Thursday, May 31, 2012

Home Economics Resources (repost)

Training Daughters to be Keepers at Home

Training Our Daughters to Be Keepers at Home
by Ann Ward
Not everyone celebrates the year their daughter is in sixth grade, but I did.  I’ve been looking at this marvelous 7 year curriculum and waiting for Miss A to get old enough to justify the expense.  Well, now that she is in 6th grade, she has just 7 years before finishing high school.  Oh my!  How can it be?  Time really does fly.  So in my rainbow resource box I found this book just for me Miss A.  Here are the topics that I Miss A will learn about this year.
Year 1
Godly Womanhood (utilizing The King’s Daughter’s and Other Stories for Girls; circa 1910)
Sewing I
Cooking & Baking I (utilizing Sue Gregg’s Lunches & Snacks cookbook)
Gardening I (utilizing Square Foot Gardening, Weeds: A Golden Guide, Weeds and What They Tell)
Knitting I (I may substitute smocking since she wants to learn and I am knitting challenged)
Greeting Card Making I (utilizing various books from the library)

Before Miss A was old enough for this curriculum, I still taught some home economics skills.  I especially loved the books by the Pearables titled Home Ec for Home Schoolers.  I have all three levels and Miss J is thrilled to be old enough for level 1 this year. 
Level 1 Skills:
for a detailed list see the link below. (my linky thing doesn’t work so you’ll have to copy and paste it.)

Mrs. P

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Middle School Nutrition Unit-USDA

[Photo Source]

Summer time is a great time to get in some short units on all those things you want to teach, but they just get pushed aside because they are last on your priority list.  I was looking up some menu planning forms for my oldest so that she could work on finishing up her Home Economics curriculum for this year.  She still hasn't completed the cooking unit.  During the search I came across this free resource from the USDA.  It looks like you can get a kit to teach in a classroom setting, but they have also provided downloads of all of the workbooks as well as the little mini-magazine on Food and Nutrition.  This would be a great resource for the 4-H student who has a project area of food and nutrition.  It would also work well in a homeschool co-op setting.   It is geared to 7th and 8th grade students, but after looking through the magazine, I think it would be suitable for kids in 5th grade and up.  For our house, we will use it as a short unit to supplement her lessons in Training Daughter's to be Keepers at Home.  And I might read select portions aloud for certain children that think Little Debbie's snacks are deserving of their own food group!

Oh and about that menu planning is a link to 11 different forms free on Money Saving Mom. 

Happy Teaching,
Mrs. P

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Spiders and Snakes, Give me a break! (repost)

This isn’t the actual snake skin I found in the feed room, but you get the idea.  The one I found was about 3 and a half feet long.  Long enough to freak me out and impress Mr. P.  Now I know what happened to the mouse problem we had.  I was complaining about the little mice, but now I think I preferred the mice.  At least I saw them and was creeped out.  Seeing a skin and no snake really is MUCH worse.  Who knows which feed sack he’s hiding behind?  or even worse, which feed sack he is IN.  Miss A pointed out that it might be a mother snake.  Oh! Please let it not be a mother snake.  I can’t even let my brain think that for one minute.
And with snake season comes spider season.  The spiders return every summer and take their posts in the barn to help with the fly population.  I’m thankful they eat flies, but still I get all worked up if I walk into their webs when I enter the barn.  ("All worked up" =  the dance I do when taking laundry down under the guard light. )   I have no less than two dozen spiders that look just like the fellow above, on fly patrol.  After the last couple of weeks, we seem to have come to an understanding and they are no longer making their webs directly across my walkway (since I knock down their webs every, single day).  Instead they have moved their webs above my head.  I could squish them, but I really like that they eat flies and they don’t jump, so I let them live.  Any spider that jumps at me is dead.  I cannot deal with jumping insects.  So if you visit the barn at our farm, just don’t look up….unless of course you really like the haunted house look or just love spiders. 
I will say that Mr. C loves to come to the barn at sunrise or even the porch for that matter.  We say we are watching the spiders go to bed, because after a long night of eating they all fix their ragged webs and go to the edge of the web like they are tucking themselves in.  It truly is amazing to watch as long as no spider jumps AND I do not touch any webs.  He also thought the snake skin was the coolest ever and immediately went on a snake hunt.  Me, on the other hand, I just pray daily that I don’t find a snake IN a feed sack.  It just might cause irreversible mental trauma.  (I mean worse than the mental issues I already have with spiders, snakes and bugs.)  Maybe I should teach Mr. C to milk the goats and cow and he can do chores with the snakes and spiders!  Except for the chore part, he’d have a blast. 
Your insectandsnake-aphobic dairy maid,
Mrs. P

Friday, May 25, 2012

Never Do Laundry Under the Guard Light (repost)

(image from

Never Do Laundry Under the Guard Light
Ways to Entertain Your Neighbors on a Summer’s Eve
As I said in a previous post, we are up to our eyeballs in green beans, carrots, turnips and a cow with mastitis.  I still did some laundry today because it just isn’t worth it to get behind, especially when you have three children who aren’t afraid to get dirty.  So I did a couple of loads today between other tasks.  Well tonight, while the beans were in the pressure canner, Mr P asked if I had taken the clothes off the line.  I remembered that, in fact, I had not.  So I headed outside with a laundry basket in order to quickly gather the clothes off the line.  It is a warm  night with a slight breeze and the moon is just a sliver so it is pretty dark.  Never fear though, we have a guard light.  A tall light on a utility pole that comes on at dark and turns off at day break.  It is quite near my laundry line so this alleviated my fears of stepping on one of the friendly rattlesnakes that like to live here. 
At the clothes line I realized that snakes are my least fear.  There were small bugs on the clothespins.  Oh wait, they were FLYING bugs.  I really, really hate flying bugs.  I hate them so much that I generally scream like a little girl when they fly near me.  Really, just ask my friend Cathy who got quite a giggle one day when I tried to get away from honey bees on a field trip.  By the way, bugs that sting scare me even more than plain ol’ flying bugs. 
So I bravely tap the clothes pin, shoulders tense and legs ready to run the other way, and the bugs fly off.  "Good," I thought.  But then I realized the laundry was literally covered with these small black flying bugs.  I didn’t know what kind they were so I assumed that they sting and are possibly even venomous.  Better safe than sorry, I always say.  Well, not really, but when it comes to bugs and snakes, this is definitely my motto.  
After a few good shakes, carefully aimed away from my body, I folded the first t-shirt and put it in the basket.  Good, one shirt done only a couple dozen more to go.  The next thing I knew I was dodging flying bugs who were aiming for my hair and shirt.  Apparently the smell of sweat and garden attracted these critters.
I managed to get several more t-shirts folded when I decided to pretend I’m Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice.  Why? Because I’m trying to overcome my fear of the flying, possibly stinging and venomous bugs, of course.  That’s why.  And the best way I can think of is to pretend or think about something else.  Pride and Prejudice is the first thing that pops in my mind.  There is a scene in the movie where Elizabeth is taking laundry from a line in the rain.  I was actually wishing it was raining so the bugs would be hidden. 
While I was distracted with thoughts of Pride and Prejudice, I was hit by another bug, in the hair.  Yikes.  I did a really big little, "all shook up" Elvis Presley dance, but to no avail.  The "bug" was still there.  I began to squeal and beat myself silly whack my head with my free hand and continued doing so until I realize that the "bug" is really a bobby pin.  Smooth move, I thought.  Then I realized that the neighbors were enjoying an evening on their front porch and thanks to the guard light’s illumination, I must have been giving them quite a show. 
Well, the last couple of garments came down uneventfully.  So once again I realized that I really must get over my fear of bugs and even then I don’t plan on doing laundry under the guard light ever again.  Next time I forget to bring the laundry in, I’ll send Mr. P.  He isn’t afraid of anything.

