Friday, December 30, 2016

Happenings

Hello, everyone!  I'm just posting to let you all know that I'm taking a short blogging break.  I'll be back in a week or two...maybe three.  I have some ideas that I want to work on in the mean time.  Thank you! 

Monday, December 26, 2016

My Favorite Time of the Year

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!  It is my absolute FAVORITE time of the year!  I love the music, the smells, the atmosphere, the decorations...just everything!  Christmas with kids is even more amazing. I love to see the joy and wonder on their little faces.  My kids sing Christmas songs all day, and they love the little Christmas countdown tree we have.  Every day they add an ornament to the countdown tree until, on Christmas day, they put the star on top.


We celebrate by going to my in-laws house Christmas day.  My mother-in-law gathers the grandchildren around (there are 9, with 1 more on the way!) and read them the Christmas story.  Then we all open presents.  The kids all play with their new toys while the men usually talk and the women get food ready, or snacks out.  We always have Lasagna and Chocolate Christmas Roll with a few side dishes.  (this year my MIL made a fantastic snack of cheese-stuffed jalapeƱo peppers wrapped in bacon...YUM!) It's a fun-filled day of family and fun! 

This year, I found 12 Christmas-related books and DVDs and wrapped them.  For the 12 days before Christmas, each kids unwrapped one present each night.  They then watched the movie or I read them the book.  It was so much fun I'll probably do it again next year! 

What are some fun Christmas traditions in your family?  Please share in the comments below!



Monday, December 19, 2016

Dreams DO Come True!

So, our 12-passenger van finally bit the dust.  (the snow dust)  The first super cold day this week, it decided to spring several leaks in various places.  That was the last straw for us.  Just two weeks ago, the kids and I got stranded in Green Bay because the brake line snapped.  (after being "fixed" the day before at the mechanic)  So, we decided enough was enough, and that we would get a new van.  We looked at several ads for used vans, but we came to the conclusion that if we wanted a van that would last a long time, we should buy new.


Bram and I went to a local dealer, and it just so happened that they had 3 12-passenger vans on the lot!   We were looking at Ford Transits and Nissan NVs.  None of the dealers around us had any Transits in stock.  We drove the Nissan around for a bit, and decided to get it. 

The best part?  I have been wanting a Nissan NV for almost 2 years now!  I first saw one in the Culver's parking lot in the spring, and practically drooled at it.  So gorgeous!  Bram said we would probably never have one unless, years down the road, we would find it used.  My dream came true, and now I am driving in a beauiful, red, Nissan NV 3500!


It is a tank, seriously!!  From the outside it looks massive.  I've gotten a few open-mouthed stares.  I am so happy with my new van, and I am so glad I don't have to worry that something is going to break when I drive. 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How I Make a Little Money on the Side, Being a SAHM

My husband has a great, well-paying job.  I appreciate all that he does to make sure we have enough money for our large family.  Occasionally, I like to get special things, and in order to have extra money for that, I do two things:  I sell my Crochet work, and I sell on eBay.

1.  Selling my Crochet Work

I set up a free website where people can go to look at all the items I have made to get ideas.  I also sell in a local buy, sell, giveaway Facebook group.  I set up a Facebook page where I can interact with my customers, and where people can message me about their order.  Most of my orders are through word-of-mouth from my happy customers.  I would love to sell at a craft fair someday, but right now, it's just not possible.  I use my kids and myself as advertising by making them cool hats and myself nice scarves and hats.  I have been asked for a business card several times just by wearing what I make!  This past Saturday, my friend and I, with my kids, went to a craft fair and I was stopped by a woman asking where my kids got their hats!  I was able to hand her my card, and she was so excited.


2.  Selling on Ebay

My mother-in-law has a successful eBay store for homeschoolers, and she got me started on eBay.  I just sell random things.  Some are brand new that I got at a discount and wish to profit on.  Some are books or other items I have lying around my house that I wish to get rid of.  It is super easy and really fun!  It's great to have a mom who I can run prices by.  She helps me figure out how to sell and what price to set.  You can sell just about anything on eBay!  I just sold a brand new, in the box FitBit Alta for $115, and I paid $65 on Black Friday for it!  After Paypal fees, I made $46 on it!


So, these are the two ways I make a little extra money for myself.  If you're not the crafty sort, eBay is a great way to make some money.  If you are crafty, what a nice thing to make a little money doing something you love! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

THM Recipe: Chicken Pepper Spinach Stir Fry (E)

I came up with this on my own after getting home from my exercise class.  I was hungry, and dove around in my fridge until I came up with this!

Chicken Pepper Spinach Stir Fry - E     (Print This Recipe!)

1tsp. coconut oil
1 chicken breast, cooked, sliced into thin strips
1 bell pepper (any color will do, I used orange), thinly sliced
2 handfuls spinach leaves
2 TBS. fish sauce
ginger, to taste
red chili pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup brown rice, cooked

saute the pepper and spinach in the coconut oil.  When cooked through, add in the cooked chicken breast slices.  Pour fish sauce over the veggies and chicken, and sprinkle the ginger and chili flakes on top.  Stir all together for about a minute or two.  Set aside.

Cook the brown rice, or heat up pre-cooked rice.  Place on a plate, and place the veggies and chicken mixture over it.  ENJOY! 

*you can either use pre-made brown rice, or minute brown rice.  (make sure there are no off-plan ingredients added)


Living with PCOS

After doing extensive research (including reading 7 books on women's hormones and 3 books specifically on PCOS), I have decided to start using natural supplements as well as stick to a PCOS-friendly diet and exercise program.

I have been put on Metformin ER, but the side effects are just brutal.  Nausea, Upset stomach, Bloating, Gas, Diarrhea,...I mean...it's terrible.  Why live like this when there is a natural alternative called Inositol?  I found a compounding pharmacy online that makes a supplement powder called "Ovasitol" which is a dosage of both D-chiro-inositol and Myo-inositol.  You need a 40:1 ratio of D-chiro-inositol to Myo-inositol;  and Theralogix has measured it all out for you!  You just dissolve one packet in water or other beverage once in the morning, and once at night.


I also am taking these different vitamins and supplements:

Women's daily vitamin gummies

Taking a daily vitamin makes sure you are getting all of the basic vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy body.  I use Alive! Women's.  It has a small amount of inositol. 

Fish Oil gummies

Studies have shown a great decrease in cholesterol numbers when taking a fish oil...mainly Omega 3.  I take NatureMade fish oil gummies.  (no matter how much flavor & sugar you use, it still tastes like fish oil.)    It can also help insulin resistance to disappear, lowers high triglycerides, manages testosterone, and aid in weight loss.  (looking back now, I think I'll just stick to the capsules.  I don't need added sugar in my diet.)

CoQ10 gummies

This is an antioxidant that supports healthy energy and metabolism;  both of which are greatly hindered when you have PCOS.  I use VitaFusions CoQ10 gummies. (In the future, I will stick to capsules to eliminate sugar and sugar substitutes.)

Evening Primrose Oil

Studies have shown that taking Evening Primrose Oil can greatly reduce the bad period symptoms often experienced with PCOS.   I use Up & Up (Target brand).

