Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gluten Free?

image credit

For those of you who have followed my blog or know me, you know I like to cook. Let me rephrase that. I love to cook. We had some friends who used to come visit us periodically when we lived in Chicago, and he was diabetic, lactose-intolerant, and had celiacs disease (allergic to wheat). When I cooked for him, it was a challenge and I learned a lot about food allergies. And after they would leave, I would always count my blessings that we didn't have any food allergies in our family that we had to deal with. Ha. Ha ha.
Wellll. My husband has always had a "sensitive" stomach. That's the nice, not-gross way to say that he has had diarrhea almost everyday as far back as he can remember! I didn't really realize it was such an issue for him. And then when Maddy started running to the bathroom and having diarrhea, I just thought that she had Tad's "sensitive" stomach. I never thought of diarrhea being a sign of an allergy so it never occurred to me.
Tad's cousin also has had this "sensitive" stomach, so we would just joke that it was the Davis sensitive stomach. Well, his cousin either got tested or just decided to take wheat out of his diet, and his symptoms went away! So when Tad heard that, he thought he would give it a try. And wouldn't you know that his long-time pal, diarrhea, went away. He said it is so weird to not have it. He feels so much better. So, I didn't know whether or not to take wheat out of Maddy's diet because, poor thing, she survives on wheat. Ever since she was a baby she has loved tortillas, bread, noodles, bagels, and all things wheat!! But Saturday she had a bagel, sandwich, and hot dog in a bun, and her stomach was not happy. So for the last few days I have taken wheat out of her diet for the most part.
And today, I got orders from our doctor and went to the lab and had the Maddy and Judah's blood drawn to test it for Celiac's disease. So, while I do know some about it since we had a friend who had a severe form of it, and my uncle and cousin have it, there is still a lot I don't know. And I'm not used to having to cook different and leave certain things out, especially in the wheat family. And I'm not sure to what degree each person has it, so I'm not sure what they can and can't eat.
So, where do we stand now? We are waiting for test results for the kids. We should find out this coming week. Tad is feeling better and eating totally different, and I'm proud of him for giving up the things he loves. His mom has even made gluten-free options for him when we have eaten over there, which makes it easier for him. So sweet of her! And you know I will give an update here of what we find out!
So here's to a new journey of cooking differently, shopping differently, and doing some research on this whole gluten-free diet!  I know it's a lot more prevalent, so thankfully there are a lot more options than when it first started appearing!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 2

 We had such a great first week of Classical Conversations!! I was so pleased with my kids in my class and their parents who are so supportive, encouraging, and helpful! And we actually got through the memory work for this week and Maddy has memorized her first poem for her presentation tomorrow!! I have the schedule for tomorrow and what I'm going to do with the kids for each subject, and I will include the link for the hand motions. If you have any questions about that, please ask!
Also, someone had a question about the hand motions for the timeline. I will again include a link to the hand motions I am using, but they ARE NOT official hand motions for CC. They were the only ones I found for the new 2012 timeline, but I have since heard that there are other hand motions out there. Also, I am not on CC connected yet, so they aren't from that file sharing either. Hope this helps parents, tutors, and kids to review their memory work during the week!

Timeline: Sing/song way to say it with hand motions on Pinterest
hand motions on YouTube
History Sentence: Sing along with Foundations cd, hand motions
Geography: Review last week's geography (Fertile Crescent) and use plastic dinosaur/fish to find Fertile Crescent and Assyrian Empire on the big/small maps, trace and color areas.
English: Preposition song with hand motions
Latin: Say the noun cases with different voices (Nominative - hands over mouth and say loudly, Genitive - singing, Dative - high voices, Accusative - stern voice with finger pointing, Ablative - clapping to rhythm of words.
Science - using pictures of different kingdoms, have kids hold them and say them, then put them in order
Math - use a "bean bag" (different stuffed animal each week for different numbers of skip counting) toss while sitting in a circle and use the song to learn
Science Experiment - Belly up and Spider Web
Drawing/Fine Arts - Mirror Images
Presentations: Recite a memorized poem

Grammar Review: (they will draw papers out of a hat to see which review games they will do, what we have time for)
Timeline - mix up cards
Math: Bean bag toss while standing in a straight line, toss around back to next person and say number
Science: mix up cards and put in order, sparkle game, duck duck goose
Latin: toss the bean bag across to partner and say the noun cases
English: review preposition definition song/game, preposition motions with song
Geography: Tell me about...and they have to name the five areas of that location
History Sentence: Review song with motions (have the kids "remind" me of the motions)

I also am going to have the treasure box this week for good behavior; if they have 2 stars, from this week and last week, they get to pick out of the treasure chest. Also, they each have their own "sticker book" that I printed their names on and they get stickers throughout class for good behavior, getting up and doing their presentations, and answering questions right.
I have a fun week planned! I'm looking forward to it!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Day of First Grade and a Birthday!

