Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Highlights from recent reading on the Tooth Decay Diet

A few posts back I shared our tooth decay story of the past year. I had originally intended to write a more detailed post sharing some of the more scientific aspects of how our bodies work and heal teeth etc. but I've found that approach is just beyond me. Instead I'm just going to give you the highlights of what I've gleaned. My intent is to inspire those of you who are interested or have similar tooth decay issues, to do your own research. The book that I am reading is Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Diet by Ramiel Nigel. I ended up buying this book on my Kindle as it was nine dollars as opposed to twenty-nine dollars on Amazon. I wish I'd just bought the hard copy so that it would be easier to share with friends. I should have bought this book last spring, but I procrastinated paying money for a book on dental care. How ironic given how much money we spend on dentist bills, vitamins and supplements.

Without picking up the book, and just occasionally glancing at my notes, I'm going to share the gist of what I've taken away from my recent reading.
  1. Our glands and hormones need to be functioning properly in order to remineralize teeth and prevent further tooth decay. The main cause of gland and hormone imbalance is white sugar, too much sugar even natural sugar, or an imbalance of calcium and phosphorous.
  2. Our bodies must have the correct balance of calcium and phosphorous 2.5 to 1. Otherwise necessary minerals are pulled from our teeth.
  3. We need fat soluble Vitamin D (considered a hormone rather than a vitamin) in order to maintain healthy hormone levels, keep our glands healthy and to maintain the correct balance of calcium and phosphorous. Fat soluble Vitamin D is found in Shellfish, fish and the fatty parts of land animals including eggs, milk and organs. These animals should be eating fast growing grass.
  4. Our bodies need high amounts of fat soluble Vitamin A, also found in the highest quantities in animal fat and products high in animal fat such as; cod liver oil, animal liver, fish, grass fed raw milk products and eggs.
  5. Activator X, which is in the same foods that are high in Vitamin D and A, is essential for balancing the levels of calcium and phosphorous. 
  6. Any foods containing sugar, including raw honey, or fresh fruit, change blood chemistry and cause tooth decay. The affects last three hours after eating any form of sugar and during that time calcium and phosphorous ratios fluctuate causing calcium to not be available for use by the body during that time.
  7. Grains, Nuts, Seeds and Legumes all contain high amounts of phytic acids and plant toxins. Phytic acids inhibit mineral absorption - especially iron. They also inhibit enzymes needed to digest food. These foods do contain high amounts of phosphorous but it is bound up as a phytate and is not absorbable. When these foods are soaked, sprouted and cooked, about half of the phytic acids are neutralized. Phytic acids and plant toxins are heaviest in the outside of the grain. So if you do insist on consuming grains, you should coursely grind the grain then sift out the hull and bran, then ferment what is left before cooking it. Which is the process that most cultures went through before consuming their grains. For this reason grains, nuts, seeds and legumes should be completely eliminated from the diet while one is trying to remineralize their teeth. 
  8. If you are going to eat bread/starches, eat organic white flour sourdough bread that has been fermented 16 hrs. or more, white rice, or semolina flour products as the germ and bran have been removed.
  9. A NOTE ON OATS. Ramiel Nigel believes that because of the way rolled oats are heat processed, that no amount of soaking and cooking will reduce the amount of phytic acids and plant toxins in the oats. He strongly recommends avoiding oatmeal at all costs. This has been a big one for us. For the past few years we have consumed more and more oatmeal, soaking it overnight with yogurt and water, cooking it and then topping it with thawed wild blueberries, raspberries, pasture butter, goat milk/cream and a drizzle of our own raw honey. I love oats. Oatmeal, homemade granola bars, homemade granola, oatmeal cookies. I still have not come to terms with this information. But our recently purchased fifty pound bag of organic rolled oats has been booted from the house and is sitting on the front porch. 
  10. Eat as few sweets as possible. Honey, maple syrup and real fruit are preferred. Agave nectar and processed Stevia are not recommended.
  11.  Try to start out the day with savory foods, eat a big savory lunch, eat sweets if any, early in the afternoon and follow with a light savory dinner. 
  12. Eliminate or significantly reduce all immune suppressants such as alcohol or coffee. Red wine or homemade beer, mead or cider being preferred above hard alcohol.
  13. Limit consumption of members of the nightshade family; potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes.
  14. Very Important to success of diet: Take two capsules or half a teaspoon of Fermented cod Liver Oil with High Vitamin Butter oil two to three times daily. Take 1/8tsp. skate liver oil twice daily. To meet fat soluble vitamin A and D requirements.
  15. Consume mineral rich bone broths on a regular basis, as well as fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.
In summary, one is encouraged to eat a diversity of meat and seafood, raw and cooked. Bone broths, liver and organ meats are highly encouraged. Lots of eggs from poultry on grass, raw and cooked. Raw dairy, again from animals on grass. And lots of cooked as well as fresh vegetables, and fermented vegetables. Fortunately we have a lot of our own healthy milk, eggs, cheese and meat. We also are still enjoying our own fresh and frozen vegetables as well as buying those we no longer have at the store. D and I are going more hard core than the kids as far as eliminating grains and sweets. Although the kids diets have still changed quite a bit as well. We used to use very little white sugar. Instead we use less refined sugars and our own honey. We ate fruit multiple times a day without thinking anything of it. Now, I realize that our bodies rarely went three hours without some form of sugar, whether it was the fruit with our oatmeal, clementines, apples with peanut butter or yogurt with homemade berry and honey jam for a snack.

