March 28, 2008

The Rod and Love

Disclaimer: This post is regarding child training and the 'S' word= spanking. Anyone who disagrees may want to skip it. But I feel it's important to say.

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows that I pretty much tell it like it is, at least regarding my own life. I don't feel like I have things to hide and by opening myself up at times I notice that others are willing open up as well. Then we help each other.

This week I determined to work on child training. By that I mean that my daughters were getting a bit sassy, a bit too dramatic and not obeying. Dh and I are always having to repeat ourselves and they are always testing us. I did very good on Monday, but slacked a little on Tuesday and Wednesday, mostly because we were out and about and they were doing pretty good. Yesterday was ok, but I didn't do the best job of keeping my eyes on them.

So today I renewed my purpose to be as consistent as possible and more watchful. The past two mornings our older two girls have been getting up early, like before 6:30am. So by mid-morning they're getting tired and cranky. Today I learned something big and I'm going to tell it.

I had let my older two girls go outside in the front yard to watch some men cut down tree limbs away from the electrical wires. I was in the kitchen doing dishes and keeping my eyes on them. After awhile they came in and then Alexa, our four year old, said she was going back out. I said, 'No, close the door please." She said 'No-I don't want to." I said, 'Go stand in the corner.' She said, 'I don't want to stand in the corner." while beginning to tear up and get an angry look on her face. I made her come to me- she wouldn't. I got our very light wooden spoon, gave a swat, and said 'Come to me." I went and sat on the recliner, appearing to be bored. She finally came to me, then fell on the ground crying etc. Well, this went on for awhile until I put her in the corner. All I wanted her to do was stand there quietly and still for a few minutes. Nope- she was throwing a big fit. Whenever I would give her a light swat, she would scream bloody murder!

Keep in mind that I am calm throughout all of this- I am only giving light swats and outlasting her. I am not the villain! So, since she was disturbing her sisters, I took her to her room and she proceeded with falling all over the floor, crying etc. I told her that she needed a spanking because her behavior was unacceptable. I said I would give her three swats, and that I wanted her to come to me calmly. She cried and said she just wanted two swats- I said ok, how about 5? She sat there a minute, stopped crying and said with a big sigh," Okay, I'll get three swats." I started crying. She had given up her will to control the situation. I realized then that I didn't want to spank her, but that if I didn't, I would show her that I don't do what I say and would be doing wrong to her. So, through my tears I gave her three swats, and then we both started bawling. I hugged her for a long time, told her that I loved her and that if I didn't, I would just let her do whatever she wanted. I said if I let her do whatever she wanted, that she would grow up to be mean and selfish and unhappy, but because I loved her, she would be kind and obedient and happy.

She went to get some tissue to wipe her eyes and when she came back she looked at me and started crying again and said, "I still care for you Mommy." Then she gave me a hug.

I think I really got a glimpse of the Father and how He must have hated to have Jesus crucified. Or when we rebel against His will and finally surrender all to Him. As soon as she yielded the tears just overflowed. I don't care what people say, the Bible is the Truth regarding "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." Pr.13:24

Disciplining with the 'rod' is not easy nor fun, but necessary to teach our children. And obviously, if it were wrong, then my spirited daughter wouldn't say she cared for me or jump in my arms to be loved afterward.

"The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. " Pr. 29:15

"Apply your heart to instruction,
And your ears to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold correction from a child,
For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
You shall beat him with a rod,
And deliver his soul from hell." Pr. 23:12-14

March 27, 2008

Excellent and simple dinner

Tonight I made a great dinner. I'm not bragging on myself, really, it's just the recipes are so simple and delicious that anyone could do it. I made a French dish called Cassoulet, and why I've only made it once before now I don't know- I guess I just forgot about it. Anyways, the first time I made it, I used turkey sausage links, chicken tenders and canned beans.

This is the more healthful dinner, just because it has more fat and bone in chicken.

1lb turkey sausage (I use the tube kind in the frozen section)
5-6 chicken thighs (dark meat is essential and thighs are cheap)
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 cup dry navy beans
2 chicken bouillon cubes (out of homemade stock, oh well)
1 T Herb d'Provence seasoning Or a mix of dried thyme, basil, bay, sage and rosemary
1 cup white cooking wine
12-24 hrs before cooking time, soak your beans in some water with a couple of tablespoons of whey, buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar. And hour before you start the main dish, drain the water off the beans, put in saucepan and add enough fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to simmer and let simmer till beans are tender.

Get a large pot out and heat on medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the pan and the sausage. After it browns, spoon out with slotted spoon. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot. Brown on each side, remove from pan. While meats are cooking chop the veggies into small/medium pieces. Add them to the pot with the herbs and let cook for 5-10 minutes. Next add the wine and let reduce 2-3 minutes. Add the meat, beans, bouillon cubes and 2-3 cups water, enough to just cover everything. Bring to a simmer and let cook till chicken is done. Cover your pot if the mixture is getting dry. I actually added too much water, so we ended up with a lot of juice. This was soooo yummy with the sourdough bread that had just come out of the oven.

Serve your meal with a salad and fresh bread.

Time for dessert!

I have been wanting to try this dessert called panna cotta for a long time. It basically means cooked cream and is quite possibly the most delicious thing I've ever eaten :)

You need

1 cup whole milk
1 T or packet of unflavored gelatin
1 T sugar
1 pinch of salt
3 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/3 c of honey

Put the milk in a medium size saucepan and sprinkle gelatin on top. Let sit for at least 5-10 minutes to dissolve. Turn on the heat to medium and stir often for about 5 minutes. Next add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. (10-15 minutes) Pour into wine glasses, custard cups or whatever you like. Put in fridge and let sit at least 2 hrs preferably 4-6.

But that's not all. There's a topping.

You need:

1-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 T sugar
pinch of cracked pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour. This is a strange but heavenly combination.

Serve the cream with strawberries on top. This is actually a healthy dessert, and I think I will make it more often :)

March 26, 2008

Not much to say

Amazingly I don't really have much to say. I do have some things on my mind, but just haven't gotten it together yet. One thing that's weird though, my passion used to be reading. I would read anything I could get my hands on. If I'm in a public bathroom I read everything in there, LOL!

I went to the library almost two weeks ago to get new reading material because I've ready everything I own several times already. I have not read the books yet- two small to medium sized books and I still haven't read them. I would have had those done in three days a year or so ago. It just seems I can't settle down to read. Strange.

I do read online, but it's not quite the same thing.

Our garden is sprouting- the cucumbers and onions are doing well.

We've planted more things since this picture was taken, but it's not that big of a deal. My incredible husband made the trellis and fence with tomato stakes and chicken wire. We are hoping our grape tomatoes and cucumbers will climb that trellis saving us space.

Anyways, among other updates the child re-training is going well. I am doing much better at being consistent, taking time to play and be available to them, and NOT yelling :) Thank you Jesus!

Must go to bed now.

March 25, 2008

March 24, 2008

Child Training Project

Well today was the first day of me focusing on the re-training of my children. It's gone pretty well so far...we had a 'show down' before 8 am with Miss Alexa, big surprise. We've since had about three more 'incidents', but she is getting better already. I'm in it for the long haul this time-enough is enough.

