Tag Archives: food

Unschooling today 8/15/2017

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Today we had a great day. It was a good mix of inside activities and out of the house activities. It ended with Elijah getting to do something that made his day. 

After breakfast, the kids wanted to practice their magic tricks. Hailey asked if I had a deck of cards she could have. 

Elijah’s magic had to do with water and cups.  

After magic was all finished, the kids wanted to build with Lego’s. They’ve been building boats to test in water again. 

I laid the toddler down, and the kids played unto and ate a snack plate. They played computer game about dinosaurs for a bit. 

When nap time was over, we headed out to meet friends at the pool. We stayed to swim, run around, and play with friends for a couple of hours. 

We left and met up with Papa to get some dinner out since it was late. We tried a locally owned Indian restaurant. The kids like the Indian food I’ve made at home, so I thought they might enjoy it. I never got to try many ethnic restaurants as kid, so I love when we get to now. 

The kids loved their food, and the people at the restaurant were so nice. Elijah kept sending his compliments to the chef, so they asked if he’d like to meet the chef and tell him. He was so excited to see an actual restaurant kitchen. He told the chef “you are a good cooker”. Elijah is like my sous chef at home, so this was a big deal to him. 

We are at home relaxing with tablets before bed. We had a fun day! Feel free to share about your day in the comments. 

Unschooling today and yummy snacks

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Some public schools near me started back today. That is almost hard to believe. It is so early! It is summer! I continue to be glad for the choices we’ve made to keep the kids home. 

This morning started out with an oatmeal bar. I got the idea from Our Muddy Boots Facebook page. If you don’t follow her already, head straight over and check her out! The kids made their bowls of oats with their add-ins of choice. 

After breakfast, Hailey picked up a workbook we have laying around. She found these at the store a couple of years ago, and works in them when she wants. I call them activity books. She’s really enjoying practicing her spelling lately, so that’s mostly what pages she chose to do. 

The majority of the rest of day, the kids spent in the computers together. They u watched some shows, played starfall, then some PBS kids games. I’d bring snacks and check in. They’d show me their computer creations, and songs they made. The toddler was running around doing toddler things like building blocks and making messes. 

On the way to taking Hailey to her martial arts class, I mentioned I was stopping at the store while she was gone. She asked me to pick her up a couple of things because she had an idea of a treat to make. 

I grabbed the groceries, and then picked her back up. I made dinner, while the kids played and chatted about their plans. Immediately after dinner, Hailey set to work on her recipe idea. She wanted to create a bar with marshmallows, peanut butter, pretzels, and chocolate chips. 

She had me help her with the peanut butter and breaking the pretzels, but she did everything else herself. The recipe was completely made up by her. 

We baked it. It was hard to wait for it to cool. 

Hailey was disappointed that they weren’t as sweet like a dessert, more like a granola bar. She decided on less peanut butter and more marshmallows next time. 

Elijah had fun making some creations with the extra supplies. 

That was our day. Please feel free to share about your day in the comments. 

Eat the candy!

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We didn’t control the amount of candy that the kids ate this year. We put it all in a big bowl and the bowl sits in our living room, on top of the TV stand (out of the baby’s reach because he would eat the paper, stick pieces down the vent, and feed chocolate to the dogs!). The only thing I asked was please only take a few pieces at a time into another room (so candy didn’t get left out for the baby to find- see above), and let’s please try to throw our wrappers away. I also put a small trash bag next to the bowl and there is one in almost every room for convenience.

The first night was the big pig out. We all ate what we wanted, but honestly looking at the trash gathered, it was not as much as I thought it would be. The next few days, the kids would eat a handful or two at a time and then none for a few hours. The parents would eat a piece or two when they wanted. It slowly decreased. There was no pressure here, no guilt thrown their way. I didn’t hope that they would stop eating it, or give any looks whenever they grabbed another piece. At one time, Hailey mentioned her tummy not feeling so hot and I suggested ‘Hmmm…. I noticed you haven’t eaten much yet today, but some candy, maybe your tummy needs something more filling”, and offered to make her a snack. No pressure or shame attached.

