Tuesday, July 27, 2023

Low Salt Diet Tips for Kids and Adults

Our bodies only require a small amount of salt for proper nutrition.  But the fact is that we all, including our children, consume way more salt -or rather, the sodium - than we should. 

Why should we care how much salt (sodium) our children consume?

  1. Too much salt (sodium) creates risk for high blood pressure and higher risk for heart attack.  And, we women know salt's affect on bloating!
  2. The eating habits of our children will continue in their adulthood - and all too frequently less healthy than they were reared when they face busy schedules they haven't expereinced before.

What is the recommended daily intake of salt (sodium)?
The adult recommended daily intake of sodium in the U.S. is less than 2,400 mg.  But, you may be interested to note the the daily recommendation in the UK is less than 1,600 mg!  That's quite a difference.

So, who do you trust?

It doesn't take much shopping and looking at the nutrition information on foods to find that they hold a LOT of sodium.

I personally think that the government's recommendation of sodium intake is influenced by prepared food production.  I think that they've taken into account how American's can reduce sodium intake without too much impact on the economy.

But, then again, depending on which association you check, you'll find different recommendations from them all.

There are no intake recommendations for children, but I think that they are important due to the formation of eating habits that I mentioned above.

So, what's a person to do?
Of course, a person should follow the advice of his/her doctor. 

But, for me - a healthy adult with great blood pressure - I just use my common sense to guide me.

Tips for easy, common sense salt reduction:

  1. Use less salt than recommended in a recipe.  I've never found it to affect the taste.  Most of the time I totally leave it out - especially if it's accompanied by a product that already contains salt/sodium.
  2. Don't let your kids salt at the table.  The only time salt is on my dinner table is when company is over.  I think that my two younger kids don't even realize that people salt their food at the table.  If you do decide to let your kids have additional salt - put it on for them.  It comes out faster than they realize and it's hard to see!
  3. Check the nutrition label of every food that you buy.  You will quickly become aware of how much sodium is in cereal, bread, canned goods, bacon, frozen foods, etc.  Having an awareness of how much sodium you are consuming will make reduction much easier.
  4. Buy low-salt or low-sodium versions of a product.  Why eat the extra sodium when you'll adjust to the difference in taste (if any) in a few bites?
  5. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  6. Substitute salt with other spices that will give food flavor without adding sodium

Forming good "salting" habits now, will make things a lot easier for your children in the future.  Do it for them, and you'll be doing it for you too!

Laura Bankston

P.S.  Teach healthy cooking habits with the cooking course that allows kids to cook themselves, in low salt fashion.  Get your Cooking With Kids now!

Laura Bankston is author of Internationally selling Cooking with Kids Curriculum: “Homeschool Cooking in a Box” and the “Homeschool Cookbook”. She currently home schools her three children, maintains home school support websites, and manages their family-owned service business. For information on her curriculum and free home school support services, please visit http://www.homeschoolcookbook.com

Copyright 2004, Abundant Learning Publications. All Rights Reserved.

Reprint Permission Requirements: Intact bio, Active hyper-link, and notifiication (click here) of article name and reprint location link.

Monday, July 26, 2023

Salt in Kids Cooking

When I was a kid, I can remember eating dinner at my Grandpa's house.  He absolutely loved green onions and radishes, and I don't think I can remember a time that he was without one or the other at the table.

My grandmother has this neat tiny glass bowl.  Actually, it looked like a miniature bird bath.  It had a sculpted pedastal and scalloped edges, and it held salt.  My grandpa would dip his radish or his onion in the salt, take a bite, then dip again.

However, my Mom pretty much cooked without adding salt, so dipping directly in salt is a little too much for me.  In fact, I still cook mostly without salt - or just a tiny bit.  I never use all that is called for in a recipe.

I don't salt my food at the table.

My kids don't salt their food either.

We've established early on the habit of not adding salt to our food.  And it's a good habit to have. 

The primary purpose of salt in our home is for the making of play dough :-).

So, even if you are a heavy salter...your kids don't have to be.  Cook their food without salt.  If they're young, they'll never know the difference.  If they're older, they'll adjust pretty quickly.

So, start the cut back now - take your container of salt and have your kids think it's primary purpose is to make play dough!

Laura Bankston

P.S.  It's never to late to cut back on salt, and it's especially great if your kids can grow up without all the un-needed extra salt.  Use the "Cooking with Kids in a Box" to show them that salt is best used for Play Dough and how they can cook without adding the salt!

Laura Bankston is author of Internationally selling Cooking with Kids Curriculum: “Homeschool Cooking in a Box” and the “Homeschool Cookbook”. She currently home schools her three children, maintains home school support websites, and manages their family-owned service business. For information on her curriculum and free home school support services, please visit http://www.homeschoolcookbook.com

Copyright 2004, Abundant Learning Publications. All Rights Reserved.

Reprint Permission Requirements: Intact bio, Active hyper-link, and notifiication (click here) of article name and reprint location link.

Saturday, July 24, 2023

Homeschooling Special Needs: How to Build Confidence

This week, I've had quite a response to the Facing the Homeschool Super Mom article.  I know how it is to try to live up to the ideal that you see in others and you just can't do it.

Anyway, I had many questions along similar lines that I'd like to address today. 

Dear Laura:       You have many readers I'm sure and I loved this message thank you for taking the time to write it.  I have a concern that maybe you and your readers can help me with My husband and I have three beautiful children our third child is 6 with Autisum he has been in school since he was 3 and we have started homeschooling all three children this summer we homeschooled our 14 yrs. since Jan. well when we went to register Lucas our son with Autisum they told us that we had to go thru a special M-Team meeting to do this it is bothering me because I have been homeschooling him all summer and I don't want to send him back to all the strangers what do we do is it something we need to be concerned about?  Is there other parents of special needs children that have gone thru this please help I'm worried about this I have been thru other M-team meetings and have been pushed to the point of even hiring a Lawyer to go with us. Thank you for all your help!  Tina.  P.S. I live in Tennessee
L.B.:  Tina, this would be an area of great concern for me too.  To start, go to my web page with Tennessee Home School Requirements:  http://www.homeschoolingrequirements.com/TN.htm so that you can get the general requirements.  My research indicates that registration is required but that there are no requirements on curriculum nor can the LEA require an inspection of home or curriculum.  A course of study must be presented for high school age.  Frequently, schools will assume authority they don't have.

