Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cheap and Easy Bathtub Paint

One of my friends posted a great idea for bathtub paint on Pinterest. The original idea came from Meet the Dubiens. The idea was so simple that I was kicking myself for never thinking of it before. To make easy bathtub paint just add a few drops of food coloring to shaving cream. We have tried to play with shaving cream in the bath tub before, but Miss Bubbles and Little BBQ were never that interested. I guess white shaving cream on a white bathtub wall is just not that enchanting, but when you add color the shaving cream it is a whole new story. Both kids were excited and loved painting on the bathtub walls with the colored shaving cream. The best part is that it is much cheaper than buying expensive bath tub paint from the store. Miss Bubbles has painted in the bath tub twice today, and I am thankful that this is much easier to clean up after than her usual painting adventures. I call this activity a double win for me and the kids on this gloomy rainy day.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mothers Homeschool Journal 5/27/11 ad 6/3/11

In my life this week…
Once again I will be covering two weeks. Last week I was so busy canning strawberries that I did not have a chance to update my blog. We have been doing a lot of things lately since the weather has finally started getting nicer. We visited Traders Point Creamery two weekends ago. We did the self guided tour and sampled some cheese and yogurt. You can read more about that adventure in my blog post about the field trip. We also picked strawberries last week. I am so excited for strawberry season. I love the ruby red fruit that welcomes summer weather. I took Miss Bubbles to a free art festival in our town to see some excellent works of art. Our town pool opened, so we have been enjoying going to the pool. Little BBQ has been going off the diving board. My garden has been very productive over the past few weeks. I have harvest lots of greens. I have also been canning like crazy. So far I have pressure canned pork broth, beef broth, and asparagus. I have boiling water canned strawberry syrup, strawberry rhubarb jam, strawberries in red wine, chocolate strawberry sauce, strawberry preserves, and strawberry BBQ sauce.
In our homeschool this week…
We have been working on adding double digit numbers and reading. I am so excited that Dr. Lazy Palate has come on board with reading to Little BBQ. I think Little BBQ loves when dad reads to him. We have also signed our entire family up for the summer reading program at the library. Our library even has an adult program which I think is so cool.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
We have been doing lots of traveling around these past two weeks. We went to Traders Point Creamery, the art festival, the pool, and an orchard to pick strawberries.
My favorite thing this week was…
My favorite thing was taking the kids to the pool for the first time this season. It was really awesome to watch Little BBQ go off the diving board. Miss Bubbles also swam her heart out. She wants to swim independently, but she does not have the muscle strength yet, so I give her the bare minimum amount of support that she needs to maneuver herself in the water.
What’s working/not working for us…
Dad reading to Little BBQ is working really for us. It has doubled the amount of books that we can read in a day which is excellent.
Questions/thoughts I have…
I love summer!
Things I’m working on…
I am working on lots of canning projects. I am also working on making cheese. I have made paneer and whey ricotta this week. I am going to work on some goat cheese next.
Books I’m reading…
I finished The New Terrarium this week. It was a great read. I really enjoyed reading about plants that can grow in a terrarium. I think I am going to have Little BBQ make a terrarium this year as one of our science projects. I am also reading Liberty Defined by Ron Paul. I really like that Ron Paul is really transparent about his beliefs as a Congressman. He outlines his beliefs then he defends his beliefs. I really like that he is consistent. Consistent is something that I strive to be in my own beliefs.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Here are some links to artists that Miss Bubbles and I really enjoyed at the art festival.
Gary Love: landscape photography
Paul M. Jeselskis: pottery
Diane Overmyer: oil and pastel paintings

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Field Trip to Traders Point Creamery

