Sunday, June 30, 2013

Moving Beyond the Page {Schoolhouse Review}

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Moving Beyond the Page is an incredible unit study based product that we had the immense pleasure to review during the past several weeks. This product just might be my favorite product we have reviewed this year. Yes, it has something to do with the fact that we thrive on literature unit studies. But, additionally, this product was just that good! We reviewed the language arts study on the book Poppy and the corresponding science study on Life Cycles. Both products are recommended for children ages 7-9.

Product Description

Let's get through the logistics first, so you know how things work. The thing to do is to go the Moving Beyond the Page website. You will immediately see that the products are broken down into age ranges (from 4-6 coming soon all the way up to 12-14). You simply choose your appropriate age range. Our children are ages 7 and 9, so we clicked on that age range.

This takes you to the screen with all of the product and price options. You can easily choose to purchase all of the products in that age range for a complete curriculum for the year. The costs are set forth on the web page. There is so much information for you on this page, including sample lessons and all of the different curriculum options. You can choose 9-week curriculum packages or just purchase each unit study alone. You also have the option of a physical spiral bound product or the online version (which is a tad cheaper). You can also purchase the literature selections on their site (if you don't already have them in your personal library or access to them at your public library) and the manipulatives that go with each unit.

Now, if you want to just purchase individual unit studies, you can choose from social studies, science, and language arts. There are many, many, many units from which to choose. And here is the really cool part ... if you choose one, say the literature unit Poppy, it will tell you which other units in science or social studies would be a good corresponding unit! For Poppy, it is the science unit study called Life Cycles.

Here is just another example: If you chose the literature unit study of Sarah, Plain and Tall in the 7-9 age range, it recommends you also purchase the science and social studies unit study called The Land. The combinations are endless.

The prices also vary depending on which product(s) you choose. We were provided with the entire Poppy and Life Cycles units. The Poppy unit study was in the online form, but we received the physical book of Poppy by Avi and the owl pellet dissection kit. You can choose either the physical or online product. Both products come with the book and dissection kit. The physical product is $29.97 and the online product (of the unit study, but you get the physical copy of the book and dissection kit) is $25.91. I personally like physical products, but that is just my preference. The Life Cycles unit came with the unit study itself, the books What is a Life Cycle? by Bobbie Kalman and Who Eats What? by Patricia Lauber and Holly Keller, and the Green Earth Butterfly Kit (which does not include the butterfly larva). The cost of the physical product is $45.92 and the online product (of the unit study, but you get the books and butterfly kit) is $41.86.

I realize that is a lot of information, but I hope that you get a feel for how many product combinations there are available and the level of information you receive for the price you pay.

How We Used the Product

Like I said, we received the online unit study for Poppy (with the physical book and owl pellet dissection kit mailed to us) and the Life Cycles unit study in the physical format along with all of the books and butterfly kit. We were excited! This opened up our summer unit study of Life Cycles!

Each morning we read two chapters of Poppy, reviewed the discussion questions, and did all worksheets that went with those two chapters. It was so easy to follow! The kids learned things like alliteration, synonyms/antonyms, cause and effect, proper paragraph structure, combining sentences, diamante poems, prefixes and suffixes, adding -ed and -ing, and vocabulary. We made puppets, drew animal habitats, researched deer mice and great horned owls, and wrote a three-paragraph essay summarizing the story theme.

 A favorite activity was definitely dissecting the owl pellets! It was SO cool!!

In the Life Cycles unit, we learned about animals, insects, plants and soil, the circle of life, energy and food chains, and animal design. There were lots of worksheets on characteristics of living things, needs of living things, parts of living things, stages of life, the specific life cycles of many different creatures, the circle of soil, and herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores.

Unfortunately we did not get through the butterfly kit project because we had trouble getting larva. The company recommended by Green Earth was no longer in business, and several of us members of The Crew ordered larva from a company that never delivered them.

