Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday thoughts on books and such

These pictures were taken outside of an old brick church in Wisconsin, after Kevin's grandma's funeral. I love how Kaitlyn's hanging onto her big brother's hand in the top one!

Over the past couple of months I've read some great books, mostly on parenting and education. You know, because I've got those four kids up there from the pictures. :) I just finished up Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. It was EXcellent. And really confirmed some things I already felt and thought, and gave some insight into things from my own childhood. It also suggested ways to stay connected to your kids and promote attachment that I had never really thought of, and that we hope to implement. (Like, starting each morning together just cuddling and talking, etc. That way you don't start off the day's parenting by telling your kids to do this and that and rushing around, while they may not even feel all that connected to you. We really feel like we could benefit from this on Sunday mornings before church, since we're always running around getting ready, and honestly I DON'T feel all that connected to my kids, which makes it harder to deal with them if they're wiggly during the service.) The book also talked about how important GREETINGS are--when your child wakes up, when you reunite after you've been apart for any reason, etc. Both of these things were under the category of "gathering your children". Good stuff.

I also recently read A Thomas Jefferson Education. It was fantastic! Really interesting and totally made me think. I learned a lot about why things are the way they are in education today and in our country at large. A lot of it actually related to what I read in Hold On to Your Kids. I loved how it suggests that teachers can inspire, but students have to educate themselves.

Then there's this author Ruth Beechick who writes a lot about education, and I'm loving pretty much all the books I read by her. She was a teacher for many years and has so many good insights and techniques. I checked out The Three R's from the library and found it so useful I ended up buying it.

Next I'll be reading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. I'm also waiting on some cookbooks from the library too, that a friend recommended about cooking naturally and simply(most of the books are from the Mennonite community), and baking your own wholegrain breads. Yes, I'm actually looking into these things. :) Isn't that SO granola of me?! I'm not making my own cleaning products yet--so Jeannett you still win--but apparently I'm on my way. (Does anyone out there bake their own bread instead of buying it? I'd love to hear about it!) I just love the idea of living a simple life...everything today is just so complicated and hurried and impersonal and "more-is-better". Ick. We buy so many of our things second-hand now and I am so, so happy.
I'm also happy because my kids have not watched any TV or videos--literally--in about a MONTH. I relied so much on the TV (which about killed me) the whole time I had mono. Yet I just don't think we could have survived without it. But I hated it, and it has been so great seeing the kids spend their time reading, coloring, listening to books-on-tape, and playing creatively. Oh and they do lots of talking (and a little bit of arguing) too. :)
How are you spending your Saturday? We're home, doing work on our house, Kevin has a fantasy sports draft this afternoon (oh the joy!), and I'll probably do some cleaning and reading (but maybe not in that order). Happy weekend!


Lara said...

Thanks so much for this! I definitely want to look into some of those books. I know I spend way too much time feeling frazzled, and it seems like too often when I do attempt to connect with my kids they don't respond in the way I was hoping, then I'm even more irritated.

It's time for me to hit the library too.

Let me know how making your own bread goes. I now have a clothes line! We can't afford a new energy efficient dryer nor can we afford the gas it takes to run the one we have constantly. I'm feeling very in-touch with our pioneer women ancestors. =)

Anonymous said...

Hi, Brianna
I have made my own bread many times, but in Colorado, the altitude can make it tricky. A few tips: Let that bread rise until it has doubled in size, even it takes longer than it should. Otherwise the whole wheat will be heavy as a brick. In the same vein, knead that dough for fifteen minutes if you are doing it by hand, you need to get air in that dough to prevent heavy loaves. Can you tell that I had problems with heaviness? Whole grains really take a lot of needing and your bread might need more flour to accomadate for the altitude. Good luck!

Angela said...

I did find a couple of recipes on line this fall, and set out to change our fam's world by baking our own bread... I think I made 3 loaves before I quit. It was SO messy slicing it...and we'd always eat the WHOLE loaf right then and didn't have any left for later...
SO... It think I will keep buying it for now... and make it occassionally as a fun treat! But...I am excited you are doing it! Let me know if you get into a good groove, and maybe, just maybe, I'll try it again. :)

Angela said...

Oh... and we had our family pictures taken this morning, so that took up our morning. We tried to smile and pretend like we love each other, even though we are fighting like mad right now... so fun! ;)

Tamara said...

