Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is Joy Knocking on your door?

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: Is Joy Knocking On Your Door? ::

She knocked on the huge palace door. The peephole cover slid open, revealing the grim face of the palace guard. "Who goes there?"

"I am Joy," she answered with a smile, "I'm here to visit the Queen."

The guard shut the peephole abruptly. A few minutes later, it slid open again and the guard said, "The Queen is upset because her children are misbehaving.
You may not enter until conditions improve."

"But I bring good tidings, and if she would let me in, the children would surely abandon their mischief."

"Sorry," the guard grumbled, "I must do Her Majesty's bidding." Then he locked the door and left.

But Joy did not leave . . . She just kept knocking.

Today, if you feel upset for any reason, ask yourself this: "Am I using these conditions as an excuse to disallow my natural state of well-being?"

Decide that when JOY knocks on *your* door, you'll let it in... no matter what the conditions!

--> Get "The Daily Groove" book!

Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

Saturday, December 20, 2008


We hope you are enjoying the snow.
Please keep in mind we are concerned for everyone's safety. Since we live here and our doors are not blocked with snow yet, they will be open for anyone who would like to come. However please do not attempt and unsafe trip.
Don't worry about us we have plenty of cookies, hot buttered rum and cider to keep us feed and warm.
Happy Holidays!
The McDonald Family
PS. if you are in the neighborhood anytime in the next week please feel free to call or stop by we will have cookies and the lights on.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Open House

Well...who would have thought that our holiday open house might get snowed out!
The one year we have it on two nights!
Oh well... more cookies for me right? We have 800 plus!
So here is our list of goodies that you are all missing....
~All homemade~
~The cookies~
Big Fat chewy chocolate chip
Cocoa no-bake
Creamy peanut butter chocolate chip
Crunch peanut butter chocolate chip
Ginger crackles
oatmeal peanut butter
big grandma best peanut butter
chewy chocolate chocolate chip
snicker doodles
coconut macaroons
hotter nells
lime melt aways
chewy chocolate gingerbread
hazelnut teacakes
~The other goodies~
2 min fudge
almond roca
chocolate peanut butter squares
muddy buddies
roasted red pepper hummus
~The stuff from the store~
cheese ball
little smokies
~The drinks~
mixed drinks
homemade hot apple cider
homemade hot buttered rum

Monday, December 15, 2008

Please Help!

Please read this and Help!

Peace, Love and Joy!
Heather McDonald

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Open House! Update! Update!

Location: McDonald Family House Vancouver, WA 98684 US
When: Saturday, December 20th 6 PM AND Sunday, December 21, 6 PM
RSVP Phone: 360-907-6217

You Are Invited To Our House For A Holiday Open House!

This is our 10th year doing this and our gift to you.

Our Doors Will Be Open Between 6-8 PM.

We decided to open the house up BOTH nights. So you can take your pick!

We Hope to See You!

Also if you are unable to attend the party and still want to see all of the lights just call or swing on by anytime!

Thank you each and everyone!

We wish you all a very Happy Holiday!

PS. we are up to 20 different treats so far. And drinks a plenty!

Monday, December 8, 2008

How to Be a Good Unschooler

This has been going around and I really liked it and did not want it to get lost so I am putting it on my blog also!

Foreword by Sandra Dodd: Pam Sorooshian has written something perfectly stunning, and stunningly perfect. She didn't send a title for it. I've called it "How to be a good unschooler," but it could be "How to be a good parent," or "How to be a good person." It's a summary of some of the best unschooling knowledge of the past dozen and more years. It will help improve families' lives for years to come.

This was something I posted on the HSC list in response to a discussion stemming from a question about how to motivate a child to do schoolwork:

1. Give your love generously and criticism sparingly. Be your children's partner. Support them and respect them. Never belittle them or their interests, no matter how superficial, unimportant, or even misguided their interests may seem to you. Be a guide, not a dictator. Shine a light ahead for them, and lend them a hand, but don't drag or push them. You WILL sometimes despair when your vision of what your child ought to be bangs up against the reality that they are their own person. But that same reality can also give you great joy if you learn not to cling to your own preconceived notions and expectations.

2. Homeschooled children who grow up in a stimulating and enriched environment surrounded by family and friends who are generally interested and interesting, will learn all kinds of things and repeatedly surprise you with what they know. If they are supported in following their own passions, they will build strengths upon strengths and excel in their own ways whether that is academic, artistic, athletic, interpersonal, or whichever direction that particular child develops. One thing leads to another. A passion for playing in the dirt at six can become a passion for protecting the natural environment at 16 and a career as a forest ranger as an adult. You just never ever know where those childhood interests will eventually lead. Be careful not to squash them; instead, nurture them.

3. Bring the world to your children and your children to the world. Revel in what brings you together as a family. Watch tv and movies and listen to music and the radio. Laugh together, cry together, be shocked together. Analyze and critique and think together about what you experience. Notice what your child loves and offer more of it, not less. What IS it about particular shows that engage your child—build on that. Don't operate out of fear. Think for yourself and about your own real child. Don't be swayed by pseudostudies done on school children.

4. Surround your child with text of all kinds and he/she will learn to read. Read to them, read in front of them, help them, don't push them. Children allowed to learn on their own timetable do learn to read at widely divergent times—there is NO right time for all children. Some learn to read at three years old and others at 12 or even older. It doesn't matter. Children who are not yet reading are STILL learning—support their learning in their own way. Pushing children to try to learn to read before they are developmentally ready is probably a major cause of long-term antipathy toward reading, at best, and reading disabilities, at worst.

5. It doesn't matter when something is learned. It is perfectly all right for a person to learn all about dinosaurs when they are 40 years old, they don't have to learn it when they are nine. It is perfectly all right to learn to do long division at 16 years old, they do not have to learn that at nine, either. It does not get more difficult to learn most things later; it gets easier.

6. Don't worry about how fast or slow they are learning. Don't test them to see if they are "up to speed." If you nurture them in a supportive environment, your children will grow and learn at their own speed, and you can trust in that process. They are like seeds planted in good earth, watered and fertilized. You don't keep digging up the seeds to see if the roots are growing—that disrupts the natural growing process. Trust your children in the same way you trust seeds to sprout and seedlings to develop into strong and healthy plants.

7. Think about what is REALLY important and keep that always in the forefront of your interactions with your children. What values do you hope to pass on to them? You can't "pass on" something you don't exemplify yourself. Treat them the way you want them to treat others. Do you want respect? Be respectful. Do you want responsibility from them? Be responsible. Think of how you look to them, from their perspective. Do you order them around? Is that respectful? Do you say, "I'll be just a minute" and then take 20 more minutes talking to a friend while the children wait? Is that responsible? Focus more on your own behavior than on theirs. It'll pay off bigger.

