To Do List  

There's stuff that I've been meaning to get done around here for months! And I've never gotten around to it (that's typical of me). Well this week, while Bull is out of town on business, I'm going to pull out a few of these projects, make great big ol' mess, and try to finish before he gets back.

Here's my list. It's all mundane stuff, nothing creative, just stuff that needs to be done.

To Do:

  • I've got a ton of baby clothes (from the last two kids!) that I just couldn't bear to part with, so they are in boxes and bags all over the house.... I'm over it. I'm going to go thru them, keep a few extra special things, and sell the rest. We need the money and space.

  • Last year SweetPea and I hit the after Christmas sales and bought a bunch of supplies to make Christmas themed earrings to sale this year. We worked on them 'til we ran out of fittings, so now's the time to dig 'em out, finish them up, and see if we can make our money back. LOL!

  • I need to rearrange my kitchen. It is beyond inefficient right now. I not only want to move the microwave, and see if I can find a place for all the large items that are just sitting on the counter now, I also want to.....

  • Clean out the herb cabinet. I'm going to get rid of old stuff and try to find containers for everything. It would be so great to have a matching set of small, medium, and large tinted jars with printed labels.... ok, back to reality. I'll probably try to cram everything into canning and baby food jars and label them with a permanent marker. But it will be nice to get rid of all the plastic bags I'm using now.

  • It is a MUST to go thru the kids stuff and get rid of broken, unused, and forgotten toys and gadgets before Christmas comes around. So why not get a start on it this week?

  • Clear off or set up a space for me. I used to do art work on commission. Now I don't have the attention span for it. But, maybe, just maybe, if I have a nice sunny space set aside to work in, with all my stuff right there and organized.... ok, stop laughing honey -you too Daddy and Special K!


What I Did For Vacation Bible School  

This is a recollection of what I taught the kids in my VBS class a couple years ago. It's not complete, some of it's in the wrong order, I need to edit for repetition, and add a few more links and verses, but I wanted to get it out before Sunday was over. I hope it will be helpful to someone....

I started out by saying how excited I was to get to talk about the Gospel with them. I told them that I love talking about the Gospel with young people; it was my one of my favorite things to do, so I was very excited to about it.

I showed them a "Science & the Bible" printout first. It talks about just a few of the scientific facts found in the bible, that the scientists of the that time didn't understand, but that we now know are true.

After going through the handout, I said, "God's pretty smart, huh? Now we're gonna see how smart you are" and I pulled out the optical trick called "Read the Triangles" and a sheet of trick questions called "Intelligence Test Questions" and went through those with them by asking for volunteers. They all laughed and got a big kick out of them.

I got another volunteer and asked him how many sodas he could name. I had to stop him at ten. By this time all the kids were in a great mood and were participating very well. Then I asked him how many of the Ten Commandments he could name. He named about three or four. A few of the kids made comments like, "Wow, it's a shame that people know more sodas than Commandments!" They made my point for me! Then a boy said, "I think I can do it" so he stood up - and as soon as he started, I could tell from the way he phrased them, that he had probably memorized them from a "Hey Kid's" tract (the same ones we bought to put in their goody bags at the end of the week). He said them in order and he only missed two.

Then I said that Jesus had been asked, once, what was the greatest commandment and I asked them what He said. They didn't know. So I briefly told them the story and what the two great commandments were. I said that these two were a summery of the Ten Commandments, and showed them how you can split the commandments into the "love God" commands and the "love your neighbor" commands.

I asked them what the Ten Commandments are for. I got a bunch of answers from them and then I said they were God's standard for righteousness, and I defined righteousness as "right-doing". I told them that He gave us the Commandments/the Law to us to show us where we've sinned and not been righteous.

Next, I went through a few of the "Good Test" questions (have you ever lied, stolen, disobeyed your parents, used “God” or “Jesus” to express anger, etc.) and then showed them how Jesus had used the Commandments, by reading Mark 10:17-27 with them. I talked about the “Why do you call me good?…” question and how Jesus was challenging the young man to admit that either Jesus was God or his idea of “good” was wrong. Jesus used the “love your neighbor” commands and the man said he had kept them all. It says that Jesus loved him, so He showed him where he had gone wrong, he had not kept the “love God” commands – he was one of “them that trust in riches” – he loved his stuff more than God.

