Monthly Archives: September 2012

100 day whole food challenge

Trying to find a good balance of healthy eating has always been a struggle for me. Although I think that I cook pretty healthy, I have a sweet tooth. It is hard for me to go a day without treating myself to some sort of treat… usually a high carb baked good. I am addicted […]

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Annalise - September 19, 2012 - 7:55 am

I recommend eating a large breakfast of just fruit! You won’t crave sugar if you give your body the natural sweetness its looking for. We are primates and we’re made to eat large quantities of fruit. :)

Kelsey - September 19, 2012 - 4:33 pm

Sounds kind of fun. I mainly like the goal of not eating processed foods with more than 5 ingredients. I’m not willing to take the challenge because when I commit to something I try really hard to do it, and right now, I don’t want one more thing I have to keep on top of (I have a very addictive personality when it comes to health related things, which can sometimes be bad). I’ll do it as its convenient, maybe later on I’ll take the challenge. I’m interested to see Some of the new recipes and ideas you get from it. Please share them!!

Elisabeth@SimplyParkers - September 19, 2012 - 5:12 pm

I love the 100 Days of Real Food blog and like to try her recipes. The one recipe I have made MANY times is her crockpot refried beans ( – I mostly use it to make black beans (just dice the whole onion instead of halving it for more flavor, use only about 5 cups of water, and don’t mash the beans afterwards). Good luck to you! As challenged as I am in the kitchen, I’m afraid if I limited myself to 100% whole foods 100% of the time my family might starve. Baby steps for me. I think we’re closer to 50/50 right now (whole to processed), okay probably more like 60/40?? I would count 75/25 a huge success for us, something to strive for :)

Jenna - September 19, 2012 - 10:47 pm

Scott and I have been following a very strict Diabetic and low cholesterol diet since last month, due to my diabetes labs coming back pretty bad and Scott’s cholesterol being elevated. It is very similar to the whole foods diet. At first it was hard, but now is becoming a lifestyle and is pretty easy. You just have to make it through the first 2 weeks and then it becomes much easier. I know you and your family can do it. Let me know if you want any recipes. I make a lot of desserts without using sugar, or artificial sweeteners.

Kim - September 21, 2012 - 11:50 am

So, I did the sugar fast for a few months to lose weight as that is my weakness too. But when I get back on I lose control again. My new health plan is that I am eating only whole grains (break, rice, pasta….), Sweets only on weekend (I eat sweetened yogurt whenever though) and not eating after 7:00. And I get three exceptions to these each week. So far it is easy, I have lost 1 pound a week and am trying to form better habits so when I get to ideal weight I don’t slip into bad habits but try to maintain these habits for the most part.

Kara - September 21, 2012 - 12:41 pm

Annalise, do you guys do a raw foods diet?
So far it hasn’t been hard. I’m guessing that will change as the holidays approach, though :).
We do crockpot beans once a week usually. I bet that you could do it. It in some ways actually makes cooking easier. I will spread some hummus on a whole wheat tortilla, throw a carrot and fruit on the plate and call it a meal :).
I would love recipe ideas, especially for fall treats.
I am going to have to call you to get more details. Way to go though, it sounds like you have found something that is working for you.

juliette - September 22, 2012 - 11:35 am

That’s super interesting. My family eats waaaay too much sugar.
What do you pack in Sofia’s lunchbox?

Kara - September 25, 2012 - 9:16 pm

Yes, we were sugar junkies as well. I am stoked, because we are cutting back on sugar, and I am finding cool recipes using honey for when we do want treats. I am going to make popcorn balls this week with a little honey, butter, and vanilla melted.
For lunches… we still have some stonyfield organic yogurt tubes that I bought a long time ago, so she still is occasionally getting one of those. Today she had a slice of great harvest whole wheat bread with butter and honey on it, carrots, string cheese, and some homemade trail mix. Costco has this natural nitrate free turkey breast, so she will often get a slice of meat, fruit, and trail mix and maybe some hummus. I have rolled up whole wheat tortillas with hummus. We keep her lunches pretty simple, because I just don’t have time or energy to put an insane amount of effort. When payday comes, I want to invest in one of those really nice thermos cups so that I can sent her with leftover soup since that is what we live off of during the winter.

Kacie Wahl - September 26, 2012 - 6:11 pm

Yahoo for grass fed beef!

adrienne w - October 2, 2012 - 12:08 pm

What do you put in your homemade trail mix? We can’t send any nuts to school so I figured that ruled out any trail mix.
I’m not sure that I could do this completely, but we are definitely trying to implement some changes a little at a time and are much more conscious of how “whole” the foods we’re eating are.

