Sunday, December 23, 2012

Blessings of 2012

Blessings of 2012

This year has been an eventful one. We’ve done many fun things and been blessed by God in many ways.

In January, we thanked God for the blessing of Jeffrey as he turned 5.

In February, we thanked God for the taxes that show we have money to pay the bills.

In March, we thanked God for dry beds as the boys learned the secrets of waking up to go to the bathroom while spending a week at Grandma and Grandpa Peckham’s house. Victor and I thanked God for 10 wonderful years of marriage while enjoying a weekend on the beach in the Bahamas.

In June, we thanked God for the blessings of John and Joshua’s lives as they turned 7. We also had the blessing of trading in our old van for a newer model that runs better and is not afraid of the rain.

In July, we thanked God for the blessing of having baby Sarah. She was born at home in a water bath among friends and family. A healthy happy baby! And a healthy happy mama.

In the months since then we thank God for health and grace and learning more and more to trust His guidance.

In October, we thanked God for Grandma and Grandpa Fitch, Aunt Heather and Cousin Dillon when they came to see us.

In November, we thanked God for safe travels as we traveled to see Juliette’s family in Texas and for the blessings of Gods’ Word and the time we can spend with Him. We also thank God for the family and friends who came to visit and brought beds and quilts for the kids.

Now as we enter the season where many pause to remember His birth, we again thank God for sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins, and for the blessing of His life-changing grace that enables us to grow and walk with Him, particularly in this time of upheaval as earth’s history comes to a close.

May He bring us all through so that we can walk together with Him on the golden streets of Zion.

Love and blessings!
Victor, Juliette, John, Joshua, Jeffrey, and Sarah

Some pictures by John, Joshua, and Jeffrey for you to enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vacation Part 2

Hi, all, 

I've been away for a few days. Okay, maybe more than a few days. We're back at home now, and the kids are settling in again to routine. 

The ending highlights of our trip were spending Sabbath afternoon with friends at a park and spending time with my parents shopping, lazing around the house, and just in general, visiting together. 

After we got home,we did a bunch of unpacking and laundry. Mom helped the boys clean their room and Victor and I reconnected. 

Friday night, I did a big no-no and had a small bite of ice cream. Then Sabbath lunch I ate too much in general, specifically some nut loaf that had cottage cheese in it and topped it off, after I was already too full, with a greasy donut. That night mom took me in to Insta-care with a horrible attack of the gall bladder. (Doesn't that just sound like a monster?? :-) )

The doctor didn't even see me, the P.A. took my blood pressure results,etc. (very low, pale, looked sick) to her and she came back and said she recommended I go to the ER for further testing. By the time we got there, my blood pressure was back up almost to normal, and the pain was gone, so they said we really don't need to keep you here, just come back if you have more problems. So, came home and watched tv and went to bed.  Was just fine the next morning with no residual effects whatsoever.

When will I ever learn to listen to God when He tells me something! He reminded me before I even ate what I knew would cause me pain, and I swept it aside. 

So, Victor and I are going to work on being accountable to each other for various things, including having prayer together and not putting the things into our body's, minds and hearts that would be detrimental to our physical and spiritual health. 

This is something we talked about before I even got home. We are also praying about getting away from the city and out to the country, more rural. Time is so short now, and Jesus is coming so soon, tribulation will soon be upon us and the best places to be will be away from the evils of the cities where we don't have to depend on grocery stores and power grids to live. 

The time is now for spiritual preparation also for what lies ahead of us very shortly. We must be watchful and pray. 

On the drive home from my parents, we listened to the dramatized version of John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. If you haven't read or heard this amazing allegory, you really should pick it up. 

It reminded me and inspired of the dangers of not walking with Christ, day by day, and having that armour on to fight against Satan with. We must be ever watchful, and in prayer, walking with Christ as did Enoch and Abraham. More then ever before, Satan roams the earth as a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour. I don't want to be one of those, do you?!

Eph 6:10-18
(10)  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
(11)  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
(12)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(13)  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
(14)  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
(15)  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
(16)  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
(17)  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
(18)  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Rom 13:10-14
(10)  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
(11)  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
(12)  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
(13)  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
(14)  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

1Th 5:1-8
(1)  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
(2)  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
(3)  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
(4)  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
(5)  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
(6)  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
(7)  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
(8)  But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

Let us watch and pray. Get to know our Saviour, Jesus, as a personal Friend.

