates them and they continue to just hang around her neck!  Effortless and she always knows where they are.   I was intrigued!

Here's a picture I found online.  It seems they are sold as Click Reading Glasses .  Very functional and all the rage!  If you get some let me know how you like them!

It can be done!

Today I learned that you can maintain your weight even if the week includes an indulgent Valentine's Dinner at the Sunset Hill House!  Yahoo, the WW scale remained the same this week. 

Dinner and our night out was delicious and fun and rejuvenating!  Well worth it.


On to a lower scale number next week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Self Control = Success?

Here's an article that makes me cringe a bit as an unorganized and often attention lacking mom.  I heard it on the radio today...all about how if your preschooler shows quality self control when he is little he's sure to be successful, whereas your less than controlled little one has a higher chance of being tossed into the slammer.  Ahhhh! 

Now, I realize these are generalizations and studies blah blah blah but don't they know the internal anxiety they cause when these scientists toss out such serious consequences via the radio waves?

You know I'll be reading it, and surfing the studies for a while.  At least until something more interesting comes along and I'd rather do that....What??

Thursday, February 10, 2011


When I started this I thought for certain I could find something enlightening about each and every day...Is it possible I'm not looking hard enough?  Could I be forgetting before I get home?  Do I have to dig deeper?

Do you learn something everyday?  Or are you reminded often?  Do you reflect on life around you?  Do look for something new about other people?

As I'm writing this I remember a conversation..."No matter where  you work someone thinks they work harder than everyone else."  Is that for real?  Who has time to fret over that?  Maybe you have learned this where you work...Clearly I don't get out enough!  :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine Fun

Cooper and I learned, together, how to build a Rocket Valentine for his friends.  We found it at Family Fun which is a great site if you are looking for ideas with your children.  It's fun to learn together...sometimes I forget that!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Shawn proposed to me at the Sunset Hill House in Sugar Hill on Valentine's Day.  This year we will celebrate our 10 year anniversary!

As a facebook fan, they are offering a Valentine's Dinner next weekend.  Shhhh, I'm going to surprise him!

Check them out at www.sunsethillhouse.com


Friday, February 4, 2011

Peanut Butter Dip

  Tonight I made this recipe...yes I'm on the Weight Watchers wagon again.  It sounded too good to pass up as I've spent my week thinking "Do people really survive on leafy salads and apples alone??"  

As I read the line 'chick peas, loose skins removed, washed and drained' I thought it would be a short and easy task.  I've used chick peas in many recipes and only seen a few skins here and there.  Lo and behold every damn bean had skin on it!  By the time I realized I had to skin the entire can it became a personal mission that took me longer anyone should spend with a chick pea.  

Tonight I learned two things...all of the chick peas in the can have skins and Weight Watchers is brilliant because in all of the time it took me to skin them, I was not eating!  :)

Enjoy the dip, it's DELICIOUS!

Creamy Peanut Butter Dip

101 people rated this recipe
Course: snacks
PointsPlus™ Value:    3
Servings:  8
Preparation Time:  5 min
Cooking Time:  0 min
Level of Difficulty:  Easy
A peanut butter lovers' dream come true. Spread onto toast or serve as a dip with banana and apple slices. For a spicier version, stir in some red pepper flakes.


  1 1/2 cup(s) canned chickpeas, loose skins removed, washed, drained   
1/4 cup(s) Tropical Nut & Fruit Honey roasted peanut butter, or other brand  
2 1/2 Tbsp honey   
1/4 tsp table salt   
1/2 cup(s) hot water   


  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender; blend until smooth. Allow to set up in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Yields about 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon per serving.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chocolate! YUM!

Cool Valentine's Treat idea!

Take this
(it's a Tupperware Funnel)
Add Chocolate Chips
Get This!!

Plug up the funnel with tin foil or better yet a mini marshmallow, pour melted chocolate it.  When it's cooled solid tap the funnel and VOILA!

I've read you can add rice crispies or m and m's or any other yummy deliciousness you like!