Instead, we happened to find some frog eggs several weeks ago that we observed through their life stages. And this week we pick up some chick eggs that we will hatch in a couple of weeks. We do hope to get ahold of some butterfly larva to complete that project, as well.

The studies are designed to be completed in about 19 days. However, since we are on our summer schooling schedule, and tend to take a bit more time on things (and there was LOTS to do), we haven't yet completed the Life Cycles unit. WE ARE COMPLETING IT, THOUGH! We love it and wouldn't want to miss a second of it! We should be done with it in about a week.

Our Opinion

There are many products we review on The Crew that I enjoy during our review period, and even use after the review period. But there are very few that I actually purchase at a later date. I WILL BE PURCHASING Moving Beyond the Page PRODUCTS FOR YEARS TO COME! I really cannot recommend their products enough. Even my one child who does not care for worksheets and busy work has thoroughly enjoyed the worksheets provided. The kids (and I) have learned so much! It has sparked our interest for us to learn even more about the topics we covered! We even checked out another book in the Poppy series because the kids loved the book so much they want to read more!

These unit studies are perfect for literature based learning lovers and for those of us who may have a hard time fitting in relevant social studies and science based units. We will likely do these units individually from now on instead of the corresponding units all together, but that is just out of preference. I'd like for us to read Sarah, Plain and Tall and do the unit study on it and then follow it up with the social studies/science unit study on The Land. And there are many more I have my eye on, as well. We will definitely use these studies in the summer months.


The Schoolhouse Review crew reviewed many different unit studies by Moving Beyond the Page. You can go to The Crew blog to read their reviews.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ We Survived!

In our regular life this week…

This was a hot week, that's for sure. But my kids are troopers and we survived! Yesterday was the last hot day for at least the next 10 days. Temps reached 99 on Wednesday and about 93 yesterday. But by tomorrow it's supposed to be in the upper 70's and then not get above 85 through the 4th of July. Hallelujah!! With keeping the house dark and running the fans, we have been just fine. The dogs, on the other hand, think they have been thrust into the 7th Circle of Hell. I didn't realize their tongues were so long!

This is pretty much the position they have been in all week.

In our homeschool this week…

Our big accomplishment was finishing Poppy by Avi and the Cycle of Power unit we have been doing through Moving Beyond the Page (see my review coming up!). We absolutely LOVED this book. One day Brynne actually started crying when I would not read more chapters. There are several more books in this series and we went to our library and grabbed the only one they have ... The Return of Poppy. Such great characters! And I was so pleased with the concepts the kids grasped in relation to the theme of personal power and it's uses for good and bad. Great week of learning! They even each turned out a three paragraph essay on the story. Fabulous!

On Tuesday I ran out of printer in mid-print, so Wednesday was spent doing lots of personal reading. That's not all bad. It was so hot that it felt good to lay in front of the fans and read instead of sitting under the hot light fixture in our dining room doing schoolwork.

All of our other summer studies are coming along nicely. I am pleased with our summer schedule. So far with the number of hours we have put in we have earned 7 days off from school in the fall when we go to Florida. I found these pictures that were actually on my camera instead of the SD card. I just downloaded them today and they make me want to go to Florida SO BAD, although not right now because it's even hotter there!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Brynne has become a softball rockstar. She is learning so much about playing 2nd base and has made some good snags and plays. She also hits the ball every time she goes up to bat. I am very proud of how hard she has been playing and how much she has learned.

We have also spent every afternoon at the pool this week. After a morning of hot schoolwork, we have deserved some cool pool water!

A favorite thing this week was…

Waking up in the middle of the night last night to a storm, and then sleeping in this morning in the nice cool morning air. I get up every day at 6:45 a.m. to ride bikes and walk with my mom. On Fridays, I take the day off. It was so wonderful to snuggle up and sleep in this morning!

What's in the kitchen this week ...

I am really getting on track with the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating. I even made "Crabby Patties" aka salmon patties for dinner one night and the kids liked them! Woot!

What we're reading ...

