Friday, March 28, 2014

Solar Power- Off Grid, Sustainable Power, et al....

Solar Power- Off Grid, Sustainable Power, et al....

We have all heard, especially if you live in California, the various reasons and much encouragement to go solar. 

Check out Mother Earth New's Article 
"More Affordable Solar Power" here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Honor, Dueling and Drengskapr in the Viking Age

Viking Law

Last week I had a moment to kvetch which you can read about it here.   Many times I have been accused of "a going ah-Viking" on someone or "Bringing Thor's Hammer on their head." Last week I did have a very Viking moment and righteously did bring Thor's Hammer down on some people's heads. 

This brought up a discussion about honor, shame, dueling, and keeping a good name within the Viking world. We do try to blend time honored traditions and the 21st Century in our home. 

The Vikings, also known as the Norse or Northmen, would hold honor and a “good name” as worth more than treasure. It is not how you died but how your name would be remembered in the Sagas and through out the ages.  

Drengskapr (honor) and niðr (shame) were considered polar opposites of each other to the Norse. For example the state of the dregskapr was highly admired and the actions of a drengr (someone of high honor) would be emulated and praised. Think of the qualities of Beowulf and his crew; These drengr were encouraged to be emulated by both men and women.  We often talk about in our home/hearth how in the 21st century the ideals and qualities of honor have been lost. But, society also has lost the concept of shame (niðr).  No one is embarrassed anymore if they pull a social blunder, or create a situation where they have caused pain and shame within themselves or to others.

Snorri Sturlson, author of an Icelandic Saga, wrote: “Valiant men who exert a good influence are called drengr.” It was described by Snorri that a drengr possessed bravery, nobility, magnanimity, a sense of fair play, respect of others, the strength to do what is right, and a sense of personal honor. Let’s look at the last quality. What does it mean to have a “Sense of personal honor?”

To a Norseman his “good name” even after death was extremely important, and they would become hypersensitive to the opinions of the community. Death didn’t hold any fear but having an ill word against Ones good name had to be dealt with immediately. In the 21st century words like; integrity, trustworthy, respect, honesty, loyal, non-biased or prejudice, accountable, cooperative, humble, just, good communicator, understanding and strong foundation in faith, morals and ethics have replaced “Sense of personal honor.”  I personally believe that society in the 21st century has seriously redefined what these words mean or feel that they are no longer important. Otherwise, I don’t believe the Father who became confrontational and rude towards the Boy Scout Pack Leader and other parents would have conducted himself in such a niðr manner.

Now, in the time of the Norseman it would have been totally legal for the Boy Scout Pack Leader and the other Parents to avenge their honor in a duel against this Shameful Parent. If the Shameful Parent backed down and refused to carry out his duel then his actions was considered shameful or niðr. The state of niðr was despised and the actions of a niðingr (shameful person) would be avoided and despised. However, in the 21st Century having a duel outside an event is both illegal and unfair. 

A Scorn-Pole
A Scorn-Pole was erected to illustrate a shameful treatment by an other person.
A curse against the shameful person would then be said against that person.
In this particular scorn-pole a horse head was placed on a hazel pole and then driven into the ground
A curse was uttered and the horse head turned towards the shameful person.  

A niðingr was a person subjected to hate and scorn. This person was considered an outcast from the community. These days this rejection would be considered “bullying.”

To be called a niðingr the typical causes of disgrace included: cowardice, treachery, shameful acts, breaking one’s oath or promise, or breaking one’s trust. Dishonor, disgrace and shame were communicated in various ways with the Norse. One of the most powerful means of communicating the shameful deeds of a person was through words. Certain insults and words were thought to be extremely powerful. In the 21st Century society has lost their sense of shame and disgrace. While I abhor true bullying society has gone soft. There is an entitlement and over sensitivity combine with a lack of responsibility.

We need to teach our future men and women what being a Gentleman and Lady with Honor means, even in the 21st Century. 

Bless Bless,
Viking Mom 

Egil's Saga
The Gragas -The Icelandic Book of Law
The Sagas of the Icelanders


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gluten Free All Purpose Healing Salve

It's Baseball Season!!!  That means it's also Boo Boo, Ouchy, Scrapes, Cuts, Oh My........Season

Check out this gluten free and paleo recipe that is naturally analgesic, antibacterials, anti-fungal anti- inflammatory, a strong antiseptic and antiviral.