There was much discussion of Facebook about parentings taking a set amount of their kids candy to eat for themselves. I will be honest and say that both Papa and myself joked about it with the kids, and with friends while we were trick or treating. The kids laughed right along with us though. I never realized that there was this a prevailing attitude of control surrounding how much candy the parents got to eat. I did not have to force my kids to share with me. They were happy to share their loot with us. As a matter of fact, the day after Halloween, Hailey set up a pretend tea party and picked out a few of my favorite pieces for me as the dessert. Abundance creates generosity. At this point, after everyone has had their favorites, some candy was tried and found to not be liked, and they have offered some to anyone who has come over, there is not much left.

This is not just for Halloween though. We live like this all year. The kids are excited about candy because it tastes good, but they are not desperate for it. There is no internal struggle for them to eat as much candy as they can before I take it away, so they stuff themselves to full to eat anything else. We try to create an atmosphere where food is food, and everyone has a say in what they eat in when all the time. Food is not good or bad, and there is no set things they must eat each day. They are always allowed to ask for what they want and I try to make it happen. The kids are still snacking out their favorite foods as well. I have sliced lots of apples, and peeled plenty of oranges. I have made chicken, eggs, and oatmeal.

If you read my post months ago on food freedom, you know that I have held some very strong beliefs about food in the past. I have struggled with over controlling myself and others. I have let food induce many negative feelings in myself and let it stress me out to a unhealthy point honestly. Yet, I have felt so little stress this Halloween, and it has shown me how far I have come on my journey. It feels good to choose joy, to choose peace.

Our unschooling day 10/25/16

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Today was a stay around the house sort of day. I made some pumpkin bread for us. I love Trader Joe’s canned pumpkin out of all that I have tried. The bread was a big hit. Then Grandma came over to visit the kids, have a cup of coffee, and chat.

While the baby was napping, the kids and I decided to put together a chocolate cookie haunted house kit that I picked up from the store. This was trickier than it looked, but we figured it out. The kids had fun decorating, putting on/eating the candy, and expressing some of their creativity.

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After lunch, I noticed that Hailey had frozen some water in a kid’s size bowl in the freezer. I pulled it out and her and Elijah both tried to eat it. I do not what it is about kids and ice, but it seems to fascinate them. I went to nurse the baby when Hailey called me back in to check out her “science experiment”. She had placed a piece of finned metal under the ice to see what would happen. To their surprise the ice had started to melt faster and was indented in the shape of the fins of the metal. They both got a kick out of that.

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I had been working on roasted veggie spaghetti for a while, and when it was done I nervously served up the kids. Hailey has recently began trying many new foods, but usually she has many reservations when things taste different. Luckily, she loved the pasta and I loved that she got some extra veggies. I told Elijah it was veggie spaghetti like they served on Daniel Tiger.

The kids have been acting out pac man characters for a while now. We will read books and settle down soon.

How was your day?

Unschooling today 10/22/16

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Today we got out the door a bit smoother than usual. I think that was because Hailey woke up much earlier than usual. She said her dream woke her up. I had made a pot of oatmeal at Elijah’s request, so we all ate and headed out the door.

We went to a super neat event. It was called Human2fest. It focused on meditation, mindfulness, yoga, art, wellness, and holistic care in general. This is right up my alley! We mostly hung out in the kid’s area. The kids made some art pieces. Elijah worked on painting the outline of his hand, for a project the art coordinator is going to make. It will be a collaboration of all the kids hands who made one.

They had a kid’s yoga class. This was so much fun. Hailey loves yoga and often watches yoga YouTube videos. The teacher of the class was laid back, gentle, silly, and patient. Some parts I even did right with them. They did yoga, a yoga story, all crawled through a downward dog tunnel, and said positive affirmations about themselves.