Love those ideas with Tupperware!  I'm trying to find someone to host a Kiss Tupperware party this month...any takers?  Chocolate and free Tupperware?

Pardon the shameless plug here...www.my2.tupperware.com/angimw

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You Just Never Know!

Here's a story that must be told..

I am pumping gas into individual cans today.  There are a million people at the gas station and I can't figure out one of the tops, it's apparently adult proof.  So in an effort to speed it up I say to the good looking, ready to ski, average male at the next pump, "Hey, could I ask you a favor?"  The following is our conversation:

His eyes roll.  "You are the 20th person today to ask me a favor."

Me: Oh, I'm sorry.  No worries.  I don't want to add to your stress.  

Him: I'm not stressed.  It's just your the 20th person to ask today.  

Me:  I guess you look like a helpful guy.  Can you open this gas can?

Him taking the can: 20 people today and not one thank you.

Me: Well I'll appreciate you, I'll pass the word along how helpful you were.

Him: Find me a girlfriend and we'll see.

Me: Ummm I was just trying to speed this up since so many people are here waiting.

Him: Can't you see how this turns?  Look at this, it's righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.

Me: Ummm yeah but with those teeth there that didn't seem to work.  Maybe I was just rushing.  

Him: Oh, yea.  It doesn't work.  He takes it and fiddles.

He mumbles something about a girlfriend again.  
Me:    Here's a thought, don't roll your eyes when someone asks you for help!

Returns the open can, walks away

Me: Thanks a million, I really appreciate it.

Him: Thanks a million?  That's all I get...

Me: Ummm should I be offering you something else???

Him: Buy my ski ticket...mumble mumble

Me: Maybe next time you should say No, I've done all the helping I can do today, so I can't help you.

Him: Yeah, maybe I should say Taco No Inglese.  

He said this several times, and I just agreed with him and hurled myself into my car!

So today I learned you never know who you are standing next to, what kind of day they have already had, and how seriously they are taking the missing relationship in their lives.  YIKES!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Not a Winner...

This does not say much for my day but the best I can do as I sit at the keyboard with sagging eyelids is to say...

Today I learned about the results of our district/state tests.  Historically the jump from 5th grade to 6th grade has horrendous scores, I often am thankful to still be employed, but this year to my surprise the scores fared well.  What created this change? I'm sure it will be delved into and dug apart.  I'm still doing my job, loving it and working as hard as I always have.  Who knows maybe it was the Shakespeare...

I hate that so much emphasis is put on a bunch of data collected over a short period of time and it's allowed to form a picture of who a student is on paper but I sure am glad when the scores are on the up and up.  Does this make me hypocritical?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Derby Day

Today I learned if you put a bunch of cub scouts in a gym with a track and their amazingly crafted cars FUN  is to be had and lots of it!

The science behind racing small wooden derby cars is pretty specific and well beyond my brain.  Thanks to UTube and the internet my husband and son scoured to create the speediest car they could!

Today was our Pinewood Derby.  It was a great day of fun and good sportsmanship.   I am so proud of everyone! 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Rainbow of Vegetables

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?  Just bought these seeds today and I can't wait to see them!!

Have you ever grown these?  Or any other interesting and out of the ordinary veggies in your garden?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Whey or That?

Whey is the liquid left behind after you make cheese or strain your yogurt to make greek yogurt.  I really hate to throw things away...so while making mozzarella this summer and straining yogurt to make yogurt cheese, I thought "What can I do with this??"

So I poked around and came up with a pretty good list:
  • Reincorporate all or some of the whey back into your yogurt.
  • Soak your grains or beans in it. Soaked grains (oatmeal, rice, quinoa) and beans take less time to cook, are easier to digest and allow our bodies to utilize more of the nutrients. Add 1-2T of whey and just enough water to cover your grains or beans. Soak overnight.
  • Use in place of water in just about any bread recipe or other baking.  
  • If you’re already making homemade yogurt, why not try homemade ricotta cheese. It’s made from leftover whey.
  • Season your whey with garlic or other spices and use it as a marinade for meat. This works especially well with frozen meats. The enzymes will help bring out the flavor.
  • Use in place of vinegar to pickle your vegetables.
  • Add it to your bath water for healthy, glowing skin. (Ummm....I'm not sure on this one!)
  • Use it to water your garden or compost pile. This is especially useful if you have a lot of whey to use up.
  • Drink it.  Add it to a smoothie for all the nutritional value minus the taste.
  • Feed it to your chickens, they LOVE it!
 Yahoo!  Another way to "recycle" and add a healthy ingredient to food for my family.  This learning thing sure is fun!  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Greek vs. Regular

