Raw Ice Cream, yum!

Raw Ice Cream, that’s dairy free and sugar free, yum!

Chocolate Ice Cream
2 cups raw cashews (whole or pieces, unsoaked)
2 cups of water
1/4 cup Maple syrup
3/4 cup raw agave nectar
Or you can use dates instead of the maple syrup and agave nectar)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 scoops of raw cacao powder


Put the cashews, water, maple syrup, agave nectar, and vanilla extract in your high-speed blender.

Start blending on low until everything mixes, then turn up to high for about one minute. Make sure your mixture is really smooth.

Once complete, taste test. Add more sweetener or vanilla extract to taste.

I put my blender into the fridge until I was ready to pour it into the ice cream maker.

Turn on ice cream maker, slowly pour your mixture into the ice cream maker while it is spinning. Now just let it work for about 20 or 30 minutes.

Scrape out the mixture with your spatula into a freezer container.

And Voila yummy ice cream!

Thomas didn’t care for this, he thought it tasted like coffee (there wasn’t any coffee, so maybe it’s the nut milk?) It was very creamy and rich. I think next time I will use 1/2 cashews and 1/2 almonds, (I’ll soak them both for a few hours also) plus I’ll use 2 1/2 -3 cups of water instead of just 2. Also it was a bit too sweet, I used dates and Agave nectar. Next time I’ll leave out the Agave. If I have maple syrup I may try that (and reduce the amount of dates) especially if I go with a vanilla ice cream, I think it would add a lot to the flavor.

This is also good if you leave out the cacao and use fruit. Just dump the fruit into the blender and either blend it smooth or leave it a little chunky.

A lazy day at home

Besides driving Beth to school I didn’t have to go anywhere today. So Thomas and I had a lazy day at home. It’s finally getting warm out so I had he doors open airing out the house and changed the sheets on the bed. It was even warm enough to dry them outside!
Next we were off to do some cooking, or non-cooking as the case may be. I had to make some more date balls. Since I gave up sugar 3 weeks ago these have been my treat when I’m craving something sweet. My current recipe is 1C soaked raw almonds (ground up in the food processor) then I add a scoop of hemp protein powder, scoop of flax meal, couple scoops of raw sunflower seeds, some goji berries, unsweetened dried cranberries, 2 scoops raw cacao powder, a sprinkle of cayenne powder and a sprinkle of sea salt, all blended together. Then I add about 5-8 pitted dates and blend some more. I like to add about 1/4 C of raw cacao nibs at this point and just pulse them in so they stay chunky. Then I add a couple Tbls of water so it all sticks together and pulse again.

Then just squish them into balls, roll in coconut and store in the refrigerator. Yum!

Then Thomas sliced a whole lot of potatoes for tonights dinner, Potatoes Au Graten. I have this very fancy mandoline that i never use because it’s just to bulky for me. I like using a knife. But Thomas enjoys slicing with it so off he went.

Since we had such great results with last weeks art project we decided to try another one this week. I love the book The Usborne complete book of art ideas. (Thanks for the suggestion Pepper Paints.) We painted castles today following the instructions in the book. We still need to finish some of the detail work with a black sharpie. These pictures were so easy (and not messy at all) You just pick 3 colors of acrylic paint, squeeze a line along the bottom alternating the colors. Then use differnt widths of card board to smear the paint up the paper. After it dries go over it with some black paint that you smear again with cardboard.

Since the weather was so nice Thomas & I walked to the library to return some books and try to find something that he is willing to read. Pretty much the only books I can get him to read are Captain Underpants, the Weird School series and the Ugly Guides. Great literature at it’s best!

Poor Dan is home sick for the 3rd day. Both yesterday and today he got dressed and tried to go to work only to turn around and go back to bed. He did go to the Dr. today and he has pneumonia, so he’s back to bed for a few more days. Which means he has to miss Daniel’s 18th B-day party at my mom’s tomorrow. And our OSU tours on Friday. We’re scheduled for the admitted student tour and the engineering overview and tour.

Finally we made sugar-free, dairy free, chocolate ice cream, to enjoy while we watched American Idol. It was very yummy, but I’ll play with the recipe a bit for next time. Thomas thought it tasted too much like coffee (there wasn’t any coffee in it) I think he was tasting the cashew milk, but Beth and I liked it. I love days like this. I can’t wait for summer when almost all our days are home days!

