WFMW: Crusty Curmudgeons
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My kids hate to eat bread crusts. I can't say that I blame them.

When I was a new adult, I virtuously ate them, convinced that they must be more nutritious since they were, well, brown and crusty. Health food = heroic virtue to eat was a phase I was in before I learned to cook. Once I found out the truth, that they were just browner and drier bits of bread with no enhanced value, I stopped forcing myself to eat them too.

Now, I have tried to make the kids eat their bread crusts. They've done it, usually while crying. Every day. And it was a battle. Every day. Over the edges of bread. I decided to cut my losses and started tearing them off. Martha Stewart probably sells a bread de-cruster that would leave cute edges with a holiday theme, but at Mama's house, the kids are lucky I tear them off with my hands instead of my teeth. Around here, teeth are reserved for opening packages.

I finally got smart and started removing the crusts before they were smeared with peanut butter/chicken salad/tuna. Now I remove the top crust, tear it into pieces, and set it aside to dry. At the end of the day I put it in my jar - and whenever I need bread crumbs, I'm all set!

Another trick: the heel of the bread is the loneliest piece in the whole bag. I used to entice the children by telling them it was the brownest one, and no one would have a piece that was as brown as theirs was. Now that they are wise to that trick, I've found a new one. Put it on the sandwich backwards! If they don't see the brown, they are less likely to taste the brown. This is especially effective for grilled cheese.

Works for me! For more tips, visit Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/31/2007 05:51:00 AM | Permalink | |
Totally Random Linky Love
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
This is the real ADHD me, ya'll! I tend to hop about various topics, starting rabbit trails but never finishing them letting others come to their own conclusions.

Well, my article on why we don't celebrate Halloween is popular! It's nice to know that I'm not the only nut out there (LOL).

Babara at Mommylife started a good discussion about large families, and if they are held to a higher standard.

She also has a callout for any family with a newborn Downs Syndrome baby. A movie filming for Lifetime network is trying to cast a Downs child under eight pounds. They are filming in Canada, and did not find a single baby in the entire country under the age of four months. In America, of children thought to have Downs Syndrome only 1 out of 10 will survive to be born (elective abortion kills the other 90%). Looks like they have the same problem up north, as well. I simply will never understand why we as a nation insist on killing the only segment of our population who is consistently joyful, full of unconditional love, and law-abiding. Can we really complain about violence when we murder the most gentle ones among us?

Passing this along on the Pro-Life topic: Why Oppose Abortion? The author puts forth the argument that he's not sure when life begins, and that's why he's prolife.

My sister was inspired by my free lapbooks post to write a Wikipedia article. She's looking for pics to post, so if you've got a great one, put it up there! Anyone can edit Wikipedia as well, so feel free to add your thoughts and observations (I bet you could make it a school lesson too).
She's the red head in the picture. I'm the bald fat one.

And finally, for your amusement, How to Make a Box from a sheet of paper. Last week I made donut muffins for our priest and put them in one of these. The muffins whip up really fast, which was great since I had to make two batches due to little munchers. They were a tad dry, though.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/30/2007 07:36:00 AM | Permalink | |
Free Pilgrim Mini Unit Study
Monday, October 29, 2007
Courtesy of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

Go here and enter the promo code UnitStudies4School.

I hurt my toe (again!) and didn't get much done this weekend, plus I need to spend time today making a Franciscan habit for an 8 year old without a pattern. Posting will most likely be light, unless I get bored and/or all of the littlies nap at the same time, in which case posting may be heavy. Apparently I'd make a good weatherman, with forecasts like those!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/29/2007 10:14:00 AM | Permalink | |
Free Lapbooks
Saturday, October 27, 2007
We tried lapbooking last month. Each child was supposed to choose a planet or astronomical theme and make a lapbook. We've never made lapbooks before, but looked up several online. Mr P did not like it at all, and it was a moderate success. Eventually he warmed up to the concept, but our first lapbooks are a little... pathetic.
I think for our next one I'll actually use a program so they'll have a better idea of what they are, how to make them, and get some creative inspiration!
Mr S is 5 and in Kindergarten and wanted to make one too. His planet was Saturn and his lapbook isn't bad for someone who is still learning to color in the lines and who can't read yet!

Some good candidates:
Free Art Appreciation at Hands of a Child - this looks like a good overview of art from the 16th-20th centuries, covering composition, types of art, elements of art, and lots of different artists, from Leonardo DaVinci to Salvadore Dali.

Free Modesty Lapbook from Homeschool Estore. Looks fun! I'll probably adapt it for Miss E, she's only in first grade, but I like the scope of it and it has instructions for lots of fun little minibooks, flaps, and boxes that we can use for other lapbooks.