Biotin

This little supplement helps in decreasing insulin resistance, reversing hair loss, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as a number of other benefits.  I use Up & Up brand.

B-Complex

B-vitamins are helpful in so many ways!  Some help with metabolism, other help with energy, and still others aid in glucose tolerance factor.   I use Up & Up brand.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory.  It is helpful in weight loss.   I use a local natural food store's brand.

Chromium Picolinate

This supplement helps keep blood sugar levels stable.   I use my local natural food store's brand.

Calcium & Vitamin D

I found a vitamin that is a combination of Calcium and Vitamin D3 at Target, so I'm taking that as well.  I got the Target brand of bottle.  It contains 500 tablets.



I have found some amazing websites for women suffering from PCOS.  Here are a few, PCOS Diva, Hello PCOS, and PCOS Diet Support. These ladies all suffer with PCOS, and have done extensive research themselves.  You can get PCOS specific suppliments and such from PCOS Diva.  You can sign up to get a monthly subscription box filled with goodies, samples, and tips for those with PCOS from the Hello PCOS website.

The books I have on PCOS are A Patient's Guide to PCOS, The PCOS Diet Plan, and 8 Steps to Reverse Your PCOS. They are so detailed and explain the condition in great detail, as well as provide meal plans, recipes, and ideas to help treat your PCOS.   

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Homeschool Update

Hey there!  I'm just doing a small update of our homeschooling.  I already did a post on how we switched curricula and that we are LOVING the new curriculum HERE. 


Kayson is my 5-year-old, and he is in kindergarten.  He is absolutly IN LOVE with school!  He even wants to do it on Saturday and Sunday!  The most exciting thing happening for him is that he can read!  He is so excited, and sounds out big words in other books just so he can practice reading.  I am so proud of him and his love of learning!

Fionna is 7 and is doing 1st grade with her 6-year-old brother, Tiernan.  They both are liking Christian Liberty Press and their favorite subject is History.  They learn Bible stories from the first happenings in History, and color pages.  Fionna is great in Math, although she likes to rush through things.  Tiernan is great in Phonics, and can get pretty much every page and every pronunciation correct! 

Mama is loving homeschool!  I have a pretty solid routine now where I switch back and forth between Kindergarten subjects and 1st Grade subjects.  It works well, and things go pretty smoothly every day. 

I look forward to the day when I will have at least 10 years under my belt. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Meet My Family...

This is just a quick post to share the "About Me" page on this blog.  If you're wanting to know a little more about me and my family, you can do so HERE:  About Me

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why it's Good to Shake up Your Exercise Routine

I have found that I love numerous different exercise modes.  I like Zumba, PiYo, RIPPED, Kickboxing, Jogging, & Yoga.  Those exercises are all so different, which is good!  Mixing up your routine makes your body work harder.  If you do the same thing every day, your body gets used to it, and it doesn't work as hard as it once did.


I did Zumba and PiYo last night and I can attest to the fact that it was HARD.  Not because I don't exercise...because I do. (I try to get in at least 3 days per week.)  It was because I was so used to running or doing RIPPED class, that my muscles got a bit used to that.  Zumba is aerobic, and PiYo does a lot of stretching and holding positions.  I have been doing PiYo at home, but doing a live class is actually quite different.  My instructors mix up the pattern every week, so you're not doing the same routine every single time.  My RIPPED class also mixes up the routine weekly. Some days are alot harder than others.

 And that is the point.

You want your muscles, your body, to have to work hard every time you exercise.  The harder it is to catch your breath, the harder your body is working.  When you're sore after a workout, it means you did as much as you could, and then some.  It's good to push yourself.  It's good to try new things as well!  I've been able to do things I thought I would never be able to do! 

When you first start out exercising, everything is hard.  But as you slowly work your way up to do harder and harder things, it proves that you are making progress.  Workouts don't get easier...YOU get better.  So, if you've fallen into an exercise rut, try something new, or shake up the routine. 

What exercises have you found enjoyable?  Please share in the comments below! 

Friday, November 25, 2016

What I'm Thankful For This Year

It's Thanksgiving!  The day of the year where we gather with family and friends and thank God for all of the blessings He has given us in the past year.  So, here are the things I'm thankful for this year.

1.  My God

2.  My Faith

3.  My Husband (Bram)

4.  My Children (& our dog, Dixon)

5.  My Family

6.  My Friends

7.  My Job (wife & mother)

8.  My Hobby (crochet)

9.  My Health (even though it's been rough)

10.  My Blog Readers

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Round Up - 2016



As promised...here is a Trim Healthy Mama Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up!  I've taken delicious recipes from different bloggers.  I've put them all into categories, and will link to each blog at the bottom of this post.  All recipes are links to the recipe page on the blogs they come from.
 


Turkey:
 *other than roasted turkey

Dressed Up Turkey Soup
Creamy Turkey Soup


Side Dishes:

Maple Pecan Glazed Brussel Sprouts
French Onion Tartlets
Sweet Potato and Apple Hash
Mashed Cauliflower
Loaded Baked Fauxtato Casserole
Spicy Nutty Trail Mix
Sweet Pumpkin Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Grain-free Classic Stuffing

 
Breads: 

Pumpkin Bread
Herb Biscuits
Fluffy Sprouted Wheat Rolls
Braided Garlic Breadsticks


 Sauces/Condiments:


Southern Dressing
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Butter 
Cranberry Sauce (2)


Desserts: 

Pecan Pie Bars
Mapple Caramel Pie
Pumpkin Fluff
Pumpkin Cheesecake w/Caramel Pecan Sauce
Cranberry Apple Crisp
Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cream Cake


I hope you all have a happy and very blessed Thanksgiving this year!  If you have an amazingly delicious, THM-friendly Thanksgiving recipe...please share in the comments below!


*Recipes shared from these amazing blogs:
Mrs. Criddle's Kitchen, Joy Filled EatsBriana Thomas, Wholesome Yum, Measuring Flower, My Table of Three, Joyful Jane, Chrissy Benoit in Love, An Ordinary Housewife, The Coers Family, My Montana Kitchen, & Wonderfully Made and Dearly Loved

Friday, November 18, 2016

Getting Real about My PCOS

In 2015, I was diagnosed with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.  That is a condition where your ovaries are covered in cysts created by the follicles left over from ovulation.  Your ovaries look like a sponge, basically.  It causes hormone imbalance, weight gain, insulin resistance, unsightly hair growth (like chin hair, mustache...), and infertility.  (although, in my case...it seems to cause hyper-fertility.  Hormones affect everyone differently.)  Let me tell you...PCOS is NOT fun.

For the past few weeks, I fell off the Trim Healthy Mama wagon, and am struggling to get back on.  It just seemed to take way to long to prepare on-plan meals, and having to constantly think about fuel pairings and what I can and cannot eat is frankly, exhausting.  Cue Taco Bell and their amazing Rolled Chicken Tacos dipped in Spicy Ranch dip (seriously...deep fried heaven!!)  Foods heavy in dairy, unhealthy fats, and calories are not good for women with PCOS.  It makes the symptoms worse.  So, I am supposed to be following a PCOS-friendly diet.  (Taco Bell is not included in that, unfortunately.)

