Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
STEAMTeam5: The Beginning – A children’s book to get girls excited about STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math.
Announcement from SteamTeam 5
April 26, 2017
Young girls lack role models in children’s books and toys that depict girls being interested in and focused on careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, so these parents created “STEAMTEAM 5: The Beginning,” a children’s book that’s about to hit Kickstarter.
Monsoon Publishing announces the June 21st, 2017 launch date of their Kickstarter campaign to publish STEAMTEAM 5: The Beginning, a children’s book aimed at empowering young girls for careers in STEM/STEAM.
The book features five characters — Sandia Scientist, Treeka Technologist, Evelyn Engineer, Ariana Artist, and Mattie Mathematician — who use science, technology, engineering, art, and math to do amazing things.
The book’s authors, Greg Helmstetter and Pamela Metivier, embarked on the project for personal reasons.
“When my daughter was born,” said Helmstetter, “like all parents, I wondered what the world would be like when she grows up. Would she get the education she needs to be competitive in that world?” When Helmstetter noticed a lack of books and toys oriented to girls in STEM, he started making up his own stories to teach his daughter during directed playtime.
“When other parents heard about these stories I was telling my daughter,” said Helmstetter, “they asked for copies to read to their own kids. That’s when I asked Pam Metivier to join with me to help write and publish the stories to make them available for everyone.”
Co-author Pam Metivier had her own personal reasons for publishing the book. “When Greg asked me to help him write and publish his amazing stories, I couldn’t wait to get involved,” said Metivier. “As a female co-founder of two Silicon Valley tech startups, I was well aware of the shortage of women in these fields. There are many structural reasons for the gender asymmetry, but one of the obvious solutions would seem to be hooking girls’ interest while they’re still very young, and providing role models intended specifically for them. And not just girls — we want boys to see girls in these roles, too.”
Initially, the writing duo set out to publish a series of short storybooks about each of the characters. But they soon realized that crowdfunding a larger, single volume through Kickstarter made more sense. STEAMTEAM 5: The Beginning is expected to be over 150 pages long and full of color illustrations. The first half of the book tells each character’s backstory. The second half shows how the girls came together to form STEAMTEAM 5 and sets the stage for future, large-scale, epic adventures.
“This book’s basic concept is a perfect fit for crowdfunding,” said Metivier, an online marketing expert. “We naturally expected some support from parents, educators, and girls-in-STEM advocates, but the response has far exceeded our expectations. With that kind of energy, Kickstarter is the perfect vehicle to help us launch not only a more ambitious first title, but a whole new character universe.”
Kickstarter is JUNE 21, 2017! Stay updated at STEAMTeam5.com
STEAMTEAM5 on Twitter
STEAMTEAM5 on Facebook
About SteamTeam 5
STEAMTeam5 is a book series about a team of five girls who use Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math to do amazing things!
Authors Pamela Metivier and Greg Helmstetter are available for interviews. Please contact Pamela Metivier to schedule.
No meat, but has still protein.
I usually like making pasta with grass-fed ground beef but there was none to be had tonight.
I wanted a protein boost in our dinner though.
Here’s what I did.
I made pasta (gluten-free) with marinara (organic, from a jar) using my Instant Pot (as always – see how this 15-minute meal works here).
In my Instant Pot I also added spinach (some protein) plus Dr. Cowan’s Veggie Powders (1 tablespoon mixed) and butter to the noodles and sauce. (Don’t forget 1 to 1.5 cups water.)
I cooked it on LOW for five minutes.
Once I quick released it, I added 6 to 8 tablespoons hemp seeds (protein) and raw mozzarella cheese (protein).
Pasta… come to mama.
Saturday, April 15th, 2017
Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding is a winner.
Today I was inspired by my lack of coconut milk to get creative in making chia pudding.
I had some organic peanut butter on hand…. hmmm… can I make a nut milk from that? Sure, why not? Ok, so now I have a liquid base of peanut butter milk.
I started to work on the other basics I always include:
But… wait… what if I use a multi-berry organic juice I have in my fridge as part of the liquid?
That’ll make it like peanut and butter. (Or just add jelly but I wanted to use up the juice.)
This was a fun and successful kitchen experiment. You should try it.
Here’s the general idea of the recipe to yield one quart (I don’t use specific quantities when making chia pudding because it’s so forgiving.)
Peanut Butter and Jelly Chia Pudding Recipe
- 6 to 8 tablespoons chia seeds
- pinch sea salt
- 1/4 cup (or more) organic peanut butter
- 1 cup berry juice (or 1/2 cup jelly)
- small spoonful of raw honey (not much needed because juice is sweet)
- 1 cup (or a bit more) warm water (this helps soften peanut butter, honey, etc)
- 1 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil or cacao butter or combination (melted)
- Put the chia seeds in a glass mason jar.
- In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients. Blend.
- Pour the mixture into the jar with chia seeds. Put a secure lid on the jar.
- SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE
- If there’s room in the jar for more liquid, add more juice or water until it’s almost filled.
- SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE
- Wait a few minutes
- SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE
- Refrigerate for a few hours to get firmed up a bit.
* I chose refined coconut oil so the flavor was neutral.
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Let’s get girls excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math!
Greg illustrating our new children’s book.
Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
My veggie powder collection
I received this email from Dr. Cowan’s Vegetable Powders and had to share. It features a great discount for the next week! Take advantage while you can.
Some of you know that I regularly use these vegetable powders to add flavor to foods, add a big nutrition boost, and for convenience (those times I’m out of fresh produce, I add these veggies and don’t feel guilty for not having been to the store!).
About 18 months ago, on a plane ride to Boston for a family vacation on Cape Cod, I turned to Lynda and said, “You know those vegetable powders I’ve been making? I’ll bet we could sell those to friends and patients and turn this into a family business.”
“Good idea!” she responded.
We named ourselves Dr. Cowan’s Garden, and a year after we began online sales, we’ve sold thousands of jars of organic vegetable powders to be used in cooking to people across the United States.
I had been interested in vegetable diversity in my own diet for many years. As an avid gardener, I was able to expand the array of plants I grew fairly easily, and then turned these into delicious and nutritious powders. I knew my two sons, Asher and Joe, were also foodies and gardeners, so it seemed possible that we could each grow extra produce in our respective gardens, dry them in our homes and somehow package them up. It sounded like a fun project that we could do as a kind of family hobby. Little did we know we would have such a rapid growth spurt.
It’s time to celebrate the wild ride this past year has been.
To mark this milestone, and to say thank you, we’re offering every single product in stock — from our nutritious Threefold Blend Powders to our newest product, Low-Oxalate Greens Powder — at 25 percent off for one whole week.
Use code THANKYOU25 when you check out.
And there’s free shipping on top of that if your purchase totals $125 or more.
I would say, as in most things in life, nothing about this young business has gone according to plan — except the quality of our powders. For example, neither of my boys ever grew anything for the business, we ended up getting a commercial kitchen, we took on investments to obtain four new dehydrators, and we hired a team of kitchen helpers — that’s Amy, Beverly and Shawn at the kitchen (above) — Jason was off work that day — who are as ferocious and persnickety about the quality of our powders as we are. We have also expanded our team of garden helpers, which includes Escobar (at left). They work steadily and peacefully, an energy we’re happy our vegetables receive!
One of the most exciting developments for us has been the creation of our network of small organic growers and foragers who are supplying us with vegetables. Foragers in Quebec bring us Chaga Nuggets, in Sonoma Nori, and in the Sonoran desert, Cholla Buds.
As many of you know, our problem from the beginning has been how to produce enough of our high-quality powders to meet demand. Although that has been a good problem to have, it has also been extremely frustrating at times. While other powders are available, none are produced in a way that recreates how a home cook would use each particular vegetable. We steam our kale, beets and winter squash, bake our pumpkins, keep our horseradish mostly raw to seal in the nutrients and the flavor, etc. A lot of experimentation has gone into this endeavor, which has meant discarding hundreds of jars that are not up to our standards. Throughout all of this, on our first anniversary I can confidently say that we are not only in a good place, but that we are more able than ever to fulfill our two core missions.
The first core mission is to help our customers increase the valuable plant diversity in their diets with the most flavorful, nutritious dried foods available anywhere. We will have more and more availability of the perennial vegetables, wild vegetables, and other hard-to-find vegetables in the coming months. The second core mission is to provide a vehicle to help small farmers and foragers make a good living. I have been passionate about this effort my entire adult life and have often said, when I look back on my career, one of the things I am happiest about is when a biodynamic farmer tells me that my support has helped him have a viable and successful farm. That is my and DCG’s contribution toward the healing of the earth and the establishment of a truly healthy and sustainable food system.
Please join us in celebrating our first birthday! We have, at times, stood on wobbly little legs, fallen down and skinned our knees, but we are now squarely standing on our own two feet and are ready to run!
I even take them to restaurants.
(Affiliate links don’t cost you to use, but they support my writing. Thanks!)
Golden Chia Pudding – Come to mama.
Chia pudding is a staple these days in our house. It can be both a tasty breakfast or dessert.
Sweetened with raw honey. Satisfying chewy – almost crunchy texture from the chia seeds and big chunks of shredded coconut. Thick and creamy deliciousness from coconut cream. Yum, right?
Oh and of course turmeric for all over body benefits. (I wrote a whole ebook of turmeric recipes.)
This recipe yields 2 to 4 servings.
Golden Chia Pudding Recipe
- 6 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/4 cup large shredded, unsweetened dried coconut
- Pinch salt
- Can coconut cream
- .5 ounce melted cacao butter/oil, optional (or coconut oil)
- Big glob of raw honey
- 1 cup warm water (about 120 degrees F)*
- 1-2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- Few grinds of fresh black pepper**
Put the chia seeds and shredded coconut in a quart size glass mason jar.
In a blender put the coconut cream, cacao butter (if using), honey, warm water, turmeric, and black pepper. Blend on high until mixed well.
Pour this mixture into the glass mason jar with the chia seeds and coconut. If the jar isn’t filled almost to the top, you can add more of anything before shaking. For example, some more water or chia seeds or both.
Put a lid on the jar and shake shake shake. Wait a few minutes and shake shake shake again. Wait a few minutes more and shake shake shake again. Do this a few times.
Put the mixture in the refrigerator to chill for up to four hours before eating.
* Warm water helps the honey melt a bit to blend better with the coconut cream.
** Black pepper helps you assimilate the turmeric.
Coffee. Of course. With everything.
Here are five breakfasts I’m eating this week. They’re easy, nutritious and help me feel great.
Chia pudding with honey and nutmilk
I put a big scoop of nut butter in the blender. I added 2 to 3 cups of warm water, a pinch of sea salt, and big spoonful of raw honey (the warm water helps the honey blend). I blended it. In a mason jar, I had about a quarter cup of Chia seeds waiting. I poured the nut milk liquid in with the chia seeds (in the Mason jar). I put the lid on and shook it. I let it sit for a few minutes and shook again. Repeat shaking a couple more times. Then, I like to get it chilled in the refrigerator before eating (a few hours does the trick). This made about a quart of Chia pudding and it was delicious!
Hard-boiled eggs and an apple.
Gorgeous rich-colored yolks.
I have hard-boiled eggs in my refrigerator at all times. Ever since I learned to cook them in my instant pot (pressure cooker) it is way too easy to not have these handy snacks on hand at all times.
The best thing about making hard-boiled eggs in the instant pot is how easy the shells peel off and how consistently they cook perfectly.
Sometimes I have them with hot sauce and a dollop of Greek yogurt, and sometimes I sprinkle on some horseradish powder from Dr. Cowan’s vegetable powders and sea salt.
Pressure cooked carrots with sea salt and butter.
Easy Instant Pot Carrots
Another favorite food for me to cook in the pressure cooker: simply carrots. I break the carrots in half if they are too long and I put them in the instant pot with a cup of water, and cook them for 3 to 4 minutes under high-pressure.
As I’ve written before, the instant pot helps my family get way more veggies in our diet. Instead of having veggies one time a day at dinner, for example, we are eating them many times a day –> breakfast lunch snack and dinner!
Once these carrots are done cooking, I take them out and put them in a bowl with grass-fed butter and sea salt. If I’m wanting protein with it, I grab hard-boiled eggs from the fridge, chop’m up, toss’m on top.
Sourdough toast with smashed avocado and homemade pickled red onions.
F – this is good.
I have a serious love affair with sourdough bread. If someone were to offer me a slice of chocolate cake or a slice of sourdough bread with butter and sea salt… I would take the toast every time.
I’ve grown very fond of this combination, where I toast a piece of sourdough bread, I take an avocado and smash it up with some sea salt, and top it with homemade pickled onions. Pickled onions are fabulous to have in the refrigerator to put on top of almost anything you’re eating, except maybe chocolate cake.
Kefir and cucumber smoothie.
Cooling and refreshing Kefir + Cucumber
This is an easy smoothie filled with probiotics. I simply take some grass-fed, whole-fat kefir that I buy from the store (or make myself), and I blend a cucumber with it. I also add a pinch of sea salt.
It’s refreshing, light, and delicious. Perfect for these hot temperatures that will be coming with summer.
Saturday, April 1st, 2017
Practicing proper piano posture.
I grew up playing the piano, clarinet, and even the drums. Piano and clarinet were better instruments for me than the drums, and my family probably agrees. My mom played the piano and sang, my brother, a genius with music played piano, saxophones, trumpet, guitar, and anything he wanted really. Music was just always in our family.
While I didn’t always love practicing music, I’m glad I have the skills for music now. It was probably really good for my brain, too, because that’s what research is showing. Thanks, mom for pushing me to play music! I think my big brother served as inspiration, too. If he was doing it, it was probably cool.
Naturally, I wanted Kamea to take music lessons.
We started her with some basic music lessons when she was three. They went well enough, but life got in the way and we put them on hold. She was really young, too, and as we were proponents back then of unschooling, I wasn’t keen on “making her practice something” for fear it’d kill the joy.
After a couple of years, we decided to buy this awesome keyboard. We hoped that simply having it around, with both parents playing on it, we’d inspire Kamea to play. Or maybe she’d learn through osmosis. Hey, it was worth a shot.
In truth, she did take to playing a bit here and there, but she wasn’t really interested in learning how to play.
Fair enough. We’ll wait a bit longer.
A year later, before her brain matured too much, I started her back in music lessons. I figured we’d hire a teacher to come to our house who could play with her and get her excited about music lessons, without requiring much on her part. Long story short, they didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, for a variety of reasons. Poor fit with music teacher, lack of enthusiasm on Kamea’s part, and not concentrating on just one instrument.
I continued to be against forcing Kamea to practice for a set time every day if she didn’t want to. I wanted her to enjoy what she was doing, but I also wanted her to learn some music. I also felt that she’d be glad she did it later in life, even if she didn’t love it now. At this rate though, she wasn’t learning any music. I wasn’t sure how to proceed.
So. We took another break before spending more money on something that wasn’t working for us.
I decided that maybe I could just teach her, but decided to wait before pursuing it.
Then, something happened.
During this time off, Kamea took some homeschooling classes online through Outschool.com.
I realized that I could basically search for anything online and find a class for it. So, I wondered, hey, are there online piano classes? And, if so, they’re probably less expensive than a person coming to our house.
