Sunday, February 26, 2012

Walking in the Woods

The husband and the boys go walking behind our property all the time.  It's usually when I need time to relax or time to clean, so I haven't ventured as far as they have.  Today I saw the much talked about truck that is just sitting out there.  I also got to witness the beauty that is the wilderness I live so close to. 

Who leaves a truck in the middle of nowhere?

I was freaking out and had to walk away because there was glass everywhere they were climbing. 

I didn't capture how very cool this all looked in person very well.

Deer tracks.

Littlest Man.

Beautiful moss covered rocks were everywhere.

My middle guy.  He's just so handsome.
 It was 25 degrees out and sunny.  All bundled up and moving, it was almost like it was 30 degrees out.  It was a beautiful day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Homeschooling Cub Scouts

I haven't posted in a while.  Well, I posted stuff about my psoriasis and GAPS diet endeavor.  I started a separate blog for that.  It just didn't seem right to post it all here. 

Last month I started a homeschooling Cub Scout pack.  The beauty of it is that it's during the day and siblings can come along.  Meetings are chaos, but the kind of chaos we're used to and love. 

So far, we've visited an old school  house and the fire station.  We've done flag ceremonies (complete with incorrect renditions of the Pledge of Allegiance) and made paper airplanes.  We've gone to see Doktor Kaboom!  We've created scrapbooks and learned about health and safety - making first aid kits and learning about Stop, Drop and Roll.  We've done hands on fun with simple machines.  We've done a ton of science experiments - liquid, gas, solid.  This weekend we'll be venturing out with our map and compass skills. 

The really excellent thing about this is that we can work it all into our homeschooling "curriculum" or standards.  We have done enough science, working on the belt loop and pin requirements, to last a few months!  Not that we'll stop anytime soon on that learnin'. 

Team work to move that incline plane.

Incline plane to move a heavy log onto the wagon.

Old School knuckle rapping for these kids!

Tiger Scouts

Mentos and Diet Coke explosion.

Bernoulli's Effect/Law/Principle (I've seen it called all three)
Blowing into a playing card and having the flame come towards you rather than away. 
Pretty cool stuff there.

I love homeschooling.  And I love homeschooling Cub Scouts. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 2 GAPS Intro - beef soups

For dinner last night I had a bowl of hamburg and broccoli soup. 

Two cups of broth, a handful of broccoli, a premade grass fed hamburg patty and some sea salt and pepper.  I boiled it for 25 minutes, making sure to cut up the patty intermittently.  It was frozen to begin with.  If you just used some ground beef it would be just as yummy. 

The soup was pretty good.  I was actually a little shocked. 

Instead of snacking last night, I made another bowl of soup. 

I cut up some steak, about a palm-sized piece.  Added a small zucchini, some leek, clove of garlic and a carrot.  Let that boil for 30 minutes.  That was delicious, too. 

I think my favorite was the ground beef and broccoli one.  I didn't take any pictures...I just plum forgot. 

Today I feel fine.  I started the day off with probiotics and water.  Then 16oz of chicken broth. 

I have some boiled onion, carrot and chicken soup waiting to cool.  I used a whole red onion, one carrot and the meat from two chicken legs (no thigh).  Boil 25 minutes. 

I'll be making some ginger tea this morning, too.  While I like broth, I can't drink it without salt, which leaves me thirsty.  And water isn't my favorite.  The Gut and Psychology Syndrome book (pg. 148) says I can have ginger, mint or chamomile tea.  Use 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and steep in hot water. 

I have an appointment this morning.  I think that'll be the toughest part of this - leaving the house for extended periods of time.  I'll bring some tea and some broth.  That'll have to tie me over until lunch. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Starting GAPS Intro for Skin Issues...

I have decided to try to heal my skin by starting the GAPS intro diet.  We tried GAPS before, but that didn't work out so well. 
I have this skin problem that I'd like solved.  I'm thinking that there's something wrong with my gut, so I'm starting there.  At least if I heal my gut and nothing is resolved then I can look elsewhere for help.
I'm not claiming to be a medical professional, this is just my own journey. 
I began this morning with some probiotics and a 1/2 cup of water.  I waited half and hour and then had a cup of chicken broth.  I had a simple soup of 1/2 a red onion and 2 green pieces from a leek sauteed in a tsp of coconut oil.  I added boiled chicken and 2 cups of broth. 
From taking the probiotics to eating the soup, it took 2 hours.  This is because I have children. I also had started cooking down some blood orange marmalade.  This is not GAPS friendly, but I will hold onto it until I can eat it...on warm buttered toast.  I'm not going to lie.  This is going to be hard.  The rest of my family is not doing GAPS, so I am cooking for them and me.  I'm hoping these posts help to keep me in check.  I'm also hoping to the first stage for a few days.  Fingers crossed.

I get a lot of my inspiration for eating healthy and doing GAPS via these sites:

Psoriasis? Eczema? Leprosy???