So my goal for this week is the have cheerful first time obedience. I am focusing mostly on Alexa, the middle child who is 4 years old and very smart which = manipulative :) However, I am also working on being 100% consistent with the other two as well. My two year old is certainly needing it!

I am not really following a specific book or parenting method. I am doing loose tomato staking
where I am generally in the same room or within earshot of the children. I want them to learn to play together nicely and fairly without adult supervision all the time. I also want them to learn how to control and govern themselves if they are playing in their bed room or play room or outside without me. I will not always be around as they get older. (we are planning to do private school...) I did take some special times out for them today. We read several Beatrix Potter stories, then after Sarah went down for her nap I gave the other two full manicures and pedicures. (well, we soaked hands and feet, lotioned up, cut nails and painted them) We worked in some preschool workbooks, checked on the garden etc. Letting them have special 'big girl' time makes them happy.

So, I feel good about the changes. My husband told me he was praying for me today and I know many of you are too, so thank you. I've felt them :)

I was able to accomplish some things today. So far I've done all the laundry (well it"s all washed), I've got a rich stock cooking from the leftover lamb bones, made out my weekly menu, mopped the floor and quick vacuumed the living room, changed the sheets on my bed and put away all stray clothing and items, rearranged some toys in the girls room, plus just basic care of the girls.
The major thing that happened- Leiah swallowed a penny. I prayed over her, and am believing that the Lord will just dissolved that thing up and let her pass it. Sheesh- guess I'm just going to have to give her a swat every time she mouths something inedible. The bad thing was I had no idea she had it in her mouth. Gotta watch carefully!

Well, I hope I can do my Firm workout in a few minutes...hopefully Leiah will be asleep soon so I can use the TV :) (she sleeps on the couch next to me) Supposedly after 10 workouts you're guaranteed to show a difference. If my waist can actually look like a waist I'll be pleased.

March 23, 2008

Well I hope everyone has had a nice Easter. The dinner went well on Good Friday; my mom helped me with the cooking and preparations and it was much easier. The lamb was good too- very expensive though. Unfortunately not very many people showed up. I sort of felt like the man in the parable that Jesus talks of- he prepared a large banquet and invited lots of people to come. They didn't come so he told the servants to go out and find all the people they could so the banquet would be full. I don't know if I'll be doing the meal again next year- a lot of work for not a lot of response.

I wanted to ask for prayers and advice. Before I got married the Lord made it clear to me that His plan for me was to be a wife and a mother. But lately, I've been failing and I guess losing my purpose. I'm doing pretty well in the wife role, but not so well with the mothering part. I know that I am in a challenging stage of motherhood right now- my girls are still little and I do have a special needs child. But my middle daughter has been exhibiting some very bad behaviors lately.

I realized that I am not the mama I envisioned myself to be. I haven't read any of them a book in I don't know how long. I constantly shoo them away while I'm cleaning or cooking. I have been raising my voice a lot. I don't have much joy in raising my children. I thought it was because they were the problem- ungrateful, unappreciative, uncooperative, selfish, not listening or paying attention. But, as I've been reading from the archives at No Greater Joy's website, I realize that it's not their fault. They feed off of me, and if I have the attitude that they aren't 'good' and am emotional or constantly disapproving of them, then how are they going to 'shape up'? It is very humbling to admit this. I feel guilty and like a failure. I'm one of those parents that is consistent for a few days and then something comes up and I slack off- bad thing to do. It is SO hard to be 100% consistent all the time though! I'm only one person-there's three children!

So anyways, I am praying that God would change my heart and help me to change my ways. I know if I train my girls and make that a priority, then I will have more time and help with things around the house later. It's just hard to get out of the mentality of getting everything done to my standards everyday. I want to enjoy being with my little girls and do the fun things they want for me to do. I want their hearts and for them to desire to please Matt and I. I feel sad and ashamed for allowing myself to get to this point. I am very thankful that children are so forgiving and willing to start over easily. I ask that you pray for patience in me and self control- no yelling or anger. I can't do this without Him.


March 20, 2008

The Spirit and Health

This is probably the most important post in the series. As many of you know I am totally convinced that the Lord wants us whole and well. He is not in any way glorified if we are sick- how then can we be victorious in His service? How is that a testimony of a good and gracious God? There are many times when He can use a bad situation and turn it around for good, but God does not cause us to be sick or injured in some way for His glory- hogwash.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. " John 10:10

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:2

"Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways." Psalm 91:9-11

The entrance of sin in the world caused the creation of sickness and disease. Not only does the Lord give supernatural healing, but He's also given us knowledge about the foods He's placed on the earth and the body's natural healing methods. If given the right tools, most of the time our body can fix itself.

Many health experts and 'natural healers' all agree that no matter how perfectly you are eating, good health can't exist in someone with negative thoughts and words or someone who is filled with bitterness and hatred. The spiritual world is more real than we can comprehend.

"My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.

Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;

for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man's whole body." 4:20-22

The Lord promises in so many places in the Bible that if we will feed on His Word that it will be life to our bodies and health to our flesh. When we are dealing with illnesses it's probably more important that we take our spiritual medicine as well. As we begin think and meditate on the Word, we fill our hearts and minds with His words, and will naturally begin the speak these healing words aloud-"calling things that be not as though they were." Rom. 4:17

"...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Matthew 12:34

Most all of us are dealing with stress. I have been since the birth of my first child :) However she is special needs, so that's unique to me. But then I also had another baby that same year, had a miscarriage the next year, then finally had Sarah the next year. So, I had 4 pregnancies in 3 years. At the time we had Leiah and Alexa, we were remodeling an old house and living on a fairly tight budget because of all the medical expenses. How did I deal with all this stress? My body tried it's best, but I ended up having post partum depression, IBS, hormonal imbalances and a lowered immune system. Not to mention all the excess weight I had gained and couldn't seem to lose. Maybe I would have had all these things even if Leiah hadn't been a special case, I don't know. But I was rather forced to focus on health and how to get it back, this the reason I seem to know a lot about it, which I don't really :)

Over time I've learned to use herbs to help with stress (St. John's Wort and Sleepytime Tea), how to eat (apparently eating plenty of good fats is good for stress) and how to stand back and gain perspective on the situation before reacting emotionally. I'm not perfect though and still lose my cool at times. Recently I've begun exercising and this does help as well.

So, I hope all of this made sense. The main thing is that it doesn't matter how perfect your diet is, if you have 'stinkin' thinkin' your health will never be all it could and should be.

March 19, 2008

Today more than likely will be my last day to blog for awhile. Remember I am getting ready for our church Last Supper thingie on Friday? Today is my only day to clean and cook because I have errands and food prep tomorrow and more cooking and stuff on Friday. Then Saturday we have a large family gathering for Easter and Sunday of course is church and REST!

If I have time later I will continue with the series of health and wellness information. It's been kinda fun to pass on the stuff in my brain that's just been sitting there in file folders, LOL.

Mrs. KAOS- as far as herbs and detoxing go, Dr. Schulze has information about his stuff here. Also, you can go to and do a search for 'detox and herbs'. I am sure you will find lots of helpful information there. I always do and spend way too much time there, which is why I don't visit very often anymore :)

Ok, well maybe I'll be back later.