Are you a yogurt eater?  Today we were pondering the differences between greek yogurt and regular yogurt...here's some of what I found.

"Greek yogurt is thicker and richer than regular yogurt, and typically contains lower sugar, higher protein and higher amounts of probiotics."

"As far as bacteria are concerned, Greek yogurt can contain up to six strains of probiotics, while regular yogurt usually contains just two. These high levels aid in converting milk lactose into lactic acid, making it easier to digest, especially for those who are lactose intolerant."

" Yogurt is formed when a specific strain of bacteria is introduced in the milk in a controlled environment and is allowed to ferment. After fermentation, yogurt becomes thick and custard like in texture, with a very subtle tangy taste. Greek yogurt is also made in the same way, the only difference being that once the bacteria strain has been added to the milk, the mixture is allowed to rest in a cheesecloth that drains away the liquid whey. This draining of the excess liquid whey, makes the resultant yogurt very rich, creamy and thick, that makes it an excellent toppings for desserts. "

Greek yogurt is strained three times, as opposed to two times for regular yogurt."   Soooo "Greek yogurt has twice the protein content of regular yogurt

Because of this extra straining process, Greek yogurt has less calcium than regular yogurt.

So it seems that if you want to make Greek yogurt you should leave your regular yogurt, made at home or store bought, in some type of a strainer over night and VOILA!    Try yours with applesauce and a drizzle of honey...YUMMY!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fight for Air

Did you know that in 
41 floors 
there are 
82 flights of stairs 
which is 
789 steps?

Support my friend who is participating in the Fight for Air Climb in Boston on February 6th. It is put on by the American Lung Association to support research, education and advocacy to fight lung disease.

You can donate to her team online HERE.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Soak Your Oats!

This is much different than sew your oats thankfully.

I'm always looking for healthy and edible snacks to make for the kids in order to avoid as many things wrapped in plastic as possible. It's a slow process!

I found a website earlier this week with a cracker recipe and I continued to dig around her site since Cooper OK'd the recipe. She has several entries on the idea that one should soak any oats and grains before eating. I appreciate her look at the scientific side of healthy eating (while I appreciate her, I LOVE ALTON BROWN's approach!). Commitment to the idea of soaking your oats and grains has varying support around the internet. She states:

# Grains are seeds.
# Seeds are meant to pass through the system relatively undigested so they can be planted elsewhere (think in nature).
# To make it possible for seeds to pass through undigested, there are some anti-nutrients built in to make them difficult to digest.
# Seeds also need to be preserved until the time is right for sprouting, so they have certain compounds that stop the active enzyme activity of germination.
# These compounds also serve to hinder active enzyme activity in your digestive system.
# “Soaking” whole grains can make them more digestible and help your system obtain all the nutrients in the food.

This sounds good. I wonder if the thought and time it takes (one should soak their oats for 12-24 hours) is worth the benefit it gains.

Tonight I made her granola bar recipe, which she claims when made with soaked and dried oats are better tasting. So you know I'm soaking oats tonight and putting them on the dehydrator tomorrow for a baking fest after the kids go to bed tomorrow night! I'll let you know the results of the comparison...

While you wait, what whole snacks do you feed your kids? Anything that would entice my picky eaters and make my wallet happy?

