Tuesday 7 May 2013

Homeschooling and Cooking a Healthy Adventure

One of the benefits of the home school adventure for our family is a healthier lifestyle. When I started my journey I immersed myself in learning about the nitty gritty how to aspects of homeschooling. Once I was fairly settled in my approach I started paying more attention to what all my new homeschooling friends were doing and talking about.   It turns out that most of their discussions centered around cooking meals from scratch, no sugar, grinding their flour, using natural cleaning products, essential oils and growing their own food.  I confess I was quite skeptical of the whole idea as I am not the grind your own flour kinda girl.

My story
I married young (19). I confess that I did not understand the depth of my responsibility towards my family and their health in the arena of cooking. My Mom is a great cook and allowed us all into her kitchen, took us under her wing and taught us all she knew and from here I developed a love of cooking.

 At first I cooked what ever we felt like eating without a thought to the effects of our eating habits on our health. A year later we were blessed with the news of our first pregnancy and with that started the quest in gathering information on pregnancy and well being. I was not so worried about me as much as I was concerned about my new baby. From their it progressed to what to feed him and so it went.  Soon after our second rose joined our family we migrated to New Zealand. It was here that we started home schooling and embarked on a quest to find out more about healthy living.

I learned
In order for us to look after our families well and keep them healthy we need to become better educated in the choices we make and have a deeper understanding of nutrition and healthy living. We all know this deep down but not many of us know the why behind the good choices we need to make. Here are two books I recommend

What the Bible says about Healthy Living

This is the first book I read and purchased on healthy living and it's still the first book I recommend to any mom wanting to know more about healthy living and cooking for her family. I love this book because it's down to earth.  Russel shares about his own journey towards healthy eating and living and what factors influence his choices.  He shares the research he uncovered and empowers you to make healthy choices for your family.  I found this book to be empowering and encouraging. 

Author: Rex Russell, M.D. ( 1941 - 2009)
Publisher: Gospel Light
Published: 29 August 2008 (Current Edition)
Format: Paperback 286 pages
ISBN 13: 9780830743490
ISBN 10: 0830743499
Facebook: What the Bible says about Healthy Living
Cookbook: What the Bible says about Healthy Living Cookbook.

On a side note the mistake I did when I got this book was to try and change far too many things in our diet as I read the book.  I now encourage my friends when they read this book to take hold of one thing to change and do it S-L-O-W-L-Y.  Once your family has adapted to this new food add in the next change.  I did it too fast and too many things at once and my family revolted and simply refused to budge on things.  For some families going cold turkey works and for others it does not.  Know your family well before implementing big changes and make sure that your spouse is equally happy with the changes you intend to make because if they are not your changes will not be permanent ones.

Trim Healthy Mama No More Fads!
This book is relatively new to my bed side table.  When I first heard about it I ignored it for a while as being the latest fad to go through the home school community. After a while I could not ignore it as so many glowing reports came out about it.  I went to visit a friend who had purchased the book and took some time to look through it.  This book is interesting in that the authors have very different outlooks on healthy eating (one is an extreme health food fanatic and the other is a little more like me she like easy and quick) and between them have found a healthy balance which they share with you the reader.  It is brimming with recipes (250+) and ideas and equips you with knowledge.  It covers a range of topics that affect woman today from the emotional to the physical it's well worth saving and investing in.

Author: Pearl P Barrett and Serene C Allison,
Illustrated by:Monique L Campbell
Publisher: Welby Street Press
Published: 01 September 2012
Format: Paperback 650 pages
ISBN 13: 9780988775114
ISBN 10: 0988775115
Facebook: Trim Healthy Mama
Website: Trim Healthy Mama 

What next
I struggled with doing house cleaning and homeschooling let alone finding the time to cook with children.  This was definitely influenced by the seasons of life I was in. During some seasons keeping the home fires burning was easy and a delight but during others it has been a struggle to be inspired to put the next meal on the table.  Financial pressures made healthy eating a difficult thing too. Through it all I learned that it's important to become well informed and to carefully make changes to improve your family's well being.

Take the Children along too
A few months ago I shared about Schooling in the Kitchen.  As homeschoolers we tend to separate homeschooling and caring for our families (cooking, cleaning, field trips, etc.)  Well the kitchen is one place we can combine the two for a happy healthy outcome.  It ticks the boxes in so many areas that it's worth an in depth look at the benefits of having your children in the kitchen with you. When our children are young the downside is that it takes a long time to accomplish anything but the upside is that they are learning a new skill and you are equipping them to take better care of themselves and future generations.

34 Meals prepared in ONE day
Prepped and frozen for $150

  • Once a Month Cooking and Freezing (I like the idea of this but I've never trend it)
  • I'm keen to try this idea from Loving my Nest preparing 34 meals and freezing them in ONE day.
    Round ONE 34 Meals for $150
    Round TWO 12 Meals for $75
    Round THREE 27 Meals for $197
  • Crock pot cooking.  I really enjoy using my crock pot. I do the food prep while everyone is having breakfast and clean after breakfast and the crock pot produces the most delightful smells for the rest of the day until dinner time.
  • One pot cooking,  this is similar to using a crock pot.  I use a baking dish put everything in there and bake for up to an hour.  Less to wash up.
  • Double the meal and freeze one to use on an evening when you're pushed for time.
  • Prepare your meal in the morning.
  • Menu Planning (weekly or monthly)
  • Teach your child to cook a simple meal.  Once they are able to cook this meal safely by themselves assign them cooking duty once a fortnight cooking that meal.  As you add to their repertoire give them a set night / nights to cook on.  Not only is this a valuable life skill they are also contributing to the well being of the family.
  • Older students can take on menu planning and shopping list planning and eventually cook for the family one week a month. 
Pinterest is an amazing source of information.


Amy Loves It! Tammys Recipes

On the WWW


This week
This week we welcome two new bloggers to the list of contributing authors be sure to pop on over and say hello and welcome
  • Erin from over at Seven Little Australians and Counting shares some key to success for her family in cook organization and  Plating Up
  • Nicole from over at One Magnificent Obsession share how she avoids eating at Chik Fil A every night by using Realistic Meal planning for Homeschool Moms

Linking with
Teach Me Tuesdays Hip Homeschool Hop Button The Homeschool Village


  1. As always...great post, Chareen. Thanks for being such an asset on the Homeschool Help team. -Savannah

  2. Chareen
    Loved reading about your journey, a similar one to many hs mamas. A friend of mine is raving about Trim, Healthy Mama, I want it (it's just so pricey!) btw there is a yahoo group in Aust for it that discusses where to buy many of the 'ingredients', my friend Gae (Cherished Hearts at Home) joined.
    I really should use my crockpot more, don't suppose you could write a post cobbling fav recipes?


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