Monday, March 2, 2015

5 tips for proper nutrition outside of growing season

At this time of year, we're down to the bare bones of all the produce we grew, froze, canned, or stored in the basement last fall. At the same time, it's still snowing and storming often enough that deliveries to our local grocery stores are delayed or cancelled altogether......and if they do make it through, more often that not they have traveled thousands of miles before reaching the shelves, not to mention costing a fortune!

This presents a real challenge for those of us who cook mostly from scratch and prefer locally grown/organic fruits and vegetables. How do we make certain that our family is getting the nutrition that growing (or aging!) bodies need?

Here are a few things you can do while you're waiting for growing season to start up again:
5 tips for proper nutrition
These blueberries may not be pretty, but they taste delicious!

-Buy frozen, not "fresh". Most frozen produce was prepared where it was grown and at its peak, so you're going to get more vitamins and nutrients from frozen than anywhere else right now. Most "fresh" produce, by the time it reaches your grocery store, has traveled for a couple of weeks and many thousands of miles. The frozen food may not be as pretty, but it packs more of a nutritional wallop.

-Aim to increase your garden size this spring; or if you don't have garden space, buy your produce seasonally from the local farmers' market and prep/freeze/can/store it as you would with your own. You'll pay less and eat healthier.

-For next winter, plan to prepare freezer meals from your garden's bounty as you pick it, as well as storing individual items. That way you won't be scrambling for substitute ingredients come next March. .

-Include lots of legumes. Dried lentils and beans are an excellent source of iron, fiber, and other natural goodness, and you can cook them from dry and save a pile of money as well.

-Add a multivitamin to your daily routine. We look for high quality and easy-to-take vitamins, so we were delighted to be offered the chance to try Adult Essentials Gummies Multivitamin. M, 14, takes an adult multivitamin but can not swallow pills to save her life, so these chewables are ideal.....no more grown-up sized teen taking kids' chewables!

5 tips for proper nutrition
D, 7, loved the kids' vitamins, and I was happy that they offer some with added vitamin D, so important in the winter! They're also sugar free, which I heartily approve.

ironkids gummies with vitamin d

They won the 2015 Canadian Living Best New Product Award in the Health category, as voted on by over 60K Canadian consumers, so I'm obviously not the only one singing their praises.  They're formulated with the unique nutritional needs of men and women in mind, and have created enhanced options such as multivitamins with added Omega 3, Vitamin D, Omega 3, B12, B-Complex, or Fibre. They're also gluten, dairy and nut free. Score!

You can get more details on the Life Science Nutritionals site, and use their retailer tool to find out where they're sold in your neck of the woods. They'll also be at the National Women’s Show in Montreal on March 13, 14 and 15. They will be available to chat with and it's a great opportunity to learn more about Adult Essentials and IronKids Gummies.

 How do you meet your family's nutrition needs in the off season?

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Science Nutritionals blogger program with Influence Central and I receive special perks (like the vitamins, to try them ourselves) as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to finger knit (with video)

This morning, I taught D, age 7, to finger knit.

I'd grabbed a packet of Lion Brand's super chunky "Quickie" wool blend in "Spicy" the last time I was in Michaels because it was so pretty (and now, of course, I'm kicking myself for not grabbing all the ones they had left in the store!). I thought it would make a good skipping rope for indoors, so I took a minute-literally- to demonstrate the actions of finger knitting to D and he ran with it!

how to finger knit with video

After about 10 minutes, he asked me to get the video camera and make a short video of him explaining it, "so that other kids can learn this too - it's fun!". Of course I obliged. He finished his skipping rope in under an hour, and made it long enough for his siblings (one of whom is 6'2"+) to use it as well. The wool turned out to be the perfect weight for the project.

So without further ado, here is D's video that teaches you how to finger knit. All the editing for it was done by M, 14. The Austin Powers imitation in the background is courtesy of a certain someone who didn't realize we were filming. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Got questions about homeschooling through high school?

If you've been looking at homeschooling through high school, here's your chance to have someone else do the legwork for you! I have a post today over at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom on just that topic.

Please feel free to stop by over there and leave me your questions. We're all in this together!

Here's the link for " Homeschooling High School: What Do YOU Want to Know?" I hope to see you there too!

Friday, February 20, 2015

An Easy Clay Dragon Tutorial for Kids

Yesterday was one of those days where nobody could seem to settle down, and it is bitterly cold outside, so I did something I rarely do: I scrapped the planned schoolwork and brought out the clay. Since it was Chinese New Year and I keep seeing really cool clay dragons on Pinterest, we decided to make some! Here's a quick and easy clay tutorial for our dragons:

You'll need some wire....we had some copper wire left from another project, and it cuts more easily than stainless steel, so we went with the copper, but any thin wire works (I think I paid $3 at the hardware store and I still have lots left for other projects) You'll also need some air-dry clay...it's easy to use, stays moist for a decent amount of time and you can buy it at almost any dollar store.

Start the framework for your dragon......one long piece for the head, torso and tail all together, and 4 pieces for the legs. Smaller children might need help with this part. Bend the ends into sort of circles around the body wire. Wherever you put them, they're going to swing loosely and annoyingly until you add a blob of clay and wrap it around the joint.
clay dragon tutorial for kids

Take more clay and flesh out the legs a bit more, and start the foot clumps. You can start the base of the neck and head at this point too.

clay dragon tutorial for kids
In retrospect, I probably should have asked M to brush her hair before we started.

clay dragon tutorial for kids

clay dragon tutorial for kids

If you want wings for your dragon,  this is the time to add them. We each made up our own, but basically you'll need a long piece leading off the torso and some shorter pieces. Put it together sort of like the shape of a bat wing. (Watch your wing location - my dragon was mostly dry before I realized this morning that the reason it looked strange to me was that I'd put the wings closer to the back legs instead of the front.)
clay dragon tutorial for kids

Attach the joins with lumps of clay before you add any pieces further out on the wing. We found that the clay was so heavy that it presented a bit of a problem at this point. M, 14, built some permanent copper pieces in underneath to hold them up; I attached my wings to the torso a bit by sticking them with the clay, and D, 7 decided he didn't need wings at all. To each his own! For the top of the wing sections, one thin flat piece seemed to work the best, bent over the wire framework.

clay dragon tutorial for kids

clay dragon tutorial for kids

That's basically it! All you need to do now is add a head, eyes, nostrils and any extra details you want. I tried to make "scales" on the legs and torso with the tip of a plastic spoon but I would go with half a plastic straw if I were going to do it again.....the spoon made my dragon looked like it had been injured, rather than the scaly effect I'd hoped for.
clay dragon tutorial for kids

This project was a lot of fun! Once they're dry, we plan to paint them in time for St. George's Day.

clay dragon tutorial for kids

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