A bunch of free ones from Homeschool Helper, including George Washington, Chemistry, Weather, and more. Lots of ideas for flaps, boxes, windows, minibooks, etc. on the right side of the page!

Preschool Bible Lapbooks at LittleBlots. The Adam and Eve one looks cute for Mr S who really liked making his Saturn folder.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/27/2007 10:07:00 AM | Permalink | |
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Carolina Canonball recently asked readers to divulge their vices - specifically their cable vices. I was surprised at how many people watched Family Guy and kept it a secret! Husband dear just started watching it (we're slow about the zeitgeist around here) and it's pretty funny. But I would never admit to watching it in person.

I'm going to 'fess up. Husband dear and I have our must see TV - namely Heroes and Lost (Lost will be back in February). The good thing (or bad, depending on your perspective) is that we are on Eastern time, which means that these shows start at 9 or 10 pm. Which is good, because they are not for little eyes!

My other big vice? Big Love. That show about Mormon polygamists starring Bill Paxton and Jeanne Tripplehorn. I accidentally started watching it because we got free HBO for a while after signing up for service at our new house - I thought it was a documentary about polygamy until I saw the A-list (ok. B-list) cast. I'm totally hooked now.

Another bonus: we don't get HBO anymore, because I'm not gonna pay for it (as wonderful as Crashbox was - the first educational children's show that did not make me lose my mind!). BUT... we do have Blockbuster online, with unlimited rentals and the complete first season is out. I have to get them one disc at a time, with 2-3 episodes per disk. This is great because I can skip the stupid steamy boring scenes where they show how much they like being married, KWIM? Plus I can watch it after the kids are asleep.

And... I'm not sure I should admit this, even in anonymous Internet land... I like reality shows. Specifically, one called Better Half, wherein experts have to teach their spouse how to do their job, then the spouses compete. Hilarious! The first episode I saw was stand up comics - to professional comics had to teach their wives (one was a neurologist!) to do a set in front of a crowd. I missed last week's, which had award winning hairstylists trying to teach their husbands to cut a new, edgy style in two days. That's comic gold, baby.
I also watch SuperNanny (I find the naughty spot hilarious. There's something that doesn't work for me, although we do corners around here). It's like rubbernecking for moms... the parenting is such a wreck, you can't look away.

My all time favorite show? How Clean is Your House on BBC America. Kim and Aggie find some truly horrible hovels (how about an organic goat farmer that hasn't mopped her floor in seven years? Eww!) and clean them up. Makes my house look almost Martha Stewart-worthy! The kids watch this one with me though.

How about you? Confess in the comments!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/25/2007 07:13:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Secret Math Weapon
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Works for Me WednesdayWe've all had those days in Homeschoolville. Mom has a cold and her brain isn't quite working right. The second grader is burned out on workbooks and just wants to play Legos all day. The baby is teething. It's raining, or alternately, it's a beautiful day but we Have. To. Do. Math.

Suddenly, Mom finds herself wondering whose idea this whole learning at home thing was, anyway.

My secret weapon for such times? The change jar. We all have one, and if you don't, go look by the washing machine. There should be some choice coinage there (Oh. My. Word! I have watched too many Pauly Shore movies, apparently. Sorry. That just slipped out.)

The change jar is a portable, hands on math lesson expandable through grade 3.

Preschoolers can count the coins, or match pennies to nickels (one to one correspondence)
They can make designs with the different colors and sizes.

Kindergartners can trace the coins for handwriting practice (fine motor skills). They can start matching five pennies with a nickel, ten pennies with a dime, twenty five pennies to a quarter.
They can measure, too. How many pennies long is their hand? How many nickels long is the toaster?

First graders can start shopping. Make a grocery list. Make up prices. Have them find out if you have enough money (addition). Make an extravagant grocery list. Have them choose which item to put back, so you have enough money (subtraction).
Count by fives, count by tens.
Group coins by like amounts.

Second graders can start multiplying. How many nickels to make a quarter? 5x5 = 25. How much is 6 nickels worth? 6x5 = 30. It's a natural progression from skip counting.
They can also help you roll them to take to the bank.

Third graders can start dividing. A candy bar costs 40 cents. If I pay you 10 cents an hour to mow the lawn, how many hours do you have to work?
You can do remainders, too. If a candy bar costs 37 cents, and you work 4 hours to pay for it, how much money do you have left over?
Let's do hands on fractions! A candybar is 40 cents, and is half off. How much?