Also feel free to check out Healthy Recipes at Kitchen Stewardship, she has a lot to offer!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today I revisited some old learnings:
How to get to the local hospital
Where my son's insurance card is hidden
How to calm a kid who is terrified of shots even though he's not getting one
How to run our nebulizer from 3 years ago
How to be nice to the swamped pharmacist when he tells me it will be several hours for the new nebulizer meds to be filled (even though it's sitting right there on the shelf)

And one new one:
If I say it really nice but with a harried eyeball, my husband really can put the dishes away!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

love those little plastic bricks!

Lego means "play well". I'm going to remind my kids of this often. Here's a little Lego history for you from answers.com!

from Danish
This word originated in Denmark
Thanks to those little interlocking building blocks, the whole world plays with the Danish language. They are playing with Lego, a name constructed out of the Danish expression leg godt, meaning "play well."
The company's historians tell us exactly when it happened. In 1932 Ole Kirk Christiansen began manufacturing ironing boards, stepladders, and wooden toys in the town of Billund, Denmark. Two years later, when his company had grown to have half a dozen employees, he gave it the name Lego. It was noticed later that lego means "I study" or "I read" in Latin, but play remained the official interpretation of the company name.
For nearly two decades after that, Lego remained a Danish company, with no effect on English-speaking children or their language. Even in Denmark, Lego was not registered as a trademark until 1954. But in 1956 the company began opening sales offices in other countries; in 1958 the stable stud-and-tube style of brick was introduced; and within a decade children the world over knew the name. From then till now, according to the company, about 190 billion Lego bricks (they call them "elements") have been produced, as well as 11 billion of the Duplo double-size bricks. That's enough for everyone in the world to play well.
Danish is a North Germanic language of the Indo-European family and the national language of the more than five million inhabitants of Denmark. Along with Norwegian and Swedish, Danish is a likely source for such English words as skulk (1225), scoff (1300), ballast (1530), dangle (1590), skoal (1600), troll (1616), walrus (1728), iceberg (1820), and aquavit (1890). Other Danish contributions to English have been from Danes whose names have become scientific designations: Jacobson's organ (in the head, 1885), Gram's stain (for bacteria, 1903), and the Bohr effect (from carbon dioxide in the blood, 1939).

The World in So Many Words, by Allan A. Metcalf. Copyright © 1999 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


***Edit on 1/22/11
Another friend shared an article in response to the original parenting article. There are two sides to every story. There's a lesson! Thanks Kim!
Ever have that moment where you think, "What have I done wrong?". "How will this choice effect the future of this kid I'm raising?" "If only I'd done that instead..."

A friend shared an interesting Wall Street Journal article on the differences between Western parenting and Chinese parenting. Interesting...

I just read it and I keep thinking I must have a thought about this...one worth writing about. Nope, not yet.

What about you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cabin Fever?

My cat has cabin fever already...I'd like to see her on snowshoes! :)

from wisegeek.com

"Cabin fever, while not an actual disease as the name suggests, is a state of restlessness, depression and irritability brought on by an extended stay in a confined space or a remote, isolated area. The lack of environmental stimulation can have real, tangible side effects that have a detrimental impact on anyone suffering from cabin fever. There is little documented evidence, but many speculate that those who may already be mentally unbalanced can be dramatically affected by cabin fever.

Historians speculate that the term cabin fever was first used to describe early U.S. settlers who experienced long winters in their log cabins, snowed in until the spring thaw. The term is dated to the 19th century by the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms and is first recorded in 1918, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Suffering from cabin fever is similar to going stir crazy, a term that originates from a mid-19th century slang term, stir, which meant "prison". Stir crazy was typically used to describe the behavior exhibited by inmates in prison suffering from the effects of a long incarceration.

The origins of the term may also date from the time of frequent oceanic crossings, when people endured the long passage across the Atlantic in small, cramped quarters below the deck of a ship. In addition, during outbreaks of disease, people were often confined or quarantined to their homes in the effort to prevent its spread. Cabin fever would have surely been a result in either of these situations.

