Thursday, November 24, 2011

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Much has been going around our house in the last two weeks!!
It has been difficult to stay on top of just the normal, everyday, regular responsibilities, much less the unplanned interruptions!
I've had an unexpected visit to the doctor for what turned out to be a HERNIA! {say what?}
It's not serious or requiring surgery right away, but I just couldn't figure out what the enormous lump
was under my skin way down in a weird place.
My children were excited that I had something in common with our local favorite baseball player, Josh Hamilton!!
Thank you, Heavenly Father, that it wasn't what I feared it might be and really isn't a big deal.

Homeschooling has been enormously stressful in the last two weeks as well.
So much so that I called a school that deals ONLY with ADHD and Dyslexic children right here in our town that I never knew existed!!
After talking with the school administrator about what goes on every single day around here, she very discerningly suggested that my son may need his medication {to help him have better control of his ADHD}
After considering this, I think she is probably right.
So I've made an appointment to see his doctor this next week!!
Thank you, Lord God, for putting that brand new billboard right in my path to find that school, and for the lovely lady I spoke to who spoke to me with such wisdom and grace and compassion!

I also had the most delightful opportunity to take my second born daughter on her overnight "Girls night out with Mom."
The one where we discuss all about marriage and what God has designed for us within the bounds of marriage.
I will talk about this more in detail in another blog.
Thank you, Jehovah Jireh, for my precious daughter and that we enjoyed each other's company so much!!

I even took a huge risk and hosted a friend's "31" party.
When I had only 2 or 3 children, I did those kind of parties ALL the time.
That was back when Mary Kay, and Pampered Chef, and Tupperware, and Premiere Jewelry, and Home Interiors were the popular home-based businesses.
Anyway, space in our home has become slowly squeezed down to almost nothing, so I haven't hosted a party like that in years!!
It was a lot of work to make enough space for 7 ladies, plus snacks, and room for product display.
{Not to mention figuring out a plan for the husband and 4 of the children!}
But it was just so much fun, and I really enjoyed the time all my lady friends!!
Thank you, Jesus, for the lovely, lovely friends you have brought into my life and have enriched my life in so many ways!!

So here we are at Thanksgiving Day!
I have so very much to be thankful for!!
I hope you feel that way too.
Even if everything is a struggle for you right now, God is good.

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labor of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat; 
the flock shall be cut off the from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

Yet, I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3:17, 18

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipe!!

Every year, in the fall, I like to pull out one of my favorite, all-time recipes.
I love anything with pumpkin in it.
I have lots of amazing recipes with pumpkin in them.
Desserts, breakfast dishes, but this bread recipe is the BEST.
I have made these little gems and given them as gifts.
Most of the time though, I can hardly make enough of them before my children vacuum them up!!
They are lovely for breakfast.....especially on a crisp, Sunday morning.
Or even with your Christmas breakfast.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup of margarine, softened
3 eggs
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream sugars, butter and eggs.  
Add flour, pumpkin, water, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and cloves.
Mix thoroughly.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into 4 greased and floured 6x3x2 inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until breads test done.
Yield: 4 mini- loaves.

Here is how I have embellished this recipe to make it healthier (and oh, so. d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s!) for my family:

2 cups of organic cane juice crystals
2/3 cup of margarine, softened
3 eggs
2 1/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
Several scoops of cold-milled flax seed
The entire 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. of baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
Dash of salt
1/2 of a 12 oz. bag of mini-chocolate chips
(Not as sickly sweet with chocolate that way...unless of course....)

Follow the same instructions above, except drop into greased mini-muffin pans
and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes or until muffins test done.

** Repost from the archives.
I've been making these many mornings here lately
because they are so comforting on chilly mornings.
Even without the chocolate chips they are delightful!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Women's Wellness Wednesday: Eliminating xenoestrogens

On Wednesdays, I'm journaling about this new leg of my journey to better health.
Last week, I talked about these things called "xenoestrogens" that I had NEVER heard of,
but apparently are wreaking HAVOC on my health and well-being!!
You can read about that here:  What ARE xenoestrogens?