First Birthday

I can't believe my baby is in first grade already! And today she turns six years old! The time sure does fly by! Six years ago I hadn't had her yet. My water broke at 1 in the morning while Tad was at work, and he had to fly home on his bike, get me, and have our friend drive us to the hospital! After 16 hours of labor, and 3 hours of pushing, she was pulled out with forceps! I broke/fractured my tailbone in the process, and didn't know it at first until the epidural started wearing off, so that was pretty crazy! But we had our sweet, precious, perfect little baby girl.
She is a crazy little girl, and always has been! She has lots of energy, is always hyper, always talking, and is on full speed from the minute she wakes up to the minute she goes to bed. She is super creative and artistic; her ideas and artwork blow me away. She has caught on to reading really fast and is doing great in school! She loves playing with her dolls, her brother, playing outside, doing artwork, music, getting read to, playing on the computer, playing with her aunts at Grandma's, and going to church! She is a really big help to me with her 2 little siblings, and she loves to help! She has at least 2 loose teeth, and is starting a ballet/jazz/tap class this year! And she got up and did her first presentation at Classical Conversations! I'm so proud!
She is one special little girl, and I think we'll keep her!!
Happy 6th Birthday, Madelynn! Mommy and Daddy love you very much!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Classical Conversations Cycle 1 Week 1

 These Classical Conversations Posts will be more for myself to chronicle my way through tutoring this year, for other parents who are using CC, and for the parents of the kids I will be tutoring this year. But anyone who is homeschooling, interested in finding out more about CC, or is curious about a CC lesson plan is welcome to take a peak too!
So, for each week, I, as the tutor, am presenting the new information (new grammar) in a fun, interactive way so that the kids start to memorize it, and then it's the kid's parent's job to drill that information and help their kids memorize it during the week. So, these blog posts will be very helpful for my CC parents so they know how I am presenting the information. That way, if they weren't present in class, they can look here and possibly repeat some of the things their kids did in class.

I am going to try to present the subjects in the same order every week, unless there is some reason we need to swap some subjects. Here is what I have planned for the first week:

Opening: Introductions, Class Rules, Reward Charts

Timeline: Teach hand motions
History Sentence: Use the song, hand motions from Choosing Today.
Geography: Find the locations using a dinosaur/fish of choice, trace, find on the big world map
English: Say definition, sing/song, game with sing/song
Latin: Tug of Words, divide class into 2 groups, one side says first word, other side says the other word, i.e. Nominative (one side)-Subject (other side.)
Science: Use visual chart, say 5 classifications, sing/song, loudest to softest with kids echoing each
Math: Count by 1's and 2's together, sit in a circle and pass a bean bag while saying numbers together
Review: Kids draw subjects out of a hat to review

If anyone has any questions about this lesson plan, just leave a comment in the comments section below! I can't believe CC starts tomorrow morning! I better go get some sleep!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Focaccia Bread

I have probably admitted before that I am afraid to cook with yeast. I haven't done it very much before, and when I have, it has turned out less than desirable. But when I have watched my sister-in-law, Lydia, cook breads and other things with yeast, she made it look so easy, and helped me realize that it isn't that hard.
The other day, I didn't have that much food in the house, and as I was perusing one of my cookbooks, I came across a recipe for focaccia bread. It only used like 5 ingredients, which I had on hand, and had toppings you could add, like sauteed onions and red peppers, which were some of the only other things I had! So, I though it would be a good idea to try to make it!
Lydia had made focaccia bread before, and it was delicious. It is sort of like a bread/pizza with a myriad of toppings you could add. In retrospect, I wish I would have added a spice to the top, but I'll talk about that later. For now, let's get right to the recipe!!