 

We walked around and checked out the booths. Hailey asked to have a sample at the Indian Food truck. This is a big girl for my girl. She has always had trouble trying new things, and has been intimidated by foods that do not look just right. But she really enjoyed her sample so we bought a plate for her and Elijah to share. They played at the playground area for a few and then we headed out.

We let the baby nap in the car on the way to meet up with a group to do a pumpkin themed activity. We read a pumpkin story, had a snack, and then took a short walk to find little pumpkins hid throughout the trail.

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On the way out of the trail, Papa and Elijah threw some leaves off the bridge into the river and watched them float down the stream.

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We then headed home. The kids took a bath. We might do a movie night before bed.

 

What did you do today?

Our Unschooling Weekend

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We are in the middle of an extreme heat wave with excessive heat warnings out. I don’t handle these types of temperatures well, and neither does my oldest. Considering when we are out and about, I have an already sweaty baby strapped to me, I have not been in a hurry to get out this weekend; Even more so because Papa is working and I don’t have his help chasing after the little’s in this heat. So we have taken this as a sign that we needed some slow down time.

Saturday, Elijah and I started to make strawberry ice cream using yummy local ingredients. I forgot to chill the ice cream maker bucket so we didn’t get to finish it at that time. Winter found some hidden chocolate around the house and had a taste while I wasn’t looking. I had a good laugh about it.

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We watched some videos that a friend put of a baby squirrel she has been taking care of. Then we read some Bird and Squirrel book together. Hailey really likes this series. Elijah had a bath with all the toys to clean up from a bonfire with friends the night before. Hailey wanted to play “school” which was a hilarious take on what she must think public school is like. She quizzed me in math questions, that I got “wrong” and she had to teach me. I also got punished by being sent to kiddie corner. I thought it was interesting that she had an idea what time out might look like since we have never done that. We watched some Pokémon, read some more books, and just relaxed until bed.

Today, has been kind of rough. The kids started out in a fight. I lost my cool for a second, but gained composure and we handled it, and all agreed to start over. Elijah and I have been working all day to make this ice cream without the ice cream maker, since it wasn’t working. We laughed about the idea of learn nothing day. We watched a video of a baby bat.

The kids wanted to get face paint out. So I helped Elijah and Hailey painted herself.

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Pikachu!

We made snack plates. Elijah pretended to be many different things. At one point he was a vet and I was a dog who he was checking up on. At another point, he played dress up.

Captain Judge

Hailey wanted to play a drawing game in which I told her things to draw, and then she had to draw it and create a picture around whatever was the main thing. She made a bunch of drawings. She asked how to spell some words she was putting on her pictures, and sounded out others. She loves art.

 

We finished Bird and Squirrel. That about sums up our unschooling weekend. What has your unschooling days looked like lately?

Learning to embrace our nontraditional lives

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We have always been kind of nontraditional. My husband has worked many different shifts during our marriage and because we unschool, we have more freedom to arrange our routine around, so that the kids still get time with their Papa no matter how strange his current shift is. I seem to go through periods of time in which I embrace this, and then other times it is like I almost forget that we have always lived our lives a bit differently. I don’t know how that happens, how something I have lived for years just slips from my mind.

This year, my hubby has taken a new job and he works Saturday, Sunday, and Monday really long hours, but the rest of the week he is home. When most people ask what his schedule is like and they hear that, they seem to recoil in disgust. Ha. And I get that, for the average family that kids go to school (or even summer camp this time of year), that would mean they get to spend very little time with their kids. For us though, it works. We not only have more time with Papa around, but we have the weekdays during the school year when most places are close to empty, and more days to do family stuff. It has been working well for us.

We are night owls around here too. Going to bed is not always an easy thing to make myself do, even though I love sleep. Hubby is the same way. So we stay up late, and get up when either the baby or 3-year-old wakes up, which isn’t as much sleep as I might want, but it is just how my brain works right now.