Mrs. P

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Miss Cluck Cluck

Miss Cluck Cluck, our porch chicken
Do you have your own porch chicken?  I highly recommend having one.  They strut their stuff in their fancy bloomers, clucking so gently to add to your porch sitting experience.  They will scratch up your flower beds, keep grasshoppers at bay (thus saving your rose bushes) and eat any stray rabbit feed, if you happen to have rabbits on the porch like I do.  The only problem is that they also leave deposits on your lovely porch, which require lots of daily clean up.
I didn’t set out to get a chicken for my porch.  I mean who would do that, unless it was a resin chicken from Hobby Lobby.  But Grandad has this chicken, (we refer to her as Bloomer Girl) who is timid and afraid of his rooster.  One day, she ran to our house to escape the rooster and she found her oasis, which we refer to as the porch.  So now, regardless of where the other chickens are, she has chosen me and lives on my porch.  We realized a few weeks ago that she isn’t even going to roost in the hen house at night.  We caught her going under our trailer at dusk.  So now we know she isn’t only a porch chicken by day, but by night as well.  I would shoo her away and try to force her back into her flock (well, actually I did try, but it didn’t work), but she is just too cute.  I’m telling you, that fluffy yellow bloomer bottom is just too much!  So since, I can’t seem to get rid of her anyway, I’ll just keep her and try to look on the positive side of things.  Like the fact that organic grasshopper control couldn’t be any cuter!  :-)
So if you don’t mind the daily porch clean up, I highly recommend a porch chicken.  :-b

Mrs. P

Monday, May 21, 2012

Just like Hershey's Syrup

Just like Hershey’s Syrup

3/4 cup dutch cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the cocoa, sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy saucepan.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Once it boils, remove it from heat and allow it to cool.  After it is cool, add the vanilla.  Store in the fridge.  Will keep for weeks.
 Notes from me:

This does store very well in the fridge.  My children couldn’t tell the difference, except that it was stored in a pint canning jar rather than a plastic brown bottle.  And to be honest, it’s much easier to get a spoon in the canning jar.  
Mrs. P

Friday, May 18, 2012

Learning to Sew the Classical Way

Adventures Among the Thimble People

I purchased this lovely "living book" from my favorite quilt and heirloom shop a couple of years ago.  I have since also purchased the Mary Marie doll and also the sewing bird.  This reprint of a 1913 book tells the story of Miss Mary Frances as she learns to sew while at her grandmother’s house.  In her grandmother’s upstairs room, Mary Frances meets the Thimble People (sewing tools that come to life and talk to her) and throughout the book learns basic hand sewing and more.  By the end of the book, Mary Marie (her dolly) has an entire wardrobe of lovely Edwardian doll clothes.  The reprint has the original patterns and they are just as lovely today as they were then.  My own daughter has made a couple of them and so have I.  While this book was intended to teach a young girl to sew, some of the sewing terms and stitches may not be familiar to a modern seamstress.   However, a girl who learns all of the stitches and techniques in this book will be quite a seamstress. I realized after reading it that it teaches sewing in a classical way.  First Mary Frances learns the "grammar" of sewing.  She learns each stitch in isolation on her sampler while learning the vocabulary specific to hand sewing.  Later in the book, she uses that grammar to sew the dolly wardrobe and then after completing this book, Mary Frances is ready to sew other things.  It really is a delightful book.  To me it qualifies as a "living" book and is definitely twaddle free.

Mrs. P

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's for dinner?

Mom, what's for dinnnnnneerrrr???
Ahhh...the joy of hearing these words at 5:30 in the evening.  And worse yet, it when you have absolutely no plan.  Your day has been chaos since you woke and dinner was on the back burner of your mind.   Unfortunately dinner still has to be served, whether it's in the form of take out pizza or roast beef and potatoes.  I have been using the Saving Dinner menu mailer for the past 2-3 months and it has been really nice.  It doesn't cook dinner for you, but it sure makes it easy.  I don't use it exactly as it's scheduled, but instead use it for those busy seasons where I just don't seem to have time for elaborate menu planning, shopping and cooking.  Basically, if I see that I have a busy week coming, I will print out the menu plan of my choice (after being on the mailer for a few months, I have quite the stockpile in  my computer).  I can then easily shop for the week's groceries and just pull out the menu planner at dinner time.  We have liked almost everything I've made and nothing has been complicated.  Another bonus is that she uses real food, so it's easy to adapt for allergies.  In fact, she even has adaptations for things like gluten free, kosher, vegetarian, etc.    So there's my plug for that menu mailer. 