Focaccia Bread
The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book

1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees) (I just got warm tap water, I didn't use a thermometer)
1 package active dry yeast (I used 2 1/4 tsp of bread machine yeast)
1 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. table salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour or 3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt

1.In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, and sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup warm water, 2 tablespoons oil, table salt, and flour; stir to combine.
2. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. Dough will be soft; do not add more flour.
3. Shape dough into ball; place in greased large bowl, turning dough to grease top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place (80 to 85 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Lightly oil 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch jelly-roll pan. Punch dough down and pat into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
5. With fingertips, make deep intentations, 1 inch apart, over entire surface of dough, almost to bottom of pan. Drizzle with remaining 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with kosher salt. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake focaccia on lowest oven rack until bottom is crusty and top is lightly browned, about 18 minutes. Transfer focaccia to wire rack to cool. Makes 12 servings.

*Note: It is also a nice tough to sprinkle on some fresh rosemary, fresh sage, or any other seasoning that you enjoy! You can add toppings like sauteed onions, sauteed red peppers (I did a combination), dried tomato, olives, tomatoes, etc. The possiblities are endless! My sis-in-law also mixed garlic in with her vegetable toppings and she actually soaks her veggies in olive oil, and doesn't saute them. You choose! The veggies will be softer if you saute them, though.

I let my dough rise on top of the preheated oven, with plastic wrap over it. The heat from the oven helped my dough to rise perfectly! Which is what I have had problems with in the past!! So if you don't have many ingredients in your house, but want a filling, yummy snack, lunch, or dinner, then try this super easy recipe! Just remember it takes about 3 hours total!!

Head on over to Alicia's Homemaking for other fun, new adventures!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting Ready for the School Year!!

Well, with only one week before the official start of Maddy's first grade year, I still have some more to do to prepare!! I feel like I have two different "jobs" to do for this year, or more!! I have to get Maddy's first grade year prepped, get prepared for tutoring Classical Conversations, and I also am going to start doing some "school" with Judah this year!! He is so smart, and is picking things up constantly!! I am also going to start doing Spanish with both of the kids this year.
Like I have mentioned in earlier posts, I have a LOT of curriculum from my mother-in-law who has been homeschooling since my husband was in 2nd grade and she still has 4 kids she has at home doing school!! So I began putting together what I had for this year, and ordered a few things that I needed. I have yet to go and get a Social Studies book/workbook for this year. I went to Starbucks one afternoon and worked on some lesson planning for the first 2 weeks. I decided that since I have so many little books on different topics, that we will do unit studies for science, and add what we need. So for the first unit study, we will be covering a book on birds, insects, plants, etc. We are using Saxon Math 1, History for Little Pilgrims, Sing, Spell, Read, and Write for Language Arts, a Health book, and some other workbooks for things like manners, time, and money.
Preparing for Classical Conversations is something different altogether. I have about 6 weeks of material to get together and I need to come up with games for each subject I teach to get the kids to memorize the material I am presenting. Then, it's the parent's job during the week to help their kids memorize that week's information. Over the 3 cycles, they are memorizing a plethora of material in Geography, Latin, Math, History, a History Timeline, English, and Science that they can use later on when they are older. They are pegs of information that they can later hang things on. This is the way they explain it. I also am teaching Fine Arts and Science Experiments. So for the first 6 weeks I teach drawing, the next 6 weeks are Tin Whistle (like the recorder), and the final 6 weeks are Orchestra, which is a group class. So I have my work cut out for me being new to CC and being a new tutor!!
We start a week from today! And CC starts next Tuesday! I am ready and excited to be getting into our Fall routine, chores, schedule, and back to school!! 
If you have any questions about how we do school, why we do school, or what our daily schedule looks like, just leave a comment for me below!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Super Healthy Kids