Cabin fever is such a universal affliction that movies and books have dramatized its sometimes horrifying effect on people and their mental state. Stephen King’s The Shining is a perfect example of how isolation can drive a person mad. The family in the film is holed up in a remote hotel resort, snowed in until spring. Add isolation, lack of entertainment and a supernatural presence, and madness ensues. Other story plots have explored how extended space missions can cause cabin fever, and the theme has also been dealt with in a recent storyline on The Simpsons television show.

In areas of the world where snow piles up all winter long, driving people indoors, cabin fever is a real issue. In addition to long periods of time confined to a small space, the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) exacerbate cabin fever. Many people suffer from SAD during the winter months, when sunny days are few and far between, and they sink into a very real depression.

Those especially susceptible to cabin fever are children who are confined to the house during rain or cold weather. Also, stay-at-home moms have long bemoaned the cabin fever they suffer from when confined to the house without adult interaction. Passive entertainment from television and video games may pass the time, but don’t provide the active, interactive entertainment that people crave.

Reading, board games and card games may help, but getting outdoors and engaging in physical activity may be the only real “cure.” Many people who live in the northern U.S. cross-country ski, snowshoe or snowmobile as outdoor activities. Calling a friend, or simply trying to get a change of scenery, may help as well.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Homemade Crackers

I tried out this new recipe for homemade crackers today, it's a keeper!

They're like Wheat Thins, and even Cooper ate them happily. YUM!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Word!

Define "mores".

Heard it in a workshop...didn't know it. Now I do!

How would you use it?

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Today I have a cold, just like yesterday and the day before that.

I chugged through the day saying "It sounds worse that I feel...".
However my head was not in the game..the long division game, the how to read a text book game, the how to read non fiction game, the how to write persuasively game, the cub scout how to eat according to that triangle/pyramid thing game, the basketball yes I said I'd help but can't get out of my own way game.

Today I learned I've got no game.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Got Salt?

I have been known to wing most things in life.. In the classroom, on a vacation, and in the kitchen. This surely makes chefs and cooks quiver but its just the way I roll. I rarely follow a recipe in it's entirety: I don't have all of the ingredients, I wish one ingredient wasn't listed...you get it.

Salt is one of those ingredients I often leave out. Too much sodium is bad for you, right? Well thanks to another snow day baker I am reformed! Who knew salt had a serious job? Apparently in the case of baked bread it slows the fermentation process so things don't get too wild in your dough, it strengthens the gluten(who wants to eat weak gluten?), and of course it adds flavor. Hmmm. I guess I'd better go refill my salt shaker while you read this link. Happy baking.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day Rituals

I have been living with my head in the sand. Or the snow as the case may be...I have been teaching for 12 years and never, until today, have I heard the special combination of events that assures a snow day.

The night before an impending storm:

1. Turn your pajamas inside out.
2. Put a spoon under your pillow.
3. Flush ice down the toilet.

Apparently practiced by school children and lunch ladies through eternity, it's sure to work.

Sorry if you wake up with a wooden spoon in your face, Shawn!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cold season Remedy?

Cough Cough...tried this recipe as someone at work swears that her husband's version works every time.


Cough cough...

Maybe I need him to make mine. (but I learned something new!!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

Over the holiday break I treated myself to a yogurt maker. My sister gave me a gift certificate to King Arthur Flour a few years ago and I found it while cleaning...whoops. I decided to buy something I would never otherwise have purchased. Thus the yogurt maker. I am surprised at how simple the process of making yogurt is.

What are the benefits of making yogurt yourself? Can it save me money? Is it healthier even though I'm buying milk from some enormous farm feeding their cows whatever? Are we creating less waste?

The handy maker that I bought is not even sort of necessary to create a delicious batch of yogurt in your kitchen according to the research I've done. It's just a fun kitchen gadget that makes me happy. You can make yogurt in your crock pot, on your heating pad, I even found a site that talked about just leaving it out in the sun (my thoughts are don't try this one, but you are all grownups...)

I'll be saving up the whey created to add to bread and trying out some yogurt cheese recipes I've found too. So much fun in my kitchen!

