Monday, May 30, 2011

Short Video of Hailey Doing Her Aikido Moves

There is one move in particular that Hailey learned at Aikido that just cracks us up. Despite how tiny she is, she can be quite assertive. Hope you enjoy this cute video of her doing her stuff. 

Hope you're having a great Memorial Day!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Aikido Kids

The last few years have been a struggle as we tried to find an outside activity that fit Josiah's personality and our family's schedule. I'm very strict about only doing one thing at a time with my kids. I hate running around. That is why I never really liked soccer, but I did it for two summers anyway, even though Josiah didn't seem to be a big fan of it either. He wanted to do football this year, but I told him he had to show us he could have a good attitude in soccer first, so we signed him up this year. 

Since we didn't have any other activities currently happening, I heard about Aikido (a Japanese martial art) at a MOPS meeting. What attracted me was this particular school does not focus on the fighting part, but more the defense part, awareness of your surroundings and how to deal with bullying and such. They teach self responsibility and how to identify and leave potentially dangerous situations BEFORE they get dangerous. There is a lot of agility and balance training. Best of all, they really focus on self-control in a non-competitive environment. It sounded like something my children could really use, so I decided to give it a try for a month. 

It is growing on Hailey, but for Josiah, I knew instantly it was a perfect fit for him. He was smiling from ear to ear the entire time! At the end of the first class, he said he no longer wanted to do soccer or football, just Aikido. I knew he meant it. So, we were able to get our money back from soccer which pretty much paid for their uniforms. Another plus, is that it is the least expensive activity I could find, in addition to the fact that it fits into our schedule perfectly. I'm even able to bring my laptop and do soil database work while watching the kids in their back to back classes. That really took some pressure off!

Hailey looks so cute in her uniform. Aikido has been good for teaching both kids even better listening skills. If they aren't listening, they lose their turn.

There is another little red-head in Hailey's class. They have to separate them a lot because they love to chat with each other. It really helped a lot for Hailey to have a friend in that class (Ren's mom and I are MOPS friends).

Hailey, learning to hop on one foot, a very long way. They do a lot of right/left brain coordination activities, too.

The batteries in my camera were going dead that day, so some of these pictures are a little blurry. I still wanted to post it so you could see JUST how much fun she having :)

Josiah, waiting his turn.

He is learning to sit still on the blue line and not talk. This is a huge accomplishment alone. He knew a couple of kids from Lego club and AWANAS, so he had some instant friends in his class.

Kids from the class above, often help out with lower classes. The kids can test to get different colored belts.
This is Josiah's favorite game called "Color Dodge" . The teacher calls out a color, and the people on the sides quickly toss that colored-ball at you. They can be throwing up to 3 balls at you at one time, so it really teaches you to be quick on your feet. 

So this reluctant soccer mom is thrilled to not be traveling all around our valley to games during dinner time. So glad we found something we can do year round that is affordable and is teaching them things I'm not able to in our homeschool. I just feel so blessed to have found this Aikido school when we did!

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. Don't forget to reflect and ponder on the sacrifices of all the soldiers who died in service of our country throughout the life of this great nation. 

God Bless,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jackie's Raw Ice Cream Recipes

Here is a picture of my Mocha Almond Fudge raw ice cream.

Basic Raw Ice Cream Recipe:
(makes 1 1/2 quart)

3 eggs yolks
2/3 cup sucanat or maple syrup, or homemade mock maple syrup made from sucanat, - without the maple flavoring added, OR 1/2 c honey
1 Tbl real vanilla extract
1 Tbl arrowroot powder
3 cups raw cream

Mix together well, refrigerate for a couple of hours, then process in an ice cream maker. I process until it four about 45 minutes, it should be good and creamy increase in size. After processing, put in freezer to harden all the way.

Variations to this basic recipe:

Maple Nut:
Instead of vanilla extract, add 2 tsp real maple extract and 1/2 c walnuts (preferably soaked then dried out at low temperature) They will be nice and crispy this way, retaining all the enzymes. It seems like the walnuts don't make my mouth sore if I soak and dry them first. Soaking then drying nuts at a 115 degree temperature neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors present in nuts.

Mint Chocolate Chip:
Instead of vanilla extract, add 1 TBL real mint extract and 1/2 cup of a dark mint chocolate bar chopped up really fine. I like to use the 70% cocoa Lindt chocolate bar. Even though it has refined sugar, it is very minimal when spread throughout that much ice cream.

Mocha Chip:
Instead of vanilla extract, I use 3 heaping Tbl of instant decaf coffee (not real healthy), but again distributed throughout, it isn't too bad. I add 1/2 cup of chopped up healthy organic chocolate chips (non-hydrogenated).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
Use basic ice cream recipe, just add frozen cookie dough chunks in at the end of processing the ice cream.

Peppermint Candy:
Instead of vanilla extract, add 1 TBL real mint extract. Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped peppermint candies at the end of processing. Even though it has refined sugar in the candies, it is very minimal when spread throughout that much ice cream.