Mom:  The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, Couponing Made Easy by Christi the Coupon Coach.

Eli: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.

Brynne: Life with Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. She is almost done and can't believe she has read over 200 pages in one book!

Read-aloud: Poppy by Avi. Such a good book! I highly recommend it!

Things we're working on…

This weekend ... the air conditioner! The little kids and I are working on our summer reading goals. We stopped by the library yesterday to pick up some picture books to help with our numbers.

I’m grateful for ...

An 88 degree day today ... an 80 degree day tomorrow ... a 77 degree day on Sunday ... and so on! I am also SO GRATEFUL that it will only be a high of 85 on the 4th of July. Our park has a 100+ year traditional 4th celebration at the park with old-fashioned games and lots more. We have spent many years in blistering hot temps, and in the pouring rain. This year is going to be perfect!!!

In the garden…

I added a bunch of day lilies around my house that my dad dug up from a family friend. My vegetable garden is growing, growing, growing! Just wish I could actually get some fruit off it! I did use some fresh parsley this week from my garden. Where, oh where, are the peppers and jalapenos?

What's coming up this week ...

Rick and I will be going to see Daughtry in concert on Sunday. That is going to be fun and I am looking forward to spending some time with just Rick! Next week Eli and Brynne start swimming lessons. Then we will have our 4th of July celebrations. We will spend the day at the park and will also celebrate Collin's birthday which is that day. On the weekend the kids and I will go to Kansas City to my niece's first birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and then we are having a fish fry party at my parents' on Sunday to celebrate her birthday and my other niece's 16th birthday. It's going to be a busy, but fun, week!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

The kids had a great time at VBS last Saturday at our church! This is them performing their songs at church on Sunday morning. They've been singing the songs all week!

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama ~ Chapters 7, 8 and 9

This week I was short of time, so I just read the next three chapters. These are the chapters that explain the plan, however, so there was lots of information!

And now I am sold. I am loving the science behind this way of eating, and I am already noticing a difference in my waistline. (In all fairness, I have been doing some extra work outside in the yard each day and doing lots of sweating, so that might be helping.) But, I definitely feel GREAT eating the foods and on the plan. I am excited to share with you what I learned in these chapters.

In a nutshell:
  • Never start your morning with a fruit only breakfast.
  • S meals are satisfying meals which means they are heavier on fat, have a protein as a base, and have extremely minimal carbs (and all non-starchy).
  • E meals are energizing meals which means they are heavier on carbs, have a protein as a base, and have extremely minimal fats.
  • You should alternate these meals and eat them 3 hours apart.
So, like yesterday. I had an E breakfast of an egg white coffee cup omelet with mushrooms, spinach, onions and parmesan cheese on one-half a Joseph's pita.

For lunch I had an S meal of a salmon patty and a salad with lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, chunks of cheddar cheese, avocado, sliced almonds and ranch dressing.

For a snack later in the day I had a banana (which is really a fruit you should avoid because it is about as bad as a starchy white potato ... but, oh well, baby steps) and a spoonful of peanut butter.

We had a softball game and I didn't get dinner, so when I came home I had a big bowl of bran cereal with blueberries, strawberries, and sliced almonds. (Again, this cereal isn't an approved food, but this may be something I am unable to give up. I love my evening bowl of cereal, especially if I have been good all day!) This was definitely an S meal, loaded with carbs! My protein came from the almonds.

I have to say that I am not really loving the majority of the recipes I have tried so far, but I am using the book more as a guide for making sure I eat according to plan.

I made the Muffin in a Cup. I wasn't sold on it. It wasn't sweet enough, if I'm going to eat chocolate. It was too bitter. But, it might be really good with blueberries or strawberries cooked in, and I plan to try that next time.

I have also made the Bread in a Cup. Now, I probably would like this pretty well if I was able to use golden flax meal instead of golden flax seed. I couldn't get the seed to grind up by using my chopper, so I think I am going to have to actually buy a grinder. I haven't looked at Walmart for the meal, but our Amish store doesn't have it. I had it with cheddar cheese which made three grilled cheese sammies.

