Saturday, January 31, 2009

An answer to comments that we get

I have written on this topic before, but this time it's with a different sort of answer. You see, everywhere we go we get questions. There are very few times that we don't get someone saying or asking something about our family. The most common saying being: "Wow! You've got your hands full!" Which is the very reason I named my blog what I did. Another popular one: "Are they all yours?" And I believe equal to the second question is this one, made by a mom with one or two children: "How do you do it? I've only got one (or two) and I'm going crazy!" To this last one my new answer has been this: "Ahhhh, well there is your only have one (or two)! You see you need at least half a dozen, that way you have help." They of course look at me like I have at least a gazillion heads. No, really, they do. But I really am serious. You see I can speak from experience. I had only one (or two) at one time. And boy was it hard!!!! Things now are a different type of hard, but I know why they think they could never have more than two. And here is a situation to prove to you why:

I will use my two boys as an example. Let us imagine they are the only two children I have. I need to go to the store. I've fed the baby, but he's fussy, he probably needs a nap, but I need food more so :-) So I put the baby down by me and call over my toddler. I put his jacket on, and get his shoes on. Then as I pull him up to stand I smell the smell. A dirty diaper. Oh, goodness I just changed him I think! (During this time I realize that I need to restock my diaper bag before I go.) So I go to lay him down and I need to take his shoes off. But as I do I look over at my baby who has somehow managed to vomit all over himself, the floor, the bottom of my skirt.....Who do I clean up first? If this takes too long the toddler will be sweating hot and the baby will be hungry again!! Uggghhhh!!! And this is where the women in the store are coming from. They deal with this all the time. And when they see me with six children they multiply that scenario in their heads by six! But you see I'm on "the other side". I've been where they were, and in a way I continue to be, only in that I still have a toddler who is in diapers and a baby who likes to spit up all over the place. But here is what this same scenario looks like today:

The baby has throw up all over, toddler has messy diaper......but instead of thinking I will never get out the door, this is what I say, "Isabella!....Moira!....Come here, please!" Isa and Moira come in and I tell them, "Isa, I need you to get a few diapers and wipes out. Put some in the diaper bag leaving one out to change Jed with. Moira, please go and get me another outfit for the baby." While she does that I take a wipe, that Isa got, and wipe off my skirt. By that time Moira comes with the change of clothes, I wipe down the baby and change him. During this changing I call out to Flan and Saoirse to go potty and get their shoes on. Isabella is now done with Jed, so I tell her to get her shoes on and take Jed out to the van and buckle him in. I tell Moira to get her shoes on and take the diaper bag out to the van with her. I shoo out the little girls and tell them to get buckled in the van. I stand up, put on my shoes and grab the baby, out the door and strap him in as well. The younger girls are still not buckled, so I tell them we are about to pull out and they better buckle quick :-)

You see, it really is harder when you have only two. Now things can get chaotic around here when we have too many kiddos not listening at the same time, or a squabble breaks out, but over all it is easier. I was really trying to imagine doing the things I do with only the two boys and WOW my mind starts to "boggle". I think I need to find a shorter way to share these scenarios with other moms that ask me that question, "How do you do it?"

Come and make bread with us

Isbella and I had a great time putting together some videos of us making bread. We created a channel on youtube, so as to hopefully cut down on anyone elses indecent videos popping up. Do be careful, as youtube is a dangerous place for any young person to be on unsupervised. I wish I was proficient enough with this type of media to have put together the videos in just two batches, but alas, that is something I must learn to do. So for now you will just have to click on the next video in the series (they are numbered) to see the whole demonstration that we give. The videos showed a bit of real life in them, although we tried to minimize that :-) If we went ALL real I am not sure if you would have been able to see what I or Isabella were doing as we would have had many, many hands in the way :-) So go check out our demonstration of the mixer we have (Electrolux) and the breadmaking.

Southern Peaches Productions

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Our diet change

I am going to try to put together, on screen, our changes in the nutrition area. The best place would be to go over why we think a diet change is in order. Then I will tell you what changes we are making. And lastly I will try to explain why we have chosen to go with the particular changes we have chosen.

Why we are making a change:
I believe I have mentioned some of our reasons previously, but to make this an all inclusive post I will mention them again. All of us in our family have some allergy or allergies to food, or environmental agents (pollen, dust, or animals). Although allergies are considered "normal" because so many people have them, they are a sign of our bodies responding wrongly to normal things. Allergies are not normal to have when you are healthy. I am not saying that every allergy is in response to a poor diet, but I would hazard to guess that many are. Even poor Jonah has a total body rash that is going on two weeks now. I realized that it started when I started eating yogurt daily. Other problems we are experiencing are poor skin health (a rash on Jeremiah's ankle, Saoirse's chicken skin, and pimples), poor hair health (Saoirse's hair has only been really growing this year, and she is 4 and a half), and lack of energy. We also have three overweight family members. That is really not healthy. Plus three, possibly four of us are having problems with interstitial cystitis. Not a fun thing to be sure. So those are the main complaints here. I know there are others, but they are more minor.

The changes we will be making:
I'm not sure whether to tell what we are taking out of our diet or what we are adding....maybe both. The things we will be taking out:
most meat (chicken as a condiment once per week, plus meat at Sunday lunch)
almost all dairy (I will be using a bit of dairy in some of our homemade salad dressings at first)
white flour
sugar (we will be using natural sweeteners like honey or agave or dates)
just about everything processed (I will use some canned tomatoes, and in a pinch canned beans)

Things we will be adding:
Kombusha tea
sprouts (high nutrients)
lots and lots of veggies and fruits
wheat and barley grass juice (grown here, juiced and stored as "ice" cubes, added to our green smoothies)
nuts and seeds

Why these particular changes:
I have read many books on nutrition. Basically I have read on both ends of the spectrum-all raw to lots of cooked foods and meat. I was thoroughly confused. I made sure to see what scripture had to say on the matter. We have the fact that Adam and Eve were vegetarian. And it wasn't until after the flood that God gave us the animals to eat. And with that came restrictions on what types of animals were OK to eat. Now my own thoughts on the matter is that I don't see how people back in Biblical times would have been able to eat as much meat as we do today. Plus I don't think that they had all the pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones we do today! I'm thinking they didn't have any of that :-) So our meat supply is a bit tainted to say the least. So not only are we probably eating a lot more meat than they did, but ours is pretty contaminated. I do think that the dietary laws are still good for us today. Again, these are only my thoughts on the matter. There is the vision that Peter has of the sheet of food (some of it being "unclean") coming down from heaven and God saying that whatever He has calls clean is clean. Now people say that that scripture nullifies the dietary laws. However I think that may be taking the vision out of context. First it was a vision. Second the context is that Peter didn't think the Gentiles should be preached to as they were "unclean". And I think God is making a point that if He calls something clean than it is clean, no matter what we may think of it. I liken it to when I ask one of my children to do some very common task. If they make a fuss over it I may say something like, "If I want you to go outside and run around the house 50 times than I would expect you to do so." Now I am not telling them that is what I want them to do---run around the house. I am taking something that I wouldn't normally tell them to do to show them that I expect them to obey me, even if they think I am going overboard (on the common thing I asked them to originally do). I hope that made sense. I don't claim to be a theologian :-) So don't take my word for it. You can find the passage I speak of in Act 10. So all of that to say we will be eating very little meat. We will be eating lots of veggies (raw and cooked), and lots of fruit. These have micronutrients our bodies need that they can not get from meat or processed foods. I will be making sure they get nuts and seed for proper fats and omegas. We will be eating more beans for protein. Although plants have protein as well. I was thinking of seeing how we would respond to gluten free, but that may be too much of a jump. I want to see how we respond to the above changes first. I believe that dairy and sugar are our biggest problems. I will be making our own bread products (I do a lot of that now). I have not been good about soaking my flour before baking. I think I may try sprouting the wheat first, dehydrating it, then grinding it and keeping it in the freezer so I can use it as I need it. So how is this going to look in real life? Well, this next month I will probably be making more "designer" meals until I get the hang of this and we settle into more simpler fair. Below is what our menu will look like.

Each week of meals will be repeated for the month.

Green Smoothies, except for Saturday when we will have whole wheat pancakes with fruit topping.
Green smoothies will consist of such items as frozen fruit, fresh fruit, spirulina, wheat or barley grass juice cubes, powdered flax seeds, tahini (sesame seed paste), and of course greens.

Morning snacks:
Morning snacks will be on the heavier side since we will be having a liquid breakfast. They will be some of the following: nut balls, chocolate pudding and whipped topping (pudding made of bananas and avocados, the topping made with macadamia nuts and rice or soy milk), raw fruit pies, ice cream (frozen fruit put through the food processor).

Afternoon snacks:
These snacks will be on the lighter side. Just plain fruit, veggies with a dip, and popcorn.

tortillas with a hummus spread, filled with chopped veggies and sprouts
leftover soup
oatmeal and fruit
tabouli salad
whole wheat pita bread with bean spread and greens, or all fruit jam and nut butter
I haven't figured out Saturdays lunches yet
Sundays lunches at church

mac and "cheese" (crock pot dish)--there is no dairy, the sauce is made by cashews, white beans and seasonings/ salad
slow cooker pot pie (crock pot dish)--potatoes and other veggies, no meat
black-eyed peas and Swiss chard with Soba noodles (crock pot dish)/ salad
chicken salad
focaccia with veggies or veggie pizza/ salad
bean burgers on whole wheat buns/ salad
soup--our first may be tomato

Our dinner salads will be mostly "common" tossed salads, but some may be more elaborate, and some may be left over tabouli salad.