Use basic ice cream recipe, only instead of vanilla extract, add a 1 Tbl rootbeer extract or flavoring.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip:
Use basic ice cream recipe, add 1/2 natural creamy or chunky peanut butter (previously frozen and cut into chunks) and 1/2 cup chopped up organic chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip:
Use basic ice cream recipe, add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup chopped up organic chocolate chips (1/4 cup sliced almonds optional)

Mexican Chocolate Chip:
Use basic ice cream recipe, add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup chopped up organic chocolate chips (1/4 cup sliced almonds optional)

Use basic ice cream recipe, omit vanilla, add juice of 2 lemons

You can use my basic recipe above and make your own variations and flavors. It is so much healthier than what you get in the store. Raw is so much better for you! I eat ice cream everyday and I haven't gained a pound! I give it to the kids and don't feel guilty. In fact I put it on waffles sometimes in the morning and they think they're in heaven! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Safety Train Homeschool Field Trip

One of my dear homeschool moms put together a fabulous field trip on the Safety Train that only comes into town every now and then. We had nearly 200 people from our local homeschool group attend. It was on a Saturday, so we were extra blessed to have many dads along. 

Michael got these shirts for Hailey and Josiah for Christmas this year. Of course our family always has to be dressed in theme for everything, this field trip was no exception. We were waiting in the station for the Safety Train to arrive. We rarely get passenger trains through our area, so this was a BIG deal for our community.

See the dome in the second passenger car? Josiah made a bee-line for it, and I'm so glad he did. We had the best seats on the train. Wow!

I snapped this picture through the train window as we were sitting at the station. Love the way the lantern is actually on. So pretty. We have a beautiful train station and it is a shame that it isn't used for passengers anymore.

I have a thing about old signs on buildings.

Many of our friends were on the train with us. Those nice rounded window provided some breath-taking views. Man, we sure live in a beautiful valley! I loved seeing it from a different perspective.

Taking it all in.

Due to the enormous amount of rain we've been getting, there are parts of the valley that are flooding. 

Here is a road that is completely flooded out.

More flooding along the foot slopes of the valley.

Picture of the train as it rounded a bend. We were pretty much following parts of the old Oregon Trail, which always gives me goose bumps.

Hailey was pretty tired by the end. The gentle rocking of the train definitely made you sleepy. Especially since we were basking in the sunshine we've so rarely been getting.

Train rides are always so much fun. I haven't been on a whole lot of trains in my life, so when I do, it is a real treat. Thanks again to my sweet friend, Dorene, who organized such a fantastic field trip!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Photography Bug

What can I say? I caught the photography bug. I absolutely love playing around with my new camera settings. I'm learning so much and having fun doing it. The only thing I don't like is when I post my pictures on Blogger, they look grainy to me. Anyone know how to fix that? These first couple pictures are of the roses Michael gave me for my birthday. Michael loves black roses and tulips, so even though these weren't black, I used the setting that filters out all color except green. I thought it looked cool.

Using the same setting, I allowed it to filter in only yellow and green. I love the affect! 

Here are some of my beautiful tulips. I took this picture using the "vivid color" setting. Plus, I wanted to show you all our latest furniture addition. My grandma blessed us with this beautiful hutch. It is simple, but elegant, which I think goes great in our new addition.

My friend actually took this picture with my camera. I was holding her new baby son and I think she captured his sweet softness just beautifully.

So there you have it. Thanks for bearing a long with me as I learn more about photography. Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bolognese Sauce with Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

I love pasta and this dish is no exception! I triple this recipe and freeze the sauce by itself for those days when I need a quick meal. I even cook extra spaghetti and freeze it.

Bolognese Sauce with Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe
1 1/2 lbs ground sausage or beef
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 cup milk, half and half or cream (just depends on how rich you want it)
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbl white wine vinegar
1 TBl sucanat (optional)
4 cups crushed/diced tomatoes (I use previously frozen, but you can use canned)
1, six oz can tomato paste
1 TBl Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp black pepper (depends on how spicy you want it)
2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 lb dried whole wheat or multi-grained spaghetti
Freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

1. Brown beef, carrots, onions and garlic. Drain off fat.
2. Add half and half, milk or cream. Boil, then immediately reduce heat, simmer uncovered until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Stir in broth, vinegar, sucanat (optional), tomatoes, tomato paste and all seasonings. Bring to boiling again. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until sauce has thickened.
3. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti, add 1 TBl salt to the water.
4. Serve sauce over noodles with grated Parmesan cheese.

Gone are the days of plain old spaghetti sauce. Once my family tasted this, there was no going back!


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hailey's First "Fairy Tea"

Hailey and I were able have a girls' date and go to the Fairy Tea. This is the first year for us and I think we just started a new tradition. Josiah took these first two pictures just before Hailey and I went to the Fairy Tea Party. 

This dress was given to us when Hailey was born and she is finally old enough to wear it. She especially likes the "twirl factor" this dress has.

They gave each girl a crown and a scepter with a pair of wings.

Looks like all those tea parties at home paid off, because she had really good manners. I didn't hear one slurp! I was very proud of her.

Of course I had to play around a little with my camera while we were there.