Secondly, I'd get with some other homeschoolers in your situation.  This page has a few resources that I have found for homeschoolers of children with autism:  http://www.homeschoolingrequirements.com/National.htm#autism

Thirdly, I would contact the HSLDA at http://www.hslda.org as they will provide free legal help if your rights to homeschool are being violated and you are a true independent homeschooler (not with a charter or such).

Hi Laura,
I too have a 6 yr old son that has speech difficulties.  He's been tested by speech therapists and found to have no profound speech deficit (by their standards).  I even had one speech therapist work with him, but she couldn't figure out why he wasn't pronouncing his words properly.  He's been tested for his hearing too.  Everything comes out on the up and up...sooooo..my question to you is:  What are you doing to work with your son on his speech? 
When I make my son slow down his words, he does fine.  So..it makes me wonder whether he's just trying to say everything too fast, or is he being lazy with his pronunciations?  Anyway, any helpful insight would be greatly appreciated.  I also have a five year old boy that has no trouble whatsoever with his speech...clear as a bell.  Thanks for you time...I am enjoying your newsletters.  ~Rachel

L.B.  Hi Rachel, with my son's situation, he had physical therapy and speech therapy from the day he was born till about two.  It was in my home and it was fun for him.  His problem is that the muscles in his mouth weren't properly developed and so it was easier for him to say "free" instead of "three".  This is normal in learning to talk, but children normally make the transition to the "th" sound on their own.  With Ryan, it was very difficult. 

When he was an infant, we had a soft, plastic thingee - it kinds looks like those sticks you use to dip in a jar of honey - that I had different areas to place pressure, etc. to help build the muscles.  As he started to speak, we would practice sounds.  I stopped the services by the age of three for several reasons, but here are a few:
  1. I knew there was nothing mentally wrong with him, and no hearing problems such as your case.  He does have dyslexia, but his mental development has always been on track or above average - just his speech was behind.
  2. I did not want him to have a "sitgma" or have someone telling him that he was "lacking".  I knew that he'd eventually catch up, and I wanted to be sure that he did it confidently.
  3. Everything that they were doing with him I could easily do.

So, I made up my own way. 

We played a ring-around-the-rosey type game in the kitchen where we'd run around saying a sound.  He loved it. 

I DID NOT correct him all the time.  Once in a while after he'd say something, I'd say, "Hey, Ryan, let's practice a sound." 

When we started with the alphabet and learning to write each letter, we had to go a little slower.  Since he said "free" instead of "three", he also had problems identifying beginning sounds.  But with each letter sound that he was "off", I would show him the positions of my tongue - like the "th" sticks out a little like a lizard between closed teeth.   Whereas, the "f" sound has your top teeth touching your bottom lip. 

He was able then to mimic the sound with me whenever I asked him.  But he still made the incorrect sounds in normal speech, mostly from habit, I think.

I continued, and more frequently, would stop him in our private conversations - never out in public and never in front of others - show him the correct mouth position, and have him say it the right way.

He is 6 now, and yesterday we were counting in the car.  When he got to the thirty's, he said, "thirty-one, thirty-two..." etc. and all the way up till he said "forty."  They still weren't totally perfect; but that was the first time ever that he did all "th" sounds and then the "f" sound without help or reminding.  I immediately pointed out his accomplishment and he was all smiles.

This has always been an area of tender concern for me.   Our eldest and youngest both are very early, clear, advanced talkers.  I never wanted Ryan to feel "less" of anything because he's not.  He has the biggest, most tender heart of anyone I have ever met- so I be sure to let him know that he has that special gift that is something to treasure.

That's why making the cookbook was such a great experience for us all.  Cooking is on anyone's level.  Nathan was thrilled because he can read the easy instructions and follow the pictures and make something totally by himself.  Ryan was thrilled because the step by step layout and photos made it easy for him to do - and speech didn't matter (although I would make him repeat the instructions).  Maegan was just thrilled to dump something in and stir, which was also good for her motor development. 

So, hopefully this stuff will help.  It's always good to help your children improve and develop their skills.  But, in the grand scheme of things, it's not going to affect his character as an adult or his ability to make an income.  However, if he feels he has a "special need" or is "lacking" or is "behind", that feeling will never go away and WILL prevent him from reaching his full potential.


Laura Bankston

P.S.  Cooking in a box is a great product to build confidence, have fun, and cover a variety of ages and skills.  For those who don't like to read or are struggling with it, this fun environment gives them reading experience and confidence that's invaluable.  For those that have difficulty with sequencing, the step-by-step photos (mostly just three to a page) makes sequencing a breeze.  And the page layout has none of the clutter that inhibits and distracts dyslexics.  Get yours now.

P.P.S. Stop correcting your child's deficiencies - instead, positively build their skills.  You'll get the same result: improvement - but you'll get the added benefit of a more successful and confident child who will KNOW he can do anything - because you let him.

Laura Bankston is author of Internationally selling Cooking with Kids Curriculum: “Homeschool Cooking in a Box” and the “Homeschool Cookbook”. She currently home schools her three children, maintains home school support websites, and manages their family-owned service business. For information on her curriculum and free home school support services, please visit http://www.homeschoolcookbook.com

Copyright 2004, Abundant Learning Publications. All Rights Reserved.

Reprint Permission Requirements: Intact bio, Active hyper-link, and notifiication (click here) of article name and reprint location link.

Thursday, July 22, 2023

Facing the Homeschool Super Mom

I know this Mom.  She homeschools her 5 children, plus she tutors several other children that are dropped off at her house.  AND she's a Pastor's wife.  AND she's working on fixing up the fixer-upper they just moved into.  Whenever I've been in her house, it's been immaculate.  Her children all have perfect manners.  They all seem to be way ahead of their grade level.   She's definitely gotta be a Homeschool Super Mom.

You're probably thinking of someone like this too, right?  Someone that made you think, "Man, my son isn't reading as well as hers." or "My house isn't as clean as hers."  Or a million other things.