If I think of it I will take pictures throughout the week of our meals to do a picture post of our new diet. So there you have it, our new diet adventure begins February and we are giving it a year to see what kinds of results it will have on our health.

On top of diet changes we will be adding in more activity. I have already started exercising. And my plan is to get the kiddos outside at least four times a week for an hour. Thirty minutes being active-running around, biking, jump rope....

***new posts on the girls' blogs***

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Close encounters of the spotted kind

Well it has been officially 14 days since my children had an encounter with spots. Not in the usual way, but non the less an encounter. These spots being chicken pox. However no one has spots yet!!! Moira has come up with three spots of bug bite nature. Maybe, MAYBE it's chicken pox and she has a REALLY MILD case???? One could hope. We have stayed home from church these past two weeks to not expose anyone else. We are feeling a bit of cabin fever over here. Ha, ha.

In other news....hmm....nothing new really. Jedidiah did pass the 22 pound mark! That is exciting. He is growing cognitively wise as well, being able to see an action and replicate it in another fitting situation. Something he could not do before. For example: All the girls when they were younger, without being shown how, would one day throw out their dirty diaper when I mentioned that it needed to be thrown out. I never showed them how, but they had seen me do it and heard me tell them that is what I was doing. They saw me throw something out, and were able to do so on their own. Jedidiah has not been able to do that as of yet. I have actually had to walk him through various situations because he could not relate what we were doing to what I told him to do. But I have seen that change these past two weeks. Very encouraging.

I have been spending my time reading some books on child nutrition and gardening. We are hoping to put in a large garden this year with fruit trees/bushes as well. There will be a lot of work to be done in order for this to happen. I want to make gardening a big part of our day. I would really like to have fresh, organic veggies for the family. We will be changing our diets very soon to be more veggie and anything we can grow here will help in that direction. I will be writing a post on our diet change....soon...later....sometime :-)

I have made up a plan of action-sort of-to put into place here. We need more structure here than what we have been having. Jonah is a bit more Flannery like these days, making getting things done a wee bit more difficult. He has had this spotty rash for a week now and it seems to be an allergy of some sort. I am thinking that is contributing to his fussiness and lack of sleeping. At least I am hoping, because that would mean there is a possibility that he can go back to "normal" sometime soon! But anyways, we've been lacking structure for the last...oh....six months or so (my that is exactly how old Jonah is ;-)). We are all feeling the lack. But I have not been good at doing a routine/schedule all at once and so I have made three phases to work into it. I have an accountability chart that I may share one of these days to show you what we are working on getting done over here. Time has been limited these days due to fussy baby boy. The girls are doing their share to watch him, but I use those moments to hurry and get other things done.

I also started back to exercising recently. Usually I try to jump back in as soon as I can after a baby. Not this time! I am starting slow and steady and am already seeing results! I started with T-Tapp one three times a week. Then I added in an extra day doing the T-Tapp step (aerobics). The great thing is that the level one is only 15 minutes long. Something very doable.

Well it is time to get some things done. I need to make up a new menu for next month and that is going to take time since I have to find new recipes! I found a gem of a book at the library full of different salad combinations. Usually the vegetarian recipes I have found have been too frilly and not conducive to feeding a family. But this book is great. Real ingredients, as opposed to ones you would have to special order, and simple combinations. I like the sound of the homemade dressings as well. I'm excited about trying some of them out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Quick Note.....

....Just wanted to let you know that Isabella and Moira both wrote on thier blogs and are waiting for people to check them out. (Isabella wrote 2, Moira 1)


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

photo intensive

I uploaded a bunch of pictures. We have been busy here with some rearranging. We moved all of our bookshelves around. We'll see if it makes things easier to maintain. Still in the talking and planning stages of a lot of our changes. We'll all be learning about gardening. We want to put in a lot of things this year, including some dwarf fruit trees, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, plus a ton of veggies. The veggies will be important in our diet change. Time to get back to eating healthy. I checked out Dr. Joel Furhman's book, "Disease Proof Your Child". It is a great book, but depressing at the same time. Depressing because of all the evidence that a poor diet as a child has more impact on later diseases like cancer. I grew up eating processed food galore. Not a good thing. My children have eaten much better than I, however they started off on the wrong foot with my poor health. Ugh. Well I have a bunch to do, but let me leave you with these pictures:

Saoirse showing off her collection of floss thread. They are for embroidery. She carefully wound a few "spools" and sorted through the colors.

