Thursday, January 28, 2010

Meshek Hunting

We're on a meshek hunt here... We are renting in Hod Hasharon, which is a suburb about 45 minutes north of Tel Aviv. We started off our home search looking for something in the Sharon area, as Jeremy didn't want to be "too far" from friends. We quickly realized that we would get too little for too much anywhere in the Sharon area, so Jeremy expanded his acceptable area a bit. We saw a meshek (small farm) in Mishmar Ayalon a few months ago that we really liked, but wasn't perfect - a bit over our budget and you could see the #1 road in the distance. Today we saw six meshekim - all just slightly south of Beit Shemesh in the Ela Valley, so about an hour south of where we currently live. Most we didn't like - they were small/old houses on plots that needed work - chicken coops would need to be cleared out, land flattened, concrete removed... All had roads in view behind the houses.

Actually, I should back up and quickly say that a meshek in Israel typically consists of three areas - A, B and agricultural land. A is 2-3 dunams (.5-.75 acres) - this is where you can build a house (and sometimes have rights to build two). B is typically about 1.5 dunams (just under half an acre) and is for business/agricultural structures like a stable or chicken coop. Then you typically get about 20 dunams or so (5 acres) strictly for agricultural use.

The last lot we saw was about 2.5 dunam in area A with a small dumpy house, 1.5 dunam in area B and then the agricultural area I think was rented out or something - not sure exactly, but we wouldn't really want that land... We want to start with a veggie garden and chickens for eggs and eventually get goats. The lot is facing NW I think - the house could be positioned so you can see the sunset, which the man who lives there said is stunning. There is a playground and shul a few houses down. The playground is small, but has all the features I look for in a playground: every piece of equipment was safe; no wood (so I don't worry about arsenic, although of course there could be toxins in the metal that I'm not aware of ); it has a slide, two swings for two boys; a slide; teeter-toter; sand on the ground (great for Sensory Integration!) shade cover for the Summer and a small clean public bathroom. And the kids tested it and had fun! Oh, and there's an amazing view from the playground, so I can daydream as the kids play ;)

Here's a photo of the lot:

And here's a pic of the kids on the playground:

We're looking at another meshek in the same area tomorrow. Assuming we like this one more, we'll probably try to get a bid together.

Oh, and grocery-wise, there's an organic farm in Tirosh (here) that I think will deliver to the moshav and there's also a very small food coop in a nearby town to get organic grains. And, of course, hopefully we'll have our own veggies and fruit in the not-too-distant future if we buy the meshek...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yoav's Art

I've been meaning to post about Yoav's art for a while now. He has become a prolific artist. He spends most of his indoor time drawing and crafting. Jeremy and I marvel every night over the pile of new drawings and little books and such that he makes each day.

Today the craft I picked out to do was these ribbon rings. Yoav and I together twisted together a few pipe cleaners into a circle and then he cut "ribbons" out of fabric and knotted them onto the ring. You can either hold the ring and run around with it with the ribbons streaming, or wear it as a headband. It was a fun, quick project.

Later in the day, as Elie was sleeping and I was cutting fabric for the quilt I'm making, Yoav decided to make something. He started off not knowing what he was making, just sewing fabric and felt together and stitching along until an idea came to him. In the end, he made this boat:

I only helped by threading the needle and knotting the ends.

He also made a pipe cleaner thing he gave to Jeremy and a phone made out of tape and paper with numbers carefully drawn on paper and then cut out and taped to the pretend phone.

I took a bunch of photos of drawings from today and put them here, in my "Creating with Children" Flickr bucket. Every night, there's a new stack of drawings on the table for me to show Jeremy. He draws through as many pieces of paper as you give him. He gets so focused when he draws. He has a basket of crayons and a pen (the pen is used for eyes, mouths and letters/numbers) always by his side. He looks like a painter, grabbing for a new crayon, putting on a few marks, throwing the crayon back in the basket and grabbing another, barely looking at the crayons, focused completely on the drawing.

Here are a few of my favorites from today:
A Playground:

This is a dog, chicken, ostrich and porcupine (he's also been writing numbers and letters a lot lately - the letters are all random):

A shark eating fish:

Dog and chicken on the left, chicken and porcupine on the right. I like the funky shapes of the pages he cut out:

Fish in the sea:

This is from a book of plants he made - these two are fruit trees:

Maybe that was more than a few - I love them all :)

For the Love of Liver

My children love liver SO much - it's wacky! Before Elie was born, I thought Yoav was just odd that he loved liver so much. But now Elie loves it just as much. This was our conversation today about lunch:
Yoav: Can I have avocado and chips?
Me: We don't have any chips. What about eggs?
Yoav: I'm not in the mood for eggs. What about oatmeal?
Me. Then we won't have anything ready for bedtime snack. What about liver?
Yoav: YEA!

I had to make three batches and still Yoav wanted more. Elie I was able to appease with some leftover rice and sweet potato, but Yoav just wanted more more more liver. I truly think it's his favorite food.

First Block of Pinweel Baby Quilt

I made a trial block for my baby pinwheel quilt. The pattern is from "Material Obsession" by Sarah Fielke and Kathy Doughty. It was a birthday gift from my SIL and has several beautiful patterns and some helpful tips in the back. I might do another test block because the white inside the pinwheel is actually off-white/natural and it bothers me :( I don't have any white fabric :( For some reason I thought I only needed natural color, since i prefer it, but if I need to match to white, I guess I need white :( I might have to cut the rest and order some white. We'll see. Anyway, the fabric is from the Cloud 9 Organic collection - I got it all on Etsy from ModernOrganicFabrics.

