Thursday, January 28, 2010

Boy, These Were Goooood...

Banana-Oatmeal Hotcakes

1/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. water
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. oil
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. plain yogurt
1 banana, mashed
1 egg, lightly beaten

Cook oatmeal according to package instructions. Stir in brown sugar and oil; set aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to blend.

Whisk together the milk, yogurt, and mashed banana and egg; add the cooked oats and stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture to the oat mixture and stir just until moistened.

Pour 1/4 c. portions onto heated griddle. Cook until the top surface of the pancake is covered with bubbles and the edges are lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Drizzle with warm syrup.

And now, as usual, I'll tell you how I deviated from the recipe!
I didn't have any plain yogurt on hand but I had some sour cream. I put in about a tablespoon and increased the milk by about a tablespoon as well, figuring that would about equate the consistency of plain yogurt.

I also only had one banana that was really good and ripe, so even though I doubled all the other ingredients in order to feed my troops, I only used the one banana.

Some of the kids prefer to just spread butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over their pancakes or waffles instead of syrup.

I made these today for the first time. They really liked them. The kids said it tasted a lot like banana bread.

Additionally, we serve these "breakfast"-type meals at any time of the day. That's how I grew up, and I never knew that other people didn't do this. We often had pancakes or french toast for dinner or supper when I was growing up. (I grew up in a dairy-farming family so, yes, we had "dinner" at noon and "supper" at night...and still do!)
Were we the only ones who did this?
Who still do this?
I have had so many people say something like, "Oh--how fun! Breakfast for supper!" and various forms of surprised comments when they hear that we routinely eat pancakes, french toast, scrambled eggs, or waffles at a time other than breakfast.
What do you do?
I think it's a great way to spread the ever-important grocery dollar. We get eggs for free from a friend, and often free bread from a friend as well, so these are all very cost-effective meals for us. (Incidentally, if we don't have any "free bread" from our friends, I utilize the bread store where things are SSOOOOOO much cheaper than the grocery store. We buy like 15 loaves and put them in the freezer. Very cost effective!)

Anyway, all of that is to say, try these yummy pancakes!!!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

WFMW: Re-using coffee grounds and filters

As I've alluded to before,
my husband is cheap
I like to cut costs where I can.

So I use coffee grounds and filters twice.
The first day, I make coffee as usual.
The next day, I re-use the same filter and
add half the amount of coffee grounds
that I normally would.

(And then I add a little coffee to my cup of cream...)

Works for me!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ruby Loves Bapa; Bapa Loves Ruby

Ruby and Grandpa "Bapa" Wayne--
the only man other than Daddy who will ever kiss her.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

We have two levels to our house.
I keep a broom and dustpan on each one.

It took me awhile to figure that one out,
and then it was like, duh, buy another broom!

The lower level is where most of the troop enter/exit.
Consequently it is where much of the dirt resides.
When I would be downstairs, doing laundry or whatever,
I'd think to myself, "I really need to get this swept."

And then I'd grab (yet another) full laundry basket, head upstairs,
and forget to bring the broom with me on a return trip.

Once I got myself another broom,
I could quick sweep the floor
and know that less dirt is tracking it's way to
the upstairs!

Works for me!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yummy Pancake Recipe

"Bottom of the Box Cereal Pancakes"
1 1/2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder

1 egg
2 c. milk
2 T. vegetable oil
1 c. flake cereal

Mix flour, sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
Mix egg, milk and oil in a separate bowl until foamy.
Add cereal, let stand 2 minutes until cereal softens.
Add flour mixture and stir just to combine. (Batter will be lumpy.)

Pour 1/4 c. portions of batter onto preheated griddle.

Now, for my variations...
I like to use a cinnamon/sugar mixture for the 2T. sugar.
(I keep a shaker of cinnamon and sugar in the cupboard for putting on toast. I just use 2 T. of that. If you don't have that already, you could just add 1/4 tsp. cinnamon to the recipe.)

And instead of cornflakes, I like to use Life cereal--especially all the crumbs and powder at the bottom of the container!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pregnant Mammalia

Waddling pregnant woman
chasing the cows that got out:
truly a sight to behold.
Such gracefulness and beauty--all on one farm!

(Anyone who has ever seen a cow run
knows just how sarcastic I am being.
For that matter, anyone who's ever seen
me run would know that, too.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday

I spend less money on cleaning supplies
because my husband is cheap
I think "less is more" in many ways.

For instance,
when I mop the floor
I use a couple drops of dishsoap
and a splash of vinegar
in my hot mop water.

Works just as well as
Mr. Clean or Lysol or whatever.