Til next time.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vacation Part 1

Wheat free has been fun and actually fairly easy. I forgot to take a picture, I think, of the other wheat free bread that I tried. It was very good, has a light, sweeter flavor, although it was somewhat doughy. I'll try a little less liquid next time since instead of eggs or egg re-placer I used flax meal and water.
Reading with Grandma and Grandpa

Aunt Tiffany (my little sister)

The kids and I are spending time at my parents this week with my brother, sister and spouses and my sister's baby girl. My sister-in-law and brother have been trying to eat more healthfully so we have all been having fun trying new recipes. One we set some aside for me because everybody else wanted vegeburger which has wheat in it. Other then that most everything that we ate was gluten free. Mom got me some gluten free buns and pancake mixes for the days we had bread items as main dishes. The gluten free items were very tasty and light. Being rice based, the pancakes and breads were slightly sweeter than the wheat.
Uncle Jon (my baby brother)

Today we, actually mostly Erin (sister-in-love), are making Eggplant 'Parmesan' and greek salad. Yum! Completely vegan and wheat free.
Aunt Erin (Jon's wife) and Uncle Jon

Big differences in how I feel too. My acid reflux is mostly gone. I have more energy in spite of having gone to bed late every night. I think my brain is clearer.

Sabbath was potluck and was hit and miss. More hitting the good things than missing them, I think. Everything I ate was wheat free and as far as I could tell was vegan. Only one thing was clearly not vegan and that was the California sushi rolls with egg in them. But I love sushi rolls so I had some anyway.

Sarah is teething, I think; fussing, drooling and chewing on her clothes and fingers and blanket. She rolled over last night and off the mattress on to the floor. 3 inches since I'm sleeping on the floor in the first place.

The kids played soccer with Uncle Dave (brother-in-love) and Uncle Jon (brother) and had lots of fun.
Uncle David (Tiffany's hubby)

We've really been enjoying our stay so far and relaxing, but will be glad to get back to our own beds at home, of course.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wheat Belly, Bread and Granola

I read most of the Wheat Belly book and have gotten some input from the Wheat Belly blog as well, enough to convince me that I should leave out all wheat from my diet. Unfortunately, my family loves gluten and bread. And I have two and a half 5-gallon buckets of wheat to use up.

So, I made gluten on Friday, took half of it to potluck on Sabbath and have been feeding it to my hubby in his lunches this week. 

Monday, the kids and I made the equivalent of 6 loaves of whole wheat bread (yum, except I didn't eat any).  I say equivalent, because 2 of the loaves I made 'special' by flattening them and spreading them with peanut butter and jelly, then folding them over so the pbj was inside. The kids loved that. 

I didn't get pictures of the 'special' loaves because the kids ate them before I took pictures. 

To try to satisfy my taste buds, I tried a recipe for gluten free bread that turned out flat, a little crumbly, but oh so yummy when toasted with vegan cheese on top and a slice of tomato. The recipe is here on this cool blog: 
Gluten free Bread Recipe from the Gluten Free Goddess.  The next one I'm going to try is this one here: Sandwich gluten-free bread 
Before it was baked.  

After lunch, I was going to have the kids help me make granola, but they were so happy outside, making whirlpools in a bucket, the result of watching a Mythbusters  episode.

So I just went ahead and did it myself. I have this problem with making granola, though. I can never get it to be flaky and light and crunchy. It always comes out dark, kind of chewy and in big chunks floating in crumbs. Ugh. It tastes alright, though Victor always adds honey. He likes it really sweet and I don't put sugar in. Sure, I add lots of sweeteners: honey, dates, bananas. . . just not as sweet as sugar I guess. 
Ready for the liquids 

Ready to bake

I know part of my problem is I don't stir it enough while before and during cooking. But another problem is I don't add oil. I am an impatient cook, so I follow the recipe(s) only so far as to get an idea of what to put in and the basic ratios and then just add what I want. I combine several recipes this way. So, next time, hopefully tomorrow, I'm going to follow a recipe and only that one to the letter and see what happens. It will be one of the many I have that is oil-free and sugar-free, of course, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a success! 

Anyway, back to the wheat free thing. I am noticing a difference in my allergies, although part of that could be the rag weed is dying off. The main thing I noticed is that after I left off the dairy completely, my gall bladder problem is now almost non-existent, except for a daily bout with acid reflux. That, I believe, is going away now that I'm not eating wheat. Yay! 
The other difference is my cold is easing up faster than normal, the yucky coughing up phlegm part has shortened. Wheat is a mucus forming food, so that makes alot of sense to me. 

All these cool discoveries in the wheat department has bolstered my enthusiasm to stick with it. 

On to perfecting the wheat free bread products!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time well spent with family

Good afternoon, friends and family!