Then I really slowed down at the last couple verses and emphasized with my voice that the disciples wondered, “Then who can be saved?” and Jesus answered, “With man it is impossible.” I paused here and said, “Jesus just said that with man it is impossible to be saved!… But look at the next part… with God all things are possible!” That’s good news!

Next I said I would show them why Jesus said it was impossible with man. I went through a few of the verses that say we have all gone astray, there is none good, etc. and followed it up with hatred is murder in God’s sight, so even the intent of our heart is judged. That really made an impact!

So I used an illustration to make it clear why hate is murderous. I said, “Come on now, you all know that if we had the power to call down lightening, there would be a lot fewer people walking around.” Nods all around. I continued, “Well it’s not out of the goodness of our heart, that we don’t hurt the people we hate – it’s because we are afraid of--" here one of the kids interrupted and said “--the consequences!” I said, “Right! We are afraid of what will happen afterward. It’s not because we are good.”

I asked them if they knew the biblical definition of sin, and I read James 4:17 and 1 John 3:4. I drew a target on the board and explained that the first verse was about falling short of a known target and pointed to the board. And the second one was about breaking through a set boundary. Then I drew a field around the target and put a fence around the field and illustrated “breaking” or trespassing/transgressing that boundary. I pointed out how some of the commandments say “do” something, in other words, “hit this target” (tap on the target), and others say “don’t do” something, in other words, “stay in this boundary” (tap on the field).

I said it is not unreasonable for God to require that, when we are faced with the choice, we choose what we know is right (hit the target) and to not choose what we know is wrong (don't break the boundary). That’s reasonable.

But we haven’t done that. We can’t say that when we lied we didn’t know that lying was wrong. We can’t say that when we’ve stolen something that we thought it was the right thing to do. There are times when we knew what was right and we chose to do wrong anyway. We’ve sinned.
Then I read James 2:10 and asked them if that made sense to them – that breaking one part of the Law, is the same as breaking it all. They weren’t sure, so I took out a paper chain, with ten links, that I had made. I said that I had made it good and sturdy and asked if anyone would like to hang from the top of a building by it. They said no, I asked why not and one said, “I’m not ready for a funeral,” I prodded, with "What-do-you-mean?", and he said the chain would break. I came back with, “Well, yeah, but probably only one link”. Then they got it!

I said, “If you are holding on to the commandments to keep from dropping into hell then if you break one you will fall just the same as if you had broken them all.” And I pointed out that if you violate even one of our civil laws you are considered a criminal – a lawbreaker, and can go to jail because you broke the law. The commandments aren't ten separate laws they are one Law -God's Law. "We haven’t kept God’s Law and that’s sin and that’s why Jesus said that with man it is impossible to be saved..." :dramatic pause:

"But with God all things are possible!" That's good news! It's GREAT news! The word gospel, means "good news". Then I went through a whole list of verses I have printed out about how Christ came to suffer for our sins. He took our iniquities (defined it as lawlessness) He was wounded for our transgressions, and on, and on, through about 10 or 11 verses (and a few more that came to me off the top of my head).

The ones I had printed off:

1Peter 2:24
Isa 53:5
Isa 53:6
Isa 53:10
1Peter 3:18
John 3:16
John 3:17
John 3:18
Romans 3:23-26
Romans 10:3-4
Romans 10:9-10

When I got to Isaiah 53:10, I stopped and asked them why in the world it would it please God to do that to His own Son. A couple of them said, because it saved us. I talked about the fact that Christ was bearing our sins and because God is just (as in a just or righteous judge) and holy, He must punish sin. So His judgment came down on all the sins of the world in His Son’s body on the cross.

One of the kids said something like; “You mean it pleased God to do all that to His Son, just to save us?” And I said, “Yes, that’s how much He loved you! I’ve heard it said that, even if you were the only person on the whole earth Jesus still would’ve come down and died for you. And I think it’s true. Look at John 3:16.” I told them that if you read it with your name in it then it becomes personal. I read it with my name in it. For God so loved [WR] that He gave His only begotten Son, that if [WR] believes on Him she should not perish but have everlasting life.

