Thursday, June 23, 2011

Academy of the Gospel 2011 Science Fair Project

This year's Science Project was called The Tooth Truth.  The local librarian has put on a Science Fair for homeschooled kids both this year and last year.  This is the kids' display board. 
Ellie and Wyatt studied how different tooth cleansers work at cleaning your teeth and why.  Our dentist is always saying how children need fluoride and how important fluoride is.   I haven't used fluoride toothpaste since Wyatt was a baby and I haven't had a cavity since then either, so I don't put much stock in statements on the necessity of fluoride.

The kids studied how well different toothpastes, and baking soda, cleaned teeth by using the blue tooth dye that you can get in the toothpaste isle to identify plaque when brushing your teeth.  Ellie was afraid the tooth dye would permanently dye her teeth, so she asked her friend Sam to be her stunt double.  Sam was happy to oblige. 

First the kids got their teeth really sugary with ice cream and any other sweet thing they could think of.

Then they used the rinse to dye the stuff on their teeth blue, so we could see the build up of sugar.

Next they brushed their teeth with different tooth cleansers for two minutes each.  After two minutes, the teeth were checked to see how much blue dye was left.  All the the natural toothpastes (no fluoride included) and baking soda showed no blue dye on the teeth.  The commercial fluoride toothpastes still showed blue dye on the teeth, and the teeth did not feel as clean as with the other tooth cleansers.  I was one of their subjects and can attest to the results.

They also learned about fluoride and fluorine.  Fluoride, a synthetic form of fluorine is actually prohibited in many countries as a lethal toxin.  Fluorine is a naturally occurring substance found in greens, spinach, almonds, carrots, dandelions, and black tea.  Fluorine does have positive effects on the teeth.

The kids then had to do an oral presentation at the library.  There was supposed to be a Science teacher there to give them a score on their projects.  I don't know what happened, but she was not there that night for presentations.  The librarian said the scores were really close, but the kids did not get a ribbon this year.
Had we known the criteria on the sheet they were going to be graded on ahead of time, the kids would have done a few things differently. 
Ellie and Wyatt did a great job presenting their work.  The project was totally original.  I loved that they decided to dress up for their presentation.  I am so proud them!

I know I am a little late in posting this, but I'm trying to catch up.  There are some homeschooling things that I really want to chronicle on the blog, and this is one of them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spinach Lasagna and My Reshaping it All Tips

I was a vegetarian for 4 years.  That is when I discovered my love of spinach.  My favorites were spinach lasagna, spinach manicotti, and spinach quesadillas.  I have since discovered baby spinach salads! Mmm, yummy!  I have been craving Spinach Lasagna for at least a month now. 

Reshaping it All Tip #1:
If you are eating mostly meat centered dishes, look for some good vegetarian alternatives.  We had a good conversation lat night with our friends last night about how meat lasagna usually makes you feel heavy after you've eaten, but the spinach lasagna did not have that effect.  You really don't need another protein with all the cheese that is in a lasagna, or other similar pasta dishes.  I like to use black beans instead of meat with my taco salad sometimes.  Get creative, there are lots of ways to alter favorite dishes to make them healthier and lighter!

The Spinach Lasagna recipe I used to make had a white sauce, but my kids thought didn't sound good.  I decided to research some Spinach Lasagna recipes and find one that sounded like what I wanted.  I found my recipe match on Kraft Foods.  You can see the original recipe HERE.  I ever so slightly altered it.  Here's how I made the lasagna:

Spinach Lasagna


2 eggs, beaten
1 container (16 oz)  low fat cottage cheese
A Bunch of freshly chopped organic baby spinach
3 cups finely shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (1 cup reserved for top)
1/2 cup 4C home style grated Parmesan cheese (divided into two 1/4 cups)
1 jar (24 oz) Ragu Robusto Parmesan and Romano Spaghetti Sauce
8  Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Lasagna noodles, cooked


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix eggs, cottage cheese, spinach, 2 cups mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.