I also recently found another menu plan.  It's called 5 Dinners in One Hour.  I signed up for her free menu mailer and recently she sent me another free meal plan.  I had not used the first one, so this morning I printed both plans out and put them into my household notebook.  I will be using the plan next week to see how it works.  She does utilize some convenience foods, such as bisquick, but I will use the plan as directed this week to see how I feel about the plan in general and to see if my family likes her recipes.  I have to say that the pictures on her blog sure do look yummy.  The idea of making all of the week's meals and having them ready to go in the fridge in just one hour a week sure is appealing.  I'll try to get my Miss A to take some photos, because I tell you if this works it could be revolutionary!  I'm just imagining the time I would save with all of the prep and cleaning in that one day a week.  I could probably sew again...well, in reality, I would probably have more time to study Latin and prep for my class this fall.  But whatever, even Latin is better than doing dishes!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Etiquette Training

images from Tanner’s Manners

Recently as I was sitting at my dinner table and 5 out of 6 members were texting or playing some sort of game on their technology of choice, I decided to investigate modern etiquette.  (By the way, I was one of the texters, just for full disclosure!)  I wondered if modern etiquette has kept up with the fast pace of technology.  So I started to search the internet for information on modern etiquette.  You see I have a lot of etiquette books, but they are all older…many of them even in the early 1900′s.  I absolutely LOVE to read them.  However, it seemed when I read through them that they weren’t really going to be a lot help in teaching my own children etiquette, specifically etiquette related to computers and technology.  As much as I love to read those early etiquette books, they just don’t reflect our current culture.  For example, I would love to have calling cards and a butler at my door to receive them from friends who call when I am not home.  Reality is that I don’t have a butler, my friends don’t have calling cards, and in our busy world, no one just drops in for a visit.  We schedule things.  We schedule everything.  We have a variety of calendars to prove it…smart phone calendars, pocket calendars, large family wall calendars and even online calendars.  So as I need to brush up on etiquette myself, I decided to do what any good homeschool mom would do.  I started planning the unit on etiquette.  So for a few weeks this summer when it’s too hot to do anything else anyway, my little farm children will be learning etiquette.   So I’m adding a few links here on this post in case you need to brush up on your etiquette, which I’m sure you won’t Dear Reader. (did I sound like Miss Manners???) and also links to some things that I will be using in my etiquette unit.  I think this might even make a nice class in a coop setting.

Links to Good Etiquette
What does etiquette mean? (a video on the Emily Post website, geared to children)
Got a question?  Ask Miss Manners
The Etiquette Website with ALL the answers…Emily Post
And what about that dinner where 5 out of 6 people were texting or using technology?  Modern etiquette says that texting and technology are NOT good  table manners.
Once you get all those iPods, smart phones, iPads, and laptops pried from your children’s grubby little paws, have them set the table family style, using this video: How to Set the Family Dinner Table.
Check out “Tech Etiquette” for all of the rules regarding how to have good manners while online or using technology.
Check out this link for more etiquette rules for home and family life, many of which are geared to children, just perfect for our homeschool unit study.
I will use at least one book in this unit.  I purchased it a few years back and highly recommend it. I also plan to see if my local library has other books on etiquette for children.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life:Beautiful Magazine

     I saw this magazine in the checkout at Fred's Super Dollar.  It is really unlike any magazine I have seen on the checkout stand.  It is a Christian magazine.  From first glance, it appears to have a schedule of Bible reading for spring as well as ways to beautify your home and surroundings.  The photos reminded me of Real Simple or Martha Stewart's magazine.  It has recipes, tips, and faith and Christ is tied into it all.  It appears it has been published since 2007, but and it comes out 4 times a year, but honestly I have never seen it before this weekend.  I will admit that I went ahead and purchased it for a Mother's Day gift for myself, but saved reading it until Mother's Day.  If I don't see the summer issue on checkout stands here, I guess I will just have to get a subscription.  Have I mentioned that I love magazines???

Mrs. P

Happy Mother's Day!

Image from

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.  I want to put a link to the Revive Our Heart Radio series titled Beyond Bath Time.  It is such an encouraging series for mom's and the calling to be mothers.  It also reminds us that our mission field and ministry is our children.  I enjoyed it and hope you will as well.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Preparing for CC Essentials in the Fall

I will have my first child in the Essentials of English Language at CC this year.  When we started our CC community, my oldest could have gone, but I had a 2 week old infant and we live about 30 miles from our CC community, so I opted to not put her in it and instead go home after lunch.  I had no idea how valuable the Essentials program is to teaching kids to write.  Over the last couple of years I can really see the vision and scope of CC.  I see how all of the programs work together and lay foundations for the future programs. 