I think I stopped at John 3:17 and explained God didn’t strike us dead the first time we sinned but we stand condemned for that sin. And so people who don’t believe on Christ’s name are condemned already, both because of their sins and then ultimately because they reject Christ. If a criminal is guilty of crimes and is on death row, he is going to die because of the crimes he committed. But, if the governor writes him a pardon and he refuses it, then he will die for his crimes because he refused the pardon. People who never heard the name of Jesus aren’t condemned to hell for never having heard --they are already condemned, because they sinned. Also, John 1 says that Jesus is the true light that gives light to every man that comes into the world, and Romans 1-3 says that they are without excuse because know the truth, God showed it to them. So even those in hell who never heard the name "Jesus" still had a chance to believe but rejected the truth and turned from the light because they loved the darkness.

Then, after all the verses, we went on to talk briefly about the resurrection and how that was the sign that God saw Christ’s sacrifice as an acceptable payment for sins --and it lets us know that if we also accept it then we can have eternal life. A man on death row may receive a pardon but of he refuses it he will still die.

Somewhere in all of that I used the courtroom analogy a few times and explained that we were lawbreakers, death was the sentence (talked briefly about the difference between the first death and the second death), but Jesus paid it for us so that we can be set free from the penalty of our sins.

I don’t remember if it was that night or the next night but I fielded some questions like, what if we confess our sins and what if we do good works to make up for our sins. But I answered by using the court analogy again and pointing out that a criminal who confesses isn’t set free – the judge has to have legal grounds to free him. That’s what Jesus’ sacrifice did. It is the legal grounds upon which God can dismiss our case. Also trying to do good things to make up for sin, was like trying to bribe a judge. If you washed the judges car on your way into court, and then brought it up as a reason for why he should let you go, what do you think would happen?

I continued to explain why 'good works' aren't enough, by talking about the fact that we owe God prefect righteousness every day (do good and don't do evil), if we failed to be righteous yesterday, then being perfectly righteous today could not make up for it, because we already owed Him that much today... For example, if you owe me $2 a day, every day, but didn’t pay me yesterday, then paying me what you owe me today wont make up for it – you already owed me that. And I talked about how Paul said that he counted all his good works as dung (told them what that was) so that he may win Christ. Abandon all hope in your works and turn to Jesus as your only hope.

A few more things I remember…

I let them all read a comic strip called “What Do People Say About You?” that I had found the day before. It’s made for kids, and is about a guy trying to make excuses for himself. It talks about the law, ends with the Gospel of Christ, and invites them to believe and ask God to forgive them. It was very light – not written with in a “heavy-handed” way and a bit humorous. And I gave out the “decision cards” from the church's packet and let them fill those out.

I talked to some of the kids individually

Most of Wednesday, after going through the lesson, I tried to answer questions and address things that I thought might have not been clear. I asked them a lot of questions and engaged them in discussion, so as to judge if they were confused about anything.

I used a lot of illustrations and analogies to try and make clear that it’s because we have already broken the commands that we cannot do good to make up for it, and that’s not what the law does anyway– it just shows you your sins, it doesn’t take them away, Christ’s sacrifice does that. It’s his perfect record of goodness/righteousness that gets you into heaven by replacing or covering your imperfect record. Law is just a mirror so we can see our sins, but when you see that you have egg on your face you don’t wash your face with the mirror – you go to the water to wash. Jesus is the living water.

The last night of VBS I printed off a bunch of verses on God’s love to show that His love is almost never mentioned without being directly connected with the sacrifice of Christ.
Here are the verses I used, about God’s love:

♥ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16.

♥ Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13.

♥ But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8.

♥ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) -Ephesians 2:4,5.

♥ And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. - Ephesians 5:2.

♥ Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. - 1 John 3:1.

♥ Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: - 1 John 3:16a.

♥ In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. - 1 John 4:9,10.

♥ And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. - Revelation 1:5,6.

I read a little story [will edit to link to it later] to illustrate how God showed His amazing love for us on the cross by His own substitutionary (defined it) sacrifice that upheld the Law like never before by meeting it's holy demands, carried out the penalty against sin, and at the same time made a way for us to be justified (defined it – “just as if I’d” never sinned). Romans 3:19-26.

I talked about how when we are saved, we want to obey God and please Him out of sheer gratitude for all He’s done. Before, we obeyed to try and stay out of Hell - but after, we obey out of love for the one who first loved us. Our good works, as Christians, are not for salvation and we don't count them as righteousness. Christ is our righteousness. And I said that we ought to want to go out and tell others the good news. And lastly I talked about getting baptized and what it symbolizes.