Trim Healthy Mama works very well with the diet supposed to be followed while having PCOS.  Many infertile PCOS women have been able to get pregnant because of following the THM diet.  It covers the required low-glycemic index requirements.  Some doctors also recommend a dairy free or low dairy diet as well.  Low-fat foods are also suggested, although I believe healthy fats in moderation are fine.



The reason I'm wanting to get real about my PCOS, is that I believe it has flared up in these past few weeks. I have a dull ache in the reproductive area of my abdomen pretty much all of the time.  I can feel that my blood pressure is elevated, and my acne and chin hair is coming back.  UGH!  So, I've decided to get ahold of myself and take care of this issue.  What am I doing about it?

Well,

1.  I'm going to follow THM pretty much 100% when I can.

Meaning, no Taco Bell stops, only on-plan Starbucks, making sure my meals at home are on plan.

2.  Following an exercise program.

I discovered Lindsay Brin (Moms Into Fitness) when I was pregnant with Tiernan.  She has amazing workout DVDs for all 3 trimesters of pregnancy and postpartum recovery.  She explains all of the moves before you start.  I bought her Pretty Fierce:  Weight Loss program that I am starting today.  I also go to my local Y for a fitness class every Thursday (if possible) and occasionally Tuesday, if I'm able.


3.  Take my medication faithfully.

I am on Metformin, and even though my prescription is full dose (2000mg), my body can only handle half of that.  I try to remember to take it at suppertime, but sometimes I don't eat supper, so I forget.  When I was faithfully taking it, I was losing weight at a good pace, and my PCOS symptoms weren't so bad.

I am hoping that by combining all 3 of these methods, I'll be able to keep the circle of disaster that is PCOS in check.  (PCOS is aggravated by being overweight.  PCOS causes insulin resisitence, which makes it really hard to lose weight.  PCOS is helped by losing weight.)

So, you fellow women with PCOS, what have you found, or done to help alleviate your PCOS?  Please share in the comments below! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Recipe Review: Chicken Parmy



Chicken Parmy (Pg. 161)

Pros:  delicious, short time to bake

Cons:  None

Cost:  inexpensive (especially if you make your own baking blend)

Times Made:  6

Rating:  *****

This recipe is AMAZING!  The whole family LOVES it!  It is often requested, and gets shouts of joy when they know it's cooking.

I occasionally add cheddar cheese to the top.  I use a lot of sauce so the chicken is "swimming" in it.  I use my homemade baking blend, but using the THM baking blend would be just as cost effective.  It cooks in 30 minutes or so.  Super easy, and did I mention, DELICIOUS???!!! It is a meal we have at least 2-3 times per month. I use a pizza sauce with no added sugar.

This is honestly one of my favorite meals!  I add Let 'Er Rip Side Salad with Rohnda's Ranch Dressing to make it a full meal. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Struggling Through Pain

Well, it happened.  The thing I had been dreading since we lost our little Darcy exactly 2 months ago.  My sweet friend "B"  from church had her baby last week.  I went to our monthly Mom's Bible Study last night and was shocked when I saw the baby!  I hadn't heard that she had had her baby.  The newborn was so beautiful, so perfect!

After our study was done, the baby was being passed around.  I asked to hold her, since I just LOVE babies!  I didn't think I would get as emotional as I did.  My other friend "S" who has miscarried as well,  was standing in front of me, and I think she saw me starting to get overwhelmed with the emotions.

I just lost it.  The tears started falling down my face, and I just couldn't hold it in.  My friend "S"hugged me.  I looked at "B", and said, "I'm sorry!  She is just so beautiful!"

The pain of knowing I would never hold MY baby just came over me.  It wasn't because I resented my friend for having a baby.  It wasn't that I hated the little baby for being there.  It was because even though my arms held a baby, I felt an overwhelming emptiness. 

The best thing that happened was that I felt so loved my all of the moms there.  I didn't feel like they were judging me.  I didn't feel like I had put any of them out.  They loved me, and understood why I was crying.  And my friend "S" had an even deeper understanding because she had gone through the same loss as I had.

I bawled the whole 30 minute drive home.  I was starving, and had originally planned on stopping for food, but I was afraid I'd lose it in the drive thru, and just wanted to get home to my husband.  I got home, found Bram in the living room, and just cried into his chest.  He didn't know why I was crying, but he just held me.  After I had taken a breath;  I told him why, and he hugged me closer and just let me cry.

I'm sure it gets better.  I've heard so many moms who have miscarried say that.  But it has only been 2 months for me.  Election Day (Nov. 8) was the day we were supposed to find out if our baby was a boy or a girl.  It is still fresh and raw in my mind and heart.  It doesn't help that the kids talk about Darcy ALL OF THE TIME, including to random strangers while out and about ("our baby died.").  I know they loved her, and were so heartbroken when she died;  but Mommy would prefer that she wouldn't have to explain her miscarriage to everyone.  F is constantly saying, "We need another baby.  You need another baby in your tummy, Mama!"  I'm sure in years to come it won't be so difficult. 



"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  ~ Psalm 147:3

Christmas in November!!

I am SO excited!!  My dear, darling husband has given me my Christmas present early this year!!!  We are going to see the Seattle Seahawks play the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in December!!!!!!!!!!!  AGH!!!  I am SO, SO, SO excited! I'm already planning a trip to the local mall to get a jersey and a hat (it will be COLD here in December...), and a blanket at Fanzz.  I might crochet myself a hat, and a scarf or cowl to keep myself warm.


I am kind of a CRAZY football fanatic.  You should see me at home when I'm watching a game.  My husband laughs at me all the time.  I jump, I scream, I dance,...yeah.  The NFC Championship game in the 2014 season against the Packers that went into overtime...CRAZY!! (NFC Championship game SEA vs GB) The Wild Card game against the Minnesota Vikings last season where the Vikings kicker MISSED THE GOAL POST that was about 22 feet away...INSANE!!!!  (Wild Card game SEA vs. MIN 2015)


Anyway...yeah.  So this is a glimpse inside my crazy football fanatic self.  (I will post pictures and do a post after the game!!!!) 

Ahem!  Ok...back to school and housework and THM!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Recipe Review: Trim Zuppa Toscana

I have finally started the THM recipe reviews I told you about.  Sorry for the long wait!  I have structured each review post to look like this:

name (page number in the THM cookbook) {what category of meal it is S, E, FP, or XO}

Pros:  what I liked

Cons:  what I didn't like

Cost:  cheap or expensive

Times I have made this recipe:

Rating:  (using the 5 star system)

So, without further adieu...here it my first Trim Healthy Mama Recipe Review!!!!!



Trim Zuppa Toscana (pg. 86) {S}

Pros:  tastes amazing, the whole family loves it.