March 18, 2008


I forget that new people are visiting my blog and may not have any idea what I'm talking about when I say kefir or kombucha etc. If you look on the left side bar under 'Labels' I have one called Nourishing Traditions and have some posts about how I cook over there.

For a quick explanation, kefir is a cultured milk drink, similar to yogurt or buttermilk. The difference is that you use kefir grains, which resemble small blobs of cauliflower. I'll have to take some pictures of it so you can see. You drop them in the milk and let sit till the milk separates into 'curds and whey'. Then you strain out the grains, refrigerate your drink, and start over. The grains reproduce themselves, and many times you will end up with a surplus of grains. I've passed mine out to a few people so far. The kefir tastes like mild plain yogurt and I either mix half a packet of flavored gelatin into it or blend it with fruit. Then I store it in a mason jar in the fridge for whoever wants to drink it. I also keep some plain for use for cooking. It is an excellent replacement for buttermilk and I use it to soak my grains/flours/beans as well.

Kefir has over 15 strains of good bacteria and yeasts I believe and is better than buying probiotic capsules because you're never really sure how many good guys are alive in those capsules. Probiotics are the key to good digestive health and strong immune support. Just google 'kefir' and 'probiotics' and a wealth of information will pop up. Plus, after the initial investment of buying the grains (usually less than $10) you don't have to buy them again-if you take care of them :)

About soaking grains and flour. The book, Nourishing Traditions, gives instructions on this but it's very simple to explain. If you are planning to make oatmeal for breakfast, then you would measure out your oats (I usually do 1.5 cups) into a pot, add water to cover, then add something acidic or cultured such as buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, vinegar or lemon juice, or whey. You only add about two tablespoons- this assists in breaking down the phytates so that the whole grains are more digestible to your body, thus you get all the nutrients in the grains, not just the bran or hull of it keeping you 'regular'. I do this for all whole grains except brown rice because I usually forget and it has much less phytates. Then in the morning you add about another cup of water and cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. (I use Scottish oatmeal which is steel cut, so I'm not sure how long it would take for rolled oats.)

For something like pancakes, you would measure out your flour, say two cups, then add 1-2 cups buttermilk and leave overnight or up to 24hrs. Sometimes I will just use 1 cup kefir and 1 cup water to 'loosen' the mix so its easier to mix in the morning. In the morning you add the rest of the ingredients such as baking soda, salt, sweetener or whatever your recipe calls for. For beans and legumes I soak them around 24 hrs because we seem to be sensitive to the, ahem, effects of eating the beans if not soaked well :) I cover them with water, add some raw apple cider vinegar, let soak for 12 hrs, then pour off the water and add more for another 12 hrs or sometimes I cook them on low in the crockpot as long as possible. Depending on what it is, they sometimes sprout, which is even more nutritious. Lentils, black beans and split peas usually sprout after 24hrs.

Again I am not perfect and do not always remember or make the time to do this. My goal is to do it, but if things don't work out then it's fine. We always pray over our meals and we know that God will make it nourishing to our body. I'll just give an example: this morning I cooked fried eggs in coconut oil and defrosted some soaked zucchini bread muffins and topped them with cream cheese. We all drank strawberry kefir with it and actually I ate half a pink grapefruit instead of the muffin. I also drank decaf organic coffee with French Vanilla creamer, Sarah drank goat milk and ate a banana. (she's not a big breakfast fan)

At lunch time Leiah and I ate a Whopper Jr. and a coke...the other two ate Chef Boyardee at Granna's. For supper I am making stuffed peppers with ground beef and brown rice, baked potatoes with butter, homemade yogurt and cheese and a big salad. I will make some iced tea sweetened with local honey. So no, we aren't perfect in our eating, but I am going for balance, especially for my children.

You really don't need any special equipment to cook this way. I have a standing Kitchen Aid mixer given to my by dear hubby a year ago and I LOVE it- I use it almost everyday, sometimes twice a day! You need some glass mason jars if you plan to culture veggies or make kefir or yogurt. Just the basics-pots and pans, cutting boards and knives, colanders and bowls...a food processor and blender are nice too :)

Maybe after the Easter holidays are done I can do a picture post on making soaked foods. Oh, yes I do make our own bread with sourdough starter. I really like it, but I plan to also make regular yeasted bread too since it's softer. If I have a mix of both then everyone could be happy. I really enjoy making and eating bread and don't really consider it a chore. I get sad if there's no time to do it, but I do try and make at least two loaves each week. I got my starter, yogurt starter and kefir grains from here.

I have more 'health' posts planned, so stay tuned and feel free to ask more questions.

March 17, 2008

Finding Balance

All perfectionists reading this please raise your hand. LOL. Just kidding there :)

I'm sure that no one else gets uptight about following a plan perfectly like me, and then getting upset when life interrupts and mars the 'perfectness'. Ain't no such thing as perfect unless you are a tad psycho :)

Finding balance in life is not easy. Finding the right balance of eating in a way that tastes good, is health giving and easy on the budget is hard. I'm still working on that one myself. I think first you have to figure what your goal is. Are you sick? Do you just want to get healthier and establish healthy habits for your children? Are you trying to lose weight? Name your goal and then plan around it according to tastes and budget.

A lot of people have been reading the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. As I said before I first started reading it two years ago. (I have finally finished it-it is over 700 pages, most are recipes) So what is all the hype about this book? Well, it's about observing what people have traditionally eaten in the past before food became processed and noting how healthy they were. For instance, several tribes in Africa live off of raw goat milk, blood and some meat. In our Western culture, this would seem a recipe for heart disease and death. Yet these people are strong and beautiful and healthy. Dr. Weston Price traveled all over the world finding people who had no access to modern foods and noted how perfect their teeth were. (he was a dentist) He wrote book called Nutrition and Physical Regeneration, which was the basis of Nourishing Traditions.

So what is traditional food? Organic produce and whole grains, quality full fat meats, raw dairy products, lots of fermented foods and broths. In the front of the book there are several pages proving the deception of low fat eating. Quality fat is good for you- our brains particularly need good fat (omega 3 and fish oil) and our guts. What are the good fats? Believe it or not the saturated fats are the most nutritious to our bodies. I know, I know, it sounds completely wrong, but the research is there. So instead of margarine, canola oil and 2% milk, we need butter, virgin coconut and olive oils and full fat preferably raw milk and dairy products. Much of the book also goes into properly preparing grains as a way of pre-digesting them so the nutrients are more available to our body. Also many things are fermented the traditional way- it sits at room temperature for three days!!!! Red flags going up!!

"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God..." 1 Corinthians 3:19

Guess what, I make fermented saurkraut, kefir, yogurt etc. and no one has gotten sick :) I hate canned sauerkraut, but this homemade stuff is great. So, it's just a matter of being open to new things.

I am going into all of this because for me personally, I cannot do everything that that book tells me I need to do. I don't have time or resources or money for all of it. But I pick and choose what I feel is most important for us, what I have time for and what I can afford. If I feel something is really worth it that is more expensive (like raw goat milk) then I subtract something else and make a way for it to work. There are some things that I used to do that I don't anymore and there are some new things that I do now.