This weekend Victor's mom and step-dad, sister and nephew came to visit. The boys all had fun playing together after not having seen each other for a while. Mom makes the trip down about once a year to visit Grandma (her mom) and since we live next door, she gets to see her son and grandsons as well. This year she also gets to see her first granddaughter as well!

Mom and Sarah

Aunt Heather playing with Sarah
Anyway, we've jumped on the trampoline for hours, made airplanes out of cardboard, ran up and down the road, gone for walks with the dog, played legos and cars, rode bikes, trimmed the juniper tree with Grandpa and Aunt Heather, and played Monopoly. That was interspersed by 1 or 2 naps, meals and nighttime.

The neighbor boy, Shaydon and his little brother Trevon, rode their bikes down the hill to play for a bit. While they were here, they had Jeffrey on Trevon's bike, which is much smaller than Jeffrey's, and were trying to teach him how to ride it. By the end of the day, he was coasting down the hill with his feet off the pedals so he could catch himself. I encouraged him to try putting his feet on the pedals. He finally did and was pedaling down the hill just before the other boys had to go home. It was a little tight since the bike was slightly too small for him. But he had fun.
John, Dillon, Josh and Jeffrey

Since then, he has figured out how to ride down the hill on his bike and finally ride it up and around and every where else without crashing too much.

Now it's the first thing he wants to do in the morning.

Yesterday, we went out to eat and I ate a big salad and lots of veges as well as some great egg rolls. I wish they had spring rolls with the rice wrappers instead but oh well.
So, today for lunch the boys had leftover mac and cheese, while I ate salad wrapped in rice paper. Delicious! I could do that everyday. Well, almost.
Eating out, talking to daddy!

The boys are drinking tea now and cousin Dillon, mama, papa,  Heather and Jazzy (the dog) will all be going home tomorrow.

I've been reading this great book, called The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson. My friend, Rachel, found it first and shared it on FB. (Thanks, Rachel!)
It's for moms, obviously, but alot of the principles contained therein (look how edumacated I can sound!) apply to parenting in general. So I was sharing with Victor because I see alot of things I can improve on and both of us could use an overhaul in being better parents, closer to the way God wants us to be.

We've been going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, and trying to increase the quality and quantity of our family togetherness and worships. It's amazing how much smoother the day is when the focus isn't on "How many hours til the boys go to bed" but on actually remembering that I made a commitment when I decided to have kids and that God made me a discipler of children, not just an arbiter of justice. I need to put aside my own selfishness and not let the children's interruptions frustrate and aggravate me, but to take the opportunity to teach, lead, guide and spend quality time with them.

Actually, now that I think of it, I need to treat these interruptions, not as interruptions at all, but as part of the regular happenings and the extra stuff that I do for myself, as time outs to collect my thoughts. When they come to me for help or time with them, then my time outs are over. Or something like that. I can always come back to them. But my children will not always be wanting my attention.

Like today's blog. I started writing it in my head two days ago. Sat down at the computer twice today, and finally finished it this afternoon. So, it is what it is. And  I love how the day and this whole weekend went. :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekend breakthroughs.

On Sabbath, we had church and potluck in the park. It was nice and cool, and sunny. For potluck, I was a good girl and had some salad that I had made, some vegan pasta-free crockpot lasagna adapted from Forks over Knives (very delish), a 'meatball' that I'm sure had dairy in it, some vege burger of sorts with cactus or green peppers in it, and several vegetable baked egg rolls. And probably a few other things. Most everything I ate was dairy free, except the meatballs and the egg rolls.

But then I went back for seconds. The stuff I liked was all gone, of course. But there was a seven layer salad that had a few spoonfuls left, so I took some, noting that there was a heavy mayo dressing and hardboiled egg slices. For desert, I wasn't going to eat any, but tempted by someone who didn't want to take the rest home, I ate a piece of gooey fudge brownie, and that was followed by 2 donuts and several white rolls with buttter. Ugh. I felt fine until I ate all those seconds.

Now I was drowsy and ready for a nap. When we got home I put away the bread that was sent home with us, took a bite of a leftover donut before putting it away and then sent the kids off to naps. After awhile, I did take a nap.

In the evening I had  the rest of that donut and some other foods that were ok, I don't remember what. veges I think. By the time we were ready to go to bed, I was having a gall bladder attack. I kept trying to remember what it was that could have caused it. I'd eaten some cheese over the last few days, but it had'nt been causing any immediate problems. Then I remembered, it must have been the eggs and high fat donuts and butter.

So I took a pain pill, took a hot bath and put almost scalding hot water on my gall bladder. Within a half hour the attack was over.