Cons:  none that I've encountered

Cost:  Pretty inexpensive

Times Made: 2

Rating:  ***** (5 stars)

I followed the recipe except for not adding the crumbled bacon pieces, which would probably make this soup even more amazing!  (I just forgot to fry up the bacon the first time, and the second time I didn't have bacon.)  I also pureed all of the cauliflower and okra to make a smooth soup.  I liked it better this way.

My 5 oldest kids love it.  They can't wait to eat.  They call it the "Sausage Soup."

Husband likes it!  He said it will be great in the cold, WI winters we get.

It is seriously so easy!  brown, boil, blend, combine, EAT!  The flavor is so good, and it really hits the spot.  You could play around with the spices if you like it saltier, or spicier. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Homeschool Update: Christian Liberty Press

I posted about having switch up our homeschool curriculum in a previous post.  BJU Press just wasn't working for our family.  We switched to Christian Liberty Press...and we all LOVE it!!!


This was THE BEST decision we have made!  The kids are loving it, and Fionna, who pretty much hates school, told me last Friday that she loved school.  WOW!

Let me share WHY we love it so much...

1.  It is super simple.

There are no manipulatives.  I use the Unifix Cubes for math if I think the kids could benefit from visuals.  There is no set schedule or teacher's manual for the entire curriculum.  There are individual subject manuals, but again, they are super simple, and you can do more or add on to them whenever you please.

2.  The history and science subjects are simple and easy to listen to for kids.

 It's a page or two of reading and then some coloring.  A great introduction to history and science for small children.  The coloring pages keep them involved and coloring what we have discussed in the class helps cement the subject into their minds.

3.  It fits perfectly into our family lifestyle.

My husband works rotating shifts, and we also have several church activities throughout the week.  This curriculum allows us so much flexibility!  The reviews at the start are great, and we can do several of them in a day...not just what the "manual" says (because there is no set schedule).  My kids can do more of their book work on their own, which allows me to be able to load the dishwasher, switch laundry loads, or deal with naughty toddlers or teething babies.

So, I would totally recommend Christian Liberty Press to any homeschoolers looking for a simple, flexible, easy-to-add-onto curriculum.  I am SO glad we switched!  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Keeping up Appearances

So, lately...I've been paying more attention to how I dress.  Not because I wasn't modest before...but because you could call me the Queen of Frump!  Seriously...I often times go out of the house in jeans, sweatshirt, and sneakers...and absolutely NO makeup.  (just ask my mother-in-law!)

 When Bram and I were first married, my mother-in-law told me I dressed like an old lady.  I wore jean jumpers, ugly shoes, and no makeup.  I have since changed, and someone called me "trendy" the other day!  I have an appreciation of fashion, and fashion trends.  I try to maintain a semblance of fashion while still remaining modest.  It is easier to do than it looks, I assure you!

I love Pinterest for fashion ideas.  The people who create the outfits are so good.  I can get an idea, and look for that while I'm clothes shopping.  (the 3 outfit examples I have in this post are all from Pinterest.)



For example, the legging trend.  Leggings should absolutely NOT be substitutes for pants, in my opinion.  They just reveal too much of your body.  I love leggings, however.  They are extremely comfortable.  How do you wear them while still staying modest?  I pair them with long tunics or under short dresses and I wear tall boots.  Trendy AND modest!


My husband has no fashion sense (sorry, Babe;  I love you but it's true.).  He does, however, have an opinion on what I wear.   He knows I know what is and isn't appropriate.  His only want is no frump.  What husband would like his wife to look frumpy?  He loves when I wear skirts or dresses, so I try to add them into my wardrobe.  It helps greatly that I love skirts and dresses, too.



I love fall fashion!  Sweaters, Jeans, Boots, Scarves...all things fall!!  As a crocheter, I have the ability to create pretty much any scarf or cowl I want.  I have a talented friend who can make those gorgeous blanket scarves;  which are oh so popular right now.  (you can find her at Infinity Knits)

To accessorize my look, I like to wear those bobble necklaces.  They come in all of the colors of the rainbow, and they are so cute!  Some ladies like to wear the long, multi-strand necklaces as well.  Some days I just accessorize with a scarf or cowl.  They are SO cozy and warm!


I have also tried to wear makeup whenever I go out.  I have permanent dark circles under my eyes, so if I don't wear makeup, I look exhausted.  I love to wear gray eye shadow with a dark liner.  I rarely wear foundation as it seems to clog my pores too easily.  I occasionally wear a BB or CC cream.  Mostly it is eye shadow and mascara with occasional lip gloss.

Now that I had 12 inches of hair chopped off, I can do alot with my hair. I can straighten it, or curl it in mere minutes.  No more "mom bun" for this mama!

What are some of the ways YOU keep up your appearance?  Please share in the comments below! 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Perks of Homeschooling

We do not celebrate Halloween in our family.  We just believe there is nothing redeemable about this "holiday."  So we don't participate.  BUT...we do celebrate something on October 31!  We celebrate...

REFORMATION DAY!


That is, the day the Protestant Reformation was more or less, born.  499 years ago, the monk, Martin Luther, boldly nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church for all to see.  Thus sparked the Reformation...as people's eyes were opened to the rank disobedience to God in the Catholic church.

So, today, instead of the usual homeschool;  we did a mini unit study!  I researched on Pinterest for ideas...and found some gems!  I printed out 2 pages for the kids to color.  One was of Luther nailing his theses on the door with his name, "Luther,"  in bold letters at the bottom.  The other page was of his crest, a rose with a cross in the middle;  and Ephesians 2:8-9, which says, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  I then looked on Amazon Video (we are Prime members.) and found the Torchlighters had an animated "documentary" for kids called, The Martin Luther Story.  The kids loved it, and I enjoyed it as well.

Sorry about R...haha

This is why I LOVE homeschooling!  I can decide to change up the day's learning to match the holiday, or some event taking place in our lives.  I also love that we have the Internet as a huge resource!


Friday, October 28, 2016

Fall Cleaning with Thieves Essential Oil



I know everyone does, or has heard of, Spring Cleaning.  I am in the process of Fall Cleaning.  And I'm dousing my home in Young Living's Thieves Essential Oil to help keep sickness away.  I have Thieves Household Cleaner, Thieves oil, Thieves Laundry Detergent, and Thieves Dish-washing Liquid. Here are some of the ways I use Thieves oil and products...

~ Multi-purpose Spray

I mix Thieves oil with Castile soap and water in a spray bottle.  I use this to wipe down kitchen counters, tabletop, bathroom counters, and doorknobs.

~ Diffuse

I diffuse the Thieves oil in my diffuser at least once a week.  I also use Purification, Lemon, and R.C. oils to freshen the air.

~ Floor Cleaner

I use Thieves Household cleaner to wash my floors.  I take a few capfuls of cleaner and add them to a gallon bucket of water.  It is gentle enough for my bathroom floor;  which requires non-harsh cleaners.

~ Dish Washing

I use a small amount of Thieves dish-washing liquid to wash dishes.  I also use it to wipe down the counter around my sink, and clean my sink.

~ Laundry Detergent

The Thieves detergent has a gentle scent that makes laundry smell amazing.  You only need a small amount for each load, which is definitely cost effective.


