Friday, July 23, 2010

Food inc.

Last night Ben and I (and Heber as he had a really late nap) stayed up late watching this film:

If you have not seen it yet, you should! After watching it I felt so angered and outraged. How can we be doing this, why are we buying and eating this crap, why do we think this is alright? Are we really that blind to what happens to our food? I guess so and it is sad. I really liked the farmer with the chickens and pigs who processes them outside, he said some great things. I was most infuriated with Monsanto suing people for collecting their own seeds as a violation of patent protection. Ridiculous!! How can they do that!!!! I don't want to buy any more meat, eggs, milk, produce, or anything that I don' know exactly where it came from and how it was processed. It makes we want to never ever buy any processed foods at all, get our own milk goat, and preserve all of our own food that we either grow or buy from someone small and local.

Funny story about Monsanto: They were recruiting at the university here and I was looking into possible jobs for Ben. I went to their website and thought "humm.... they look like a pretty good company, taking care of the environment and providing a good source for seeds." So I told Ben to check it out and he was like . . . " Uhh, do you know they make round-up resistant plants? Do you know they completely destroy an area mining and then 'restore' it so that their company looks good?" They I was like "oh, well their website makes them look good" It was total green washing and right out lies. They make it look like they are so good for American farmers and providing good food yada yada. You can see their web site here 

Anyway (I say that a lot)... Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts? I liked that they said that we can make this change. We have power as consumers and we are making a vote with every item that passes over the scanner at the grocery store check out. Do you think we have power as consumers to change the way we get our food?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We have been having a lot of fun at some recent family reunions:

1st was the Browning reunion in Teton Valley. It included visiting with family, eating yummy food, playing with cousins words of wisdom and stories from grandma and grandpa, swimming at Green Canyon hot springs, playing games, playing in the sand box, lots of mosquito bites, and a hike to the wind caves.

Heber had so much fun with this little cousin who is about a month older then he is. 
Heber kept giving him lots of hugs and walking around hand in hand. It was so cute.

Heber got a bug bite on his eye and when he woke up in the morning he said "Ahh, my eye can't open." 
He also had several bites on his neck and all over his face.

Next up was the Madsen family trip to the Sawtooth mountains. We stayed at the cabin creek cabins by lake Alturas. It included diving the scenic way over a dirt road on a mountainous pass, visiting with family, eating lots of yummy food, playing with cousins, swimming in some natural hot springs, playing games, playing in the sand by the lake, lots of mosquito bites, swimming and playing around on the lake, visiting an old gold dredge and ghost town, panning for gold, seeing the fish hatchery, and a crazy long hike/canoe trip that Ben went on while the kids and I stayed and play with cousins more.

These silly boys jumped on the beds singing "whos afraid of the big bad wolf"

Soaking in the hot springs. Later in the week we found a much better soaking pot but didn't get any pictures. 

At the gold dredge. If you look close in these pictures you can see Heber's misshapen face from swollen mosquito bites.

panning for gold

If you asked Heber what he was doing he will say "I'm doin my chainsaw." 
All of his cousins decided to follow Heber and copy what he was doing. It was great fun.

The following pictures are from Ben's hike up to Cramer lakes. 
First they canoed across Red Fish Lake (5 miles). Then they hiked up to the lakes (it was 7 miles up to the highest lake). When they got to the top they jumped into the lake from the cliff by the waterfall and hiked back down (running part of the way to avoid many miskitos). It was a total of 24 miles. They left at 7 in the morning and were back in time for dinner. I am pretty impressed and am sure that I could not have made it

Lastly was the Trapnell reunion. Ben wasn't able to get off work so we just went up for Saturday. It was at Heber Valley Camp. This reunion included visiting with family, playing with cousins, a high ropes challenge course with a zip line, playing with cousins, playing in the sand box, paddling on the lake (but no swimming, splashing, standing, wading or anything else as it was against the rules at the camp). I wasn't in the mood for taking pictures so sadly, we don't have many at the reunion. After the reunion we stayed Sunday and went for a hike at sunset at Alta ski resort up to a lake. We didn't swim or play in the lake but it was beautiful. We threw rocks in the water and looked at the tadpoles turning into mud puppies. There were mosquitos but I think we survived the weekend with surprisingly few bites