I am trying to compromise with the kid's meals. They are rebelling already at the loss of their oatmeal and the reduction of their fruit consumption, so they are on an every other day sweet breakfast schedule. A typical sweet breakfast would be a berry raw yogurt, raw egg smoothies with a sourdough berry muffin. On sweet breakfast mornings we are making sure not to have sweets for lunch and trying to skip fruit in the afternoons and the rest of the day as well. Alternate mornings are some form of eggs and vegetables or potatoes. On those days the kids get fruit and or raw yogurt with jam in the early afternoon. By limiting their sweets to once or no more than twice a day, their blood sugar level is only up for a part of the day and not all day.

One of the biggest challenges I'm having is feeding the kids without giving them sandwiches or bread. So, they are still getting some bread. But every time I give them a sandwich or slice of bread I feel conflicted about it. I have always thought of our fermented whole grain bread as a healthy nutritious food to put in our body. Now I wonder constantly how much of those nutrients we actually benefit from.

With the Paleo diet becoming so popular this past year I've found myself rolling my eyes more than once and thinking to myself that my family doesn't have grain or gluten issues. I have told myself, that most of our grain products are soaked, fermented and sprouted. I believed that we were neutralizing the majority of phytic acids and plant toxins, as I read in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditons. I think that if we can remineralize our teeth. That we will add in small amounts of sourdough or sprouted grains. But certainly not with every meal

This year I grew very small patches of grains with the intention of cooking with them ourselves. I have still not processed them all the way. I don't have the patience for the cleaning and sorting. I realized though, that grains are not easy to process or cook properly, and have come to the conclusion that people truly were not meant to eat grains on the scale that we do now.

 I've heard that this diet resembles the Whole 30 diet. Others have mentioned that it is similar to a Paleo diet. I have to say it is better than the Whole 30 in my mind as one is encouraged to eat lots of dairy as long as it is raw milk dairy. For me this diet makes the Paleo diet seem appealing, as I am missing tahini, hummus, lentil and bean soups, salads and spreads.

Today I found myself searching all the backs of the bags of tortilla chips looking for an ingredient list that didn't say stone ground (because I didn't want the whole corn), and did say processed with lime so they would be more digestable. However, the concession I made was that they were cooked in an unhealthy oil and were not organic or gmo free. The irony was not lost on me.

I think what is one of the most frustrating aspects of this issue of health and eating is that we thought we were eating and cooking healthy. I was going way out of my way to sprout and ferment and soak our grain products. And we had made those changes after reading a book on nutrition. It would be nice to do more research. For now we'll be monitoring our teeth and making close observations to how our bodies respond to this change in diet. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Unseasonally warm homestead

We have had the craziest warm week of weather. April weather in January to be precise. The kids, the animals, and I, have been making the most of it. We trimmed goat hooves, cleaned out a chicken coop, let the goats out every day for walks. The geese got out and perched on the front porch for a day, leaving lots of green presents behind; frozen goose poo, lovely. Surprisingly the rain gear was easily accessible. Yesterday Avery came running up and exclaimed that she had found the first green sign of spring on the ground. Maybe I shouldn't have, but as gently as I could I pointed out that the Usnea that grows on the Birch, stays green all winter and that it must have fallen to the ground. She brought it inside and we put it on our nature table along with the dried plant bouquet she collected earlier in the week.