For instance, I used to make kombucha, a fermented beverage made from tea, every week. I dropped it. We never drank it fast enough and I felt making kefir would be much more beneficial to us. Now I make kefir, yogurt and have sourdough starter. I used to make chicken stock regularly, but lately haven't made time for it. I am making it a point to soak all my whole grains and whole grain flours before cooking, whereas before I didn't always do that. Now I at least plan to do it, even if it doesn't happen :) What works for me may not work for you. Many may find the whole Nourishing Traditions lifestyle too overwhelming and do something else.

We all know that eating plenty fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and quality meats are the healthy way to go. So if everything I'm talking about seems like too much, just make little changes and stick with something simple. That is what I did. I made small changes over time until I was ready to commit totally to cooking and eating this way. Now it is second nature to me. I couldn't not do what I do-I've prayed about it and I really feel God's direction in how we eat. It just takes some forethought.

So, does this make sense? I have floods of information coming in my brain and it's hard to get it all out the way I want.

Lately I am contemplating putting myself on a special eating plan. The problem with that is then I am constantly thinking about food and my restrictions. I don't want to be doing that, but I do need to think about it some. So here is what I've been thinking of doing:

1 meal a day should be all raw for cleansing and healing purposes
Reduce, reduce sugar, even good sugar for awhile
reduce carbs a bit
drink more water

So maybe for breakfast I would eat oatmeal, soaked overnight of course, with raw honey and coconut oil and some fruit. I don't usually snack in the morning, but I should be drinking more water then. Lunch could be a big salad, some more fruit and if very hungry make a kefir smoothie. (technically it is raw) Dinner could be whatever I'm feeding the family, but maybe a smaller portion. If I do it all day, then my reward could be some dark chocolate and nuts or something. I would allow tea and coffee too. Or I could do eggs and fruit in the morning. Just what I'm thinking about.
This way I'm meeting daily nutritional needs as well as lowering the amount of cooked foods I eat and hopefully will burn more calories than I eat, thus resulting in weightloss hopefully. If I start craving things, then I'll just pray real hard :) We'll see, I can't do anything till after Easter-too busy with Good Friday prep and stuff!!! Trying not to freak out...ahhhhh!

March 16, 2008

Detoxification and Cleansing

I am so very thankful to the Lord that He is showing so many, including myself, how to take care of our bodies and how to assist in healing it. I am a firm believer in God's healing powers. But He also requires us to take responsibility and use common sense. Everyone knows that eating junk food is not healthy. Duh.

As I said in my previous post I wasn't really aware of how important good nutrition is prior to my marriage. I felt good, so why bother? I honestly believe that the enemy is attacking us in our health majorly, especially those strong faithful Christians out there. If He can't tempt them to 'sin in a big way' then he can just start afflicting them with ailments.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" 1 Peter 5:8

So it's becoming necessary to one, realize that we are in the Lord's care and trust Him with our health, and two, find out how He wants us to care for ourselves and put it into practice. He made our bodies to regenerate and heal itself, so it's a good idea to eat the foods that will aid in the healing process.

When I began the Living Well Plan, several things took place. I detoxed-not terribly, but I could feel it. Lots of going to the bathroom (just #1 though), headaches, body aches, severe sugar cravings ;) After about 5 days things got much better and I began to enjoy the plan. I was so amazed that I had been able to stay on it for that long! Over time, little things began to heal in my body. For instance, my right big toenail had some sort of fungal problem or something, the nail was chipping away in the middle. I just covered it with nail polish, but I noticed one day it was clear and strong. My hair and nails were growing and strong, my complexion was clear, I always had lots of little red flat bumps on my upper arms and they were gone. (they're back now)

What exactly is detoxing? Well, as we begin to eat cleansing and easy to digest foods, our body is able to focus on 'house cleaning'. All of our cells begin releasing stored up toxins like trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) and extra fat/sugar stores. It's released into the blood stream which is why we feel bad, then into the colon to exit the body.

It's very important to understand that before you detox your body, you need to have a good functioning colon. Many, many people do not have a clue about the colon and the impact it has on your whole body's health. The King of colon health is Dr. Richard Schulze. I have heard of people doing intensive detoxes, but because their intestines weren't working well they got themselves very sick because all the poisons and toxins that had been released into their body with no way to be eliminated. (i.e. the people were very constipated) And I can honestly say from experience, if your gut is in trouble, it affects EVERYTHING else in your body. His intestinal cleanse was the beginning of healing the IBS I was dealing with. I was desperate before God; modern medicine had already failed me, and I pleaded with Him to show me what to do. I did a quick internet search and the first thing that popped up was Dr. Schulze. He has very high quality products and I felt fine the whole time- no rushing off to the bathroom or sitting on the toilet for three days :) I was pregnant too!

So who should do a detox? Well, probably everyone should at some point in their lives. And obviously those who are in poor health should too, but you have to be careful. When I detoxed, it was easier because I was still eating food, just changing the content of my food. My body was cleaning itself out at its own pace and I didn't have any problems with constipation beforehand. If you are pretty sick, I would take it very slow. Don't just abruptly change your diet because while you may feel better eventually, you most assuredly would feel bad at first and could possibly do harm. There are lots of places that sell detox programs and herbs which I'm sure are good, especially if you are wanting to target a specific problem, such as doing a liver or kidney cleanse.

But in my opinion, I think its really best to make dietary changes first. It's easy to do and readily available at the grocery store. You could start by increasing your consumption of raw vegetables and fruits and drinking more water. Then when you get comfortable with that you could make one meal a day all raw. Go at your own pace and what you feel comfortable with. Learn to listen to your body and do what it wants :) Sounds weird, but it will tell you.

It has been a long time since I've done a cleanse or detox. Last fall I did a mostly raw diet for about 4-5 days, which wasn't terribly hard, but still not easy. At this stage of my life, I can't just lay down and rest if I'm detoxing, so it's better to do it gradually. I really need to do it though, maybe after Easter...

That's all for now, feel free to ask questions and add your own input.

March 15, 2008

Health and Wellness Series 1-Diets

Well, it has been a very tiring day, but I've taken time to rest and relax, and my mind keeps wandering to this health series you guys asked me about. For the first 'installment', I thought I would expound a bit about my 'journey' to getting healthier. Let us begin.

Sometime after Thanksgiving of 2001, I happened on a random website explaining all about a way of eating that would make me lose weight and have great health. I showed it to my new husband, we talked about it, then we decided to take the plunge and fork over the dough for the ebook, "Living Well". Up until this point I knew very little about nutrition other than you were supposed to eat vegetables and not so many sweets. Whatever they taught you in school was what I knew.

So I eagerly devoured the book's contents. I was shocked at what I was reading, and very excited about changing my eating habits. This is basically what it said:

1. 70% of our diet should be raw, as in raw fruits and veggies. The fruits are to be eaten in the morning, spread out- not all at once. Fruit is cleansing to the body, and when eaten on an empty stomach is easily assimilated and digested into our blood stream. This stimulates the peristaltic action of our guts and makes them move. No more constipation! The vegetables help to build our body's reserves of vitamins and minerals. So, by eating your raw fruits and veggies, you are cleaning and rebuilding the cells in your body.