The fall/winter season is riff with sickness, and last year our family got hit hard with the Noro virus...which meant weeks of vomit and diarrhea.  I do NOT want to go through that again, so using Thieves oil to clean my home makes me feel like I have a leg up on this cold and flu season.

Along with washing my house, I am also de-cluttering and organizing.  I have several lists of containers and shelves I need to organize, and I am purging clothes, toys, and miscellaneous other items that are laying around with no home and no purpose.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Unknown THM Gems in the Cookbook

Since buying the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook last year, I have discovered some hidden gems that my family loves.  These recipes are cheap to buy and easy to prepare;  making them family favorites in this house.  (I've provided the page numbers for each recipe found in the cookbook.)

1.  Slim Sloppy Joes (pg. 63)

This recipe is amazing!  Just beef, veggies, and sauce.  I serve it to my husband and kids on regular hamburger buns, and I eat it between 2 toasted slices of sprouted bread.  My husband raves about it, and often requests it!

2.  Cabb & Saus Skillet (pg. 58)

This one is a semi-favorite.  A few of my kids don't like it...but they do eat it.  It is just cabbage, sausage, and spices.  Now, I used whole cabbage, which requires cutting and shredding...so it's very labor intensive for me.  But you can always buy pre-shredded cabbage to make it easier.

3.  Chicken Parmy (pg. 161)

Everyone LOVES this recipe!  And it is so simple!  Chicken, breading, sauce, and cheese.  So easy to prepare, and gobbled up in a second!

4.  Singing Canary Shot (pg. 399)

I highly dislike the fact that the regular Singing Canary takes FOREVER to make because you have to do special things to the lemons...UGH! But the Singing Canary Shot is amazing!  I use Lemon Juice because I rarely buy lemons. Tastes great, and has the same benefits...just a smaller dose.

5.  Let 'Er Rip Side Salad (pg. 229)

This little gem is great!  You just tear up a head of lettuce, and add veggies, (I also add Rohnda's Ranch Dressing) and you have a side dish! 

6.  Creamy Herbed Chicken (pg. 165)

I found this recipe one evening when I was in a quandary about what to make for dinner.  I had all of the ingredients, so I made it, and the Hubs LOVED it! 

7.  Coconut Thai Chicken (pg. 45)

This is one of my favorite recipes!  And it is SO easy!  Chicken, veggies, and sauce simmering in the slow cooker all day.  I serve it over brown rice, which I cook in my rice cooker.  It has such a delicious flavor!

8.  Watcha Want Mexican Chicken (pg. 47)

This has got to be the easiest recipe!  Just 2 ingredients slow cooked all day, served over brown rice.  I add black beans to stretch it out a bit.  Delicious!

9.  Sweet Potato Bar (pg. 166)

We love this recipe!  I like that the chicken and the potatoes are baked together.  Just add veggies and sour cream.  I add a pat of butter and some shredded cheese on top for the rest of the family for a good crossover. 

10.  Waffleized Breakky Sandwich (pg. 241)

I tweak this to make it a delicious, on-plan crossover.  I toast 2 slices of sprouted bread, then add fried eggs, bacon, and a slice of cheese.  So good, and so filling!

What are some recipes you've discovered and loved while doing THM?  Please, share them in the comments! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Focus on Fitness

Lately, I have decided to focus on my Health and Fitness.   I still have about 20lbs. to lose to reach my goal.  I follow Trim Healthy Mama, and have just recently created a workout schedule for myself.  Exercise is greatly encouraged on THM, despite many, many mama's touting impressive weight loss numbers without working out.

 
My weekly workout schedule looks something like this:

Sunday:  Rest Day
Monday:  Run (2 miles or more)
Tuesday:  PiYo (30 minutes or more)
Wednesday:  Run (2 mi.+)
Thursday:  RIPPED class (55 min.)
Friday:  Run (2 mi.+)
Saturday:  Kickboxing/PiYo/Zumba (basically whatever I want)

Occasionally, the Y will have a special RIPPED class on Friday night or Saturday morning.  If Bram is working second shift, I occasionally attend the morning RIPPED classes on Monday and Wednesday.

Sometimes, I know some ladies wonder how to work out and stay modest.  When I am running or going to the Y, I typically wear a racerback tank (preferably high-neckline), somewhat long to cover my butt.  Bottoms are normal, workout bottoms such as Under Armour capris, or in fall/winter...leggings.  In the summer, I wear workout shorts, but make sure to either wear the 2-layer shorts or long shorts.  Everyone has their own standard of modesty.  Before I go or do any kind of workout, I do ask my husband what he thinks of my clothes.  I've had him say "No." to numerous items.  I also try the "plank test" with my tops...if you can see my breasts when I'm in plank...that top is OUT!  My favorite brands for workout clothes are Under Armour, Victoria Sport (formerly Victoria Secret Sport, or VSX), and Old Navy Active.


Workout bras are a MUST, seriously!  I only wear Victoria Sport bras.  They have all kinds of different styles and supports.  They are just so comfortable, and they work so well to hold you in and close while jostling around!   
 
My workout shoes are either trail running shoes, or training shoes.  My favorite brands are Under Armour, Asics, Salomon, New Balance and Fila.  I have a problem with my shoes slipping around when at the Y due to the waxed gym floor...so I try to use my training shoes for the gym.  Trail-running shoes do NOT do well indoors!
You can buy dumbbells at Walmart, Target, Dicks, and Scheels. Start with 2s or 3s...then work your way up to whatever you can handle SAFELY.  You're not trying to prove anything to anyone, so be careful!  I started my Y classes with my 3 pounders and am just about able to go up to 7....and I've been doing classes on and off for about 1.5 years.
  
 So, I encourage everyone to start some kind of exercise routine for themselves.  I know that as a mom, there are precious few times to workout, but if you make it a priority...it will happen.  Fitness is very important to my husband and I, so we make it a priority.  I always tell myself this when I don't feel like working out and start to come up with all of the excuses...

"No one has ever finished a workout, and regretted it."  

Friday, October 21, 2016

My Trim Healthy Mama Plan (a blurb)

I have to admit...I am not 100% on plan.  I still splurge at Starbucks.  I eat real pizza.  I love me some Doritos (more than I should, seriously!).  But I do try to stay on plan as much as I can.

All of our dinners are from the THM cookbook.  Our go-to recipes are Cabb & Saus Skillet, Rich & Tender Stew, Coconut Thai Chicken, Chicken Florentine, Lemon Herb Drummies, Bangin' Ranch Drums, and Eggroll in a Bowl.  We just discovered the Trim Zuppa Tuscana Soup and everyone loves it!  I do alot of the crockpot meals for convenience.

I always have brown rice on hand.  Salsa Chicken was a favorite meal as I was growing up, and the Watcha Want Mexican Chicken is exactly the same.  I add a can of black beans to our pot for more substance, and the kids and my hubs add a dollop of sour cream to their helpings.  I also serve the Coconut Thai Chicken over Brown rice, making it a crossover...which is better than going off plan with white rice.  My husband always likes a starch with his dinners.  I always have coconut milk in my cabinets.  I snack on fresh mozzarella, which you can find in the produce section of Walmart.  I also love to snack on various nuts, and popcorn with nutritional yeast sprinkled generously on top.  I also keep canned tomatoes in stock.  I buy the bulk containers of spices that I use frequently...such as garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder.

This past month, we went half in on a half of a cow with my brother-in-law.  That gave us tons of ground beef, chuck roasts, and various other forms of steak.  That is so amazing to have in our freezer, as we can use the meat in a variety of THM meals.  Everything came out to around $3/lb.!!

So, this is just a small blurb about how I make THM work for me.  I realize that I may not see terrific results because of my non-purist, and sometimes off-plan ways...but this works for me!




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Starting Over with our Homeschool


We started out our second year of homeschool using Bob Jones University Press (BJU Press) curriculum.  I loved it.  I was excited and wooed by the bright colors and manipulatives.  Well, not 6 weeks into it, we are getting rid of it and starting over with something new.

Here is why:

1.  BJU Press is extremely time consuming.

I know, homeschooling itself is extremely time consuming.  But having a curriculum that is easy to manage and not extra-time consuming is important...especially as a busy mom of 6.  BJUP takes a lot of time to set up.  I first realized this when I had my mom and mother-in-law over to help prep and there were WAY more manipulatives than I had originally thought.  Every night,and sometimes the morning of, I would spend at least an hour, maybe more, getting things ready for the next day.  Math and Phonics had the most manipulatives, and every day added more and more onto what we already needed.  There were HUNDREDS of small, vocabulary cards;  sight word cards, family cards, word cards, and parts of a word cards to be prepared...and sometimes story characteres needing to be copied, cut out, colored, and glued to a stick.  And that is just one subject!!  It was just all too much for me.  

2.  BJUP is geared more towards an actual schoolroom.

The curriculum is made to be used in a classroom setting.  It assumes you have bulletin boards or space to store everything you need.  It has homework-type assignments.  It has activities or games that you need more than 2 students to do.  I was constantly having to come up with ways to adapt lessons for just my 2 first graders.  Again...wasting time.

3. They are a Baptist doctrine-based curriculum.

We are a Reformed Presbyterian family, so when doctrinal discussions came up (specifically salvation)  I was having to correct the text and the kids' work texts to fit into our doctrinal beliefs.  Not necessarily bad, but annoying to have to do.

Something Good about BJUP...

I loved their Math!

Their Math 1 curriculum is amazing.  Despite all of the manipulatives, the math program is great.  I especially love their use of Unifix Cubes.  When I started using them to help F and T review addition and more-or-less concepts...they picked up on it almost instantly.  They (the cubes) were a great visual to help them understand more and less...greater and lesser. I love that! 
  

So, what are we going to do?

Well, we decided to use Christian Liberty Press.  They are a Reformed doctrine-based curriculum, which is great for Bible class.  Their schedule is much more conducive to our needing-to-be-flexible family life.  Their work texts are simple and easy to follow.  Our books are being shipped to us soon, and I cannot wait to start!  

As my mother-in-law pointed out to me,  it is better to start all over with a new curriculum, than to struggle and force your way through one that doesn't fit.  



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

To my Pregnant Friends...

Dear Pregnant Friends,

I know, I just lost my baby at 10 weeks.  I know that some of you don't know what that is like, and can't comprehend how it feels.  I know that you have no idea how to talk to me, or what to say, or even if you should say things.  I know you feel that you can't share your pregnancy joy without hurting me.  But I want you to know some things:

1.)  I am SO happy and excited for you during your pregnancy!

Yes, I feel a pang of sadness when I see your growing belly...but that doesn't mean I am not thrilled to hear about his kicks or her bout of hiccups at 10 p.m.  It doesn't mean I don't want to celebrate with you when you find out it's a boy or a girl.  I love to celebrate the precious life inside of you!

2.)  I cannot wait to hold your newborn!

I might cry the first time I hold her, but it's not you or him...it's the sadness that I won't be holding my own.  I will drink in your baby's newborn scent, laugh at scrunched up faces, and love her head of hair.  I'll tell you he looks like you or her daddy.  I'll celebrate her arrival and bring a special gift for him.

3.)  I may, at times, well up with tears.

It's nothing you said, or did.  Grief hits me at all times and in all places;  sometimes for no reason at all.  It's part of losing a loved one.

4.)  I will sometimes need to talk.

Some day, some time...I may need to just talk.  About my grief, about my baby...just talk to someone.  So someday I'll need your ears to listen, and your words for comfort.

Grieving is a process.  I'm never going to "get over" losing my child.  But with the Lord's help, and support from dear friends like you...I can live a happy, joyful life.  I won't obsess over the child I lost.  I will laugh at jokes and funny stories.  I'll spend time with friends and family.  I'll live my life to it's fullest knowing I will see my baby again in Heaven.


October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  (it is completely overshadowed by Breast Cancer awareness...)  No one talks about it as much as they should.  The statistics surrounding P&IL are staggering.  One in Four women has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or SIDS.  There shouldn't be a stigma around P&IL.  We should be able to talk about it and find support through it as common as cancer.  Women should know that they are not alone, and they don't need to go through this pain alone.

As Christians, we can find comfort in knowing that our babies are in heaven with Jesus;  singing and dancing and praising our Father.  We will meet them one day, and we will never be separated again.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My First Participating Tough Mudder Experience

Saturday, October 1, 2016.  We woke up early and got all of the kids fed and dressed.  We had gotten our gear, tickets, waivers, and extra clothes all packed up and ready to go the night before.  After a minor hiccup (I accidentally put my phone in the diaper bag that was at my in-laws) we were off to Road America (the racetrack the event was held)!!

I have to honestly admit, I was SO nervous!  I mean, 12 miles...20+ obstacles...electricity...UGH!!  On top of it all...it was rainy and gloomy and cold.

We arrived at Road America.  We passed our fellow Mudders from the earlier waves already tackling the "Ladder to Hell."  Our wave was at 10:15.  We had a half hour before we were to get in line.  I did a super short, live Facebook video for our friends and family who couldn't spectate.  (we were there all by ourselves, and honestly, it was a crappy day for the spectators.)

We got in line, and were herded into a holding pen (seriously, a pen...like cattle.  People were mooing all over the place, haha!).  Then we got released up to the warm up area.  After squatting and lunging and doing jumping jacks we finally.....got to go to the actual starting line.

The announcer said "GO!"and we all went!  It was exciting!  We jogged for a bit, then we got to the first obstacle, "Kiss of Mud," which is about 20ft. or more of super watery mud that you have to crawl/swim through while keeping your butt down so you don't get caught on the barbed wire strung over the entire swampy mess.  It was fun, although the water was cold.


My husband did most of the obstacles, I did about half.  It was freezing cold, and the trails themselves were an entire, 12 mile obstacle as the rains from the week before turned everything into a soupy, muddy pit.  This was Bram's 3rd Tough Mudder run...and he, as well as all of the other legionnaires, were commenting on just how AWFUL the trails were.  This year was by far the muddiest, toughest course they had experienced...and some of the legionnaires have done more than 20 runs!   (just in case people think I'm exaggerating how bad it was...)

I was SO ready to quit so many times!! I was cold, miserable, and just tired.

After 5 hours of mud, sweat, and more mud...we got to the last obstacles.  Since Bram is a legionnaire, he was able to take the alternate finishing obstacle, "Frequent Flyers."  This was my first run, so I either had to do "Electroshock Therapy" or bypass.  I have a deathly fear of electric shock, and I know you're supposed to "Conquer all fears!"  but I decided to bypass.  I still got my headband and shirt...and a beer, which I took a sip and then gave to my hubby.


My favorite part about Tough Mudder is the camaraderie with the other Mudders.  Everyone looks out for and helps everyone else.  We met some super nice people, and were able to help each other out.

So...

Would I do it again?

YES!
(I actually signed up for next year this morning!!)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Personal Update!

I started my THM journey in May of 2014.  I had just had my 5th baby, and been put on Provera...which made me gain 20 extra pounds.  I stepped on the scale and it read 199.6.  I was dumbfounded.  I swore I would NEVER get to 200.  I was introduced to THM by a friend, and started it shortly after my scary scale encounter.

It is now September 2016.  I had my 6th baby in 2015.  During the pregnancy, I only gained 7lbs.!!  (I started the pregnancy at 185, dropped 10lbs. the first trimester, and at the 36th week, I was 192.  (she was born 4 weeks early.)  I continued to lose weight after I gave birth.  I started back at my RIPPED classes at my local YMCA 1-2 times per week.  I also started jogging to prepare for my 2 mud runs.  I jog 4-5 times per week.

This August, we found out we were expecting again, and since I had been very active already, my midwife said it was perfectly fine to continue my exercise routine, as well as do my mud runs (just avoiding jumping, electric, and other dangerous obstacles.)   I did my Dirty Girl Mud Run at 6 weeks pregnant.  It was a 5k course with 13 obstacles.  I did every single obstacle, got really muddy, and earned my medal!  I had a blast!


Last night, I stopped at Old Navy because I had no jeans or sweaters to wear in the cooler, Wisconsin weather we are having.  I was a 14 in shorts this summer, so I grabbed the 14s, size Large sweaters, and headed to the fitting rooms.  I was shocked when the jeans and sweater were TOO BIG!!!  I ended up getting size 12 jeans (which are loose!) and I fit into size Medium sweaters!  (I still got the large in some styles as I like my tops loose)  Woohoo!  I am so excited.

I stepped on the scale this morning, and was down to 162...which is the lowest I had gotten before my last pregnancy.  Here's hoping I continue to go down!

This Saturday (2 days!!!)  my hubby and I will be doing Tough Mudder.  This is my husband's 3rd run, my first.  I am SO nervous!  I am also hoping the Lord uses us to be a good witness for Him!  We are going to be joined by my cousin, and another cousin of mine will be doing an earlier wave, so we'll meet up with him later.

How I do THM:  

I typically have coffee with a creamer for my breakfast.  Occasionally I'll have sprouted toast with a tsp of butter.  (the creamer is not on plan, but has a small amount of sugar, so I use it.)

Lunch is usually leftovers from supper;  which is always on plan.

Snacks are usually fresh mozzarella, nuts, or popcorn with nutritional yeast.

Drinks throughout the day are usually water, Bai Antiwater, or Bai juice.

Supper is always something from the THM cookbook.  (For instance, tonight will be Cabb & Saus Skillet.)  If I am working out that day, I usually choose a crockpot meal for convenience.

If I'm running errands, I typically don't stay on plan.  If I choose to stay on plan, I get Qdoba, or a Breve Latte at Starbucks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Growing in My Faith

In my first week of starting this blog, I talked about my faith.  I was raised Baptist, and am now a Reformed Presbyterian.  I attend an OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) called New Hope Presbyterian. We have been attending this church for about 2.5 months now.  I cannot tell you what a blessing this church has been to me and my family!


I recently realized that in the short time we have been going to New Hope, I have been growing in my faith!  I actually purchased 2 theology books I am interested in reading!!  (Those who know me, know that I am not really theologically minded.)  I am wanting to have a deeper understanding of the doctrines I believe in, so I can explain it well to others.

Being raised Baptist, and then becoming a Reformed Presbyterian is quite a change.  My parents and brothers consider themselves to be Reformed Baptists, so as you can imagine...there are some intense debates on certain theological topics.

I recently have discovered that my heart longs to evangelize.  Our Sunday School lessons are about relational evangelism...or personal evangelism.  That means sharing the Gospel on a daily basis with others, by the way we live, conduct ourselves in public, and how we share God's truths with them.  Having 6 children so close in age lends itself to numerous opportunities to share the Gospel with people.  It greatly helps me, because in the back of my mind, I am always thinking, "Keep smiling, Don't lose your temper, Be a testimony to others."  as I shop with the kids.

I have also been working on bringing the Gospel to my children.  I think Christian moms forget sometimes that we are to be evangelizing to our children, as well as to the unsaved world.  Our children need to hear the Gospel;  need to know what God has done for them.  It does my heart good to hear my children randomly singing hymns and praise songs they have heard in church or on the radio!  I have also been buying good Christian books to read to them before bed.  They love those!

I can feel and see myself growing in my faith, and I am so excited to see what God has for me to learn in the future!

Getting Back into Trim Healthy Mama

After my miscarriage last week, I fell hard off of the THM wagon.  I'm talking Ramen, Spaghetti-Os, Pudding, Chocolate, Fruity Pebbles....you name it.  I have been still losing weight, but feeling really crappy.  So this week I've decided I'd rather not feel this way.  I am slowly going back into the THM plan.  Somethings that are comforts I am not going to give up just yet, as right now I do need some comforts.  (I love flavored coffee with a Sweet Cream creamer.)

I love Fall!  It's my favorite season.  I love the smells, the boots, the sweaters, the colors, the coffee (Starbucks fanatic here), and really just everything about it!  However, I do not go crazy for pumpkin everything.  I love pumpkin cheesecake muffins, pumpkin pie, and my mom's pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I love my husband's apple pie.  All of that, to say...that there are a lot of THM-friendly recipes for your favorite fall treats.  I will be compiling a list with links to a lot of these fall recipes in the very near future!!  Please stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Leaning on Him Through the Difficult Days Ahead

With broken hearts, we have to tell you all that our precious 7th baby was taken up to heaven to be with God.

I had some bleeding and pain in church on Sunday, and by 9:00pm, I had miscarried.  I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it was.  How painful, physically and emotionally, it is to birth your child that is no bigger than a prune.  We have chosen the name, Darcy Bubbles, as her name.  Our older children are convinced it was a girl, and deep down, I feel she was a girl as well.  I was surrounded by my wonderful Mother-in-law, Husband, and loving Parents throughout the process; and had a beautiful visit from my amazing friend, Janelle.

I ended up being kept in the hospital overnight due to a continued allergic reaction to the pain med they had me on.  I passed out once.  I was able to go home the next afternoon.  I am still in a lot of pain; taking pain meds every 4 hours.