This next year I will be directing a Challenge I class.  My daughter really struggled with the writing in the earlier Challenge program and so this year I am using some of the curriculum suggested in CC to help her get ready for this next year of Challenge I.  I am also doing similar work with my son who will be in CC Essentials in the fall.  They are both completing a basic grammar book this summer.  I know, I'm a mean momma!  Miss A is working through MegaWords for spelling (she is dyslexic and this is a spelling text designed for that) and Our Mother Tongue.  I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful Our Mother Tongue is!  Lots of rich literature is used to teach the grammar lessons.  I also love the notes about how Latin influenced various aspects of English grammar.

With my son, I'm using and old (like 1950's) grammar text that I purchased at a library sale.  In our little town, our library is the recipient of many teacher's libraries when they retire so I have found some neat old books there.  For spelling, he will continue with Spell Well. It is an easy to use, phonics based curriculum and he likes it.  In addition, to that I will get the Trivium Tables at the Parent Practicum that I'm attending in a couple of weeks.  I intend to use the Trivium Tables as copywork for both older children.

 My Miss J is only 8 and in our house, we don't do formal grammar studies until they are around 10.  So she spends her language time, with phonics, copy work, draw write now, reading, listening to poems, etc to build up her vocabulary, teach good reading skills and teach her to appreciate good literature.  I love the Ambleside Online for ideas of books to read.  So in a nutshell, here are the main things I'm doing to prepare for Essentials (and also Challenge I)

1.  Copywork using the Trivium Tables
2.  Going through a formal grammar book this summer
3.  Continuing to read good literature
4.  Focusing on spelling, making sure that the spelling learned is applied in daily writing, texts, e-mails, etc
5.  Review English Grammar learned so far in CC Foundations

Friday, May 11, 2012

Easy Skillet Dinner

Pork Chop Dinner in a skillet or pressure cooker

Boneless Pork Chops
New Potatoes, sliced
Fresh Green Beans, snapped and stringed
1 small onion, sliced
1 c. water
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Brown chops in a little olive oil in the pan.  I actually sprinkled a little seasoning mix on mine first.  Then layer the potatoes, green beans and onions on top of the chops.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the water and sauce over it all and lock the lid in place.  Bring to pressure and cook for 15 minutes.  Quick release pressure and serve. 

To make in a skillet, just put on a tight lid and simmer on the stovetop for an hour until all is tender.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Paying for chores with "screen time"

 image from't this little guy cute helping with chores?
If you have small children, she has a nice article on how to train small children to help.

I'm swamped with house work.  4 children can mess up faster than you can clean up and my children are especially quick at making messes.  Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of picking up after the messies.   I'm messy enough on my own!  I have a scary closet and Sewing room to prove it!  A couple of nights ago I decided I was somehow going to implement a chores system.  I am training them to run their own homes someday and I want their spouses to thank me, not blame me.  I downloaded a little app that gave me the idea for "screen time."  In this app you could assign children chores and then pay them with money, tv time, game time, computer time, etc.  I decided "screen time" was a better name for that so that I wouldn't have to decide which chore is worth Wii and which chore is worth an episode of Clifford.  The app was supposed to tally up minutes and money, but it never did work.  I had to find a way to keep up with these minutes and money another way and it was starting to look complicated.  So I decided it worked well enough (ie chores are getting done at record speed) that I had to find a simpler solution.   Basically, I give out 5 minutes of screen time for little jobs such as sweeping the kitchen, vacuuming the living room, taking out the trash, etc.  I had some big ticket items such as 30 minutes screen time for a big job like cleaning a bathroom top to bottom, picking up the yard and prepping for the weekly mowing.  I also decided to pay cash for a few items.  I am so frustrated at the state of their bedrooms that I decided to pay 50 cents a day for a clean room.  At the end of the day, I realized that they needed further motivation for their rooms so I collected 50 cents per child.   At this rate, I'll have a source of income for my Starbucks habit since they not only didn't care about earning 50 cents, but also didn't mind one bit paying me 50 cents to not .  I really was surprised that they didn't care about the money.  It really seems that to them, screen time is far more valuable.  So I am still figuring this all out, but for now it's worked pretty well.  Trash is taken out without complaining or reminding.  Same story with vacuuming, sweeping, loading the dishwasher, etc.  So I guess in order to keep with the theme, I'll be switching out screen time for the cash on the clean room.  Here is how I'm keeping up with the stockpiles of minutes.  I made a table in a Word document and just typed in 5 minutes screen time in each little box and reserved the bottom row for 30 minute screen time tasks that occur only once a week or less.  I cut them out and now I hand them to the kid after the chore is inspected.  It is now up to the children to keep their tickets so they can later trade them in for time on Howrse, Wii, Pinterest, Facebook, or even to watch the morning PBS kids lineup, or the new favorite around here is MeTV's reruns of Daniel Boone.Yesterday, one smarty pants child, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, said that she didn't have enough screen time to complete her Xtra math work online.  I told her she sure was luck then, that I didn't charge her screen time for things on the internet that are school related.  ;-) So far it is working well and my house is slowly, very slowly, looking better.  Maybe it will work well enough that soon I will see shining bedrooms greeting me each day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day Must Read...