2. Food combining. Supposedly, and I don't know if this is really true or not, proteins and carbohydrates are digested differently and require different enzymes. Carbs begin the digestion process in your mouth while chewing, whereas proteins begin the actual digestion process in the stomach. The idea is that if you eat a protein and a carbohydrate at the same meal, the acids needed to digest them will neutralize and 'cancel' each other out, thus your food sits and rots in your gut until it can be removed. This meant that I ate either vegetables and meat/eggs or vegetables and carbohydrates. (beans, grains etc,)

I also eliminated all refined sugar and flours and oils, drank only water and occasional coffee or tea, and I did cheat on the weekend. I usually ate a regular breakfast on Saturday morning and on Sunday I ate dinner with my parents. I did this diet from November to May, with a week or two of a break for vacation and Christmas. I lost approximately 40lbs starting at like 216 or something and ending at 175lbs. I was a size 18/20 and went down to 12/14. So what happened after May? I was in the early stages of pregnancy and very sick :) Diet went out the window.

This diet was very healing though. I felt absolutely great and really loved our way of eating. Our grocery budget was $60 per week or less for the two of us. I had fun experimenting with recipes to exclude meat or something. After I had Leiah it was very hard for me to get motivated to going back on this plan. I had become accustomed to 'regular' meals and was addicted to sugar again. Then I conceived Alexa and so on...

This plan isn't really really child friendly. It would also be quite expensive now. Here is a list of food I would eat on a typical work day:
Breakfast: water, apple, water, banana, lots of water
Lunch: good sized salad, dressing, leftover soup or pasta, or a veggie sandwich with some corn chips and salsa
Snack-baby carrots or some extra chips
Dinner: salad the size of a dinner plate, spicy beans and rice with fresh salsa OR grilled chicken, green bean salad, leafy green salad

Some of my favorite salad dressing recipes I learned on this plan. Going to restaurants wasn't hard either- you can adjust things to your diet.

So, after Alexa I tried Weight Watchers. It worked some, but wasn't very healthy. I tried another diet called the Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman. It is very strict, but you are supposed to lose up to 14lbs of fat in two weeks or something like that. I didn't stay with it-too strict! I tried another diet plan called Physique Transformation and it was geared towards body builders. But, I stayed with it for about 6 weeks-didn't do much since I was working out 3 hours a day. I gave up after that, then had two pregnancies. When Sarah was about 6 months old I tried the South Beach Diet. This is what you do:
For two weeks-meat, eggs, cheese, nuts and vegetables- and some sugar free jello
Then you slowly add some carbs like oats.
After 5 days I adjusted and didn't miss potatoes and rice very much. After 8 days of having diarrhea, I called it quits. Apparently my body doesn't like the no-carb plan.

Then I began learning more and more about healthy fats and came across Nourishing Traditions on a message board. I finally ordered it for myself and started reading it. There is so much information that it is very overwhelming. But it made a lot of sense. I highly recommend it. Slowly over the past two years I've adopted many of the methods of cooking. It is definitely a process, and is second nature to me now.

Well, that's it for now. If anyone has questions about anything I will do my best to answer them- remember, I'm no expert :)

March 14, 2008


I am so stinkin' tired from packing in so much stuff in a day. Today was much more relaxed since I had gotten everything done. However I found out that I'm going to have company tomorrow and Sunday and will be cooking two meals for 9 people.

I am thinking about what I want to say in the health series that has been requested. I just haven't had much time to get it written out. Since I have a morning of baking and cooking ahead of me, and also company, then church and more company, I doubt I'll have time or energy to blog. But, you never know, I might.

So, that's the scoop. Later.

March 13, 2008

Daily life changes

Last week I was in a dilemma again about how to get everything accomplished. Like usual. I have lots of goals and plans that are good, but they just all can't be done. One thing I struggle with is getting Leiah's Brain Gym exercises done, my exercise done, and doing 'school' time with the girls. For awhile I was doing 'school' first thing in the morning and it really did work well. However, we went to Michigan and things got out of whack.

So I was thinking and praying about it and I got an idea. Or rather, the Holy Spirit dropped in my mind. Get the most important things done first so that even if I fall behind on other stuff, it will be ok because I got my priorities right. What is most important?

* Brain Gym
* my exercise
*personal Bible study
*Bible study and school time with girls
*food preps
*getting everyone bathed and groomed

Next important
cleaning chores and laundry

This is what our day has been going like:

6am-I get up and read my Bible till about 6:45
6:45- make breakfast and unload dishwasher
start laundry
7ish- older two girls are up and eat breakfast
I eat and clean up kitchen
Feed Sarah
8:30 everyone gets dressed, hair brushed, tidy bedrooms etc.
Brain Gym
Get girls set up with activity while do my workout tape (25 minutes so far)
**I want to work in more 'school' activities and Bible reading here
*check on laundry throughout this time

I work on cooking- making dinner early, getting grains/flour/legumes soaking, making kefir/yogurt- whatever needs to be done

11:30 or so, lunch then outside play time
2pm-girls are napping, I compute for awhile, cleaning chores, take shower etc.
4pm- small snack, more outside play or video
work on supper, unload dishwasher or wash some dishes, put laundry away etc.
6ish-eat, clean up
Lately we've been going outside working on the garden or just playing
Then if it's a bath day we do baths, pjs/teeth, vitamins and bedtime by 8pm for girls
I make sure the kitchen is cleaned up, any meat is defrosting, anything that needs soaking is going and run that dishwasher.
I go to bed by 10pm

Monday-laundry day; I start on Sunday night and generally do 4-5 loads. I may not get it all folded and put away either.
Wednesday- 'wet' cleaning- mop and bathrooms, wipe down appliances and mirrors/screens; meal plan
Thursday- 'dry' cleaning-dust and vacuum, run any errands; soak flour for next day
Friday-Baking day and project
Saturday-family fun day or project;clean car

I think that this will work. I might move some cleaning duties to Monday, so I can use Wednesday for organizing/decluttering, but no hurry. Cleaning in the afternoon takes me 15-30 minutes depending on what it is and how dirty it is. This exercise business sure helps with energy levels :)

***By the way, we went to the library again today and it went much better. I was able to quickly glance at a few books for me, and I happened to be in the right section and picked out three books. So excited- new reading material!!!!!! Oh, and our little library does have a website, cool. That will help a lot in the future.

March 12, 2008


A couple of ladies have asked that I do a series on health/weightloss. What kind of series exactly? Like, specifics about what I am going to do, or health info in general? Just curious because I don't really know what to write about off the top of my head.

Thanks for the input.

Changing my Body

I've been wanting to change my body's appearance for, oh the last 20 years! No, seriously, I've always been self conscious of my largeness, even as a child. (I'm 25 by the way, so that gives you an idea of how long I've felt this way) I've vacillated back and forth with being happy with the way I am to unhappy. I've tried several diets in my life, none of which worked. Finally I lost about 20lbs in highschool during track season. I am not kidding, I worked out about 3 hours a day for 4 days a week plus the track meet. What is so amazing about that is that running has never been my strong point, yet I was able to run 2.5 miles in 30 minutes and win 1st place throwing the discus. (Remember that teacher I described with the crazy blond hair? He was also my coach- he thought anyone could do anything, and he was right! He also conned me into doing calculus even though math is not my strong point, I did it and aced it!)