Update: I just found some organic white Michael Miller fabric for $7/yard, so I'll get everything cut and wait for that...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Daybook Entry

I'm going to try participating in the Simple Woman's Daybook. Seems like a fun way to stop and think for a moment...

The Simple Woman's Daybook~January 25th Edition

FOR TODAY Jan 25, 2010...
Outside My Window... I hear a bird chirping.
I am thinking... about starting a quilt for Yoav, but don't know if I should be investing the time right now...
I am thankful for... the warmth on this, the coldest day of the year here so far ;)
From the kitchen... all is clean, my sourdough starter is bubbling away, our oats are soaking for tonight, spelt is soaking for our delicious pancakes tomorrow and my buttermilk culture is setting.
I am wearing... a skirt I made in High School, a Prana shirt and my cozy Padraig slippers.
I am creating... a knit hat for my coming nephews.
I am going... nowhere ;)
I am reading... "Healing Our Children" by Ramiel Nagel and "The Astonishing Power of Emotions" by Esther and Jerry Hicks
I am hoping... to find a meshek to buy...
I am hearing... Yoav singing as he is drawing in the living room (and the birds still).
Around the house... all is clean, Yoav is drawing, Elie is napping and Jeremy is working.
One of my favorite things... is sitting in a cozy chair knitting.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Make Matsoni yogurt and go meshek-hunting on Thursday.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Knit Pilot Cap for Elie

Here's the pilot cap I made for Elie. It's the Little Turtle Knits pattern and Purewool yarn (the wool was dyed specially for me). I loved the pattern - very clear and easy to follow and the hat is so cute. I'm now making two more for my coming nephews. And maybe one for a friend who's having a girl... It probably won't get worn much, though. The doll was my only willing participant for the photo...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Elie and Yoav

Elie thinks he's Yoav's personal comedian. He just poured a cup of water on the floor (typical for him, unfortunately!) and looked at Yoav and said, "Od pom?" (again?) Yoav says yes and Elie spills more. Again, "Od pom?" to Yoav, yes from Yoav and again and again. Each time doing it for Yoav's enjoyment ;)

I love watching their interactions. Really they both try to make eachother laugh, but Elie more so, probably because he wants so much to be Yoav's friend. He watches everything Yoav does and copies so much from Yoav. Even silly things like yesterday Yoav laid down on the floor because he tummy hurt and Elie assumed Yoav was up to something fun and laid down with him, waiting expectantly for the fun to start :)

I think we actually might have had a bit of a breakthrough yesterday with Yoav. I mentioned that he freaked out about the pen on his paper. I'm trying to use Scott Noelle's ideas from our last coaching session to help Yoav with these upsets about seemingly minor details that he's had for years :( We've made a lot of progress since my last call, but I think it's time for a booster session.. Anyway, yesterday, Yoav started screaming about the paper and I just said we can't fix the paper, but we can still read the words on it. He kept screaming at me to fix it and I said I didn't want to play the game, it's not fun for me and it's not fun for Yoav. I tried some Byron Katie on him - how would you be if you didn't care about the pen? I feel like I made some sort of breakthrough. He started crying and hugging me in a cathartic way. He was calm and happy all the rest of yesterday and so far so good today. And even when Elie was crying after Jeremy left for his class, Yoav kissed Elie on the face to help calm him. We'll see.

I love that I made so much food on Friday. I think it's going to help me sail through the week food-wise. We had cholent for late lunch/dinner on Saturday, chicken soup for dinner yesterday, and we have enough rice and lentils for a few more days so I can make that with a bit of liver and we'll be good to go. One day I'll make brown rice noodles with homemade tomato sauce and ground beef, since Yoav loves that meal... I once read a story about a family who spent one weekend a month making food for the whole month and stored it all in their massive commercial freezer. I'm starting to understand it. Especially with kids, I love having cooked food ready-to-go. Especially the soups - a bit of soup with chicken stock is so healthy (IMO). And Elie loves soup. Then I just have to make easy things like eggs and veggie sides...

Enki Weekly Schedule

Story: The Well Diggers
Food: Sourdough Challah - recipe from "A Blessing of Bread" by Maggie Glazer
Craft: Ribbon Ring

I'm going to try to really focus on getting the kids out of the house quickly after breakfast. If I lag in the cleaning, Yoav gets involved in a project on his own which leads me to relax and think that All is Well and I sit and relax with my knitting or a good book. All *is* well and lovely until the meltdowns begin LOL - today it was crying because Elie drew some pen on a piece of paper with the Parsha story from last week that someone gave Yoav. A full-on total and complete meltdown, crying that he wanted me to fix the paper, erase the pen, etc. Yoav is a boy of nature and seems to really need that bit of outdoor play in the morning. He actually says he likes animals better than people. He dreams of getting a lion.

We drove around today looking at a few towns. Our lease ends in August and we're hoping to buy land in the area around Beit Shemesh. There are some truly beautiful moshavim in that area - lush green valleys, idyllic mountains. Some of the views are so stunning. One thing that is so amazing about Israel is the diversity of the land. There are areas that are totally void of growth and then areas that are more lush and green than almost anywhere I've ever been. We have an appointment on Thursday with a real estate agent to see a few meshekim (small farms). I'm cautiously optimistic - we dream of having goats and chickens :)

I brought my knitting in the car (I finished the hat for Elie and love it so now I'm making two more for my soon-to-be-born nephews) and Yoav brought his ball of yarn to do finger crochet. He got up to about 200 stitches in the car. He's really loving finger crochet and it does help him relax. Not a panacea by any means, but it helps...