 We enjoyed rolling snowballs, making a snowman and having snowball fights, as usually it is too cold and dry here for snowballs. So we only get a few chances each winter to roll snowballs, and usually that is in April when the excitement of the snow and winter play is long expired.

This year we have more chickens than usual, mid thirties instead of the low twenties we usually keep. As a result we noticed the eggs looking much more yellow and less orange than most winters. As their grain mix was the same if not better than past winters we concluded that the only change was that the chickens were getting about half as many scraps as usual, give the larger numbers. I've also been reading about milk, eggs and meat from animals eating fast growing grass has significant levels of fat soluble vitamin A and D. Well, we are never going to have winter pasture here but I thought I could at least grow some wheat grass indoors. So I've been keep three trays of wheat grass growing on the floor by one of the French Doors. It grows well without any artificial light. I could use a couple more trays going, but it has been enough that more days than not I have wheat grass to take to the chickens. They love it. As a result we've noticed the egg color deepening. I hard boiled some eggs for a salad the other night and they were the lovely sunset dark orange with dark salmon rings at the yolk edge; beautiful.

Yesterday while mixing a batch of chicken feed, we let the girls and the roo out for an adventure.

 Always a good job for the kids.

This was an impromptu batch of feed. I hauled up a twenty pound bag of split peas on one shoulder, carrying something else in my other hand. I was too lazy to walk back down and take off my boots to go inside for the organic whole corn I usually add and the wheat berries that were on the porch. So this is a fifty pound bag each of whole barley and whole oats, 10-ish pounds of BOSS, 10 lb. of lentils, 15 lb. of split peas, a half pound of salt or so, 4 lb of Alaska fish meal, 1-2 lb each kelp and nutritional yeast. If you ask me why the particular quantities, my answer would be that it looked right. I use to follow a recipe and at one point I did some research. The chickens will go through this batch of feed in about 10 -14 days. Maybe I'll be motivated one day to carry up some corn one day for a bonus. I don't usually leave the corn or wheat out. The chickens waste the oats and barley if I put too much in as I did yesterday. There was way more grain on the floor of the coop today than usual. So I'll let their feeder stay empty to encourage them to clean most of it up. They love the lentils, peas and BOSS. As our egg color indicated this winter, this feed will be enough to keep the chickens looking good through the winter, but is not enough for beautiful orange eggs without the addition of something living. In the summer they get this feed but they also forage, making for the best eggs of the year.

The hens enjoyed cleaning up the grain the kids had spilled while mixing the feed.

Winter beauty

Our winters are so long and cold that sometimes I feel guilty raising children here. I dream about land with a creak that runs all winter. The kids and I walk through the pasture, and along a path through the woods where we sit and listen and observe the wild life at the creek. My dream homestead get's snow, but it doesn't stay for six months, and it gets cold, but not so cold that we can't play outside every day.

This has been an unusually warm winter. The best part has been that the kids have come outside with me almost every day which is so healthy and positive for us all. It isn't just the warmer temperatures because even on the few days that have been twenty below zero, they still followed me out and insisted on playing outside. Part of it is their ages. At five and seven they can move easier through the snow. They can move briskly which keeps the toes and fingers from getting cold. Some days they come with me and help milk goats and help gather eggs and carry feed to the chickens. Other days they go off and play make believe on the hillside. They sled. Noah plummets down the hill on his skis. We get the doelings out most days so that they get use to being around us. I don't have to worry about them being rough with the kids, as I do with a couple of the older goats. On days where we finish all our chores and are still warm and comfortable outside, we get the goats out for a walk down the driveway.

This is Denali, the kid's favorite and therefor the friendliest doeling. She is very personable and follows us around wherever we go. She looks like she has pretty great conformation from what I can tell. We've been waiting for a strong doe out of Xanadu for years now, and I think we may finally have one.