But I digress...just a tad :)

Anyways, I did lose about 40lbs after I got married on the Living Well program. I honestly don't know how I did it, God did I guess, because it was so strict, but I loved it and it started me on the path to eating better.

Then I had babies. Unfortunately for me, I was totally ignorant about how to care for my body during pregnancy, and my tummy just went ahead and stayed stretched out. That compounded with back to back pregnancies (hey, we tried to space them, this was God's doing) and a special needs baby = no time for a real weight reduction program.

I'll just be upfront and honest- I am 5'9 tall and somewhere between 220-240lbs. I've always been heavier than I look; I'm guessing I have very dense bones or something. I have been this weight for about 4 years now. I did lose when preggo with Sarah for reasons unknown to me and then after her birth I gained. I did the South Beach diet for a week and lost 10lbs, but for some reason it gave me the running-to-the-bathroom syndrome. (the runs) I said forget this!

This has been such a mystery to me, because for the most part we eat healthy. In fact I don't have a hunger problem- I eat three times a day, sometimes a little snack in the afternoons if I'm feeling low. Cutting the carbs does make me lose, but that is more expensive.

So, I bought some Firm tapes a month or so ago. I finally did them today, and it wasn't so bad! I did the 25 minute Jiggle Free Abs workout and my stomach was burnin', but I was able to do most of it. Then I started my other video, and after about 20 minutes I was getting tired and called it quits. Plus I didn't have the hand weights or step stool thingie either-forgot about that.

I am thinking of doing some type of diet change. I need to get healthier in general; most of my gut problems are gone thanks to kefir and coconut oil, but I want to have vibrant health. The last few days I've been upping my coconut oil intake and making sure I take my supplements. (cod liver oil, St. John's Wort, MSM and ambrotose, plus the kefir) I really want to get some type of superfood, but the one I want is a bit expensive :( I've also been eating a half of a ruby red grapefruit almost every day. I hate grapefruit, but these are delicious!

I would highly recommend to any and everyone to get some virgin coconut oil! This stuff is absolutely miraculous. Go here and here to read more about it. I've recently started applying it to my stretch marks and c-section scars and plan to put it on my scalp. (I have very mild excema there) I plan to start saving for a gallon of it, but right now we just buy it from our health food store for about $9 for 1lb. This usually lasts at least 2 months, but now that I'm using more it may only last a few weeks. Still, it's worth it.

Other thoughts...I am thinking of limiting the carbs to breakfast and maybe a little at dinner time, just because of the expense and I hate feeling deprived. Maybe lunch could be all raw, like a big salad with homemade dressing, some fruit, maybe some protein like cheese or eggs. Usually if I plan to limit myself, I'm starving all day long. But if I don't care, I don't think about it. I don't want to be thinking about food all of the time. I'm also trying to make more Nourishing Traditions foods-making sure I always soak grains and flour, making salad dressing etc.

Speaking of Nourishing Traditions I happened on a couple of websites that have more info and recipes about it. You should check them out: Passionate Homemaking
The Nourishing Gourmet

I have a lot more energy today because of eating better, the exercise I did and my supplements. Yesterday I didn't get much sleep, but eating the coconut oil and my supplements, along with lots of prayer I felt pretty good. It does pay to eat well.

March 11, 2008

A makeup test

So what do you think? Do I need makeup? I will say that this before picture turned out weird- the lighting isn't right somehow, so I look a lot worse :)

And the after picture. I use Bare Minerals makeup, and I've had it since last May. The kit cost $60, but I bet I have another year of use left in it!

See, the camera didn't flash on the first one for some reason. Oh well...I tend toward brown colors. I use tan and a deep sparkley brown eyeshadow, brown eyeliner, black mascara, a nude colored lipstick and a little tangerine lip gloss. All from walmart, and it's getting quite old now :)

Gardenin' and stuff

Wow I'm so mixed up on my days. My husband was blessedly given two extra days off work- Friday and Monday, so I kept thinking it was Saturday. For those of you whose husbands work at home-lucky you! I loved having him home. And, even though we worked on separate projects, just knowing he was there was great. Plus, the girls got to spend more time with him.

Anyways, Sunday afternoon we used the extra daylight hours to till up a garden patch. Last year we just grew tomatoes, since we had just moved, and they did pretty well, although we didn't get a large crop of tomatoes. This year we have big plans. Dh built a nice trellis to grow our cucumbers on and he plans to make another one for green beans. I've got different varieties of heirloom tomatoes (the BEST tasting ones) planted in an egg carton to get sprouting. We've also got seeds for spinach, lettuces, leeks (new one to us), green beans, cucumbers, bought some sweet onion plants, some bell pepper plants and some herbs. I plan to do more herbs, more tomatoes (in case my seeds don't work), jalepeno peppers and probably some corn. Little Sarah is great at pulling weeds! Maybe we can utilize her skills this growing season :) We also plan to do a fall garden so we can grow cooler weather veggies like cabbage, carrots and pumpkins.

That little Texas post down there is true- summer is just too hot for those vegetables. And yes, I've had the heat on, then the A/C, then turned the heat back on all in a 24 hr period- I did that a month ago.

Now that the birthday party is over (yes I have pictures, but haven't gotten them up) I must focus totally on the Good Friday passover meal thingie. I'm doing different food this time, and since I already have all the decor from before, the work load is much less. Plus I have childcare arranged for the day of and my mom to help me cook. Double yea! To do before the day- make 8 loaves of challah bread. I'll be 'toasted' if I don't- they want the bread back! I haven't made any since then either...

This is kind of sad but I had something else sort of important to say and I already forgot. Oh well, maybe I'll remember later :)

Oh- for those of you go to the library with all the children in tow, how do you do it? I went last week with intentions to get some things for me, but between keeping Sarah off the book return cart and the other two from fighting over the stools and taking entire shelves of books down, it isn't something I want to repeat soon. If you think I have terrible children let me explain- they were just very excited and hadn't been to a library in a loooooonnnggg time- little balls of energy don't belong in a library. Overall it went ok, and everyone was nice about it. Still, it's hard to think about why I came there when I'm worried about making lots of noise.

March 9, 2008

Doin' some Thinkin'

Some things I've been thinking about.

Lately, I've noticed lots of discussions in blog land revolving around certain Christian 'issues'. I think it's a good idea to share our points of view (obviously, since I'm sharing mine here) and have interesting and even edifying 'talks' online. Really it's wonderful for us busy moms who couldn't 'talk' in person or on the phone- we can take time to pause when we have a few minutes to 'talk' when it's convenient for us.

Still, I am rather, what's the word, disheartened? Let me explain. It seems to me like there Christians drawing divisive lines based upon our outward appearances. For instance, the recent headcovering discussions on some fairly well known websites. I read with interest, but it just bothers me to see Christians throw scriptures at each other proving the other's point. (no offense Candy, I totally agree with your post- I hope you get my drift)

Does it really matter? I mean honestly, if we are serving the Lord to the best of our ability, if we are seeking to honor and submit to our husbands and serve our families, does it really really matter if our heads are covered with veils? Or, if we do understand that our children are blessings from the Lord, but choose to limit how many we have so we can fully focus on the ones we have, is He disappointed?