  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of beeswax (find a local beekeeper to get good local beeswax)
  • 1/3 cup of calendula flowers
  • 15 drops of melaleuca (add 10 drops for older children) I use doTerra or Biodynamically grown Tree Tea Oil.
  • 15 drops of lavender (add 10 drops for older children) I use doTerra

1. Put the coconut oil and olive oil in a clean saucepan. Melt the coconut oil.
2. Add the calendual flower petals (dried) and simmer on low for around 2 hours. Make sure to stir a few times during the process. You can also add the oil and calendula to a crock-pot and put on low for 3 hours. ( I use the crock-pot method)
3. Strain the mixture into a bowl through a clean cheesecloth.
4. Now add the calendula oil back to the saucepan and add the beeswax. Melt the beeswax
5. Remove from heat and let cool for around 15 minutes.
6. Add the essential oils and stir.
7. Pour into a glass jar and store for a year.

This makes 1 cup.  

Always Always remember to check with a trained medical professional when using any medicine. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Mess- Need to Kvetch

Okay, I need to kvetch for a moment. This week hasn't been the greatest. It has been filled with a lot of those stressful moments that even Kal-gone, a glass of wine, and month at a spa just won't fix. 

FYI- Kvetch means: slang 
verb (used without object)
to complain, especially chronically.
Also, kvetch·er. a person who kvetches.
1960–65,  Americanism; < Yiddish kvetshn  literally, to squeeze, pinch;compare Middle High German, German quetschen

I know the Viking Family is the square peg in a society full of round pegs wanting to just fit in with the rest. .

We find sometimes that being that square peg in a society full of round pegs can be like fish swimming up stream. We do realize that we also need to fit in with the round peg society. For example, the Viking Kiddos participate in baseball and Boy and Girl Scouts. In these individual groups are rules we need to follow. The Viking Kiddos are expected to  wear the uniforms properly and complete. We also need to arrive on time to the events. It doesn't matter if you are round, square, triangle, hexagon, or tetrahedron there are just some social rules that everyone must follow.  We can't be hermits as much as that would be nice at times. 

This week Viking Lady Bug forgot her lunch (on Friday), lost her brown uniform socks (missed her Saturday game) and puttered around the house instead of getting dressed for a Boy Scout event (making us late). I sadly lost my temper with her. I think what upset me was her lack of concern that I was upset and stressing trying to get everything done before the Boy Scout event. 

At the Boy Scout event I couldn't believe, but I should stop being surprised, how disinterested the parents were towards the work and progress the young scouts had completed. It took many tries to quiet the parents down in order for the scouts and parents to listen to any announcements or presentation from the Scout Master, Den Leaders, or the Guest. What blew me away was the complete disrespect and callous rudeness some of these parents had towards the Scout Master and towards other adults. Several young scouts were completely out of control and when another adult asked that a measure of decorum be given these parents exhibited insane rude behavior towards the ADULT! I spoke up and pointed out that their behavior was being observed by the boys, they didn't care. The "final straw that broke the camel's back" was when I discovered Viking Boy modeling the same rude and disrespectful behavior that the parents and other boys had exhibited ( rude body noises, sarcastic tone in the voice, defiance and destruction of items).  There are many many reason, that I have shared on this post, why we left the Public School system in our Humble Little Town. The toxic personalities, behaviors, and temperaments of some of these people are one of the reasons. What sad, @#$%^&*(!   #@$%!  #$%^&!

Thank you very much but I think I will retreat to my hermitage!

I had a chance to speak to one of my Waldorf mentors about Viking Lady Bug's seemingly absent minded and challenging behavior. It's part of the growing up and being six. The six year old is transitioning between their dream world and their domestic world. They haven't blended the two yet, but are able to transfer between the two worlds.  It is why the Kindergartens in the Waldorf schools strive to have a gentle, warm and peaceful classrooms. I thought the gentle environment of the classroom was to focus and sooth the wild torrent storm brewing inside the six year old. But, it is also for the parents. 

We also talked about The Horrible Boy Scout Evening. While I totally don't agree that media and materialism is the soul reason for the downfall of our society, I certainly got a taste of the contrast between our square family (low media, strong spiritual foundation and family values) and the round peg society. It only strengthens my resolve to stay square! Or a tetrahedron!

I have resolved not to have our edges shaved to fit in that round hole. 
I just pray and wish more round pegs will acknowledge their own shapes and stand up and be themselves. 

Bless Bless
Viking Mom-

Friday, March 14, 2014

Low Cost Grey Water Irrigation

I am going to be very careful how I write this post. Each state, county and city has their own ordinance and regulations regarding the use of grey water for irrigation. Before you start any project contact your state, county and city planners/ordinance/HOA to determine if it is possible to create your own grey water irrigation. 

Small scale can be done portable and cheap. 


1-2-to as many as you need 5 gallon buckets. We use ACE Hardware, but the other stores work too. Depends how colorful you want to be 
1 Commercial drip irrigation system  1 5 gallon bucket per 2 foot square bed. 
Garden hose tap 

1. Drill a hole (we use the hand drill to prevent cracking but an electric drill can be used if drilled slowly.)
2. Insert a garden hose size tap. Cover the tap with Teflon tape to prevent  leaking.
3. Place washer on the inside of the bucket and use a plastic hose coupler to secure the tap. 
4. Hook irrigation kit to the tap.