I need to take some photos of his recent drawings. His drawing has really taken off lately. It's changed so much in the past month or so. He's now drawing all sorts of animals -horses, fish, dogs, chickens, cats - when he used to just draw dogs. He draws a lot of trucks of various type also. Oh, and he draws the old fashioned horse carrying a wagon. And he draws recipes - he draws the finished product and then draws individually all the items that go into it.

Grain Grinder Update

So I got the Kitchen Aid attachment Family Grain Mill recently. I've been having problems with the grinding ability. I was getting coarse rather than anything close to find flour. Turns out I was misreading the setting - for fine you put it at "2" and I actually had it at "3" because the space between the settings is so small, I didn't realize that really the 2 is where the 3 line is.. If that makes any sense.

It was looking like I would have to grind the flour in my manual grinder after an initial grind in the electric - yuck!

But now, luckily, I figured it out (good thing I went to MIT!) and I've got beautiful fine flour. It's not as fine as the store-bought, but it's close enough. I made pancakes with it this morning and they were delicious! Jeremy thought it was our best yet - freshly ground spelt soaked overnight in raw goat's yogurt! Now I just need to figure out how to get spelt grains in bulk here....

I still wouldn't recommend this grinder, though. It's kind of noisy - makes a squeaking noise when set to the finest ground that makes me wonder if it's about to break. I did see a reviewer on Amazon say she had hers for five years, so I'm hopeful...

BTW, we've eliminated wheat flour at home and have switched to spelt. Here's an article about the glory of spelt :) The only downside that I know of is that it's more expensive.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday Night Dinners

I'm really perfecting my Friday night Shabbat dinner (IMHO, of course!) I was very pleased with it this week and even added a delicious dessert that will definitely be a mainstay. The final piece of the puzzle, of course, will be to make a sourdough challah. I'm going to attempt that this week I hope. My sourdough starter is working beautifully and we've been enjoying delicious spelt sourdough.

I'm going to type up my menu as well as when I have to start everything soaking so I can just refer to this from now on...

Soup: Chicken and Rice soup and/or Carrot Ginger Soup (recipe here)
Main: Roasted Chicken with brown basmati rice, carrots, sweet potatoes, sauteed onions
Sides: Hummus, Lentil Salad, Israeli Salad
Dessert: Parve Carob Brownies

To make the chicken and rice, I soak the rice for two hours, then rinse the rice to get the lemon taste out and add back the water (2 cups rice to 4 cups water), boil, skip, reduce heat, stir in 1t sea salt, 2T olive oil and cook over lowest possible heat for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, it's not fully cooked, but is maybe 3/4 cooked. Meanwhile, I steam carrots, sautee onions and cut up sweet potatoes and potatoes. When everything is done, I mix the veggies in with the rice with some salt and pepper and put the rice mixture in the roasting pan around the chicken with some added water to keep it moist and cook the chicken per the Roast Chicken recipe in Nourishing Traditions.

The recipe for the carob brownies is from Nourishing Traditions - I substituted coconut oil for the butter and soaked in lemon juice rather than dairy:
3 cups freshly ground spelt
2 cups water + 2 T lemon juice
3/4 cup coconut oil
1.5 cups Rapadura
4 eggs
1T vanilla extract
1t sea salt
3/4 cup carob powder
1T baking powder

Soak flour with water and lemon juice overnight. Cream coconut oil with Rapadura. Add everything else and mix for a few minutes in mixer until smooth. Pour into oiled 9x13" Pyrex. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into squares.

The brownies were a hit. Jeremy said if he didn't know it was chocolate, he would think it was. They're definitely not as good as rich, creamy chocolate brownies, but they're very good and you don't feel sick after eating a piece ;)

OK, so now my soaking schedule so my brain doesn't hurt quite so much trying to figure it out each week:
Wednesday early afternoon: Start soaking chickpeas
Thursday morning: Start soaking lentils to make lentil salad Thurs evening
Thursday afternoon: Begin boiling chickpeas for hummus that night
Thursday night: Start soaking rice

I'd like to make the soup early in the week - both soups are quick to make.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Elie - More on my great eater :)

I made what I think are amazing pareve (non-dairy) carob brownies today. I'll wait until they're fully tested by our chocolate-loving guests before posting the recipe ;)

Anyway, Elie got a taste and came to me asking for more. I had made a tiny bowl for us to taste so I didn't offer our guests something that didn't taste good. So he came to me asking for more brownie, we had no more left, so I gave him some lentil salad (lentils soaked overnight in water and lemon, then cooked in homemade meat stock, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme). He devoured it and came asking for more of that! He's on his third bowl now! I LOVE cooking for him!!!

