Saturday, July 24, 2010

Un-School on Saturday

Miriam came over while I was planning the menus and writing up a grocery list, and pointed to some of the words for me to read them. I did, but chose one to write in neat print, opposed to the chicken scratch I normally scribble in. She copied it and asked for another. That's not the first time a grocery list has turned into a lesson.
Grocery lists and menus make great teaching tools. Here are a few reasons:

1. Kids want to do what Mom is doing.

2. Kids want to learn things in the context of something in life that they can relate to.

3. It sets a good example to always plan what you are going to eat and buy in advance so you eat healthier, save trips and save money.

4. It turns ordinary excursions into jolly holidays when your little ones get to be involved in the planning and help with real, grown up things.

I wish I had taken my camera with me to the grocery store today, because Virginia scanned nearly the whole lot at the self check-out and didn't mess up once!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stories to Inhabit Part 2: Books from the Inside Out

We read these three books this afternoon, gifts from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which is sponsored here by our local chapter, Cherokee County First Steps. This is a ministry that targets poorer areas of the country and provides every child who signs up a free book every month from birth until their 5th birthday. Needless to say, the mailbox is checked with much enthusiasm when the long awaited time draws near.

I have also been pleased by the quality of the books and stories. Some of them are a bit on the silly side, which we all need a little of, and some have truly inspiring messages to impart.

The first book we read, "The Spiffiest Giant in Town" is one such gem. I won't give too much away, but it is about a giant who wanders sadly around in tattered sandals and a worn out, old gown. He is tired of being so shabby so he buys himself a new suit. He is now the spiffiest giant in town. But he keeps meeting fellow creatures in desperate predicaments, and each time, he sacrifices a bit of his new wardrobe. He is left with almost nothing, but the end is absolutely glorious, the revelation of "a prince in beggar's clothing". The detailed, fairy tale hodge-podge illustrations are also captivating and, at times, whimsical (like a princess walking along holding hands with a frog), with more to discover with each subsequent reading.

"Pip and Squeak" remind me of two little girls I know, who can be so competitive that they end up hampering their own endeavors. But, like these two little mice, they occasionally find that when working together, their stars shine brighter than when selfishly pursuing their own advancements. The pictures are a cleverly created mouse world, with a whole village made from odds and ends in a very "Borrowers" fashion.

The third book, "Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come", was pretty good, other than being a sycophantic puppet dance for the educational hierarchy. But it did show kids doing fun things, in a fun oriented room, which is something we can do here at home. Like the young hero, Henry, my little ones found painting to be the activity that excited them most.

And that's just.....

...what they....


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Homemade "Gatorade"

Staying hydrated is so important in the summer heat. But just plain water may not be enough. When sweating occurs, the body loses vital salts and minerals that need to be replenished. Our cells require an electrolytic solution to function properly. In chemistry, electrolytes are salts that allow an electrical current to pass through a solution. These solutes also play an important role in cellular activity, particularly in osmosis- the process that controls the passage of water in and out of cell membranes. When there is a high concentration of dissolved particles inside or outside each cell, water will move in or out to balance the concentration. Our bodies require the proper balance of salts and minerals to carry out the many functions of each cell, including the electric signals with which it communicates with the rest of the body.

Commercial electrolytic solutions can be expensive. And they wrongly advertise that you can't make them yourself because you don't know the proper ratio. Well, I'm about to tell you the proper ratio, so you can! In his book, "Your Body's Many Cries for Water", Dr Batmanghelidj instructs his readers in proper hydration. 1/4 tsp. sea salt for every quart of water will supply the balance your cells need. And you should drink at least half your body's weight in ounces each day. You don't have to drink salt water, though. You can just put the salt on your food.

Most processed food is loaded with equally processed sodium chloride, or table salt, so it is best to avoid these foods and eat pure sea salt on your other whole foods, which also contains trace minerals your body needs. Unprocessed sea salt will not look like tiny, perfect cubes as does it's manufactured counterpart. There are various types. Celtic sea salt is gray and damp, mined red salt is, well, red and dry, and Mediterranean is white, and less damp.

But in the heat we are currently experiencing in my neck of the woods, unless you want to sit around in a controlled climate, you are going to sweat. And sweating is good for you. It is God's gift of detox. Most of us don't sweat enough. And that's when you need that little bit of extra. So here is my recipe based on Dr. Batmanghelidj's ratio.

1 pint pure or filtered water
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 spoonfuls frozen juice concentrate of choice.

Shake ingredients together in a mason jar. You may want to put less water and top it off with ice after mixing. Or make a whole bunch and place in the refrigerator for an instant chilled drink. Enjoy!

AHHHHHHHH! Now that's a tool for conviviality.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Seth!

It's hard to believe it's been a whole year since Seth Warren joined the Harding family, but here he is- a big birthday boy!