8. Let kids learn. Don't protect them or control them so much that they don't get needed experience. But, don't use the excuse of "natural consequences" to teach them a lesson. Instead, exemplify kindness and consideration. If you see a toy left lying in the driveway, don't leave it there to be run over, pick it up and set it aside because that is the kind and considerate thing to do and because kindness and consideration are values you want to pass on to your kids. Natural consequences will happen, they are inevitable. But it isn't "natural" anymore if you could have prevented it, but chose not to do so.

9. We can't always fix everything for our kids or save them from every hurt. It can be a delicate balancing act—when should we intervene, when should we stay out of the way? Empathy goes a long long way and may often be all your child needs or wants. Be available to offer more, but let your child be your guide. Maybe your child wants guidance, ideas, support, or intervention. Maybe not. Sometimes the best thing you can offer is distraction.

10. Be sensitive to your child's interest level. Don't push activities that your child isn't interested in pursuing. Don't let YOUR interests dictate your child's opportunities. If your child wants a pet, be realistic and don't demand promises that the child will take sole care for it. Plan to care for it yourself when the interest wanes. Do it cheerfully. Model the joy of caring for animals. Model kindness and helpfulness. Help a child by organizing their toys so they are easy to care for. Plan to care for them yourself much of the time, but invite your child's help in ways that are appealing. If YOU act like you hate organizing and cleaning, why would your child want to do it? Always openly enjoy the results of caring for your possessions—take note of the extra space to play in, the ease of finding things you want, how nice it is to reach into a cupboard and find clean dishes. Enjoy housework together and don't make it a battle.

11. Don't pass on your own fears and hates about learning anything. If you hate or fear math, keep it to yourself. Act like it is the most fun thing in the world. Cuddle up and do math in the same way you cuddle up and read together. Play games, make it fun. If you can't keep your own negativity at bay, at least try to do no harm by staying out of it.

12. Don't try to "make kids think." They WILL think, you don't have to make them. Don't use every opportunity to force them to learn something. They WILL learn something at every opportunity, you don't have to force it. Don't answer a question by telling them to "look it up" or by asking them another question. If you know the answer, give it. If you don't, then HELP them find it. Speculating about an answer often leads to a good conversation. If your child stops seeing you as helpful when they have questions, they'll stop coming to you with their questions. Is that what you really want?

13. When you offer a child choices, be sure they are real choices. Offer them choices as often as you can. Try to limit the "have to's" as much as you can. Frequently ask yourself, "Is this really a "have to" situation or can we find some choices here?"

Pam Sorooshian

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy December 1st!

This is my favorite time of year (for the most part). So much to do! So much fun to be had. I hope you all have the Peace. Love and Joy you desire this holiday season!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Open House! Update!

This is taking place in December... We are trying to figure out if we want to do the 20th or the 21st!

You Are Invited To Our House For A Holiday Open House!

This is our 10th year doing this and our gift to you.

Our Doors Will Be Open Between 6-8 PM.

We are up in the air on the 20th and 21st, please help us decide a date this year. You can choose the date that works best for you.

We Hope to See You!

Also if you are unable to attend the party and still want to see all of the lights just call or swing on by anytime!

Thank you each and everyone!

We wish you all a very Happy Holiday!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mataya the elf!

Dylan the elf!


:: A Post-Modern Thanksgiving ::

Transforming your life experience (including parenting) from a *grind* to a *groove* leads to a peculiar realization: It's all GOOD... even the "bad" stuff!

There are hidden blessings in *every* situation. You may not see some of those blessings for quite some time -- perhaps years -- but who's to say you can't enjoy them before you know what they are? Don't you enjoy receiving a gift even before you've unwrapped it? :-)

So if you're celebrating Thanksgiving today, try giving thanks for things that don't normally garner your gratitude:

* Your child's crying, whining, aggression, etc.

* The person who judged or criticized your parenting.

* That thing you said or did to your child that you promised you never would.

Allow yourself to appreciate that LIFE IS GOOD... *all* of it! Acknowledge the gift of *shadows*, without which the Light would have no depth.

Have fun!

>>> The Daily Groove BOOK makes a great gift for your friends with kids!

Feel free to forward this message to your friends! (Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A friends recent email...

Hi there - the following letter is from my daughter - I know some of you personally, and others I do not, but we are on the same group or e-list - I am forwarding her letter in hopes that there will be some folks out there with the skills, background, ideas, information, contacts, or willingness and time, to help her manifest this project. We live in the Portland, Oregon area, but much can be done without being local, as well. Thanks for taking the time to read, and please feel free to contact me (as well as her) if that would be helpful -

warmly, Lyla

Hey Everyone!
My name is Corina Wolfenstein, I'm 13 years old, and I'm interested in starting a project that has to do with beauty and body image.
So, i was watching a TV show called Made. Three girls all wanted to be made into models, so they where whisked away to New York. They learned how to cat-walk, and they were all excited to become models. They all had to go, and meet designers who potentially would hire them to represent their company. Two of the girls were naturally extremely thin, but the other girl was more averagely built. She was still thin, but just not stick thin. All 10 of the designers told her they did not want to hire her until she lost weight. She was only fifteen.

That led me to wondering and thinking about clothing magazines, and fashion magazines that are read by millions. When you get right down to the point, the purpose of the advertisements are to sell, and appeal to potential customers. I mean, in ads for toys they show little kids. In ads for workout machines they show tall, ripped guys. So why is it that in fashion magazines, designers and clothing companies who are trying to appeal to girls and women use models that look nothing like their average customer?

I thought it would be a good idea to put together a website - like an online magazine. It would have tons of pictures of women and girls modeling clothes from stylish companies. The models would be people of different skin colors, hair styles, heights, sizes and ages. I want the pictures to look as professional as possible, and I don't have resources to create photos and get the clothes that would be needed, which is why I'm reaching out to the community. If you're interested in donating or participating in the project, there are a lot of different things that could help. We're going to need a photographer, someone to do makeup and hair on the models, someone who knows about modeling and can help with things like poses and backdrops or settings for the pictures, people to help reach out to other sources to get clothes, and of course - models. After the pictures have been taken, the website will need to be created, and the project itself will need to be advertised. It may be difficult to get enough clothes from companies, so if you have any nice clothes that you no longer want and you'd be willing to donate them that would be great as well.
The goals of this project are to convey to women and girls that people with diverse looks and body types can look good in stylish clothing, and to send a message to clothing companies and fashion magazines, promoting realistic and respectful advertising of their products.

If anyone has any advice, ideas, or contributions to make, or if you know anybody who would be able to help or be part of the project you can contact me at my email: - or you can call me at (503) 754 -2817.

Even if you don't have enough time to be a part of the beginning process, if you would be interested in modeling eventually, you can just send me your contact information and I'll call you when the time arrives.