Here's a basic recipe...(you really should Google around though, it's fun!)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Life Changing Challenge

Today I went online looking for a few ways to get myself leaning in a healthier direction (maybe I'll even take a few steps in that direction eventually...). That clever Martha Stewart and her team of clever people have a plan for a 28-day challenge to a healthier you.

I've often tossed around the idea of doing some kind of detox but they are confusing to me in the 8 seconds of thought I give them. I like the idea of this one telling you week by week what to eat or what not to eat as the case may be. I'm considering it...what do you think? I've already emailed my adventurous neighbor to see if she'll join me. Anyone else want to give it a go?

Minty Mice

Friday I learned that pure peppermint oil will discourage mice from running around in your walls. I wonder if it discourages them from running around in your living room too?

Either way I'm planning to plant peppermint plants around the entire perimeter of my house and I'm considering installing gutters to plant them in too. I'll let you know!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Manly issues

Today I learned how to tie a neck tie!

I spent the day tying it and retying it around...the school principal claimed to think it was some kind of new fashion trend. Imagine anyone using my name and fashion trend in the same sentence? Clearly he doesn't know me well!

Then I spent the evening with my Cub Scout den learning all about how to tie different knots. So cool, the boys were very excited and did an amazing job with all of the tasks. They were as proud as I was.

How many knots can you tie?


Last night I learned that I was exhausted. I laid down to read to the kids and woke to my son saying "Mom, you didn't finish." I never recovered...sorry.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Before Rosa Parks...

Do you know the story of Rosa Parks? The woman who, in December of 1955, refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama?

Most people know it...

But did you know that 11 years earlier in Gloucester, Virginia, Irene Morgan set her foot down against such unfair treatment too? She also refused to give up her seat, was arrested, and fined. See more in this Washington Post article.

In June of 1954, Sarah Mae Flemming of Columbia, South Carolina, refused to stand on her bus as directed by the driver.

Did you know that in early March of 1955 a young woman named Claudette Clovin found herself refusing to give up the seat she paid for on a bus in Alabama?

In October of 1955, Mary Louise Smith failed to obey transportation segregation laws while riding on the Montgomery Transportation System.

So many strong women standing up for what they believed in. They should be an inspiration for all of us. What will you stand up for?

Monday, January 3, 2011


Back to work today...I love my job for many reasons.
the kids
the creativity (most of the time)
the adventure
the learning

I like the idea that we get to regularly reflect on what we do and make it better. There's always next year, right? However this idea is also a great frustration of mine. Surrounded by different humans, in different situations, on each different day, different hour, different minute...whatever worked may not work again. I strive to be better. To give each learner what the need, what they want, to be successful.

This link is to a video that perhaps did not teach me anything new, but it gave me a lot to think about when considering the state of education in 2011. What can you do to enhance a child's learning?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


So, I'm already behind. Not a stellar start if I do say so myself.

While wandering through a gun shop one recent afternoon (this sounds so casual, doesn't it??) I overheard a clerk telling a customer about groundhogs being cannibalistic. "Once you shoot them, the others pull 'em down into the hole...that's after the crows get 'em..." Here he was selling the two for one feature of shooting them, first you get rid of the groundhog, then the crows! He laughed heartily.

"Seriously?" I thought.

Being somewhat naive, I assumed he was right (he does work in a gun shop after all) and planned to post it as my learning for the day. Then my ever analytical husband said, "Don't you think you should find some facts to back that up?"

Well folks, I've searched for a bit and can't find anything to back up that gun shop employee. Now, I'm not saying he's a liar, I'm just saying I couldn't find any evidence on the internet in a 10 minute search.

I'm a fan of how scientists and mathematicians organize and categorize everything so I did learn that cannibalism is categorized. Here are a few ways...
*Those who eat each smaller members of themselves (size structured cannibalism)
*Females who eat their male partners before, during, or after you know what (sexual cannibalism)
*Unborn baby carnivores who eat smaller, less developed, and also unborn siblings (intrauterine cannibalism)

Again this was found in a brief internet search... and perhaps is a bit creepy for a first entry but it caught my ear and has stuck with me for a few days.

Learned something new today!