And you probably discovered her when you were new to homeschooling.  When you were
already feeling uncertain in your new endeavors.  You were already putting high expectations on yourself.  You were constantly analyzing to be sure you were doing everything right.  And as a result, you tend to be a little over-sensitive about what other's are accomplishing around you without giving enough credit to yourself.

So, it's really important that you remember (as a new homeschooler or a seasoned one) these basic principles that we all so easily forget:

"The 4 Basic Principles That Conquer the 'Super-Moms' Syndrome"

Principle #1:  We always see other's through glasses that make them larger than life.  When I was a teenager, there was this lady in our church.  Her hair and makeup was always perfect.  She lived in a big, expensive home.  She was very stylish and her kids were so cool.  I always wanted to grow up and have that.

But I don't anymore.

I'd rather have my house that gets messy 5 minutes after it gets picked up, my hair that falls down into my eyes as I pick up my children, and my face that only gets makeup on Sunday.  Why you may ask?  Well, here's why.  I'm happy.  I love my family, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

The lady I had idolized as a teen?  She still has her perfect home and impeccable style.  But, she has a marriage without love and children who are stuck up adults who ignore her totally.

I had seen her through glasses that made her larger than life.  In the end, she's not any bigger or greater than me.  In fact, she probably wishes that she had my life!

So, if you start to think about someone else who seems to have the life you want, STOP LOOKING!  Instead, sit down and make a list of 100 good things in your life--from the air you breathe, to the heat in your home, to the kisses from your child.  I guarantee that you'll feel better about yourself that you ever have before.

Principle #2:  Everyone has their own unique gift.  Everyone has their own unique ability and we tend to notice in other's the abilities that might be our "weak" ones.

For instance, if you think you're house is always messy, you'll seem to know all these people who have perfectly neat homes.

For an example from my life, I have a son who struggles with speech and it seems like every other parent within a 100 mile radius have children with perfect diction.  But you know that's not the way it is.  My son might not pronounce every phonic sound correctly--yet!--but he has so many other gifts that hardly make that one seem important.

For instance, no one notices his speech.  They always comment, though, how loving he is.  Just running up to people and giving them hugs.  And he has fun no matter what he does.  Can you believe one day I actually heard myself saying, "Ryan.  Stop that.  Not everything is supposed to be fun."  I had to step back and slap myself.  Then I said, "Never mind.  Mommy was wrong.  Have as much fun as you can."  And I learned a lesson from that.

So, forget about what the homeschooled Jones' are doing.  Discover your child's unique ability and relish in it and develop it and learn from it. 

Right now, at the end of your list of 100 things that you're grateful for, list 10 wonderful qualities or abilities for yourself and each of your children.  Work on acknowledging, praising, and being thankful for all of your gifts.  And don't forget to thank God that you got the greatest kids ever born on this earth.

Principle #3:  It doesn't matter what others think.  I know, it seems easier said than done.  But I guarantee that if you've actually taken the time to write down your list of 100 things that you're grateful for and 10 wonderful qualities of your child, that you won't care what other people think because you will know and appreciate what you have.

And, see, it really doesn't matter what other people think. 

What matters is what's important to you.  Your core values.  Your beliefs.  Your ethics.   How do you want your children to be as adults?  Hey, write it down right now.  5 things you want your child to be as an adult.

Okay, I'll do it right now too for Ryan who is 6 years old--but do yours before you read mine:
A loving husband and father
An honest, ethical entrepreneur
Faithful in service to God
Kind, thoughtful, and helpful to those less fortunate
Thankful and content for what he can do and what he has
Now, I'll bet that you had similar types of things.  Not, "makes $1,000,000 by age 30" or "wins he Miss America contest".

Focus on developing and rearing your child to have those 5 qualities, and I'll guarantee that the fact that Mrs. Smith's daughter who is 2 years younger than yours is reading book three times as difficult.  Geez, that's a real life skill.  You see what I'm getting at?

Principle #4:  When you say "yes" to one thing, you are always saying "no" to something else.  Have you ever heard that before?  I heard that from an owner of a successful multi-million dollar business.  That was the simple rule that he used to prioritize his life.  When he sat at his desk with phone messages to return, he would literally think, "If I say 'yes' to calling this person, what will I be saying 'no' to?"  When someone would asked to do something, he was able to say "no", knowing that if he said "yes" to that project, that he would be saying "no" to extra time with his family.

This principle applies to everyone whether they are conscious of it or not.

Mrs. Smith who is working so hard to have her child advanced in reading is saying "no" to some other educational area.  Or, Suzie Homeschool Super Mom up the street who has her immaculate home is saying "no" to time with her kids or family or something else.

The same applies to me.  I've said "yes" to this homeschool site, so I've had to say "no" to things like having a perfectly neat house, laundry always done and put away, and a 5 course home-cooked meal on the table by 5:00 every night.

Only say "yes" to the things that are important to you.  
(See, you don't know it, but I've been gone for 20 minutes.  My daughter came downstairs crying, and I stopped to take care of her.  And I've also acquired a set of ear muffs made from pipecleaners and pom-poms.)
So, as I was saying, say "yes" ONLY to the things that are most important to you.  And know ahead of time what you'll be saying "no" to before you say "yes"!

Principle #5:  Take advantage of every possible tool.  That's right.  I don't lift a finger (well, hardly a finger) to clean my home as I have cleaner's come twice a week to take care of that responsibility for me.  And to solve my meal preparation dilemma?  I purchase items that can be thrown in the oven and get side dishes that are quick and easy. 

You can do similar things.  I have a homeschooling friend who takes one day a month and cooks all day to  makes meals for 30 days that she freezes and uses one at a time.  And I thought she cooked from scratch every night!

Having difficulties organizing?  Don't fight it.  Buy something that organizes your stuff or forget it.  It really isn't that important to waste time stressing over!

Use all the tools you can, and leave everything else to collect dust.

So whatever happened to that super mom?

Hopefully by now you've done the exercises or at least skimmed enough here and there to know that there is no super mom except the unrealistic giant you've created in your mind.  Instead, you should have a full, realistic view of the gifts and treasures that you possess and a new appreciation for all you get done and how you can enjoy doing what you do a little more!  If you've done that, than I wasn't wrong in saying "yes" to this project!