Oh and another quick cute story: Yesterday I was in bed with Elie, him jumping on the bed, playing under the covers, me wishing I had my knitting with me. I told him I was going to run down to get it, he said NO! I tried asking/saying/telling in various ways a few more times. Then I looked up and saw Yoav running into the bedroom with my knitting bag! How cool is that!!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Craft Project - Simple Baby Doll

I shouldn't be posting because it's midnight and I still have about five hours of things I want to do :(

BUT... There's a few things I want to post :)

We made these sweet dolls today from "Toymaking with Children" by Freya Jaffke. We had a really fun playdate in the morning with M and H and she lent me the book. I made the one on the left and Yoav made the one on the right. I'm going to make one for each of my two soon-to-be-born nephews :) We used the organic muslin from Dharma Trading that we hand-dyed with plant dyes. I cut the fabric to 16.5" square, did a double hem around the edges and then we just stuffed wool in the center, tied a string around the head and made knots for the hands. Sounds easy and it was for Yoav, but I think I spent a good half an hour tying my knots so they'd be perfect. They're *not* perfect, but it's not for lack of trying ;)

I had been thinking about making my SILs quilts or blankets or baby clothes or baby towels or ... Finally now with this book in my hand, I'm going to make each of them a few random homemade things - a little baby care package of sorts. So each will include:
* Little Turtle Knits pilot cap with wool yarn
* Saartje's baby booties with wool yarn (pattern is on the right under "Free Patterns")
* Organic Ribbon Blanket
* Simple baby doll that we made today
* Purl Bee fabric ball (which I'll make with organic fabrics)
I'm excited about these - all quick projects that I enjoy. I'm really wanting to make Yoav a twin quilt and at the same time was thinking about giving myself a forced sewing hiatus to focus on food, but if I limit my sewing, I think/hope that'll give me enough time to keep nourishing food on the table.

And a few cute things:
* Yesterday Elie wiped himself after a poop completely by himself - he used a few pieces of toilet paper, checked for spots each time until the toilet paper came out clean. Quite impressive. He's only three years (and counting) ahead of Yoav on that one.
* Yesterday I was reading a book and Elie came over, took it out of my hands, went off to do something, came back with a wooden airplane, gave me the airplane and sat down with the book in his lap to "read".
* Today when we were in the sewing room, Elie pulled a pin out of the doll we were making (I used pins to hold down where I ironed the edges for hemming) and then moved his lips around as if he had something in his mouth - I didn't notice it, but saw Yoav look at Elie with a concerned expression - his eyes focused on Elie's mouth, trying to look in. He didn't say anything, either because he wasn't sure, or maybe there wasn't time before I said something, but I could tell he was worried that Elie had a pin in his mouth. I love seeing Yoav's instinct to protect Elie.

Elie has had a sudden leap in his talking (thankfully, because I was starting to get worried). Today he said "raining" and "pee pee". Silly me had to hear the word "raining" while we were looking out at the rain about ten times before I got it - good thing that Elie is persistent! He's also saying some two-word sentences - like "Bo down." (Bo is come in Hebrew, so he's mixing some Hebrew and English).

Oh and I forgot to mention that we got a two-year pass for homeschooling here. We had to fill out an application with our philosophy, goals, schedule, and some other things and then a woman came yesterday for an interview. I guess just to be sure we aren't abusing our child. She said we got the two-year instead of one-year pass because we're homeschooling for ideological reasons - I think they trust more that way that we're prepared as parents for homeschooling versus if we just pulled a child out of school for some reason. Not sure exactly, but I'm glad I don't have to do anything for two more years.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Enki Weekly Schedule

I'm going to really try hard to keep to our new rhythm this week. We were off for a while while Jer was home for the holidays and Yoav seemed so centered and calm that I got lax about the rhythm, but he's been seeming to get slightly more agitated with each passing day. Nothing major, but I definitely notice. He's a little louder, a little more anxious about spills or things breaking (he got really upset today when he noticed he left a cardboard tube outside and it poured in the evening)... So we'll see. I always think that if I could just get a good rhythm down for a few weeks, all would be well, but who knows :)

Story: Buffalo Race
Food: Chicken Rice Soup - p. 199 in Nourishing Traditions
Craft: Simple Baby Doll

Reposting my new rhythm with minor edits:
Wake up
Breakfast prep & eat (we've been having pancakes every day and Yoav makes his own)
Creative play while I clean the breakfast mess
Morning Walk
Attempt at Circle or a sensory integration game if Circle fails
Story (with both boys)
Outdoor Play while I prep project
Quiet Time (Elie naps, will try to get Yoav busy playing alone in his playroom)
Indoor Play
Settling in time - Fingerplays
Bed Routine

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pants & Cholent

So now Yoav only wants to wear the pants I made :( Kind of defeats the whole purpose, which was to get him more pants. And I have no more brown thread so I think I'll just have to use black. I'm going to try sewing pockets in the pants he has - I think I can just open the seam, stick in the pockets and sew up. Since it's just pockets, it doesn't matter if they match perfectly.

I made an amazing cholent today (at least it got gobbled up by everyone in our family!) Elie actually moved to the floor so he'd have easier access to his plate. He doesn't like to sit on a book and is a little low still for the table. The original recipe is from - I made a few minor modifications:

3 T olive oil
1 onion, diced and sauteed in olive oil
2 T Rapadura
1 kg organic oyster meat [recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 kg. meat (chuck or flanken)]
6-7 potatoes, diced
1/2 cup barley
2-3 tsp. salt
1/2 cup lima beans
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup navy beans
meat bones
1 c meat stock
filtered water
6 eggs

Soak beans and barley overnight in water + 2T lemon juice. In large pot, brown the Rapadura in oil. Immediately add 1 cup meat stock. Brown the meat and rinse the beans and barley. Add meat, bones, beans and barley to pot. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, sautee onions. Skim scum from pot. Add onions and diced potatoes to pot. Add water just to cover mixture. Put eggs on top of mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook covered on a low flame for 1-2 hours. Add water to cover and bring to boil. Cook in oven at 225F overnight. Serves 6-10.