The hardest part was having to tell my super-excited children that Bubbles was not coming home;  that she is in heaven with Jesus.  They were devastated.  They loved Darcy SO SO much, and were looking forward to meeting her and loving on her.

We were able to take her body home, and we will bury her with us.  My husband found a beautiful headstone for our little Darcy.

We know heaven is a better place for Darcy.  We know that the Lord had a reason, a purpose for taking Darcy so soon.  He loves Darcy just as much as we do.  This was not a punishment for something we did.  This was not a twisted joke He decided to play on us.  He made a covenant with Bram and I when we became a family, and He tells us that that covenant extends to our children.  We have hope and faith that when our time comes, we will see our little Darcy again.  What a day of rejoicing that will be!


Saturday, September 3, 2016

When Your Plans Fall to Pieces

Well, I encountered a major set back in my grand homeschooling plans. 

I planned on starting our 2016 school year this coming Monday. 

God's plan is that I wait a week. 

We switched from Memoria Press to BJU Press for first grade this year.  I eagerly looked over the books as soon as I got them.  As September drew near, I again perused the books, and thought I had a good grasp as to what I would need.  Boy...was I EVER WRONG! 

I overlooked practically EVERYTHING.  I mean, my Mom and Mother-in-law came over this morning to help me cut out all of the manipulatives, and we discovered that I am nowhere NEAR ready for school to begin.  *sigh*  *major tears* 

I need Unifix cubes for Math.  I need word cards for Reading.  There are HUNDREDS of word cards that need to be cut and laminated.  There are lots of Math Manipulatives that need to be cut and laminated.  I am started a new curriculum...I need to figure out just HOW I am going to teach this new curriculum. 

I, of course, immediately felt overwhelmed and cried.  Mostly out of embarrassment, as my Mother and Mother-in-law are veteran homeschoolers and I had just been exposed as totally unprepared to teach their grandchildren.  I also felt like, once again, I had failed in the very thing I should be so good at. It's my job to teach my children...and how can I possibly do that if I am so ill-prepared?  I thought I had prepared, and I was woefully underestimating my prowess as a homeschooler.  And really--what was I thinking?  This is only my second year.  I am by no means a veteran. 

My pride was wounded, my excitement halted, and I was feeling so ill-equipped to teach my children.  I looked at my kitchen table strewn with books, paper, binders, and scissors and felt like I was going to drown. 

Thank God for my mothers.  My mother-in-law dried my tears, and told me everything was going to be OK.  My mother assured me that I do not fail at everything, and that this was just a small set back.  My husband then reminded me that this is homeschool...there is no deadline, no absolute day/time I needed to start our schooling. 

And that is what I want to share with you all. 

HOMESCHOOLING IS FLEXIBLE.

 It works around you, you don't have to work around it.  You need to start later, no problem.  Your whole family gets sick, take a few days off.  You have a new baby, take time to relax, recooperate, and enjoy your new joy for a few weeks to get back to your routine.  School will always be there, ready to be taught and learned. 


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pregnancy Funnies

This pregnancy has gone off with a bang!  The cravings and nausea hit about a week and half after I found out "Bubbles" was on her way.  I am daily craving KFC's Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.  Like, ALL DAY EVERY DAY crave.  And today I started craving Ritz Crackers. 

With Fionna, I craved Pickles and Cheesecake. 

With Tiernan, I craved Baked Beans.

With Kayson, I craved Chinese Food (which is weird because I hated Chinese food.)

With Liam, I craved Fruit.

With Ronan, I craved Subway Pizza Subs.

With Winry, I craved Blueberries and Cream Cheese.

So, I wonder what else I'll crave this pregnancy.  For my nausea, my midwife gave me a new medication that is specially formulated for pregnant women.  It's called Diclegis, and is a high dose of vitamin B6 and the main ingredient in Unisom.  It works great!

I also get to see a new midwife, Libby, who has joined Mary and AnneMarie on the Women's Specialty Care midwife team!  I was SO happy with the midwives last time, and I am REALLY, REALLY hoping one of them can be there for the actual birth.  (None of the midwives was on call the morning Winry was born...although I am highly suspicious that the OB didn't even bother calling the midwives because none of them knew I had even given birth!) 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Why I'm Switching to Young Living EOs for Good

The second post on this blog was about becoming an essential oil-using family...(HERE).  I wanted to do another post on which EO company I use. 


I have decided to switch all of my oils to Young Living oils.  They are, in my opinion, the best company for essential oils out there.  I have had and used several brands of EOs, and none compare to the quality of YL.  Even straight out of the bottle (used aromatically) I can smell the difference.  YL also has an amazing array of fantastic oil blends.

What impressed me most about YL is their Seed to Seal process.  They grow their own plants, on their own farms.  They harvest at the plant's peak, and distill according to the best way for that particular plant.  If a batch is somehow tainted, they get rid of the entire lot, and start over.  (which is why some oils can be out of stock for a while.)  You know you will always be getting the best oils available.

I am really interested in their oil line for children.  I have seen amazing results diffusing Lavender and Cedarwood in the kids' rooms at night.  My habitual head-banger stopped his ridiculous head banging!  I also inhale or apply the Stress Away blend before heading out with the kids, and it does seem to help me. My favorite oil blend to diffuse is Purification.  It smells amazing, and makes the whole room smell amazing.  I have Gentle Baby on the way, as I have heard it is the number one oil to have on hand while pregnant.

I used Tea Tree oil when L had a bad staph infection on his toe.  It just would not go away, even after starting antibiotics, and washing it 3x a day!  I started applying Tea Tree (Melaluca) and Lavender to it, then putting a band-aid on it, and it healed after a few days!
 
Some people may be put off by the price, but keep in mind...you're only using drops at a time.  A 5ml bottle can last more than a month, sometimes more than two.  A 15ml bottle can last half a year!  (I tend to buy my most used oils in 15ml so I'm not constantly buying them.)

I finally got my bottle of YL Lavender, and WOW!  The quality of the oil is so much better than the 3 other companies I've had.  I am never going back.  




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Major Happenings!!

Wow!  So many things have been going on over here!!

1.  The most important news is that

WE ARE EXPECTING #7!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

WHAT???  Yes, you read that right.  I am pregnant once again.  It was a complete shock, only discovered when I took a pregnancy test in preparation for a midwife visit for ovarian pain.  We are thrilled, albeit somewhat nervous. 


2.  We are getting ready to start our second year of homeschool! 

Which means lots of planning, making lists, and making sure we have everything we need from our curriculum. I still have to get K's kindergarten workbooks, but other than that and a few other necessities, we are mostly set! 

3.  My 8-month-old is crawling!

That means she is getting into lots of trouble!  Having 5 older siblings also helps with that, unfortunately.  But it is so much fun to watch her explore and discover new things.  Her favorite thing to do now is eat yogurt snacks. 

4.  My husband and I are getting ready to celebrate 8 years of marriage!

I can't believe it's been 8 years since I vowed to love, honor, and obey this amazing man.  I pray God gives me 80 more years with my beloved.  


What fun/important things are happening in your life?  Please share below!