Release your worries and enjoy life!

Wednesday, July 21, 2023

54 Reasons to Homeschool

"54 Reasons Why Families Choose to Homeschool"
1.  Be with Your Family
2.  Set Your Own Schedule
3.  Vacation When You Want
4.  Choose curriculum that best suits the needs of your child
5.  Be totally aware of the state and progress of your child's education
6.  Keep your child away from un-necessary peer pressure
7.  Keep your child away from the bad influence of other children
8.  Love, nurture, and teach your child the character and morals you value most
9.  Make learning fun
10.  Make learning as "experiential" as you want
11.  Don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to get your child dressed and fed and off to school where their so tired they don't learn well anyway.
12.  Break up the day however you want to fit your child's learning attention span
13.  Teach your child without any "assumed limitations".  Teach multiple languages, develop one skill or subject--the sky's the limit
14.  What you teach an older child naturally filters down to the younger child(ren) making learning must easier and faster for siblings
15.  Teach at the pace and developmental stage appropriate for your child
16.  Avoid educational "labeling"
17.  Keep you child as far away from drugs as possible
18.  Never have to worry about bomb scares or mass shootings
19.  Allow your child to do think, discuss, and explore in ways not possible in a classroom setting
20.  Constant positive reinforcement and gentle correction.  No abusive words or actions that scar your child's psyche
21.  Don't use the school system as a babysitter.  You only need a few hours for learning--the rest of the day is filled with unnecessary "busy work"
22.  Develop life skills such as cooking, cleaning, and organizing that are easily learned with the additional time spent at home
23.  Spend as much time outdoors as you want to enjoy nature and the world around us
24.  Teach the value of responsibility by providing daily jobs
25.  To make money management as natural as breathing by allowing even small children to do tasks, earn money, save it, and spend it in an appropriate manner.
26.  Never have your child beat up by a bully.  Teach self-defense skills that will enable him to deal with any situation but not until he is mature enough to handle the emotional aspects of confrontation
27.  No pressure or set "expectations" from teachers on a younger sibling that follows an older sibling in the same school
28.  Be around when your child needs to talk
29.  Take a break when your child needs a break
30.  Bond as a family through family group activities
31.  Pass on your religious beliefs and morals to your children and stay away from the "indoctrination" of other school systems
32.  Teach sex education when you and how you want
33.  Develop your child's imagination and teach diverse problem solving skills instead of one institutionalized method of thinking
34.  Unlimited possibilities for extra curricular activities that interest your child having to live up to the expectations or skills of others.
35.  Develop the individualism of your child
36.  Avoid traditional school "group activities" that may leave one student doing all the work or ruining it for everyone else.
37.  Never have your child feel the failure, embarrassment, or teasing from "failing" a grade
38.  To keep your children out of the care, custody, and control or people you don't know and who naturally teach their philosophy of life whether they realize it or not
39.  No opportunity for your child to "sluff off", "snow-blow", or "just get by" with academics
40.  To have your child learn initiative naturally as there's no peer pressure or fear of embarrassing himself
41.  Allow your child to have input and say in subject matter and style
42.  Allow your child to focus on growth and development--not following the latest fad or being in a certain group
43.  So your child will only be surrounded by people who love him, encourage him, and want the best for him.
44.  Make sure your child doesn't end up graduating without knowing how to read or knowing other basic skills due to educational failings of your local schools.
45.  Keep your child out of private schools that have peer pressure, teacher criticism, durgs, sex, and alcohol that your child never needs to be around
46.  Avoid grading scales and testing that gives no positive benefit to your child
47.  Not to give the state or federal government control of your child that they assume is theirs
48.  To easily pass on your unique heritage or language to your child
49.  So your child is not limited by "age" or "grade" to advance or explore academics in which they are interested or gifted
50.  To teach your children to enjoy life
51.  To allow your children to go to work with Mom or Dad when you all want--not just on the one "go to work with a parent holiday"
52.  As many field trips as you want, to places that interest your child
53.  To just take a day off when everyone feels like it
54.  Flexibility to switch or experiment with different curriculum
If you found these reasons helpful and are ready to start home school, then continue at How to Homeschool

Monday, July 19, 2023

5 Simple Steps to Transform Stress into Life Improvements

Hi.  I hope you all have had a great week.  I've been in Phoenix this week for our family carpet cleaning business.  Four times a year, we have meetings in Phoenix for marketing and teaching in running our business.
This weekend I learned a concept that I'd like to share with you.  How Stress is actually a positive experience and can be used to improve your life.
Need Easy, Kid Friendly Recipes for Cooking With Kids?  It doesn't get any easier with kid friendly instructions and step-by-step photos that reinforces reading, sequencing, and math without their even knowing it!  Click Here now!
In fact, I just faced a small moment of stress a few minutes ago.
Just before I boarded this flight from Phoenix to Seattle, I was talking to Wade on my cell phone.  Toward the end of our conversation, he told me how someone had commented on how the kids are dressed better when I'm around.
Now, I already know some of the things he's taken the kids to church in.....YIKES!
But, then he proceeds to tell me how Maegan had syrup in her hair, and it was all tangled, and he couldn't brush it out; so he took her over to the baby sitter that way anyway (uh-oh).
When he picked her up, they said they were going to do swimming the next day, so he took her back the next day the same way so the swimming could wash it out!!!
I about DIED!
No wonder they commented!!!!!
Now, to me, that is definitely a moment of stress!
But did you know that I gave me an opportunity to make my life and Maegan's life better?
Here, let me walk you through it. 
How did I feel when I hear this story? I felt a little angry, embarrassed, frustrated, incredulous, shocked...
But did you know that it is a good thing that I felt that way?  It is a good thing because it meant that it was going to cause some action.
Now, I could do a harmful type reaction and have an argument with husband, never go on a trip again, etc
or....I can use that emotion to think of a solution so that it doesn't happen again.
Which is precisely what I did.
First, I explained to my husband how to brush a girls long hair.  It never occurred to me that I was the only one brushing her hair - and being a girl with long hair, it never occurred to me that someone would start brushing it from top on down!  No wonder he could never get the tangles out.  So, now he knows to start at the bottom and work his way up.
Secondly, I explained to him that when syrup is in the hair, you HAVE TO WASH IT!  I don't know if he was waiting for it to deteriorate :-), or if he thought it would rub off on her pillow :-) or what......it's probably best I DON'T know what he thought!  But anyway....
Thirdly, I explained how I washed her hair.  Actually, as I right this, it is soooo hard NOT to laugh.  I mean, for the moment our first two boys were born, Wade's done everything in taking care of them.  And I guess he did for Maegan too, until her hair started getting long.  Who would have known that a little hair could scare such a big, strong guy so much?
But, in a way, I do understand.  Her head is sensitive from her cranial surgery, and he is particularly sensitive to his daughter.  If she says "oww", he can't tell if it's real or not.  I guess that's a mom thing.
Anyway - after I went through all of that, I told him when he needed to brush her hair and how often he had to wash it. 
I just created a system so that the next time I'm on a trip, she will look great, he won't feel lost, and I won't be embarrassed.
If you look at ANY situation in life, you can go through the same process.  You can face a stimulus, negatively re-act, or creatively solve.
What is in your life right now, this very second, that you are stressed about?  Are you just ignoring it, hoping that it will go away?  Are you trying to cover it up with eating, or are you suffering physically by lack of sleep from worry and insomnia?
Here's five steps to put your subconscious out of commission and use your conscious mind to use the stress to improve your life:

1.  Write down what is stressing you

2.  Write down how it makes you feel

3.  Write down what is good about it and what is bad about it

4.  Write down what you would do differently knowing what you know now

5.  Write a plan of what you can do or put in place so that it won't happen again or so that you'll have a positive outcome next time

Stress can be your friend.  Without it, you'll never be motivated to make a change for the better.  And, it will NEVER go away.  Life will never reach the point where everything goes great all the time.
And don't forget to teach this to your kids!  They can have such an advantage in life to learn now how to positively channel negative experience into an opportunity for growth.
You can do the written exercise with them - or hey, you can even do it while cooking!
Show them:
--how chaos is turned to order
--that hurrying or making yourself slow down makes something great
--how beating and stirring and molding makes it into something better
--how a recipe "flog" is now an analyzing opportunity to make it better the next time

You'll be teaching them really valuable important life skills and they'll be having the time of their life doing it!
Laura Bankston

P.S.  Don't run or ignore stress.  Learn how to use it to improve your life when you follow the five simple steps above.

P.P.S.  If you like to teach while doing fun things with the kids, then cooking with kids is the perfect opportunity to use family fun to demonstrate life changing skills in a concrete way.  What are you waiting for?  Get yours now!

Wednesday, July 14, 2023

Homeschool Q&A; #071404

First off, let me give congratulations to the winner of the July 2004 drawing for the homeschool cookbook on CD: Sally Studdiford

Now, right on to Q&A; and comments from the mailbag:

Q: Hello to you> I have a question that I hope you can help me with.  A friend of mine is going to start homeschooling his 12 yr. old son, He is a truck Driver by trade and is very excited to take his son with him,  My question is, is there any laws that he needs to be aware of since he is going to teach from his truck??  Thank ever so much for your help>  Kala Barthram

A: Hi Kala - I haven't ever heard of any restrictions on location of homeschooling. It doesn't have to be in the home. Some states have requirements of how many hours per day of instruction, some require courses of study, etc., so as long as the state requirements are fulfilled, that's all that matters. You can let me know the state if you need more info or see if your state is already list at homeschoolingrequirements.com

Q: Laura, I really enjoy receiving your email everyday! I get alot out of it & I hope to soon be able to order your cookbook. It sounds great! I was wondering if you could tell me how you are able to homeschool your children & help out with the family business, too? Plus all the other things we Mom's have to do...cleaning, cooking, running errands, etc.....? I have 2 daughters that I homeschool & I have a part time job that I do ususally 1 or 2 days a week. I find it very hard & overwhelming to keep up with everything. Do you ever feel like that & if so, what do you do? Thanks for reading this! Terri

A: Terri, very good question and one that you can ask for a lot of people - think about some people who couldn't possibly do everything they have to do in one day by themselves. People who get way more done than I do: Oprah Winfrey, President Bush, Martha Stewart, etc.

There are a few basic principles:

1. Duplicate and delegate. There is no way that you can physically manufacture enough hours in the day to do everything yourself, so you have to increase the number of people working on your stuff! I have manuals, an office assistant, an answering service, housecleaners do my house twice a week, families that work on my mail outs and order fulfillments.

2. YOU only do what's the most important to you or your unique ability. The rest gets delegated out or deleted.

3. Start saying "no." When you say "yes" or allow something into your life, you are saying "no" to something else. Only say "yes" to the things that are the most important - like family and children.

4. Plan. Begin every day at least a half hour early to gather your thoughts, pick 1-2 things that are important to do that will lead you to your goals, and pick 3-5 things that are urgent to get done or that are weighing on your mind. I have certain days of the week that are assigned certain tasks, certain tasks that I do everyday, and some tasks that get done very two - three weeks.

5. Create systems - have systems for things others do so that when they are gone, someone else can fill in that gap with minimal effort.

6. Stay healthy. Eat right and exercise. You'll need the mental and physical energy.

7. Use personal coaches - I don't have a personal trainer right now, though I used to. But I do have 3 business coaches. They keep you on focus, on track, accountable, and helping you streamline and get more done with less effort.

Yes, I do have a lot going on in my life! :-) And, yes, I still have moments when I feel overwhelmed. Mostly when I start to lose control and move away from the things listed above. And it's taken me 7 years to learn and implement these 7 principles. And I have more to do and more to learn.

And even in your situation, you'll find it surprising easy to find ways to delegate - like a teen who would love to come to your house twice a week to do laundry for a fee that you can afford so that you can go on a picnic or something with your family.

Try to creatively come up with solutions - but don't forget to give yourself some personal time to recharge too! As moms, we give and give and give emotionally and physically to the ones we love; and we have to recharge to have more to spread around.
Much good luck to you!!

Are you Ready for Craft plans for your quickly approaching "back to school" time? Or maybe you just would love to have something handy to do a craft with the grandkids when they come over? Or how about that birthday party when you need something quick, easy, inexpensive, and cherished? Then you need 36 Fun and Easy Crafts on CD - the only crafts with options for different age levels, easy to ready instructions, and step by step photos.

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Simply, enter "Q&A; #071404" as how you heard about "36 F-un and Easy Crafts on CD" and you'll get a free link to download the new E-book "Eat and Grow Thin" (complete with low - carb recipes)!

And, now - on to some comments from recent articles:

Regarding "The Power of the Written Word":
"Dear Laura,
This is Davina, & I just read the power of the written word. It is so true,, everything that u said. I use to write things down all the time, & I can still feel the emotions from the words & events that happened when I read my notes. I can remember where I was when I wrote it, & how I felt.
I appreciate your little inserts you send to me. They are really helpful. I will start a journal again. I never thought about writing my dreams down, & most of the time I try to rem. what happened in my sleep. Lately I have been getting dreams that I have dreamnt like the month before. I think I will also try a prayer list. This was one of the messages that you have sent ot me that has really grabbed my attention. I think I should react to this message now. Thanks alot. God Bless You & Yours. Sin., Davina

Regarding "A Public Teacher Gives Reasons to Homeschool":
"Laura, I just read your note about the reasons a public school teacher would homeschool. As a former public school teacher and the mother of a daughter who did kindergarten and first grade in public school, I most certainly agree with this teacher. I commend her for encouraging your husband and not shooting lots of intimidating questions his way. This teacher needs a big hug from all us homeschooling parents who REALLY need pats on the back sometimes. When I was in the trenches of public school I said many a time that I wouldn't teach my own children because God wasn't leading us there. I have two older sisters who have been homeschooling for MANY years. I never felt fully supportive of their choices BUT I realize now that I was always a bit envious of the family "closeness" I saw in their homes. As we have just completed our first year of homeschooling, those two sisters are some of my loudest "cheerleaders". I thank God for all the prayers I know they sent up for us. I believe that the decision to homeschool is a personal family choice between parents and God, BUT I also believe that more parents should consider it. One thing that has struck me hard this year is the variety of curriculums and resources out there. I know LOTS of homeschooling families and I don't think I know two families that are educating their children the exact same way. Some even use different methods and texts with different children within the same family. I stand up and applaud this!!!!! All of us are unique. We have unique personalities and unique learning styles. Yet in a traditional school setting, we expect one type of curriculum and sometimes, one method of teaching to successfully educate a huge number of children. Even when modifications are made for special needs students ( I taught students with learning and behavior special needs for 7 years.), the basic system is still the same. I wish I knew then what I know now. Maybe I would have been a better public school teacher. I love the privilege of teaching my children. I love the challenge of discovering what makes them tick and what keeps them motivated. Thank you for all the messages you send out that inspire and encourage us all to keep on looking UP and reaching OUT. Because He Lives, M."

Regarding "How Being a Protective Mom Can Hurt Your Kids"

"Thank you for that wonderful word of encouragement. Most of the time I feel I am allowing my four to "fail forward", but it doesn't hurt to be reminded of the confidence that comes when they succeed. Nancy in Sturgis, SD"

"Thank You!!! for this letter. I feel like I have to protect my kids, but I know that I can't always be there. That they have to have in God and in themselves to face challenges no matter what they might be. THANK YOU, Laura, once again for your encouraging letters. Sandy from IN."

Thank you all for your comments. It is an honor and privilege to be a help and encouragement to you.

Laura Bankston

P.S. Don't miss out on your opportunity to get the new $19.95 e-book "Eat and Grow Thin" for FREE with the 36 Fund and Easy Crafts on CD. Just enter your source as Q&A; #071404, and if you're one of the next 25, then you'll get a link for the download FREE

How to Grill Steak Perfectly

There's nothing better than a nicely grilled juicy steak.

But how come I can't duplicate that restaurant, expensive, juicy, melt-in-your mouth, perfectly grilled steak?

Well, I found out how to grill steak perfectly - and here's how you can too.

1. The choice of meat is important!!! Just because the supermarket has labeled the steak "good for grilling" doesn't mean that it is. Lean meat does not do well. You want a piece that has marbling throughout. And these are good cuts: fillet (mignon), top loin (rib eye) - basically the same cuts that are the ones you love in the restaurant.

2. Next, proper heating of the grill is vital. If you are using charcoal, spread 2/3 of the bricks on one side and 1/3 of the bricks on the other. That way you have a hotter side for searing the meat and a cooler side for cooking the meat.

If you are using a gas grill, you will lose some of the flavor, but you will want to turn the heat down for the cooking portion.

3. Next, rub both sides of the meat with oil and cover with salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt and pepper because it will fall off during the grilling.

4. Place your meat on the hot side for searing. Cook on each side for three minutes to get the nice grilled meat crust color you love. For a hand test, I've been told that you should be able to hold you hand over the heat for 3 seconds before you can't take it!

5. Place your meat on the cooler side for cooking to your taste. The hand test for the cooler side, I've been told, is 6-7 seconds. You will want to use a timer to cook the meat - or use the slice and peak test to see if the meat is done enough for you. Just don't cut and peek too often or you'll lose all the juice!

6. When the steak is done, take if off the grill and let it set for at least 5 minutes. Some people call it "resting". It allows the juices to spread back out so that you'll have a juicy steak with a nice crust.

Please feel free to add any comments below...

Laura Bankston is author of Internationally selling Cooking with Kids Curriculum: Homeschool Cooking in a Box and the Homeschool Cookbook. She currently home schools her three children, maintains home school support websites, and manages their family-owned service business. For information on her curriculum and free home school support services, please visit Homeschool Cooking With Kids

Copyright 2004, Abundant Learning Publications. All Rights Reserved.

Reprint Permission Requests
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Tuesday, July 13, 2023

Kids Need Discipline to Be Courageous

I've been doing a lot of thinking this weekend - actually, a lot of thinking about courage since the boys went rappelling. (Oh - Dad, I spelled it right this time!)

So, with that on my mind, I finally made the connection. Kids can't be courageous if they aren't disciplined.

Let me share with you proof.