You can multiply percentages, too. If a candybar costs 40 cents, but is marked down 10% off, how much does it cost? (We love markdowns!) Sales tax is 7%. If a candy bar is marked 50
cents, how much will you have to give the cashier? How many candy bars will have to be sold to pay for that ill advised roundabout in the middle of your neighborhood? Okay, that last question might need to wait for civics class.

Kids love money and the best part is, this math class can travel with you wherever you go!

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more tips!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/24/2007 06:30:00 AM | Permalink | |
My Kids are Weird
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Two things actually heard at dinner time around my house:

Mr P: No! Not Pizza! I hate pizza.
(There's one in every crowd. Oh well. You really can't please everyone.)


Mr R: Mom! Can I have the rest of the spinach?
Miss E: No! I want some spinach!
Mr R:Mom said I could have it! Ha ha I have spinach and you don't I have spinach and you don't.
Me: Cut it out or no one gets spinach for the rest of the week!

or maybe not so weird:

Baby C (upon awakening in the morning and staggering to the kitchen): Cookie, Mommy? Peez?


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/23/2007 07:20:00 AM | Permalink | |
The Dinos have Got to Go Back
Monday, October 22, 2007
Another recall: WalMart recalls their "realistic" plastic toy animals.

Great. I know I've got at least three sets of the dinosaurs, and I think perhaps one set of the Jungle Animals. Actually, looking at the picture, I know we have the jungle animals because the hippo is always on the floor, and it looks a lot like something that fell out of a diaper when viewed from above, and more than once my husband has been totally grossed out (including an occasional girlie squeal) by what ends up being a plastic pachyderm.

What is especially concerning is that the lead is not in the paint, it's in the plastic base material. I thought we'd be safe this Christmas if we stayed away from painted toys. Now I'm not so sure!

What's next?

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/22/2007 11:59:00 AM | Permalink | |
A Timely Rerun
I posted this last year. Here it is again for your edification. Am I still crazy? Because you know I try to live up to my rep as the crazy cat kid woman on the block.

Why We Don't Celebrate Halloween

For the next two weeks, if you've been directed here by me because you just don't get our weirdness, please read the entire post.

This post is for all of those people out there who simply cannot believe we don't pay $20 for a cheap costume, then let our small children browbeat our neighbors into giving them candy, so they can gorge themselves and end up grounded for a week due to their poor behavior.

Our family does not celebrate Halloween. We usually celebrate All Saint's Day, a Catholic holiday that occurs on November 1. This year we are going to homeschool All Saint's Day party in the next town over.

1. We are not pagans. I know it sounds flippant, but Halloween did originate as a Gaelic pagan festival, and that's why All Saint's Day is on Nov. 1. The Church, in her wisdom, recognized that the culture was used to having a big celebration around that time of year, and decided to give the new Christians something good to actually celebrate. Originally called Samhain, the name Halloween, I'm sure you've heard, has derived from All Hallow's Eve - the night before All Hallow's day, aka All Saint's Day.

2. Sure, you say, but it's no longer a pagan holiday, but a secular American tradition. Well, no, it's not. No matter how you try to deny it, witches, ghosts, vampires, and being scared all pervade the Halloween celebration. Women's magazines post elaborate recipes to make candied witche's brooms (you've got to see this, BTW - Martha Stewart would be proud!) and ghost lollipops. Fake vampire teeth and blood are sold by the bagful to give to trick-or-treaters. You can buy chocolates in the shape of dismembered body parts. Superstitions are dragged out and celebrated, with black cats taking the center stage. Not only is superstition wrong and specifically forbidden by God, the underlying, subtle message is that some of God's creation is intrinsically bad or unlucky. (Poor cat. Too bad God didn't like you and made you black!) Adults can see past this (usually), but children are much more literal.

3. The atmosphere that pervades Halloween is not one of "family values". There is no denying that many feel freed by social constraints on this night, free to be daring, wild, different. In this sense, it is much like Mardi Gras. You can do things on Halloween that you would never do in real life, whether it is participate in Fear Factor type dares at a party or TPing the neighbor's tree.

4. The costumes are often inappropriate. Young girls dress in bras and pantaloons or strapless gowns to be Disney Princesses. French maids abound, frolicking in the street. Bratz dolls appear on your doorstep, complete with glittery lip gloss to compliment their diapers. The most basic costumes, whether they be fairies or pirates, are 'sexed' up for the girls. The boys generally appear as serial killers, rubber weapons dripping in blood, ghosts, zombies, ghouls. Or maybe they dress up like their favorite sports hero, the one who beats his wife or evades taxes. Children imitate and fantasize about being Christina Aguilera, witches, or psychotic individuals. Is this good character training?