Google: online piano lessons.
Jackpot! Of course there were lessons, lol duh, because you can pretty much find anything online.
I found a couple of options, and I decided to try Hoffman Academy which was FREE.
What did we have to lose? Um. Nothing.
First online piano lesson.
We jumped in and started them over a week ago, and so far, they’re solid gold. Brilliant little lessons long enough to teach something and short enough to keep the student interested. Kamea played a song after her first lesson! That didn’t happen with in-house private lessons for weeks when we had a teacher coming here.
We put her iPad on the keyboard. Watched the lesson, pausing when required, practiced, and LEARNED PIANO! Mr. Hoffman rocks.
The next day, Kamea woke up and asked to take another lesson. YAY! (And, did I mention they’re free?)
It’s working! Online piano lessons are fun.
So far we’re doing their basic free program which is great. I suspect at some time I might sign up for the premium option, which is still awesomely cheap at about $15 a month. Or maybe we’ll just stick with the free ones.
I’m still smiling at the fact that my kid is taking piano lessons online.
Ukulele here we come next! (After all, I figure she’ll need an instrument we can take abroad when we move.)
Apocalypse Bean Soup
I’d written recently how we are finding ways to save money because we are headed toward the bliss of financial independence! Whoohoo!
One way to support our goal is being mindful when buying groceries. In my former days I had a habit of stocking up on things, food especially. In fact there was a time we had two refrigerator/freezer combos PLUS a huge stand alone freezer. Ya sure would think we were some hard-core preppers although we weren’t really. I don’t think?
These are new days though! And my passion for minimalism stretches to the pantry. It’s probably how I lost a couple pounds so easily.
Well, we were running low on food yesterday and I wanted to hold off on shopping for a couple days.
Challenge was that Mr. Pantry and Ms. Refrigerator looked like the apocalypse.
Ok bean soup it is. I had a couple stalks of celery left, half a bell pepper, half a bulb of fennel, one red onion (a whole one! Yay!), plus….
drumroll please…. Dr. Cowan’s veggie powder. (That’s an affiliate code which doesn’t cost you anything extra but supports my writing. Thanks!) I’m so happy I have these veggie powders in my pantry for the times I run out of fresh veggies. Just add a tablespoon to amp up the nutrition and flavor of pretty much anything (including desserts!).
I LOVE these Veggie Powders.
Plus, I added cumin, paprika, turmeric, salt, and black pepper.
Oh. And butter! Gotta add grass-fed butter.
Still though… pretty boring. It needed more heartiness. Hmmmmmm.
I headed back to dive the depths of my apocalyptic pantry and refrigerator shelves. They were so empty I could practically crawl in them. (Tee-hee)
What’d ya know?
I found a few things.
I came out with sunflower seeds, raisins, mustard, and half a jar of pineapple salsa. I added them to the soup.
My Apocalypse Bean Soup, actually, was hearty and damn tasty. I’m going to remember this recipe for future use.
This recipe’s a keeper.
Oh… and OF COURSE I USED MY AWESOME INSTANT POT to make this (that’s an affiliate link too… same drill as above. Thank you!).
I use my Instant Pot every day. It helps my family eat WAY more veggies.
Wednesday, March 29th, 2017
A few things I’m organizing before we move abroad that are still on my “to-do” list.
Build housesitting profiles
I never knew housesitting was such a “thing” but it’s a growing “thing” it turns out. There are websites that match house-sitters with houses in need of sitting. All over the world.
I’m intrigued by this idea, because it usually means a house in a neighborhood so you get a more authentic immersion, plus animals to care for (Kamea will love that), and it’s generally free because you’re trading your services of watching the house for free rent.
We plan to try some housesitting locally to get a few gigs under our belts which will boost our housesitting profile. And, Kamea is starting an animal-sitting service, locally, to show she’s a responsible animal sitter. I think most people who need house-sitters are looking for a single person or married couple without kids, but when they see our kiddo is mature and responsible, it’ll help our profile.