The great thing about this recipe is that there's leftovers and Yoav loves the meat, so I can use it during the week for dinner for him.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another pair of pants!

I made another pair of pants! I love how they came out. I narrowed the pattern and shortened the top (so there's less distance from waist to crotch) and added that amount to the bottom so it would come out the same length. And I added a little tag (I wrote "ImaMade" and the size) because otherwise you can't tell which is front and back easily and it makes a difference once they're on. The pattern is from the Kwik Sew's Sewing for Children pants pattern and fabric is organic knit jersey from Organic Cotton Plus. I can't make any more for now because I'm out of brown thread. These are actually a mess on the inside - I used the brown thread for seams and natural-colored thread for the zigzag edging.

Yoav was so sweet this morning when he saw the pants on the dresser. He said he LOVED them :) It's nice to make things for someone who appreciates it so much! He was very excited with his pockets and didn't seem to mind that they were a little baggy on him.

Yoav and Elie played together in the playroom alone together for at least half an hour today. It was glorious! I'm hoping for more and more of this!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First Knit Fabric Sewing Project - Pants for Yoav

I just finished a pair of knit pants for Yoav. Why is knit like with knitting needles and jersey fabric the same word? Makes it very confusing! Anyway, these are (clearly from the photo), knit as in jersey fabric. I used the Kwik Sew's Sewing for Children pants pattern and organic jersey from Organic Cotton Plus (the brown must be discontinued - I don't see it now but the natural color is only $5/yard!). The fabric is amazing and the pattern was great and easy to follow. Unfortunately, the sewing is a bit lacking :) I actually did pockets - my first pockets ever, so I'm glad I learned how to do that (it's very easy). My problem(s) were that I had the wrong color thread because I didn't think ahead - I'm so used to using natural colored thread for everything - didn't even occur to me when I planned these out to get thread! And the other problem is that knit is really hard to work with and my waist seam is a mess. Once I realized that my messy sewing was actually showing through on the good side (versus quilting and a lot of sewing I do when the underside of the stitches are hidden), I did better and the seams at the cuffs are very straight. So maybe I'll make another pair (assuming they meet Yoav's standards) now that I know what I'm doing. Yoav is very excited to be getting a pair of pants with pockets! I'll leave them on the dresser for him to wear tomorrow - I hope they fit!

Meal Plan

I think I finally figured out my ideal (for the time being) for our meal plan - just the basic outline with dinners to vary nightly and include some liver or other organ meats and/or fish. I can't do the daily Steiner grain. Way too much for my brain to manage. So I'm just going to keep it simple - same thing each day with just the dinner changing plus obviously random different snacks like occasional popcorn, date yummies in the car, apples.

I have to call up the Weston Price chapter here in Beit Shemesh for information about where to get organic organ meat other than liver and also wild fish - even though Yoav is allergic, I want to start eating more fish. I'll also be adding in more cheese as I am able to make it myself, but I only want to eat organic raw milk cheese/yogurt.

So my basic daily meal plan is:
Breakfast: Soaked pancakes made with freshly-ground spelt (soaked overnight in lemon juice for Yoav and yogurt for me and Elie)
Snack: Mangold chips or Mallow chips (readily-available weed here) if we are out of mangold
Lunch: Lentil salad (from Nourishing Traditions), Hummus, Scrambled eggs (will add a slice of sourdough bread once I get it so it's tasty - I just started today on another starter)
Snack: Avocado and homemade crackers
Dinner: Varied
Snack: Oatmeal made with freshly flaked oats and soaked for close to 24 hours in water and lemon juice
All meals to be served with ginger tea from fresh ginger (helps digestion more than plain water - and yoav loves it )
I also just started taking Green Pastures cod liver oil supplement, which has Vitamins A and D included (the Nordic Naturals ones I was taking didn't have enough) - these seem to be the most highly recommended cod liver oil supplement - I don't recommend the gel, though, it's quite repulsive ;)

I'm trying not to feel too overwhelmed - trying to just make one change at a time. We officially do not have any packaged food in the house - nothing with more than one ingredient (like milk and yogurt).

We made these crackers yesterday. They are really tasty and very easy to make. They don't seem to save very well though - they're softer today than yesterday. I have them stored in an airtight container, but maybe they have to be kept in the fridge too.

I started knitting this cute pilot hat for Elie using the same yarn I used for Yoav's socks. It's fun to be knitting more - I just have to keep it from getting compulsive - I can easily spend the whole day knitting and let the house turn into a mess...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Healing our Children

I'm reading "Healing Our Children" by Ramiel Nagel. Wow. So overwhelming. But worth reading. I'm reading it in preparation for getting pregnant again but it might take me longer than I'd planned :) Today I managed to do all my food prep before the kids fell asleep so I don't have to use up all my free evening time with it.

This is all of my overnight food activity going on here:
* Oats soaking for oatmeal tomorrow (very high in Phosphorus I just learned! And soon I'll be flaking my own oats with my new oat flaker, which is supposedly much healthier!)
* Almonds soaking in salt overnight to be dehydrated tomorrow
* Two batches of sourdough starter I'm working on in parallel to try to make sourdough challah
* Spelt flour soaking in yogurt for pancakes for me and Elie and soaking in water and lemon juice for Yoav
* Spelt soaking per this recipe in water, coconut oil and raw apple cider vinegar to make crackers tomorrow
* Spelt grains sprouting

I'm going to allow for some open intake and do a little sewing before I go to sleep - I want to make a pair of jersey pants for Yoav from the Kwik Sew book. I have brown organic jersey from Organic Cotton Plus and want to make them just like his beloved American Apparel pants but with pockets - he's excited to get pants with pockets since he's been wearing these exact same pants for a LONG time (he has four or five pairs).