I've been in Seattle for the last four days with my daughter Maegan at Children's Hospital. She just turned 3 years old; but when she was 1 1/2 years old, she had major cranial surgery. She was born with one of the suture lines in her skull closed and her head was growing contorted. That's a long story in and of itself.

Anyway, we were just there for a checkup and CT scan to make sure her skull is growing okay.

Since she's 3 years old, anesthesia was ordered for the scan. So, of course, that meant no eating after 6:30 a.m., clear fluids until 10:30 a.m., and then nothing until after the 1p.m. scan.

We were in a hotel in Bellevue and I had gotten some cereal bars at the 7-11 and had her eat two at 2 a.m. (since we had just arrived on our flight and I knew that once she fell asleep there would be no waking her up at 6 a.m. to get a quick bite).

I picked up the left-overs and extra food and put everything out of sight so it would be easier for her when we woke up.

Or, at least I thought I had picked it all up.

Everything went smoothly, we were packed up ready to drive to the hospital, Maegan holding the bag I gave her with a container of cinnamon graham crackers that she could have as soon as her CT scan was finished.

I picked up my purse and cell phone and scanned the directions to the hospital. Then I turned around to take Maegan's hand - just in time to see her chewing!

I screamed and she jumped.

I pulled the food out of her mouth and asked her if she swallowed any.

Wide-eyed, she shook her head "yes."

Apparently, a piece of cereal bar was in the bag I gave her; and seeing food, she naturally put it in her mouth. Can't blame her, poor thing.

So, we went to the hospital and when the nurse asked when the last time she ate, I told her about the small bite. I didn't think it was a big deal, but apparently it was. My options were: 1) Wait six hours and do the scan, 2)Cancel and reschedule, 3)Feed her and hope a warm blanket and full tummy would make her fall asleep, 4)Go ahead and try the scan.

Well, they wanted me to feed her and try to get her to sleep; but there was nooooo way she was going to fall asleep voluntarily in that hospital. I said that she could lay still for the scan if I could be right next to her.

The staff wasn't so sure. They told me all she had to do.

I said she could do it.

Finally, they agreed to try (which I'm sure they really didn't want to have a failed one due to costs - but there was no way I was gonna make a 2nd trip down from Alaska or make her go hungry for another 6 hours)

We went into the room and we showed her the big donut machine. They had it all covered in a mosaic of stickers. We told her how she would lay on the table and go into the donut to get pictures taken.

She started to cry.

She was scared and she had every right to be. The technician stepped out for a minute while I talked to her and told her that it wouldn't hurt, that she could do it, and that mommy would be right there with her.

She still cried.

After I let her cry for a minute - because it was okay for her to be scared and natural for her to cry - I told her that it was time to stop crying and get this done so she could have her snack.

She obeyed.

We wiped her face and laid her down on the narrow table.

They moved the table back and forth to show her how it would move.

The technician wrapped a towel around her head and told her it was to help remind her not to move her head.

The whole time her eyes were locked on mine. Wide. Moist. I did not break the gaze.

I kept re-assuring her, holding her hands as the table moved back and forth, working it's way into the machine.

Then the tech put the strap on her forehead that was another reminder for her to hold her head still.

The machine started up and made a noise that I thought was terrifying. I told her it was okay and explained what was happening. That she was going to lay there and be still and mommy was going to right there with her.

Then came the time for the 10 second scan that she couldn't move her mouth of anything. They gave me a toy to hold in one hand. It had a button that made the toy spin with all kinds of blinking lights. I told her that when mommy turned the toy on, that she was not to move - not even her mouth.

And you know what? She did it!

She held perfectly still the whole time, her gaze locked with mine, her hands tightly in mine.

When she was done, she was so proud of herself and all the compliments she got - and especially the special stuffed lamb they gave her.

She had been extremely courageous.

In fact, she radiated the same fresh confidence that I told you was evident when Nathan did the rappelling.

But it didn't hit me then.

We walked out of the area, Maegan waving over her shoulder, calling, "Good-bye everybody."

We walked back into the hallway where there was a separate waiting area for satellite scanning - I have no idea what that is.

And there was this poor family. A husband, wife, daughter, and a little boy. The little boy was probably just under 2 years old. He would walk away and when his mother told him to come back he snarled, "NO!" And when she reached for him, he started screaming at the top of his lungs. And he kicked and fought while she carried him back. His Mom gave me a friendly smile as we walked by. Apparently she was one of those that found this type of behavior acceptable.

I thought, "It's a good thing that boy doesn't have to do what Maegan just did because it would never happen."

Maybe the "Ahhhhhh" light is going off in your head now.

If Maegan hadn't of been disciplined - if she wasn't taught that obedience is the only option - then she wouldn't have gotten her scan done.

People wonder why their child doesn't comply when they are exposed to something new or scary. For some reason, they think it is supposed to be some type of instantaneous, spontaneous character quality that a child has or doesn't.

But it's not that way.

Maegan has been consistently and lovingly disciplined to obey and to trust. Since she has learned to do that in the everyday little things, it was no different for something big.

She was secure in following my instructions and doing what she was told.

And as a result, she experienced what it is like to be courageous - doing something even though she was scared.

Wednesday, July 07, 2023

What's So Special About Cinnamon?

I don't know about you, but just the smell of cinnamon makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

My favorite cookies to make is Snickerdoodles because I just LOVE the smell of them baking. There's just something warm and delicious about it.

And that's why there are several recipes - my subconscious must have been working on the recipe selections - with the Homeschool Cooking With Kids course that include Cinnamon.

The sense of smell is powerful - and when my kids smell Cinnamon, they are going to feel warm and fuzzy all over because of the fun we've had in the kitchen.

But, you might be surprised to know that the history of Cinnamon goes waaaay back - it was one of the first trade spices.

In fact, cinnamon is mentioned in the Bible - it was used in the combination of ingredients used to make a holy anointing oil for the tabernacle:

Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses saying,

Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,

And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:

And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
Exodus 30:22-25 NKJV
The ointment or oil was used to anoint the tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, the table and all the vessels, the candlestick, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt-offering, etc.

I find two things interesting about this passage:

1. Cinnamon was an ingredient in this holy anointing oil
2. Cinnamon is called "an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary".

Does cinnamon have health benefits as well?

A quick search on the internet showed me that there are people practicing the use of cinnamon for medicinal purposes: cinnamon pills for diabetes, cinnamon bark used by the Chinese for calming stomach acids, cinnamon bark being used in India for childbirth labor, and cinnamon pills for increasing blood circulation and creating a warm feeling.

Well, didn't I start out by saying just the smell of cinnamon makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over?

Hope you found this information on cinnamon facts interesting and useful!

Laura Bankston

Laura Bankston is author of Internationally selling Cooking with Kids Curriculum: “Homeschool Cooking in a Box” and the “Homeschool Cookbook”. She currently home schools her three children, maintains home school support websites, and manages their family-owned service business. For information on her curriculum and free home school support services, please visit Homeschool Cooking With Kids

Copyright 2004, Abundant Learning Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Reprint Permission Requests

Tuesday, July 06, 2023

How Being a Protective Mom Can Hurt Your Kids

We weren't planning on doing much over the 4th of July weekend. In fact, someone had asked a group I was in who would be taking time off and none of us planned too...

But, being the naturally uptight, rigidly scheduled type of person I tend to be, I've been trying to be more spontaneous. Actually, it's something I've been working on for the last 15 years, and although it's getting a little easier, it's still a struggle at times.

I do give my Mom a hard time, though. She did make me give two weeks notice to have a friend over the house! But, hey, what can I say. I inherited my mother's hermit personality --and no, Mom, I'm NOT making fun of you. I love you to death--and I'd be content to stay home all the time, curled up, and reading a good novel.

So, anyway, back to the story. We didn't have any weekend plans.

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But on Friday night, about 9:30, we got an invite to go on a picnic with some new friends on Saturday.

Now, to some of you, that may not seem spontaneous - but to a "give me two weeks notice" type of personality, accepting plans within 24 hours IS spontaneous.

Anyway, so Saturday morning, I talk to Judy Frey and we make plans the way Moms do. But it was then that I also learned that they were going to bring their rock repelling equipment for us to try.

Now, we had talked about doing that before, so that wasn't a surprise. I was actually kind of excited about it.

So, we went out South of Anchorage - there's only one road that goes out of Anchorage - Alaska Hwy #1 (very original, huh?). It goes out from the North or from the South of Anchorage. Great for people who don't like to make decisions!

Every time we head out of the city, I feel like kicking myself for waiting so long to do it. The scenery is simply breathtaking. You can feel the tension and stress just melt away as you drive along this highway that's really the base of a mountain hugging the inlet - ocean and snow capped mountains....

The park was just as gorgeous. We picked a covered area right next to a stream of fresh, melted snow water that was going out to the sea. Another couple, the Johnson's, joined the group with their two boys, so we had quite a crowd.

We grilled and ate and visited, and then hiked the 3/10 of a mile up to where the "beginner" cliff was.

It looked like a beginner cliff to me - actually I thought it looked kinda small. But, it was about 50 feet.

The group started climbing up the rocks to the top of the cliff, except for us three Moms.

As the group of men and kids was leaving, I quickly asked Judy, "Is this something that if they change their mind they can stop, or is it something that they have to do once they start?"

Judy said it was something that after a certain point there was no turning back.

Fearing that my boys, who are 6 and 8, would be terrified and not able to get back, I started to tell my husband about the "point of no return".

He quickly gave me the hand wave that clearly meant, "DON'T say anything," so I stopped.

My mother's heart was fearing for my kids. I wanted to protect them. I wanted them to have the opportunity to back out. But I kept my mouth shut and waited.

Soon, 18 year old John tested the lines, running down the cliff face first - which is Australian style or something - whatever it was, it looked terrifying.

Then, my husband Wade came down. He thought it was great, but it looked to me like the gear just gave him the "ultimate wedgie".

Next, came my son Nathan. I climbed to where he was going to descend to cheer him on.

He was inching down slowly - it probably wasn't even inches, maybe just centimeters at a time. But down he came, following the instructions as they were called out to him...spreading his feet wider...leaning back more...slowly feeding the rope from a gloved hand in back of him to the gloved hand in front of him..

Midway down, he stopped at a ledge to rest. His poor little legs were wobbling from fear and adrenaline. I was a cheering him on, encouraging him - I was really proud of him!

He continued on and finally made it down. It took about 5 minutes; and when he unclipped himself, he stood next to me, he knees knocking and hands shaking.

But he wore a grin wider than the grand canyon.

"That was FUN!" he said. "I want to do it AGAIN!"

Wow. I was amazed. And he did do it again - this time in about 2 minutes.

And as the rest of the group took turns (and yes, Ryan did do it too and I'll tell you about that tomorrow), Nathan hopped from rock to rock like a Billy goat. He was full of confidence that I'd never seen before.

When we got home and the kids were asleep (it only took about 30 seconds for them to be dead to the world), Wade told me why he didn't want me to tell them about the "point of no return." He didn't want them to miss out because of fear when he knew it was something they could do, that they would love, and that would give them instant confidence.

He told me that when Nathan started down the first portion of rock that was at about a 45 degree angle - and before we could see him - that he was crying from fear and wanted to quit.

He said that the young man, John, who was teaching the kids, said, "Nathan. It's okay to cry. You can cry all the way down, if you want. But you are going down."

What would have happened if I'd had my way? He might have stopped before he even climbed to the top of the cliff. He'd definitely have stopped when he started crying because I wanted to "protect my baby".

But that would have been a mistake.

Just think about it. He would have had a defeated attitude. He might have regretted that he didn't go. He would wonder if he could have done it. He would have felt bad that he was the only one who didn't. I would have hurt him with my over protectiveness.

I wish you could have seen him before and after. The confidence was practically dripping off of him. There was no way to miss it. He had done something when he was scared, did it anyway, and succeeded. Do you realize the value of that lesson? It's invaluable!

So, Mom's, take a lesson from me. Sometimes you do a better job "protecting" by letting them do something. It doesn't have to be rock repelling - but when you're heart trembles and you know they're safe - let them go. Don't let them quit. You'll be giving them an experience to reflect on that will give them confidence to go and do things they never would do otherwise.