5. Halloween is not respectful of the dead. A corporal work of mercy is to bury the dead, and a spiritual work of mercy is to pray for them. Respect for the dead is very, very important in Catholic culture, as the body was once the temple of the Holy Spirit and often contained Christ himself in the form of the Eucharist. Mocking the dead has no place in Christianity, whether it be dancing skeletons, zombies, or fake dismembered body parts hanging from a car trunk. What are we teaching our children - that it's fun to make fun of corpses?

6. "Trick or Treat" is not a good thing for children to say. Sure, it seems harmless, but underneath, it is blackmail. Give me candy, or I'll do something you don't like. I don't think it is a good idea to tell our kids it's okay to speak to adults that way, even if it is only one day a year. (Remember, Honor thy Father and Mother? Means every day, all the time. Not 364 days a year with one day off.) Also, there is the additional problem of slightly older children actually performing tricks, egging mailboxes, tp-ing cars, ringing doorbells and running. Authorities, whether parental or official, often turn a blind eye to such harmless pranks on this night. The fact remains, though, that these are sinful activities and parents are responsible for helping their children avoid sin.

7. The candy. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Gorging on candy, fighting over MINE MINE MINE, selfishness, and self-entitlement abound on this night. The alternative is worse - parcel out one or two pieces until you run out around Christmastime, for that extra fun time at the dentist next year.

I have no problem with scarecrows, Indian corn, harvest themes, or even jack-o-lanterns (provided they are carved with a cheerful grin to welcome guests and not mutilated with fangs and a 666 on the head). I have a problem with the evil atmosphere that pervades our culture in October, that is so encompassing and pervasive I can't even take the children to Burger King playland because they have Freddie Krueger placemats.

Yes, my children are horribly deprived. So what.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/22/2007 06:30:00 AM | Permalink | |
8 Random Things
Friday, October 19, 2007
I was tagged by Proverbs 31 to tell you 8 random things about my kitchen forever ago - I didn't forget!

My life is pretty random, and I don't know if it's interesting enough for a post - here goes. Try not to fall asleep.

1. I have some really big pots, and I know how to use them. I bought husband dear a 24" wok from a restaurant store last year for Christmas, and he knows how to use it!

2. This house has the biggest kitchen I've ever had, but I still needed more storage. I have a bookshelf that holds my potatoes, etc., cookbooks, mixing bowls, and dishtowels; a dresser holds my small appliances, tupperwares, misc. supplies, and a whole drawer taken up by tea.

3. A few years ago, I saw a flat topped stove in a store and decided that was the perfect solution to a messy kitchen. I always wanted one, and now I finally have one! And the are terrible. I hate it. If I spill anything while cooking, it instantly sears to cooktop. Heaven help me if I let the noodles boil over! There is nowhere for the water to go, so it covers the entire stovetop before dripping to the floor - boiling hot.

4. I have a naked woman on my counter. Okay, it's really a vintage tin from Godiva chocolates, and you can't really tell she's naked because of the hair and all. I keep Mr R's vitamins in it.

5. I do not own a food processor, an electric can opener, or a blender. My waffle maker gets lots of use, as does my coffee pot! The coffee pot is the only appliance that gets left out and plugged in all the time (since the demise of the crockpot, that is!) I'm intrinsically lazy, so I make waffles on the waffle maker and then make "waffle eggs" to go with it - it saves washing the scrambled egg pan.

6. The smallest "kitchen" I ever had was when we lived in a motel for two months. We plugged our microwave and crockpot in on top of the dresser, and paid $15 extra a week for a small fridge. Dishes had to be washed in the bathtub. The kids got used to powdered milk - I would mix up one quart in the morning, and it's all that would fit in the little fridge! You can cook anything in a crockpot.

7. Every year in September, husband dear likes to buy a couple of bushels of green chiles, roast them, and then freeze them. The smell of peppers cooking makes me sick - luckily, I was spared this year because no one sells green chiles on the side of the road in SC. I have been made sick by the smell of boiled peanuts and ONE WHOLE CAN of salt. Husband dear also makes other weird things that I won't touch (but that the kids love), including tripe menudo and tako. Tako is raw octopus steeped in soy sauce, kind of like ceviche. No thanks. Husband dear likes to cook, but we don't really cook together. My dishes might get cooties.

8. I cook by the seat of my pants. My recipes go something like this: Add about the same amount of rice and milk. Stir in some sugar (rice pudding) or pour milk over it like cereal (scalloped potatoes). I think this is an inherited trait, as I have a family recipe for oatmeal cookies that instructs "add milk until it [the dough] is juicy". The only thing I really use recipes for are baking. I also substitute A LOT. Maybe too much!

