Sunday, September 27, 2009

More reasons for a Plant-based diet

William Kruidenier posted an article on his blog a few days ago about cancer and a plant-based diet. The article that he is talking about explains that there are highly respected doctors who believe that a plant-based diet can stop and reverse cancer along with many other diseases that we are facing today. I do a lot of reading on blogs and veggie websites that point out the many benefits of a vegan diet, but it is not often that information like this is published in the mainstream media. You can read his blog entry here.

If you want to take five minutes to read the full article on the Huffington Post, here is the link for the article by Kathy Freston A Cure for Cancer? Eating a Plant-Based Diet. You can find her other article on transitioning to a plant-based diet from that link also.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Dog Party

Ellen wanted to have a potluck/sleepover party to celebrate her birthday this year. We invited our group of friends to come over Friday night. They all brought vegan side dishes to go along with the big pot of chili that I made for dinner. (I had separate dog bone shaped pb and js, tings, and fruit for the kids.)

We have a tradition of making a pinata for every birthday party. I posted instructions here last year on how to make a pinata with kids. I got this year's design from a picture of a puppy pinata online. The girls and I started on it about 2 weeks ago and worked on it a little bit every few days until Friday morning. The girls wanted it to look like our dog Blue and I think it came out pretty nice! Ellen said next time she wants to make a simple pinata so that we don't have to destroy something that we love:)
The kids played dress up, watched the movie Hotel for Dogs, played in the dark on the trampoline with glow sticks, and stayed up late. Most of the kids/families left between 10-11pm. We only had one sleep over. They've been playing quietly all morning.

I love having parties mostly because I know how much the kids enjoy it. They have the best time with all their friends over. There are toys everywhere and I've washed a ton of dishes, but it is all worth it to see those big smiles on Ellen's and Arianna's the entire time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eight Summers Ago Today...

September 15, 2001,
deep Carolinian Appalachia,
in a small wormy chestnut cabin,
surrounded and protected by those ancient hills,
a new ray of sun brightened this our world.

Eight cycles around that celestial ball,
The sweet fragrance of her life,
The keen sense of her justice,
The soft touch of her compassion,
The health and vigor of her joy,
yes, tis her joy that defines her most,
have been our peace, pleasure, and wonder.

From the heavens she surely is.

She is our treasure.
Today we celebrate her life.
Our cup overfloweth.


Monday, September 07, 2009

The Enchanted Congaree

Jennifer and I decided Saturday night we'd do something fun on Sunday to get away with the girls. We both have been consumed with a busy start to Fall. Jennifer's teaching dance and organizing the co-op home school schedule and somehow keeping all of us healthy and happy while sanding cabinets and installing hardware.

Stop. Reflect.
The wonder, beauty, and strength that is my best friend.
Hands rest on keypad stunned. Feeling untranslatable abounds.

I've been planting fall seedlings and helping out with projects in the house and we'll have to do a post on the new pvc bow with dowel arrows we built the girls (coming soon).

I love putt-putt and thought the girls would enjoy a day at the fun-park. Apparently they've been near putt-putt and it wasn't good. Had I suggested they return to bed after breakfast? I thought for a moment: "How bout a hike at Congaree?" Would they go for it? Could I get away with spending nothing and walking through the deep woods with my three best friends? Their faces gleamed. "Yeaaahhhh!" Off we went.

This Red Spotted Purple met us at the Congaree visitor center. I've been capturing images of butterflies this summer. Isn't it gorgeous? And the girls are so cool about my butterfly obsession: "Wow dad, he's soooooo beeeauuuutiful. Did you get a good picture?" How is it that I end up taking notes from them on how to encourage others and how to joyfully immerse myself in another's pleasure?

The Congaree claims to have the highest deciduous canopy in the world. Here the girls stand before one of the many ancient Bald-Cypress. This is a rather common size here in the Congaree. The Loblolly Pines abound also, and somewhere here there lives one with a fifteen foot circumference.

Such an odd place is Congaree with the Bald-Cypress knees protruding along the sides of the trails. Very foreign in relation to the Appalachian forest we're used to. But we can get used to this.

I've labeled this fella a Common Wood Nymph but my ID skills are superficial at best.
(Correction: Creole Pearly-Eye. Thanks Lesley).

We lounged at Cedar Creek and enjoyed the deep amber colored water, the Spanish moss hanging lazily in the Tupelos, and waited for some larger snake, beaver, or otter to defy her better instincts and give us a show. The waiting was restful but uneventful.

The Tupelos are the trees by the banks with large base trunks. The green moss growing some feet up the trees designates the level of the last flood. Nature's memory.

Usually we hike Sim's Trail which is a short loop. This trip we pressed forward to Wise Lake which was well worth it. Here the girls pose at Wise Lake.

This Question Mark, yep if I'm right that's its name, sat very patiently while its image was sent to me.

This was just what we wanted. Holding hands, oooooh-ing and aaaah-ing at critters and flowers in bloom, laughing and being together. Why is it when we feel most words fail and only tones communicate?

Thanks Congaree.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Catching up

As you may have noticed, there has been a bit of a delay in the blogging lately. It has taken us a few weeks to get adjusted to our new fall schedule and the blog has been low on the priority list. Daniel, like always, will be teaching 5 courses between Midlands Tech and USC. He is also spending more time researching and writing for his dissertation. I've started teaching 6 ballet classes that will continue through the year. The girls have started a more rigorous homeschool schedule in addition to beginning their ballet and contemporary dance classes. Our homeschool coop classes will resume next week, but I've volunteered to do a little more organizational work for that this year which has kept me busy these past few weeks.

I did finish most of the cabinets. I did all the doors but still have to do the drawers.

Daniel worked on this cool project last weekend. Mimi and BB gave these chairs to us a few years ago. They were lounge chairs, but the intense sun exposure on the back porch caused the webbing to deteriorate. Daniel had removed the first section of webbing that is made for resting your feet. We sat on them a few days then the seat part fell through. We both hated to throw these chairs away since the frame was still in good shape. Daniel came up with a wonderful solution and designed these wooden seats. I picked up some cushions on clearance at Home Depot and now we have a comfortable, cozy spot to enjoy these beautiful late summer evenings.There are only a few veggie plants left in the garden which is mostly full of buckwheat cover crop. We do still have beautiful eggplant, peppers and basil coming in. Here is a 5 gallon bucket full of basil I harvested this week. I love it even though I'm getting a little tired of preparing pesto. We will be happy, though, as we are eating it all winter long!