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

I think sometimes in our extreme desire to follow Jesus and completely give all to Him, we can become so focused on details and not the heart. I did for awhile. I got into some type of place of judgement about women who cut their hair and wore pants. Then the Lord sort of forced me to do an in depth study on the matter and where did it lead me? That it is the heart that matters. A woman who wears modest dresses and headcoverings, yet has pride that she is somehow 'closer to God' and looks down on others is not practicing the 'meek and quiet spirit' pleasing to God.

My friend pointed out to me once that a lot of people may be turned off by Christianity if we cause ourselves to be so different and unapproachable. I went to Walmart one day and saw a Mennonite family. No one was smiling, they were not friendly and looked uncomfortable. A non-believer more than likely wouldn't be attracted to them. Of course people are going to look at them because they are so different. Not that being different is wrong, but...

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law that I might win those who are under the law;o those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ, that I might win those who are without law;to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 1 Cor. 9:19-22

This is a key verse to me. Having gone to a highschool run by missions, I saw firsthand what this means. I saw people with dreadlocks, tattoos, piercings, 1980s' clothing and hairstyles, super conservatives, 'normal' or a mix of all the above preach the Gospel with their lives. The best teacher I ever had, the first time I met him, he had bushy blond curly hair, a button up shirt, Mickey Mouse tie, cargo pants and tennis shoes on. His signature phrase to any and everyone, instead of saying 'bye' was 'Have an awesome day with Jesus!'. He rocked my world,me, a rock solid Christian, by simply living radically for the Lord.

If we make being a Christian attractive, be it dressing in beautifully made dresses or holey jeans and purple hair, and lead others to Him, then that is what matters. Personally, I think it's important to God that our heart is right in what we wear or don't wear, but other than that, I don't think He really notices our physical bodies-He is focused on our spirit.

I'm not just speaking in regards to clothing and birth control, this division can also be present in those who do or do not homeschool, or the women who work outside of the home with God and their husband's blessing, or those who don't feel particulary led to cook from scratch healthy meals. I am so thankful that God created us all so different- we are not all the same nor will we all have the same plans or goals or visions. We are all the body of Christ with each of our own purposes and races to run. No one is better or more important than the other. Maybe an eyelash doesn't seem all that important compared to a liver, but if all the eyelashes left we'd be very uncomfortable. (maybe I'm a nose hair in the body of Christ,LOL)

I am a question asker-research-the-issue-to-death type of person, and seeking information is a good thing, but we have to remember that we have Him living in us, and He is more than able to instruct us in how we should walk with Him.

Just my thoughts.

Soooo true


Possums sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.

There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 live in

There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in
TEXAS plus a couple no one's seen before.

If it grows, it sticks; if it crawls, it bites.

Onced and twiced are words.

It is not a shopping cart; it is a buggy.

People actually grow and eat okra.

Fixin'to is one word.

There is no such thing as 'lunch.' There is only dinner and then there is supper.

Iced tea is appropriate for all meals and you start drinking it when you're two. We do like a little tea with our sugar!

Backards and forwards means 'I know everything about you.'

DJeet? is actually a phrase meaning 'Did you eat?'

You don't have to wear a watch because it doesn't matter what time it is. You work until you're done or it's too dark to see.

You don't PUSH buttons, you MASH them.


You measure distance in minutes.

You've ever had to switch from 'heat' to 'A/C' and back to 'heat' in a 24 hour periond

You use 'fix' as a verb. Example: 'I'm fixin to go to the store.'

All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect or animal.

You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

You know what a 'DAWG' is.

You carry jumper cables in your car . . . for your OWN car.

You only own four spices: salt, pepper,
Tabasco and ketchup.

The local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require 6 pages for local gossip and sports.

You think that the first day of deer season is a national holiday.

You find 100 degrees Fahrenheit 'a little warm.'

You know all four seasons: Almost Summer, Summer, still Summer and Christmas.

Going to Wal-mart is a favorite past time known as'goin' Wal-martin' or off to 'Wally World.'

You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good pinto-bean weather.

A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, cola or pop . . it's a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor. Example: 'What kinda coke you want?'

Fried catfish is the other white meat.

We don't need no stinking driver's ed . . . if our mama says we can drive, we can drive.

March 7, 2008


Wednesday it was 70 degrees, daffodils and grass flowers everywhere, pear trees and tulip trees are blooming, spring time!

This morning it is snowing hard! We get snow about every two years or so, and this time in March! Only thing is for some reason it isn't sticking here though it's below freezing, yet in the next town over it's covering the ground. Crazy East Texas weather!

March 6, 2008

Going Meatless

Well, some of the time. Back when I was on a very strict eating plan (before children, B.C.) we only ate meat maybe twice a week. I felt great and was losing weight! Anyways, personally, I really like meat and as long as you can get good quality meat it is a health giving food.

But, most of us can't get good meat because of price or lack of availability. However I would encourage anyone to go to and you may be able to find good meat sources. I was surprised to find several farms nearby that sell free range chicken, turkey, eggs and beef. I have to find out if we can afford it yet though...

Anyways, in trying to cut down the grocery bill a bit, I've been including more meatless meals. I finally seem to have figured out how to cook beans so that can live with each other, LOL. And my mother-in-law gave us a couple of pounds of organic navy beans and split peas. Free stuff! My goal is 3-4 meatless meals per week.

This week's plan was:
Monday- shepherd's pie using 1 lb ground beef and lots of smashed taters on top, broccoli, cupcakes for Sarah's b-day
Tuesday- we ate whole wheat waffles with cinnamon apples and turkey bacon
Wednesday- homemade baked beans, potato salad, corn
Thursday- French onion soup (with toasted homemade sourdough bread and cheese on top) and potato-cheese pierogis
Friday-spaghetti with 1lb meat, salad and maybe a dessert
Saturday- not sure yet, birthday party day, maybe something in crockpot
Sunday-tomato soup and grilled cheese

For breakfasts we've been eating eggs, hot cereals and today was French toast. I've stopped buying turkey ham and bacon so much and limit it. Monday I made biscuits, bacon and fruit since we were out of eggs. Lunches are interesting. One day I cut up some homemade venison summer sausage (father-in-law's), cheese, deli turkey, grape tomatoes, pink grapefruit and carrot sticks, piled it on a plate and let the girls pick how much they wanted to eat. They ate the whole plate! There was a lot of food too. One day I made tuna salad eaten with saltines and fruit.

So, how do I pick what meals to make and such?

Well, sometimes I look online, but then I get confused because there is SO much to look at. I mainly started thinking back to the meals I used to make and pray. I think of what meals we like that can be meatless too, like spaghetti doesn't have to have meat in it.