Based on this experience, I am, definitely, hopefully, not going to knowingly eat dairy and eggs.

Sunday, we had a wonderful lentil chili from the Forks over Knives cookbook. (I love this book more than any other I've used).
Monday we had tator tots, which gave me a little heartburn in the evening because of the fat. And for lunch I made a kale salad with avocado and tomato and lettuce and some ACV and pickled artichoke hearts. I ate a bunch of that and we finished the lentil chili.
In the evening, getting the nibbles, Victor got out the ice cream. I was tempted, but praise the Lord, the thought of adding to the heartburn and my new resolve not to indulge, kept me from following. I had some applesauce instead.

So today, I am feeling much better. Still have some residual heartburn but it's fading. Had some baked egg rolls for breakfast getting rid of the last of the wrappers.

I'm going to be trying the wheat free diet. So most of the recipes I make won't have any wheat ingredients from now on. Whatever wheat products, the kids and Victor will use up slowly and once those are gone we won't buy anymore. Not going grain free though, since rice, oats and buckwheat and the seeds aren't problematic to non-sensitive people, according to The Wheat Belly doctor.

Wheat these days is a GM food. So once we've weaned off, it's no longer an option for my health.

OK, that was a long one. I'm hoping that wasn't too boring! But if it was don't worry about it. I'm not. This blog is my public journal, and if anyone doesn't find my thoughts interesting that's ok. My thought's are mine, not anyone elses' and every person is different.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My intent today was to finish the grocery shopping. But Jeffrey has a fever, stuffy nose and headache. John and Josh already had colds and even Sarah has been a bit congested over the last week. 
So, we sat around most of the day. 

Worship was followed by naptime. John and I were the only ones who didn't nap. Jeffrey sleeps on and off with a cool rag on his forehead. Then Sarah's temp went up. Ugh! I really don't like having sick kids. 

Anyway, I was researching, as I always do. 

You know how you might have learned something in the past, and know good natural things to do for a certain problem, or whatever? But even though you know what to do you need confirmation or are just seeking new ideas to help ease your mind? 

I love the internet. It's so full of great things that you can pick out of the junk that's out there. 

So, yes, I was researching. I know to take a child's temp and give them fluids and cool down with a cool, not cold, rag, etc. I also know that a fever is the body fighting whatever is making it sick, so it's a good thing.

But, I like to do all I can to speed things along and reassure myself that I'm doing everything that is humanly possible to make my kids healthy and comfortable. What mom doesn't do this? Or any parent, for that matter. 

Anyway, I knew that in an infant, skin to skin contact is beneficial especially in newborns to help regulate body temperature and heart rate and breathing. What I wanted to know was if it would help much with fevers in infants (not premie or newborn). 

Yes, it does help. It can help lower the stress and temperature, keeping the fever from going too high. I guess in a way, the heat is drawn out by my body. Which makes perfect sense.

Amazing isn't it? 

So here I sit with Sarah naked on my chest, and she does feel cooler, except that her head sweats and makes me sweat. :-P But I guess that's the joy of motherhood.

This was a cool blog post I came across in my search. 

You know I just love being able to connect with my kids, whether it's physically, or emotionally. I sometimes get a bit lazy and let them do what they want to do all day with not enough real quality time spent with me. 

Yes, I am a bad mother. But that is one of my goals, to change my bad habits and enjoy playing with my kids without thinking constantly about other things. Just focusing my complete attention on them when I spend time with them. 

So, now I'm going to to spend some quality time with my kids, reading bedtime stories. Good night, readers!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Hi there.

Last time I was on here, I said I would share some of the things I've been learning lately.

Well, first of all, I do alot of reading on the internet and in books, mainly on the subject of health. That is one of my biggest joys in life. To learn all I can.

I grew up lacto-ovo-vegetarian. That means we ate dairy products. As we got older, my mom started taking them out of our diet. I don't remember when, but I do remember it was because it was healthier. By the time I entered college, we didn't use dairy at home for the most part, except sometimes on pizza. It wasn't that big a deal. College, I went to a health oriented, very conservative school, where the cafeteria served completely vegetarian food. No animal products at all, except honey which technically means we weren't vegan by the usual meaning of the word.

Since then, I've been mostly complete vegetarian. Hubby introduced me to salmon, which at first I did not like at all. I've never liked meat. But I actually now like the taste of salmon. But it's not something I have to get some of because I'm craving it. I never do that with any meat. I do that with pizza, or chinese food, but never meat.

After college, for along time I was strict with my diet. But then I started getting back into the dairy. When I was pregnant with my youngest boy, I had to cut back alot because I got anemic. Who would have guessed milk and cheese could do that to you?