We will definitely get travel insurance while we are abroad and I need to research the following companies. The first one, World Nomads, is very popular. Reading other digital nomads and expats I see that many get travel insurance but rarely use it as many places around the world have such inexpensive (and excellent) health care that they just pay for it out of pocket.
It’s smart to have a proper credit card for traveling outside of the US. I’ll be looking for one that has no international fees on purchases for starters. Also, though, if we find ourselves traveling to more places in a more frequent fashion (not our original plan because we envision Slow Travel), it could mean more air travel so a card that has nice travel benefits will be a good fit. I hear a lot about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for racking up miles and such. I think they also offer free Global Entry credit.
Organize flight options
After deciding where to land first… is it Playa or Tulum in Mexico? Or maybe central Mexico in the mountains? Guanajuato perhaps? I will look at flights and keep my eye on them to find the best prices.
There’s a lot written on ways to smartly buy airplane tickets that can save a lot of money. I have a whole research file on just that.
Furniture and Donations
Sell and donate remaining furniture over the next 14 months. Once our lease ends, store anything else at our moms’ houses.
Sell Mercedes now. Sell Prius May 2018.
Cell Phones and Technology
We need to figure out the best cell plan for the area. As of right now, we left expensive AT&T for Ting which has been awesome so far. Now that I pay for only what I use, I’m waaaaaaaaay more mindful of my cell phone use when not on wifi. It’s a benefit for many reasons: less screen time, safer driving, and more mindfulness overall. Once we move, I’m not sure if Ting will be the plan as I hear a lot about T-Mobile being a good choice (Ting might even use T-mobile towers?). We’ll see because anything can happen over the next year.
Passports / Visas / Global Entry
- Get Global Entry? I hear this can be useful. I need more research on it.
- Update Kamea’s passport later this year.
- Renew my passport? Greg’s?
- Make “Copies” and have “Originals” of marriage certificate, passports, air tickets, insurance, list of emergency contacts, driver’s licenses, bank cards and credit cards.
- Research visa options for where we want to go to plan how long we can stay. Mexico allows six months at a time.
- Take a self-defense class, for peace of mind I suppose. Just seems like a smart thing to do.
- Learn advanced first aid.
- Check in with our naturopath before we leave to discuss our travel and get any possible medications or advice.
- Research area of travel for preventative health. For example, avoiding areas with tropical diseases or other potential issues as of now.
Start learning some basic words in the language of our future destination. For us, that’s Spanish because we’re thinking Mexico is our first stop. I’m using Duolingo on my iPhone for now and I like it a lot.
Once we land there we will hire a tutor and go to a Spanish immersion school, but it’ll be helpful to know a few things before going.
I have an enormous list for packing which includes things for various destinations. I will whittle it down once I know for sure where we’re going. But for now, every time I think of something I just add it to my list.
My goal is to continue Minimalism as a guiding principle, but dammit I want to bring my Instant Pot. And chef’s knife (and sharpener and hone). And vitamins. And technology. And And And.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
Science with dad
Wow, I’ve had a splitting sinus headache today. It’s spring, and with spring comes gorgeous flowers, pollen, and allergies.
Sneeze sneeze runny nose irritated nose painful eyes….. and then headache. Ouch.
I finally took some ibuprofen after suffering for the day. The headache just wouldn’t go away.
Well, in spite of my headache, we homeschooled. At least part of the day. :)
Here are the things we did.
- Math (adding on worksheets)
- Writing practice
- Art (lots)
- Building with Legos… a lot. (phew, cuz I had a headache so Kamea did lots of play and building)
- Story time
- Minecraft tutorials on Youtube
- When Greg was done working, he did some kitchen science with Kamea. Pictured above.
Looking forward to a good sleep and waking up refreshed for another day of homeschooling. We started some online piano lessons that are really quite amazing. I’ll tell you more about them later.