Recipes

While trying out a funnel cake recipe (see below) in my cast iron this evening, I was thinking to myself (as I often do) about the whys and hows of being a unique mama to my unique children. Every human being is just a bit different from all the others, and no matter how much we tend to group and re-group ourselves for the purposes of belonging or collecting data, we will always be amazingly unique individuals with our own special journeys. The recipe that follows is something I created while standing at the stove tonight. While it may not apply to all, I feel it follows certain patterns that if we pay attention, are fairly common amongst families.


Recipe for encouraging rebellion in your children’s hearts:
1 part rules (hold the reason)
2 parts hypocrisy
1/2 a slice of disrespecting their personal space
1 part passive disapproval of their changing personality
Sprinkle on responsibilities, making sure to withhold the appropriate privileges.
Pour quickly into a hot (hormonal) pan, and hold over the fire until it breaks or causes damage to your home.


Have you seen this in your life? Perhaps there are other “recipes” you are familiar with, maybe even ones that produce something more positive. I’d be ever so grateful if you would share them with me in the comments below. ¬†Last, but not least, here is the funnel cake recipe I pulled from the Food Network website, which lists Robert Irvine as its author.

Funnel Cake with Powdered Sugar
Ingredients: 1 liter canola oil, 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions: Heat oil in deep-fryer to 350 degrees F (I used a deep cast iron pan). Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in eggs and milk. Pour 1/2 cup batter through funnel into hot oil, moving in a circular motion as you do so, to make each spiral-shaped funnel cake. Fry each spiral of batter until golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and lay on paper toweling to absorb oil (I spread paper napkins under a cooling rack). Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar through a sieve onto top of hot dough. Serve immediately. Here is a collage of one of mine as it cooked.

VRae

Exploring Creation through Zoology

Genesis 1:20 Then God said, ‚ÄúLet the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.‚ÄĚ 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, ‚ÄúBe fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.‚ÄĚ 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

 

Last school year, I made a last-minute curriculum change decision. Instead of teaching through Apologia’s Exploring Creation through Astronomy, I thought we would try something new, something that looked “kid-friendly”. Meh. I chose a Christian Kids Explore text (used) that covered Earth and Space. I won’t go into details lamenting the entire textbook and lackluster experience. Many people seem to enjoy the series, and that’s great for them. I think we should all find what works for our families and stand by those decisions. I ended up piecing together short units based on the subjects in the text and hardly using the text at all. My advice? Get your hands on things before implementing them. ¬†We did some neat projects throughout the year, as you can see…

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice "glaciers" versus "glaciers" full of sediment.

Measuring melting rates and movements of pure ice “glaciers” versus “glaciers” full of sediment.

 

Showing the earth's layers.

Showing the earth’s layers.

 

 

On the upside, I have gone back to Apologia. I wanted to try something new, see if there was something…better? Anyway, the Young Explorer series offers everything we need in a rich science study, and God is glorified in the process. To ice that cake, Pinterest has become a homeschooler’s goldmine, offering up everything from applicable Netflix suggestions to corresponding art projects and where materials can be had for less money. ¬†The kidlets have created their binders already, and I have the first lesson printed out, with each lessons taking two weeks to complete, topped off with an experiment. ¬†Once I purchase my lesson planner, I’ll scribble in the lesson plans and get to focus on the best part of all – gathering experiment supplies and LEARNING TOGETHER!

Updates and things to come

First of all, there were over 1100 entries into the “I Love Alaska” giveaway, and the winner has been notified. Congrats to her!

Second, the ground is thawing! 17 bulbs were planted yesterday, with 12 more laid out in a bed in front. I’ve begun hardening off a couple hardier sets of seedlings from our dining room, which makes me nervous. I hate to lose a plant due to my incompetence. As soon as we are frost-free, I’ll be setting out the little bed of chamomile in the front yard near a tree. I think it’ll give a pretty and somewhat wild look, while softening the base of the tree of which they will sit. Bonus, chamomile tea is excellent.

Third, the brooding box is ready for our chicks! Rather than simply buy a kiddie pool or fold-out apparatus for our future chicks, hubby made what almost looks like a miniature coop, complete with linoleum tiles and a latch (no lid, yet). We will be picking up a couple different breeds over the coming wee, so watch for photos if you are interested in our new adventure. The building of the coop will come over the next month, and I warn you now, it will not be fancy. It will be functional, though, and safe, and that is the goal for our growing layers.

Fourth, can you believe the school year is almost finished? Not that the pursuit of knowledge and educational experiences should be placed within a specific timeframe, but in the sense of, “My, how quickly this year has sped by!”. I just about have our curriculum finalized for the fall. It is getting easier for me each year to decide on texts and publishers and such, as we try things out and see what does or doesn’t meet each of our needs and goals. Of increasing concern is the prolific number of texts sporting the “Common Core Aligned” badge across their covers. Ew. I get that they are trying to sell books, I appreciate that, I really do. The worst offenders are those who have actually re-done their texts so that they not only meet the requirements but ARE the requirements. Have some imagination.