Recently I have suffered from that whole things slipping from my mind syndrome. I don’t know what I make myself learn the same lessons over and over again. Some kind of self-torture is what that is. But it was as if I forgot that we live on our own schedule. We do not have to have dinner at 6, and kids asleep by 9. All of a sudden, I was stressed that things were not going by this typical societal schedule. That schedule just doesn’t fit us. We are a busy family, often out having fun and exploring new places, hiking, playing with friends, and any other adventures we can come up with. Because of our sleep schedules, and the fact that it is not fun to be stressed in the morning trying to get out the door in a hurry, we often don’t start our adventure until 1 or 2. Most of the time, the kids are not done after an hour or two. My kids tend to really dive into something and be super invested for a long time.

So when we walk in the door at 6 or 7 (or later even), then I was suddenly feeling stressed that dinner was not done yet and it is late, and we have to hurry hurry hurry. Hurry is just not a good word. It creates bad feelings. It tempts mom to yell, and kids to cry. I don’t like it, and I am purposely setting up our lives so we have to be in less of a hurry most of the time.  Then I just give up on making food and get the kids a quick snack, and I just stuff my face full of potato chips. That is fun the first few times but then it gets old quick.

Then, suddenly the other day, the lightbulb went off (again!). We do not have to eat dinner at 6 o’clock. Heck, I don’t have to cook dinner at all as long as everyone has food to eat, even if everyone grabs something a different. My kids are not in bed by 9. That is not our life and it really never has been. I am putting pressure on myself for not living up to an idea that does not fit our family and never has. I gave myself permission to cook dinner at 8:30 at night. My husband walked in the door at 9:15 and I was just finishing up. We all sat down at the table (we don’t always do that) and enjoyed our family meal, and then I did the dishes. It was so relaxing, so freeing.

I can’t have my foot in two separate lives at one time; not happily at least. I can’t have one foot planted in the traditional 9-5 American family on a school schedule side, and the other on the radical unschooling, untraditional schedule that honors our individual personalities side and feel peaceful at the same time. I don’t have to conform. It feels good to embrace that. Now next time, I have to learn this lesson I can go back and read this and hopefully remember it a little faster.

Food Freedom, Part 2

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Last post, I gave some background into my personal history with food and health. I started reading about radical unschooling when my daughter was 2.5. I read a bunch for months, and started applying some of the concepts in other areas first. I knew food was going to be a difficult one for me, and I wanted to be confident in my choice to try first. Slowly, over time, I tried to just say yes more. I stopped trying to scare my oldest into avoiding certain foods, and I tried to stop using such extreme black and white language about food (poison for example).

So what does removing arbitrary limits surrounding food look like? Does it look like a kid stuffing their face with candy, cake, ice cream, chips, etc., all day long? Not usually. Although, my oldest has a sweet tooth, and if she has candy she will often eat it all at once, not without offering to share with everyone though. My 3-year-old doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth at all, so he will often only take a bite or two of most sweets.

Many times it looks like begging me to make broccoli because that is a favorite vegetable around here. Sliced apples are also often requested.

It always looks like asking what everyone in my house would like on the grocery list. That question gets different answers ranging from orange juice, to start fruit, to cheese puffs from Trader Joes. I try to always say yes to their requests the same way I try to get my husband’s requests.

Occasionally it looks like having ice cream before breakfast, because what is the difference between having a bit before breakfast or later in the day? It’s nutritional profile certainly doesn’t change if you have it after dinner. Occasionally it also looks like turning down desserts because they just don’t feel like it, or they it is not a favorite and they feel no need to eat it for fear of getting nothing else for a while.