Yoav's Drawings / Knit Socks / Enki

The first pic is Yoav's quilt designs I mentioned yesterday. They got a little wacky toward the end b/c he was trying to make a completely original design (since I said one looked similar to a design I wanted to do). The second is a drawing I found in his art pile that I found (and particularly liked) while looking for the quilt one.

I was inspired to finally finish the socks I was making Yoav. They are knit from the Yankee Knitter Designs #29 with Purewool hand-dyed yarn. Don't look too closely - they didn't come out exactly the same size ;)

Now that the holidays are over, we're back to a rhythm. For the week our schedule is:
Story: Crow and the Sparrow
Food: NT-style Spelt Crackers from here
Craft: Still deciding

We did Circle today with our new movements and it went really well, surprisingly. Yoav was actually following along on the first time around. It's either because they are almost all gnome-related or just that he's ready. Who knows. After we did Circle, he wrote down his own movement verses, and we did them all together, going around the circle acting them out. We had a lot of fun!

My new Circle is:
Opening: Come Follow
Transition to next movement song (changed words from the Come Follow song)
Transition to next movement song (changed words from the Come Follow song)
Winds of December (should be Winds of October, but I changed the month to fit the season - I'd do January but it's not the right sound)
Transition to next movement song (changed words from the Come Follow song)
Loud Winds
Closing: Owl

Here's two of Yoav's (he wrote four and I don't want to type them all):

At a farm, there's some cows going moo moo moo, moo moo moo, moo moo moo;
And also there's some horses going neigh neigh neigh, neigh neigh neigh, neigh neigh neigh;
And in the cold, icy water, there's some penguins;
And also there's some turtles;
And in the gnome home, there are five gnomes - one with a basket, one with a book and one with a hook;
And on the farm, there's some goats and some aardvarks.

In the sky, there's an owl going hoo hoo hoo;
And also in the sky, there's some birds going tweet, tweet, tweet;
And also there's more owls going hoo hoo hoo, hoo hoo hoo, hoo hoo hoo;
And on the ground, there's some worms and some snails;
And also in the sky there's some butterflies;
And at a stable, there's some lambs, sheep and goats.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sourdough - Starter Finished and another started

I finished a sourdough starter today from the book "The Blessing of Bread" by Maggie Glezer. Somehow it seems a little weak to me, so I put it in the fridge to use one day this week for the sourdough challah in her book, but I'm also starting a new one. Since it takes two weeks, I'd rather just start a new one now rather than wait a few days to find out my first one isn't so great... I'll try to post each refreshment here so I know what I've done - it's a two week process, so I skipped a day last time and got a little confused about which day/step I was on toward the end :) I definitely need to write it down.

Yoav drew some quilt designs today. I want to take pics, but I don't know if I actually will. One's a 9-patch with a border - each patch of fabric is a different color. I like how much he's learning about quilting without any teaching. It's interesting to compare the patterns he made to ones in books of mine. He's definitely soaking in the pattern ideas from the books.

And I did another patch on a knit shirt for him and it came out great. Instead of the overcast stitch, I first did a straight stitch along all sides about 1/8" from the edge. Then I did a zigzag stitch with a width of 3 and length about .5, so it covered the straight stitch (which I put in for reinforcement) and was so narrow, it looks almost like a serge stitch.

Organic Fabric & Batting with Free International Shipping!

Just ordered some fabric & batting on Etsy with FREE International Shipping - WOOHOO!! Much better than using up space in Jer's suitcase :)

It's here at Modern Organic Fabrics.

I have a bunch of quilt designs and projects I want to do - two baby quilts, two lap quilts for both grandmas, and a twin quilt for Yoav and I am making my sister a Cinderberry Stitches bag for her birthday in March and I want to make pants for Yoav. Sometimes I feel like I have so much I *want* to do, I end up doing nothing because I get bogged down in the prioritization. I want to just start and see where I end up...

Thursday, January 7, 2010


So, my dehydrator didn't fit in Jer's suitcase :( Bummer. A friend told me she read you could leave the light on in the oven to keep it warm overnight. That seems like a good way to go for now. I can turn it on briefly to warm it up to close to 150 first, then leave put the goods in, close the door and leave the light on overnight. The biggest problem for me with the oven is Elie taking food out. Just now I had sprouted wheat berries drying and he took out the whole pan of them to give to me. A few spill on the transfer to me, which wasn't a big deal, but I actually want them to stay in the oven. I don't know why he thinks they're ready to come out!??!!

We went to Meshek Barzilai in Yarkona today with friends for breakfast. It was so great. It's an organic restaurant set on a small veggie farm. There's a few tables outside, so we can sit outside while the kids play - there's even some tires for kids to play on and a sandbox and pecans from a pecan tree just waiting to be found! And it was HOT today! Amazing since Jer says it's bitter cold in NYC. Then we went to Moshav Adanim to Lib (a smallish mostly organic grocery store that primarily sells to other stores). It went so smoothly. It think we were the only ones shopping, as we usually are, and there's very little processed food there, so the kids just helped pick out fruit and they both enjoyed loading the groceries to get weighed and then putting it all into the bags. Often Jer does the grocery shopping, but going to Lib is really so easy that I can plan it into my routine with the kids. And some stuff I'll get at the online store I posted yesterday and we can get organic kosher chicken at the local grocery store that's two blocks away so Jer can do that.