Here is a list of meals that are good and meatless:

macaroni and cheese

potato soup-can be made so many different ways

burritos with beans and rice or lentils

chili with beans and veggies-no meat

egg quiches or fritattas

any kind of veggie soup and the French onion soup too

baked potatoes with toppings! (broccoli, cheese, veggie chili etc)

cheesy lasagna

cheese enchiladas

baked beans, tater or pasta salad

Cheese and eggs are protein and can be considered a type of meat, but they are generally cheaper than meat. It's easier to find good quality eggs at an affordable price too. Stretching meat is a good skill to have too. We all know it's a better deal to buy a whole chicken and use it a few different ways.

1. Roast chicken and serve with veggies, rice etc.
2. pick all meat off, put carcass in pot of water with veggies and let simmer a long time to make stock.
3. Use meat to make chicken salad, chicken soup, chicken and dumplings, mix with beans for chicken burritos,make chicken pot pie etc.
4. make soup with stock

Or, cook a roast and use the leftovers for stew, stroganoff, sandwiches etc. I only buy roasts when they're on sale though.
Well, this may not be anything new, but it's what I'm working on.

March 5, 2008

My long list of to do's for today that haven't be to done yet!

I feel the need to list what I've accomplished so far because it doesn't look like I did anything! I feel like I'm hitting a brick wall- the more I organize and declutter, the more messes seem to appear. HOW!?? I am seriously thinking of snapping pictures of the storage areas in my home, all my stuff and posting them for advice! I am generally organized in my thinking, but with all the children about while I'm working, my head is spinning. Yet if I am organizing their stuff, I have to do it while they are awake.

So, this morning I tackled several piles. I took before pictures, but not the after ones yet. Will post later. The toys are still not like I want them yet...

I went through the PILES of papers on the desk, and cleaned out some of the drawers.

I took down my Swedish Christmas tree. I left it up because it was so pretty and I thought I would do a year round tree, but I didn't really have a good place for it and I was starting to get tired of it. So down it went.

I cleared off the shelves with sewing supplies.

I cleaned the hallway that has our exercise bike and lots of odds and ends.

I started baked beans in the crockpot.

I rebooted the kefir.

I boiled potatoes for potato salad.

Fed everyone lunch and made SEVERAL phone calls.

Entertained a guest for awhile.

I don't even have half of my to do list done for today! I still have to make the salad, bake banana bread, finish clearing the piles of stuff, fold and put away a large basket of laundry, make yogurt, clean out the fridge, find my spring/Easter decorations and work on those dang toys!

But I'm tired! Oh, I was planning to do my exercise tape today, do Brain Gym with Leiah and school. I just can't do it all today. But I still have two days before company comes, so I stretched my list to span the next two days- so I really have done a lot then!

So now I'm changing today's to do list:

finish making dinner

do the laundry

do Brain Gym

whatever else I can fit in :)

March 4, 2008

Men vs. Women on bill paying

A question.

What are your thoughts about the wife taking care of the bills/finances?

I've read in a few popular books that it's really better for the husband to take this responsibility. I think that is true, but, I don't think it's good if the wife has no idea how to pay the bills should something happen where hubby can't do it etc. Or, maybe bill paying is a huge stress and burden on the husband, who works all day and has little time to be at home anyways. Because of this maybe the bills are disorganized, it's hard to keep track of what is due when and the bill payer is working too hard.

If you haven't guessed I'm describing my husband :) He will admit that he's not very organized in general, much less with paper! I will go clean out the desk ever so often, but it gets cluttered up again because there is no system. Er, well, the system is on Microsoft Excel...but there are still physical papers to be dealt with.

I mentioned the idea to dh that maybe I should take over for awhile, just so I can be able to do it if he can't for some reason, and because I do have naptime to work on it. Plus, sometimes I feel like there's not a lot I can do to better our financial situation (like bring in more money) so at least I could help share the responsibilities this way and give him a break.

Anyways, just curious.

March 3, 2008

Happy Birthday to Sarah Madison

March 3, 2006 Sarah Madison Sundholm was born. Isn't she cute?

She was 6lbs 12oz and went down to 6 lbs 8oz when we left the hospital. I had the easiest cesarean birth with her. She was such a big eater! By the time she was 6 weeks old she was draining over 6oz of formula at each feeding and was constipated because she ate so much! (yes I know, breastmilk wouldn't constipate, but let's not go there now...)

Sarah at 3 months, Leiah is 3 years old and Alexa is 2 years old. These were the really, really tough days.

Dedication day at church- this gorgeous dress was brand new with tags and well over $100 when I found it at a resale shop and only paid $25 for it. I wanted something special for her since she had so many hand-me-downs from the other two girls. She was 5 months old.

Learning to sit...and 'play' with Alexa, who was really just trying to snitch the 'pow pow'. (pacifier)
"I am mobile mama!" Sarah is 9 months old here.
We actually forgot to take any pictures of her first birthday, duh! After she turned one, she started growing really fast! (the goat milk I guess) Her personality also began to show a lot more.

Our sweetheart. We weren't planning to have another child when we found out Sarah was on the way, but I am ever so grateful that the Lord sent her to us. She has been such a wonderful little girl. My baby is two today and growing up! Tonight we'll do some cupcakes and a present, and Saturday we're having her party.

March 2, 2008

Jesus really meant 'Do not worry about your life...'

Is it really Sunday evening already? Time certainly does fly!!!!!

Well, I did some work on the toy situation. However it's not done yet and I'm not totally satisfied. What I did was go to walmart and buy two large plastic containers and two small ones. I put all the tea party sets and dishes in one, I put all block related thingies in another one, I rounded up two other containers and rearranged what was in them. I put all the dress up items in another one. I still have bits of things to go through and two more sacks of toys I had put away for 'rotation' to go through. Then I got the Little People parts and pieces and bagged them in a ziploc, did the same with wooded beads and laces, etc. Anything that had lots of little parts I put in easy to open (the ones with the tab) plastic baggies. I put all puzzles in a smaller plastic container. I put a basket of small toys (the baby ones for now) and a basket of books in the living room inside the play yard.

Oh, husband went to the store in a moment of desperation and bought one of those play yard things that look like an octagon, but you can change the size and shape of it. Sarah has outgrown the playpen. It's big, but necessary right now :)

The next step is to decided what is trash, what is to be given away and what we'll keep. Now that I'm purging toys I want to hit the whole house! Like I said, this house has lots of storage space that isn't being utilized to its full potential- it's just overwhelming.

Speaking of the house. We aren't moving now. I regret to say this, but, we just plain have a lot of debt. We can't afford to buy or rent another place and as it turns out, my inlaws have to postpone their plans of retiring and selling this house anyways. So, we have another year. This means that I will be working really hard to cut corners. We don't spend a lot on unnecessary things really, but we just need to be more particular about our spending choices. It's been a stressful, worrisome two weeks trying to figure out how in the world we were going to move. But, now we get to stay for awhile. So I can work on decluttering and painting the DASH MARKS IN MY BEDROOM!!!! I'll refresh your memory on those in a sec...well, go to the left hand sidebar and click on 'My Home'. Down towards the bottom of the post is our bedroom, click the image and look at the top. I hate those things...they remind me of the credits to Saved by the Bell. And, we were planning to do a vegetable/herb garden this year.

Anyways, I'll have more later this week on frugality and such. I have to return some movies right now :)