Sometimes it looks like a kid not enjoying what I made for dinner and asking for something else. My daughter has a lot of texture issues surrounding food, and my son is a meat and potatoes kind of kid. So easy, no-hassle foods get offered instead. Sometimes that is peanut butter and jelly, buttered noodles, or a smoothie. Sometimes that is yogurt and fruit.

It looks like accepting that it is okay that the kids like cereal. I am not a failure for not having a fresh made breakfast every single day. I try to buy the “healthier” versions of their favorites, but I say yes to this now.

This means not taking every single morsel so seriously. Yes, they can have birthday cake at the party, sure they can have the sucker their friend offered, and yes they can have snack at church, even if it is not something I would usually pick for snack.

Yes, I can add frozen broccoli to the list, yes you can eat frozen blueberries for a snack, yes we can make popsicles out of smoothies. Yes you can eat your Easter candy at whatever pace you choose.

This means we talk about which food gives us a little energy very quickly. And which foods will sustain us for longer. Sometimes this looks like me saying “You haven’t had much protein today, would you like xyz?”

I want my kids to have a much healthier relationship with food than I ever have. I want them to learn what makes their body feel good, and what makes it feel not so good; not what I tell them should make their body feel good.

I want them to choose to try new foods when they are ready. You may think they never will, but the more I have let go of trying to force them to try new things, the more they have willingly chosen to take a taste. Not at first, but with time, healing, and the realization that they have control of what goes into their body.

I want to bake with them, let them add things to the list, and figure out what their favorite things are. I want food to be nourishing to the body and the soul.

Let me put the disclaimer here that I am not all the way there, I may never be. I still catch myself feeling fear around food, and sometimes I put down limits that upon further reflection, were arbitrary. This is a journey. My kids also have no allergies that threaten their life, and if they did I would try my best to find acceptable alternatives.

 

Food Freedom, Part 1

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If you are at all familiar with the ideas behind radical unschooling , you probably know that removing arbitrary limits is a priority. This is going to be a two-part post. For this post, I am going to give some background into my food history and how that has shaped our journey, and in the next part I will be talking about what removing arbitrary limits around food looks like in our home.

I will be transparent and tell you that this has been the area that I have struggled with the most, yet has yielded not only benefits for my children, but for me as well. I was raised in a home in which there was not much offering of fresh, whole foods; lots of very processed foods, and boxed and canned foods were a staple. However, that was never my taste. I always have loved fresh fruits and veggies. As a kid, if we went to a buffet, I loaded up on salad. My parents just did not eat that way often though.

As a young adult who was cooking for myself and my husband, I tried to cook very healthy. The ideas of what healthy was morphed over time, but I ended up being very extreme with food. I was very strict on myself, was very harsh on myself if I ate something I did not consider healthy, and tried to control what my husband ate as well. I put immense pressure on both of us to the point of being very unhealthy. I also hate to admit it, but I have judged others for their food choices many times. There are personal reasons from my past that I believe this extreme control around food emerged from, but I won’t get into that. Let’s just sum it up by saying, I thought I knew what was healthy, and I was determined to make sure my family ate mostly only that.

After I had my daughter, I was super strict with her and what she ate when she began eating solid foods. That was pretty easy, because she was in my control and under my watch. Over the first few years, I tried many different styles of eating, including, paleo, gluten free, Weston A price, etc. I thought I was giving her a gift, not allowing her to have foods that I deemed poisons. I have a sad memory of turning around to see my toddler eating a sucker offered by a restaurant host (my Mom had been holding her and allowed her to have it), and yanking the sucker out of her mouth telling her how bad it was.

I did not realize at the time, that I was on a mentally unhealthy path. I did not yet completely understand how the stress, guilt, and pressure surrounding food can create physical health issues as well. It was not until I found radical unschooling and chose to attempt to apply some of the concepts in our lives, did I realize how much food baggage I had of my own. I have healed so many personal wounds while trying to help prevent my children from having to deal with so many food issues of their own. The next post will talk about real life examples of food freedom from our lives.