I tag my most faithful commenters who also have blogs: Daja, Birdie, Mom2Fur, Heather, and Barb SFO.

And any one else that wants to play! Leave a note in the comments if you do it and I'll take a peek.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/19/2007 07:11:00 AM | Permalink | |
Random Thoughts
Thursday, October 18, 2007
This blog is my journal and record, of sorts... one that I know will not get lost in a move or milk spilled on it! Some thoughts to keep for posterity:

Baby X had sweet potatoes for the first time yesterday. We are expecting orange poop anytime now, at which point we will learn about the digestive system in Science class.

Our school has a name: St. Joseph Academy for Wayward Children. It makes me laugh when I get my teacher freebies in the mail.

I changed Mr R's supplement from ZincKing to RhinoZinc, because the taste was too strong. He is supposed to take two RhinoZincs, but usually only actually gets one. No change noticed so far - maybe he is ready for a smaller dose.

Mr R's current supplementation program: one Tall Tree, one RhinoZinc, one Coromega; two Inositol and two Choline mixed with applesauce, to give him:

1300 mg. Inositol, for anxiety and impulse control
620 mg. Choline, for rages/mood swings/impulse control
650 mg. long chain fatty acids because... that comes with the Coromega
350 mg. EPA
230 mg. DHA (fish oil is for mood stability/decreased mood lability) (Total 1230 mg. Omega 3 Fatty acids)
7 mg. Zinc (down from 12 mg.)
5 mg B6
10 mcg B12
5 mg B2
5 mg B1

The B and Zinc are for pyroluria. Sometimes he gets 3 Inositols (1950 mg.) on weekends when schedules are disrupted, and sometimes acidophilus as needed.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/18/2007 07:12:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Cold Tea
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
We're sick around here, with the first cold of the season. Too bad it's still hovering in the 90's in our little stretch of the Carolinas! I might break down and turn the AC back on since the house didn't cool down at all last night with the windows and fans.

One thing that helps us feel better is tea. I've tried several brands of medicinal tea, and these are my favorite - the kids love it too! It does not taste like everyday tea, it is their special "feel better" drink, and an easy way to encourage them to drink liquids.
Traditional Medicinals has a kid's line:

Even inhaling the steam helps congestion!

I love this:
It does have a licorice flavor, but feels sooo goood when you have a scratchy throat.

I've been please with every Traditional Medicinals tea I've tried, actually. I used to buy them at the grocery store in the big city, but now that I live in podunkdunkaville I order them online through with Mr R's supplements (the cheapest place on the web that I've found!). sells them by the case as well.

In a pinch, peppermint tea will help congestion (and also settle tummies!) and you can find that almost everywhere.

It's important to brew medicinal teas correctly. Most will tell you how much water to use - generally 8 oz., which is one cup. So get a measuring cup, pour one cup of water into your mug, and eyeball how much water it is.

Boil the water - a good rolling boil, not just steamy water from the microwave.

Pour over teabag (if you add more water than called for, that's okay, just finish the whole cup to get the benefit). Cover the cup with a saucer or something, and let brew for at least 5 minutes (longer if the box indicates. Some teas take up to 10 minutes).

Add honey to sweeten - honey will also help coat scratchy throats as well as having antibiotic properties and micronutrients.

For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/17/2007 06:15:00 AM | Permalink | |
Goodbye Faithful Friend
Monday, October 15, 2007
An Ode to My Crockpot Now in Haiku!

Faithful kitchen slave
Eager, ready to create
Pork roast perfection

Chili, chicken, soup
Helpful friend, I regret we
Never had breakfast

Overnight oatmeal
Wassail, enchiladas, cake
Recipes untried

Lid crashing to floor
Roasting pans and hot kitchens
Are my future now

The web is no help
Futile search, crockpot dot com
Tops no longer sold

Cheaper to buy new
A scan of ebay reveals
Time for shopping

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/15/2007 08:42:00 AM | Permalink | |
Science is Cool #1
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I don't know what is more surprising - that water does this:

or that no one has ever electrified water in this way before.

Science is Cool!

If Someone didn't design this, than water is one heck of an accident!

It is the only substance that expands when it freezes.
It is liquid in average conditions - other elements that are similar to oxygen form gases when bonded with hydrogen.
It also can be found naturally formed in solid, liquid, and vapor conditions at normal airpressure.

While we are on the subject, how cool is this invention?
I saw it demonstrated on TV. He filled it with mucky aquarium water, tipped it over, and pretty soon pure water came out! Imagine how many lives this will save. Right now it's horribly expensive - but I'm guessing prices will come down with mass production.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/11/2007 06:40:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Butter Spread
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Works for Me WednesdayI've been trying to eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the amount of trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils my family eats. Five years ago, only the health nuts were raising the alarm on hydrogenated fats; now even the American Heart Association is on board.