If you are a mom with children under foot, making messes, loving, learning and otherwise, you really must read Ann's A Holy Experience today.  I came away with two words.  Erupt or Pluck.  Which will I choose?  It brought tears to my eyes and I realized that often I choose to erupt rather than pluck.  This is just the reminder I needed as Mother's Day approaches.  Not only for myself, but also so that I can appreciate all the times my own mother chose to pluck rather than erupt.  Oh how her parenting me has new light this side of mothering.  May you have a blessed Mother's Day whatever the age of your children and whether they are human or furry, because God has given us women the desire and ability to nurture.  Even before children, I adopted any animal, insect or others creature in need of nurturing.  I see my own girls doing this too as they start to respond to that internal desire and gift to nurture.  Someday they too will be mothers.  May they remember the times that I chose to pluck and forget the times that I fail and erupt. 

Mrs. P

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

$500 steri strips VS. $2 butterfly closures

image from

$500 Steri-Strips VS. $2 Butterfly Closures

So I have finally graduated to that stage of motherhood where I had my first real injury.  Mr. C has been the best little boy avoiding all manner of injury in his past 10 years.  Granted, he is continually bruised up, but he has never had stitches or broken any bones.  However, his luck ended last Wednesday at the campground.  Racing your sister on your grandfather's bike will do that to you.  Pavement is unforgiving after all.  When I drove up to pick him up (he was staying with his grandparents), his grandmother met me and started with, "Now it isn't too bad of a cut..."  I knew that it had to be more than your average scrape if she started this way.  So I went into the camper and looked at it.  It was bloody and icky, but didn't seem to be too bad.  We then went on to AWANA's with him having the instructions to not "run and play."

After AWANA, he was limping on his leg, but I didn't think to much about that.  After all, he is likely to limp just for the fun of limping.  At home however, I went to clean his cut and noticed that it looked much worse.  In fact, it looked so much worse that my first thought was stitches.  It was gaping open and still oozing blood and such.  The next morning I got an appointment with our pediatrician.  His tetanus shot was due so I figured I would just get his tetanus updated and have the pediatrician peek at it.  The first thing the pediatrician said was that it should have had a stitch the night before, but now that wasn't a possibility.  He said he would just put some steri-strips on it.  I figured that would be a good plan too.  He left to get the nurse and Mr. C says, "I sure am glad we didn't go to the doctor yesterday!"  Now, I need to stop a minute and tell you that I had dropped both girls off at the lake to stay at the camper with their grandparents so it was just the boys and I.  And I figured the baby wouldn't be a big deal.  Our nurse is the fastest shot in the west and how long could it possible take to look at a cut and possibly put on a steri-strip?  So after the terrific temper tantrum in the lobby because I would not let the baby play with the cool toys that all the sick kids play with, I thought we were in for smooth sailing.  A shot, a peek, and then we would be on our way.

