Yesterday we were dropping a book off at the library just as the librarian was emptying the night drop. I gave the book to Eli and told him to run out and hand it to her.

When he got back in the van he said, "She is really old. She's not ugly though. She's just old. Old in a pink shirt, but a pretty pink shirt. It's nice she's not ugly."

I'm sure she'd be relieved :)



We are not math fans in our house.

Mike likes math. He's good at math. Me, less so. I have NOT been looking forward to teaching algebra again.

Enter Teaching Textbooks. I heart Teaching Textbooks! Hailey pops in the dvd, listens to the lecture, watches some problems worked and begins the practice set. If she misses something she receives immediate feedback about what she did wrong and how to do it right. She is understanding math much better than ever and she is loving it. Which means I am loving it! I just log on and check her scores. I can see if she has done all of the problems, if she reviewed the solutions for the ones she missed and how she's doing. I can't believe how much time it saves, and it is quickly becoming her favorite subject.

I no longer dread teaching algebra! I am confident we will be able to go all the way through higher math with Teaching Textbooks. So, if any of you are nervous about math in the upper grades I highly recommend it. It's like bringing an instructor into your living room.


A Public Service Announcement

Have you seen those commercials promoting High Fructose Corn Syrup?!? "The same calories as sugar. Fine in moderation!" They make me crazy. Enough people must be beginning to wake up to the dangers of HFCS and are beginning to read labels, making big ag nervous. That's the good news. The bad news is that many of them may be lulled back into a false sense of security.

Calories are not the primary issue with HFCS. And it's virtually impossible to eat it in moderation without diligent label reading. It is in everything from your sandwich bread, to your ketchup and pickles. It's probably even in your yogurt. In fact, the number one source of calories in the US is HFCS. Yep, you heard that right.

The sugar molecule breaks down to fructose in the intestine. It raises blood glucose and the crashes it within 25 minutes of ingestion.

But HFCS does not convert to glucose in the blood. It instead breaks down into adipose (fat) tissue and triglycerides (which lead to heart disease).

So, HFCS goes straight to fat and triglycerides.

The fact that most fructose is consumed in a liquid form, in fruit juice drinks and soda, significantly magnifies its negative metabolic effects.

In addition, unlike glucose (sugar), fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion or enhance leptin, a hormone involved in appetite regulation. Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat and body weight, this suggests that it would contribute to increased food intake and weight gain. So it's a double whammy. Not only does it convert straight to fat, it makes us want to eat more.

Fructose has no enzymes, vitamins or minerals so it takes micronutrients from the body while it assimilates itself for use.

Although we call it a vegetable, corn is a grain. When early Native Americans changed their diet to one based mostly on corn, they had increased rates of the following:
Dental cavities
Bone infections and other bone problems

The main problem with the corn is the sugar content. And we are adding a refined corn sweetener, stripped of all fiber, vitamins and minerals, to a large percentage of our food. In addition to all of the actual corn and corn products we eat.

In moderation indeed.

This ends our public service announcement.

*Update* I forgot to add that over 60% of HFCS is from genetically modified corn. Which has its own host of problems.

I forgot something else too, but I forget what it was...

Lovely Vacation, Pt 3

Mike and I snuck out one morning for breakfast, and while we were out we noticed that the boat docks were full of seals. We went back to get the kids and headed down for a closer look.

It seemed like we could have just walked up and pet them. I just didn't want someone rewarded with a dunk in the water for their efforts so we stayed back. A little. They were clearly used to people and really gave the kids a thrill to be so close. Beats the zoo any day.

One of the great things about this area is that you have ocean, redwoods and river all within a couple miles of each other. We love the Smith River and headed up for a day of fun.

6 little ducklings, all in a row!

The kids had a great day splashing and swimming, while Ty entertained himself eating rocks and digging in the sand.

Another great day :)


Lovely Vacation, Pt 2

The Beach...

We rented a vacation house for the first time ever and it really made all the difference. We could all hang out together, not in some cramped hotel room. We could cook, relax, and the view! The view was amazing. We were just a staircase away from the ocean. Just relaxing and beautiful.

It's a rocky beach and the weather was pretty cool, so it was more of a digging in the sand, tide-pooling sort of beach vacation.

Here is the lighthouse just to the left of us. This was taken from the deck.

And this is right out the back door

Good Times!