I did make the Crabby Patties for dinner, which are really just salmon patties. I made them like burgers and put them on buns with cheese for my kids. Brynne's not a huge burger eater, so it wasn't her favorite. But, Eli loved it! It is so healthy so I think I am going to fix those about once a week. I just had mine plain, and then had the leftover one with my salad yesterday. Yum!

Chapters 8 and 9 give you specific lists of all of the approved E and S foods and the things you should not have when eating those meals. That is a list I will keep handy at all times! I plan to just tack a list to my refrigerator of the different meals I eat for breakfast, and code them with E and S, and make a similar list for a few different lunch options coded as well. Then I can choose a breakfast, and if it's an E breakfast then I can choose an S lunch off my list. Then I will know what to make for dinner based on my S lunch choice. If I eat an S lunch, then I will make a more E friendly dinner for our family. And visa versa.

It's just going to take some practice.

I was also so happy to read that they do not expect you to make everything from scratch, especially in the carb department. Rye bread is an approved bread, and I actually like Rye for hot sandwiches. Joseph's Pitas are approved, as are Mission low-carb whole wheat tortillas. These will be very important for me for my lunches. And I don't have to GIVE UP pasta! My family will be THRILLED! I just need to buy Dreamfields pastas. They are approved. (And they sell all of those items at Walmart! So, I don't have to order online or lament the fact that we don't have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's anywhere in our vicinity!)

I still have so much to learn. These are just the basics. But it's so encouraging!

Next week I will be moving on to Chapter 10, and skipping ahead to look at Chapters 21 and 34.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

O is for Olive Oil (for itchy dogs)

Do you have a dog who has dry skin and is constantly itching and scratching? Our three little dogs are Chi Poos .. chihuahua/poodle. They are notorious for dry, itchy skin and they drive me CRAZY with all their scratching. In fact, they scratch so bad that they will just tear out hair and cause sores. Then I have to bring out the hydrocortisone and tea tree oil (which they hate!).

I have switched their food to lamb and rice meal, which I was told would help with skin allergies and such, and even give one of our dogs a Benadryl before he goes to bed at night because he obsessively scratches.

Out of sheer desperation one day I did another Google search. And I kept reading about how olive oil added to a dog's food helps with the itching problems. Desperate, I gave it a try. And within one day the itching was SO MUCH BETTER! I just add a capful to their dry food and mix it in. They seem to like it and it hasn't caused any bathroom issues, which I was worried about. If I forget to mix it in, I can tell within a day that I have forgotten because the obsessive scratching starts again.

So, if you have an itchy/scratchy dog, and want to avoid putting a cone on his or her head, try adding olive oil to the food.

I am linking up with Marcy at Ben and Me.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Week Ahead

Last night I was actually able to lay on the couch and enjoy the cool night air. We had a change of wind direction and a drop in temperature and it was wonderful! I was thankful for a reprieve from the sticky heat of our house. But, this week it's supposed to be even hotter, getting up into the mid-90's. So, I need to do things to keep us as cool as possible.


Schoolwork: Morning work at home before the house heats up.
Housework: Laundry and clean the floors
Activities: Lunch at grandmas and then hitting the pool.
Dinner: Mini meatloaves, quinoa, steamed broccoli


Schoolwork: More morning work at home (will we have more froglets this week?)
Housework: Clean the bathrooms
Activities: Another afternoon at the pool.
Dinner: Crabby patties (salmon patties) from Trim Healthy Mama, mac and cheese


Schoolwork: And more morning work at home (hoping our butterfly larva will be here!)
Housework: Dusting!
Activities: A short time at the pool because Brynne has a softball game in the evening.
Dinner: Cheeseburger pie (from Trim Healthy Mama)


Schoolwork: The last school day of the week.
Housework: Let's get that house tidied up.
Activities: Depending on the heat, we might go to the pool for a bit, but Brynne has another softball game.
Dinner: Dinner on the road, sub sandwiches and fruit.


