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Vacation in the Berkshires


We just returned from our vacation at the Berkshires. Here’s our little journal of our week including commentary from DS1 (age 6).

Day 1:  Amtrak trip from Home to Albany then drive to Hancock, MA “We went on a bus to a metro stop then to Amtrak in DC and then it took us to New York city and then another Amtrak took us to Albany and then we drove to Massachusetts and then we stayed at Bentley Brook,” said DS1.

Day 2:  Watched the rehearsal from John Williams Birthday at Tanglewood Center for the Arts
“We went to see Yo-Yo Ma and Gil Shaham at Tanglewood and also there we made a birthday party to surprise John Williams, a great composer.  He composed the music “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones” and “Harry Potter”.   Listening and watching the movie of little parts of “Star Wars” was my favorite.  We also went out to lunch for indian buffet,” said DS1.

Day 3:  Spent the day at Jimmny Peak
“We went on a ski lift to get to a big long slide and we slide on a special sled especially made for the slide.  There was also a lever.  You pushed it back to go slower, forward to go faster.  You do that until you get to the bottom.  We went on something like a roller coaster but it was small and it had a seat on it and a kid could be in it too. And there were also some levers just like the other one.  We went on that ride a lot of times. We came back home.  I played in the tub while my mom and dad made dinner.  Then after dinner, we went and saw a movie and then I got ready for bed,” said DS1.

Day 4:  DS 1 and Dad went to see the other 9 power windmills & we visited the Berkshire Museum

Day 5:  Visited Barthalemew’s Cobble and the Ashley house (where Mumbet was enslaved and won her freedom)

Day 6:  Went to the Crane Paper Museum
“We went to the Mission House and nobody was there and the doors wouldn’t open and we rang the door bell as well as we knocked but no one answered.  There was a hummingbird and my dad tried to shoot a picture of it.We went to lunch at “Once Upon A Meal”.  Then we went to the Crane Paper Museum and we learned about making paper and then they started making new kinds of hundred dollar bills,” said DS1.

Day 7:  We hung out at the resort & went to “Dekota” for lunch

Day 8:  We took the train back home

In the news


Before I left to see my family in Texas, I was walking my son to our community pool for swim class when a man stopped to ask me if there is a community garden near by. I said yes and mentioned I was the manager. He was a photographer from the “Fairfax Times.”. I ended up with my picture and interview in an article that was later picked up by the Washington post:
Program aimes to unite communities

The Beauty of Motherhood


A friend of mine posted this video on her facebook page and I had to share it. A poignant and touching video essay on motherhood.


Snowed-In, Shoveling, & Baking



We went out for the first time in a week today and the neighborhood roads are horrible but the main roads were cleared. So, once we made it out we went to the library and grocery store. It was nice to see the outside world.

With over 30 inches of snow, we’ve spent the rest of the week at home shoveling out. I’ve also taken this opportunity craft with my boy and cook. Crafts included my son painting one of his wooden cars and the both of us working together to make a portable farm theme felt board. He did his first sewing connecting the grass piece to the sky piece. I used the machine to add a back with pocket to store all the pieces and ribbon to close it (a button or snap would have been better and still may be added).

Cooking included curry chicken in the crockpot using the Trader Joe’s Curry Sauce, lots of flat bread (using a recipe from my neighbor that I still need to get permission to post), chicken pot pie (used the left over chicken with whatever veggies I had in a gravy made from the left over curry chicken broth and arrowroot powder), bean chili (I wasn’t very impressed), Mexican Rice Cereal like my mom use to make, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Snickerdoodles and Teff Applesauce Bread.

For the highlights. My Mom’s Rice Cereal is easy to make in the pressure cooker (she always did it just on the stove top).

4 c water
1.5 c brown rice (my mom always used white rice)
3 cinnamon sticks
piloncillo to taste
raisins (optional)

Follow pressure cooker instructions but add the cinnamon sticks and piloncillo at the beginning. I add maybe an equivalent of 2 T of the piloncillo grated with cheese grater. When you add rice, add raisins too so they get plump. Use same cooking time as you would regular brown rice. If it comes out too watery, add flaxseed or almond meal. If it comes out too dry, add milk. An old favorite of mine.

I made Mexican Wedding Cookies with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour using the recipe from 101 Cookbooks. I didn’t add bourbon, used Rapadura sugar, didn’t roast the peanuts and just ground quick oats for the oat flour. We really enjoyed these. Because we used whole wheat pastry flour instead of regular whole wheat, you really didn’t get a strong wheat flavor. Not super sweet but tasty and just the right level of moist for a cookie. My son and his neighbor friend really enjoyed cutting these out in different shapes.

I made Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles from one of my recent favorite recipe sources, the Hillbilly Housewife. I used White Whole Wheat (mild flavor and good rise), 3/4 butter plus 1/4 olive oil instead of margarine (we strictly stay away from hydrogenated oils at our house and like to use olive oil where we can), Rapadura for the added sugar, and Turbinado for the sprinkling sugar with cinnamon. These were our favorite of all the sweets I’ve made this week. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Yum!

This morning we enjoyed Teff Applesauce Muffins modified from a recipe I got off of Gluten Free Bread World. Unfortunately, I can’t provide a link because there seems to be a problem with the page so I’ll paste the recipe as I made them:

Applesauce Teff Bread (Gluten-Free)

2 1/2 cups teff (can substitute Sorghum flour or 1/2 c with brown rice flour)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs dry goat milk powder (or buttermilk powder)
1 Tbs baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup raisins (or coconut)
2 ripe bananas, mashed (I always have frozen one that got over ripe)
1 1/2 cups natural, no sugar added applesauce
3 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
up to 1/2 cup water (or buttermilk) to get the proper consistency in the

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients except water or buttermilk. Add enough water to make a moist yet firm batter . Spoon into a greased 9 x 9 square baking dish, or into greased muffin tins if you want cupcakes (we did muffins). Bake for 20-35 minutes for cupcakes, 50-75 minutes for cake, until the center is firm to the touch. Can serve with jam, cream cheese frosting or topping but we didn’t use topping. To make this cake more of a cake consistency use all teff or Sorghum flour (3 cups) .

This makes a great substitution for the Bran muffins.

The flavor was good. For me, the consistency will take a little getting use to as is expected with using gluten-free grains (my son made no complaints). We are all use to the constancy and behavior of wheat flour but it still held together well and was better than rice flour based breads in my opinion. I was excited to find a recipe that was gluten-free (we aren’t gluten-free but like to diversify our grains), relatively easy, nutritious, satisfied our sweet tooth and gave me a first use for the teff flour I got at the Ethiopian store. I plan to make this again and again.

A Wake Up Story


A Wake-Up Story from Healthy Child Healthy World on Vimeo.

Was checking out my favorite pages on Facebook this morning and my gem of the day was by “Healthy Child Healthy World”. They created a little film (designed to encourage you to donate) called A Wake Up Story. A great reminder of the world we live in and the importance of doing what we can as parents to protect our children from the many chemicals they encounter each day.


Earthy Birthy Crunchy Mama


The chronicles of a crunchy homeschooling mama in the modern world.