In a 13x9 inch pan, layer 1 cup spaghetti sauce, 3 lasagna noodles, and half the cottage cheese mixture.  Next layer 2 noodles, staggered, 1 cup spaghetti sauce, the second half of the cheese mixture, 3 noodles, the rest of the spaghetti sauce, and top with 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until heated through.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Special Notes: 

I only used 8 noodles because I hate being left with 7 noodles when every lasagna recipe calls for 9 noodles!  So, now I have the same amount that I used in my recipe and I can make another batch.

The 4C brand Parmesan cheese in my favorite!  It is imported from Italy and is not coated with cellulose powder to prevent caking like most cheese is.  I'm not sure if it tastes so good because it is missing the cellulose coating, or because the cheese is imported, or both... but you can taste a difference.  You can order from 4C, Amazon, or you might find it at your local Walmart, like I do.

We had a Caesar Salad with Marzetti All Natural Light Caesar Vinaigrette Dressing, which is about as low in calories as any Low Fat Italian dressing, and many other Vinaigrette's, and so tasty!  We also had garlic bread. 

Reshaping it All Tip # 2:
The salad and the bread were really not necessary, but we had company, so that's a good excuse... right?  The Spinach Lasagna is a meal in itself, with veggies, whole grains, and dairy rich protein (and some egg protein!).  The key here is as Candace says many times in Reshaping it All, moderation!  I had a small to medium serving of lasagna, a small to medium size salad, and I did go ahead and have one piece of garlic bread.  I would usually go hog wild with a dish I had been thinking about for so long, and tasted so good.  I remembered to eat slowly, wait (20 minutes for your body to tell you if you are full or not) and listen to my body to see if I was really still hungry.  I wasn't still hungry. I was satisfied, and I knew I would be able to eat the Spinach Lasagna again for leftovers today!  Win-win!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Language Learning and Liberty's Kids

Guest post by Alec

Bonjour, Messieurs et Mademoiselles!  Hello, Boys and Girls!  Mother started Mango language classes online.  She was almost done with her first Spanish lesson.  Then she got me and my sister on Mango.  I was first.  I chose to learn French this year.  My sister chose Mandarin Chinese.

Mother had about 35 minutes on her Spanish lessons.  That first night, I got in 8 minutes.  My sister got in 1 minute.  The next day, I worked as hard as I could on Mango.  I made my Mother get 47 minutes in.  That day I got in 92 minutes.  My sister still has 1 minute.

My goal is to major in French like my Aunt T.  Here is the story of how my Mother learned French.  When my Mother was a little girl, she and her cousin shared these little newspapers and one of them had like 10 French words.  She thought it was the prettiest language and that's what urged her to learn French.  She took French in high school and college.  Her college professor said that she was really good and she should learn more.  She was nervous about not speaking right with the accent, so she just took the minimum of classes.

Here's the story about how I became a French student.  I saw the television series Liberty's Kids, and I liked the character Henri, who is French.  I like the way they pronounce their words and their accent.  And they speak fast, like I do in English.  That is all.

Misty's notes:
We are blessed that our local library has Mango online for us to use for free through the library website.  We can access the lessons from our home computer through our library card and the library website.
We were going to start foreign language lessons last year, but I just tried out the Spanish and never got any further.  So, we were all going to get serious starting next month with the new school year.  Wyatt, oops, I mean Alec, got so excited about learning French, he could not wait!  He practices and goes back to the beginning if he misses anything.  I think he will soon be reading French better than English.  I also have to say that I love that he calls me "Mother".  I feel so proper and grown up.  :)

Oh, and Liberty's Kids is a great historical cartoon series.  The show is all about the American Revolution.  My kids know about so many of the United States founding fathers and their amazing quotes and speeches from that show.  My hubby discovered our collection of Liberty's Kids on dvd that I purchased for homeschooling and he enjoyed watching all the episodes, too.  There is still a Liberty's Kids website you can checkout HERE and archives HERE, you can also watch episodes on youtube.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our New "Pet": Jesse James

I looked out our picture window this afternoon to see this big guy slithering across our front lawn.  I called to the kids to come watch.  He was headed for our front stoop/rock garden with a big black garden hose in it.  We wondered if Mr. Snake was looking for a mate.  It was about 5:30pm, and I thought that was an odd time for him to be roaming about.

