A Prayer for Today – December 5th, 2017

God show me what I am to do in this moment and give me the grace to give myself to that task without guilt for all the things I am not doing in that moment.  May I feel the press of life, but by your grace, not despair or be crushed.  In those moments show me who to reach out to and encourage, and in doing so be encouraged myself.

Pictures borrowed from “The Joy of Mothering”

Learning Poetry

 

One of my favorite things we’ve started doing these past two years has been reading and memorizing poetry.  We don’t do it all the time and we haven’t memorized many poems (and they’re not long poems), but they have added another “dimension” to our school day.  It feels richer, and more beautiful, and my children have taken to poetry with a gusto that has surprised me!  If you’re considering adding poetry into your day, whether you homeschool or not, here are some simple ideas.

  • Pick a book of poems (A Child’s Garden of Verse by Robert Lewis Stevenson is a favorite!) and read one every day.  Discuss it with your child and ask them what it means.
  • Memorize a poem – especially when starting, pick a short poem that has meaning to you and your child.  On day one, repeat it several times.  On the following days that week, say it 1-2x together.  Repeat this process until your child can say it easily.  Consider writing it in big lettering and putting it on the wall where your child can easily see it and practice at their own leisure.  This has proven particularly effective for young children who are already reading :).
  • Use a guide like “A Child’s Introduction to Poetry” by Michael Driscoll.  We’ve been using this as a part of our school curriculum this year (al la Sonlight), reading one section a week to learn about a new form of poetry.  We’ve enhanced this by adding the new style of poetry we just read about to our copywork the following day. The children have also suggested that we try writing our own poems in the style we just learned about.  I find copywork is most beneficial when the passages are taken from things the children have context for, or are interested in.  It also gives them a chance to practice their handwriting, strengthen their hand for writing longer passages as the length of the passage increases, and makes them look closer at the punctuation and form of good quality prose and verse.

If you have a different way you incorporate poetry into your day, please let me know!  I love hearing new ideas 🙂

 

Soup Saves the Day

We make soup all the time – it’s both economical & very easy to make a large amount of it at one time given you have a big enough pot and ways to store it after.  When not battling morning sickness, which makes my desire for everything I normally eat vanish like a child who has been asked to clean up their socks, I crave soup.  Now that my morning sickness and food aversions have abated for the most part, I am able to base my food choices on practicality and nutrition again :).

I like to make soup in my very big 24 quart pot.  Typically I will throw in about 3 quarts each of chopped onions, celery, and carrots – along with 1lb of chopped mushrooms, 1lb of chopped greens (usually kale), and 2ish lbs of chopped potatoes.  I cover this in meat broth (I almost always have lots of this on hand, but that is another post) and begin simmering it.  Mean while I will cook 2lbs of dried beans in my instant pot – I’ve already soaked these dried beans (usually chickpeas – our favorite) overnight.  After the beans are done, I drain and rinse them, then throw them in the pot with the veggies.  This usually fills the pot to almost completely full.  I season this with 1/4 cup each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and ginger powder.  If you eat an omnivorous diet like we do, I will usually throw in a few pounds of meat (ground beef, sausage, shredded pork, chicken, shredded beef, your pick).  I cook up some rice on the side and add a scoop of rice to each bowl as I am serving it.  While we are in CSA season, I am adding a lot of different veggies in depending on what we get each week.

Once we’re done having our first meal of soup, I divide up the leftover soup amongst as many 9×13 pans that I have available (I have 4 at the moment).  This allows the soup to cool down much more quickly than waiting for that gigantic pot of soup to cool down.  If I don’t have enough 9×13 pans, I will put some in another smaller pot (usually my 8 quart pot) and once it is cooled I will store that in the fridge as well.  Currently we have 3 refrigerators (1 large, 1 medium, 1 small) which allows us to store a larger amount of pre-prepared food.  I stack our 9×13 pans in the fridge by putting a piece of sturdy cardboard in between each pan so they don’t squish one another and cause the soup to seep out the sides and make a mess.  One day I’d like to just have all 9×13’s with plastic lids so I don’t have to fuss with this step (and aluminum foil), but you use what you have :).

We eat this leftover soup for 3-4 more meals depending on what I add to them.  I will often throw in more rice (or leftover rice), or I will add some leftovers from dinner to stretch it.  As a gluten free, dairy free, minimal processed food family, it saves so much time to not have to come up with a fresh lunch idea every day.

Let me know if it spurs you on to your own creative time saving meal ideas!  Blessings to you and yours <3

3 Months PP Update

It’s been a very typical recovery for me so far.

Oliver is a super duper sweet baby and generally very happy.  He sleeps well most nights with very little prompting from mama and dada, and his only food sensitivities so far are dairy and gluten in my diet which gives him a rash on his face.  We’re cloth diapering this go ’round and he’s finally fitting into his “one-size” pocket diapers (we are currently loving SunBaby diapers) which makes life a little easier.  Breastfeeding is going well with occasional “dips” in my supply, but nothing requiring supplementing.  I just drink some Mother’s Milk tea and we’re back in business again (along with lots and lots and lots of extra nursing).

Postpartum depression (which is typical for me) has been lingering more than I would like, so continued prayers for my sense of well being are appreciated.  I’ve started taking St.John’s Wort along with evening primrose oil and have been slowly seeing improvement.

My desperate need for caffeinated coffee at regular intervals throughout the day is lessening.  I’m taking that as a good sign that I’m headed in the right direction :).

I lost my typical 12-15lbs after having Oliver and haven’t budged a pound since : / which is probably due to my voracious appetite when nursing a baby.  I can’t stop thinking about FOOD. 😛

I started tracking my basal body temperature again to give me clues to my health in general and it’s been lower than it should be, which (along with my excessive hair loss) makes me suspect my thyroid is a bit under-active.  For now I am going to work on supporting it through diet, supplements, and tracking symptoms.

Other than these things I’m current wracking my brain trying to figure out how to make life continue flowing with 10 crazy wonderful kiddos. 😀  More on that later.

To see pictures of our sweet little “Ollie Wallie” who is about 3.5 months old now, check out my instagram feed in the sidebar.

Tata for now! ~MommyScott

“Over due”

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Sorry about the lack of updates the last 6 weeks.  We went through 4 weeks of serious illness (where everyone got sick, this hasn’t happened in quite a while so it caught me by surprise!) and I’ve spent the last 2 weeks wrapping all those little things that need doing before a mama can have a baby at home :).  But now I’ve officially watched my due date come and go – something I’ve only done 2 other times out of a total of 10 pregnancies.  Our oldest was born 5 days past his estimated due date (EDD) and our 9th child was born 4 days past his EDD, but everyone else has come within 5 days before their due date along with 1 being ON his due date :).  I’m feeling antsy, but surprisingly doing ok.  I was blessed to attend a women’s conference at our church, that I hadn’t planned on going to because it was on my due date, and the message was exactly what I needed to hear.  The speaker was Margaret Ashmore and the message was trusting and resting in God’s sovereign plans and walking in humility.  So here I am… trying to walk through this being “over due” patiently because it’s all in God’s plan, even if it’s not in mine.

A little update as to my pregnancy itself…

  • I haven’t been exercising regularly since everyone got sick – just some sporadic stretching and walks here and there.  I had been exercising consistently before illness struck, so I’m hoping that ends up counting for something 🙂
  • My varicose veins haven’t gotten any worse, although the circulation in my left leg is still not good.  After researching and talking to my care health care providers, I’m fairly confident the circulation issues primarily has to do with 2 factors.  1) The fact that I’ve been standing with my hips jutted out to one side for years (thanks to the way I hold my children), so I’ve been working on switching sides and using more arm strength rather than propping them, and 2) the pregnancy itself which comes with increased blood volume and increased internal pressures for a growing uterus.
  • I’ve gained 11/12 lbs at this point – 2 of those over the last two weeks.  I have allowed my self a little more wiggle room these last two weeks as I don’t want to deprive the baby of much needed calories to put on weight 🙂 – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it lol.
  • My will power to eat really well has been dwindling slowly over the last week, but I’m continuing my pregnancy tea (1/4 cup red raspberry leaf and a 1/4 cup nettle leaf tea steeped overnight with peppermint and lemon balm leaves), my prenatal vitamins, calcium & magnesium (one of these and one of these daily), methylfolate, methyl b12, and fish oil, along with a few other herbals.
  • Per my midwife’s instructions, I’m drinking lots and lots of water (at least 3 quarts of just water daily) which ended up being very important as you will see….

I didn’t get to finish it because…… on April 6th at 11:38pm we welcomed our sweet 10th child Oliver William (“baby Ollie”) into the world!

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He is my personal biggest baby at 7lbs 8oz and measured 21 inches long.  He’s a few days old now at the writing of this – he seems to be adjusting to life on the outside amazingly well.  His labor story will have to come later as I’m still tired and sore, but I didn’t want to put off sharing him with you any longer :).

Potato & White Bean Soup

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5lbs of white potatoes chopped
2lbs of dried white beans (navy / great northern), soaked & cooked
4 cups chopped onions
4 cups chopped carrots
2-3 cups chopped celery
2-3 cups chopped mushrooms
4lbs “soup bones” or other meat on the bone
3 Tbsp Salt & Garlic Powder
Optional seasonings: thyme, rosemary, a bay leaf or 3

Overnight, simmer your soup bones (or other meat on the bone) in a pot or crock pot.  In the morning, strain the broth into a large pot (I use a big ol’ 20 quart pot), and remove the bones and break up the meat.  To your pot add all of the above ingredients and simmer for 2-3 hours.

This delicious lunch will feed us for 2 days, probably 3 if I go ahead and add other leftovers to it ;-).  It’s an easy way to work in potatoes & legumes into the diet during pregnancy (and any other time for that matter).

Pregnancy Nutrition 2nd Edition

I’ve shared how I am carefully managing my pregnancy weight gain which has lead many to ask “what do you eat?”  So here it is – I have very specific foods I try to eat every day to meet all my nutritional needs.

Every day I have a smoothie.  I usually use this smoothie to take all my supplements and frequently drink half of it at one time and the other half later.  This is a convenient  and consistent way to make sure I’m packing a lot of nutrition into one simple meal and taking my vitamins regularly :).

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup of frozen berries
  • 3 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 packed cup of kale (approximately 1.5oz)
  • 1 scoop of “Garden of Life Perfect Food” powder

The macronutrients this provides me with are….

  • 672 calories
  • 22g protein
  • 28g fat
  • 92g carbohydrates and 21g of fiber

But the micronutrients is where this smoothie shines 🙂

A screen shot from Cronometer of all the nutrition in this smoothie :)
A screen shot from Cronometer of all the nutrition in this smoothie 🙂

The rest of the day isn’t quite as set, but I try to include all of the following things in my daily meals.

  • 1 medium potato (primarily for potassium, but notably contains 4g of protein and 2g of iron, along with varying amounts of minerals & b-vitamins)
  • 1 cup of legumes (with a focus on white beans, lentils, and chickpeas).  When prepared properly they are an excellent source of various minerals, protein, and fiber along with a heaping helping of b-vitamins (particularly folate!)
  • 3oz of salad greens – green leafy veggies are a great source of minerals, including calcium & iron, along with vitamin A, vitamin K1, and folate.  I avoid eating too much spinach due to the very high oxalate content.
  • 2 eggs – an obvious source of protein, b vitamins (b-12 in particular) and vitamin E in addition to vitamin K2 if the eggs come from pasture raised chickens.
  • 3oz of meat – with a focus on naturally raised sources.  I lean more towards eating pork products as they are high in selenium, zinc, and various b-vitamins.
  • 1 oz of almonds (preferably soaked and dried to help improve bioavailability of nutrients)
  • 1 oz (or two squares) of 80% or darker chocolate.  A delicious way to get 2g of protein, 2mg of iron, and various amounts of other minerals.

Including my morning smoothie, below you can see the nutritional breakdown of eating all of those things in a day…

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A couple of notes: All the daily value percentages are adjusted for pregnancy needs ;-).  Also, most of the vitamin A I get in a day is the alpha and beta carotene kind and perfectly safe in large amounts.  This also does not include other “incidental” foods such as coconut milk in my coffee, other foods that are contained in lunch and dinner, as well as any oil used for cooking.  So all said and done, my calorie count ends up closer to 2200-2300 calories a day.

As you can see there are a few “gaps” and here is how I address them.

B-Vitamins: I take a half dose of Garden of Life’s Raw B-Complex.

Vitamin D – I take 2 cod liver oil capsules (which contain a total of 500 IUs vitamin D & 5000 IUs preformed vitamin A).  I also take additional vitamin D drops during the winter as I’m not getting nearly as much sun now.

Calcium – my Nutritive herbal tea contains a large amount of calcium along with other minerals, but since it’s not as measurable I take 2 capsules of calcium / magnesium  daily just to be sure. With my pregnancies so close together I need to be very mindful of my mineral intake – particularly with calcium and magnesium.

Iron – that one is close enough 😉 that I’m sure my other food plus my nutritive tea intake covers it.  I also get my blood tested for iron levels to be sure I’m doing well there.

Potassium & Zinc – that one is close enough as well.  See my above comments about iron.

Selenium – I take a capsule of selenium and sprinkle about 1/4 of it into my smoothie on most days.

Ok so that covers the basics, but how about “HOW TO FIT IN ALL THAT FOOD??” lol.  Some days it feels like so. much. food, but it’s worth it!  First of all I spread it out throughout the day so I’m more or less eating a little bit every 2-3 hours.  To get my salad in, if we’re not having salad for dinner I just throw whatever we’re having for lunch or dinner on top of greens.

Lunch is either leftovers or a big pot of soup with potatoes, legumes, onions, carrots, celery, chopped kale, and meat of some kind (we buy meat in bulk from Polyface Farm).

Dinner – we follow a really regular meal schedule which makes life a lot easier (budget and planning wise).  But this post is long enough so I’ll share that next time. 🙂

DISCLAIMER – This post was written with all my minions running around me asking to be fed and watch movies and to be fed again.  If it’s sounds discombobulated or has excessive typos, you may blame them.  No time to edit or add lovely photos today! 🙂