Come In and Stay Awhile  

Ya' know I've got that Feedjit widget over in the side bar.... well I've noticed that a few of my repeat visitors arrive on the same page every time, a page other than the home page. And then they don't stay long. So I'm thinking some of you may have bookmarked my blog while you were viewing a category or a post. If that's the case, then when you show up it may look like I haven't posted anything new 'cause it's the same thing you were looking at the last time you were here. So if this is happening to you, [I'm posting this in as many catagories as I can so maybe you will see it] just click on the "Home" link in the menu at the top of the page to check for new posts.

I'd also like to invite y'all to look around the sidebar. I've added a link to a page where I will be adding videos and audios about Christianity, Health Issues, How-to, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I don't have much there yet, but I wanted you to be aware of it.

There's also a new gadget from Blogger called Followers. I didn't know what it was all about, but the description basically said it is for people who like like my blog, to let me know they are following it. It also lets folks who read my blog, find the blogs of other folks who read my blog.I figured that was cool so I added it.

Anyway, I want to encourage y'all to look around and take a little more time checking out the blog.


Friday's Favorite  

Today's favorite is a raggedy looking old teddy bear rocking chair. It's mine, from my childhood, so it's probably over 35 years old. My sister and I each had one and we've kept them for our children. I've never seen another one like them.

The poor thing is pretty worn out --well, he has been through quite a lot. His fur is matted, and he's stained, and generally looks dirty even when he's been cleaned. Threads are hanging, the glue is brittle, and his screws need to be tightened.

But he still has both his googly eyes and the red ribbon around his neck. I think he is still quite charming... And so does Pickle.

This is "his" chair for now. He will pull, push, and drag it around so he can sit and rock wherever he wants in the living room. In this picture he's "reading" a book in his room.

I've been thinking that one day I'll have to replace the rocking springs and try to fix him up a little so he will still be around for my grandkids. I don't know if they will love him as much as I do, but I hope so.


Trans Fats and You - Part 3  

Want to Use This Graphic?[Read part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE]

Partially hydrogenated oils are even worse for you than the refined vegetable oils they are made from, because the nickel catalyst, under high heat, causes the hydrogen atoms to change their position on the fatty acid chain.

Before hydrogenation, pairs of hydrogen atoms on the fatty acid chain are on the same side; this is a called a double bond. This double bond causes the chain to bend slightly and electrons are consentrated there. This is called the cis formation, and it's the configuration most commonly found in nature.

But during the hydrogenation process, one of the pairs of hydrogen atoms is moved to the other side of the chain so that the molecule straightens out. This is called the trans formation and it is rarely found in nature. Most of these man-made fats are toxic to the body, but your digestive system doesn't recognize them as a toxin and tries to use them like it would a natural fat.

It uses them in cell membranes, instead of naturally saturated fatty acids, and your cells actually become partially hydrogenated!

Once placed in your cell wall, trans fatty acids, with their reversed hydrogen atoms, wreak havoc on cell metabolism. The reason is that the needed chemical reactions can only take place when electrons in the cell membranes are in certain arrangements or patterns --which the trans fats have altered.

Also, cell integrety is compromized because trans fats are stiffer than saturated fatty acids and the cells become too stiff to function normally in the body. Think in terms of hardening arteries, high blood pressure, neurological disease (1/3 of your brain is made up of saturated fats -which trans fats replace), heart disease, liver disfunction, and cancer.

In the 1940's, researchers found a strong correlation between cancer and the consumption of fat. What were the fats they used in this study? They were hydrogenated fats. But hydrogentated fats were, until recently, catagorized as "saturated fat" in studies, so the results were presented as though natural saturated fats were the culprit. You find out exactly what kinds of fats were used, in order to find the truth in any study on "saturated fat".

Partially hydrogenated fats also interfere with your bodies ability to use essential fatty acids, causing a deficiency in these vital nutrients. This can cause many health problems, including hormonal and s*xual problems, increased blood cholesterol, and a seriuosly compromised immune system.

Lipase enzymes perform some essential roles in digestion and absorbtion of dietary fats. But human lipase enzyme doesn't work on the molecular configuration found in trans fats. So trans fats remain in the blood stream for a much longer period of time and is more prone to form arterial plaque. How trans fats contribute to coronary heart disease is fairly well understood, but the mechanism for trans fat's effect on diabetes is still being studied.

