Monday, December 29, 2014

A Stay At Home Birth

I had the opportunity to be the photographer for a home birth on December 26th. What a beautiful experience. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them and documenting their story for them.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Visit From Mary Poppins

It's been a good day and a busy one again. It was nice to have a couple of hours to wake up, and do some reading before the day's activities began. My sweet friend, Michaela came over for coffee and lunch. I always enjoy visiting with her and her little guy is so adorable! After they left, I zipped out to my friend, Jacqueline's house for a cup of tea and to pick up a microscope. What a gift! We are so blessed. It was such fun visiting with her and talking music, home school and naturopaths, health and family. I had a wonderful visit and lunch out on the island with my sweet friend, Tracy yesterday while we celebrated her son, Colton's birthday and afterward ran Natalie to piano lessons, gassed up the car and then headed for home.
I came home really tired tonight and was so thrilled to see that Mary Poppins House Cleaning Services (my daughter, Natalie's house cleaning business) had worked her house cleaning magic while I was away. The house literally sparkled from top to bottom! There are no words to express the relief and joy that brought to my tired soul. Thank you so much, Natalie!
I was heading out the door to an essential oils class with just enough time to grab some dinner on the way out. Our pregnant dog hadn't been eating much today, though and I decided to check her temp. It had dropped significantly which means puppies should be making their debut in the next twelve hours. So....I will be staying home tonight and keeping a close eye on our sweet Dallas.
I took a few pictures of our nice, clean house.


And I took a few pictures of our sweet Dallas this evening. Have a great weekend!




Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Decompression Time

It's been a busy fall and I am tired. It's amazing how much running around a mom is required to do and while I don't mind doing some running, the perpetual motion seems to have taken on a life of its own. After a minimum of ten days straight (I believe it has been about 150 days more than that, but I am being conservative here) of running at least one errand a day....and usually at least three or four, I am at home for a few hours this afternoon.
I have this sweet little LazyBoy rocker recliner in our beautiful bedroom, that was placed there with the intention of providing a place for my husband and/or me to read and relax, quietly.....away from the noise and activity of a busy household. Today I decided to be intentional about putting it to use. I have my cup of coffee, my freshly bathed lap dog, and a good book. It's quiet, relaxing and cozy and especially so because it's raining outside.



We moms need to take time to re-fuel and refresh. I found myself being very crabby with my family over the past few day. I am easily stressed out, tearful, and snappy. These are red flags that tell me it's time to refuel. It's time to get off the roller coaster and be responsible to take care of my body's need to rest. I can't keep fueling the family if my tank is on empty, and fellow moms, you can't either, so don't feel guilty about taking some time to regroup, relax, and refuel. We all need it. It's how we are designed. Find that quiet space where you can think, pray, decompress, process, and just rest.

Your family really will thank you for it and you will gain a new, fresh, perspective. Especially if you include a little Bible and prayer time in those quiet moments.

"Casting all your anxieties on Him, because he cares for you." I Peter 5:7

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving From Our Home To Yours

My nine year old son drew this little minion picture. There are many days I really relate well to this and today is one of them. It's one of those days when a pair of sweats, a hoody, and some nice, thick, warm, socks are just my style.

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It's been a good week. A productive week and we have had much more time at home than usual. I love weeks like this. We've also had colds, which is why we have been home more, but at least we're not writhing in misery.

On Monday our daughter Brandi brought five of our sweet grandblessings over. The kids all did school together. I got to enjoy our two youngest grandsons in the rocking chair by the fire while Brandi was helping her kids through their schooling. It was so nice. I love that snuggle time with my grandkiddos. There's nothing like it! My youngest grandson Cooper, who is eighteen months old, after I kissed him and told him I love him said "I love you too!" It was the first time he said that to me and it was so sweet. Made my day and then some.

We baked some healthy, gluten free pies for Thanksgiving. Everyone got involved and it was a lot of fun. We made tacos with grass fed beef for lunch and a big salad to go with them.

The kids had a great time playing all afternoon after we finished baking and I think they even watched a Christmas movie or two.

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Levi our youngest (in the green shirt) all snuggled up with his nieces and nephews for a movie.