Corina Wolfenstein

Friday, November 14, 2008


:: Love Notes To Myself ::

Ever wish you could go back in time and share the wisdom of your experience with your past self?

"If only I knew then what I know now..."

In your imagination, such time travel is possible and can be healing. But you can do it for real in reverse:
share your present wisdom with your future self!

Here's how:

1. Write a bunch of short, inspiring "love notes" to yourself on small pieces of paper. Say things like "Love is the answer," "All Is Well," "Truth will set you free," "Let go!" "I love you," etc.

2. Hide the notes in places where you'll find them unexpectedly in the future -- in a cookbook, your car's glove box, a file folder, a coat pocket, etc.

3. As you hide each one, hold the thought that you'll find it at the precise moment when you'll need to remember that bit of wisdom.

Your child(ren) can play this game, too, and you can also write love notes for each other. There's no right or wrong way -- just follow your heart.

Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What a great idea!

Family Christmas Exchange

In the past few years, our extended family has perfected a
fun, eco-friendly gift exchange at Christmas. Throughout the
year, we make a list (or pile) of items that are good and
usable. These are items that we know someone may enjoy but we
just aren't using, such as kitchen items, gardening tools,
cloths, books, CDs, movies, etc. We also include homemade
items like scarves, jams, new plants, cookies, etc.

On Christmas day, everyone brings all of the items wrapped in
reused or hand drawn wrapping. We count the number of gifts
total and divide it by the number of people present. We agree
on the number of "stealings" and rules of the exchange (i.e.
everyone gets five gifts and can steal a total of 5 times). At
the end, one person is responsible for bringing non-loved
items to the thrift shop for a new owner.

This exchange reuses items, clears out some of our clutter,
reduces our need to buy new and reduces the Christmas price
tag, which before this tradition was ridiculously too high.
Best of all, it is very fun, especially when we win Grandma's

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


By Pete Maletto

Jan 25, 2007 - It was not long ago when I was conducting my daily ritual of research on the Internet and stumbled upon consumers growing concerns about artificial food colors. While it didn't surprise me because I have the same concerns, I noticed that many consumers are complaining about side effects with artificial colors. Most consumers are concerned about yellow dye consumption and its side effects such as headaches, vomiting, hives, asthma and a possible cause of ADD and ADHD.
While I found that yellow dye has quite a laundry list of possible side effects, I also found that red dye has its share as well. One that really amuses me is that this artificial food color can actually dye our own internal systems red color (they do this with salmon to make the pink color).

While side effects are not as documented as it should be, there also seems to be some people that have allergic reactions to most artificial colors. Just ask any doctor that performs colonoscopies and you'll hear him tell you about artificial blue color and red color showing up and coloring the colon for days. This has lead many consumers to believe that artificial colors are bad for you and that they are another cancer causing agent found in foods today. Now the media is piling on and consumers are starting to avoid artificial food colors.

And as an experienced food technologist, I tend to agree.....

The FDA manages the Adverse Reaction Monitoring System (ARMS) as an added safety check on color additives to food, with a computerized database to track potential public health hazards. FDA's Advisory Committee on hypersensitivity to food constituents concluded in 1986 that FD&C Yellow No. 5 may cause hives in fewer than one out of 10,000 people, but found no evidence that it provokes asthma attacks as some reports had indicated. You would think a system as sophisticated as this would catch the problems but they decided to permit the usage of Yellow No. 5 to continue, with product labeling allowing those with hypersensitivity to avoid it.

Yellow dye is basically a hidden term for tartrazine, a coal tar derivative which has proven side effects on the central nervous system. For example, in a study published in 1978, 122 patients who had a variety of diagnosed allergic reactions were given 50 milligrams of tartrazine.

This Is Your Kid On Artificial Colors!This dose elicited reactions such as palpitations, weakness, hives and itching in these susceptible individuals; 50 milligrams is a large dose, but could be consumed by someone drinking a few bottles of soda during the day. Or a serving of Mac and Cheese to your kids (get the hyperactive hint here?) which has close to 50 mg per box and at a child's body weight, that's a lot of tartrazine. It is also important to note that there is a connection between people allergic to aspirin and allergic reactions to tartrazine.
Usage of Red No. 3 was voluntarily terminated in 1990 after animal testing indicated an association with thyroid tumors. Although it still remains on the list, the FDA is proposing to remove it. A panel from the National Institutes of Health determined in 1982 that coloring additives were not related to claims of hyperactivity (look at the kids today and it makes you think twice). Although approved by the FDA, some people may still have allergic reactions.

Currently, any blue or green food on the U.S. market gets its hues from certifiable colors FD&C Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue), Blue No. 2 (Indigotine), or Green No. 3 (Fast Green). Blue No. 1 and Green No. 3 are both petroleum-derived triphenylmethanes--that is, they have three aromatic rings attached to a central carbon atom. Blue No. 2 is a disodium sulfonate of a naturally occurring compound called indigo.

However, the indigo used to create Blue No. 2 is synthesized by fusing N-phenylglycine in a molten mix of sodamide and sodium and potassium hydroxides. And we are feeding these chemicals to our kids!

Lets face it, there is no way you could tell me that something that can stain the cells of our body and come from chemicals such as coal tar/tartrazine, triphenylmethane, and other chemicals would not cause some type of mutagenic effect in the body over a period of time.

None the less, it's seems obvious to me that consuming artificial colors can definitely cause side effects with some people (some side effects that they may not even notice) and they are quite possibly "cancer causing chemicals" that we do not need in our food supply, especially when healthy alternatives exist.


As the negative press about side effects with artificial colors continue worldwide, natural colors are moving in to take center stage. As the shift toward healthy lifestyles drives consumer markets, the demand for natural food colors has experienced significant growth, and analysts forecast it will continue to increase.

Retailers are now looking at cleaning up their labels as a response to the demand for natural products continues to climb. As consumers become more skeptical of mass production techniques and food safety issues, they are migrating to natural foods. Seeking optimal nutrition, the number of U.S. natural food and drink consumers will increase from to 113 million by the end of 2007, according to Datamonitor researchers.

Colors are one of the most important factors when designing a food or beverage. Consumers use color as a way to identify foods and beverages and even judge the quality of the product. People associate certain colors with certain flavors. Because of this, the color of food can influence the perceived flavor. So when I design any food or beverage product I always look to benefit the manufacturer (my client) and the consumer by using natural colors, and I can always get the impact of a bright, colorful artificial color. But using natural colors is a challenge all to its own. As ridiculous as this sounds, the laws for natural colors are more strict than artificial colors. For example, we can't use chlorophyll to make a natural green know the natural chemical that keeps plants alive (yet it's OK to use coal tar).

Natural colors have their own set of regulations and while the FDA lists them as "exempt from certification" they have a set of restrictions that us food designers must follow. These natural ingredients must have GRAS status, which is generally recognized as safe by the US government.

And unlike artificial colors, natural colors are more difficult to use because they are subject to change pigment with product PH, heat or light. It takes a food technologist experienced in natural colors to understand how they react in a particular process, product or package.

Some natural colors are heat and/or light sensitive. For example, beet juice is destroyed by heat and Turmeric, on the other hand, is heat-stable and gives a bright yellow color, but breaks down in a few days under UV light. To protect a beverage's natural color, sometimes I recommend soft drink manufacturers use tinted bottles or UV protective overwraps.

Using natural colors can provide a two-fold advantage when designing foods. One of those is not using artificial colors and the second advantage is that many natural colors are actually good for you and they provide a antioxidant/anticancer and antimicrobial benefit. One of those many colors/antioxidants that produces a yellow color is turmeric, annatto, and beta carotene.

Turmeric is a bright yellow colorant made from the roots of the herb Curcuma longa L. The pigments responsible for the color are known as curcuminoid: curcumin and related compounds. Turmeric's solubility depends on the medium in which the pigments are dispersed and the process. For instance, turmeric oleoresin is water-soluble; but a suspension of turmeric extract in oil can be added to fat-based systems. At high pH this colorant turns orange. Turmeric also has been shown in scientific studies to act as an antioxidant, with anticancer and antimutagenic properties.

Annatto is another yellow food colorant. It comes from the seeds of the Bixa orella tree. The pigments that produce the yellow to orange color range are the carotenoids bixin and norbixin; the concentration is expressed as a percentage of one or both of these compounds and the content varies with the extraction method. The pH, emulsifiers and the overall solubility affect the hue; the greater the solubility in oil, the brighter the color. Water- and oil-soluble, and oil/water dispersible forms of annatto are available. Because it may precipitate or turn pink at a pH less than 5, suppliers have developed specially emulsified acid proof versions.

Beta-Carotene is a precursor for vitamin A in addition to imparting an orange-yellow color to food. Most beta-carotene is derived from algae or synthesized. Beta carotene is oil-soluble but can be made into a water-dispersible emulsion. No restrictions have been placed on the level of use and it is listed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). As an antioxidant, beta carotene is critical to optimal immune system support.

These natural yellow colors are a great alternative to artificial yellow dyes that are poisoning our food supply today. Other functional colors are anthocyanins, which can produce reds instead of using artificial red #40 color.

These anthocyanins are natural pigments found in grapes, elderberries, black currants, red cabbage and other fruits and vegetables and they add a unique, natural shade of red to many products. Anthocyanins are most vibrant and stable in low-pH foods like beverages and fruit jellies and jams, but they do become unstable as pH increases or due to pasteurization. Anthocyanins act as antioxidants and may help prevent coronary heart disease and strokes. Studies show they may have anti-inflammatory properties and have antiviral and antimicrobial activity as well.
When looking for a bright pink color I turn to the anthocyanins in Red Cabbage Juice for products with a pH of less than 4. A higher pH causes the anthocyan-based pigments to turn a purplish blue color. The product dissolves in water, but not in oil.

Beet Juice in either liquid or dehydrated form contributes a bluish-red color produced by a compound known as betanin which is stable at a higher pH range than red cabbage juice.

For a more reddish purple color I use Grape Skin Extract, but in beverages only. The FDA restricts its use to alcoholic beverages, beverage bases, still and carbonated drinks, and "ades". Go figure huh?

Carmine/Cochineal. Carminic acid, which is derived from the shells of certain species of insect, produces a magenta red shade and is the pigment present in carmine colors and cochineal extract. Water insoluble lake forms of carmine exhibit a color range from pink to purple. Unlike the colors derived from plant sources, these are not Kosher certified. Carmine will not be stable at low pH unless an acid-proof version is used. It is, however, very heat stable.

While I try to stay away from Carmine because the whole insect thing makes me uncomfortable, I found that tomato extracts featuring lycopene can produce the red pigment I desire in foods and beverages. One such product is Tomat-O-Red from PLThomas. Tomat-O-Red is ideal as a colorant because it offers an all natural alternative to coloring with carmine/cochineal. Unlike many natural colors it is stable in a wide range of temperatures, and there is no color shift with pH changes. It has the added benefit of containing lycopene, a healthy colorant.

Another great natural coloring agent is caramel colors. Caramel color is one of the most widely used colorants used in foods and is made by heating food grade carbohydrates, generally a high dextrose-containing starch hydrolysate or corn syrup.
Caramel color is soluble in water and produces a color ranging from golden brown to nearly black. The color strength is defined as its tinctorial power -- the absorbance at 560 nanometers measured spectrophotometrically. The color tone, defined by the hue index, measures the red characteristics of the color. Generally, the higher the tinctorial power, or strength, the lower the hue index, or red tones. Some caramel colors are termed "double strength." This is a relative term and varies with the color range. The specific gravity indicates the solids content and therefore the strength of the color.

The majority of caramel color carries either a positive or negative ionic charge. Negatively charged product uses sulfite in its manufacture and although it is molecularly bound, can be detected chemically. Because the FDA mandates sulfite labeling in products containing over 10 ppm, the level present in a specific type of caramel color may become a formulation consideration.

For orange color I usually turn to another spice, Paprika. Paprika Oleoresin is extracted from the pod of Capsicum annum, or paprika. It contains three main naturally occurring pigments: capsanthin, capsorubin and beta-carotene. This combination produces a bright orange to red orange in food products. The oleoresin is oil-soluble, but when emulsified becomes water dispersible.

Other times I look to modify a natural color or make the product white I usually use titanium dioxide because it not only colors food products white, it imparts an opaque appearance. Both water and oil dispersible versions are manufactured. The FDA limits its usage in food products to 1% by weight.

So as you can see there is not only an advantage in using natural colors over artificial ones, but it an art form that utilizes the creativity of the food designer to get the appropriate color. In fact, many times I will use 3 or 4 natural colors to get the desired shade.

The most important aspect is the concern for the consumer and using natural colors provides a clear health benefit for them. While the media continues to push the all natural button, you'll see consumers influenced and looking to the Internet for answers, which will expose artificial colors for what they really are.

If you have artificial colors in your foods give us a call and we can make the necessary changes in your product line and provide the market advantage your consumers are looking for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daily OM for me

November 11, 2008
Understanding Others
Aries Daily Horoscope
Your ability to offer understanding today may have you listening to the opinions of others with tolerance. This broad-minded approach allows you to be supportive of another’s experience while also letting them feel accepted. Since judgment has been removed from the interaction, it creates a positive impact on both parties, whether or not your views are in agreement. Today as you offer the gift of your understanding to anyone who needs it, you attract understanding into your life as well.

We all seek acceptance and understanding, which is why we tend to surround ourselves with those who are most like us. We feel comforted by the presence of people who don’t require much explanation or justification for our choices. At the same time, we are challenged by those who offer a different viewpoint and help us broaden our horizons and grow out of our safety zones. By not rejecting differences but seeking to understand the philosophies behind them, we learn more about the world we all share. When we take the time to listen to others without judgment, we can find the similarities that bring us closer together. When we can release the need to be right, and instead see that others arrive at the same conclusion by different means, it is easier to coexist peacefully. As more people begin to live by these values, the closer we all come to living in a world at peace. By sharing your ability to understand others, you bridge the gaps in your world today and help others see the! value of listening and acceptance.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Could YOU be this Honest?

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: Radical Honesty ::

Hiding the truth (from yourself and/or others) is a constant energy drain. To free yourself from the burden of secrets and lies, you must cultivate the skill of radical honesty: willingness to reveal any truth, no matter how "unacceptable" it is.

Withholding truth is such an integral part of our culture that you probably don't notice when you're doing it. So, for today, pay close attention to your thoughts and expressions, and continually ask yourself, "Am I being as honest as I could be about that? Is there a deeper truth?"

Examples of "acceptable" dishonesty include saying you're "fine" when you're not, and *not* saying how you feel about the way your friend treats her child.

When you spot a white lie or withheld truth, notice how it feels in your body -- the energy and effort required to distort or ignore your true feelings.

Then imagine being radically honest -- telling it exactly like it is. If you could be that honest *and* keep your heart open, would you?

Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kids having fun

Why is it that we can not get our 6 year old to go anywhere. So we drag him to this birthday party at this play place and then we can not get him to leave. What is up with that? How can we get him to be a more willing participant when we really are doing fun things? Why does it have to be so hard?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Note to self...

Do not drink... get buzzed... and try to explain the birds and the bees to you 6 year old!

OK that did not go so well... better yet don't turn off tape but leave TV on.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


No matter how this is quoted or who said it or how it started it is inspirational...

Heard on NPR...

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk...

Martin walked, so Obama could run...

Obama is running so our children can fly!"

And added later...

Update#1: Apparently, this quote has been around for a while. I found this web store already selling T-shirts with the quote on them!
Interestingly, instead of "Obama", it was "Barack" on those shirts! ( A comment by Ernest T Bass noted the inconsistency, as Rosa and Martin are first names)


Update#2: I think I found the origin of this quote! Believe it or not, it looks like it was Jay-Z at a concert in New York City on October 5th! (If anyone can trace the quote to an earlier event or to someone else, please post a comment)
You can watch this video (poor quality by the way) At around 1min:53sec into it, Jay-Z said the following:

"Rosa Parks sat, so Martin could walk... Martin walked, so Obama could run... Obama is running, so we all could fly


Update#3: There seems to be yet another variation of this out there (h/t to Tin hat mafia)

Crispus fell, so Rosa Parks could sit. Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King, Jr. could march. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched so Barack Obama could run. Barack is running so our children can FLY!

The reference to Crispus Attucks (killed during the Boston Massacre of 1770) is an interesting one. I'm now completely unsure what the original quotation is or who said it.

Monday, November 3, 2008


In no particular order...
and I might add more as the family comes up with more...
Saving Money
I read this somewhere and it would be so nice to plan and have everything be enjoyable.
The holidays are a time for enjoying family, friends, and tradition, as well as a time for breaking out your most impressive and beloved recipes. Yet just as you can count on the holidays being a time of joy and celebration, you can also be sure they are going to be hectic! Is it your greatest fantasy to sit down and relax with your family instead of rushing madly about the kitchen from the crack of dawn until the dead of night? You really can live this fantasy; all it takes is some planning ahead. If you can steal a few hours for preparation during the coming weeks, the big day will be a joy!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trusting our kids’ bodies

This was a recent post by someone I know and I just love it. I have recently gone through and am going through some of the same stuff.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


So recently on a board I am on I posted something that I thought I would also put here. This is really exposing me. These are some of my feelings and thoughts and it feels very raw. Maybe if I just put it out there the feelings and thoughts will change.

I have read a little on the NVC and I get a lot of email type messages but I feel I am struggling. So here is my stuff. Anyone want to help me tackle it?

I kinda feel like having a pity party most recently. I feel like I am failing at many friendships or something. I just don’t seem to be connecting well with people other than my children, husband, and Parents.

I feel I am struggling to find support, to find a tribe, to find a real connection, to feel welcomed, to feel understood, to feel appreciated. I know this is all a bit jumbled. I could explain each one, but I fell bad taking up a lot of every ones time. Mostly I feel I try to put myself out there and either I don’t find a connection or I feel unappreciated and shut out. The later most recently would be about my sister.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here are some costume pics of Dylan's costume. Made by Daddy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Dylan, Mataya and I went to the pumpkin Patch with a homeschooling group and these were some of the picture I took.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY LOVE! You finally caught up with me. LOL! I love you so very much! You are the most wonderful husband in the whole world!

Handprint Spider Smilies

Monday, October 13, 2008

Auntie again!

Lela, Bill and Shelby Ford welcomed Ava Evelyn Ford into the world today at 1:26pm October 13th 2008. She weighed 4 lbs. 12 oz. and measured 17.75 inches long.

Everyone is doing well and they deeply appreciate all your prayers! They are asking that they have time to bond as a family, so please no visitors at this time. Thank you for your understanding.

If you are able to provide a meal, please call Heather at 360-907-6217 to arrange for delivery.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Teaching Children Respect

Teaching Children Respect by Pam Leo

"Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them." - James Baldwin

Children are mirrors; they reflect back to us everything we say and do. We now know that 95% of everything children learn, they learn from what is modeled for them. Only 5% of all they learn is from direct instruction. Human beings are like tape recorders. Every word we hear, everything we experience, is permanently recorded in our subconscious. Whenever adults speak, we are being role models for the children in our presence. What we speak is what we teach. Children record every word we ever say to them or in front of them. The language children grow up hearing is the language they will speak.

We often make the mistake of thinking that since children are smaller than we are and have less information and experience than we do, that they don't have all the same feelings we do. But they do. The same kind of treatment that would embarrass, humiliate or hurt us, embarrasses, humiliates and hurts children. When human beings are being hurt emotionally, our thinking shuts down. When our thinking is shut down we cannot learn, we can only record. When adults try to "teach" children by criticizing, lecturing, shaming, ridiculing, giving orders, screaming, threatening and hitting, it shuts down their thinking so they can't learn what the adult intended to teach them to do or not to do; they can only record what is being modeled.