Trans fats have been associated with a host of serious diseases, like cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, obesity, immune system dysfunction, low-birth-weight babies, birth defects, decreased visual acuity, sterility, lactation problems, and problems with bones and tendons. Yet the continued popularity of partially hydrogenated margarine over butter speaks to the power of the advertizers over common sense. Your best defense is to avoid it like the plague.

An added warning…. Don't trust the "0 Trans Fats" label. The FDA says that 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving (and who eats just one serving anyway) is the same as none. So you have to check the ingredient list for hydrogenated oils.


Trans Fats and You - Part 2  

Want to Use This Graphic?[Read part 1 HERE]

Trans fats are found in partially hydrogenated oils, but how are they made?

In the old days, oils were extracted from the fruit, seed, or nuts that contain them, with slow-moving, heavy, stone presses that generated very little, if any, heat. But today, it's done by first crushing the seeds and then heating them to 230 degrees to get the oil flowing before squeezing the crushed, hot, seeds at 10 to 20 tons of pressure per inch --this generates even higher temperatures.

All this heat and pressure causes the weak carbon bonds of unsaturated fatty acids, especially triple unsaturated linolenic acid (an omega 3), to break down and create free radicals. Not only that, but antioxidants (like vitamin E), that are supposed to defend the body against these free radicals, are destroyed by the high heat and pressure.

Throughout the process, the oils are exposed to damaging light and oxygen. The combination of all these things almost guarantee the oils will be rancid. But don't worry, you'll never be able to tell by the time they're through processing it.

We're not done yet. In order to get every last drop of oil from the crushed seeds, processors take the pulp and add one of a number of solvents — usually hexane, a known carcinogen, but there are other equally nasty choices. Solvents also act on the pesticides that are on the seeds, causing them to dissolve off the seeds and into the oil.

These solvents are not, themselves, suitable for human consumption so they have to try to remove them. They do this by boiling the oil (more heat) to get the solvents to evaporate. Up to 100 parts per million remain in the oil.

Next BHT and BHA, both suspected of causing cancer and brain damage, are often added to these oils to replace the natural preservatives (like vitamin E) that were destroyed.

Up 'til now, I've just been telling you how the liquid vegetable oils (corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, etc.) on the grocery store shelves are produced. But you needed to know this before we moved on to hydrogenation.

Hydrogenation is the process that turns polyunsaturated oils which are normally liquid at room temperature, into an oil that is solid at room temperature, like margarine and shortening.

Manufacturers start with the cheapest oils (that would be soy, corn, cottonseed or canola, which are already rancid from the extraction process described above) and they add tiny metal particles --usually nickel oxide. The oil with the nickel in it is then subjected to hydrogen gas in a high-pressure, high-temperature reactor. I don't really know how the nickle oxide is removed from the hardened oil. (If anyone has info on this, please let me know.)

Soap-like emulsifiers and starch are also squeezed into the mixture to give it a better consistency. Then, again, under high heat and pressure, the oil is steam-cleaned. The steam cleaning may be how the nickle is removed, but its main purpose is to deodorize the oil, which by this time has a very unpleasant oder and color.

For example, margarine's color at this point in the process, is grey. This color is removed by bleach and then dyes and strong flavorings are added to make it resemble butter. Finally, the mixture is compressed and packaged in blocks or tubs and sold as a "healthy" alternative to butter.

[Read part 3 HERE]


Trans Fats and You - Part 1  

Want to Use This Graphic?Take a peek at Jenny's post at Nourished Kitchen...
Health News: Trans Fats & Colon Cancer

Here are a few more examples of studies on the health effects of trans fats.

A major comprehensive study was published in April 2006 in the New England Journal of Medicine. It included the following: On a per-calorie basis, trans fats appear to increase the risk of coronary heart disease more than any other macronutrient, conferring a substantially increased risk, even at low levels of consumption (1 to 3 percent of total calories). A 2% increase in energy intake from trans fatty acids was associated with a 23% increase in the incidence of coronary heart disease.