Anyway, I have many health books. I have read Dr. Neal Barnard's books on diabetes and food cravings ('Reversing Diabetes' and 'Breaking the Food Seduction'); Dr. Colin Campbells book on animal protein and cancer ('The China Study'); Dr. Robert Young's books on ph and disease ('Ph miracle living'); and many internet sites related to them.

What have I learned?
1. Plant based is better;
2. Animal products are very bad;
3. Mostly Raw is good;
4. Disease is caused by lifestyle, not genetics;

to name a few.

Here is a video that is really neat and talks about these things. It's called Forks Over Knives. It's on Netflix, they have a website and I think it's on Youtube as well. Here is a link to one on Hulu.

Oh, and here are some of the websites I was talking about relating to some of the books I have read.

These doctors and other health people whose research I've been reading, in my opinion all believe the same thing for different reasons. They come from different backgrounds and different ideas to the same conclusion. That the best diet is the one that God gave in the beginning. Whole plant foods eaten whole.

I once thought that if there was some way to bring all the information they came up with and put it all together into one book, that would be great! I even thought I would try that. But I just figured, that would be a very large book and who would read that?! Besides, it would never be finished, since new information is coming out all the time, and we are always learning more about the foods God gave us.

Speaking of new information. . . . No, I'll leave that for another post. If anyone has any suggestions of websites or books for me to read, put them in the comments. I'm always open to new research!

Til later.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Family Day

So, in the spirit of homeschooling and spending more time with the kids, Vic and I decided today was family day and the neighbor kids were not invited. Actually, they call two or three times every time they are not at school to see if the boys can play and usually I say yes, or ignore the phone. :P Then they just come over and who can say no to that? Not me. Still working on being able to say no when I need to.

Anyway, back to today. The neighbor's called at 9 o'clock in the morning. We were just out of bed, and were thinking about breakfast. Sorry, can't play today. 

I got this cool little pancake thingy at Albertsons last week and thought today would be a good day to use it. It's like a 16 oz cup on the bottom with a cool squeezy bottle that screws on to the top and has a lid that has a thing like a icing nozzle whatchamacallit. Great, huh?  You put the pancake mix in the cup, screw on the bottle, add water, and other wet ingredients, put on the lid and shake. Then you squeeze out pancakes, and designs into your pan. 

We made mickey mouse pancakes and butterfly pancakes with blueberry eyes and noses. The kids did their own and we had fun. Should have taken pictures.

One of the things we decided to do today was to defrost the deep-freeze, which was full of frost and bad food that had melted and refrozen because the door hadn't been shut all the way a couple months ago. Yuck! Not really looking forward to that.
Defrosting the deep freeze.

So, as soon as breakfast was over (well, the kids were done, but we weren't), the boys took upon themselves to empty the freezer of all food and get out the hairdryer. I had to get the dishes done fast. Whoops, gotta clean the top freezer in the kitchen and reorganize so the perishable stuff can not perish. Then, helped the boys put non-perishables in the old fridge in the back porch.
Reorganized top freezer.

Long story short, the freezer is defrosted and clean waiting for food to be put back in, interrupted only by laundry, baby dealings, tv and other great stuff.
Sleeping Sarah

Doing Laundry
The other thing we did today was make gluten. Victor had made soup last night and thought it would be good with gluten in it so that's what we had for dinner. The kids and I made gluten then made cookies. Fairly healthy ones.
Making gluten and cookies.

First we made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from the all-new Forks over Knives cookbook.  We used sweetened carob chips instead of chocolate chips. Josh tasted them and thought they were minty chocolate. I then told him they were carob chip. Ha! He said they were good.
Then because we had brownie mix, we made brownie cookies. Added some gluten flour and water and used cookie cutters. Kind of gooey to cut out but when baked, turned out quite good.

Anyway, we had fun and learned some patience (me) and some math (the boys).

Tomorrow, I'm going to try to share some of the information of the blogs I've been reading and what I think of it. If not tomorrow, sometime soon!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome to Our Blog

So, I've been reading blogs lately. One was about this lady's journey through eating healthy. Another one is by a homeschooling mom. And one is a very entertaining tale of life by a lady who dares to go against the grain in the name of common sense and justice. 

Because of these women and their openness and honesty in frank and fun words, I have been inspired to do several things.

1. Start blogging. 
2. Eat healthier.
3. Get more organized for homeschooling.
4. Share what I learn through my research in the name of education. 

So, here I am. Attempting to do the what may be impossible. To creatively write a blog that educates, informs and entertains all at the same time. 

Wish me luck. :-)