This is one family field trip that I was really excited about. Traders Point Creamery stated selling at our local farmers market last summer, and I was really excited that we finally had more than just spotty access to the only grass fed and organic creamery in the country. Our small town had a small mom and pop grocery store that carried their milk sometimes; the grocery store said that their shipments from Traders Point Creamery were not always reliable so sometimes they had milk from them and sometimes they didn’t.
My family has been on many farms. Dr. Lazy Palate’s best friend growing up was a dairy farmer, so he is familiar with dairy farms. We knew for the most part all you were going to see on a tour was animals out in pastures which are always exciting for the kids especially Miss Bubbles who has associated cows with the sound, “mooo.” However, we were a bit disappointed with the tour. We took the self-guided tour ($2 for adults and free for children under 3) on a rainy muggy day since neither one of our kids were going to walk nicely for a guided tour after sitting the car after a long drive.
We were hoping to see more than just animals. We were hoping to see where the cheese was made and to find out a little more about their cheese making. However, there was only a little small room where you could look inside to see some of the cheese making equipment, but due to the weather the window had a lot of condensation build up so we could not see inside the cheese making room.  
There are a few other cons of Traders Point Creamery as well. Traders Point Creamery milk is very expensive. For one quart of milk it costs $4.00. That makes the milk $12 a gallon. Commercial organic milk that is not grass fed here costs $6 a gallon, so that is double in price. Outside of price, another frustration that I have with Traders Point Creamery is that they buy milk from other local farmers and resell it under their label. I find it a bit frustrating that I am paying that much money for milk that is not necessarily from Traders Point Creamery. Luckily, an Amish farm has recently started selling milk at our farmers market. Their milk is 100% grass fed and uncertified organic. One gallon of milk costs $6 or $5 if you join their milk share program. This is much more economical, and I have not noticed a difference in taste between their milk and Traders Point Creamery.  I have also made cheese with both milks, and I have not had trouble with either. My last source of frustration with Traders Point Creamery is that they do not offer a buyback program for their glass bottles.  They sell their milk in a beautiful glass quart bottle. The bottle is very thick glass and very sturdy. Other dairies in our area charge you a deposit when you buy the milk for the glass bottle. Then when you return the bottle you get your deposit back. We have requested numerous times that Traders Point Creamery should offer a similar program, but the response back that we have heard is that they feel their customers are already environmentally minded and will recycle their glass bottles on their own. I know for a fact that not everyone is recycling their glass bottles. We live in a town where you have to pay a hefty amount of money for recycling, so we know some people are penny pitching right now and are just tossing their bottles in the garbage to save on costs.
On the upside of the tour we did get to see a mother pig nurse her babies which both kids enjoyed. We also got to see a one day old calf. It is amazing how large the calf was for one day. Delivering a human baby looks like a cake walk compared to delivering a baby calf. We also got to sample some of their maple yogurt which was good. The yogurt was sweet and creamy. We also tried some of their Fromage Blanc cheese which was fantastic. The cheese was spreadable, creamy, and rich. It is no surprise that Traders Point Creamery has fantastic cheese because they have master cheese makers like Fons Smits on staff1. Fons Smits started the creamery line for Traders Point Creamery1. Before working at Traders Point Creamery he set up dairy factories in Tanzania1. He also assisted with opening dairies in Asia and Europe1. He was also the developer of Mt. Tam, a cheese produce by Cowgirl Creamery1.  It is clear that Traders Point Creamery knows how to hire excellent talent and produce excellent cheese.
The self-guided tour is a bargain if you have never been to a farm before. However, many famers will allow you to tour their farm for free. Many farmers will even give you a guided tour for free, so it might be best contact one of your local farmers to see if they are open to letting you tour their farm. Many farmers are excited to give you a tour of farm to promote healthy eating to show people exactly where their food comes from.
At this point my feeling on Traders Point Creamery is neutral. I love that they are trying to provide grass fed milk to customers. I think that more people need to drink more milk from grass fed cows because cows that are on a 100% grass fed diet contain 5 times the amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than feed lot cows2. Milk is the primary source for a human to get CLA since beef provides very little CLA2. Conjugated linoleic acid helps protect the heart and helps aid in weight loss2. To get CLA in milk you have to drink whole milk since CLA is a fat soluble compound; many scientists argue that the health benefits of CLA outweigh the downside of saturated fat found in whole milk2. Given these health benefits I hope that more grass fed dairies open up in the future. If Traders Point Creamery is the only option that you have for grass fed milk, then I would highly recommend them. However, if you can find a more cost effective method for getting grass fed milk, then I would go this route. Our family has made the choice to primarily buy from a competing dairy that is uncertified organic to save on costs.
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