In a cross-over diet trial, scientists took 29 healthy men and women and put some of them on a diet high in trans fat (in the form of partially hydrogenated soybean oil), and others on a diet high in saturated fat (in the form of palm kernel oil). After four weeks on their respective diets, the subjects were switched to the other diet. For each subject, the researchers took four measurements of artery dilation in the arm. They found that the ability of the blood vessels to dilate was 29 percent lower in people who ate the high trans fat diet compared to those on the saturated fat diet. Blood levels of HDL cholesterol (that's the good cholesterol)were 21 percent lower in the high trans fat group compared to the high saturated fat group. (A recent study indicates that keeping HDL cholesterol high may help to reduce the risk of clot-related stroke in elderly men. Click here for information.)

Click here for a study about the role of trans fats and systemic inflammation in heart failure.

In a study in Australia, scientists got dietary information and fat biopsy samples from 79 people who had just had their first heart attack. The researchers also got dietary information and biopsies from 167 people without heart problems. The researchers specifically questioned the participants about the type and amount of fat's they ate. The heart patients and healthy individuals were matched for age, gender, and socioeconomic background. Trans fats were found in significantly higher amounts in the fat tissue taken from the heart attack patients than in the fat tissue of the healthy volunteers. The connection between heart attack risk and trans fats remained even after scientists made statistical adjustments for the supposed detrimental affects of saturated fats in the diet.

In a study in Seattle, 179 cases aged 25 to 74 were out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients attended by paramedics in Seattle from 1988 to 1999. 285 controls, matched to the 179 cases by age and sex, were randomly identified from the community. Participants were free of previous clinically diagnosed heart disease. Blood was obtained at the time of cardiac arrest (cases) or at the time of an interview (controls) to assess trans fat intake. Higher total trans fat in red blood cell membranes was associated with a modest increase in the risk of primary cardiac arrest after adjustment for medical and lifestyle risk factors. Trans isomers of linoleic acid were associated with a three-fold increase in risk.

One 2007 study found, "Each 2% increase in the intake of energy from trans unsaturated fats, as opposed to that from carbohydrates, was associated with a 73% greater risk of ovulatory infertility.

An increased intake of trans-fatty acids may raise the risk of breast cancer by 75 per cent, suggest the results from the French part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. And one recent study has found connections between trans fat and prostate cancer.

And research from Wake Forest University indicates that trans fats make you fatter than other foods with the same number of calories -- but that's not all. They found that trans fats increase the amount of fat around the belly. They do this not just by adding new fat, but also by moving fat from other areas to the belly.

"Trans fat is worse than anticipated," Wake Forest researcher Lawrence L. Rudel, PhD, says in a news release. "Diets rich in trans fat cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen and lead to a higher body weight even when the total dietary calories are controlled."

[Read part 2 HERE and part 3 HERE]


Twofer Tuesday  

Two posts, that I enjoyed, from other blogs.

One for good info...
The Homemakers Resource: Tipster Tuesday: Saving on Chicken

And one for good laughs...
My Little Locust Eater......


That's My King!  

Friday's Favorites + Salt  

We buy Celtic Sea Salt from The Grain & Salt Society and our latest order arrived yesterday. So I decided that, not only would I show you one of my antique store finds, I'd show you how I "prep" my salt.

First, today's favorite... This is an old general store "5 pounds" jar that I got for $5 at a really great junky little antique store (which I rarely get to shop at, let alone buy at). I love this jar!

We buy the salt in five pound bags, so this jar has been perfect for storing it.

When the salt arrives, it is still damp. When you put damp salt in a salt grinder it will clump. Not only that, but when you try to grind it will stick to the outside of the grinding mechanism and if you don't get it off it will clump up and dry hard.

So this is what I do... I cut open the bag and spread the salt out on the largest, rimmed, cookie sheet I have. Then I put it a warm oven for a few hours and stir it occasionally. When I think it's sufficiently dry, I take it out and let it come to room temperature.

Then I add powdered kelp.

I stir again, scoop it into the jar, and refill the salt grinder.

This time, I also put some in a jar for my Mom and Dad.

And here's that wonderful jar of salt.


Wellness Wednesday Tag  

Hmm, it's Wednesday... and you want to talk about a health-related topic... don't you wish you had a nifty little graphic, with some witty alliteration, to put at the top of your post?

Well, here ya' go! ; )

Wellness Wednesday

Feel free to use the above graphic with a few conditions...

  1. I took the photo as well as creating the graphic elements so do not alter the image (other than adjusting its size) or use any part of it for any other purpose without my express permission.
  2. The graphic needs to link back to this post on my blog.
  3. Only G-rated blogs may use this graphic.