Finley, my garden, and my thoughts on homeschooling

We went to Finley wildlife refuge our friends the Bannisters a few days ago. We had a lovely picnic and little hike.   I love Leonne. We always have lots of fun together. There were thousands of little caterpillars all over. The kids had fun letting them scoot around all over their arms. Gives me […]

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Angie - September 5, 2012 - 2:54 pm

Well, you are just opening up a new can of worms my dear. And…I love that! First of all let me say that you would be A.MAZ.ING at homeschooling! Here are a few of my random thoughts. -I am not organized, detailed or structured so if I can do it…so can you. So, now that I said something positive I will say this; it is hard. There are days where the thought of sending them back to school sounds heavenly, like really heavenly. -We had T and B in public school for 2 1/2 years and we had a GREAT experience. Wonderful teachers, fantastic administration and great parental involvement. So I am not against public school! Homeschooling was something that had been on my heart for a couple of years and I kept finding reasons not to (ie, coaching, having another baby) So when we moved in February it was the perfect time to “try it”. -If you have a great community for homeschooling and co-ops available then that is half the battle! We start our first co-op on Monday and I am super excited. Veteran homeschooling moms will be my new BFF’s. They have wisdom and a perspective that I have yet to gain. I have heard continually that the first year is the hardest. -It was a big adjustment. The kids were not use to being around eachother so much. And that’s when a HUGE lightbulb went off. Their siblings, me, their dad, our family is no longer the biggest influence in their life.

So all of those rambling, bla bla thoughts probably don’t help you. I could talk (to you) so much about this. But I will end with this; it is a topic much like working moms vs. stay at home moms. It is different for every family, mother and child. What works for some doesn’t work for others. You need to do what is best for your children. Don’t let nay sayers sway you in either direction. Don’t let fear sway you. Don’t let society sway you.

I must come see you soon. We could eat cheesecake and visit!

missy cochran - September 5, 2012 - 6:12 pm

I was homeschooled because the area my family lived in didn’t have good schools available. My experience was basically that of trying to create a public school environment at home with all the structure that comes from public school (not the best way to use the strengths of the homeschool set-up in my opinion). I am now going to school to be a teacher and have since read some books about homeschooling that I wish I had read growing up. One is “A Thomas Jefferson Education” and the other is “Unschooling”. I bet if you read either of these, you will have a better idea of how and if you want to do things differently.

Karli Winters - September 5, 2012 - 7:05 pm

Definitely read “A Thomas Jefferson Education” and “The Well Trained Mind.” Both very different perspectives on education and learning, and I think reality for most people lies somewhere in the middle. The resources are endless and a topic all in itself. I would love to get together and chat with you and some elusive future date when we FINALLY get together! In the meantime, here’s a little peek into our journey.

It started last fall when she entered full day 1st grade. She’d get home, have a few minutes for a break, then have to jump right in to homework, rush through it in order to get dressed, have a snack and get packed off to dance. This was twice a week, and she’d be there most of the afternoon into early evening. Then on one other night, I had my theater class (she came too). That left just Mondays (FHE) and Fridays (date night) and she still had some private lessons on Fridays. After just a couple weeks I started hyperventilating because she was never home, her relationship with Nolan (which had previously been great) was suffering, and we weren’t getting to anything else like chores, home stuff, supplemental stuff, piano… nothing really.

The logical decision at this point was to pull her out of after school stuff. This was harder for me to do than it would be for some… A) because I think extra curricular stuff CAN be as important as academic. because the girl lives to dance.

Then there was the part about helping out at school. I couldn’t go in as often as I wanted because of childcare issues with the younger ones. And even though I LOVED LOVED LOVED her teacher, and was pretty happy with Imlay overall, every time I was there, all I could think about was how inefficient it all was. Not that there was any way around it… a classroom with 28 kids in it is just going to contain inefficiencies. There are good things about that… as in, the kids learn they have to wait and figure things out for themselves and the world doesn’t revolve around them. But I also saw how easy a lot of things were for her (and many others) but some kids would push themselves to do or learn extra, and she was not one of them. She’d plow through a worksheet and be done, and spend a lot of time coloring, or whatever other free time activity they had.

Now. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this. I don’t feel like they should be studying rigorous academics at every second of the day. BUT, since I was already stressed about not having enough time with her, I started dreaming about how I could get all the core academics done in 1/2 the time at home, and then (theoretically) add some more time into our day together.

This is insane for me because I couldn’t WAIT to send her to school when she was 5 because I didn’t WANT to spend any more time with her. Funny how things change.