Here is a crocheted sweater I made the other day. It is very quick and easy. It was meant for Jonah, but it is much too large. I will try to make another one with a lighter yarn. Here I used two yarns held together and it is a bit thick.

Here is the sweater on Jedidiah. It is a bit boxy, which is fine, I am sure it will lay better with a thinner yarn.

Jedidiah being goofy. For some reason he is really into putting things on his head. Here he is with a penguin. Sometimes it's a towel, or a paper, or clothing. Very funny.

Now what are you up to in there Jed? Looks like he needs some quiet time to himself and had to go to great lengths to find it! Ha, ha!

Actually he brought his juice in there with him (in the yellow cup) and set up shop. He was in there for quite a while.

Isabella toting Jonah around in the Ergo. Jonah is getting used to the Ergo. He prefers to be on the front I think. We have had a ton of work to do here and he has been fussy, fussy, fussy. Teething maybe? I hope it is over very soon!

One day the girls were playing "family" and set up this bed for Jedidiah. The funny thing is that he actually fell asleep! Here he is snoozing.

A picture taken by Moira. We found a wonderful family project to work on. The girls received "it" for Christmas. What are we all doing?

Here is Jeremiah working away on our project......
Here is Isabella taking a break from the project. You can see our project there on the table......puzzles! My sister will probably think this is totally funny. My children have done the wee little toddler wooden puzzles, but nothing past that. These were "real" puzzles! Fun was had by all.
Flannery's puzzle was hard because they were panda bears. But she was very happy to be figuring it out.

All this work was a bit too much for Saoirse. We were determined to finish them.

Here they all are under the plastic table cloth. They serve as neato place mats!

The girls all decked in their new Christmas dresses. When we lined them up to take a picture Jedidiah ran in there to get in the action.

Now this is absolutely hilarious!!!! Saoirse stuffed a ball under her dress and came in the kitchen to tell me she had a baby in her tummy. I took this picture and if you can see the expression on her face it is hysterical!!!!!!!This is how I feel when I am nine months preggers :-)

Isabella and I hanging out one night. Jeremiah took the other girls somewhere and it was the boys and Isa.

Unfortunately I had my thumb on the flash, but this was too cute not to post.

Our sweet chubs. That's his name around here. Just being incredibly cute. It is a good thing he's so cute as the fussiness factor has increased and patience decreased with everyone here. He is reminding me too much of Flannery at the moment. Not a good thing. It is a miracle that Flannery and I are still alive! That poor child cried for the first two years of her life!!!!
A very cute creation by Moira. Jedidiah's speech therapist brings playdough with her and this is what Moira made. The therapist let her keep it :-)

That is all I have for now. Must go and try comfort Jonah, who is crying....again.....

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I hope everyone had a wonderful new year's celebration. We had to stay home due to illnesses. We were hoping to spend it with our church family in prayer and service. Poor Jonah man is pretty sick. He has an ear infection that has put him out of commission. I am thinking he has more than just an ear infection as he is completely miserable. Jeremiah is also sick, and Isabella was starting with a sore throat. Sooooo we spent our new years being ill. We had a late lunch so for dinner it was just a homemade pizza later in the evening. We stayed up pretty late making some chocolate chip cookies. I assure you those things are not helping us to be well! But oh, do they taste yummy! :-) Most of us fell asleep on the couch. Here is a real funny. We have a timer set on our computer to go off at ten p.m. that locks us out of the internet. So Jeremiah went on and reset it for just last night. So there we are all around the computer watching the clock count down in NYC. We are all shouting, "Ten, Nine, Eight.....Three, Two, One....." The computer then promptly locks up on the "one"! I was staring at the computer saying, "What!?! It froze up on 'one'?! Where is the ball?" Then Jeremiah and I realize that he had mistakenly not given us enough time on the computer to "FULLY" ring in the new year!!! Ha, ha, ha!! So we then shout out "Happy New Year!!!" and drank our sparkling grape juice. The older two girls and I went outside to shout happy new year. They wanted to bang the pots and pans, but that woke up Jedidiah last year. And he was none too happy about that, and didn't get back to sleep very well. So we figured we would skip the banging part. We then came in and went to bed. ZZZZzzzzzzz Today we had to run errands. Poor Jonah was a wailing mess by the time we got home. Thankfully he conked out quickly and is now peacefully sleeping. I'm on our secondary computer so I can't post our new year eve picture. I'll have to do that another day. Have a wonderful day!
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