Oh, and I would really appreciate a comment with a link to your blog, if decide to use this graphic.

Thank you,

The "Good" Test Video  

Yes, this is long... but it is WELL worth your time to watch it all the way through!


No 'Bucha Pictures  

Ok, time to 'fess-up. I didn't make the Kombucha right away and when I did, it was while I was trying to do a couple other things at the same time. So I forgot to take any pictures of the process. Maybe I'll remember to take some when I harvest this batch and made the next one.


Candida Cleanse - Update  

I feel like I have hit a wall with the Candida cleanse. I'm just not seeing any further improvement. For instance, I'm still having issues with my scalp, eyes, and ears, although not as bad. And the rashes, though A LOT milder are still there.

I think I'm going to have get very strict with myself and start looking into other supplement options.

I'm going to let the kids go off the diet, but we are not going to go crazy with the forbidden foods. We are going to continue to keep the sweets and simple carbs to a minimum.


Giveaway: Organic Valley Coupons  

Nourished Kitchen is giving away $1-off coupons for Organic Valley Butter. I love this butter. In fact I just bought some of their special edition butter from cows pastured on green, summer, grass. I've been using it to make butter oil and giving it to my kids with some Cod Liver Oil because they've all had a cold (Rooster first, then SweatPea, and now Pickle). Bull caught it too but he can't swallow oil without gaging at least twice. So he won't let me come anywhere near him with spoon these days.


New Finds  

I added a separate blog roll for new [to me] blogs I run across called "New Finds". These are blogs that look interesting, but I'm just getting familiar with them, so I don't know if I want to add them to my regular list, yet.

Now, I'm ok with differing political views as long as the blog owners are not pounding their podium and as long as they're not too wacko. The same goes with religious views (to a point --there are some beliefs I wouldn't want to be responsible for giving an audience to, on Judgement Day).

I'm saying all this just so you know that I don't know everything about these blogs yet. And while I may not agree with everything I've seen so far, I haven't found anything particularly offencive. If you do run across something offencive or disconcerting, let me know so I can take that blog off my list.


The SCOBY's Are Here!  

The SCOBY's arrived yesterday! Thank you Floydian!

A SCOBY is a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria & Yeast and it's used to brew Kombucha. Kombucha is a probiotic drink and a good substitute for other not-so-good-for-you drinks.

So, SweetPea and I will be making 'Bucha today. I'll take pictures and write more about it tomorrow.


Our "Real Food" Plan  

I read labels. Yep, I'm one of "those people". Ya' know, the ones you see in the grocery store, with a baby in the cart chewing on the handlebar, two other kids blocking the aisle by chasing each other around in circles screaming "I'm gonna to tickle you!", while she's distracted staring at the labels on the sour cream containers so she can find the one that just says, "Cream, Cultures".

We have been on the path to a healthier way of eating for a while now. And, even though we still aren't where we'd like to be, I thought I'd let you in on our plan to get there.

First, you have to understand that we believe the best food is real food. Real food may not be what you are used to thinking about when you think of health food. But nutrition is all about nutrients. We, as a society, seem to have lost sight of this very important fact.

We all know, at least superficially, that good health is dependent upon "good nutrition". But what that really means, is that your body relies on a steady supply of a wide variety of nutrients in order to properly function and repair itself. And the best place to get these nutrients, is from food. Specifically, nutrient-dense, real foods. Problem is, most of the food we eat here in the USA, especially the "health" foods, are either mostly devoid of usable nutrients, are "fortified" with a few synthetic nutrients that your body doesn't know what to do with, or they all contain the same few nutrients over and over again.

So, the goal we are moving toward, is to make every bite count by getting rid of the empty-calorie, processed junk and eating nutrient-dense, real foods.

These are the kinds of things we eat at our house:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Eggs
  • Milk & dairy products
  • Veggies
  • Fruit
  • Nuts & nut butters
  • Whole grain bread, rice, and pasta
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, butter
  • Natural sweeteners

These are the things we normally try to avoid, or are working toward eliminating from our diet:

  • Soy
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated anything
  • Oils processed with solvents or high heat
  • Canola oil, Soybean oil, and Safflower oil in any form
  • Highly processed or chemically preserved foods
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors
  • White flour (bread, pasta, etc.)
  • White rice
  • Sugar

The veggies we eat are organic about 95% of the time, or they come from our garden.