I have a bread maker and I love to use it in the fall through spring. I am not brave enough to make it 100% by hand. I have a bad track record for ruining things, I have actually started french bread on fire (stop drop and roll!), made some terrible buiscuits that not even the birds would eat and a few other incidents, including breaking my mother's oven.

Gregory LOVES the gluten free bread by Bobs Red Mill. THe only thing I would recommend about home made bread in general is you have to finish it off in a couple of days, it tends to mold really quickly since their are no preservatives in it. I know because I made several different loaves in the same day and had to throw half of them out.

Mike and Rachel said...

Hmmm... coffee, breakfast, coffee. I went and got my hair cut, came home to my driveway being filled with carpet :) We had lunch, took naps, and that's about it. Ainsley is still a bit off so there has been lots of cuddling going on too.

Brianna Heldt said...

Loving all your comments, many of which made me laugh! (Tamara the thought of you catching bread on fire, and the birds not eating your biscuits, is too much!)

Lara my mom had a clothesline all growing up and that's still what she uses. I've thought off and on how it would be good to have one, but I have not yet pursued it. :)

Thankfulmom said...


I'm so glad you liked Hold On to Your Kids - it is a very insightful book and I have gained a lot from it.

I used to grind all of my own wheat and make all of our bread. I don't do it now, but life has seasons and I'm sure I'll come back to it one day.


Jeannett Gibson said...

I used to make my own bread. Well, I have a breadmaker, so I'm not if that counts. But, I quit doing it because in order to really make the GOOD stuff with all the yummy healthy grains, it got pretty expensive. And the loaf you get out of a bread machine is a lot smaller, so we were running out really quickly, so it actually was LESS simple! :) I found it was cheaper and easier to buy the expensive whole grain bread at the store. Although I have been toying with the idea of trying it out again...good luck!

Carolina Mama said...

We're reading some of the same books! :) And I do make some of our breads. However, we do have this fun activity of going to Great Harvest....! :) Free slices for everyone and a fun new flavor baked just then. You have them in Denver. :)

p.s. love your 'review' on the cards. nice!

Anonymous said...

I just picked up Hold on to Your Kids from my library after reading your previous post about starting it. Thanks for sharing this....and your blog, I've been lurking for while...and have enjoyed reading.

Samantha said...

I really enjoy Ruth Beechick's books too. I thought that "The three R's" was so practical and helpful. I bought it at a homeschooling conference to have in my own library.

I am going to see if my library has "A Thomas jefferson Education." It looks interesting. I heard recently that the current vocabulary of an average American is like half of what it was a hundred years ago. Teaching my kids to love to learn and to seek out knowledge is one of my biggest goals.

I make my own bread only out of necessity. It is alot of work, but store bought GF bread is terrible. What I do to cut down on the time it takes is that I assemble the dry ingredients (in GF bread there are alot of them) for at least 3 or 4 breadmaking sessions and keep them in Ziplocs in the freezer. That way I just have to let them come to room temp in my Cuisinart and dump in the wet ingred's. I also slice the bread once it is cool and get it in the freezer before we eat a whole loaf in five minutes. I can then take it out as we need and it doesn't go bad. When we used to eat wheat, I made my own bread so that I could soak the flour overnight to make it more digestible. (It neutralizes the phytates which inhibit vit and min absorbtion) My favorite food/recipe book is "Nourishing Tradidtions" by Sally Fallon. If we weren't gluten free I would make my own sourdough bread which doesn't use yeast to rise. It is how bread used to be made and eaten. I could go on forever, but I will spare you. I am into food history and nutrition if you can't tell!

Brianna Heldt said...

Samantha thanks for the info!!! I don't know much about any of it and am wanting to know more...maybe you could do some blogging on it??????

JaneeNoel said...

Brianna, I grind my own wheat and make all of our bread and other baked goods. It is really quite simple if you have the right equipment, ingredients, and techniques. I would be happy to let you know how I do it- just e-mail me if you're interested and I'll explain how I do it. It's very yummy and better for you than most of the stuff I can afford at the store.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
My sister has made her bread daily
for about 20 years now. She buys co-op wheatberries, grinds them every morning (that grinder is so LOUD),and pops everything into her Zosyrushi(sp) bread maker. She has 5 kids and there was always enough to go around. It is one of the first things she does in the morning.

Paula R


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