The most common criticism I hear of young people these days is, "they don't treat anyone or anything with respect." Ironically, adults often try to teach children to be respectful by treating them disrespectfully. Children learn respect or disrespect from how we treat them and how we treat each other. When children live with disrespect, they learn disrespect. We can teach respect only by modeling treating each other with respect and by giving children the same respect we expect.

Since children have long been treated as second class citizens, as "less than," most adults carry "recordings" of disrespect we recorded when we were children. When children's behavior challenges us, it pushes our recording's play button and we find ourselves saying the very things that were said to us as children. Has any parent not had the experience of hearing their parents' words coming out of their own mouths now that they are parents? Most disrespectful responses are so automatic, we have already said them before we even realize what we've said.

Learning to treat children with respect will require a change of heart, that can come only from a major shift in consciousness of how we view children and how we define respect. Children are born with human dignity. To treat a person with respect is to acknowledge and preserve their human dignity. To treat a person with disrespect is to attack their human dignity.

Treating children disrespectfully is like using physical punishment as discipline; it only "works" as long as we are bigger than they are. It behooves every adult who wants to be treated with respect to treat children respectfully. Whether children grow up under our roof or not, they live in the same world we do and their behavior can and does impact our lives. However we treat the child, the child will treat the world.

How can we expect children to understand and practice the Golden Rule if we treat them with less respect than we give our peers? In saying that children deserve the same respect we would give our friends, I am not saying we should treat children like adults or that we should never get angry. I'm saying that there is nothing we ever have to say to a child that we need to say in a disrespectful way.

Yelling, "I'm angry, I don't like this behavior" is not disrespectful; screaming at, belittling, embarrassing and humiliating children is. If we question whether or not something we have said to a child is disrespectful, we can ask ourselves, "would I say those words, in that tone of voice, to my good friend?" If not, it was probably disrespectful. When we model disrespect, we must then model apologizing.

If we are sincere about teaching respect to children we must expose, acknowledge, and work on eliminating all the ways that we model disrespect. Even if we do not model the blatantly disrespectful behaviors of criticizing, lecturing, shaming, ridiculing, giving orders, screaming, threatening and hitting, there are many things we do and say to children, that have been said and done to children for so long, we aren't even aware that they are disrespectful. Yet, if these same things were said or done to us we would identify them as disrespectful.

In my parenting class on treating children with respect, we read a brilliant piece by Erma Bombeck, titled ,"Treat Friends, Kids The Same." She imagines having friends over for dinner and saying to them all those things that most of us heard growing up and therefore, say to children. "Shut the door. Were you born in a barn?" "I didn't work over a hot stove all day to have you nibble like some bird." "Sit up straight or your spine will grow that way." Most parents roar with laughter at the thought of speaking to their friends that way, then realize it is just as disrespectful to say those things to children.

We don't say, "What do you say?" or "What's the magic word?" to our friends but children hear it all the time. If we expect children to always say please and thank- you, we must always say please and thank you to them and to each other, otherwise we are modeling that sometimes you say it and sometimes you don't. Children imitate what we do. If we expect children to have manners, to share, to apologize, to be honest, kind, respectful, and loving, we must do and be those things so they will have that model to imitate.

Children imitate parents, family members, friends, caregivers, teachers, and television. The more children are out in the world, the more models they will be exposed to. While we can't keep children from ever seeing models of the kind of behavior we don't want them to imitate, we can be more selective of what models we expose them to, especially television. Since parents are the primary models in the early years, we must work on modeling the behavior we expect and not modeling behavior we don't want to see in them.

The ancient wisdom "what goes around, comes around," and, "as you sow, so shall you reap," applies to how we teach children. To move from the disrespectful way of teaching through criticizing, lecturing and giving orders, to teaching children through conscious, intentional modeling , takes time and practice and a willingness to look at and sometimes change our own behavior. Gandhi said, "We must become the change we want to see in the world." Joseph Chilton Pearce says, "We must become the people we want our children to be."

Most of the disrespectful things we say and do to children aren't even intentional. Our old "tapes" just automatically play when our buttons get pushed. Learning to teach respect by intentional modeling is simple; it's unlearning the old ways that is difficult. When a child doesn't behave in the ways we expect, we must ask ourselves, "Am I providing a model of the behavior I am expecting of my child?" When a child behaves in a way that we don't like, we must ask ourselves, "Am I modeling that behavior?" If we can honestly answer, "No," then something else is causing the behavior.

We can train ourselves to stop and think before we speak, by remembering that everything we say will be recorded and imitated. We can stop or at least interrupt those old recordings and intentionally model the kind of behavior we expect and will accept from our children. When we give children the same respect we expect, we teach children respect. How we treat them is what we teach them.


"Teaching Children Respect"
© 1989-2007 by Pam Leo and Connection Parenting (™)
For more information, articles and reprint permissions,
contact Pam at her website:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Creative Democracy

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: Creative Democracy ::

A conversation with my daughter when she was five:

"What's that sign, Daddy?"

"That's a political sign for the upcoming election."

"What's an election?"

I did my best to convey the abstraction of democracy to a 5-year-old. "Do you know what voting is?"


"Okay... Pretend we're deciding what to make for dinner, and we're choosing between pizza and spaghetti. Each of us gets to vote for which one we want... Which one would *you* vote for?"

"I want pizza AND spaghetti!"

Suddenly *I* was the student, and the lesson was
clear: either/or, win/lose thinking is not something our kids are born with. It's learned. Even if we don't actively teach it to them, we teach it passively whenever we take scarcity and competition for granted.

Today, pay close attention to your decision-making processes -- your private "elections." Are they based on scarcity and competition, or abundance and creativity?

Are you willing to concede your contentious elections and surrender to the creative process?

Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle

"Inspiration & Coaching for Progressive Parents"

1044 Water Street, Suite 342
Port Townsend, WA 98368

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Check it out! Fall Harvest Festival and Square Dancing!!!

Fall Harvest Festival and Square Dancing!!!
October 1st, 2008
Portland Green Parenting is hosting our first (annual?) FALL HARVEST FESTIVAL!
October 26th at the Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island from about 1-6 pm.

Come have fun with us and enjoy an ol’ time square dance with caller Caroline Oakley and the Foghorn String Band in the Big Red Barn from 3-6 pm!!

Everyone is welcome to show up as early as they want since there will be lots of other fun things to enjoy at the farm from 9 am until 6 pm:
* animal barn FREE
* hay pyramid & hay maze FREE
* hayrides FREE
* cow train for $2.00 per person

But be sure to arrive before 2 pm to get your tickets for the Corn Maize (about a 45 minute activity from about 2-3 pm), after which we will have some games and face painting. We will roast corn and grill burgers from 3-5:30 pm right outside the barn.

At 6 pm the corn maize turns into a haunted “field of screams” that the older kids might like. We can get a discount to this activity if we have 15 or more people interested. Please contact me to let me know if you want to do the “field of screams.”