When we get the goats out they nibble mostly on Willow and any Spruce boughs that are low enough to reach. They eat Birch leaves that have fallen, dried Fireweed that sticks up above the snow level, and Usnea moss that grows on the sides of the Birch trees. Sometimes the kids and I wade into the snow to bring them back dried rose hips. We may not have green grass, but at least we have Boreal forest browse for our browsers; makes for healthier goats and healthier milk.

Monday, January 20, 2014

First attempts at curing our tooth decay

So, I've been wanting to share a post on our attempts to heal our kid's teeth with diet and high vitamin butter and fermented cod liver oil for a while now. There are so many angles I have a hard time knowing where to start, but I'm just going to jump in and maybe you'll stick with me.

Last spring I took Avery and Noah to the dentist. It was Avery's first time as she was four. Noah was six at the time and had been a couple years before. We were mostly excited about the outing and didn't think we had anything to worry about. Looking back this was pretty naive. I was thinking, "My kids don't eat candy, don't drink juice. Their main sugar comes from eating fresh fruit or eating my homemade low honey jams. They eat their vegetables etc." To be honest, I was not diligent about flossing their teeth nor always brushing them myself, and sometimes that morning brushing just get's passed by. The dentist wasn't too concerned about Noah's teeth. He had several cavities but they were mostly on baby teeth that she said would come out soon. She said he would need to come in for one or two visits. Avery on the other hand had several serious cavities. The dentist said it would take at least four visits, and she recommended that instead we take her to the hospital where they could put her under anesthesia and work on her teeth for about four hours straight. Her biggest cavity was between her front top two teeth. There was enough decay forming and wearing down between her front two teeth that we could put a toothpick between her teeth. The dentist said she would need two stainless steel crowns on those front teeth. I was horrified and felt absolutely awful.

I started doing some research online and came across some other stories of parents who had healed their children's teeth by feeding them high vitamin butter mixed with fermented cod liver oil, in addition to going back to a traditional diet consisting of meat stews, bone broth, animal liver and other organs, raw milk and milk products from cows eating fast growing pasture, eggs from grass fed chickens, and vegetables. I began reading Weston Price's chapter on primitive dental care. I was able to just google it and find it free online. I also started searching through and reading about the products on the Greener Pastures website. For those of you who haven't heard of him Weston Price was a doctort who traveled around the world in the early nineteen hundreds studying indigenous cultures. He studied cultures that ate lots of sea food or dairy from animals eating fast growing grass, and noticed that these cultures had the healthiest strongest teeth.  In these foods is a fat soluble nutrient that is a catalyst for mineral absorption. He called it Activator X. It is something that is missing or very low in most modern diets. Price proved through various studies and research that a return to a traditional diet and including fermented cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil in your diet could remineralize teeth.

We decided that before taking the kids back to have their cavities drilled and filled, that we would attempt to heal their teeth ourselves. We started brushing and flossing their teeth ourselves every night, with the kids brushing their own teeth in the morning. We also started giving them High vitamin butter oil mixed with Fermented Cod Liver oil twice a day. We took this very seriously and did not miss a serving for months. I also increased the amount of raw milk they were drinking (even though our goats are not on fast growing grass), and we switched over to pasture butter exclusively. We eliminated the last of the white flour products that were in our diet, and I begin making our own soaked flour tortillas and soaking all of our oatmeal (more on this later as this is not the correct thing to do to heal tooth decay but I didn't know that at the time).

We kept this up through the summer making careful observations of changes in the kids teeth as we went. The coolest most obvious change was that the gap between Avery's front two teeth began to fill in. The growth on the edges of the decay became firm and white and we could no longer fit a toothpick between her front two teeth. Most of the kids cavities were between their teeth, so we could not observe the changes as easily as Avery's front two teeth. After about five months, Noah began complaining of some tooth sensitivity and we decided that it was time to take them back in. We were beginning to suspect that while Avery's teeth were getting better, Noah's were getting worse. We realized that both kids were getting the same size twice daily dose, although Noah was fifty pounds and Avery was thirty. Other reasons could be that Noah's tooth decay was farther along. Recent information that I've read points to some other diet differences in the two, mainly that he eats more bread and nut products, which contain phytic acid and plant toxins (more on this later).