I guess that’s the long and short of it. I started researching options, attended a couple homeschooling conventions, and made some decisions. And I convinced her that it would be way more fun (a process which took all year :)). And I’m totally aware that I may cave by December. And I’m okay with that. I feel like as soon as I made the decision, I DEFINITELY felt confirmation that it was right. And even with having a baby, that decision has only been further confirmed (I selfishly want her here to help me :)).

Originally, part of me felt guilty, as a product of public school. It was fine for me, should be fine for my kids. But more and more people (normal people… not crazy, conspiracy theory people) are feeling called to do it, and I can’t help but wonder if there is a reason for that. Maybe our kids are going to need that extra attention at home, that stronger foundation later on. Or maybe not… who knows.

At first she was apprehensive, but she’s excited about it now. Especially cuz she’s getting special Spanish tutors and she has wanted to learn Spanish forever. And she’s helping me plan fieldtrips, etc. I’m definitely not worried about isolation… between church, theatre and dance, she’s still going to be outside the house for like 18 hours per week. There are so many other resources through parks & rec, etc, and they have homeschool classes at most gymnastics places. The resources available now are just incredible. But I will say, if and when it’s right… you’ll know it. I literally felt like I was in a stupor of thought about her life and schedule and what was right until it dawned on me to homeschool, and it just felt right. I definitely wouldn’t go changing things if they’re working. But for me, it was just not working as it was. And at first I was worried about her not being with her close friends at school, till I realized they don’t spend much time together at all if they’re not in the same class. So, I have to be more intentional about allowing them to come play, and scheduling those things, etc. I will second Angie, though. You would be A.Maz.Ing. The things you do naturally as a mom would fit so well into homeschooling.

Claire - September 6, 2012 - 6:43 pm

So…totally random how I found out about this post…my mom is Karin Cochran in Corvallis 2nd ward, and my SIL is Missy Cochran. My mom thought that you seemed kind of similar to me and thought I might have some words of wisdom to share since I’ve always had my kids at home. My oldest is 10 (a girl) and would be going into 5th grade this year. Then I have 4 boys – 8, 6, 2 1/2 & 10 months.

I would definitely read “A Thomas Jefferson Education”. Fantastic philosophy! Something I try to do with my kids. John Holt is also great reading. John Taylor Gatto is a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but makes excellent points (“Dumbing Us Down” is a classic).

I’m not a super structured organized person–the beauty of homeschooling is that you as the parent do what works for you. If you like structure, go for it! If you don’t (like me), don’t sweat it!

My husband and I have worked very hard at creating an environment where our kids will grow up in love with learning–it’s as natural as breathing for them. It’s not a sit-down once-a-day event that has a beginning and ending date. It is simply living life. Enhanced parenting, if you will. The bike riding you mentioned above. The squabbles and forgiving of siblings. You getting to be the one with your kids when they have an “ah-ha” moment. Taking time to write letters to people. Letting the kids lead the way. There are so many things to learn in the world; who decided that reading, writing, math and science are the most important?

Okay, you don’t even know me and I’m going all off! I am so willing and happy to answer all of your bullet items–I have pretty strong feelings on just about all the things you mentioned! Feel free to email me ( if you want to hear more. :) And please visit my homeschooling blog ( if you want more of my ramblings. :) :)

Good luck! And don’t be afraid to pray about pulling your kids out of school. There is plenty of time to learn what to do!


kara - September 6, 2012 - 8:44 pm

Thanks for the wonderful feedback and ideas ladies. We are good to go for at least this year. I am torn, because Sofia is doing the spanish dual immersion, and it important for us for our kids to learn Spanish. I did the same thing last year, but my way of coping with finding balance was just to ever couple of months pull Sofia out of school for a day to spend time as a family or to do something fun. I plan on doing the same thing this year as well. I will definitely keep you all in mind for people to talk to down the road if we become more serious about the idea. Angie and Karli, thanks for the faith in me that I may not suck at it if I do attempt it :). Missy, do you live in Corvallis? Claire, I think that I do know who you are? Did you and your husband do a workshop on finances at a women’s conference weekend once? I am definitely going to check out your blog.
p.s. Karli, it is ridiculous that I haven’t seen you. Congratulations on your pregnancy. Miriam is old enough that I could leave for a night in Portland some time or…. we could all get together in the winter when Chris isn’t as busy. Or.. I could come with the kids alone if he is busy!
Angie, eating cheesecake talking with you sounds divine. Hugs to you all!