Collect water from your kitchen, bathroom sinks and if you have a larger holding area your laundry. You can also collect the run off water from your shower that runs while you wait for it to warm up. Believe it or not you can collect between 2 1/2 to 5 gallons in that waiting period. Keep in mind that all soaps, toothpaste or other items you put down the sink will find its way to the catch basin. Try using organic and biodegradable products.   Collecting rain water is always a good thing too. Check out my previous post here  and here about setting up your own rain water collection. 

Things to keep in mind.

DO NOT USE BLACK WATER- Black water is toilet water waste or any other water source that human waste has been placed in it. This can include the dishwasher water too. 

DO NOT USE GREY WATER DIRECTLY ON FOOD THAT IS EATEN RAW OR SLIGHTLY COOKED. There still could be dangerous microbes in the water that can contaminate the food. 


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lunch Idea: Avocado Feta Salsa

Avocado Feta Salsa

1 Large Avocado
1 Roma Tomato
3 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Artichoke Hearts
1/4 Cup Feta Goat Cheese
A Few Slices of Red Onion
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Small Lime
Sea Salt and Pepper - to taste
1 Tbs. Cilantro 

Mix well. 

Serve with grilled shrimp. I like mine with crackers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

So, You Want to Home School?!

After 15 years in the classroom I was reassigned to a Home School program where I am the designated teacher of record for the student's district who have decided to be home schooled.

Yes, I am one of those designated teachers that most home school families must meet periodically for testing, meetings, and progress reports. Now, each state, county and district will handle homeschooling differently. In the State of California families who decide to home school must be part of a "Co-Op" and receive curriculum from a designated "district." These districts can be a public school district, charter or private. It varies and are as unique as the families. 

I am a major supporter of families who have decided to make that HUGE commitment to home school their children. The reasons vary for everyone. In my particular program I work with students who have catastrophic illnesses or are terminally ill. Yes, they must still go to "school."

I am often asked about how to be a successful Home School Teacher. That is  a good question. 

One of my inspirations, the Pioneer Woman, home schools her four children and is in a very vibrant co-op. She has a guest blogger, Heather Sanders, who has posted 5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Joining a Home School Co-Op. Please read her thoughts here

Bless Bless
Viking Mom

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Paleo Shrimp with Avocado and Mango

I am always on the look out for a yummy and quick lunch. This is a quick and easy lunch. 


  1. 1 lb. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
  2. 1 large mango, peeled and diced
  3. 1 medium avocado, diced
  4. 1 medium tomato, diced
  5. ¼ cup chopped green onions
  6. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  8. Lemon (to serve)
  9. Olive Oil
  10. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. In bowl, combine the mango, avocado, tomato, green onion, jalapeño, and lime juice. Give everything a good stir.
  2. Melt some cooking fat in a skillet placed over a medium-high heat.
  3. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook until golden (about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink (about 5 minutes).
  5. Combine the shrimp with the mango and avocado mixture and serve with lemon or lime wedges.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Math Should Be Taught

I was one of those students that had an intense fear of math. I could do basic sums, division, multiplication and division and word problems. This fear almost became a disability and it did eventually land me in a Resource Specialist Class, precursor to Special Education. Many of my career choices evolved around, "Well, your not that good in math" statement. Really? What always confused me was how I could understand math in science and in the real world, but not in the classroom? In graduate school I actually excelled in my Statistic classes. Why?

It wasn't until I started my Waldorf teacher training that I think I stumbled upon the answer. 

Math is not taught correctly in school. 

Rudolf Steiner says, "We should educate children so that all their concepts are capable of growth, that thier concepts and will impulses are really alive."  Yesterday, I posted the new Common Core math "concepts." You can read and cry about here. 

The Waldorf elementary schools mathematics is taught as a connection with life in a joyful and clear manner.

Math is approached as movement or a kinesthetic learning experience, especially in the younger grades. How many of remember sitting in class with a math page in front of us with brightly colored apples and we were suppose to subtract the apples eaten by the worm? The use of movement, which means the children actually get up and move, brings the concepts of math into the will of the child. Or into the muscle memory of the child. All four process are addressed early in the 1st grade through fun and real movment. This means that through rhythmic movement and games Kindergarten through fourth grade learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and even division. Children are also encouraged to use beans or glass beads (treasures, gold and diamonds) to understand the relationships that are part of the process of math.

The teacher also uses imaginative math stories where the children participate in solving the world problems the characters of the stories need to solve. This allows for a "living" math to develop within the children. In Viking Boy's class he has been introduced to King Addition, Lady Divide, Sir Multiplication and Minus the Careless Gnome. 