Newer information also seems to indicate that saturated fats, and butter fat, are not necessarily bad. Eating cholesterol does not necessarily mean you will raise your blood cholesterol.

What does that mean for us? We're eating butter.

This has been a hard adjustment for me. I grew up eating chemically altered corn oil margarine. I'm a product of the four food groups nutritional education (that's so 80's! We've got a food pyramid now, even if we don't know how to Walk Like an Egyptian!) I really didn't like the taste at first. It tasted like food nutty cream, instead of plastic.

Plus, I'm a cheap-o good steward of our money and butter is expensive! One pound of margarine is 60 cents; a pound of butter is $2.25. And, it's hard to use. Leave a stick on the counter so it's soft enough to spread, and the baby sticks her finger in it all day. Leave it in the fridge, and you end up with a lump of cold fat tearing holes in your bread.
butter stick
My solution: make a spread. You will stretch your butter dollar, and it becomes spreadable very quickly from the fridge.

Put 1 c. softened butter in a deep bowl. Whip it with a mixer until fluffy. Add 1/2 c. olive oil (). Mix it together, then slowly add 1/2 c. cold water. Watch out, this is the splatter phase!

Pour/scoop into a tub, and store in the fridge.

  • The ratio is roughly 2:1:1 for butter, oil, and water. So 1/2 c. butter would use 1/4 c. oil, and 1/4 c. water.
  • use light olive oil if you don't want a strong taste; I just use regular extra virgin because I like the added flavor.
  • light olive oil means that it is light tasting; it has the same amount of calories as other olive oils.
It has 25% less calories than butter, costs less than straight butter, spreads much more easily. Works for me! For more tips, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/10/2007 06:46:00 AM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Last Sunday was the nationwide LifeChain, during which time communities across the U.S. all stood together, at the same time, against abortion.

Unfortunately, it rained in South Carolina that day!

We managed to muddle through.

What is interesting and surprising to me is how many people driving by honked in support or gave us a thumbs up. Modern secular culture tends to make pro-lifers feel marginalized, but the fact that abortion kills children is really a main stream idea.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/09/2007 07:17:00 AM | Permalink | |
Clean Your House in 20 Minutes
CNN is always so helpful! Today's tip: Clean your house in 20 minutes.

Although, truth be told, I didn't even need 20 minutes. No, as tempting as it may be, I did not use a bomb, pray for a tornado, or commit arson.

Instead, I simply followed the article's advice!

For example:

Family room, living room, foyer, 6 minutes daily
Start with the sofa -- as long as it's in disarray, your living room will never look tidy. Once you've fluffed the pillows and folded the throws, you're halfway home. If you pop in a CD while you dust, you should be able cover the whole room by the end of the third track.

• Pick up crumbs and dust bunnies with a handheld vacuum (one minute).
• Fluff the cushions and fold throws after use (two minutes).
• Wipe tabletops and spot-clean cabinets when you see fingerprints (one minute).
• Straighten coffee-table books and magazines, throw out newspapers, put away CDs and videos (two minutes.)

I don't have any throw pillows. I gave them up the 1,000th time a small child stomped on them as they slid to the floor.

Fold throws after use? Around here we don't bother with that. The throws go straight to laundry after being used as a giant napkin for early morning kid crud - milk moustache removing, nose wiping, diaper changing pad. If the throw manages to survive meal time unscathed, it is used as a fort - again, no folding necessary. Efficiency is the name of the game!

The wiping of the fingerprints was the easiest. I didn't see any, possibly because they were camouflaged by my clever decorating scheme of NewlyWedNewlyPoor/Fisher Price. A stable of My Little Ponies battling Bionicles, until crushed underfoot by the DadTroll, is a great disguise for peanut butter smears. Plus it helps the Bionicles stick to the floor and remain upright. An all natural solution!

The newspaper was already thrown away, since the baby gummed it and pretty much ruined it for everyone else. There were no CD's to put away, since there is never a moment's peace and quiet to listen to them. No videos either, after the unfortunate VCR-as-Piggy Bank incident. So, to be fair, I did start out ahead of the game.

I didn't even have to vacuum, preferring instead to gather up the area rug, toss on the back deck while simultaneously slamming the door to avoid the dust cloud. I think I'll tape a Swiffer pad to the baby and let him loose to finish the job - it's important for children to help around the house.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/09/2007 07:12:00 AM | Permalink | |
Nobel Prize for Stem Cell Research
Monday, October 08, 2007
...and it had nothing to do with human embryos.