Wyatt and I following him to underneath our trailer (from a safe distance since we didn't know if he was poisonous, or not, at the time).  He could reach his head to the top rail of the trailer just by stretching.  Wyatt thought he looked like a cotton mouth. 

We looked him up when we got in the house and decided he is a Black Rat Snake.  The kids named him Jesse James.  He is not poisonous, or dangerous to humans, but very dangerous to rodents.  We hope he eats all the rodents around here and stays away from the Slip 'n' Slide, which was very near the trailer.

Summer Has Arrived!

Ellie and Wyatt pooled their commission money and bought their very first Slip 'n' Slide.
Ellie had to get a new swimsuit.  I was hoping the one I bought her at the end of last season for her friend's birthday party would last this summer, too.  She had grown already though and the straps were cutting into her shoulders.  What a job we had finding modest swimsuit that fit her long torso.  We wound up with a tankini from Kohl's.  Luckily Wyatt's new swim trunks still fit! 

Sadly, that Slip 'n' Slide only last one day.  The next day the set it up and the orange cushion at the end popped.  So, we exchanged the Slip 'n' Slide at our good ole Wal-mart.  We had a hard time finding the same one, and by the time we did, they'd decided this larger Slip 'n' Slide was a better deal.  It was only $3 more.  I really like the green boogie boards that come with the slides.  The kids don't really use them, but I like them for flopping down on the ride.

I remember these things being longer, but maybe it was just because I was shorter.  According to the directions no one over 5 feet tall is supposed play on the slide, but I gave it a half dozen turns today.  I got good and wet.  Not bad when you don't  have a pool and live far enough from the public pool to make it a trip.

Tonight we went to my parents house to play in their pool.  I am so excited that they opened the pool this year.  My folks have had that pool since I was 9 years old.  They have replaced the liner once.  I have cleaned it more times than I could tell you (it was one of my summer jobs growing up).  That pool is full of great memories and more to come.  And it's free!

Purple Cows

No, not real purple cows, but Purple Cow drinks.  This is a recipe my Mom has made for me for as long as I can remember.  The flavor brings back lovely memories of childhood.  They are yummy all year round, but especially in the hot summer!

The picture is of my new Ninja Pro Blender (from Sam's Club) making the Purple Cow.  The Ninja is the best blender I have ever had.  We love making smoothies and such and the Ninja does a great job. The Ninja was my Valentine's Day present.  Sadly, I used the Ninja to chop up some cloves for a cleanse we're about to do... and it tore up the plastic pitcher.  I can only make single smoothies in the chopper containers that come with the Ninja until I order a replacement pitcher.  I'm glad I haven't gotten rid of my Oster blender, because that blender with the glass pitcher is what I'll do clove chopping in from now on!

Okay, on with the recipe.


1 can frozen 100% grape juice concentrate
Empty frozen grape juice container filled with milk
1 tray of ice cubes, or about enough ice to fill to the top of your blender AFTER dumping in the grape juice concentrate and milk.

Pour all ingredients into your blender and blend and crush ice... depending on your settings and type of blender this may vary.
With the Ninja, you just tap the top till the ice is the consistency you like, but with a regular blender, you may want to use the "ice crush" setting.

Serve immediately!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Misty's Secret Recipe Tuna or Chicken Salad

So, there are two secret ingredients in my Tuna or Chicken

Two Sisters Gourmet Over The Edge Herbed Spinach Dip
Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Dressing Classic Ranch

The canned tuna and chicken are not the same size.  This is one of the few recipes that I really just eyeball and throw together.

So, I drain the can of tuna or chicken.  Next I sprinkle the dry Over The Edge Herbed Spinach blend.  Then I  pour on some of the ranch dressing.  I mix everything up with a fork and add a little more of the herb mix or dressing (or both), if needed.

I should have taken a picture when I was all done making the recipe....

Party Potatoes

This is my mother-in-law's recipe.  It is tradition to have these every Thanksgiving when we are together.  I also decided that we should have them on Memorial Day because my brother-in-law, who was in Afghanistan last Thanksgiving, was in town with my mother-in-law.  Pretty much it's tradition to have Party Potatoes and/or Rigatoni when more than one branch of the clan is gathered.  So here is the yummy, calorie filled recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Instant Potatoes for 12 servings
-also need milk, water, butter, salt as directed on box
8 ounces of sour cream
6 ounces of cream cheese (thawed is helpful for mixing)
Garlic powder to taste
1 or 2 tablespoons of butter for the top

Make Instant potatoes as directed on the box.
Then add sour cream, cream cheese, and a heap of garlic powder.
Mix thoroughly (you can use a mixer for this).
Pour into one or two casserole dishes.  If you spread it in two dishes, you get two crispy tops... which this family likes.
Top with butter.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reshaping It All... Hoodie Pics and More

I really wasn't sure how much difference working on the Reshaping It All Challenge was going to make for my body, but I was all for "motivation for physical and spiritual fitness"!  I had already gotten down to my "fighting weight" about the time the Challenge started.  My "fighting weight" is just a comfortable weight for me, but since I've found this weight after having both kids, I still easily gain 5 lbs, lose 5 lbs (the terrible yo-yo).  This last year I gained like 8 or 10 lbs onto that weight.  Ugh!  That is just way too much for my small frame.  Although I am 5 foot 6 inches tall (or 7 inches, depending on who's measuring me) and I feel like a giant next to my 5'2" cousins, I am small boned.  That much weight on this frame is just too much.  My clothes were all getting tight...some of them just didn't even fit anymore.

Well, here comes the exciting news.  After getting down to my comfortable weight again.  I can pretty much wear all my clothes and feel comfortable.  I don't think I've gone below that weight since I lost all my baby weight after Ellie was a year old.  Yesterday I had to tuck in my shirt and put a belt on with my shorts.  Today I stepped on the scales and I am 2 lbs below the comfortable weight!  I was not and am not trying to lose weight.  I just want to be healthy and fit.  I've been excercising so much more consistantly that I was really encouraged to see that I was losing inches when I put on my clothes.  I put on a pair of denim capri pants that I've saved, but haven't really been comfortable in (even at the "comfortable" weight) for years.  Today, they were comfortable!  Here's a picture of me wearing them:

And here are the pictures of me in the Union28 My Husband Rocks Hoodie that I won from one of the giveaways on the Reshaping It All Challenge site:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reshaping It All Update

One of my goals for the Reshaping It All Challenge is for my clothes to fit better.  Well, last Sunday I wore a pair of capri pants to work.  I wasn't thinking, but they were already clean again, and I wore the same pair of capri pants to church this Sunday.  Well, I did start thinking when I realized those same pants were lose this weekend, where last weekend they just fit.  I have to say that is progress and that feels good!

Also, this last Saturday at work, a co-worker's 16 year son told her that I was "hot".  She had to burst his bubble and tell him that I am only a couple years younger than her (his mother!).  LOL!  Anyway, I did get a kick out of that, being almost old enough to be his mother!  We are literally two years apart in age.

I got my Union 28 hoodie today!  I love it!  I'll post a picture of me "modeling" the hoodie soon.  :)

P.S.- I just had to note that I am not trying to be attractive to a 16 year old, or anyone for that matter, besides my husband.  Also, I was not wearing anything provacative.  I have wore things in the past that I am now embarassed to say I've worn.  I didn't realize at the time what I was doing to the poor males I put myself on view in front of.  My Mom grew up in the era of mini-skirts, hip hugger bell bottom pants, and body suits... and pretty much all of those things came back in style by the time I was a teenager. 

Now Ellie and have conversations when we pick out clothes:  "Is that modest?".  I'll even ask her about something I own, if I'm not sure I should wear it in public... "Is this modest on me?".  Some things that are still in the closet, sadly, I need to get rid of.

So, just to clarify, for anyone reading this, you don't have to dress like you're "advertising"  (looking for love, or trying to attract men) to be attractive.  I was wearing a dress that goes just past my knees, with cotton leggings that covered my calves, and ballet flats... with my lab coat that snaps up to my neck and ends past my bottom.  I was dressed to go to my father-in-law's for a cook out after work, but also have to dress nice for work.