Get Your Five-a-day in One Go with Smoothies

smoothiesMost of us probably grew up learning that it’s important to get your 5-a-day (5 portions of fruits and vegetables) to maintain good health. Of course, there rose arguments and claims debunking it as a myth. Some nutrition experts state that we actually need at least 8 servings, while others state that for the nutrients in the vegetables to be activated, they have to be mixed up with fat. There are those who aver that eating veggies is better, while another camp says that it’s actually better to consume the juice instead. It’s all very tiresome, so it’s really simpler for me to keep on espousing 5-a-day the same way that I continue regarding Pluto as a full-fledged planet.

At any rate, I’m also of the belief that it wouldn’t hurt to get more. The important thing is to make sure that the 5 servings are taken care of. An easy way to achieve this is through smoothies. Juicing seems to be the rage these days, but I’ll stick with smoothies… primarily because I don’t have a juicer. Also, juicing may be better when it comes to vegetables, but with regard to fruits, blending/pureeing them is healthier mainly because you get to retain the fiber, which is great for BM and important for keeping your blood sugar from spiking.

The thing is, I can’t seem to find a fruit-veggie combination that works for my kids. One time, I got carried away with the vegetables and put a carrot, a cucumber, and a celery stalk with an apple. Even with a generous dollop of honey, the concoction was absolutely putrid. Mark, my mom, and I were able to finish our glasses while holding our noses (the thing smelled like the produce section of the supermarket), but the kids wouldn’t touch theirs with a ten-foot pole. Another time, I almost succeeded. Almost. It was supposed to be an apple, 2 pears, a cucumber, a handful of mint leaves, and a lemon. But then I allowed my daughter to convince me to let her squeeze another lemon into the mix. Even with added water and some more honey, the blend made our faces pucker at the sourness. Again, the kids wouldn’t have anything to do with the drink, even the lemon fiasco culprit. Side note: I truly wonder how a toddler who wouldn’t think twice about putting dust bunnies in his mouth, given the chance, could refuse a semi-acceptable fruit drink. Anyway, going back to our smoothie conundrum… we can do straight banana shakes or mango smoothies or even a two-fruit combo; what we have trouble with is the vegetable factor. Do you have a good recipe you can share here?

In the meantime, if you want to teach your kids about the 5-a-day rule, a fun way to do so is to through singing (and signing!) the “5 a Day” song from Signing Time. My kids and I are super into sign language and we find the Signing Time DVDs a very entertaining resource for learning ASL. This particular song is super catchy and my little Cameron can be expected to get up and dance a jig anytime he hears it. You can get the 5 A Day MP3 or go for the entire DVD of Signing Time Series 1 Vol. 6 – My Favorite Things.

If you want to have an idea of how the song goes, here are the lyrics:

5 a Day by Rachel Coleman

We can count them up
And we can count them down
Every day we count around
It’s 1-2-3-4-5 a day
Eating in a healthy way
1-2-3-4-5 a day
Five every day
Today’s a VEGGIE VEGGIE FRUIT FRUIT VEGGIE day
That means a CARROT BEAN BANANA APPLE LETTUCE day
Or maybe FRUIT FRUIT FRUIT FRUIT VEGGIE day
That could be APPLE PEAR BANANA MELON CARROT day
Any way you slice it or dice it or peel it
It’s gotta add up to 5 a day
Any way you slice it or dice it or peel it
It’s gotta add up to 5 a day
We can count them up
And we can count them down
Every day we count around
It’s 1-2-3-4-5 a day
Eating in a healthy way
1-2-3-4-5 a day
Five every day
Tomorrow’s FRUIT VEGGIE FRUIT VEGGIE VEGGIE day
That means a PEACH CORN TOMATO BEAN POTATO day
Or maybe VEGGIE VEGGIE VEGGIE FRUIT VEGGIE day
That could be CORN POTATO LETTUCE GRAPE and CARROT day
Any way you slice it or dice it or peel it
It’s gotta add up to 5 a day
Any way you slice it or dice it or peel it
It’s gotta add up to 5 a day

The song is so fast that it’s a real trip to sing it. I really recommend getting the entire DVD though. Just imagine learning the signs for all those words. 🙂

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Easy Craft: Crayon Tinting

crayon tinting 1Back in college, there was a girl whom I found inspiring. Considering how negative I was, I didn’t find many people who were. But when somebody did impress me, I had a better idea of the kind of person I wanted to be, which wasn’t always clear. Anyway, the university I attended was crawling with artsy, bohemian types. The UP stereotypes, I read somewhere, are the activists, the poets, the mountaineers, the hippies, etc., so I was used to different manifestations of creativity – the more outrageous, the more characteristic of the place, but this girl looked very much mainstream. She came from money, but she wore clothes that her mother sewed for her, she took up a part-time job clerking at a boutique simply because she wanted to work and have her own money, she made polymer clay earrings to sell (this was before crafting became a fad), and she jazzed up her plain t-shirts by crayon tinting them. Being somebody whose life was defined by being a student, nothing more (I hadn’t graduated from college yet, so that was what I supposed to be — so maddening how much I limited myself when I was young, lol) I was fascinated by her entrepreneurial spirit and her creativity.

I remember her giving me a casual tutorial for crayon tinting, and I had always meant to try it. Last week, I came across crayon tinted fabric items on Etsy, remembered this long-delayed crafting intent, and finally attempted it. It only took me close to 20 years.

It’s so fun and easy; I certainly intend to try it on a shirt soon. I wish I had remembered about it when I made those “big sister” t-shirts for Marguerite when I was pregnant with Cameron. Crayon tinting would have been less messy, for starters.

This is how I did crayon tinting:crayon tinting 2

I outlined a design, then colored it in, pressing hard on the crayon and using just one stroke direction.

When I was done coloring, I sandwiched the fabric between two sheets of paper (in this case, my piece of felt was small, so I just put it in between the folds of one sheet of paper).

I heated a flat iron to cotton setting and then placed it on the paper. I let it sit there for about 20-30 seconds. When I lifted the iron, I saw that some of the wax had stuck to the paper. I repeated the process, using clean portions of the same paper, until no more wax residue showed on it.

Have you tried this fabric printing technique before? Do you have any tips as to how to do it well? Please share!

The Uncertain Homeschooler – Playing Things by Ear

worksheetsI want to homeschool; that’s something I’m absolutely sure about. That has always been my conviction, even before I got married. For the most part, I’m happy with this decision. Unfortunately, there are times when I question whether I’m really up to the challenge. The doubts creep in when I start measuring myself and the kids against the standards set about by regular schools. In any case, I’m interested in a wide variety of homeschooling approaches, so suffice it to say that our style is eclectic. The concept of unschooling has always intrigued me while Waldorf holds a strong appeal for me. So do Charlotte Mason, Ruth Beechick, Delight Directed, Lapbooking, Unit Studies… I think the only one I’m not interested in is Traditional or School-at-home, and yet I find myself striving to do this many times – like I said, when I’m suddenly seized by a panic attack borne out of a compulsion for comparison. If you must know, I was the kind of student who had to have the highest test scores. In retrospect, I was probably pretty insufferable. The tendency followed me to adulthood, and it takes conscious effort to combat it.

There are so many unschooling philosophies I subscribe to, but my personality is so much that of the traditional scholar who thrives on structure that what I want theoretically is hard to reconcile with how I function. My ideas about learning and life were so set that I had let many opportunities slip me by. The summer before my senior year in college I was offered a chance to work in Portugal for a year, which I thought was completely out of the question since I was still in school. I had a deathly fear of not graduating from college, as though without that diploma, I was doomed to a life of poverty and hardship. Prior to earning that diploma, life was completely centered on the effort to get it – with honors and accolades to go along with it preferably. My entire person was consumed with the portrayal of just one role: being a good student. It took precedence over being a good daughter, a good sister, a good Christian, etc.

It was really all so bourgeois, now that I think about it. I couldn’t understand how certain classmates of mine back in high school toyed with their studies. One particular girl would disappear a week or two at a time and then come back with a certificate from a doctor saying she had bronchitis, chicken pox, etc. That girl’s sister was a friend of my younger sister, Chipi, and when I remarked one time to Chipi how sickly my classmate was, she snorted and said, “She wasn’t really sick. Their family just travel abroad a lot.” I was outraged at the idea. Didn’t the parents worry about how their kids did in school?  Incidentally, that classmate was already a very accomplished dancer even in high school, and I’m not sure if she ended up going to college, but she was already earning money breeding and raising show dogs while I was still receiving an allowance from my parents. Hindsight is 20/20, they say. I might not approve of the deception, but I can now understand and even admire their family’s priorities.

I’m afraid I somewhat digressed. The point is that as much as I love the idea of freedom in learning and having confidence  in children’s individual learning schedule, my conditioning provides the most contrary impulses, which is probably why de-schooling is highly recommended for parents of unschoolers. The thing is, we haven’t officially chosen to unschool, And, whether it stems from conditioning or an inherent quality I have, I find comfort in structure. I just haven’t zeroed in  on the form this structure will take. I’m not closing my doors on ready-made curricula because that could possibly turn out to be the arrangement that will make our family flourish. In the interim, we play things by ear.

We’ve definitely adopted a rhythm, and we put great emphasis in art and nature studies. As for goals and lesson plans, for a time I tried to teach Marguerite loosely following an age-based list of things to learn (this involved a lot of worksheets), but now we’re mostly doing unit studies/lapbooking/notebooking. I’ve also, since the beginning of the year, tried following 3 homeschool planners (free, of course, as I’m an incorrigible penny-pincher), but ended up just making my own (I’ll try to make a prettier version and then share it here).

Meanwhile, I continue to find informative and inspiring reads about homeschooling, so our setup is definitely open to modification. I enjoy educating myself in the process and brainstorming on how to incorporate things that interest me, frequently surprising myself in the process. It’s really quite amazing how parents find so many ways to be creative with the purpose of enriching their children’s lives. I think most of us are gobsmacked at the discoveries we make of ourselves concerning talents, skills, traits, etc.