Schoolwork: None! We sleep in and take the day off!
Housework: Finish up any weekly laundry and get the floors cleaned again.
Activities: Brynne has her last softball game of the season.
Dinner: Roast, potatoes, carrots in the crockpot

We will definitely be doing all of our work in the mornings before the house gets warmed up and then going to the pool to cool off in the afternoons. Other than Monday, we won't be turning on the oven. And even though we shouldn't be swimming on softball game days, we will be craving some cool pool water by afternoon so we're going to go for it anyway.

Rick will be here for the weekend bringing the last moving truck of our stuff. Hopefully he will be able to figure out the central air issue. If not, we'll have a brand new window unit installed by Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Baker Publishing Group ~ The Adventures of Lily Lapp {Schoolhouse Review}

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I grew up in a small town in Missouri surrounded by a thriving Amish community. It was not uncommon for us to see the buggies hitched up to the post at the grocery store. I was fascinated with the Amish children when I was a child. My dad would barter his plumbing services to the Amish in exchange for us being allowed to fish in their ponds. I just stared and stared at the little girls wishing they could be my friends. We have just recently moved back to my hometown and my kids have an equal fascination with the Amish families that trot by our house multiple times a day. When we received an opportunity to review the books Life with Lily and A New Home for Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher and published by Baker Publishing Group, I was thrilled! The authors have pulled from their personal experiences in the Old Order Amish culture to share the lifestyle of the Amish and stories based on true events.

We received the first two paperback books in The Adventures of Lily Lapp series and I immediately began reading Life with Lily aloud to the kids. After four chapters Brynne, age 7, snatched it from my hands and took off to read it herself. The book is lengthy .... 39 chapters and 280 pages! I was skeptical that she would be able to handle it's length, but she has poured over every page of it. She loves Lily and all of the other characters. She laughs and narrates to me what she has read. She told me on Thursday that she wishes this book would never end. She said, "At least I have the next book to read!"

Unfortunately, Brynne has not been able to complete both books during our review period, but she has said that the next book she is going to read is A New Home for Lily. She loves these books THAT much! Let me put it into perspective. Since last year Brynne has been reading book after book after book in a series that she loves about puppies. She is obsessed with puppies. I can't hardly get enough books purchased before she has read them all and is ready for the next set in the series. Lily has captured her interest so much that the puppy books have been put away and she has asked me to buy every book in the Lily Lapp series. Folks, that's HUGE!

Here are some of her comments:
  • "I get it .. this book is to teach you about how the Amish live!"
  • "Mommy, it says right here that they were going to the Amish store. We go to the Amish store." (And, we do!)
  • "I just love this book!"
Brynne can relate to Lily because they are the same age. And, we see Amish girls every day in our regular life, so to be able to learn about their lifestyle is so cool for her! I have really appreciated the different storylines, as well, that have given us topics to discuss. For instance, Lily has an aunt who has Down's Syndrome. And Lily has a teacher who has not been very nice. Lily has lots of adventures that sometimes go awry, so we get to discuss what she could have done differently.

I highly recommend the Lily Lapp books to you. Well, actually Brynne highly recommends them. They are recommended for ages 8-12. Brynne is 7 years old, but somewhat of an advanced reader. I would say that the sheer length of the books would make them suitable for ages 8+. But, they are excellent to be used as a read aloud for younger children, as well. 

The books in the Lily Lapp series can be purchased at Baker Publishing Group for $12.99. You will receive a colorful paperback book with fun illustrations. You can also go to The Adventures of Lily Lapp website to read more about the authors and the characters, learn more about the Amish way of life, find fun games and activities, and even e-mail Lily! Get to know Lily and her family and friends!!!