Homeschooling field-trip gone bad

We’ve been on a lot of field trips over the past 13 years of homeschooling. We’ve been to farms, factories, metro parks, government buildings, art houses, a variety of places at OSU and many more. Out of all of these field trips we have never been on a bad field trip. Some were better than others, some engaged the kids more, some the parents enjoyed more than the kids but none of them have been bad. That all changed yesterday when we visited a small radio and TV studio in Westerville. When I saw the trip come up on one of my many homeschool lists I thought it sounded interesting and like something the kids would like. So I signed up my youngest and me and we were pleasantly surprised when my 18yo said that he would join us since he didn’t have classes that day. This is the first homeschool event he has joined us for since starting high school 3 years ago.

There were quite few people that met for this trip, about 75 kids and parents. Most of our regular posse of homeschoolers, that we do everything with, were there and quite a few people that we didn’t know. I suspected that this was a Christian radio station since I had never heard of it but I didn’t anticipate that causing any problems. This was confirmed by the religious plaques hanging in the lobby. While we were waiting music videos were palying on the tvs and the kids couldn’t believe that these were Christian rock bands, they looked the same as any heavy metal band you would see on MTV, tattoos, mohawks, the works and the music was definately heavy metal.

Once everyone arrived we went into the on air room and talked to the DJ. That was really cool.

We learned a little bit about how the radio side works. We also learned about the history of the radio station; they don’t play any commercials, it’s all publically funded and that this is their mission from God. So far, so good; I don’t have any problems listening to how people have had positive experiences and how they attribute that to God. Next they led our very large group into the TV studio.

And this is where it all went downhill! When we entered the studio all the kids were directed to the risers and a stage and they graciously offered the parents a couch off to the side for us to sit on.

Then for almost an hour we were heavily evangelized. Never in all of my years have I ever sat through so much rhetoric and misinformation as I did then. And were were trapped. To leave we would have had to walk through the middle of this large group, grab our kids from the other side of the room, walk back across the group to the side door. When they first started the evangelizing we all thought certainly this can’t last long but it just never ended. I felt so bad for our kids trapped on the other side of the room. This is not what we were here for, we all wanted to learn about the TV station. Which never once in that 45 minutes did they even mention. When they started in on the dangers of education and how college is bad because it will only brainwash you and pull you away from God, one of the fearless in our group could take no more. She not so subtly walked around back grabbed her two kids and made a hasty exit. I won’t mention any names. Those of us that were left behind started planning our exodus. Soon after the unnamed left, the sermon moved to how you won’t always be friends with people who have God in their lives, “like the girl who just left, but we still need to love them and pray for them,” said the deceptively hip & young leader of this program. So now on top of everything we have to be concerned for our brave friend’s soul and pray for her. 🙂 Finally when we thought we were never going to be free they announced that they were going to divide the group in half. Half gets to go watch videos (music videos, religious videos who knows at this point) and the other half gets to stay in the room and learn more about how God is your friend. Yes, finally our escape. We grabbed our kids and bolted for the door. We then spent the next 2 hours eating lunch at Laura’s house while we deprogrammed our kids and vented until everything seemed almost back to normal.

Daniel, presumably hiding from the sermon and proudly showing his favorite bands on his arms. Which he stated that he will continue to listen to, fearful not for his soul.

"That was fun" (and really messy)

My friend over at pepper paints had a cool looking art project. Thomas and I don’t do many art projects now that Beth and Daniel are in school. So after he finished his 20 minutes of school work this morning I suggested we do a painting and surprisingly he was game.

The first step is to use crayons to color a picture. Thomas has been really into pirate ships lately, since he’s been battling Lego irate ships with some friends. So he got a picture for inspiration and colored a great pirate ship.

Next we crumpled up our pictures.

Then we flattened them out and covered them with black Tempera paint. What Pepper Paint failed to mention and I wasn’t smart enough to figure out was that this was going to be MESSY. So I quickly ran downstairs to get us some newsprint so we could paint to the edges without completely covering the table in black paint.