We decided to take the kids to a new dentist, have new x-rays taken and then have the old x-rays sent over and ask the doctor to compare them. Our children are covered by the State's Denali Kid Care program, so unfortunately our choice of dentists that we could use was limited. We had the x-rays taken and it showed that they both still had several cavities. We tried to explain what we had been trying to do. We asked the dentist if he would look at the older x-rays and tell us if he say improvement or if their teeth had gotten worse. The dentist insisted that there was no way to heal or remineralize teeth. I pointed out that the gap in between her front teeth had gotten smaller and that their was healthy white teeth on the outsides of the decayed looking part. He explained the lessening of the gap by saying her teeth could have shifted as bones shift.  By the end of our appointment Avery was crying because of the way he was talking to me and because he had tried to use scare tactics to make us feel bad about holding out on fixing their teeth. It was a traumatic experience for us all. The following day I got a call from his secretary saying he would not compare the old x-rays to the new ones. I found a new dentist to go to and had both the older and newer x-rays sent over before we went and asked that the dentist look at them before we came for our first visit. This visit went better, not because of the dentist, but because D and I had learned what not to say and share. We could not get this dentist to look at the old x-rays either. He seemed to think that it would be a waste of time, because as he saw it, of course their teeth would have gotten worse over six months. The only proof we had was what we could see with our own eyes looking at Avery's front teeth. AND, he considered the cavity between her front teeth to be minor and it was to be the last cavity filled, as opposed to six months earlier, when the dentist wanted to put side by side stainless steel crowns on both teeth. By the end of their dental work, I was able to persuade the dentist to leave her front two teeth alone, as he said the cavity was very minor and the teeth would probably be falling out soon anyways. Another thing that was interesting was that the dentist thought that Noah needed one or more root canals, and when he got into the tooth he didn't even need a pulpotomy, so the damage to his teeth was not as bad as he thought it was. Noah ended up with five stainless steel crowns and Avery has three. Thankfully they are all on baby teeth and although Noah has had four adult molars in his mouth for over a year, he has no cavities on any of them.

I have not had many cavities in my life and the last time I went in (after not going to the dentist for a few years) I did not have any cavities. So, this past year we had the kids taking these supplements but we said that we couldn't take them as well because we couldn't afford to all be taking them. Around New Years I was looking in a well lit mirror I noticed a small cavity, and then another, and then a large cavity and another large cavity. Basically, I have a mouth full of cavities. I immediately bought Curing Dental Decay: Remineralize and Repair dental cavities naturally by Ramiel Nagel, something I should have done last spring. Over the past couple weeks I've read the majority of his book. He builds on Weston Prices' research as well as that of a couple other Dentists. Like Weston Price he also points out that cavities are caused not by bacteria on teeth, but by vitamin and mineral defficiency, primarily by a lack of fat soluble vitamin A and D, as well as an imbalance of Calcium and Phosphorous. Reading this book I've realized some of the mistakes we made with the kids diet, primarily that we fed them large amounts of sprouted grain bread products, lots of oatmeal, and even thought their sugar was in the form of fruit and honey - we were not intended to eat fruit and honey multiple times a day - so, still too much sweets. I think our diet high in grains, nuts and legumes was the biggest problem. In Nagel's book he writes that even when we soak, ferment and then cook grains, nuts and legumes, we rid them of only half the phytic acids - which is still too much, and cause the imbalance of calcium and phosphorous. He also writes that because rolled oats are steam treated, he does not believe that the phytic acids can be removed from the rolled oats, so oatmeal is very high in phytic acids and plant toxins.

So, once again we are looking at our diet and making serious changes. It is easier to list what I am eating than what I am not. I am eating eggs, raw milk, pasture butter, raw cheese, meat, more organs and liver and vegetables. Small amounts of white rice and white sourdough. I am trying not to eat any whole grain, sprouted grain or any bread products, no nuts, seeds, beans, no fruit or any sweets including no honey, no chocolate, no wine. I have to say I cheated quite a bit the last few days. I drank wine this weekend and ate chocolate both nights. But I am back on track today. I was trying to do no alcohal for a few weeks to help reboot my immune system but I think that I need to give myself more things to look forward to. So I'm thinking of trying to keep the chocolate and wine out of my weekdays, but allow them on the weekends - that of course is the most difficult part of the diet for me. I am taking high vitamin butter with fermented cod liver oil three times a day and skate liver oil twice a day.