I love the state of Elie's pottying right now. He almost completely takes care of himself - he either pees outside or stands on a stool in the bathroom to pee standing up. He only needs me for poop, and even then he gets onto the toilet himself ;) I'm so glad I did EC with him from the start. For a long time, it seemed like I wasn't doing it well enough - he peed so much on the floors - even when he was mostly trained, for months he sometimes just chose to pee on the floor. He didn't like to pee in undies b/c it wasn't comfortable, but peeing on the floor didn't seem to bother him :) Now he signs that he has to pee and urgently runs outside or upstairs. And he sleeps without undies at night and stays dry through the night - I have to get him to the potty quickly in the morning, though, or he won't make it and will pee on the bed. Pee on the bed is a pretty good incentive for me to get up with him, though, so it doesn't happen much ;) And I love watching him pee outside on the rare times he's actually wearing undies or, better yet, pants. With undies, he pulls them over to the side to pee and if he's wearing pants, he pulls them down to his knees, pees and pulls them up. It's cute to watch him do it all himself. Yoav was potty trained when he was two also, but it was never seemed as smooth and easy as for Elie. Probably just because Yoav needed more help with everything when he was Elie's age...

Yoav just said he wanted to go to the playground to ride his bike. I said ok and he asked if he could go by himself. I said no. He said, "With Elle Belle (Elie)?" :) I explained that I meant me ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Schedule

We've had two and a half weeks of lazy vacation-mode unschooling and it's helped me to see where our rhythm is off a bit by comparing to what happens when I do nothing :)

One thing I've noticed is that Yoav isn't getting upset when Elie wakes up from his nap b/c we're never in the middle of a project when it happens. In the afternoon when Elie naps, Yoav has been busying himself with his own random art projects, so he doesn't need me and sometimes is so wrapped up in what he's doing that he doesn't even notice me going to put Elie in bed or bringing him back down again. So, I'm going to try to move the project up to when Elie's awake and I'll try to choose projects that I can do with both kids. Elie's old enough now that I think I can keep him busy with something during the project - drawing or playdough or that cool cargo car of Yoav's that he's been playing SO much now that he's allowed to use it ;) Oh, and another reason is that Elie's nap is a great time for me to relax with a cup of tea and a book and/or clean up, cook, etc.

Also, I had a Sensory Integration success today on the trampoline. Today we were on the trampoline and Yoav said he wanted to play "Make Up" - this means we take turns making up a game. Usually when we play, we take turns naming new animals and we pretend to be animals. Today I had the idea to say when it was my turn, "Let's roll from one side of the trampoline to the other like a log." It worked like a charm - each time it was my turn I got to do a sensory integration activity without it seeming so :) One time I even said for us to stand like flamingos with one leg up and then as part of my turn said to switch to the other leg - this is the movement from the Enki Stork/Flamingo movement that I did for a month with Yoav watching but NEVER trying and today he did it no problem for the first time!!!!

So this is my tentative rhythm:
Wake up
Snuggle (an important part of any schedule - today we laid in bed for almost an hour before getting up!)
Breakfast prep & eat
Creative play while I clean the breakfast mess
Attempt at Circle or trampoline game
Outdoor Play (with Jeremy)
Quiet Time (Elie naps)
Afternoon Adventure (will be just indoor play for the winter, because it's usually already dark now by the time Elie wakes up from nap)
Settling in time - Fingerplays
Bed Routine

Weekly Routine:
Su - Horseback riding Day (Horseback riding lesson is at 6:30pm; Morning project will be prepping snacks and lunch)
M - Painting Day
Tu - Soup Day (really likely will just be my day to make stock) - might also be playdate day
W - Craft Day
R - Family Adventure Day (Jer will take the morning off from his class and we'll go out to breakfast)
F - Baking Day (making challah - I make two each week - Yoav helps mix and then I braid one and he braids one)
Sa - Shabbat

I'm also going to cut the nighttime snack because it gets hard to do dinner and then a snack soon after so I'll try to just offer a snack-y type food (like our date/almond balls I make) with dinner since Yoav has gotten used to getting a snack. I listened to a free Donna Simmons talk recently (available somewhere on the Christopherus website) where she said it takes about forty days for a young child to really feel one with the rhythm. I'm going to try to stick to it for 40 days and see where we end up. I don't know about Yoav, but I start to feel blah without the rhythm. I end up not going outside enough - the kids play out in the back while I clean or play on the computer...

I'll work on my food schedule this weekend. I'm dropping my grain a day thing. It's too hard for me right now. I've basically been doing soaked spelt pancakes for breakfast, fresh fruit for snack, eggs and salad for lunch, avocado and chips for snack, meat for the kids and random leftover salads or grains. Most days look pretty much like that... Still working on a recipe I like for pita so I can make pita chips - the chips are our only processed food left. ... Okay, I just spent half an hour searching for a homemade tortilla chip recipe and finally found one where the corn is properly soaked - it's here. I'll have to figure out the Pickling Lime part later, since I'm sure I can't get that here...