And--it works for me!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The "Harms of Homeschooling"--A Response

from HSLDA's website:

A Response to Robin L. West—“The Harms of Homeschooling”

January 5, 2010

Additional Resources

  • Robin L. West: “The Harms of Homeschooling”
  • NHERI’s response to West’s article: “The Harms of Homeschooling? Where are the Premises”
  • HSLDA: “The Detroit News Wants to Regulate Homeschooling”
  • 2004 HSLDA study of homeschooling adults: Homeschooling Grows Up
  • National Home Education Research Institutes’s full version of the above study: Home Educated and Now Adults
  • HSLDA of Canada: Fifteen Years Later: Home-Educated Canadian Adults
  • While few people in academia are openly critical of homeschooling, every now and again an article will be published in a university periodical which attacks homeschooling.

    The critics in academia come from the far left of the political spectrum. One such critic, Robin L. West of the Georgetown University Law Center, recently published an article titled “The Harms of Homeschooling,” which appeared in the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of the University of Maryland’s Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly.

    Before we answer the specific charges Ms. West makes against homeschooling we’d just like to give you a flavor of her perspective.

    In the article she says, “Education, after all, is typically described as a core, and possibly the core, state responsibility.” We hope you’d agree that anyone who can entertain the idea that education is the core responsibility of the state (even though education is not mentioned as a state responsibility in the U.S. Constitution) and neglect to recognize that defense/national security is the core responsibility of the state is clearly out of the mainstream.

    Later in the article Ms. West says, “Homeschooling is now such an entrenched practice, recriminalization is not a viable option in any event.” It appears that Ms. West is suggesting that she would not oppose regarding homeschoolers as criminals?

    While Ms. West’s views are far from the mainstream, it is still important to challenge the erroneous statements made in her article.

    One of her points is that U.S. courts do not recognize the fundamental right of parents to raise their own children, and by extension the right to homeschool. She adds, however, “Federal courts may someday acknowledge the existence of this right.”

    Thankfully, Ms. West is wrong. The United States Supreme Court has acknowledged the fundamental right of parents to raise and educate their own children.

    In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court declared: “The child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right and high duty to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters [268 U.S. 510 (1925)].

    In 1972, in Wisconsin v. Yoder (406 U.S. 205), the Court described parental rights as fundamental, saying: “This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established as an enduring American tradition.”

    In 2000, the Court declared that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000).

    Of course, the views of judges and their interpretation of the Constitution could change, but to say that the current jurisprudence does not uphold parental rights is simply wrong.

    Further in the article Ms. West lays out her reasons for strictly regulating homeschoolers. Her first charge is that homeschoolers could be abusing their children. It is simply not true that homeschooling is used as a cover for child abuse. Ms. West cites no evidence to support her claim. In our experience parents who claim to be homeschooling but are later revealed to be child abusers are already well known to the authorities.

    The latest example is from the Detroit News, which also took the view that homeschoolers should be regulated due to the potential for hiding child abuse. While the examples used by the Detroit News were tragic, they were of children who were being abused while in the public school system and then later removed by their parents. The children were well known to authorities, and there was nothing preventing the authorities in Michigan from following up on these children.

    Regrettably, tragedies do occur, and no amount of regulation can ensure that all children will be safe all the time. Unfortunately, even in the most heavily regulated area of education—the public school—children suffer serious injury and death. It is a sad fact that some parents mistreat their children, and society rightly devotes time and resources to protecting children from abusive parents. But Ms. West is suggesting that states should spend tens of millions of dollars investigating all homeschooling families in an attempt to uncover child abuse. This would be unwise in light of the fact that there is no assurance that increasing the regulation of homeschoolers would prevent child abuse.

    Ms. West also wants to force immunizations on homeschooled children. Some parents object to vaccines because of safety concerns, religious objections, or because of their medical history. It should also be noted that there have been no public health repercussions from a relatively few people opting out of vaccination programs.

    West also makes the unusual claim that homeschooled children will not properly understand citizenship unless they are in a public school classroom. Being active and engaged citizens is a distinction of homeschooling. Simply reading the studies on homeschoolers participation in society should convince any fair-minded person of whether homeschooled graduates are active, engaged citizens. For example, in the 2004 study Homeschooling Grows Up, which surveyed over 7,300 homeschooled graduates, it was discovered that 71.1% of homeschool graduates participated in a community service activity (volunteering, coaching, neighborhood association etc.) compared with 37% of the general population.

    Ms. West is also very concerned about the participation in civic and political campaigns by homeschooled fundamentalist Protestants, which would seem to contradict her earlier point about homeschoolers and citizenship. In any event, it appears that Ms. West simply does not like a Christian point of view being presented in the public square.

    Perhaps the most condescending statement made by Ms. West is her assertion that the typical fundamentalist, Protestant homeschooling family lives, “in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.”

