Baby Steps

We have been trying for some time to eat a more nutritious diet and are taking baby steps to reach that end. With many of our meals eaten in the dining hall (yes, full of chemical drenched foods . .. .yeesh) and others eaten out due to our 30 minute commute to . . . nearly anything . . . .it makes sense to try to eat as healthy as possible around the house.

When I first read Nourishing Traditions, I was motivated, excited, encouraged and OVERWHELMED . . . . so much to do and so little time, not to mention the sporadic seasons of life where we hardly cook at home at all (read: now). Also, I don't have the luxury of farmers markets (although we do have fruitstands!) and I am rather reluctant to make twelve stops at twelve different places with three children to get in and out of carseats. We decided to take baby-steps (a little is better than nothing, right?) and slowly move towards more nourishing eating.

The thing I love about Nourishing Traditions is the underlying, unspoken message that God knew what he was doing in giving us food and that whole foods are best and frankly, you don't have to branch out super far to get adequate nutrition. (The Alaskans who live on meat alone, for example) Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE junk food --I wish I didn't, but I do. However, I'm trying to make better choices and give my kids a healthier, wiser palette than I have!

Here are some of our "baby steps":

1. Whole, organic milk, but in smaller quantities. My kids drink milk once a day, Owen twice. Sometimes we do coconut or almond, but Owen does not not take that.

2. Butter! We are not in a place where we eat "centrifuged butter from milked cows grazing on rapidly growing spring and fall grass", but we do eat the "real" stuff.

3. Good fats: Coconut, Peanut, Olive Oils . . . and real Lard. : ) Not all expeller pressed and perfect, but better than others, I suppose

4. Whole Wheat flour when we do bake (not as often)

5. Corn instead of flour tortillas

6. Local honey for our coffee and other applications.

7. Less white sugar in everything. I've been baking a lot with palm sugar.

8. White rice on "special occasions." (as a side note, Alton Brown's brown rice recipe is marvelous--especially if you've had unsatisfactory results before)

9. No more juice in the house. I realized that my kids only wanted juice and were
rejecting water. Even though it was diluted, it was a lot of sugar. When I stopped buying it an amazing thing happened: water consumption rose like all get out! Now they ask for water. : )

10. Oatmeal and Eggs are our breakfast staples. No cereals at all.

11. Better eggs--still not sure if the more expensive grocery eggs are truly better, but I'm buying into it. My goal is to find local eggs and I saw a possible source at the fruitstand the other day.

12. Home-cooked beans instead of canned.

13. We found a butcher in Crystal Springs who sells pork bellies, so we've made several batches of our very own bacon--free of nitrites (natural or otherwise). We're planning another round soon since our fridge is empty for camp.

14. A grass-fed beef cow--we bought a share with some friends (and a deep freeze-haha).

That's what we've done, and there is so much more I want to try! Over-all, we've reduced our wheat and carbohydrate consumption in general which has been so good for us. Our next goals are:

1. Aluminum free baking powder

2. Soaked, sourdough breads

3. Local eggs

4. Organic Chickens

5. A hog?

6. A modest garden, since organic produce is costly.

7. More organic produce.

8. Experimenting with grains like Quinoa, spelt and others and soaking.

9. Composting

10. Better eating out choices, both nutritionally and in the way companies are run (if this means more Five Guys and Chik-fil-A, I'll go for it)

11. Less candy in the house and in our mouths (I guess the fact that we are still eating Christmas parade candy should make me feel better?)

What are your goals?


Life, Lately

Camp life is a merry-go-round---not the sedate up-and-down animal kind of merry-go-round of zoos and carnivals, but the kind that one used to find at parks, where you held on for dear life as you were spun at unbelievably fast speeds. Exhilarating? Yes. Dizzying? Certainly. Impossible to stop or get off of? Without a doubt.

We are holding on for dear life, having a blast, and yes, just a bit dizzy.

I thought of writing a "day-in-the-life-of-a-camp-wife" sort of post, but every day is a bit different. This is the third summer since I "retired" from camping and I am finally figuring out how to combine normal daily living with camp life and what my role is as Tuan's wife and a mother and sister-in-Christ to the staff. Apparently I'm a slow learner, as I cannot figure out what I was doing those other two summers--haha. I am so thankful for the Lord's patience and perseverance in working on me.

This has been an amazing summer for our kids. Mr. J LOVES the staff and was a camper for the first time during day camp. It was such great fun watching him and hearing the stories the staff had to tell. He is now old enough to roam and run a bit free (within certain boundaries, of course). I LOVE that. His perspective on camp life is always interesting, too.

Miss A is lapping up the attention that the staff give her. She knows how to get things from them, too. I frequently find her with bandaids that have been absconded from the nurses and watches that she has wrangled from the staff. Miss A is bold and unafraid to ask for anything. The staff are so, so sweet and kind to her. The other day she told me, "the boy campers are mean to me, the girl campers like me, but the counselors LOVE me." Yes, they do.

Mr. O--my sweet boy. He is super independent, hard-headed and strong-willed. He threw a fit in the dining hall because his plate was on the table and he wanted to throw it on the ground. Nothing would do but to cast that plate from the table and the outrage at his will being thwarted was a sight to behold. Mama did win the battle, though. Mr. O also, decided to start walking at the pavilion during the first week. His independent personality is evident in the fearless way he will toddle through the throng of campers with not an ounce of hesitation. Sometimes, he'll crawl headfirst through the crowd, pausing to look up and observe them with his little paci bouncing up and down. I love the reaction of campers as they realize a baby is crawling through their midst . It's like a wave of realization--"there's a baby here! What do we do?!" The staff love Mr. O, but he is very particular about who he loves back and will not go to just anyone. He alternatively turns away at unwanted affection or dives into the arms of those who have his favor. (they are a select bunch, for sure!) I hope as an adult this translate into not having a fear of man and being able to do the right thing regardless of human opinion.

And, Mr. T., my sweet husband. I love this man. It is amazing to me how God gave me just the right man and created me just right for him. One of the things I love is my husband's servant-leadership. He works right beside the staff to do whatever needs to be done. He also lays down his life for me and the kids over and over again--making time to help with bedtime at night and sacrificing his desire to meet our needs. I am thankful for him!

And our staff! They are amazing. I watched two of the female counselors welcome their campers at the dining hall the other night. They were genuinely delighted to see their girls and the hugs and exclamations of affections and "how was your activity?" were just a small example of the joy this staff is bringing to the campers, parents and full-time staff. They are a joy to know, and I appreciate their faithful service (and kindness to my children, too).

I intended to write about something else entirely, but am thankful this is what came out. We are so thankful that God has put us here.


I always enter summer expecting to accomplish one hundred and one projects, but expectations rarely meet reality! I have managed to tackle a few projects and have had a wee bit of time to go thrifting. I stumbled across this lamp at the Gateway thrift store in Magee--I was smitten at first sight and Tuan (who thinks my art and lighting choices dubious at best) lovingly permitted the purchase. : )

At two dollars, it was quite a steal, but I fear that finding a great lampshade to go with it may be another story. Until then, this lampshade that I paid ten cents for (!) will do just fine.

$2.10 beauty

This mirror came out of my parents barn. The ugly finish looks so much better with a coat of Oxford blue. The photo is horrid, but it's rather pretty and the medallion pattern on top is the same as our green living room drapes! Unfortunately the thing is so stinking heavy it must either lean on a piece of furniture, a ledge or be hung with such precision and care via a stud that eludes me. (Read: Tuan is needed, not thumbtacks) Stud. Heh. There's a double meaning in that. : )

Awaiting a home. Maybe our stairwell?