 I feel like my world has been flipped upside down, with how much I enjoy whole grains and how often I feed them to the kids. Today Noah had a breakdown at lunch complaining about how much he misses how we use to eat. I realized maybe we've been too drastic. So I've promised not to feed him soup for a couple days. We are having fish tacos (a kid favorite in this house) for dinner tonight- which I'm late in preparing. And the kids are getting so rowdy I can longer focus, so that's all for now.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Holidays and the after

Today is the tenth of January and our days are just now slowing down to a steady calm rhythm. The kids and I have been reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe each morning when we wake up. It is still dark outside so we have a strand of Christmas lights in a window still and a hanging star that add a warm glowing light to the room. We snuggle on the couch with a blanket over us, and while sipping my wake up cup of tea, we all enjoy a visit to Narnia. This week we returned to our morning lesson schedule after our Holiday break.

We are having a warm winter so far. The last couple weeks have been above zero, most days around twenty degrees. So we've been enjoying getting out together. I do farm chores first, and sometimes the kids help milk goats and sometimes they go off and play in the snow. Sometimes they ski while I do chores and some days we all ski together after I've finished chores. I should clarify that by "ski" I mean that Noah hikes to the top of the hill, puts his cross country skis down and plummets down the hill in helmet requiring fashion. Whereas Avery cautiously and hesitantly, slowly shuffles along on the flat stretch of our driveway while I hold her hand. If I'm lucky she lets me skis circles around her after we've made a couple laps.

We had a lovely time over the Holidays. It was a little crazy before hand. The kids and I were crafting every day together and then Dustin and I were crafting at night after the kids went to bed. But we got it all done. Dustin made a light saber and a wood battle shield for that I have yet to take pictures of but both look really impressive. He also made an open air fairy house for Avery, made out of Birch rounds. It has a few levels with stairs and laders, a swing and a small table and chairs. I made Noah Moccasins out of our own goat hide.

 Friends of mine tanned it using eggs, and it turned out soft and supple. I needle felted some hanging angels for gifts and some small dolls for Avery, as well as a small fairy for her house.

We tried to make most of our gifts with a few exceptions. We budgeted a hundred dollars for gifts for each of the kids which we put towards games, instruments, art supplies and little stocking things. We put one hundred dollars aside for supplies to make gifts with. I spent most of it on yarn that I used to knit three soft Purl B Bandana cowls for the men in the family, and for raw wool roving for wet felting and needle felting. The kids and I needle felted fruit and vegetables for their cousins.

The kids made rolled beeswax candles, folded transparent paper stars, wool felted soap (soap that we'd made from goat milk, lard and honey last year), and Paracord bracelets (think survival man stuff) for the men. 

We had a photographer friend come up and take family pictures in exchange for farm products. Love bartering!

On Christmas we had a family brunch followed by gift giving. For dinner we had a traditional Christmas Goose followed by a very impressive flaming Plum Pudding.

Usually after Christmas we enjoy some mellow time, but this year we promptly switched gears and cleaned the house for house sitters, packed our bags and headed off on a road trip to Anchorage to visit my in-laws. We spent the week of New Years in the city. The weather was in the thirties all week and we enjoyed the warmer sea air daily. On New Years day we walked to a nearby groomed pond and joined many other Anchoragites ice skating. The following day we took the kids to an indoor water park. We shopped and ate out and then packed our bags and were happy to head home to where "normal" Alaskans live. (Ha!)

Today I'm still feeling a little behind but I'm making time to write and then I'm going to look at cookbooks and menu plan, and then hopefully I'll fit in some banjo playing, or if my time is up by then I'll play Catan Jr. or read more Narnia to the kids before heating up leftovers...or cooking something simple. 
This weekend we are hopefully tackling some unpleasant chores that have been postponed since early December. There are roosters that have needed butchered (the hens need them to be butchered). The chicken coop needs cleaned out while the bedding is still thawed. I need to spend a good day getting prepared and planning for the next month of lessons, making some new games and learning some new activities. And I, for one am ready to start enjoying the slow days of January - because that is how they are supposed to be! Dreamy days, slow mornings filled with comfort foods and hot chocolate, afternoons surrounded by seed catalogs, music making, crafts without deadlines, guiltless reading, pots of stew and elaborate breads and evenings spent around the coffee table playing games with the kids.

I wish us all cozy, peaceful, warm dreamy days punctuated with moments of clarity and inspiration.