Read what other Crew members though of the Lily books by going to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Feeling Hot Hot Hot

In our regular life this week…

Things are warming up here in Missouri, which wouldn't be a bad thing except we have no air conditioning right now! It hasn't been bad, at all, until today. Wowzer! It's been a little toasty! But, Dawson has a window unit upstairs in his room because it is an oven situated right off the attic, and the kids can all sleep up there. And we have a nice cool basement (unfinished, but still functional) that we can retreat to if necessary. (In fact, I spent a few hours down there this afternoon.) We just keep the fans going, keep the lights off, keep the drapes drawn, and stay calm as much as possible. We are hopeful that it will be up and running in a little over a week. **fingers crossed**

In our homeschool this week…

We were back into our regular Monday-Thursday morning summer school schedule this week doing cursive handwriting, multiplication, our unit study on life cycles and the book Poppy by Avi, and lots of reading. It was a good steady week that earned us another two days off in the fall!!

We had a froglet this week, and he hopped out and on with his life.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

The little kids and I met up with Kyndal and Collin on Wednesday to go to a fun pool. The kids had a blast and I got some reading done!

A favorite thing this week was…

Getting our landscaping done this past weekend! I have so enjoyed looking outside at all of the bushes and flowers! Of course, devoting all those hours of planting to fixing our air conditioner might have been more prudent. At least I see beauty when I'm hot, right?

What's in the kitchen this week ...

I've been experimenting with some of the recipes in the Trim Healthy Mama book. The pancakes were a hit! I'll be giving a recipe for Bread in a Mug that you can read about this next Thursday when I do my weekly update on the chapters I have read.

What we're reading ...

Mom:  The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman, Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, Couponing Made Easy by Christi the Coupon Coach.

Eli: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. He is going back and reading Book 1 because he loved Roderick Rules so much that he wants to read the first one.

Brynne: Life with Lily by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. Brynne is LOVING this book. I'll be reviewing this book in a couple of days.

Read-aloud: Poppy by Avi.

Things we're working on…

Staying cool. And, VBS that is tomorrow. I absolutely SWEAR I am not volunteering for anymore big events for the rest of the summer. It's time for a break! (Really, I swear!)

I’m grateful for ...

the information I received that our high school is an A+ approved high school for the A+ Scholarship Program sponsored by the Missouri Department of Education which will allow Dawson to go to a nearby community college FOR FREE, for up to 48 months, should he complete the requirements. That is such a blessing and a relief! So, we are looking into all that needs to be done to qualify.

In the garden…

I picked off three cherry tomatoes (and ate them on the spot) and a little green pepper (that I added to my Coffee Cup Omelet this morning). So far, that's all there is. But, things are growing nicely. And, didn't I say we needed a little heat and sunshine?? No shortage of that now!

What's coming up this week ...

It's going to be very hot, so we will be doing our schoolwork in the mornings and then going to the pool in the afternoons. Brynne has her last three softball games Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.

Rick is coming Friday night and bringing the last moving truck of our things that are in storage. My sister and I are having a garage sale in a couple of weeks and we want to sell a lot of that stuff! Then I am driving Rick back on Oklahoma on Sunday so that he and I can go see Daughtry in concert on Sunday night. That will be so fun!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

Doing our "squeezing egg" experiment, Dawson got a little close to Brynne.

We are happily linking up this week at the following sites:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

N is for New Favorite Drink

I am addicted to Sonic's Peach Diet Green Tea. I can get a Route 44 every day from 2-4 p.m. for a little over a dollar. Yum! It's so refreshing! But I don't want to spend $1 a day and I don't really know what's in it, you know what I mean? And I have noticed that the tea tastes kind of skunky most days, which tells me that it's not fresh.

I figured out a way to make my own Peach Green Tea. I brew a small pitcher of green tea, with no sweetener, and put it in the fridge. Then I purchased Mango Peach flavored MiO Liquid Water Enhancer. When I am ready for a glass of Peach Green Tea, I just pour myself a glass of tea and add two squirts of MiO.