Laurie - September 6, 2012 - 8:47 pm

Kara, dear…are you reading my mind? Bring it on ladies (and gents), I want to hear it all!

adrienne w - September 7, 2012 - 9:30 pm

Oh, I love you and your beautiful family! I could see you being great at home schooling. And you’ve received so much great feedback, that it almost makes me want to consider it… almost. I don’t want to say that I’d never do it, because if I felt it was necessary or right for us, I would, but I will say that I am in no way prepared or really interested in it at this stage of our family. It makes me anxious to think about it with 5 kids under 8. Denver’s sister, who I am really close to, home schools so we’ve discussed it a lot. We are really blessed right now to have a school that I feel meets our children’s needs really well. A lot of the pros for home schooling are things that our school does. With it being an Arts Core school, my kids have weekly classes in dance, drama, music, and art, as well as the arts being integrated in the classroom everyday. And starting in Grade 3, they have a music enrichment program which is group music lessons (in violin, viola, cello, or bass) right after school or during lunch. So I don’t feel like the kids need any extra-curricular activities outside of school hours and I don’t feel like we’re over scheduled. They do a lot of learning through play at the school and no homework. It has a wonderful small tight knit community in the school. We’ve also never had the kids come home with bad language or bad behaviour they have picked up. I’m sure that time will come, but so far we have had really positive experiences. We love it! I have no reason at this stage to consider home schooling. I do feel that there are pros to public schooling. And since you’ve had such great comments regarding home schooling, I’ll tell you my pros to public school. I like my kids being exposed to a diverse group of kids. They get to learn about other cultures and religions and we’ve had great talks about what other people believe. I also think that it is important for kids to learn to learn in different ways, even if it’s not the way they learn best. I think there is a benefit to learning from a variety of teachers and sources as well. I know that I wouldn’t be good at teaching every subject, that’s for sure. I think there are a lot of life lessons that we learn at school as well. I realize that there are probably ways to incorporate all these things in home schooling, so these pros aren’t necessarily cons for home schooling. One of the most important lessons I learned when I had to work full time and my kids were in day care, was that it is absolutely possible to be the most influential person in your child’s life, even if you are only able to spend a few waking hours a day together. Obviously, it gets harder as kids get older, but I truly believe that it is still possible, no matter how old they get. Our family time comes first, so we don’t hesitate to miss a day of school when family is in town visiting or we want to do something as a family, but we’ve had a really positive public school experience. Ultimately, I think, you have to do what you feel is right for your family and as someone else already said, if and when it’s right, you’ll know it.

Marie Palmer - September 9, 2012 - 10:32 am


You “friended” me just in time for you to get another comment from another person who loves homeschooling :).

Our kids aren’t really old enough to go to school, but we are getting really involved with the Corvallis Leadership Academy, the Thomas Jefferson Education-based group here in Corvallis. I love the families and the group. My kids will start doing the pre-school class on Thursday mornings while I teach math from the classics to some older kids.

I will also be teaching a kind of intro to homeschooling “TJEd” style class for adults which is mostly once every other month. Whether you ever homeschool or not, I think the ideas and books we are reading are super-interesting and are great ideas for any family. It may be a good way for you to explore the idea some more. You would be welcome to just come to the first discussion on the TJEd book in October if you want.

(You may be wondering why I am teaching these classes when I have only begun homeschooling my kids, but I studied it for years and taught at TJEd-based school and spoke at conferences, so I’m not completely winging it!)

Anyway, we are open to, and use, many education options and philosophies, but TJEd has most consistently made sense to me, but we definitely do our own version of it.

Email me if you have any questions, or want to see the handouts about the classes this year ( We’re having a family potluck Monday night at the park by the Harrision church building (or in the church, depending on weather and other factors) for intro and registration. Let me know if you want an evite.

No, no, no pressure at all, of course! Everyone and every family is different and you guys seem to be doing a great job.


Rose - September 10, 2012 - 10:01 am

Homeschooling is a great option, and I think you will be great doing it (seeing how well you conduct your live and learn class). Just ignore all the bad stigmas about homeschooling that close-minded people have. My husband was homeschooled for 18 years by his mother, who homeschools all of her 8 kids (she now only has the youngest one left to teach). All the kids attended college and are not “weird” or lack any social skills in anyway. I think you should try it and leave the option open for the kids to attend the regular school if they choose to. My husband was given the option by his mom to attend the normal high school, but he opted to stay with the homeschooling since it benefited him more.

Kara - September 18, 2012 - 9:22 pm

Wow Marie, you sound like a wealth of knowledge. I definitely may chat with you more sometime.
Thanks for the perspective Rose. Your little guy looks just like Bethlyn

Banana Boats

  A few months ago, a new camping family tradition was started thanks to my friend Cherie. Have you all heard of banana boats. If not, prepare to have your world rocked friends. Here is the gist of how you make a banana boat: Peel only a thin part of a banana, leaving the peel […]

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Angie - September 5, 2012 - 2:57 pm

I. Must. Try. This.