This is random, but for anyone reading in Israel, I found this great site with a lot of online organic groceries available. They have some of the organic grains I like, plus organic coconut oil and maple syrup AND organic dried mango, which we haven't had since our long-lost days at the Park Slope Food Coop:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Plant-Dyed Fabric / Sharing

We dyed some organic muslin I got from Dharma Trading for $5/yard. I used their plant dyes, which we've used for dyeing playsilks. I was thinking this would be a great way to get more colors of organic fabric so I don't have to use my expensive fabric for quilts that don't really need designer fabric, like this one that I'd like to try. I need to get Indigo so I can try some darker colors. The ones I did are - left to right:
sandalwood (used 1yd fabric and 3T dye) - simmered without fabric for one hour / with for one hour
annatto (1/2 yd fabric, 2T dye) - simmered without fabric for one hour / with for one hour
madder root (1/2 yd fabric, 2T dye) - simmered without fabric for three hours / with for one hour.

I also dyed with alkanet - 1/2 yard fabric, 2T dye and I simmered w/out fabric for 5 hours, then with for one hour but I don't like it at all - basically looks grey to me :(

This morning Elie found Yoav's favorite truck (this cargo carrier) in the hallway and ended up bringing it downstairs to play with. Usually Elie isn't allowed to play with this truck - he's actually been eying it for a year now! But yesterday we were all playing together in Yoav's playroom (we have two playrooms so Yoav can set up blocks and gnomes and all sorts of things without risk of interference) and Elie was playing with this truck and Yoav didn't mind. So today when Yoav saw Elie playing with it, it somehow clicked for Yoav that Elie was enjoying it and Yoav got the satisfaction of sharing the truck. He got excited by it (on his own) and told Elie that he had more things he could play with and ran up to get more things. It was very cool to watch. It's the first time I've seen Yoav get excited about sharing with Elie - he does share some, but he also doesn't a lot and has never before shared with such zest (with Elie anyway). I'm enjoying watching the beginnings of a Yoav/Elie relationship!

Food-wise, I'm making sourdough starter from "The Blessing of Bread" book and hope to make a whole wheat sourdough challah from it for Friday night dinner. I'll also make my usual white one for Jer - I've learned that the white challah is one thing that's going to have to stay a part of our Friday night dinner until and unless I can make a healthier one that tastes as good ;) I also just ordered some yogurt cultures from Cultures for Health. It was only $10 for international shipping! I'm excited to start making my own yogurt. And a friend told me how she makes her labneh - it's delicious so I'll use her recipe - it's very easy - you just mix 1.5 liters of yogurt with 2 teaspoons of salt, put in a muslin cloth and hang overnight for about 12 hours. She hangs it over the round part of her kitchen sink faucet, which works perfectly so the whey can just drip right into a bowl for a no-mess method! When we had it at her house, she served it with olive oil and za'atar.

New Blog!

This is my new space for my blog. I've been bothered by the title of my previous one for months now - wishing I'd chosen something other than my last name as the blog title!

Here's an explanation of the title:
* From Abraham-Hicks, who teaches the Law of Attraction: Abraham teaches that a downstream thought is one of Well Being and an upstream thought is the opposite. So, in that sense, we try to always flow downstream.
* Flow is also defined as "Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszenthmihalyi.
* And, the last part of the meaning, is that I call my kids my little ducklings - I love the sweet image of a mama duck and her ducklings quacking along behind her ;)

I'm happy with the new title and love the photo - I took it one day at a park near Mishmar Ayalon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Completed Square in Square Baby Girl Quilt!

I finished the quilt! I love how it turned out, especially since I just used fabric from my stash, and girly prints at that, which I don't have much of. I think the duck fabric is a little too orange, but it's close enough to work. I used this tutorial and I stitched in the ditch to quilt it - I stitched around each big block and around each smaller one inside.

For my next baby quilt, I want to do this same pattern, but no offset blocks - just all centered. I also want to add another border like on this quilt. And I want to make the back nicer, with a bit of patchwork using fabric from the front.

I had so much fun with this - I'm dreaming of all the future quilts I can make - and hopefully NOT on such a tight timeline - that's the only part that's not fun...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Scott Noelle - Free Audio

Highly recommended listening for all parents! Just the Scott Noelle (Parenting Coach Extraordinaire - one - I haven't listened to the others, but let me know if you listen to one and it's worth listening to ;)

Discussion includes:
* Creative Partnership
* Attraction Parenting
* Pleasure-oriented living (the play ethic)
* Inner Guidance and centering
* Relieving parental guilt
* Freedom vs. Permissiveness
* Scott's imperfections!
* The Law of Attraction
* ...and more!

Square in Squares Baby Girl Quilt

I got the crazy idea to make a quilt for a friend who had a baby. It started because I have two friends who had baby girls and only enough girl-colored ribbon to make one of the little ribbon blankets, so, practical woman that I am, I started on a quilt :)

I'm actually amazed how fast I've been able to do it. With the help of chain stitching and setting my machine on the fastest speed , I've gotten pretty fast sewing pieces together. The slowest part for me is actually the cutting. I do NOT have good technique with cutting. I'd love a bigger cutting mat - mine is 18"x24", which is great for small projects, but too small for quilting. Although also it's on a desk - it'd probably go better if I just set it down on a hard floor.

I don't have much girl-y fabric, so I did the best I could. I'm pretty happy with the way it looks and love the basic design. I have some beautiful organic fabric I want to do a similar quilt out of. I used this tutorial.

Yoav helped me with the design and fabric choices. He got into the design process and designed one himself :) My design is (obviously on top - just included for comparison) and then his is below.