Saturday, August 30, 2014

2 Days Until Vegetarianism Test Drive (and NO soda)

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but my kids will be joining me on much of my vegetarian journey. I don't intend to deny them a particular food that is already in the house if they want it or limit their choices if we go to a restaurant, but when I cook, I will cook for myself and the whole family. It will just be a little easier on me that way...and probably healthier for them as well!

I've been researching a little more and learned a little more, but overall I don't think this will be too terrible of an experience. There are a lot of foods that are just regular grocery store foods that are coincidentally also vegan/vegetarian. I joined a Facebook vegetarian site and was quite surprised that many/most people who call themselves vegetarians still eat dairy and eggs. Cheaters!! You are Ovo-Lacto Vegetarians and that is much easier than being a true Vegetarian.
I am only so serious about this because I had some internal conflict over whether I should I should do my Bucket List item in the true sense of the word Vegetarian or take the easier way out and do as these other "Vegetarians" do. I opted to try it out in the true sense of the word. I'm hoping to feel much better in my body by the end of the month; healthier, more energy, all of that...less headaches would be nice too. If it ends up being "all that and a bag of Cheetos," I am slightly excited about continuing as a Pescatarian....can't help it, I love fish and shrimp!
And EGGS! Lol I really love eggs....especially the ones from my own chickens! It just dawned on me that my little flock will probably start laying during my Veg Month!! Oh NO!! That will be hard, but I will enjoy "playing" with them and trying to figure out the males from the females. I have 12 naked neck chickens that I bought at auction as chicks awhile back.

But back to my preparation for Vegetarianism, here is a list of foods that I have put together that will be okay for me to eat.
Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate (made with soy milk)
Orowheat Country Potato Bread
Healthy Choice Asian Potstickers
Pillsbury Turnovers (Apple and Cherry)
Simply Potatoes Diced Potatoes with Onion
Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
Aunt Jemima Coffee Cake Mix
Jello Instant Pudding (Pistachio, Lemon, Vanilla, Banana Crème)
Tropical Source Dark Chocolate Chips
Hurst's HamBeens Soups
Hormel Vegetarian Chili
Del Monte White Corn (Cream Style)
Silk (soymilk)
Cereals-Life (regular and cinnamon), Just Right, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Corn Pops, Kix, and Cracklin' Oatbran
Pop tarts(!) (UNfrosted apple cinnamon and strawberry)

And of course loads and loads of fruit and veggies! Plus I plan to make smoothies to squeeze in some of the veggies that I don't really care for (kale) but that have such great nutritional value that I really want to include them. Bonus-the kids LOVE smoothies. I'm also going to poke around the veggie burger, tofu **cringe**, vegan cheese section of the store too and see if anything looks good enough to give a try.

My kids DO NOT drink soda. I drink far too much. I have quit before but it only lasted a month or two and I started back up. I hate all of the crap that is in soda (diet soda that I drink especially) and I am determined to quit again once and for all and set a better example for my children. The caffeine is usually my biggest hurdle so I'm planning on having some chocolaty and coffee-like caffeinated drinks around to ward off those darn with-drawl headaches.

Thank-you all for visiting and reading my blog! I would love to hear what you think and if you have ever have done or will ever be doing anything like this! Be sure to put together your own list at too! It's really fun to work towards accomplishing goals you set for yourself! Thanks again!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shark Week

To go along with the Discovery Channels annual Shark Week on television, we have been doing worksheet units downloaded from and These units have a variety of shark themed worksheets for most of the subjects we try to cover each day and they are FREE to print out, which is always nice.

We found this Great White postcard so Olivia went ahead and practiced her writing skills and sent it to her penpal friend back in Colorado.

Then we put together this awesome 3D model of a Great White and learned about the internal workings of a sharks body. We'll be hanging this big guy up in our classroom soon! 
I read online that Caspersen Beach in Venice, FL was a great place to find sharks teeth, so we had a field trip! We found several critters on the beach or in the shallows. Everyone ended up with a bit of a sunburn, but it was great fun! Olivia even found a very small (possibly) shark tooth but it got mixed into our seashell bucket and we haven't sifted through the sand to find it again yet.


We were really lucky to have a nice lady I met online give us a bunch of sharks teeth that she had no use for. We will be using these in several projects to come!
Who wouldn't LOVE going to the beach and watching tv shows for school!? ;D
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Vegetarian Research Findings of an Omnivore

Wow. I hadn't realized the lengths vegetarians go to to ensure that there isn't even a trace of animal product in their food.  Apparently some breads have added gluten in them that are taken from animals. I knew that Jell-O gelatin is made from animals, so I had expected that one. The bread thing is going a little far for me though. I found an online list of "surprisingly vegan" foods that I am going to use as a main guideline for September.

That's another thing too; I Googled for info, food lists, and recipe ideas for vegetarians and almost all of the search results were vegan this and vegan that. I guess people nowadays don't feel that vegetarian is taking it far enough. Ha! I am NOT one of those people. If I end up finding that this diet change is just spectacular and want to keep going with it, I'm pretty sure I will only go as far as Pescetarian....because I loves me some seafood.....and I won't beat myself up over a little milk or a couple eggs either. I love keeping chickens and having my own egg supply.

Another thing I am getting geared up for is lentils. I had read several times that lentils are an acceptable substitute for ground beef in some recipes and had meant to test it out for quite awhile now. I'm excited to finally get around to that....and the kids will have the final say on the subject. Also, I've never had tofu. Just the word makes me cringe and wrinkle my nose. Tofu. We'll just wait and see if I get that brave.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

September Bucket List Self Challenge

So, the other day, my husband stumbled upon this website to keep track of the things you want to do before you die and we both started putting together our own lists.  The neat thing is that you can see some of the things other people have on their lists and get really great ideas for your own. I found several things this way that I never even knew I wanted to do! Here's what I have so far:
  • Ride a Segway 
  • Become a vegetarian for a month   
  • Send a message in a bottle 
  • Knit and donate 30 scarves for the homeless
  • Paint a self portrait on a big canvas  
  • Blog about my life consistently for at least a year   
  • Go indoor skydiving   
  • Go scuba diving   
  • Go PARASAILING over WATER on a boat!!! 
  • Own a 1963 Jeep Gladiator J20-light blue  
  • Get a sleeve tattoo    
  • Run a 5k   
  • Become an aunt    
  • Take a photo with husband every month and make a collage out of it  
  • Ziplining  
  • Visit the pyramids in Egypt   
  • Visit New Orleans       
  • Mayan Ruins          
  • Visit Stonehenge  
  • Trek the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu          

Now, I know a lot of the world travel part is going to be a ways off still, seeing that we have such a young family, but a few of these are very doable with a minimal monetary investment on my part! There were a lot of other "easier" bucket list items or ideas that I have already completed, like having a baby or falling in love, but I wanted to keep my list with today as a starting point. 

Aaaanyways, I think I am going to try to become a vegetarian for the month of September.  I have no qualms with butchering an animal and eating it, this bucket list item is simply to walk in someone elses shoes and see how it may or may not effect my health. I'm going to start looking into it and figuring out what products I can and cannot eat. As a bonus for my health, I am also going to attempt to once again cut soda completely out of my diet. I've done this once or twice before but ended up hooked right back on the darn stuff again each time. I drink WAY too much diet soda. Bring on SODA-FREE SEPTEMBER (and steak-free, sausage-free, salmon-free, shrimp-free ***SOB!***)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Sampling of MKCDays--Photo Style!

A lost tooth!
Getting our volcanoes on!
Recent shopping trip to the bookstore. 
Fishing with Daddy!
A couple caterpillars we have found so far.
Me and my little guy.
The kids helping to "fix" the tub out of the old washing machine. :)
Another creepy crawly....actually a translucent, bright green color.....and they JUMP!
Fun times outside. 
One of the several tortoises that live on the property.
We HAD to stop and see the airplane in Arcadia, FL.
This was the first bug adventure we had after moving to FL. I believe it was called a Giant Leopard Moth, if I remember correctly.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Homeschool Headlines August 8, 2014

This is my first year doing home school.  Before we got going, I researched and read and asked questions and Googled to my hearts content about the who, what, when, where, why, and most importantly how people do school at home. I found a group of homeschool parents in my new county, which helped my confidence a lot. I asked a close friend of mine for details of every book in her eclectic curriculum and researched almost all of them so that I could pick and choose some for my own....and then I dove in.
I think EVERY book I read on the subject of home schooling said that most people who decide to homeschool will make the mistake of planning too much to fit into each day or week or what-have-you. I thought I had it perfect. I was going to be flexible with times and just go with the flow of what my children could handle each day---surely the 4 or 5 things I had planned would be finished with plenty of time for playing and laughing and enjoying our family time, right? Wrong.
I still have the books and curriculum extras collecting dust on a shelf currently and I do still plan to use them eventually, but I have ended up using a prepackaged curriculum from the book store filled with worksheets as my Core for now.  We read at every chance we get. I can get up to 50 books at once from the amazing library here in Port Charlotte so that helps tremendously! Other than that, I try to go with what my kids are interested in.
I have 2 daughters, Olivia, almost 7 and Carly, almost 5, and 1 son, Korbin,  almost 2. Olivia is the only one ~legally~ in home school right now. Korbin is our biggest distraction. We have to fit in most of our worksheets during his naptime. Carly is eager to learn but just not quite ready for some of the reading and writing exercises I try to do with her, so she will hopefully be starting preschool this month. In Colorado, Olivia went to preschool for several years and to Kindergarten at a Charter School that we loved. I think Carly will thrive with some similar peer play time. 
Right now, Olivia is very interested in rocks and volcanoes so that is what we are studying. It's nice that there are full episodes of 'Bill Nye the Science Guy' on YouTube. We've done the obligatory baking soda and vinegar volcano sculpture already and I plan to do a few more activities to show the parts of Earth and some salt crystal projects as well. Shark Week is this month on t.v. so we got a Great White 3D model to put together when the time comes and then we will use a few of the t.v. programs to homeschool. How fun is that?! We also just found a plethora of tiny tree frog tadpoles in our kiddie pool, so, why not?! Bring on the metamorphosis lesson as well!
My sons birthday is close to the last week of this month and we plan to go to Dinosaur Park in Plant City, FL so we will have a dinosaur study week around that time too. The girls are excited about dinosaurs as well, having recently been allowed to watch all 3 movies in the Jurassic Park series.
Lots of questions, lots of books, and lots of Googling and YouTubing for answers around here! And the best part is that I find myself learning a lot too. Jean has successfully mastered telling time and is easing her way into counting money (coins) currently as well.
I strongly encourage all readers to post any comments or questions you may have. Thank you so much for reading, supporting, and encouraging this chronicling of my CRAZY DAYS!