Of course, doubts about homeschooling still surface every now and then, but, for the most part, I’m convinced that it is the best option for our family as it is right now.

St. Patrick’s Day Unit Study: Finding Rainbows in the Mundane

green shirt-cum-rainbow cowinkydink

Marguerite is beginning to develop an unhealthy attitude toward worksheets, so I had to step back and regroup. That felt too much like the traditional school scenario that I wanted to avoid. Why were we doing worksheets anyway? After much agonizing introspection in which I had to be honest with myself and admit that my own insecurities have been dealing destructive little blows to the peaceful rhythm I’ve been cultivating in our family, I finally ditched the worksheets and decided to try something else. St. Patrick’s Day was coming up, so I thought it would be an interesting topic for a unit study. This would be more activity-based, and the lessons wouldn’t have much to do with the downloaded list I have of things 6-year-olds should already know.

Even though the Philippines is overwhelmingly Catholic, we don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here. There aren’t enough Irish immigrants, I suppose. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting holiday and I could link it to rainbows, which I knew my daughter liked. I’m actually really happy that we tried learning without worksheets. Of course, I don’t have much to put in her portfolio except for a couple of art projects, but lessons this time better suited Marguerite’s temperament and interests. They were also more relaxing since I didn’t have to spend my time urging her to finish her work or calling her back as she’s prone to straying when things got too boring for her. You can imagine how this could be a test to my patience and usually result in a battle of wills. We’re also trying to put a lapbook of that unit study together, but it’s taking a lot of time and Easter is coming up (something I don’t want to miss out on, homeschooling-wise), so we’re doing it in slow stages.

Basically, alongside St. Patrick’s Day, we learned about Ireland, shamrocks, leprechauns and rainbows too. It was all pretty random, but I know she learned that:

– Paddy is a nickname for Patrick. St. Patrick supposedly drove all the snakes away from Ireland, but that’s just a story. There really aren’t any snakes in Ireland except for the slow worm (we googled its image), which looks like a snake but is actually a legless lizard.

St Paddy’s Day toenails

– Ireland is very green. The shamrock is its symbol. St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach about God. Shamrocks (we found patches of them outside our church – we picked some and they’re going in the lapbook) are also called clovers sometimes, which are supposedly lucky when they have four leaves instead of the usual three. There are different shades of green. There were too many, so we just chose our faves – she likes kelly green while I’m torn between apple green and sea foam green. We also looked at pictures of the Chicago River dyed green. For music, we listened to Danny Boy, which, we concurred, is a sad song. For art, we formed a shamrock out of green hearts.

– A leprechaun is an Irish fairy. It hides a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The rainbow is formed when the different colors that make up sunlight hit raindrops at a certain angle and separate. Another word for rainbow is spectrum. Its seven main colors are ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). We played a game wherein Marguerite and Cameron had to look for the picture of a leprechaun and bring it back to me. I would then give them the letters that formed a word when arranged according to the sequence of the seven main rainbow colors. The spelled out word was the actual location of the pot of gold. We did several rainbow drawings and paintings as well as a collage. We also experimented with forming rainbows using everyday objects.

rainbow game

rainbow game

pot of gold (trick or treat cauldron during Halloween – that thing’s putting in a lot of service)

rainbow experiment 1 – water glass rainbow

rainbow experiment 2 – CD rainbow

prism

rainbow experiment 3 – crystal prism

Another Beginning: Meet the Gozes

a portrait of our family - made by Marguerite

a portrait of our family – made by Marguerite

Hi! We’re the Gozes and we blog over here at Our Lemonade Days. I’m Ivy, the mom and wife, also the main writer. I’ve been married to Mark for 8 years and we now have two children: 6.5-year-old Marguerite and 18-month-old Cameron. We’re a Christian homeschooling family aiming to fill our days with faith, love, creativity, encouragement and learning. We’re quite resolute to lead an extraordinary life. Simple, but extraordinary all the same. We’re sort of working toward this goal at a handicap since our training and conditioning are probably going to be of very minimal help to us in this undertaking. We hope to live as conscientiously and as wholesomely as we can with great attention to health, sustainability, frugality, etc. while allowing ourselves the gift of certain “luxurious” treats, such as travel and fine dining, at reasonable intervals.

If you’re wondering about our choice of domain name, it’s based on the old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Basically, we’re finding beauty, inspiration and productivity in a less than ideal situation. My desired end is to have a blog that documents the blessings as well as the triumph over trials, a blog that inspires others or gives them ideas on various life matters. Readers can expect posts on homeschooling, homemaking, crafts and hobbies, travel, business and other financial matters, Scriptural musings, self-improvements, as well as freebies and giveaways. I plan to do photo and video tutorials, reviews, travelogues, and perhaps even interviews.

I hope that you can regularly visit us in this space and find that the time you spend here is definitely worth your while.

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