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Brandi and I rolled our sleeves up and made some changes to our house so we are making much better use of the space we have. I love the changes and so does everyone else! We took the love seat out of our master bedroom and put it in the den with the ottomans. Now we have a nice, cozy space in there for book reading, or movie watching. We took the toys out of the boys' room and condensed them down to one bin which now resides in the den, so kids can play, read books, or watch movies in there.  In the boys' room, I emptied out the beautiful toy chest our son-in-law, Kevin made and repurposed it. It is now in the living room and is the perfect chest for storing blankets. I moved the small rocking chair and a lamp table into our bedroom which gives us a cozy place to sit and sip tea while we read. With the love seat gone and the smaller chair in there, the room feels so much bigger!

A few weeks ago our youngest son turned eight. Brandi and I surprised him and took him and Kyran out to lunch and then out shopping where he got to spend his birthday money. Kyran came home afterwards and spent the night. I snapped a few pictures of all the boys before church the next morning. They are getting so tall and handsome!

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Today the kids and I will be making gluten free stuffing, another pie or two, and we'll be working on a few more Thanksgiving dinner preparations. We are going over to Kevin and Brandi's for dinner and looking forward to it. It will be the first time in four years we have spent Thanksgiving together. With so much family in the area for the kids, they have to spread themselves out a bit which has given us opportunity to enjoy holidays with friends who don't have family here. We are looking forward to the day with the kids and grandkiddos tomorrow. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? I love Thanksgiving day and the yummy food. I take a break from my strict diet to enjoy some extra special traditions. The day after Thanksgiving our family's tradition is to go cut a tree and decorate the house for Christmas and we always enjoy turkey leftovers.

I think I'll bring a vegan turkey tomorrow (GRIN)

Thanksgiving turkey fruit

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

True Confessions of a Slow Thyroid

About nine months ago I went into my naturopath and had some testing done. I have shared about that in Is Gluten Free The Way To Be?

It's been a tough road back to health and I still have a long way to go. My thyroid is so sluggish that just looking at food seems to invite it take up permanent residence in my body in the form of extra pounds. Gaining weight, after working so hard to lose it, is frustrating. Over the past several months, even though I have been exercising and keeping gluten out of my body, I have gained over twenty pounds.

This has to stop, but I've been at a loss as to how. I've been praying about it because if I have a plan of action, I will succeed. I just need a plan.

Fermented foods and bone broth keep coming up on my radar, so I've been paying more attention to them. I also came across this article the other day that explains the benefits of intermittent fasting and this short video about balancing hormones to help with adrenal fatigue, thyroid etc.

After a lot of prayer and research, I have come to a conclusion that a combination of intermittent fasting, regular exercise, and the foods mentioned in the video, along with some fermented foods, are the perfect plan for my body to get back on track. I'm also looking into essential oils for some extra help.

I kicked off these changes over the weekend beginning with a twenty-four hour fast from solid food and started out Sunday morning with a hot mug of turkey bone broth. Bone broth is full of great health benefits and specifically helpful in the areas my body needs to heal in. It is so rich in nutrition that one mug of home made turkey bone broth consumed at 8:30 in the morning kept me going until 4:00 in the afternoon. I went to church, grocery shopping at three different stores, gassed up the car, picked up kids from a Bible study and transported them to their house, before bringing my own kids home, unloaded groceries and was just beginning to really feel hungry. I made carrot/apple/orange/ginger/garlic juice. Juicing also has incredible health benefits. At 4:30, I broke the liquid fast with a big organic salad, packed with delicious veggies and some black beans. I topped it with Thrive corn and peas for a delicious, nutritious, crunch and made an olive oil balsamic vinegar dressing. Later on we had Shakeology for dinner. That night I slept the best I have in years, so I think I'm on to something here! Yesterday I did the same thing for breakfast. I had turkey bone broth for breakfast and then juiced the same juice concoction. Later on I had a big, taco salad with a couple of corn tortillas with grass fed beef taco meat for lunch. I had plain Greek yogurt with organic berries, Thrive bananas, Thrive Dairy Bites, a few walnuts,and chia seeds and for dinner we had Shakeology again.

This morning I was down two pounds. This is the first time I've seen the scale budge in the down direction in a very long time. WAHOO!!!!

My plan is to post my journey here so be watching for upcoming posts, if you are interested and if you are inclined to do so, please keep me in your prayers. With the damage gluten did to my gut, my immune system is compromised and I have been sick for the past month. I get over one thing and before it's even completely out of my system, another bug takes up residence. It hasn't flattened me, but it certainly has slowed me down and I don't feel my best.

Proverbs 3:5-7 is my life verse. I know that when I am confused, or lacking wisdom and direction, I need to go to God. He is always faithful to provide that direction when we ask.  And He has been faithful to give me direction again. Now I just need prayer for strength and self control, to apply it and stick with it.

Proverbs 3 5 6

James 1:5 says "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cozy Holiday Shopping

Last night we opened our home for an evening of Cozy Holiday Shopping.

We invited several vendors to come in and invited friends and family from our community to stop in for a unique shopping experience while sipping on hot apple cider, or coffee and enjoying holiday treats from the refreshment table. It was a really fun evening, although we didn't have quite the turnout we had hoped for. It was still very successful and really enjoyable.

As a home school mom, it was a wonderful way for our kids to have an opportunity to try out their  entrepreneurial skills. Six of our kids set up tables as vendors and I had my own little booth.

I took plenty of pictures and I'll let those speak for themselves.


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We had doTerra Essential Oils with my sweet friend from childhood, Virginia, and her daughter Christina. Christina is actually the doTerra consultant. Her Mom is pictured below


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Christina and Her Mom

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These pictures aren't exactly in perfect order, and may seem a little random, but I think they still tell the story. Below is our nine year old son's art booth. He was thrilled that he sold five pieces of his own original art. He worked hard and did such a great job!


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Our daughter Christine, has her own babysitting business and she is really passionate about it. She loves children, has loads of experience as an older sister to three little brothers, an auntie to eight (soon to be nine) nieces and nephews and she has done quite a bit of babysitting for friends in our area as well. Christine is also First Aid and CPR certified and the kids she babysits for really love her. She sold and still is selling, gift certificates. If you are in our area and you know a busy mom or couple who would love to get out for some time away, you can still purchase gift certificates through her.

You can contact her here.

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We had Usborne Books here, with Adrienne, which was a huge hit and especially with our kids who are crazy about books. I may or may not have done a little Christmas shopping of my own in this booth. (wink)

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A few more shots of Christine's table. she worked so hard on it, shopping for details and making her own sign. She did a great job!


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Our daughter Natalie, loves to clean and organize. She has started her own Mary Poppins House Cleaning Services and sold gift certificates as Christmas presents last night. If you know anyone who would enjoy having some help with organizing, cleaning, or other house hold projects as a Christmas gift, you can contact her  to purchase gift certificates through the contact form at the top of this page.

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Natalie and our youngest son Levi, made delicious gluten free Christmas cookies and worked this booth together.

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Let's just say they were a hit! People were lining up for these tasty treats.

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This was my booth. I recently became a Thrive Foods and Emergency Preparedness Consultant and I love it! The food is amazing, nutritious, much of it is gluten free and so delicious. If you would like to know more about Thrive you can browse my website.

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Our oldest son had his Sticks and Stones Yard Clean Up Booth up and running and he was busy!

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This was one of the cutest little vendors in the house last night....well there were a few more cuties that arrived to shop with mom or "help" with her booth.

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The Share and Telle Booth was a big hit. Kolya is really talented and she and her mom have this business together. They make several unique items including nursing covers for moms with nursing babies. If you would like to know more about Share and Telle's amazing array of beautiful hand crafted items, just use the contact form above. 

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Noah's Art Booth Again

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A few more of Kolya's Creations (Share and Telle)

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Christina's doTerra Essential oils were wonderful. She had the diffuser going and the house smelled amazing!

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Our daughter Brandi, makes these beautiful, unique headbands for little girls. You can order through the contact form, if you are interested. They are $10.00 a piece.

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Just before the shoppers arrived

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Jenn makes beautiful aprons. She custom made one for me and I love it. I had her custom make some for my girls too and we use them all the time. Some of them have big pockets. Some don't. Some are full and some just go around the waist. She does amazing work! If you can visit her Etsy Store.

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Kolya and her Mom setting up

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Levi working the cookie booth!

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Mary Poppins herself!

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The Artist!

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Jenn of Jenn's Aprons

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Below are the nursing covers from Share and Telle

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Somehow I missed pictures of Brandi, Jodi and Adrienne.

This was such a fun night. It was a lot of work for the kids and me, we had fun, and there was plenty of great opportunity for learning on various levels such as  how to highlight personal skills and interests, marketing, art, investing into each of their businesses, etc. We made several trips to the dollar store and they used their own resources to furnish their tables. It was really fun to see their creativity come out.

As parents, we are always thinking about the future and how to equip our children to the best of our abilities. This was just one of those ways to work along side each other and encourage them in their interests and skills. We're looking forward to many more possibilities similar to this over the next few years.