t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


First Recital, First Concerto

Firsts always bring anxiety, anticipation, and a big dose of mystery.  Especially with our little wild card Callista.  She reads like whiz, does math like a brainiac, but can't recite an entirely memorized talk in front of a crowd for the life of her.  For her first piano recital performance, I had no idea what to expect.

This is what happened...

She nailed it!  We were so proud of her.  Especially considering her nerves in front of large audiences.  She counted and was as cute as can be.  According to her teacher, she saved the recital for the beginners.

Ellery prepared a Concerto in only 6 months, which is really quite a memorization feat.  This is Concerto Romantique, Movement 3 by Katharine Rollins.  At about 3 minutes in listen for her Cantabile, an especially beautiful portion, at 4:30 or so her cadenza solo, and then grand finale!

On Wednesday when we walked out of piano lessons, Ellery said, "Mom I am learning the rest of Forget Me Not, to surprise my teacher!"  This morning after practicing she spontaneously looked at me and said, "Mom, thanks so much for working with me on my practicing."  I think like Amy Chua says in her memoirs Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom, we don't love anything until we are good at it.  Ellery's love for music is starting to mature, in many ways I think it is a direct result of her rapid progression and the recognition she receives.

We consider music to be an invaluable life long skill for our children.  It brings out the "Tiger Mom" in me, but I don't think I will have regrets.


It isn't tough to see when this little Honey is all tuckered out.

We have also taken to calling her "The Fat."  Because she really is ridiculously fat.  



I never knew how much help an eight year old could be.  The helper bug bit Ellery and I love it!

Maggie and Berkeley out for a stroll!


Peanut Butter Super Seed Energy Bars

Peanut Butter Super Seed Energy Bars

The last year has taken a toll on my creative cooking juices.  I've generated hardly any new recipes.  Difficult pregnancy, sick baby, sick children, 4 children :), homeschooling full time, it all adds up.  But with the kids at Summer Camp last week, and the grocery bills climbing K2, I decided I needed to start stocking my freezer with homemade snacks again.  Let's face it, buying healthy snacks is ridiculously expensive.  All those Lara and Art's Bars from Costco add up fast!

This recipe is an easy adaptation of my Peanut Butter and Honey Delights.  You could mix and match your favorite seeds or puffed grains.  I liked the millet because of the size.  The kamut, and brown rice puffs seemed to overwhelming for the bar.  The response to these bars has been fantastic.  Try them out and let me know what you think.  Brent loves these as a mid-morning snack or after work-out bar.  They are also easy to make vegan by substituting ground flax for the eggs.

 Peanut Butter Super Seed Energy Bars

1 c extra virgin coconut oil (could substitute olive oil or butter partially or completely)
1 c natural peanut butter (unsweetened)
1 c honey (or other natural sweetener of your choice, click for some ideas: the beauty of the peanut butter base is that anything works well)
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
2 eggs (powdered or fresh) or 2 T ground flax
1 t vanilla
3 c freshly ground whole grain flour
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c raw chia seeds
1 c puffed millet
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c pure grade B maple syrup
1 T coconut  oil or butter (optional)
1/4 t vanilla
dash of salt

Mix all ingredients, excluding flour and seeds, until smooth. Add flour and mix gently. You may have to reduce flour or add more depending on the dough consistency. Add seeds.  The dough will be firm, you may have to knead the seeds in.  

Line a 9x13 cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Press dough onto sheet 1/4-1/2 inch thick, using a rolling pin as necessary.  Use a pizza cutter and score dough into desired bar size.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Use pizza cutter to cut bars along original scoring.  Spread a very thin layer of Chocolate Fudge Frosting.  Allow to cool on wire rack.  When cool, individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.  Makes two 9x13 pans.


Happy Fourth of July

The girls and neighbor Gracie, enjoying the festivities of "Cul de Sac of Fire!"

 "Cul de Sac of Fire" with the neighbors and the Rain Drops

Earlier in the day shooting off our splurge of the Flying Parachute Men

We brought all three 4 wheelers up to my parents.  Here little Robert is enjoying the mini ride.

Emmett and Grandpa mowing the lawn.  I love how my Dad lets Emmett swerve wherever he wants.  

Emmett big heart came directly from my father.  My parents property is so idyllic.  They are never allowed to move!

We didn't get to defend our tournament title, but Brent and Mark and Bruce enjoyed a little peppering.
The fireworks show at Grandma and Grandpa's