Trio shares Nobel Prize in Medicine

More winners to be announced throughout the week.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/08/2007 07:18:00 AM | Permalink | |
Goose Creek Bomb Suspects
Terror in My Backyard, part 2

Hey, remember these guys, and how they were caught about a mile from my favorite Wal-Mart? (That's right folks. I'm a StuffMart connoisseur and I even have my favorite, preferred locations. Despite the soul-sucking design theme, all StuffMarts are not the same. I have a favorite Target location too.)

Remember how I said their story didn't make sense - that they were simply driving to North Carolina for a birthday celebration, from Florida, and golly gee officer, we's thought that pipe bomb was just a big ol' bottle rocket?

Hate to say I told you so, but they are in the news again (Ok. Mama loves to say I told you so. I lied.)

One of the suspects, Youssef Megahed, researched high powered rifles and possibly tried to buy one. A tape has been found of him making weird hand signals and sign language - a code that the CIA claims to have cracked.

His partner in crime, Mohamed Ahmed, has admitted to making training videos to help his brethren (in Egypt, I suppose) defend themselves against the infidels (that would be our soldiers).

I know we haven't heard the full story - yet. It is interesting that the Egyptian government is paying the defense attorney bill.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/08/2007 06:45:00 AM | Permalink | |
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I found some old Foxfire books at a little used bookstore. Have you ever seen the Foxfire books? They are awesome! In the 70's, a high school teacher had his class start interviewing the local mountain people (Appalachian) and recording their (dying) way of life. They published a Foxfire magazine, which became a book, which became several books. The books are loose collections of articles.

Foxfire 2 tells how the people would make and wash their clothes. These people were dirt poor, and didn't have access to things even the most poverty stricken among us take for granted - like cloth, laundry soap, thread.

The chapter on weaving cloth (yes, weaving) starts with sheep. When they claim to do everything from scratch, they do mean everything.

So, they would shear the sheep, prepare the wool (wash twice in lye soap, which they also made themselves), comb the wool, spin the wool to thread on a spinning wheel (sooo Rumpelstiltskin of them), then get out the loom.

There is a brief chapter on collecting indigo root, oak leaves, hickory bark, and more to create various clothing dyes. Whether it's better to use green oak leaves or to dye clothes yellow, then blue, to create a green shade is hotly debated!

The next chapter in the book details how to wash the clothes in an iron pot... it starts with building a beating bench and stick. I'll stick to Spray N Wash, thankyouverymuch! Then they would boil the clothes, rench the clothes (which seems to mean rinsing and wringing in a combined movement), hang the clothes to dry. The book includes a brief aside on how to build a trench to make lye. Lye soap is made with lye and tallow (animal fat). You get lye from drippings of water and woodashes. It's nasty, nasty stuff - very alkaline!

I'm a closet survivalist (I can tell you several ways to start a fire without matches, and how to get drinking water if you are on a desert island) (While we are on the topic, Lee the Survivorman would win against Bear Grylls anyday). I love these books!

What really brought it into perspective was this. Tuesday night at 9 pm I read about washing clothes in a pot. By midnight, three of our children had awakened with the dreaded stomach bug.

So husband dear took them into the well-lit bathroom of our temperature controlled house, washed them with soap someone else made and guaranteed not to sting sick little girls' eyes, wrapped them in a fresh cotton towel still scented like vanilla dryer sheets, and put them back to bed. Meanwhile, I took the dirty bedclothes to out other bathroom with running water, washed the chunks off, started them chugging away in the machines, grabbed a bottle of bleach spray someone else prepared for me, and wiped the tub out with papertowels, which I simply tossed in the trash. The trash that I did not have to haul to the back forty and burn later.

In the middle of what could have been a total pity party (I'll never get any sleep! I'll have to do laundry - that is, push buttons on my machine - all day tomorrow!) I was able to find thankfulness.

It's all a matter of perspective.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/04/2007 07:33:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Waddya Wanna Know?
Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Today is a Works For Me Wednesday with a twist. I'll be asking for your input and best tips!

My current pressing problem?

How do I keep Baby C out of the fruit.

Baby C loves fruit. Specifically, she loves the first bite of fruit. She will take one or two bites out of three or four apple-peaches, which is what she calls all fruit except for Nanas. I've tried storing it in the fridge (she's too smart for that) and on top of the fridge (which led to the unfortunate multiplication of fruit flies - out of sight, out of mind!)