Nurse Monica came in to clean up the cut.  Baby C was starting to get a little fidgety.  He was still disgruntled because I would not let him play with the germ laden toys in the lobby.  And now he decided the red haz/mat trash can was looking especially appealing.  However, as soon as the nurse started cleaning the wound, Baby C sat right on the exam table to supervise.  He is very fond of Mr. C after all and he needed to make sure this nurse person didn't hurt his favorite big brother with her big swabs of betadyne. During the cleaning and discussion about the accident, Mr. C admits that he didn't "run and play" at AWANA.  No sir.  He just rode the carts and walked during game time. See how that is totally different than "running and playing?"  Yeah, me either. So if you want your child to sit out on the sidelines during game time, you apparently have to state it exactly like that.  Children are a lot like pharisees and lawyers, looking for the loophole and the letter of the law.  Well, during his not running and playing, he had popped that cut open further and now the fat under his skin was sticking out.  It looked nasty.  The nurse swabbed the cut well and got instruments ready for the doctor.

That went well and Baby C made appropriate oohs and ahhs during the cleaning process.  When the doctor came back in Baby C held up his finger with the cut (from weeks ago), just in case Dr. O needed to see it too.  Mr. C sat silently still not sure what a steri-strip was and hoping that it wouldn't hurt.  I think he was concerned about the sterile scissors and what their part in the whole process was.  Thus started the next hour of a circus, I mean appointment.  Imagine the doctor dropping the first sterile tool, the steri-strips not sticking, trying 3-4 more kinds and sizes of steri-strips and each time sending the nurse out for fresh tools.  Each time Baby C LOUDLY exclaimed "BYE!" to which the nurse stops and tells Baby C each and every time that she is in fact not leaving, but coming right back. I'm thinking, "Really?  Just get moving sister!  Baby C is like a time bomb...we only have so much time!"  Then imagine me trying to keep Baby C out of the red haz/mat trash can with the nifty foot press that magically opens it, reading him the whooping cough brochure ...3 times, no less...and letting him color with the germ laden crayons that are in every exam room and then taking said crayons away when he decides that the white walls are boring and need some artwork and for the final moments appeasing him with a flavored tongue depressor.  You can only imagine how small that exam room felt after an hour with the doctor, nurse, Mr. C, Baby C and myself in it.  Finally, Mr. C had his cut steri-stripped and his whole foot was numb from being still so long and it also hurt from having the wound pinched closed over and over again.  And this whole time it never occurs to me that this whole circus, I mean appointment is now considered level 3 Minor Surgery.  And the cost for such a visit is $500.  OUCH!

The worst part is that the next morning the steri-strips were both off and completely useless.  I could hear the sound of the toilet flushing my hard earned, well hubbies hard earned, cash down the toilet.  I wasn't about to head back to the doctor for another $500 visit, so I went to  HEB, grabbed a box of butterfly closures and in a matter of minutes his cut was taken care of.  It  is still healing, of course, but looking better all the time.  And the total cost for my treatment was $2 since I keep peroxide and neosporin and yes, even betadyne in my medicine cabinet.  So I learned a valuable lesson about injury. And that is to try the butterfly closure first, instead of last.  And now I need to go reschedule dental appointments since that little visit depleted my medical account for a while.   Oh the joys of a high deductible insurance plan.

Nurse P

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Buckwheat Love

A repost from my original blog, updated with my favorite buckwheat cracker recipe.

A field of buckwheat
Buckwheat is an unusually fast-growing crop with a variety of uses. Its flexibility and wide adaptation led it to be grown on more than a million acres in the U.S. in the late 1800s, even though it is not native to our country. 