These trips all seem to have a similar tone: family, food, fun, games, cousins, sand, lake, hiking. Upcoming this weekend: Madsen annual pool party. We will swim in the pool, eat lots of yummy food, visit with family, and play with cousins. I'm sure Heber would love to play in another sand box if there were one and maybe we will go on a hike to keep on track with our other trips. It has been a great summer and we have had a lot of fun and there is still more fun to come.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peaceful Parenting and mammal births

There is a blog that I really like: Peaceful Parenting

A few days ago there was an interesting article on mammal births. It is kind of sad but makes you think. Reading it really makes me wish we could just turn back the clock 100 or so years on the way we do things. I know that we have made some improvements on living conditions and such but I think a lot of things were better off before, the way they are naturally.  When we mess with nature, things rarely get better. I think that Heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he created us. He created our bodies to work and do many amazing things. We are designed to grow, birth, and nurture little ones. Women's bodies work just fine and rarely do they need any help from medical advances and technology to birth their babies safe and well. In fact, the great irony is that when we try to make birth safer and better, we end up creating a lot of the problems that we were trying to avoid with the intervention in the first place (Example at the end of this post).

The article linked to above also reminded of a time when I was young and we had our Mama cat. That was her name because that's what she was, a Mama Cat. This cat had 2-3 litters of kittens every year for a very long time... I don't remember how many years but it was a lot, 8 maybe? It was always such an exciting time when she was getting closer to having her kittens. There were never any dates, timing, or monitoring. We would watch as her abdomen would swell and anxiously wait. When time was getting close or we noticed she was acting different, my Dad would put a cardboard box in a dark closet with towels in it for her to give birth. When she went into labor we would show her the box and leave her alone. A few times my Dad didn't get a box set up in time and she would choose her own dark closet or place under the bed to give birth. My Dad wasn't happy about this because birth isn't always supper clean. Anyway, I was always so excited for the new kittens. There was never any concern about placentas or bleeding or anything really. What happened would just happen and no one worried about it. Our mama cat didn't need to be taught how to give birth, it just happened. It is interesting that in early labor she would walk around a lot, pacing, looking for a dark, quiet, safe place to give birth. Later, she would go to that safe place and we would leave her also. I could hear her meow loudly and wonder if she was alright. She always was and there were never ever any complications or troubles. Her dark safe place is so very very different then our bright, stranger filled hospital rooms where most women give birth. She was such a good mama cat, nursing and caring for all her little babies. (If I were at my parents house I would find some pictures of our mama cat and her kittens, maybe I will add them later).

I wish I could go back in time and live in a society that does not fear birth or treat it as a disease that needs to be cured and managed, to a time before women needed a doctor to "deliver" her from the horrors of child birth, to live in a society where birth is honored and respected with beautiful rituals. I think we would be much better off. I don't have a time machine or money to travel to a less "advanced" country, so for now I will try to trust my self and my body that was created to work, and have faith that it will. I will try to share that trust and faith with others.

...And now this post is way supper long. Much longer then I ever intended.

I should add that I am very grateful for the technology that we had today and for the availability C-Sections. Heber was born by emergency C-section due to cord prolapse. Without the C-section I don't think he would have survived as he wouldn't have been able to get any oxygen while I was pushing (although I'm not entirely sure about this). I can't say that I wish there wasn't the technology that allowed for this miracle. I just wish that interventions were save for true emergencies only and not constantly being used for some precautionary or preventative measure. It seems that way too often interventions are used and end up causing further problems like in my example below.

Example: Mom is past her due date, she is induced due to concerns that her baby will be too big, or the doctor will be out of town, or the baby is under stress, or an million other concerns. For some reason we think this artificial induction will be better but what really happens is either 1. The induction fails. Mother doesn't dilate because she wasn't ready to go into labor, but because the doctor artificially broke her water, the baby is stressed and now must be born via C-Section which interferes with bonding, breastfeeding, has high risk of infections and a hundred other possible complications, baby is small for date and has problems breathing because the baby wasn't ready t be born yet.... etc. or 2. The induction works but the contractions caused by artificial pitocin are much stronger then once cause by natural oxytocin and put both mother and baby under a great deal of stress. Baby's hart rate begins to decline due to the stress and it is decided that the baby needs to be bore via emergency C-Section which interferes with bonding, breastfeeding, has high risk of infections and a hundred other possible complications, baby is small for date and has problems breathing.... etc.    All of this could have been avoided if they would have just waited and let the mother go into labor when she was ready. ARGG this is so frustrating to me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Potty training....

... is an interesting journey. I feel like that's all we talk about and do all day long. 
I hope we get there someday soon.

Here are some other pictures I wanted to share:

This was a few months After Eeva was born. Heber has Eeva's binky in upside down and it is just funny to see as he hasn't used one in a very long time

Eeva's silly faces

Naked Heber, Snow suit Eeva. I don't remember why but I thought it was funny.

Baking Bread

We don't buy bread at the store and haven't since we have been married (with the very occasional, maybe every 3 or 4 months, purchase of white bread for our treat of whit bread french toast). I am quite proud of this accomplishment. As I make bread more often, I get better at it and the bread is almost always really good (meaning not too crumbly). Sometimes it doesn't look that pretty though. Like this time. (I feel like an idiot taking pictures of food but I think it makes blog post so much more interesting).


I usually make our staple wheat bread ever 2-4 weeks depending on what other bread stuff I have made (begals, white bread, ect.), how much time we have been out of town, and how much other food I make. When I don't cook much, we eat a lot of bread. I make 3 or 4 big loafs. We eat the small loafs hot, keep a big loaf out, and put the rest in the freezer. The small loafs are cinnamon raisin.

Recently I have been making pizza at the same time that I make the bread. I use the bread dough as the pizza crust and it is delicious. Ben really likes when I do this but I think it's too much work to do bread and pizza at the same time. Ben's argument is that it saves work because I don't have to make the crust for the pizza.

Anyway... here is my recipe for whole wheat bread.

Whole Wheat Bread
6 C warm water
1/2 c veggtable oil (we always use canola)
1/2 c Sugar (or honey)
1 T salt
2 1/2 T yeast
* 1 C powdered milk
* 1/4-1/2 C Wheat Gluten
* 1/2 C Ground Flax Seed
Whole Wheat Flour (I don't know how much, I just keep adding until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the Bosch mixer and has a nice stretch to it) I probably add between 14 and 20 cups.

* These are all optional. I don't always add them and the bread is fine. The powdered milk works as a dough conditioner (??? I don't really know what that is, I've just read it some where) and adds nutrients and flavor. The wheat gluten help the bread not be so crumbly and it also help it to store better. The flax seed is just yummy and supper good for you. Sometimes I replace 2 C of the whole wheat flour for all purpose white flour. I think this helps the bread have a lighter smoother texture

This is the basic recipe. It makes 4 large 2 lb loafs + 1 small 12 oz loaf. Or 3 large loafs + 2 Pizza crusts + 2 small loafs. Mix everything except the flour. With the Bosch running, add in enough flour to make a nice textured dough. Kneed the dough (in the Bosch on medium speed) for 5-8 minutes. The amount of time depends on how patient I am and how grumpy the kids are. : ) Divide, weight, and put in pans to rise. After it is risen, heat the oven to 350 and bake for 30 min. That's it.

I have recently been making this amazing bread. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

It is really good! And easy to make. And all white flour. And totally unhealthy.