I attempted to rinse the black paint off my picture in the kitchen sink but that was proving to be a huge mess. So Thomas headed straight to the tub with his and rinsed it with the shower. Much easier! Next time we do this we’ll do it outside and use the hose to rinse off the pictures. But when it was all said and done we ended up with 2 really great pictures and Thomas said, “That was fun,” for my non-art kid that’s pretty good!

Thomas’ pirate ship.

My random color picture.

Resolutions part 2

I have been doing a good job sticking to most of my resolutions. I didn’t expect for things to change overnight but we’re 6 weeks into the new year and I’m proud of what I’ve done. First off I started 2 art classes, Book binding and paper making on monday nights and glass fusion on Tuesdays. The Glass class has kinda been a dud. The kiln broke the first week so we keep making new things but they haven’t yet been fired so who knows if they will turn into beautiful suncatchers or globs of brown melted glass. But I LOVE the book binding class. That class I will be continuing on with after this session. It is a great group of artists, it is so much fun to spend time with them and really inspiring.

Next there have been lots of changes in the kitchen. I don’t know if I forgot to include this next thing with my resolutions or if I learned about it after Jan. 1. But I am in the process of eliminating all the plastics (with BPA’s,) teflon and leaded dishes from my kitchen. I’ve pulled out about 5 bags of stuff so far and replaced it all with glass storage containers, cast iron pans and clear glass dishes. The kids never know what they’re going to find when they open the cupboards. I’ve been scouring the thriftstores for as much as I can. Who knew a .50 glass jar could make you so happy?

We’ve also been revamping our diets. Beth has become a vegetarian and has not eaten meat since before the new year. I am slowly transitioning to a part time RAW Vegan (who will occassionally eat some organic meat, and even sometimes non-organic veggie pizza.) I’m staying RAW until noon by drinking my super yummy green (sometimes brown) smoothies. Dan and I have one every morning and Beth usually has one sometime during the day (the boys have not joined us on the green side, yet.)

I follow the same basic recipe (everything is raw and organic) scoop of raw sesami seeds, scoop flax meal, raw sunflower seeds, several raw almonds, 2-3 leaves of kale, handful of spinach, carrot, frozen banana, blueberries, tangerine, scoop of spirulina, scoop of magnesium (just finishing off a bottle that was given to me,) a couple dates and a glass of water. Everything is dumped into my vita mix and blended until smooth.

I’ve finally gotten them so that they’re green and not this yucky brown color! But they are so yummy no matter what color they turn out and very filling.

One of my resolutions was to stop spending so much money, I haven’t even come close to that one. Especially keeping up with all the veggies we’re going through! I joined an organic food co-op and my first order is this month so that took a huge chunk out of my budget. And I finally got into a CSA for our fresh veggies this summer, which I’m paying for now. Not to mention all the hard to find raw items I’ve been buying, it seems so strange to buy groceries from Amazon! But it’s hard to find raw cocao powder and cocao nibs not to mention chia seeds (which I LOVE!) yes they are the very same seeds that grow “hair” on clay pots, but if you soak them in water they turn into this strange gelatinous goo that you can scoop into your drink (kinda like tapioca) I don’t know why I like them so much but I do. What drew me to them was the claim that they help fill you up and decrease your appetite, I don’t know if that’s true but they’re fun to eat! Oh as a side note which isn’t nearly as important as eating a healthier diet, I have managed to lose 7 pounds since the start of the year, woo-hoo! One other thing I’ve added to help me lose weight is I’ve officially given up sugar. It’s been 3 days of being completely sugar free, which means no ice cream, no typical desserts, no candy, no soda and especially no while chocolate/ mint lattes from Caribou; but when you look at that list you really don’t need any of those things anyway.

I don’t think I’ve managed less computer time but I probably have cut back TV time. Between taxes, fafsa, OSU applications, scholarship applications and searching for all these new hard to find foods the computer is still taking up much of my day.

I am slowly transitioning to natural cleaners. As I use things up I replace them with a natural alternative. One thing I can’t figure out how to switch is laundry detergent, the natural cleaners are way more expensive that all free and clear. So I’ll have to do some research into that.

Today I tried to pick up some inexpensive conditioner at CVS and I thought I would try to find one that said they didn’t test on animals. I could not find one, so that’s another thing i need to research. Sometimes it’s so hard just to get through the day.

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