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were two of the first American farmers to grow buckwheat and recognize the benefit to their crop rotations. With increased focus on specializing in the major commodities during the 1900s, buckwheat become much less common. In recent years, some farmers in north Missouri grew buckwheat under contract with a major buckwheat processor. Overall acreage in the U.S. has climbed to more than 70,000 acres, with millions of acres grown worldwide. Russia, where buckwheat is native, has the largest acreage of buckwheat.
buckwheat groats ready to be ground into flour
    I have thought about growing buckwheat on a couple of occasions. Mostly occasions where I am shocked at the price of a one pound sack of buckwheat flour.  I really like to use buckwheat in cooking and baking and it is becoming a staple here at my little homestead.  However, since it is not a crop normally grown in Texas and also not a largely grown crop, the prices for it are high.  Also there is not much information available about growing it as a food source in Texas.  So I had really sort of dismissed it as a viable crop here on the farm. 
     I recently found buckwheat seed at Homestead Heritage.  We calculated what we would need and purchased enough seed to plant 2 acres.  And in my mind I was thinking of the section in the Little House book Farmer Boy where Almonzo describes his father planting a field of corn and a field of rye for Ma’s Injun Rye bread and cornbread for the year.  And then I envisioned my Mr. P walking out and scattering buckwheat seeds so that my kids could someday recount "Pa" planting a field of buckwheat for "Ma’s" buckwheat crackers and buckwheat pancakes.  When I asked the store clerk about harvesting it, he gave me a funny look and said that they don’t grow it for food, but rather for the bees. Well, my bubble wasn’t burst.  Just because they weren’t growing it for food, didn’t mean that I couldn’t.
     On the way home from the farm store I googled buckwheat on my iPhone.  I know it isn’t very Ma Ingalls, but really, I think she’d have googled. if she’d had an iPhone.  and internet.   and electricity.  and technology of any kind.  In my research I found out quite a bit about buckwheat.  We now have 2 acres planted and are crossing our fingers that we don’t get a late frost.  "Pa" didn’t hand scatter as I imagined, but used a tractor to plow up the earth and a little green plastic wagon thing to broadcast the seed, which was still a nice picture memory.  This is our first year to have bees and the bees will be blessed with the lovely white flowers from this year’s crop.  And maybe down the line as we learn more about growing buckwheat, I’ll be able to harvest some groats and make my favorite buckwheat crackers and pancakes.  And then in my old age I can hear the children reminisce about their father indulging their mother and planting buckwheat for crackers and pancakes.  A mother can dream can’t she?

Here is a recipe I love to make.  The last time I made these crackers, I had to rush out to help a friend with some goats kidding (the joys of being known as a small handed woman), so I jokingly refer to them as buckwheat birthing crackers.  The recipe is from The Yeast Connection Cookbook

Buckwheat Crackers
1 c. buckwheat flour
1/4 c. arrowroot or tapioca starch (another starch would work well too)
1/4 t. salt
3 T. sesame seeds
2 T. Sesame oil (NOT optional...this provides much flavor)
1/2 c. water.

Preheat oven to 400*.  Mix the flour, starch, salt and seeds in a small bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the oil and water.  Stir with a fork.  I found the easiest way to prepare the crackers is to pat the ball of dough into a rectangle and put it on an oiled cookie sheet (or a silpat)  I then put wax paper on top of the rectangle and roll it out thin while on the cookie sheet.  I then cut it into squares with a pizza wheel.  Martha Stewart would measure the squares, but I don't.  I think they taste the same no matter if they are all uniform in size.  If desired, you may salt the tops.  

For baking, reduce the oven temperature to 350*.  Bake for 12 minutes and then remove the edges which will brown and be done sooner than the center.  I then just keep checking them until they are evenly browned.  The original recipe says to leave the crackers in the oven for 10-20 minutes with the oven OFF to get them super crispy.  I have never done this as they seem to be fine without this.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.  I suspect you can also use wheat flour, although I haven't tried it that way.  As the recipe is stated, it is dairy free, egg free, corn free and gluten free cracker.  If you have little ones with allergies, they will appreciate this recipe very much.
Mrs. P

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why Mr. C is not allowed to feed Baby C....

Last week on the way to AWANA's, I was in a rush as usual.  Getting supper finished, kids dressed and in the car with Bibles, handbooks, vests, etc can be quite an experience, to say the least.  The smallest of the children is a "Puggle."  He absolutely loves Puggles.  However, he does NOT love the drive to Puggles.  And he expresses his disapproval of the carseat and it's various strappings loudly and frequently.  This past week, however, he did not scream or cry.  Not even once.  He rode happily and did not even make a peep.  When we got to the church building, I understood why.  Mr. C had given him a popsicle in one hand- red, of course- and a banana - the whole thing- in the other.  So the ride to church was his own personal popsicle/banana bliss.  So now I know the secret to happy toddlers in the car.  However, instead of being happy at this new found knowledge, I grounded Mr. C from feeding him...forever.  I'm sure I'll change up that punishment later, but at that moment, 10 minutes late, with a red and slimy baby, I was not a happy mama.   So now you know why Mr. C is not allowed to feed Baby C.