COST: $25/family (2 adults + their own kids) or $12.50/adult
Includes admission to the square dance, all you can eat corn, 2 bracelets to the corn maze (kids under 6 are free to the maze, kids over 6 are $4), games, face painting and a costume contest with cool prizes by Klean Kanteen, Oaks Park and more!!

Buy tickets thru our store.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I sure hope so... the Daily OM

September 29, 2008
Social Interactions With Heart
Aries Daily Horoscope
You might find it easier to relate to other people today, particularly in social situations, and this could put you in a friendly and outgoing mood. This ability to interact with others may stem from your desire to put people at ease in social situations and make the time they spend with you much more interesting and treasured. One way to connect with people in an even deeper way could be to extend your love and compassion to them through metta, or loving-kindness meditation. While with others today you can wish that each person you encounter finds unlimited comfort and happiness. Offering your love to those around you in this way could smooth the progress of all of your interactions by making them not only fun and social but also meaningful and significant.

Through loving-kindness meditation, we can bring a more loving level of interaction to our social relationships. Even though it can be fun to go out and simply spend time with others in social situations, such relationships can also be one-dimensional. Being social, however, doesn’t mean having interactions that are only on the surface; we can also have connections that have greater meaning for us. Loving-kindness meditation is one such way to make our social interactions something that we can treasure, allowing us to share not only our sense of fun with others but our love and understanding as well. Relating to other people through your heart will infuse your interactions with openness and genuine pleasure today.

Friday, September 26, 2008


JOELLEN CHAMBERLAIN Friday, September 26 4:41 p.m.
JOELLEN MARIE CHAMBERLAIN May 12, 1943 ~ Sept. 23, 2008

Joellen Marie Chamberlain was called home to be with the Lord on Sept. 23, 2008. She was born to Wilber D. and Ellen F. Gibson on May 12, 1943 in Los Angeles, CA. She moved to Vancouver, WA as an infant. She graduated from Hudson's Bay High School in 1961. Since then she has been a vital part of planning their class reunions. After having started her work career at Joe Brown's Cafe at the age of 15, she worked her way into a management position at Kentucky Fried Chicken, which she used as spring board to become the C.E.O. of Oregon Rail Federal Credit Union in Portland, OR where she retired after 25 years of dedicated service. Joellen was a member of the Vagabonds Skate Club. She was also a member of The Red Hat Society and attended many of their functions.

Joellen came from a very large family where it is a common belief that she was the binding thread between generations. She will be deeply missed by all.

Joellen is survived by her only son, Troy Sharp and wife, Shaun, of Vancouver, WA; her mother, Ellen F. Gibson, of Fremont, MI; sister, Cheryl K. Riley (Rick), of Wamic, OR; sister, Zanita V. Beecham (Jay), also of Fremont, MI; and two honorary daughters, Kimberly M. Sayer (Tommy) and Laura "Bead" Wellwood, both of Vancouver, WA. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Jerome F. Chamberlain; her father, Wilber D. Gibson; and brother, David K. Gibson. A Celebration of Life will be held at Evergreen Staples Funeral Chapel at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. At Joellen's request, a party will immediately follow, at the same location.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blackberry Jelly!

My Mom came over today. All day today we (My Mom, Bill and I) made blackberry jelly from the blackberries that Bill and my Dad picked. I ended up mostly helping clean, organise and help the kids stay happy and Mataya get a nap. We have never canned before so it was a learning experience. Then my Dad came over and we all had dinner together. Will post pictures soon. Now to just figure out how to can more and do it without so much sugar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child

Friday, September 19, 2008



Just a vent...

I just need to vent...

I am so fing tired of being treated like crap by my sister especially when I am trying to help. I just can't think of a NVC way to handle things right now and I just need to get the mad out.

I tried to call her to respectfully offer help with the whole pregnancy thing (offering to fix meals, clean her house, help with her 2 year old) and she gets off the phone quickly saying can I call you right back something happened to her two year old.

Does she call right back? NO so I wait. And then I call and leave a message and wait then I send an email and wait. My Mom has been trying for 2 days to get a hold of her... nothing. 24 fing hours later she send us an email. basically saying don't call me I'll call you. we are all OK!

I am just really tired of offering help to her because she has a high risk pg and then being treated like crap. You know if you don't want help then just say so just don't treat me like crap and then decide you want me at your every call to watch the 2 year old and say it is all because of the pg. She has been like this all our adult life so no nothing new here just tired of the crap and I feel like I need to be there for here and help her because of the pkd and high bp and possibly the pre-e.

I love her and I really wish things were different. I really wish we communicated better. I really hope nothing happens to her.


Sandra Dodd's collection of Unschooling Wisdom:

Joyce Fetteroll's collection: JoyfullyRejoycing

Discussion board:

Great parenting wisdom from an Unschooling Dad, Scott Noelle:
EnjoyParenting be sure to subscribe to
his Daily Groove

Discussion Group for Unschoolers (directed at experienced unschoolers
who want discussion, not support):

Unschooling conferences: (both have discussion groups on yahoo, as well)
Live and Learn
Life is Good

Unschooling Blog Ring:

Unschooling Voices-Unschooling Voices is a monthly collection of blog
posts on the topic of unschooling.

Connections-ezine of unschooling and mindful parenting

Life Learning Magazine-inspiring families around the world who learn
without schooling.

Live Free Learn Free magazine-magazine for unschoolers and other
natural learners

Oh, and the newest! UnschoolingAmerica-Freedom To Learn With Liberty
and Justice For All

Christians can & do Unschool!

And there's a big book called Christian Unschooling, by Teri Brown and
Alissa Wahl. You can do a "search" inside it on the Amazon site - just
click on the picture of the book to get to the search box.

Here are some more - these all from the Natural Child Project:

Unschooling articles:

A pre-order for the "Unschooling Unmanual":

The Natural Child:Parenting From the Heart (book on attachment
parenting and unschooling):

Parenting A Free Child: An Unschooled Life

Recommended Books for Unschoolers:

Albert, David Homeschooling and the Voyage of Self-Discovery:
Aldort, Naomi Raising Our Children; Raising Ourselves
Aron, Elaine The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive
When the World Overwhelms Them

Berends, Polly Whole Child/ Whole Parent
Chapman, Gary and Ross Campbell The Five Love Languages of Children
Cohen, Lawrence Playful Parenting
Coloroso, Barbara Kids Are Worth It
Diamond, Patti Life Long Learning
Dyer, Wayne W. What Do You Really Want for Your Children?
Faber & Mazlish How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids
Will Talk

Faber & Mazlish Siblings Without Rivalry
Fitzenreiter, Valerie The Unprocessed Child: Living without School
Gatto, John Taylor Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of
Compulsory Schooling

Gordon, Thomas Parent Effectiveness Training
Greene, Ross The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding
and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children

Griffith, Mary The Unschooling Handbook
Hirschman, Jane and Lela Zaphiropoulos Preventing Childhood Eating
Problems: A Practical and Positive Approach to Raising Children Free
of Food and Weight Conflicts

Holt, John Learning All the Time
Holt, John How Children Fail

Holt, John Instead of Education
Holt, John Escape From Childhood: The Needs and Rights of Children
Holt, John Teach Your Own
Holt, John How Children Learn
Hunt, Jan The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart

Juul, Jesper Your Competent Child: Toward New Basic Values for the Family

Kabat-Zinn, John and Myla Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of
Mindful Parenting

Kashtan, Inbal Parenting from the Heart
Katie, Byron Loving What Is
Kimmel, James What ever happened to Mothers (available online at

Kohn, Alfie Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars,
Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
Kohn, Alfie No Contest: The Case Against Competition
Kohn, Alfie Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and
Punishment to Love and Reason

Kranowitz, Carol Stock The Out of Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping
with Sensory Integration Disfunction

Kream, Rue Parenting a Free Child
Kurcinka, Mary Raising Your Highly Spirited Child
Kurcinka, Mary Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles
Leo, Pam Connection Parenting

Luvmour, Josette Natural Learning Rythms: Discovering How and When
Your Child Learns

Rosenberg, Marshall Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
Rosenberg, Marshall Raising Children Compassionately
Smith, Frank The Book of Learning and Forgetting
Sweet, Bill and Win Living Joyfully With Children
Wallace, Nancy Child's Work

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is five too soon to start school?

Naomi's Reflections

One of the greatest causes of suffering is making choices from a place of attachment to a specific result. If I must have what I want I have no choice at all. No freedom. I am a prisoner of that attachment over which I have no control. I also miss on opportunities that lie outside these wants. For example if you planned a day in the sun on the beach and it is unexpectedly raining, you can be upset and teach wanting what isn't. Or you can spare yourself the pain by choosing and loving an indoor day that day. Your child will learn from you to flow with reality.

Children demonstrate to us the process of becoming attached and the pain it causes. Your child cries because he wanted to sit by the window on the train and there are no window seats. Or, he screams when the tower falls or the banana breaks. You stay calm. You have a larger view. You know she can to have a wonderful time either way. You know that however it is, is reality to cherish.
Be your own teacher. Borrow the "you" that knows to stay peaceful when that banana breaks or the tower falls. Borrow it for yourself, when you are the one displeased with your choice or with your child's choice of behavior; when you expect a different behavior, or a different outcome.

To borrow your peaceful equanimity you must learn to be peaceful first. Your child learns to want what isn't from your demonstrations. If you fall apart with your child's fallen tower or not having a window seat, then both of you drown together in painful emotional illusions. No one is out of the water offering a hand to the child if you go down with her. To assist her, stay out of the "water" by showing with your own behavior how to choose what is. Peaceful children have learned to flow with what is. Show her child how to choose freely; not by following the mind's dictatorship (I must have...) but by noticing reality and loving it.

"But, shouldn't I be proactive in creating my and my child's reality?" ask many parents. Yes, be proactive. Create, nurture, provide and prevent. And then when the results come in; choose what comes. You may enjoy it as is, or you may respond by making adjustments. Then again the next results come in and you respond peacefully and effectively because it is always the perfect result and propelling the next proactive step peacefully.

We create and then what comes is rarely what we intended. Being attached to our ideals of how things "should" be hurts and brings us stress and disconnection from our loved ones. "My child should sleep better," "she shouldn't grab the baby's toys," "he shouldn't hit" "he should listen to me..." are all expectations for reality to be other than how it is. When we follow these expectations we lose sight of reality and miss its beauty.

For example, if I believe that my child shouldn't hit, I lose sight of why she has a valid reason to hit. I can only help her when I find out what drives her to hit over which she has no control. I stop her hitting, but I don't scold her, rather I find a way to abolish the cause of her drive to hit. I choose love every single step of the way. I choose peace and I trust my child's innate wisdom to act on her own behalf.

©Copyright Naomi Aldort
With love,

Naomi Aldort

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finding Another Vantage Point

September 16, 2008
Hidden Treasures
Finding Another Vantage Point
The ocean can look very different, depending on whether you are standing at the shore, soaring above in a plane, or swimming beneath its waves. Likewise, a mountain can look very different relative to where you are standing. Each living thing sees the world from its unique vantage point. While from your window you may be seeing what looks like a huge shrub, a bird in its nest is getting an intimate view of that tree’s leafy interior. Meanwhile, a beetle sees only a massive and never-ending tree trunk. Yet all three of you are looking at the same tree.

Just as a shadow that is concealed from one point of view is easily seen from another, it is possible to miss a fantastic view. That is, unless you are willing to see what’s in front of you through different eyes. Seeing the world from another perspective, whether spatially or mentally, can introduce you to all sorts of hidden treasures. The root of the discovery process often lies in finding another way of looking at the world. The common human reaction to insects is one example. Spinning its web in a dark corner, a spider may seem drab, frightening, and mysterious. But seen up close weaving silver snowflakes between the branches of a tree, they can look like colored jewels.

Sometimes, there are experiences in life that from your vantage point may seem confusing, alarming, or worrisome. Or there may be events that look insignificant from where you are standing right now. Try seeing them from another point of view. How does the situation look now? Try burying your face in the grass and looking at the world from a bug’s vantage point. Explore your home as if you were a small child. Take a ride in a small aircraft and experience the world from a bird’s eye view. Just as kneeling down or standing on a chair can help you find a lost object, so can seeing a broader or the more focused picture help you find wisdom or hidden treasures. In doing so, you’ll experience a very different world.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Green sprouts

We went to green sprouts fest. And Bill was so sweet to watch the kids so I could look around.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Benefit of the Doubt

THE DAILY GROOVE ~ by Scott Noelle

:: The Benefit of the Doubt ::

Have you ever been upset with someone for doing or saying something, only to realize later that you had misunderstood them, and you wished you'd given them "the benefit of the doubt"?

Truth is, everyone deserves that benefit, because ALL upsets are misunderstandings born of conditionality.

And no one deserves that benefit more than children.
The younger they are, the more their words and actions are merely "experimental," or rough approximations of things they've observed. They're trying to figure out how life works.

When you give them the benefit of the doubt (for example, by not taking it personally when they experiment with unkind words they've heard others use), children learn that their relationship with you is a safe place in which to grow.

And you benefit yourself, too, because you're doubting your "reason" for being upset. With no such reason, you're left with the simple pleasures of inner peace, heart-felt connection, and appreciation of Life's endless unfolding.

Feel free to forward this message to your friends!
(Please include this paragraph and everything above.) Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle