Snow day!

We got our first snow this weekend.

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So proud of his first snowman!

I love the first snow, it's like a new beginning, winter has arrived. Okay, technically it's not winter yet. I won't name names but someone told Lucy that winter doesn't officially begin until a few days before Christmas so my little rule stickler will correct me if I say its winter, but come on people, it's winter!

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Lucy's snowman and fort.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

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And it got me thinking about seasons and time. I tend to be a worrier. And right now it seems like my plan, my idea of what should be happening in this time, this season, isn't. But only when I think about time. In the moment, I'm normally okay. If I look at each day, I love my life. I say normally because the reason I am able to be so pensive right now is Craig has the kids at church will I'm recovering from a stomach bag (or reaction to my first accidental gluten expose? Not really sure. Trying not to think about it.) And nothing makes you hate your life more than a stomach bug. But putting that aside, life is good.

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Yesterday, watching the kid's experience the first snow of the year was amazing. Like a hallmark movie. Unlike last year when Jonah stood there looking at us like we were crazy people for subjecting him to this cold wet stuff, he really liked it this time. They both ran around trying to catching snowflakes on their tongues before giving up and just picking some off the picnic table to eat while I tried not to think about how dirty that table was. Then we ran up to watch the chickens experience snow. Right now, I'm watching it fall out the window. I have these moments a lot, the ones where you look around and think, "Wow God, you really outdid yourself. You've given me a great life." So why do I still worry about what he has planned and if its going to be as good as I what I was wanting. It will be, it is. As good as the first snow day. As good as drinking hot chocolate on the first snow day of the year. As good as the your first taste of snow?

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Yep, that good.


An apple a day? Really?

I know that in mainstream circles, apples are consider healthy. You might have even heard the expression, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Even most crunchy types, from vegans to paleos (cavemen? what do paleo eating people call themselves?), like apples. But I'm sorry to burst your bubble. Here are 3 reasons why those apples may not be as healthy as you think.

1) High in Sugar. 
It's frustrating because you think you are a doing a good thing by including an apple in your children's lunchboxes next to their pb&J but did you know a medium sized apple has 19 grams of Sugar. 19 grams. That's more than 3 sugar packets worth. And yes, it's a different type of sugar but still, that seems high for a "healthy" snack.

2) High in Fiber
That medium sized apple also contains 20% of the USDA's daily fiber recommendation. Again, one might think that's a good thing but people like me who are struggling with leaky guy issues (as well as anyone with auto-immune issues as those are often correlated with leaky guy) should be cautious of fiber. Most of us know to stay away from things like psyllium husks but may unknowingly be overdosing on fiber just by eating a couples apples every day.

3) Poisonous seeds
Apple seeds contain cyandide. Cyandide is a poison that prevents the body from utilizing oxygen. The cyanide is only in the seeds and doesn't normally even interact with our body because the outside of the seed is hard but if you were to eat a lot of apple seeds and chew up the seeds, it could potentially be an issue. Beyond that, I think we need to think about why God would put cyanide in an apple if he wanted us to eat it. I'm not sure he would.

4) Better fruits available. 
I think this is probably the most important. With so many fruit options available, why even bother with apples? That medium sized apple has 14% of the RDA of Vitamin C but an orange has 160% (with only 17g of sugar I might add!). When it comes to potassium, apples aren't on top either. An apple only has 4% of your daily potassium needs. You'd have to eat 25 apples every day, not possible. But one single banana has 24% of your potassium needs. Why choose an apple when you can clearly see a banana or an orange would be a sounder nutritional need. And both bananas and apples taste good with peanut butter so it's a really easy switch to make.

So, I know I have some older recipes on this site that use apples and I'm not going to bother searching through and taking them off. I won't condemn you for either them but I've just decided that for my family, we'll be choosing other fruit. 

STOP! I really really hope that by know you realize this is sarcastic. I love apples. It's fall and you better believe I'm eating them up. Not enough to get my daily needs of potassium met by apples alone, but close.

This kind of thinking has been around for a while and before it used to make me laugh, I'd roll my eyes and move on. Common sense people! But now on my stricter diet, it's starting to get to me. Because I am having to cut things out and that means that I've having to figure out new things, especially when it comes to grains and their non-grainy replacements.

Gluten - yikes, I'm actually off of this at the recommendation of my doctor. Oats - often cross contaminated with gluten and similar structure so almost as bad. Coconut flour - too fibery. Almond flour - not good for your thyroid. Don't even get me started on sugar and it's many forms. Or dairy. If I listened to everyone, I basically couldn't eat a single thing. Except perhaps apples.

Of course, I still do need to eat. And right now, for me, there isn't an easy answer. I'd love to stick with the old 80/20 rule that has always done me right but right now, my body is saying that's not good enough. Yet I can't get to the point where I'm worried that every single thing I eat is hurting my body. God made people to get our nutrition from food. He didn't have to do that, we could make it from sunshine like plants do if he wanted but He choose food. Food is good.

But even some nutritious food is hurting me (oh bananas, I really miss you). It's like my body isn't listening to my philosophy on food. It's frustrating trying to find the balance between taking responsibility and making good choices and obsessing and worrying until your hair starts falling out and when it does, how do you know if its the worry or your thyroid! Perhaps that's why these types of articles aren't starting to annoy me, they are hitting too close to home. I'm doing my best to make wise decisions as I'm assuming you are. But after that, let's all just relax a bit okay. Now, I'm off to enjoy an apple with peanut butter and maybe even some m&ms on top... just kidding. Or am I?


Effective Reality

So there's teachers pay teachers, with its cute and normally inexpensive printables and games that cover any topic you want in almost any obnoxiously adorable theme. And then there is my reality of realizing the next day's reading lesson* involves teaching Lucy two different sounds of the digraph ea. My child - the loving reading but loving rules kid! I normally just write any new sight words on blue index cards, new  "sounds" (digraphs/diphthongs/blends) on a pink card, show them to her and move on. On occasion we'll do visualizing or word building  with magnet letters. I'm keeping it simple and she's doing great. But I thought in this case, I needed to do something a bit more so she wouldn't get upset that the ea blend is such a rule breaker. So I took a sharpie and 5 minutes and made this.

Isn't it gorgeous? No? Any words in which the ea made the long e sound, she colored in green (heat, each, beach, eat, peanut, bean, east, clean, leaf, meat and bean again because I made a mistake :-) and any that made the short e sound (feather, head, bread, and thread) were colored in red. She just read them both ways and picked which made sense. I tried to pick words that only worked one way (so I left off bead). Bean could have been an issue but she's lucky to have an Uncle Ben and she knows how he spells his name so it was fine and since I accidentally put it twice, we would have been able to practice it if it wasn't.

The result was the letter H which just so happens to be our letter of the week. What a coincidence! If I do it again with another sound, I can always make an L for Lucy or the number 4 or really almost anything. Now nobody is going to pin this or ask me to make it into a printable and its certainly not going to be accepted at the aforementioned teachers-pay-teachers. It's ugly! But she loved it and has no issues with ea sounds (for now, just wait until she sees the word steak) and everyone is happy. And sometimes, that's all you need!

*In case you're confused, we've taken a break from ordinary parents's guide to teaching reading although I'm still using it as a reference. We are just reading through the bob books sets, adding sight words and sounds as needed. I'm teaching more rules and less sight words than the books intend but she's handling it fine. We are on set 3 and she's still wanting to do some daily and a few nights ago I caught her sounding out words in a book on her own at bedtime. This stage is so exciting!


Doing alright

November hasn't been my favorite month for a couple years now. Today would have been my mom's birthday and she passed away just two days after Thanksgiving so there are just lots of memories here. And then their is the whole Britany Maynard story which is everywhere in the news. She had the same type of brain cancer as my mom. If I was in the mood I could write a book about how I feel about that whole thing but I'm not going to go there right now other than to say its really hard seeing it everywhere and if if I could strike the phrase "death with dignity" out of the world right now, I would in an instant.

So I was bracing myself for a really emotional day. But so far, I'm in a really good mood. I'm watching my kids play, we just finished doing a fun craft with them (making some newspaper Hats) and as soon I hit publish on this we are going to read some stories (Harold and the Purple Crayon and Henny Penny). I'm thinking about all my fun memories of doing projects and crafts with my mom, all the books she read us, all the things I want to remember. So, at least for today, I'm doing good. And I know she's doing well up where she is too. So Happy Birthday in Birthday Mom!

My mom on the day she first met Lucy which was also the day she first went to the doctor because something was wrong. I've never noticed but the blanket that Lucy is wrapped in is her "green blanket" that she sleeps with every night.


Found it!

My lost camera, that is. That's about the only productive thing I did this week other than hold and snuggle with a sick girl from Wednesday to Friday, then snuggle with a sick boy on Saturday and Sunday. This girl and boy, to be perhaps, although they didn't look this cute this weekend as they did on this hike. But that would be hard because my goodness, aren't my little hikers adorable!  They insisted on holding hands as they collected leaves and then once we got back to the playground they took turns catching each other going down the slide. They don't always get along well but it certainly is nice when they do. 

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