We don't eat very much rice or pasta (pasta is basically just empty calories), but we do eat quite a bit of bread. I don't make our bread (SweetPea would like to learn how, though), but we buy only whole wheat bread with no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or hydrogenated oils.

When we can, we travel about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (one way) to buy organically raised, grass-fed beef, beef liver, beef bones, and pork. But that's not as often as we would like because it is a long, expensive trip. The bones are for making beef broth/stock --a very healthy, nutrient-rich food.

The milk we drink is real milk, and we would like for more of our dairy products to be raw and organic.

We usually buy eggs that come from pastured or free-range hens. As for chicken meat, buying pastured chickens is just too expensive for us right now, so we would like to start raising our own chickens for meat and eggs. We've had a few laying hens in the past so that's no biggy. But we would have to learn how to "process" [slaughter & clean] chickens at home if we didn't want a meat locker telling us which parts of our own chickens we would be allowed to keep after they'd processed them. (They usually don't let you keep the feet, heads, etc. because they can sell these to ethnic markets and exporters.)

We want to do more wild harvesting of fruit, berries, and nuts, grow our own fruit trees and berry bushes (we have some planted but they're not producing, yet), and get our mature pecan trees to produce better. But even if they don't, with a little planning, we should be able to pick up all the pecans we want from some local trees we know about.

We need to eat a wider variety of meat --like lamb, game birds, more fish, and venison. The venison shouldn't be hard to find, here in the Southeast. But you pretty much have to be a hunter to get game birds inexpensively. And lamb may be a pipe dream, unless we raise our own. And though we do have the land to raise at least one lamb or miniature cow, none of us are familiar with animal husbandry so that's kind of a scary thought. LOL!

And I'm looking forward to adding tallow, schmaltz, and lard our list of cooking fats, but we haven't found affordable organic sources for them yet. I plan to ask the butcher about beef and pork fat the next time we make the trip. If I can get the raw fat from him then I will render it to make tallow and lard. To learn more about why we would include these supposedly unhealthy fats, click HERE.

The sweeteners we use are honey, maple syrup, molasses, stevia, and occasionally one of the varieties of unrefined sugar. Unrefined sugar isn't completely unrefined, it's just sugar that has not had all the molasses and nutrients removed in order to make it white and give it a more neutral flavor. It resembles brown sugar, but conventional brown sugar is just white sugar with some things added back in to make it brown and flavorful - it doesn't have the nutrients of the cane juice that it came from.

Another thing we need to eat more of is fermented and cultured foods. I used to make kombucha but I ruined the SCOBY's. Just recently, an OLF volunteered to send me some of her spares. So as soon as they arrive, I'll be in the 'bucha making bidness again!

We do eat organic, whole milk yogurt with live cultures, and I make kefir. I use the kefir in just about anything that I would use buttermilk in. But other than Pickle and myself, no one else in the family will drink it straight. Although, Rooster and SweetPea do get some in an occasional smoothie. So, I ought to get my act together and make some sauerkraut, more beet kvass, and try some of the recipes I have for fermented condiments and "pickled" veggies.

Now I must admit that during our yeast cleanse, things have been different. We buy stuff I would never normally buy, because it is "legal" on the diet, convenient, and keeps us all from feeling deprived. Also, Bull "has to have" sodas (I find myself craving them, too). So he brings home at least one 2 liter just about every weekend and we all partake. Usually he'll only bring home sodas that are made with sugar instead of HFCS. During the candida cleanse it has been only sodas sweetened with Splenda (which is one of those things I would normally avoid like the plague).

I know that some of the things I've talked about, need some 'splanin' but that will have to wait 'til another day and another post. I just wanted to get started on this topic and so this post is the first but not the last time I will talk about what I'm learning and trying to put into practice concerning real food and nutrition.


Long Time No Say  

Wow, it's been a whole week since I last posted!

I've got loads of ideas for posts and some in the works, but it seems whenever I'm online I'm busy with something else.

I hope to post another favorite today, I need to give an update on the cleanse, and I'm working on a post about nutrition and good health for Wednesday. Oh! and then there's that post about plantain that I promised to write.

Sorry to have gone AWOL for a while... don't give up on me.