This has nothing to do with homeschooling or being a mom of boys.  It's about ME.  Just thought I'd add in that little disclaimer. 

swollen and red hands, week 1
 Two weeks ago I developed swollen red hands and feet.  After a week, they started peeling.  Then I noticed other patches on my knees, elbows, underarms and a strip under my breasts. 

under breasts



They were a bit tender.  My hands were the worst.  My feet hurt to stand too long on them.  My hands were heat sensitive.  At the end of one week, my fingertips began to peel. 

one week and 4 days

knee, one week 4 days
I visited the doctor two days into the initial symptoms.  She had no idea and had to search the CDC website.  She guessed it was Parvovirus and sent me on my merry way.  One week later, I went to see a nurse practitioner and he said he had no idea, as did the doctor that was consulting.  They ran a blood test for liver dysfunction, Parvovirus and Lyme.  All came back negative.  They wouldn't see me again to run more tests.  They suggested I call a dermatologist.  I called them and they offered me the convenient and helpful appointment on the 24th of this month.  After some words, I have an appointment tomorrow.  Here's what it looks like today:

I bite my nails instead of smoking cigarettes.  I'm one of those with an oral fixation.  My fingernails are small to begin with.  However, after this whole skin peeling, swollen hands thing started, my nails have been weird.  My pinkie nail is just about gone. 
I Googled some info and found that this could all be psoriasis.  The thing that boggles my mind is, if it is, how it just comes out of nowhere and is just here...forever. 
My fingers and hands are tight.  It's uncomfortable to clench my hands and extend them.  They have cracked and bled. 
I'm hoping I can get a diagnosis and start my way onto being well again.  This all kinda stinks. 
Thanks for listening and sorry for grossing you out with photos. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

On the Putting Up Bandwagon and other ramblings

If my husband were to turn to me on our wedding day and said, "7 years from now we'll have 3 boys whom we homeschool, chickens, a rooster and we'll be farming land so we have enough crops to put up for the winter" I'd have laughed in his face. 

Here we are.  Homeschooling 3 boys, chicken farmers with a harmless and skittish rooster, and clearing out another plot of land so we can fill it with enough veggie seeds so we can hopefully live through the non-growing seasons without spending a fortune in the grocery store.  Huh.

We've been having crazy weather in New England.  Today was about 40 degrees, but two days ago it hit 60 degrees.  In February.  In NEW ENGLAND.  I had that itch to start doing yard work.  I started clearing out another plot of land for gardening.  We're going to turn this into our community garden of sorts.  There are two other families that don't have the space to garden who will help keep the garden and in turn will reap it's benefits. 

Eli and I began clearing it out.  Cutting down saplings and thorny vines.  Mowing over dead leaves and finding sprigs of green underneath...waiting for Spring.  My daffodils are starting to come up.  There's about 2 inches of daffodil shoots showing.  Upon mowing over one area, however, we came across something very disheartening - rubbish.  Our house is in the woodsier part of town.  Our home is old.  They buried their trash.  Sunbeam bread bags.  Nissen bread bags.  Chip bags.  Foam meat trays.  Leather shoes.  Plastic and glass medicine bottles.  It's disgusting.  I can't even use a shovel to dig it out because there's no give: just layers of rubbish.  In twenty minutes, the boy and I filled a tall kitchen bag full of trash.  It didn't even come close to being all that's there.  I'm going to have to put in a barrier separating that part of the area from the others, I think.  I have to do some research.  I'm sure all the chemicals leeched out of the plastics 20 years ago.  This stuff was clearly at least 25 years old. 

I'd like to move towards no shopping for 2-3 months, aside from milk and the occasional dinner party necessities.  I thought I canned and froze a lot this past Summer.  It's almost gone.  We ate our last chicken last month.  Our berries and tomatoes were gone in November.  I have one bag of frozen peaches I keep saving for who knows what.  I have another small bag of frozen wax beans.  I do have plenty of peppers though.  We don't eat a lot of peppers. 

My Garden Goals:
1.  Grow broccoli.  It never seems to work out very well.  I'm starting my seedlings tomorrow. 
2.  Increase tomato plants to 60.  We only had 4 this year, and we had tomatoes from the csa.
3.  Buy 2 apple trees.
4.  Build an arbor for the grape vines growing wildly everywhere.
5.  Build a chicken wire cage of sorts and plant 4 blueberry bushes in it.
6.  Go to Bee school.  I want bees and honey.

Meat Goals:

1.  Increase meat birds to 75.  We had 31 when it was all said and done last year.  Clearly, we need more.
2.  Get 1/4 cow.
3.  Find out more about 1/2 a hog.
4.  Hmmm...we'll need a new freezer.
5.  We'll also need our electrician to come and update the electrical box to hold 220. 

House Goals:  (may as well throw those in)

1.  Mudroom addition. 
2.  Think about fixing the bulkhead.

I don't have any related pictures so I'll leave you with these because every blog post needs pictures:
My yummy green smoothie

The tiniest egg...not sure why...our chickens have been laying for months.  My kids think there's something different a tiny chicken or something.  I'm a little afraid to crack it open, I have to admit.