Fifth, I begin running (I am using the term loosely) with my brother today. The MudFactor 5K is coming up in June, and I haven’t been running on a regular basis in too many years to try and count. I’m also carrying around an extra 10-12 pounds of NOT-muscle. He is a gracious man, though, and probably won’t laugh at my red face until we get back home. ūüėČ He is very patient with me though, and I struggle to imagine life without him. We were so far apart – on different planets for all practical purposes – for so long, and yet I talked to him in my thoughts every day. A piece of my heart has always been his. I couldn’t ask for a cooler sibling. Now that we live just minutes away from each other, I’m still adjusting to having another piece of my family so close, and grateful for the fact that they are just down the road. For the greater part of my adult life, J-Dub and I have been on our own with the kids, making friends here and there, but mostly just living independently from any real network of support. Our privacy and slower pace is still important to us, but over the past few years we have enjoyed being part of a local group of family and friends again. Our babes seem happier as well, knowing that friends they make are likely to be there for a long time.

Well, I’m off to enjoy this amazing Alaska sunshine. Stay tuned for chick updates over the week, and coop and garden updates throughout April and May. If you are planting and homesteading and farming and experimenting at your place, I’d like to hear about it! Share your dabblings and ramblings in the comments below! Have a blessed Easter!

That old adage about more being caught than taught

There’s a poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D., titled “Children Learn What They Live”. ¬†You can find the book with the original work here, and a slightly different version of the poem follows below, shown on a lovely afghan:

Image

A disclaimer belongs here – this poem is often viewed as being somewhat humanistic. ¬†I cannot wholly disagree with any part of it, though. ¬†Too often our pride causes us to lash out in anger at the deficiencies we think we see in our children. ¬†What will others think, right? ¬†What will others say about us when we aren’t around? ¬†Our insecurities about what we see wrong in ourselves causes us to overreact when trying to shape our children into what we wish we could be. ¬†Our criticism of any child – ours or others’ – could come from any number of things, few (if any) of them come from a loving place in our hearts.

The entire poem above could be summed up in the “Golden Rule”, which reminds us to treat others as we wish to be treated. ¬†Consider for a moment if someone you looked up to spoke to you or called you the same names you called them. ¬†Feeling good, yet? ¬†Didn’t think so. ¬†I’ve found it to be true that we often hurt worst, the ones we love the most.

Scripture points out exactly what Love is, and I cannot imagine that we should treat anyone – especially children with their impressionable minds and vulnerable hearts – any other way. ¬†1 Corinthians 13:4-8 reads, “4 Love¬†suffers long¬†and¬†is¬†kind; love¬†does not envy; love¬†does not parade itself, is¬†not puffed up;¬†5 does not behave rudely,¬†does not seek its own,¬†is not provoked,¬†thinks no evil;¬†6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but¬†rejoices in¬†the truth; 7 bears all things,¬†believes all things,¬†hopes all things,¬†endures all things. ¬†8 Love¬†never fails.”

What sort of person are you deep down inside? ¬†What sort of adults are you hoping your children grow to be? ¬†We can’t erase our mistakes, but we can have hope that our Creator will protect the hearts of these little ones from the messed-up adults He has tasked with raising them. ¬†And while we cannot erase mistakes, we can start fresh each day. ¬†We can remind all children how cherished and important they are. ¬†We can choose to be determined each day to cause them to be so filled with love and joy that it spills out of their lives and into a hurting world.

Movin’ and Groovin’

Time to get back into the swing of things, starting first thing tomorrow. I didn’t intend to go “full break” like the public schoolers, but that’s the way it happened. By “full break”, I mean foregoing all lessons and just sort of hanging out. ¬†I’d intended for my students to spend an hour each day reading, and two 30-minute segments doing computer-based lessons. ¬†What really happened is that we all got sick with the worst cold I have personally seen in my adult life. ¬†I may have slept for almost 48 hours, I’m not really sure. ¬†Thankfully, I have family who cares and older children who can feed themselves without burning down the house. ¬†I suppose my plans aren’t always the best plans, in God’s eyes or anyone else’s. ¬†To that end:¬†

Each person copes with change and transition differently ~ for this reason I pray for grace.  

Many good and worthwhile things are out there needing someone to participate in them.  Our days are full enough as it is, so adding more without removing some is not going to do our family any good. ~ For these reasons, I pray for discernment.

Priorities are important to consider when trying to keep one’s focus, the general ones for our family being Jesus, our little family, others, and each individual (caring for one’s self). ¬†When these priorities get mixed up – even with the best intentions – our days tend to fall apart. ~ For these reasons, I pray for a sober mind and Heavenly wisdom.¬†

So here’s to keeping an upbeat attitude as we transition, saying no to overloading on unnecessary things, and keeping our focus on our current obligations.

Being Prepared

With winter finally settling in, I thought I would share some great information from ready.alaska.gov, which can apply in general to most of the developed world. ¬†Power goes out, gas lines break, water mains need repair, and not everyone owns a generator, and back-up heat source, or is off the public water supply. ¬†Temperatures drop and darkness hangs around longer than we would like, making simple comforts like a regular meal time all that more important. ¬†Consider this a mini-challenge to prepare for an emergency – if not for yourself or your family, then for your community. ¬†One less household burdening their local emergency responders with the need for basic supplies means that those in true danger can receive unimpeded help. ¬†Wouldn’t you rather be part of the solution, anyway? ¬†Follow the link below for a nifty 24-week calendar that will walk you through storing up a 7-day survival kit. ¬†**Full disclosure** None of the following information was my work in any way, shape or form.

 

Some find it difficult to put together a disaster preparedness kit, but
using this easy-to-follow Preparedness Supplies Calendar will help you and
your family take the anxiety and frustration out of preparing for
emergencies or disasters by ensuring you have enough supplies to last
seven days or until help arrives.

http://www.ak-prepared.com/outreach/documents/7%20day%20-%20Newest%2017×11.pdf

http://www.ready.gov/