Omelet Bites
Pinkalicious Porridge
Rainbow Oatmeal Bar

I found this super fun, healthy website/blog with some great recipes that I'm excited to try!! I googled healthy family blogs and I found this website called Super Healthy Kids. Their pictures are beautiful and they have some great ideas for how to get your family eating healthy, especially when it comes to picky eaters!! Making the food look pretty, fun, and delicious will help kids to try new things, and to figure out that they like healthy foods, even though they may not know it's healthy!! They have lots of different categories including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, and they even have a section where you can put together meal plans, but that costs some money.
I admit I'm not the healthiest eater, and I really want to do better so I can be healthier, and to model for my kids what healthy eating looks like. I don't want them to enter adulthood (or teenage-hood), and have horrible habits that they picked up from their mother, like eating tons of processed foods, always scrounging for junk food, eating too much after dinner, and leaving out important food categories like fruits and vegetables. There are times that we do better, and times that we do worse. I think having a vegetable for at least 2 meals a day is something I'm really lacking in.
So, if you need some new, fresh ideas and recipes to jump start your family's health, try out this fun website! You could even include your kids by letting them look at all the fun pictures and letting them pick out what new recipes they would like to try!! Try one or two new things each week, so as not to overload yourself with new recipes or tastes, and let the fun begin!! Get the kids in the kitchen and have them help you make it!
If you do try this website, let me know in the comments section which recipes look good, or which ones you are going to try!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Most Amazing Thing Happened

Pioneer Woman, at Barnes and Noble outside of Chicago in 2009

Last week, we were out of town because I had a Practicum, which is a 3-day training to be a tutor (which is like a teacher) for Classical Conversations. They call it a tutor because the parent is suppose to be the child's primary teacher at home. It was really good training about a classical, Christian education, training in learning Latin, learning how to teach the Foundations class, which is what I will be teaching, and we got a chance to get all our books and materials!! Maddy got a chance to go to a Geography/Drawing Camp for those 3 days, and Judah was in the nursery when he wasn't napping. Tad got off for all three days, and so he was my "manny!" Major props to him because he took care of the kids so I could take notes, listen to the seminar, and get some really good training in!!
So yes, that was all fine and wonderful, but I have to tell you about the most amazing thing that happened. I went into the sanctuary on the first morning for training and noticed that there weren't too many people there. I wish I had packed some fancier clothes, because a lot of the women were in dresses, all dressed nice and ready for the sessions. I didn't pack any dresses. I saw one lady who was helping people get checked in and seemed to be in some kind of leadership, and she looked familiar but I don't know anyone from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, so I just kind of brushed it off. I noticed one lady in the back of the sanctuary who looked interesting. I noticed her because she was especially tall, had long red hair pulled back, and was wearing an interesting top. I didn't think anything of it until I saw the lady I had previously recognized walk up to the red-haired woman and say something to her. And then, it hit me.
Who do I totally admire and blog about? Whose recipes do I cook, who lives in Oklahoma, and homeschools? Who did I wait for 5 hours while 35 weeks pregnant to meet, and have her sign my cookbook?
If you guessed PIONEER WOMAN you are correct!! I almost peed my pants!!! And the first lady I recognized was Pioneer Woman's best friend, Hyacinth, who is in her cookbook, on her cooking show at times, and was on the Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Yeah, I'm not obsessed or anything!! Her nametag said Cindi which must be short for Hyacinth!! So I wasn't gonna talk to her, since I already met her in Chicago, and didn't want to bother her or seem like an obsessed fan, but the third day, after prodding from several people, I was gonna talk to her. But guess who didn't show up the third day? Yep. I almost stole her and her kids nametags though, when I saw them on the table when she didn't come!! One of her sons was in Maddy's class, one of her daughters might have helped in the nursery with Judah, and I saw the other ones around. So surreal. Because her family has been an integral part of her blog and tv show.
The first day when I went to go pick up Maddy from class, Pioneer Woman and I (I love the sound of that!) were 2 of the only moms standing, waiting to pick up our kids from the camp. Why didn't I say anything to her!!  So I got Maddy and she started to tell me all about her camp, and then she saw PW in front of us, and her eyes got real big and she said, "Is that the lady from that cooking show?" It was awesome. She was as star struck as me!! And she does claim that that is her favorite cooking show!
So in the subsequent days, she asked PW's boy in her class, Todd, if he liked being videotaped (ha ha), and what his favorite meal was his mother made. He said pork chops! Swoon.
So, in my opinion, going to the Practicum in Bartlesville was totally worth it just because I got to see Pioneer woman for 2 days in the sessions. She checks her phone a lot. Probably checking her blog! I loved it!
Yeah, that's Pioneer Woman and I, just chatting!!!!
 So, maybe I will actually blog about the Practicum or Classical Conversations, or starting school up soon, but first things first! Just had to tell you guys about it!! See, I guess it was worth it to move to Oklahoma!