"Minus is a careless gnome who loses all his things.

Math is taught as a living connection and in relationships. This is why I understood math in science and in the real world. 

An unique quality to Waldorf education is the use of Main Lesson books instead of text books. Students are encouraged to create their during Main Lesson their own Lesson Books. Instead of repetitive drills, math becomes alive through the use of art, drawing, and illustration. This is how math becomes a living connection with the children. 

The Fraction Tree found in a Main Lesson Book

Waldorf "Golden Rule":

1. Relate everything to the human being so that the child has a sense that the world is a manifestation of human reality. "Why do we need algebra?" is often asked in the Public High School. Relate algebra to money management then it becomes easy.

2. Teach from the whole to the parts. Start with a feeling connection to the whole, before going into the details. 

3. Begin with activity. Experiences come before abstraction. 

4. Engage first the feelings of the children, since they learn best when their feeling life is activated. What does this mean? Have you noticed how quickly people learn fractions when slicing up a piece of pie or pizza?

5. Involve also the will of the children in activity and involve also the thinking capacity. 

6. Have a practical element. Make whatever you do concrete and useful so that the child can experience the connection with his or her world. 

7. Take into account the development stage of the child. This is serious concern with me in which I have posted about it many times. How can a child learn if concepts are beyond their developmental range? Yesterday's post discusses this fact with Common Core Math. I have also discussed my concerns here about the Age Appropriateness of State Standards. 

8. Work with the qualities of truth, goodness, beauty and wonder. 

6th Grade Math

9. Look ahead in the curriculum so that seeds for future growth in mathematical understanding can be planted year by year as the child grows and progresses. 

10. Do not teach the subject matter in isolation but that all the subjects are taught together to show relationships. For example, in the sixth grade children are studying Rome, the Middle Ages and the Arabic and Islamic culture. During this time traders from India brought their goods to Baghdad and brought the new and revolutionary mathematical idea of ZERO!! During the third grade year, children study the Old Testament. This is the perfect time to use the story of Noah's Ark and teach the concept of measurement. 

It is the teacher's responsibility to bring about a relationship between mathematics and the students; to make a connection. Math should, and I can't stress this enough, be introduced and taught so that the children can make a connection with themselves and the math. If math is introduced as an abstract too early, the children feel lost and math becomes meaningless.

Math is taught through the fourth grade as concrete, practical and closely connected with the real world. Math is taught in 2 hour Main Lesson blocks over a four to six week period. Then the children are allowed to "breath" while learning another concept. However, the new math skills are artfully incoroporated into other lessons.  

Rudolf Steiner said, "At first one should endeavor to keep entirely to the concrete in arithmetic, and above all avoid abstractions before the child comes to the turning point of the ninth and tenth years. Up to this point keep to the concrete as far as possible, by connecting everything directly with life."

This is how math should be taught in the elementary grades. Period.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Common Core Math- The Problem

For the past year I have written about the dangers and the problems of the new Common Core Curriculum. I am an English teachers so my first hand experience is how the Common Core Curriculum has impacted the way we teach English Language Arts to the America children. 

Now, I would like to introduce to you why the Common Core Math is a problem and should be feared and raise concerns. Math isn't just math......

We left Public School for many reasons. One of the reason was how the state standards have become age inappropriate. You can read my point of view here
Here is another point of view here...  

Now, I challenge you to solve this equation. This should be simple problem to solve. Right? It's a first grade math problem. Did you figure out the answer?

To find the correct answer requires more then one step to add and subtract to get a multiple of 10. If you picked D, then you got the correct answer. However, if you picked D because you figured out that the only choice equaled 14, then your answer is counted wrong. Confused?

Think how a 5-7 year old feels. 

According to Common Core Math Curriculum you must use the correct method, or you fail the problem. Yes, you read that correctly. According to the curriculum instructions:

"You must decompose a number by dividing it, then add part of it to a number to make 10, then add the remainder."
8 + 2 = 10
6 - 2 = 4
10 + 4 = 14

To expect a 5-7 year old, who still lives in the world of "make believe" and that fairies, Disney princesses, dragons, and the boogy man are still real, to comprehend and master this math concept is developmentally inappropriate. Why do schools and teachers who know full well that brain research shows that abstract thinking does not begin until the age of 12!!?? 

I have heard many of my Home School Mom's ask, "Viking Mom how are our kids going to pass. I can't even figure out the math!"

Bottom line, Common Core Curriculum does not have students work on age appropriate mathematics.


  Instead, math has become abstract concepts focused on "how they derived at the answer" not the actual equation. I have yet to hear why the change or a good explanation why the need to create abstract problems for such a young age. 

Ladies and Gentleman... this method is not going to advance our children to compete equally with the rest of the world.

My Two Cents...
Viking Mom----

Monday, March 3, 2014