The "Fairy Godmother" read them all a story. I continue to be amazed at the difference between girls and boys. It was so quiet in there! Everyone was listening so nice and sitting still. 

Hailey saw a lot of her friends from our MOPS group there. She's sitting next to her friend, Becca, here.

Hailey had fun touching the butterflies on the wall with her scepter. This kept her entertained for quite awhile. I was able to hold my friends baby almost the whole time. What a joy and privilege to hold another red-headed baby boy. His temperament reminded me so much of both my kids when they were babies. It sure brought back a lot of memories. 

Standing in front of the castle in all her finery. She looks like a little cupcake. I'm surprised how well the color peach goes with her hair. I'll have to try to find more clothes this color while yard saling this summer.

Hailey and the Fairy Godmother.

I loved listening to her tell her brother all about it when we got home. So cute! I think we may be ready to go to an official tea parlor now. It was a great test run and I'm so glad she passed! Thanks to all the ladies who worked so hard at putting together the Fairy Tea. Hailey and I look forward to attending these for years to come. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bridal Dreams

The other day, Hailey and Josiah begged me to put on my wedding dress and veil. I realized, I'd never shown it to them, so I swallowed my pride and tried it on. After 2 kids and 15 lbs (= 15 years), there was no way I was zippin' that baby up. Luckily, they didn't care and thought I looked beautiful anyway. Of course Hailey wanted to try it on, too. 

Josiah saw all the beading and his entrepreneur mind wanted to know if they were real pearls and how much they were worth. Hailey, on the other hand, just wanted to wear it. 

I carefully "dropped" her into the gown. She looked so tiny in it! 

I know she will probably never chose this dress herself (I certainly wouldn't chose that style now), but I can't get rid of it because of the sweet memories it holds for me. So, it will stay in my closet and I hope to have more chances for Hailey to take it out and try it on and feel beautiful in it, too. 

We've been studying a lot in Revelation lately and it mentions the word "bride" several times in context to the Church. I loved this verse and wanted to share it with you, too.

Revelation 19:7
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Have you made yourself ready for the wedding? If not, don't tarry - not a second! Time in short. Everything is lining up. Jesus is coming back soon! Let us be beautiful for him, not distracted by this "me, myself and I" world. Let us look forward to His coming with breathless anticipation!

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

God Bless,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best Mother's Day Ever!

My Mother's Day training is finally paying off! This morning I received breakfast in bed, complete with chocolate chip pancakes served on the "God Made Me Special" plate, a card, dozen roses and the new Narnia movie I wanted. They gave me more flowers at church and are taking me out to dinner tonight because I already warned them at the beginning of the weekend that I wasn't cooking at all on Mother's Day. 
The movie was even wrapped in princess paper. We had just enough time to watch it before church started. Love the spiritual truths in "Voyage of the Dawn Treader".My two precious blessings. I'm so grateful to be their mom. I thank God for entrusting me with their lives. While it seems an enormous, impossible responsibility at times, I'm so happy that I don't have to raise these kids by myself. God has provided me with a wonderful husband and father to these kids. God also gives me the strength and direction I need every time I ask for it, as issues too big for me to handle crop up. I can't image doing this incredibly important job on my own. My own mothers have helped shaped me into the mother I've become and I pray God will use me to do the same for my children. 

To all you mothers out there - never underestimate the importance of your God-given job. Happy Mother's Day!

God Bless,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Caboose and other Museum Fun: Heritage Station Museum Part 2

There was so much to see at the Heritage Station Museum in Pendleton. One of the kids' favorite parts of the outdoor tour, was this caboose. I didn't realize that this is where the conductor lived. 

Josiah's good friend, Jake, liked to "steer" the caboose.
Part of the living quarters inside the caboose. Cowboy on a cellphone. Crackin' me up!

Cooking stove with one burner. It must have been pretty cold in there during the winter.

 I kind of think this picture of the bathroom looks cool in a weird sort of way.

Local windmill that was used to pump water for steam engines.

The kids had fun with the water pump.

What county museum would be complete without an old fire engine?

The kids got to make 9 patch quilt blocks on a piece of paper using glue and wall paper swatches. They had a ball with this!

The gal who helped the kids with their "quilt" squares, showed them her wedding quilt made by her MIL. She told us some of the stories behind the pieces of fabric. It was fascinating!The quilt shot in vivid color. All hand-quilted of course.

Hailey with her nine patch. I can hardly wait to start quilting with my kids. One of these days I'm hoping to have time.

This is a bag where they would put wool. It would hold 50 to 60 lbs of wool, depending on how good of a stomper the guy was inside the bag. What a job! Yuck! I can't imagine doing that in the heat of the summer.

Little Jake with a bag of real wool. He's just too stinkin' cute in that hat and his wild rag. He is the twin brother of the little girl, Hannah, who is turned around in her desk to look at me in the previous post. What a couple of cuties. Nice kids, too. 

We're so grateful to be homeschoolers so we can go on so many great field trips with our friends. Museums always give us homeschoolers the same rate as they do public schools, which is greatly appreciated. Now that the weather is getting nice, we're planning on going on a lot more field trips.

God Bless,


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