    It is truly sad when someone in a position of authority can make such a statement. While we do not doubt that some homeschoolers find themselves in less advantageous socio-economic circumstances, who is to say that a 1,000-square-foot house is inadequate to raise a family. Also, perhaps Ms. West is unaware, but some homeschool families travel between campsites and trailer parks because they are “homeschooling on the road.”

    Ms. West also seems to be unaware that all the studies of homeschool graduates have shown homeschoolers to be outperforming their peers not only in community activity but also in employment income. The latest study from the Canadian Centre for Home Education, titled Fifteen Years Later: Home Educated Canadian Adults, showed that the average homeschooler aged 15–34 earned $27,534 Canadian dollars as opposed to the average in the general population for 15–34 year olds of $22,117. Ninety-five percent of the respondents in this study considered themselves to be religious with 74% attending religious services at least once per week.

    After making her case for regulating homeschooling Ms. West concludes that, “The sanction for failure to comply with minimal curriculum, content, visitation, and testing requirements would simply be enrollment in a certified private or public school.”

    In other words, if a homeschool family does not re-create the public school in the home, subject itself to the authority of the state by allowing home visits, and allow the state to control the curriculum via testing, then the sanction would “simply” be enrollment in a private or public school.

    Sadly, Ms. West does not appear to have any understanding of why parents homeschool and must realize that if her policies were ever implemented, it would end homeschooling as we know it today.

    It is unfortunate that homeschooling still has persistent critics who seem unable to grasp what makes homeschooling such a successful method of education.

    Hundreds of thousands of parents, and over 2 million homeschooled children, are experiencing the benefits and blessings of a home education. As Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA and president of points out, a restrictive approach to home education is at odds with the fundamental notions of freedom and liberty on which Western nations are built. “Any nation that severely restricts the ability of parents to choose alternative forms of education, including home education, cannot call itself a free nation. Freedom necessarily requires the individual to have the liberty to think differently and believe differently than programs instituted by the current rulers of any nation. Educational freedom is the cornerstone for all freedom of thought and conscience.”

    We are thankful that we still live in a free nation, but of course, without eternal vigilance our freedoms can be lost.

    By joining together in an organization like HSLDA we can continue to effectively defend the right to homeschool.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    "Works for Me!" Wednesday

    You already know about my
    homemade laundry soap,
    dishwasher detergent.

    But I also have quite a few other
    "Works for me!" ideas to share.

    I hope to share them each week--
    or at least on quite a few Wednesdays.

    Here's something that works for me:
    (It may not for you, and that's just fine! It's an idea nonetheless!)

    I haven't bought Kleenex for quite some time.
    It happened out of necessity (no money for the store!), but
    we had been given a huge thing of toilet paper.
    So, I put a roll out on the counter where the Kleenex box
    usually goes.
    I found it lasts a long time!

    Maybe I'll get some Kleenex again sometime,
    but for now t.p. works for me!

    Monday, January 4, 2010

    Something's Not Quite Right...

    Apparently we were a little remiss
    in teaching the children the Christmas story this year
    (Not like this family--who quite obviously does an amazing job.)
    because the scene from the bathtub tonight involved
    five plastic finger puppets: Mary, Joseph, a King, Jesus in a manger, and a shepherd
    a plastic speedboat that the Holy Family alternately rode in and then capsized
    and Christopher and Elijah singing
    "It's raining, it's pouring"
    at the top of their lungs.

    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    You May Be 32 Weeks Pregnant If...

    You may be in your 32nd week of pregnancy if:
    ~you can't quite remember what it was like to take a deep breath.
    ~you can no longer tie your shoes without grunting.
    ~you know you'll be up at least twice during the night to go potty.
    ~getting up out of a chair is a process with multiple steps.
    ~people alternately say things like "you're not very big" and "you're huge!"
    ~reaching the sink to wash dishes requires an extension of your arms.
    ~carrying laundry baskets is getting trickier.
    ~carrying toddlers on your hip looks so uncomfortable--for the toddler.
    ~trying to rest with a baby bumping all around inside your belly is more about lying stationary for a few minutes than actually sleeping.
    ~when you drop something, you stop to think about how badly you really want to retrieve it: Is it worth trying to bend all the way to the floor?
    ~if you do decide to go for the dropped item, you look around and think "what else could I accomplish now that I'm down here?"
    ~indigestion is your constant companion.
    ~you know that in 8 weeks (more or less) you will meet this little person and all of this will be a memory...and I, for one, will miss being pregnant.

    I always do.

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Miss Ruby's Dolly

    Miss Ruby loved her
    Christmas dolly so much
    that she wouldn't let go of it--
    even to eat her yummy Christmas Morning waffles!
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