Two days ago I caught her eating an apple in bed. At 10 pm! She was asleep at 8, so I can only surmise that she hid a midnight snack under her pillow. Oh, I forgot to mention that fun aspect of it - the slighty moldy plum halves and apple cores stashed throughout the house. It's a wonder she hasn't died of fruit poisoning.

I've seen fruit displayed in pretty glass apothecary jars, with lids, but I foresee a loud crash followed by the consumption of one bite of apple-peach if I were to get one of those.

She can climb up. She knows where I keep the stool and can unfold it. If the stool is lacking, she's been known to dump over the bathroom trashcan and use that.

Fun all around, that is.

Let me know if you can make this Work for Me! Baby C is 22 months old, and is quite the sneaky one. She can sneak in plain sight. Laying low comes naturally to that one!

Currently, fruit is stored in a bowl in the microwave. She hasn't figured out how to get into there yet - but it's just a matter of time!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/03/2007 06:10:00 AM | Permalink | |
I Cant' Explain It
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Jill Stanek runs a website that is constantly updated with the latest pro-life news. The commenters are quite active as well, debating back and forth.

One commenter had mentioned that she had many problems with her deliveries, in response to a comment along the lines of "until you know how difficult and dangerous pregnancy can be, don't judge". Another commenter by the name of Laura (who seems very young to me, but you never know on the internet) replied that the woman was a pro-choice poster girl, a shining example of why women should not give birth.

At that very moment, I had Baby X on my lap (I read blogs while nursing) with Baby C at my knee. Baby C is not quite two, and just learned how to slap five. She was earnestly, and so patiently, attempting to teach the baby how to high five. They were both laughing and playing together.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

The sisters love to play with Baby X!
And, Baby C has continued her campaign to teach Baby X how slap five. Now she holds his hand, slaps it, and calls it Baby Five. She has also named all of her babies Baby X - which is what we actually call Baby X sometimes - even though she calls him "Gooey Gooey". Ahh, feel the love!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/02/2007 06:26:00 AM | Permalink | |
Need input
Monday, October 01, 2007
Our family does not celebrate Halloween.

I realize that it is a cultural, American celebration, but it also has roots in pagan mockery of All Saint's Day; in addition, I think that celebrating ghosts, witches, etc. breeds harmful familiarity. It also mocks the dead.

This post is not about celebrating Halloween.

It is about how to tell the school that we won't be participating in Halloween activities. Today is only Oct. 1, but Mr R came home with bookmarks to color ("Reading is Bewitching",with picture of a witch, for examply) and reports that his teacher's room is fully decorated with monsters, ghosts that make noise, and so on.

I'm tempted to write a tersely worded:

We do not celebrate Halloween. Please do not require Mr R to complete worksheets, artwork, or other school activities featuring pagan religious occupations, such as witches, or to lurid depictions dead bodies, such as mummies, zombies, ghosts, etc., taken out of educational context.

I think there is probably a less peevish way to word this... any ideas? I don't care if they are studying mummies if they are also studying Ancient Egypt - I do object to sensationalizing human remains.

I am also planning to keep him out of school on Oct. 31. Since the school is unable to NOT give the boy M&M's, even when I send bags of non-colored candy, I think it's just easier than to have a maniac for the next week because they fed him Hawaiin Punch, Skittles, and Candy Corn.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/01/2007 03:38:00 PM | Permalink | |
Religion and Politics
I consider this blog to be my backyard fence, over which I can chat with the neighbors.
(My English teacher grandmother is probably cringing at that sentence!)

And so.

My latest passion on the Net is the whole Aurora IL Planned Parenthood debacle. I am attempting to research campaign contributions and such to see if any funny business is going on. Yes, I know that people smarter than me, richer than me, and better looking than me are doing the same thing, and probably with better results. Won't stop me from taking a peek myself though!

In the course of my cursory investigations, I've come across several things about Barack Obama that are quite disturbing. (Barack Obama was instrumental in getting the current mayor of Aurora, IL elected.)

Obama supports sex-ed for kindergarteners. His reasoning? It's too hard for parents to educate their children about sex if the only thing they are being taught in school is abstinence.

Says Obama:
You certainly should not have to be fighting each and every instance by providing accurate information outside of the classroom because inside the classroom the only thing that can be talked about is abstinence."
Myself, I don't think any sex-ed, abstinence only or otherwise, should be going on in the schools. I'm against the DARE program too. I've been there, done that, and all it did was teach me which drugs to use for what. Which are cheap? Which are more likely to kill you? What are three street names for cocaine?

I know who I won't be voting for. Now if I could just determine who I will be voting for! (I took an online poll, which said I had a three way tie between candidates that fit me best. With a 60% match.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/01/2007 07:04:00 AM | Permalink | |