It's healthy, pure green tea. Yes, it has an added artificial sweetener (Boo), and I have tried my best to eliminate artificial sweeteners from my diet (mostly aspartame). But, I feel like it's better than buying it from Sonic. At least I know exactly what's in it. It tastes great and it's CHEAP!!!

This still won't replace my usual iced green tea with a squeeze of lemon on those days when it's really hot. But, it's a nice alternative when I am needing something a little sweet.

You should try it!

I'm linking up with Marcy @ Ben and Me. (Somehow I was a week behind, so this is my second Blogging Through the Alphabet post this week.)

Trim Healthy Mama ~ Chapters 5, 6, 20 and 33

I am starting to gain more insight into the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, and I like it! It makes sense to me. I know that it will be several weeks before I have the full picture, but I have started piecing it all together and it is very exciting for me.

Chapter 5 - Get Ready for the Plan

The "S" and "E" code letters were explained in this chapter. S stands for "satisfying" and E stands for "energizing". The E foods allow you to have some of carbs that your body needs and the S foods allow you to have some of the fat that your body needs. The key? Don't eat your fats and carbs at the same time! And here's why ...

Your body can only burn one fuel at a time, and you want it to burn your fat. If you eat fat AND carbs at the same time (and usually loads of it), your body burns through the fat in your meal and then has to move to trying to burn the glucose out of your fat cells that has been deposited there by the rush of insulin. Your body never gets the chance to burn your fatty tissue for fuel. It's too busy trying to burn all the fat and glucose you just ate and it can't keep up.

The book recommends carbs in - carbs out. This is a carb conscious diet, not a low- or no-carb diet. God created your body to need carbs for energy. You want to give your body time to flush out all of the glucose in the blood so that your insulin does not have to kick in and try to deposit it somewhere ... usually in your fat cells. Since it has had time to flush out, the glucose can be deposited in cells other than fat cells because they are empty and hungry for it. You also need the fat in your diet to be satisfied, and the only way for fats to be stored in the body as actual body fat is when glucose rises in the blood and the hormone insulin has to rush out to take care of it. That's from eating carbs.

The answer? Alternate your E and S meals ... Alternate your fats and carbs. Don't eat them together. Give your body time to deal with each of them separately so that it has time to actually turn to your fatty tissue for fuel. THAT'S the goal! Once your fatty tissue is being used for fuel, you slim down.

That's a lot of info, I know. Here are some "bottom line" tips from this chapter:

  • Try to focus on low-glycemic foods which are foods that have a gentle impact on your blood sugar levels. No spikes in blood sugar!
  • The S and E plan focuses on non-starchy vegetables, both raw and cooked, often drizzled with creamy dressings or buttery sauces. (Here's where you get the fats you need.)
  • Eat lots of superfoods like salmon, berries, nuts, seeds, cultured dairy products, and super fats like coconut oil.
  • Eat natural sources of red meat, eggs, and chicken.
  • Eat balanced amounts of whole grains, legumes, fruits and sweet potatoes.

You know how the book recommended that eggs should be your number one staple for breakfast? Well, salmon is the recommended number one staple for lunch. Aren't I lucky? I love eggs. I love salmon. Breakfast and dinner ... Check! But, there needs to be some variety, don't you think, or it gets boring and mundane. Plus, you don't want your body to get complacent. You have to keep it moving and shaking, right? That's what keeps your metabolism revved up.

Chapter 18 - Morning Meals (Revisited)

So that I do not get bored with eggs and bore my body and metabolism, I tried one of the other recipes from the Morning Meals chapter. I made Trim Healthy Pancakes. OH. MY. GOSH. YUM! Who would have EVER thought you could make a pancake with oats and cottage cheese and it be delicious! But, it was! Here is the recipe:

  1. Put 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats into blender and blend until oats turn into powder.
  2. Turn off blender and add 1 cup of 100% Liquid Egg Whites or Egg Beaters or 7 egg whites, and 1 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese. (**I didn't want to waste my eggs so just used 4 whole eggs, but this turned it into a S meal because of the fat in the eggs. I was just wanting to see if they were going to be nasty. Next time I will use egg whites only to make it an E meal.)
  3. Add 2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder, 2-3 tsp. Truvia (** I used 4 squirts of Liquid Stevia instead), and a dash of vanilla. Blend well.
  4. Use a ladle and pour onto a non-stick pan with cooking spray. (** I poured about a 3" diameter pancake onto my griddle and it spread out to about a 5" pancake when it was cooked. I made 9 of these).
  5. Flip and cook completely then put on a paper towel for one minute before eating.
  6. You can eat three of these. I topped with a dab of plain greek yogurt and a couple of blueberries.
I ate three of them (the recommended number) and put the other six in the freezer to microwave on another day. I am thinking of using this batter as waffle mix and making my kids' waffles with it and eliminating the store-bought.

Chapter 6 - Truths from the Bible

Well, if the Bible talks about it and says it's okay, then it's okay with me. I love this chapter because it dispels the rumors in the diet industry against butter, dairy and meats, and the ones against snacking, for cutting back portion sizes, and for an over-abundance of wheat products (Remember me talking about how Brynne was getting TOO much fiber in the form of wheat? I was astonished to realize that you can have too much fiber in your diet.) The authors do a great job of pointing directly to scripture to back up their lifestyle recommendations. And I appreciate that.

Chapter 20 - Lunches

Salmon! I do love salmon. And yesterday I had a piece of broiled salmon with a salad of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and a hard-boiled egg (white only). I wanted it to stay an E meal since I made my Trim Healthy Pancakes an S meal by using the yolks of the eggs. I topped it off with some Fat Free Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. It was yummy and filling!

But, I'm going to get bored with salmon. So on the days I eat pancakes for breakfast, I can have eggs for lunch. And, thankfully, you can cheat with low-carb tortillas to make any number of things. I love turkey wraps and eat a lot of them in the summer. And what about sandwiches? You can make Trim Healthy Pan Bread with the exact same recipe as the Trim Healthy Pancakes by just eliminating the stevia and vanilla. You can also use seasoned Egg Beaters (like southwestern) to add some flair to it. Sounds good to me!!! Maybe a peanut butter sandwich on that bread with an apple? That sounds good, too.

I'll reveal more lunch recipes as I try them.

Chapter 33 - Mama Knows Her Body (Putting Hormone Therapy to Practice)

This chapter is meaty and specific and I have not had a chance to really absorb it yet. As, to me, hormones are not something to mess with lightly, I think I will defer my opinion on this topic. I definitely want to do more research and would want to talk with a good and trusted physician before I started messing with my hormone levels. But, it is all very interesting and something to keep in mind as we grow older and start to notice negative changes in our bodies. What do I take from the hormone chapters? If I start to feel bad or have negative things happening to my body, it could very well be a hormonal issue and it's something I should look into further.

There was one tip from the chapter that I am considering. The author recommends having all hormone levels tested regularly starting in, at least, the early 20's of a young woman as a benchmark for what levels the hormones were ate at an optimum age. That is something I will definitely discuss with Kyndal. She is 18 and with our female family's history of hormonal issues, that will be valuable information for her when she gets older.

Whew! That was a lot, I know. And I know there will be so much more. But, it's nice to be taking all of this in baby steps and applying just a few of the principles while I am becoming more educated. This will definitely be a lifestyle change. But, it sounds like it will be a good one!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FREE Wildflower Seeds from Burt's Bees

I know those bees are scary when they are buzzing around your head. But, I also know that I need them if I want my flowers to grow and my gardens to flourish! The benefits of bees are never-ending. Burt's Bees is giving away a FREE packet of wildflower seeds to help boost the bee populations and increase pollination, not only for the beauty of our world but also for our health. Those foods we eat from those pollinated plants are what keep us healthy!

Head over to Burt's Bees to request your free packet of seeds.