Now that I'm more familiar with what they are and what they do {estrogen mimicers, endocrine disrupters},
I've been trying to figure out how to avoid them.

It's pretty simple to avoid them.....just don't use the products that contain them.
The tricky part is finding a good alternative....that WORKS and doesn't break the bank!!

Here's what I've found so far:

These products are AH-mazing!!
The Dessert Essence brand is dedicated to producing all-natural products and they are just fantastic!
I've ditched all my regular shampoos, conditioners, soap, and body lotion and switched to this brand.
I LOVE the Coconut body wash and lotion.
It's as good as or better than anything at Bath and Body Works, and is safer for you if you have
and estrogen dominance issue, such as myself.
I started buying them on sale at Sprout's so I could try them,
but will probably be buying them online at for a way better price.

I've also ditched my store-bought antiperspirant/deodorant.
This one was tough for me.
I'm a confessed profuse sweater.
My feet and hands sweat....and the sweat RUNS down my face and back in the summers
around here!!
I was nervous about switching to something that doesn't have the aluminum and other parabens
that are normally in antiperspirants, but I knew I didn't want to keep using these potentially
harmful ingredients.
I tried this:

But didn't like that I had to apply it several times a day and I still smelled of rotten onions!

So I tried this:
But I had virtually the same problem as I did with the previous product.
Plus, I found out that tea tree oil is also an estrogen mimicer {phytoestrogen - plant based estrogen}
and that using this too much can cause issues with estrogen dominance as well!!!

SO.....I decided to try my hand at making my own!!
I found this recipe:

Let me tell you.....I like it!!
It was super easy to make, and I was able to fill up one 4.6 oz. empty deodorant tube
that I had on hand.
When I use it....there is no odor.
I did not use any essential oil to fragrance it, but it has a gentle coconut smell from the coconut oil.
It has a super low melting point though, and melts instantly when it touches your skin.
It broke the twist up function on the deodorant container because it gets so hard when you put it in the frig initially, so I had to scoop it out into a small
covered plastic bowl and keep it in the frig.
I've just been popping it out of the bowl when I feel I need it and storing it in the frig.

The next thing to go?
Commercial laundry detergent.
I was NOT going to do this.
I had dug in my heels and was not going to let anybody or anything drag me into 
being this "crunchy!"
But when I found out that xenoestrogens are found in laundry detergent AND fabric softener,
and that they don't come off your clothes and get into your system....
I knew I had to try this.
And what did I have to loose?
It's so. MUCH. cheaper!!
Here's the recipe:

It was so cheap to make.
And so easy.
Will post pictures later.
It seems to work just fine.
It doesn't have a fancy fragrance that our American culture seems to think we need for happiness
and cleanliness......
but it gets the clothes clean!!

Just a few simple changes.
With more to come.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

T1 Tuesdays: November is Diabetes Awareness Month!!

Did you know that November is Diabetes Awareness Month?
I didn't either.  {blush}
But now that I do, I'm wondering if you know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Since my 2nd daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 in February of 2009, I've learned a LOT about the differences.
I get that the vast majority of people who don't have any experience at all with either one have absolutely no idea what the differences are or how to deal with living with either type.
So I'm becoming more passionate about educating people!!
It's hard sometimes as a mom of a child with this disease not to get frustrated about the confusion.

When you have Type 1:

You will never "get better."
You will never be cured of this until you get a new pancreas.
You CAN eat whatever you want.....yes...she CAN have that ice cream cone {as long as she has her insulin with her!!}
You can't take pills or eat a special diet to "control" your diabetes.
You have to count the carbohydrates of every morsel that slips into your mouth and take enough insulin from an outside source {whether shots or an insulin pump} to cover the carbs you're eating.
You have to take a life-saving syringe of glucagon with you WHEREVER you go in the event your blood sugar crashes and you fall into a coma with seizures!!
You can play sports or whatever strenuous activity you want, BUT you must keep checking your blood sugar to make sure you're blood sugars are staying in a good range and not dropping too low.
You have an increased risk for developing other auto-immune disorders such as celiac disease, or thyroid disease, or eye problems.
You have blood sugars that continually spike up {high} and down {low} all day long.  It's almost impossible to stay on top of them!!
You won't find anything in any magazine especially for "Diabetics" that will apply to your lifestyle, because all of those magazines are designed for Type 2 diabetics!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Funday: Cornhole!!

This last Monday, we didn't leave the house for a field trip or any 
such adventure.
The day before we had just gotten home from our weekend family reunion.
Too much to try and plan another day outing after just unpacking.
But while I was getting the laundry caught up and bags put away, 
Daddy was keeping himself {and some of his "helpers"} busy outside.

A couple weeks previously, our neighbor had a large tree cut down from their backyard.
They piled it all up at the street for trash pickup and I remembered how freezing cold we were this past
February when our power went out due to the snow and ice that made our street impassable.
On top of all that, my husband and I were really sick and stuck in the house 
with 6 kids.
No one could bring us any firewood for our fireplace,
because the roads were too dangerous!
I don't ever. want that to happen...again!!
So I asked the neighbor if we could have the wood.
It had been piled on our back patio ever since.

Until last Monday when Daddy took a chainsaw to it,
and got his helpers to stack this!!

As a reward for all their hard work {in addition to a couple extra dollars in their pockets},
Daddy pulled out this delightful game!!
Two days before this picture was taken, they were playing it with some family members
at the family reunion.
My husband commented to me about it as he was playing,
and I hollered that I've seen that before and would LOVE to have that game someday!!
Low and behold, the owners {cousins of my husband} up and GAVE it to us!!
He had made it by hand {Dallas Cowboy colors and everything!}, and said he had another one at home
and was "fixin' to make another set in Texas Rangers colors!!
I cannot express to you how EXCITED I was!!
This is such a fun game and I knew my children would love to play this with each other 
and with all their neighborhood friends.

To make it even more's called "CORNHOLE!"
Isn't that the BEST name for a fun family fall themed game night?!
There's even an entire ORGANIZATION dedicated to the delights of this game!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipes: Warm Apple Crumb Pie!!

Oh this is my FAVORITE!!
I've loved this recipe since I was a girl living in Mennonite farm country in Northwest Ohio.
It just TASTES of fall.....
and is really wonderful for dessert on Thanksgiving Day.
It has graced many of my tables!!

I've always, always used the recipe found in this:

It starts out looking like this....

and then this......

......until it's warm and fresh from the oven looking like THIS!!!

So delish on it's own but especially with vanilla ice cream!!!

Here's the recipe:

P.S.  I never used the lemon juice or the raisins.  The recipe in my old book doesn't call for that.
And after you turn your oven down to 350 degrees, it only takes another 30 minutes before my pies are done and amazing!!!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

{You CAN} Teach Your Child Thursdays: If you love it....they will come.

When it comes to homeschooling your children, the MOST important dynamic is finding something YOU love!!

If YOU love it, and are excited about it......your children will enjoy it more.

If YOU hate it, and it's an enormous burden to you......they will hate it too.  Then it's miserable for everyone.

Misery has become a red flag to me that something needs to change.......we need a day of play together, we need to de-stress by straightening things up and putting things in their place, we need a better curriculum for where we are, or we need to change up our routine.

When you consider homeschooling, and you've never been homeschooled or seen a homeschool in motion, it's very difficult to break out of the traditional school model.

I had only ever been to private A.C.E schools, and that's all I knew.

I knew you need the core subjects everyday:  Math, English, Social Studies, Science, and Word Building.
When you get to high school, you add in "electives" like typing, foreign language, auto mechanics, etc.

So, naturally, that's what I thought I needed to do for my children.
Each subject, each and every day.

But I ended up starting out with an AH-mazing curriculum when my first-born was in kindergarten called......
Five in a Row.
It was so much fun!!!
The lessons were enchanting, easy, short, and very hands on.
She loved it and I loved it!!

