Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

Top 10 Healthy Food Tips

Monday, May 13th, 2019

top-10-healthy-food-tips

My daughter Rachel and I have been learning a lot about food and how it affects our bodies. Rachel created another fun video about hands-on health called “Top 10 Healthy Food Tips.” These tips come directly from her high school health book by Apologia (link is at the bottom of this post):

Healthy Food Tip #1: Eat a variety of foods. Meat, dairy foods, beans, vegetables, and whole grains all have their parts to play.

Each type of food provides different nutrients that are needed by the body. If you don’t eat enough protein, for example, your muscles will feel weak and start hurting because your body will start taking protein away from your muscles to keep your other body systems alive. Without fruits and vegetables, you will not get essential vitamins and nutrients for your body, and you will suffer with poor digestion and other problems.

Healthy Food Tip #2: Choose unprocessed food, closest to its natural state. Choose fruit over fruit juice.

The less processed food is, the better it is for your body. This means that raw fruits and vegetables, for example, are better for you than packaged foods that contain preservatives. Even with fruit, the bulk in the fruit (like the pulp of the orange) has nutrients that are absent in the orange juice that has been pasteurized, a process by which it is heated to high temperatures which strips the orange juice from most of its nutrients. Preservatives are then placed into the juice. So it’s way better to eat an orange, or to squeeze it right before drinking it. The same is true for any other juice.

Healthy Food Tip #3: Limit white carbohydrate foods. These include white flour, white sugar, white rice, and white potatoes.

When we studied biology in our homeschool, we did an experiment where we placed white bread and wheat bread with some water drops in a plastic bag. The wheat bread spoiled a lot faster than the white bread, which had less for the mold to feed on, indicating that mold didn’t even want to eat the white bread because it didn’t recognize the bread as actual food.

The darker rice has the bran and germ still in it, giving it more nutrients, whereas the white rice has the nutrients stripped from it. So try to stay away from white carbohydrates and instead, eat whole grains.

white-grains-not-good-for-you

Healthy Food Tip #4: Enjoy the delicious nutrition of eggs; just average one a day.

Growing up, I heard that two eggs a day is about all you want to eat because of the cholesterol. (This health book recommends eating only one egg for that reason; I’ve also researched online to find that eating a lot of eggs causes heart disease.) But the eggs also contain Omega 3, protein, and other vitamins, so they are good to eat. I’ve heard people argue that the cholesterol in eggs is the good kind, and that the nutrients in the eggs are hard to find elsewhere. So enjoy your eggs; just don’t go overboard–one or two a day is plenty.

Healthy Food Tip #5: Grain and beans together give you all the essential amino acids.

When I grew up in Guatemala, everybody ate black beans and rice. I never knew that together, they provide a complete protein with all the amino acids. Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids, so sometimes you have to combine a grain (like rice or corn) with a bean to get everything you need.

Healthy Food Tip #6: If you have a choice, start with unsalted food and then add a sprinkle of salt at the table if needed.

If you eat too much salt, your blood pressure goes up because of extra water stored in your body. I know so many people who are on high blood pressure medication. I wonder if they cut out salt (as much as possible), if their bodies would not need the medication. For example, if you put cheddar cheese and ham into your scrambled eggs, there is no reason to add salt because the eggs are already flavored. Oregano and other herbs are good for you, unlike salt, so use those instead.

Healthy Food Tip #7: Three 8-ounce servings of milk or yogurt each day cover many mineral needs.

Milk is a rich source of calcium, which is needed for your bones. You can get that calcium from milk products like yogurt, cheese, and even ice cream. Milk products also contain phosphorus and magnesium. If you are lactose intolerant, you can get the same nutrients from vegetables, nuts, eggs, and whole grains.

Healthy Food Tip #8: Eat lots of vegetables, both cooked and raw. Minerals are more easily absorbed from cooked vegetables. Vitamins, on the other hand, are more plentiful in raw vegetables because vitamins are destroyed by the heat used for cooking.

I found it interesting that minerals are more absorbed from cooked vegetables. But raw is better in almost every other way because most of the vitamins are cooked out of the vegetables if you don’t eat them raw. If you grow your own vegetables, eating the vegetables right after picking them will give you the most flavor, too!

fresh-vs-canned

Healthy Food Tip #9: If you have options, choose fresh or frozen food over canned or dry food.

The high temperatures needed for canning remove a lot of the vitamins from the food, so it’s way better to eat fresh or frozen foods. Even dehydrated foods have to be processed, losing some of the vitamins of the food. So fresh food is best, then frozen, then dried, and last… canned.

Healthy Food Tip #10: Limit your intake of table sugar to between 6 and 9 teaspoons each day.

My dad recently died of cancer. Cancer thrives on sugar. And eating too much sugar leads to atherosclerosis, which clogs your arteries. Sugar is empty calories, so you end up gaining weight. Also, sugar makes you feel sluggish. Yes, you can eat sugar in moderation, especially a small piece of dessert with a meal, because when you have other food in your stomach, all of the contents of your stomach are digested together and you won’t feel the sluggishness you would feel if you ate a sugary snack on an empty stomach.

If you enjoyed reading about what we are learning in our health class, you would probably love the book that we are using: (affiliate link) Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Apologia. We hope you enjoyed my daughter’s video where she dramatized each of these food tips, to help you remember to eat well to have more energy!

Nostalgia from a 1950’s Diner

Monday, February 18th, 2019

1950s-diner

Recently my dad has been in and out of the emergency room as he is getting blood clots, has difficulty breathing, and is fighting cancer. He’s at home now, although weak. When I was sitting in the hospital room, watching him sleep, I had plenty of time to think back over all the years I’ve known him, special memories of growing up. One of those memories was my dad getting out his 1950’s records, blasting the tunes while my sisters and I danced all silly and slid across the floor in our woolen slippers. It still makes me smile.

So when I came across these pictures of my husband and I with our children in a 1950’s malt shop in Spokane, I stopped and thought about why the 1950’s meant so much to me, even though it was long before I was born. It meant a lot to me because it meant a lot to my dad.

diner-from-the-1950s

I remember back when I lived in California, I took my dad to a fun 1950’s malt shop where we were able to experience the ambiance of my dad’s favorite decade, from 1950’s music to the decor to the flavors of the food. His face lit up with joy because he was transported back in time.

strawberry-malt

My dad looked so happy, sitting in the booth with me, eating his burger and fries with a malt. He was quite emotional. It was like going back to your grandma’s house after many decades, breathing in the familiar environment where so many happy memories were made. The aroma of my own grandma’s house would always transport me back to childhood, and I felt young and free again, with the whole world opening up before me, full of endless possibilities.

flipping-burgers

Now I sit looking at these photographs of my own husband and kids, enjoying a modern history field trip where we were able to experience the 1950’s as if we had lived through that time period for real.

Some day my own kids will look back on their own memories of their parents blasting through the house our favorite decade music–the 1980’s. My own kids have a love for 1980’s music because it was played the same way my dad played his music, with joy and nostalgia.

To see the 1950’s birthday party I threw my dad several years ago (including pictures of my jukebox cake and poodle skirt), click here.

Johannes Vermeer Art Projects for Kids

Monday, January 21st, 2019

vermeer-art-projects-for-kids

This post contains affiliate links. I was given access to the class to blog about it.

This is the third post in the series Mixing with the Masters: Volume 2, which includes six famous artists, with three works of art for your kids to re-create from each artist. The first week we showed you our projects for Henri Matisse, which were really colorful. Last week we did some fun art activities for Albrecht Dürer, including charcoal, ink printing, and watercolor. Today we will complete our short series of our favorite three artists by doing some fun art projects by Johannes Vermeer.

Girl with a Pearl Earring Mixed Media

The first work of art by Vermeer that we created is this mixed media girl. We painted a canvas black the day before starting this project. My kids chose different colors of scrapbooking paper for the turban, scarf, and shirt. You can print off the template if you need help with the face, but since you have to paint over the face anyway, you will need to look at Alisha’s artwork in the video to add the finishing touches to the eyes, nose, and mouth.

girl-with-pearl-earring-vermeer

I don’t know how my son got his eyes to look so life-like. (His is the first pictured above.) I think it’s because the eyeballs looked off to the right rather than the middle. My son’s picture reminded me a little of the Mona Lisa, which we did for another mixed media class in the past. Her eyes follow you as you sway to the right or to the left.

The Milkmaid Gouache Painting

This was a fun watercolor painting where we used brighter gouache paints. This milkmaid is pouring water into a bowl. The food on the table reminds me of a still life picture I did back in high school when I lived in Guatemala. We had a fruit bowl in the middle of the table that we had to sketch and then paint. Still life is a classic assignment for students learning to draw and paint.

milkmaid-gouache-painting

The Little Street–Line & Wash

I loved this cartoon-like line and wash watercolor painting! We started by sketching the buildings and street with pencil. We added the details of brickwork and window panes. Then we painted in an exaggerated, messy way, leaving some white space to create the cartoon-like effect.

little-street-line-wash

My daughter loved the way her sketch came out. If you look closely, you will see the wooden shutters on the windows, drawn with precision and detail. I like the perspective in her doorways. She does a lot of drawing in her free time, mostly Japanese-style cartoons. She decided to lean a broom against the wall inside one of the doorways.

building-sketch

We really enjoyed the three artists that we studied, and some day we might come back and do the other three, since there are six artists in the series. If you would like to grab this set of classes for your own kids, you can get them here. This is a high-quality art course, and my kids learned so much!

Albrecht Dürer Art Projects for Kids

Monday, January 14th, 2019

albrecht-durer-art-projects-for-kids
This post contains affiliate links. I was given access to the class to blog about it.

This is the second post in the series Mixing with the Masters: Volume 2, which includes six famous artists, with three fun works of art for your kids to re-create from each artist. Last week we showed you our projects for Henri Matisse, which were colorful and slightly abstract. This week we will focus on Albrecht Dürer.

Charcoal Young Hare

Our first work of art by Dürer is made with charcoal on tan paper. You will need at least one charcoal pencil, which you can get at an art supply store. You will also need a smudger. (I’m not sure what Alisha calls the white thing that smudges. I think she gave it a name like Alfred or something. Ha!) The other pencil you will need is a white pencil, which will make the fur pop on this drawing.

charcoal-young-hare

The fur on the bunny is fluffier in the front than in the back. Alisha gave step-by-step instructions in the video while we drew the bunnies on our clipboards.

The Fifth Knot Carving & Printing

Albrecht Dürer carved lots of woodcut patters that looked like labyrinths. The engravings he made could be dipped in ink and pressed onto paper like an old-fashioned printing press. For this art activity, you can carve on a rubber carving block, or if you’re broke like we are, just use some left-over styrofoam from meat that you bought at the store. Make sure to wash the styrofoam with soap and water and dry it thoroughly before carving this simple knot in it:

albrecht-durer-stamps

Oh, when I say simple, I mean the one that is the shape of a snowflake, which Alisha gives the template for. We used a wooden skewer to carve on the styrofoam. I branched off and make a Celtic cross, since I’ve been fascinated with Celtic crosses for years and have a collection of them in my closet. Back when I lived in England, I loved to travel around, and Celtic crosses were really popular necklaces, especially at castle and cathedral gift shops.

Iris Yroiana Gouache & Watercolor

Dürer did a series of nature studies and botanical paintings. This iris is one of them. We used gouache and watercolor for this painting. Always make sure to use watercolor paper rather than regular computer paper when you are watercoloring. It truly makes a huge difference in your painting, as the colors soak into the paper in a much better way on the higher-quality paper.

Iris-Yroiana-Gouache-Watercolor

We focused on different shades of blue and green, adding water to lighten the colors. The gouache was much brighter than the watercolors.

fun-with-durer

Once again, we had a ball discovering more about another famous artist. If you would like to grab this set of classes for your own kids, you can get them here. Stay tuned for the next artist in our series!

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