But when first grade rolled around.....I thought I needed something a little more structured.....more for me than for her.
So I defaulted to what I knew.....the Accelerated Christian Education or A.C.E. curriculum.
We loved it in first grade.....not as much by 2nd grade....and were hating it by 3rd grade.
What I didn't know at the time was that this child was ADHD-Type 1 {Inattentive type}.
Focusing on one page of work was nearly impossible much less the 3 or 4 needed each day in EACH SUBJECT!!
And now....I was having to add more students to our little schoolroom.

But I found that I LOVE unit studies.
I LOVE arts and crafts.
I LOVE to read.
So we do all of those things.....a LOT.
And because I'm interested in them.....I'm excited and wanting my children to enjoy them too!!

Maybe you love working in the kitchen.
Cooking lessons, math lessons with fractions while measuring ingredients, science/chemistry lessons while mixing ingredients and watching them transform in the oven, etc.

Maybe you love working outside in a garden.
Gardening lessons, more science/botany lessons, nutrition lessons on whole foods, etc.

Maybe you love working with animals.
Animal husbandry, responsibility, veterinary medicine, etc.

Maybe you love music?
Trips to the symphony, learning an instrument together and playing together, not to mention all the fun games online that teach music!!

Each child is unique.
Each famiy is unique.
Each parent is unique.

I believe that a loving Heavenly Father puts all these dynamics together for a specific purpose.
He puts your children with YOU so YOU can teach them.
What my children are learning will be different from the children that come from a family of doctors.
And that is okay.
That's the way God wanted it to be.
He knows what our capabilities are and the capabilities of our children.
So teach them what you know and LOVE!!
Let them catch the excitement of loving to LEARN!!

And you didn't think you could teach your child at home??

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Women's Wellness Wednesday: What are xenoestrogens?

That was exactly my question when I ran into a website that claimed that "adenomyosis is caused by estrogen dominance."

What is THAT??
I had never......ever heard that term......ever.
Basically it means your hormones are out of whack, that you have too much estrogen and not enough progeterone to counter-act it all.

This is a relatively new idea that you don't hear about in mainstream medicine, but will from alternative health-care providers...i.e. health and wellness, homeopathic doctors, etc.

One of the things I need to do is to eliminate all the EXTRA estrogen that I'm getting.
Where does all this extra estrogen come from??
Good question!!
I couldn't believe it!!

The answer lies in that term XENOESTROGENS.

"Xeno literally means foreign. So xenoestrogens means foreign estrogens. These xenoestrogens are thought to cause adenomyosis. Adenomyosis did NOT exist 150 years ago. Some of the 100,000 registered chemicals for use in the world have hormonal effects in addition to toxic and carcinogenic effects. Also the synergistic effects are known to occur but also are largely exactly unknown. The field of xenohormones is new, and only been in existence since about 1991."

So I did some research on exactly where these "xenoestrogens" come from and was overwhelmed:

I was stunned and overwhelmed at what I found!!
These estrogen like chemicals are in nearly everything I've been putting on my skin, using in my laundry, heating my food in in the microwave, and drinking out of plastic bottles.
And in my COFFEE?!?!?

{Please don't mess with my coffee.....even though it IS decaf!!}

The more I've read about it, the more I'm convinced that so many women I know have issues with "estrogen dominance" but don't even know it.
I didn't!!!
Nobody I was talking to was telling me this.
I just knew that I wasn't feeling right and couldn't put my finger on it.
And the more I read about all the issues it causes, the more pieces of the puzzle came together for me.
Here's a list of other issues that too much estrogen can cause.  Check it out and consider whether or not you might recognize some of these in yourself:

{You have to scroll down through this article to reach the list}

Next, week I'll be talking about some of the steps I've taken to eliminate these "xenoestrogens" from my personal environment.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

T1 Tuesdays: Diabetic Alert Dogs

Recently, this story was on our local news.
Are you aware that this resource even exists??


For more information on these highly trained dogs, check this out: