Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Love Homeopathics

My high-tech homeopathic storage ;-)
If you Google homeopathics, you'll get mostly a loooong list of people ranting and raving about how it's quack medicine and they can't believe people actually believe it and how studies have disproven it, blah, blah, blah.That doesn't really matter to me. I find that most of the things I believe about health "have been disproven by studies" at this point. In my mind, what that phrase means is that there's no money to be made in it. Which there isn't, because a tube of homeopathic medicine costs roughly $6. If you don't think it works and you don't want to do it, don't. But it works. And it makes me and my family much more comfortable when we do occasionally get sick.

People often ask me, "What do you give your kids when they get sick?"

The answer is somewhat complicated. My friends who have helped me pack my kitchen during our many moves can tell you what my medicine cabinet looks like - it is a strange mix of minerals, amino acids, herbs, homeopathic remedies, and various other concoctions that you might not recognize. It has actually taken me several years to build up a set of all the various homeopathic remedies that I need to treat the things we regularly deal with. I now have about 20 of the little blue tubes, about 5 white ones, and a few remedies in drop form, all with the funny Latin names that I don't even try to pronounce correctly.

Over the years, there have been so many medicines, particularly cold medicines recalled or proven unsafe for young children. I can't see myself giving my kids most of those medicines at this point. Actually, the only mainstream children's medicine I keep on my shelf is dye-free Benedryl (which is actually Target brand, because Children's Benedryl got recalled and hasn't returned to the shelves as far as I've been able to find.) And we only use that one under rare circumstances. And it doesn't usually work as well as the alternatives we've found.

ANYWAY, homeopathics.

I'm not going to bother trying to convince you that it works, because if you want to go do all the research, you'll do it anyway. OR, you'll just take my word for it (especially since there are zero side effects to them, they're completely safe to use for little kids and pregnant women), and try them yourself. Most of the people that read my blog are already big fans of homeopathic teething remedies anyway, so I doubt I'll have to sell you on this. :)

We use them most often for cold symptoms, and they seem to work best with the kids. I suspect that's because they have less caffeine, and also tend not eat spicy things - mint, ginger, and spicy food wipes out the affect of homeopathics. The more "pure" you eat, the better they seem to work. That could be another reason why the studies show they "don't work."

Several years ago I bought this book, which I really like. It seems to be out of print, but that link has several used copies, or really you could buy any reference book or even use online references.

Here are a few of our favorite remedies, ones I'd recommend you have on hand if you're interested in giving this a try. I'm going to be blunt with the symptoms/remedy descriptions. Enjoy. :)

Pulsatilla: good for ear infections, colds with yellow snot, the kind of coughs that are loose during the day and tight at night, pressure in your head
Kali Bichromicum: colds with green boogers that stick to the inside of your nose.
Nux Vomica: that sneezy feeling that makes your eyes water
Allium Cepa: clear snot that won't. stop. running.
Spongia Tosta: croupy cough
Belladonna: sudden fever, sore throat

I use 2-3 of the pellets per dose, and you can start with a couple doses 15 minutes apart, then continue 2-3 times/day after that. When you get the right remedy, the symptoms literally stop or improve within a few seconds. As you work with these more, you start to understand what symptoms go with which remedy. It is a very intuitive type of medicine - you have to pay very close attention to the symptoms and only use that remedy as long as the symptoms stay the same. People refer to "tracing" symptoms with homeopathics, because over the course of an illness the symptoms change and the remedies change.

Just because it's interesting, here's a website with some more info.
And here's a good post I read recently about using homeopathics for digestion issues.

So, that's a good start! Do you use homeopathics? Do you have some favorite remedies? Are you interested in trying this?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When We're Sick...

Being all into natural health can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, I love knowing what I need to do to help my kids get well. We rarely get sick (is it just me, or are the things going around particularly nasty this year?), and when we do it usually resolves within a couple days without a doctor visit or traditional medication. On the other hand, it is far too easy to take the entire burden of my children's health on my own shoulders, weighing myself down with expectations that are not only unfair, but just unrealistic. We WILL occasionally get sick, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. That doesn't make me a failure.

I often notice people who are into nutrition or "real food" obsessing over every detail - most recently it was a conversation about how the different ranches in our local area raise their beef. Now, there is scientific evidence about how grass fed vs. grain fed changes the nutrition and safety of meat. I know all that stuff, I've read it too. But I think it can quickly turn into a humanistic "worship," if you will? A thought process that says, "It's all up to me, this is about what decisions I make, and if I make bad ones we will suffer. If I make good ones we will thrive." Maybe our family is unique, but I don't find that to be true. There have been many times in my life when I have done everything "right" and still not had the outcome I hoped for. There have been many other times when I have done almost nothing right, and just because of God's amazing mercy and grace, things have come out just fine.

Once, when I was talking to our Christian naturopath about this stuff, he told me, "This natural health stuff is not God, this is just wisdom." That really stuck with me.

God has been teaching me about His grace for the past several years. I can't tell you how freeing it is to begin to deeply realize that His blessings don't come about as a result of my good behavior. They come just because He's good, because it's His nature and He loves me. When I release my control and expectations over the situations in our lives, suddenly I have more energy, I'm more at peace and happier, and things still work out - I don't have to will them to happen!

God has given all of us a measure of wisdom. We have the tools to carry out what He has called us to do. We also inherently know where the danger areas are - places where we need His strength so we can avoid the traps Satan would set for us. These ARE our responsibility, the talents we've been given. When I try to function beyond those, I burn out because I'm working in my own strength which is very small.

This is a little bit abstract today and I'm not sure anybody will follow it completely, but here it is anyway. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Tess and me working on pumpkin carving :)
I can't believe I haven't blogged since August. I really honestly feel a bit rusty!This post started out as a "7 Quick Takes," but I soon realized there are neither 7 nor are they quick, so I'll spare you the cute framework and call it an update. :)

Tess patiently putting up with shopping on main st in Huntington Beach
1. My Gramma passed away in California on September 16th. She was only 72, and outlived my Grampa by only 18 months. My grandparents weren't perfect people, of course, but I have many fond memories of them. I miss them both. We drove out there with the kids for the funeral and were gone about 10 days. Overall the trip went well, and we got to see soooo many relatives and do some fun things, but there was no way to avoid eating out A LOT, and we ended up in a hotel for several days, which exposed Audrey to a lot of things that tend to irritate her, which leads me to:

23 of the 25 grandchildren, at Gramma's funeral
2. We had another big bout with Audrey's eczema in the past few months. She got home from CA in pretty bad shape - we haven't seen her that bad since before we started GAPS. About two solid weeks were more or less filled with caring for her. She was just that sick - covered in sores and crying most of the day, etc. After trying what had been working with no success, we took her to see Dr P (our naturopath) and she tested for candida overgrowth and aluminum toxicity. He gave her three different supplements that slowly brought her system back under control. Those issues were keeping her body from dealing properly with toxins. So, thankfully, we're back to the way things were before we left now - her food allergies are much better and her skin is more or less clear. We are believing for complete healing and strength for her body!

3. During that same time period, our wonderful Christian landlords called us up and told us that they are moving to Jordan to become missionaries and need to sell the house we're living in. Yay for missionaries. Boo for having to move again. This will be move number 8 for us, in 7 1/2 years of marriage. We decided to attempt to qualify for a home loan, in spite of the fact that almost no one is qualifying right now. Much to our surprise, we qualified! It seems that we fit into one little segment of the population - a particular income level, a particular credit score, first time homebuyers... So, we began our house search in the rural area near where we currently live. Through a process, God changed our hearts about how much we wanted to spend monthly and how far we were willing to be from Nick's work. We have loved living a bit more in the country, but it does cost more, Nick is away more because of drive time, and we are about to be raising four kids 7 and under. Sooo...we began searching in the city, mainly in a very desirable area of town that tends to have outdated houses that need a bit of fixing up.

4. We found a house! It is about 3 minutes from Nick's work. It's 4 bed/2 bath, on 1/3 acre (almost unheard of in that area-most lots are .16 of an acre), on a cul de sac. It desperately needs paint and probably carpet too, and the kitchen needs quite a bit of work. It has a huge fenced garden area and a storage shed with a dog door in it. Lots of lilacs in the backyard. It has a ton of potential, just needs TLC. So, we are currently under contract on it. However, this house is a foreclosure (which means it's a great deal!), and the selling bank is in no hurry (which totally makes no sense to me - wouldn't you expect them to want to get rid of the thing? It's just sitting there, vacant.) So we have dealt with many delays in the process. God brought 2 Chronicles 29:36 to mind for us as we prayed about this house, and we are trusting that He will carry us through the delays. "Thus Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, because of what God had prepared for the people, for it was done suddenly."

5. Baby number 4 is due January 17th! He/she is healthy and STRONG, and greatly enjoys jamming tiny toes and fingers into...interesting spots in my torso, as well as elbowing so hard I jump. My blood pressure has been perfect, no swelling at all, and as long as I don't eat weird stuff I haven't even had many aches or pains, even now at 33 1/2 weeks. I decided to go to the chiropractor this week, and he actually told me, "You don't have any major issues, I'd just like to see you twice in week 35 and twice in week 36, so you're ready to go by week 37." I can honestly say I've never been told that. NO MAJOR ISSUES. Seriously, getting my digestion working right has totally changed my life. I could barely walk by now in my pregnancy with Tessa because my back and hip hurt so badly. I've even been able to exercise - not as much as I'd like - but certainly more consistently than ever before.

6. Sickness - the stomach flu went through everyone but Audrey (seriously, how did she escape?) last month, and yesterday Hannah came down with what seems to be influenza. I HATE sickness. But, maybe if we get through both of those now, before the baby comes, we can have the rest of the winter be well for our infant? Here's hoping! Our kids always bounce back quickly with home remedies, but Hannah has to miss an event at church this weekend that she's SO been looking forward to. :( Poor kid!

7. Christmas - I don't know where to start, so I haven't. Heh. This year is going to be super simple, even more simple than the year Tess was born ON Christmas day, since we don't even know what house we'll be in yet. We are pretty much getting a house for Christmas, though we're thinking we will get the kids a Wii. I'm thinking we may get a tabletop tree or something too, just to have SOMETHING. Kinda sad to spend the whole month with no decor!

8. For the first time, Nick taught voice lessons for the School of Worship the past 2 1/2 months. He was so nervous but I knew he would be great, and it was a terrific experience. He has an uncanny ability to recognize voices and differentiate between all the different aspects of a person's voice to pinpoint what will improve the tone quality, not to mention all his years of taking voice lessons and choir! He came up from our little studio in the basement tired but excited every time he taught. It's so exciting to watch my husband doing things in which he is gifted. And hearing worship music through the house every Monday and Tuesday night felt so right with the culture of our home. The only thing that was tough was being on my own with the kids for those long days, but we did it.

9. Food - We have eaten out more in the past two months than I think we did in the past three years! Somehow, we don't seem that bad off for it. Eating grain free (not even strict GAPS, though we do try at home) and getting enough healthy fat has just made a massive difference for all of us. Many of my from-scratch projects went by the wayside for awhile while I dealt with sick kids, etc. I just started up my last batch of frozen water kefir grains this week. It's taking awhile to get them active, but I think they are well on their way. I also started a fresh kombucha scoby from a bottle of raw kombucha. We have more or less given up on using dairy for the time being. I buy about 5 oz of raw goat milk cheddar each week, and that's about all we can handle. Mixed reviews on how we're doing with our egg sensitivity. I think after all the stress is over and things settle down we'll try again. Audrey and Nick are the only ones who eat eggs regularly. We have introduced occasional small amounts of soaked buckwheat porridge with our breakfast sausage, with good success. I think since we were coming from an already organic, gluten free diet, it maybe won't take us the recommended two years to heal on GAPS. Still hoping for the food sensitivities/sensitive digestion to clear completely though.

10. The ONLY way we are getting through this season is to remember that God knows us, loves us, and will take care of us. If you haven't heard much from me lately, this is why! :) There is even more going on than I've written here. I'm looking forward to, on the other side of this, having my own home, my sweet baby, my husband home more because of no commute, and a period of rest!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Food Blog

Hi friends,
I started a food blog today, in an attempt to answer the many questions I regularly get about what we eat and why. :) Hop on over if you're interested!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Recipes I've tried recently:

Pesto Crusted Salmon - Made the pesto with basil from my garden. Nick and I LOVED it. Kids ate it, reluctantly. Yummy!

Thai "No Peanut" Sauce - We put this on top of stir-fried chicken and veggies. Delicious. Big hit all around.

Peanut butter and jelly cookies - I actually didn't have any jelly that day, so I just used this recipe as the framework for almond butter cookies since we avoid peanuts here. I used the standard peanut butter cookie criss-cross fork pattern on top, and actually I also substituted chia seed gel for the egg. Ha! This recipe wasn't really that much like what she posted. But they came out delicious!

Herb Crackers - these are light, delicate and tasty! Pretty quick to make too.


How to eat healthy while traveling
Do you or anyone you know suffer from PCOS (or really, any other female problems)? An unconventional approach that I find compelling.
Why Homebirth? We're not stupid, really. I promise. :)


Child training with grace and love. Love it. Our kids will learn their first ideas about who God is from the way their parents treat them. We MUST honor our kids.
Managers of their homes - On my wish list. Anybody have this/use it? I'm particularly interested in their ideas about making a family schedule work with a baby.

Currently reading:

Honor's Reward

Monday, July 25, 2011

5 Quick Takes

1. We have been hunkered down around here, figuring things out about how to make a household of six (SIX?!?) people run. The fatigue of early pregnancy really took a toll this time, and apart. In many aspects of life. We are implementing a family schedule, requiring the kids to help around the house a bit more, and working on the overall tone of our family. I am very very encouraged by the progress we've made in the past couple of weeks. We all feel calmer, happier, and better about life.

2. I feel amazing. Really. We have been experimenting with rather dramatic diet changes around here, since the food allergies seemed to keep. getting. worse. Something had to give. The kids weren't sleeping. They were in pain almost all the time. We'd take something out and some new problem would pop up. Starting in February we began the GAPS diet, and right before my pregnancy symptoms kicked in, we made additional changes to the carb/protein/fat proportions in our meals. Now that I'm out of the first trimester stuff, I really don't think I've ever had this much energy or felt this well. Nick lost 30 pounds, and has been working out regularly and I NEVER thought he would look like he does. Audrey's eczema is basically gone. We're all pretty excited about it.

3. The school year is coming. Quickly. Getting our schedule/house under control is coming just in time, because Hannah starts first grade this August. Wow. How is that I have a 1st grader?

4. I've been making all kinds of fun things in the dehydrator. Today I have fresh peaches in there. Who needs scented candles? My whole house smells like peaches. Yummy!

5. The garden is going nuts. I LOVE HAVING A GARDEN AGAIN! The zucchini is just about ready to start harvesting. We've been eating spinach and radishes. I have some gorgeous heads of butterhead lettuce in there, along with some other looseleaf ones. Butternut squash, cucumbers, beans (they didn't come up that well though), peas, beets, onions, peppers, tomatoes... I only wish I had about three times the space! Next year...

Usually this is 7 Quick Takes, but I can't think of any more. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Life is a series of challenges. You can choose to meet them head on or have them roll over you. The difference will be the quality of your life. -Bill Hodges

I have this mental image of the type of mother/wife/person I want to be. Calm, flexible, happy, industrious, creative, fun, giving... Sometimes though, the one-thing-after-another that seems to be life with three + children gets to me. This happened today. I'll spare you the details, but a husband with a migraine, crying children, a missing dog, government agencies, and events were included. Until this afternoon I called my mom saying I don't like this job and I don't want to do it anymore!

I don't like getting like that.

Because the truth is, I love my kids. I love my home. We have an awesome church. Our life is full of so many blessings. And I wish more than anything that I could always keep a good perspective when things get hard. The dog came home, the headache went away, the kids are having a blast with the neighbor kids tonight; something always gives. Just not necessarily before I do. 

How do you stay sane in the day-to-day challenges of life? What helps you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

How can you make healthy food even healthier?

By culturing it, of course!

Sauerkraut is the cultured (or fermented) food most people are familiar with. Take some cabbage, smash it to smithereens with some salt, let it sit. Easy, right? But when's the last time you did this, or saw someone else do it?

Did you know there are cultured foods that you can make that are naturally full of probiotics? Probiotics can help your digestion work better and your immune system stronger!

Did you know that almost every native people group ferments some of their food?

Did you know that fermented foods can be easier to digest?

Cultured food can be a little intimidating. How do you know if it's good to eat? How do you MAKE it? What kinds of things can you ferment? Why does it work? Why is it good for you? What if I don't like the taste?

I have had all these questions at different times. I've been fermenting foods for about a year or two, and have made sauerkraut, kombucha, water kefir, yogurt, mixed veggies, and more, using fermenting techniques. It makes it SO much less intimidating if you can watch someone else do it first! That's where Gnowfglins comes in.

On Monday, is hosting a FREE web seminar (webinar) on Fermenting Foods! Gnowfglins is a huge resource for me, I literally reference it every week. And with this free class, you can get a glimpse of the great info available there!

Click here to sign up, and all the info will be sent to you!

Just so ya know, I teach gluten free sourdough on, and all my info and recipes are published there. If you sign up for the webinar through this link, and you end up enrolling in classes later, I'll make a small cut of the profits.

I hope you'll join us! It's gonna be fun... :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Random thoughts/Update

Today, you get a list.

1. I turned 31 on Saturday. We had a fun day that involved working outside in the garden and making our version of pizza, and chocolate for dessert.

2. We used our backyard fire pit for the first time on Sunday night. We put the kids to bed and then sat outside watching the flames. Until the wind picked up and we put it out. I love living in the country. Things like that are why we live out here.

3. Yesterday Nick took the day off in honor of my birthday. I didn't feel that great so we spent most of the day picking up the house and doing laundry.

4. Last night my parents had a combined birthday party for Nick and me at their house. All my siblings and their families came. We grilled chicken, burgers and hot dogs. We ate outside on the deck, surrounded by the pine trees. Later, the kids played in the hot tub while the adults sat around chatting. They lit the fire pit. We blew out candles and had dessert on the patio. We got home at about 11pm. Fun times...

5. This weekend Nick's helping his sister move from Boulder to Santa Fe. Should be first time alone with the kids overnight. I'm glad he's able to help her, but I'm also very glad that I figured out my supplements have been causing most of my nausea BEFORE this weekend. I'm in awe of military wives and those whose husbands travel frequently. Don't know how you do it. I'm making every attempt to not be a little whiney about it. ;)

6. We finally got the garden all planted and fenced this weekend. We're going to build a greenhouse over the top of it later this summer, so that our growing season will be lengthened a bit. I'm hopeful I'll get away with the late start that way. However, I have yet to see many seeds sprouting so far. Hopefully I'm not too out of practice for this to work... Our neighbor has informed us that we have voles out here, and that the voles will eat the bottoms off all the plants. The way to prevent this seems to be burying hardware cloth a foot deep, all the way around the garden. That was a lot of work. Hope it does the trick.

7. Sometime this week or next, we should FINALLY get a portion of the money our old landlord did not return when we moved out exactly a year ago. It was a very long road, but it was obvious in small claims court that he had no case. The judge actually told him, "Do you understand that court is not a game? We're not playing games here." It was quite the circus, actually, our final day in court. Incredible to me that someone can have such a lack of respect for the law. Even though it took a long time, I'm grateful for justice. I'm grateful that we have a system by which to pursue justice. I pray that Jesus will get ahold of that guy's heart.

8. I made these yesterday. It is my opinion that these are just as good, if not better, than "regular" brownies, and that even if you aren't gluten free or grain free or anything else-free, that you should still make them. Several of family (non-GF eaters) tried them at my parents' last night and thought they were pretty good. ;)

The end.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My children have finally, FINALLY learned to play outside. And they do it unceasingly, happily, muddily.

They even ASK to go outside. To which the answer is normally, "YES! PLEASE DO!"

This makes me happy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Links I Loved Recently

Pickled Radishes. Aren't you intrigued? I am intrigued. Plus it'll give me something to do with the radishes that I harvest from my garden, since nobody ever eats them. Ha!

Neat homeschooling stuff - One of these sites has paper toys you can print and fold, for free. Cool!

Green Cleaning - I seriously clean everything in my house with vinegar, baking soda and water. I really like her suggestions on cutting down on paper products. We still use a lot of paper. Cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, and rags instead of paper towels would save us money and trees. ;)

Homeschooling methods to keep you sane, from an experienced homeschool mom. She is also writing a lot about using the McGuffy Primer right now, something I'm fascinated by. We will probably get a set for our kids to use!

A good reminder about how to make friends who encourage you.

Questions to spark conversation. I was taught to make conversation by asking people about themselves. Lately I find many people never learned this skill and feel very awkward if there is a lull in the conversation. It is fairly easy to memorize some universal questions that you can whip out in a pinch, and learn something about people while you're at it! I always like new question ideas!

What neat things have you found recently?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pregnancy is funny

Things that have made me think about puking in the past few days:


Honestly, because my morning sickness is, and has been with each pregnancy, totally manageable, I actually find it amusing. It is a little reminder that my body is working hard and that I have more than enough hormones to keep this little life safe and happy.

Oh, and I also burst into tears over a blog last week. That was funny too.

We're interviewing a midwife on Thursday, and I'm hoping she can help me narrow down my dates. I *ahem* haven't had a cycle since February. I have had negative tests since then, but it's been several weeks since one. Sooo... :) This is new territory for me. I always knew the exact day before! I figure I'm somewhere between 5 and 8 weeks. I've been obviously nauseous all week though, and that always started at week 6 with all three of the girls. If I'm 8 weeks we could have another Christmas baby. Oy!

Monday, May 9, 2011

In the past five days...

I have...

-dealt with another severe allergic reaction to food (Hannah)
-driven all three kids to a Dr's appointment in Denver by myself
-gone to a small claims court hearing in yet another chapter of the crook landlord saga
-practiced and prepared two different worship sets, totaling 12 songs
-typed out all 12 songs into powerpoint so we could display the words
-shopped for a birthday present
-led worship
-attended my nephew's first birthday party
-led worship again, this time with a migraine aura that made my left hand numb and my left eye nearly blind
-had a migraine for 8 hours
-got the kids ready for church by myself while Nick led worship
-attempted to open a bottle of water kefir, the cap literally exploded and sent kefir flying THROUGH a kitchen towel, and onto the kitchen ceiling, window, me in my church clothes ready to go out the door, the counter...
-attempted to take a nap while the kids protested
-hung out at my parents' house for Mother's Day
-went out on a date with Nick (yay!)
-ate large amounts of rotisserie chicken at Whole Foods and felt good afterward (yay!)
-looked at books about greenhouses at B&N
-made turkey stock
-made dried kiwi
-cleaned bag balm off the cat...
-wiped up MORE mysteriously spilled water kefir
-cleaned my bathroom except for the floor (which also needs it)
-locked myself in the pantry and had a meltdown while poor Nick tried to encourage me and the kids yelled

And this afternoon? I will be either making myself a kefir strawberry banana smoothie and taking a nap, or playing in my garden during naptime. Whichever I FEEL like I wanna do, gosh!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What should I feed my kids? Part three...

Ok, so, where do you even find all this weird food?

I'm glad you asked. :)

1. Find a local chapter of the Weston Price Foundation. Seriously. These guys are awesome. Want to know all there is to know about making your own probiotic foods? They can tell you. Contacts with ranchers, farmers, farm fresh eggs, you-name-it. They often do group orders of products to get bulk discounts and cut down on shipping. Not to mention, they are fanatical about being healthy and it is both totally hysterical and completely inspiring. If you're here local and want to come, the next meeting is Saturday, May 14th. Come with me!

2. Real live butchers. Most supermarkets don't have these anymore, but often you can find them. Here, we actually have a natural meat market that's awesome. Any kind of meat you can think of, they have! It's not as cheap as direct from the rancher, but there's lots of variety and they'll do special orders.

3. Health food stores. Take your time and look at everything. Read labels. You'll be amazed at what you find! Here we have locally or regionally-owned stores as well as Whole Foods. Often the smaller stores are cheaper, but not for every product. Shop around!

4. Here's where and how to get raw milk. Depending on the laws in your state, you might have to jump through some hoops. Here in Colorado, farmers actually sell you a share of their herd, and you pay monthly "boarding fees" in return for milk. In California, raw milk is totally legal without the goofiness. Also go to that site and do some reading if you still think raw milk is dangerous. Please. :)

5. I haven't ordered here yet, but have heard great things and plan to soon. Talk about buying in bulk! Their bottle will last hundreds of doses! According to GAPS, you only need to take their "baby" dose every day to stay healthy.

6. Co-op/bulk ordering. is great. A friend heads up group orders from Golden Organics and Frontier Organics and the prices are only 5% over wholesale plus shipping. (The prices on the sites are retail).

7. Join a CSA. This is something we haven't actually done yet, but would like to. You buy a share of a farm's crop and in return get regular deliveries of veggies during harvest. A variation on this is to do something like Door to Door Organics. (Let me know if you want to try Door to Door. I can send ya a coupon!)

8. Join Gnowfglins' eCourse. I have read Wardeh's blog for years, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I offered to teach gluten free modifications to her awesome sourdough course, and she accepted! I get paid a small percentage of the sourdough course each month, as well as any other sales I direct to the site, just so you know. But even if I wasn't involved, I would wholeheartedly recommend this course! She teaches you how to cook healthy food. Period. Everything from cooking dry beans, to making your own stock, to making anything under the sun out of sourdough, to even making your own cheese and sour cream! If you don't know how to cook and have no idea where to start, take the course, watch Wardeh make the different foods on video, ask all your questions in the forums, get foolproof recipes, and before you know it, you'll be a master chef. OK, maybe not. But you'll surely make progress. ;)

I hope this gives you some resources to find healthy food for you and your family. If nothing else, spend some time clicking around and checking it all out. If healthy eating is new to you, it can seem very overwhelming. Just pick one thing to learn about, and start reading. If you want to, you can be an expert before you know it! I'm always happy to answer questions as well.

Health is something I believe God wants for everyone. When we make these kinds of positive changes, we can serve Him better, because we spend less time being sick all the time! We're also caring for the temple of the Holy Spirit in a way that is honoring to Him. Our modern lifestyles and society are hard on our bodies, but these things can help build your body back up to its full intended strength and vitality. I pray health for you and your families - spiritual, physical, emotional...

Thursday, April 28, 2011


You know how some days feel like this?


Tess is getting eye teeth, Audrey's just generally really sad, Hannah is asking for food every 5 seconds.

I would like a vacation from life, please. I'll come back tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What should I feed my kids? Part two...

I dealt with the specifics of what to feed your kids. The next question people usually ask me is, how do you afford it?

Honestly, probably by some standards we can't afford it. My husband and I both made the decision to attend private college, and since then we have been strapped by massive education loans. It really has effected our financial situation significantly.

The other big decision we make is for me to stay home with our kids. I have decided to stay at home because we want a big family and we want to homeschool. That means things are pretty tight around here sometimes.

I often get really frustrated with our financial situation. But we could eat the food of a Standard American Diet and I could go to work, and we could get 100% out of debt in just a couple of years. We could make that choice - it's within our power to choose that. You know what? It's not worth it to me! We have some health challenges around here, and I would rather have my health (and work through the health challenges of my kids), than be debt free and have lots of extra cash but still be sick (or spend thousands on doctor bills!). I would rather stay home with my kids and sometimes find it challenging to pay our bills than miss out on what we believe God has called me to in staying home with them. I'm not saying these decisions are right for everyone, but for us, they are. It is a sacrifice to eat healthy, for most people. But for us, at the end of the day, it is worth the sacrifice. We continue to work toward getting out of debt, we make slow progress, AND we also prioritize eating healthy.

So...that's the vision. What about the practical side? Here are some decisions we make that allow us to eat this way:

-We buy in bulk every time we can.
-We do not buy expensive cuts of meat. We mostly eat ground meat and whole chickens. Incidentally, I was buying ground turkey at Whole Foods the other day (it's a much better value than anything else I've found), and the guy asked me if I made dog food out of it. I guess that must be what most people do with it. Um, no, we eat it. Thanks though. ;)
-We were given our van and paid off our jeep years ago. No car payments, and no plans to trade them in for new cars.
-Most people's housing costs between 25 and 35% (or more) of their take home pay. Our rent is about 17% of our income.
-We do not waste food. We eat all our leftovers, or make them into new dishes. We rarely allow meat or produce to go bad in the fridge. I have to stay pretty close to home to do this. When I get too busy things go bad, in more ways than one. :) Being home allows me the time to plan well.
-We make EVERYTHING from scratch. Pre-prepared healthy foods are stinkin' expensive. (And often not all that healthy, even if labeled "organic.")
-I keep track of the prices of everything and pay attention to the best values. We cycle between a natural meat market and 2-3 different health food stores plus co-op bulk buying.

Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not saying you should go spend money you don't have. But, there is a faith aspect to this. Make some steps in the right direction. Talk with your spouse about it. Buy $5 of extra veggies. Look into what it costs to buy beef from a rancher and start saving toward it - remember that what you usually spend on beef in your weekly groceries will stay in your bank account, since you'll already have beef in your freezer!

Our freezer with 1/4 of beef!
Baby steps... How important is it?

What should I feed my kids?

I get this question, in multiple forms, on a regular basis. First off, I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, or really any kind of authority and don't want to set myself up as one. Feel free to take or leave what I have to say. But, my family has experienced multiple health issues that we chose to treat through nutrition. Add to that my penchant for researching, and I do have some opinions on the subject. But again, please no picking fights. Take it or leave it. :)

1. Don't start with rice cereal. I know, I know, I did it too. Most people did. But think about it: rice cereal is pretty processed stuff. It bears no resemblance to "real" food. It is a straight carbohydrate, with no protein, fat, or appreciable levels of nutrients (unless it is fortified, which is also a problem because synthetic vitamins are not easily absorbed and often cause sensitivities). It causes constipation in many babies. The only thing it has going for it is that it is rare to have an allergy to it. But many other foods are non-allergenic as well, and provide much better nutrition serving-for-serving. Good first foods? Avocado. Homemade broth. Plain yogurt. Veggies like sweet potato, peas, carrots, squash. With these foods, they're getting healthy fats (did you know kids MUST have fat for brain development?), small amounts of easily digestible protein, vitamins and minerals. If you are determined to serve rice as their first food, at least make it yourself out of brown rice.

2. Give them a probiotic. Every day. 200 years ago, many of our foods had beneficial bacteria in them. Modern sterilization techniques have allowed us to ship foods for long distances and store them for long periods of time, but they've also had a negative effect - sterile food does not challenge our immune system, nor does it help fight nasty germs when we come across them. Raw milk, sauerkraut, sourdough, soaked grains and beans, and live culture yogurt are not foods most people eat regularly anymore, and you have to get those good "bugs" somewhere or your immune system will be very weak. The easiest way (unless you'd like to get into those probiotic foods, which is also a good idea), is to find a good dairy free probiotic and take it every single day. Do you get colds nonstop? You need probiotics. Struggle with yeast infections? Probiotics. Allergies? Probiotics. This is not an overnight fix. Drugs fix things overnight but often cause other problems. Nutrition takes awhile to work but makes you healthier overall. You change your lifestyle, and over time, your health improves.

3. Serve a vegetable with every meal. For many people, this is a good place to start. And actually, prior to starting the GAPS diet three months ago, I didn't even do this, and I considered us very healthy. Our society is very grain-focused in the way we eat. Try to move your emphasis more to good (ideally pasture-raised) meats, and fresh organic produce. Then you add grains as an afterthought. Also, if you tend to have difficulty controlling your weight, generally it's because you are eating too many carbs. (Food allergies and other health issues such as low thyroid can also play into this). Cut back the carbs, focus on healthy fats (again, the conventional wisdom is just plain wrong), and protein, and most people will see the pounds melt away with minimal effort.

(Soapbox moment: I am very thin. People often assume that I don't understand what it means to be overweight, and that I'm just "lucky" because I have good genes or whatever and they make me thin. The truth is, my family does have something to do with it, but it's not genetic. It has to do with the way I was taught to eat. Dave Ramsey likes to say, "If you want to be rich, do what rich people do." Well, if you want to thin, do what thin people do. I eat a TON of healthy fat (animal fat, coconut and palm oil, avocado. Vegetable oils are generally not healthy.). It is very satisfying. It allows me to eat small portions of food and not feel hungry and shaky and miserable between meals. I also eat large amounts of protein. Even before we started GAPS, carbs/grains never made up more than 1/2 of my meals, and they were always whole grain. Now the carbs I eat (aside from the carbs in veggies) make up less than 20% of my meals, and I feel even better. OK. Soapbox over.)

4. Buy organic produce as much as you can. There are (and probably always will be) debates about this, but here's the straight facts: organic produce is more commonly (though not always) grown in ways that renew the soil. They rotate crops and do other things to put minerals back into the soil. Non-organic crops are generally grown in the same soil every year and over time the nutrients become depleted and no longer offer the same nutrition that they used to. Also, non-organic produce is often genetically modified (GMO). GMO's are so new, that no one is quite sure what the long-term impact of them will be on our health. I'd rather not be a guinea pig, thanks. Also, many kids react to pesticide residue because their bodies are so sensitive to their environment. These pesticides are often known cancer causing agents. Why take the chance?

5. Buy meat direct from ranchers. This is good for several reasons. First, it's cheaper, though it is an up front investment. Second, you have complete knowledge of the way the meat is raised. You can choose which ranch you want to use. Do you want 100% grass fed, with no hormones? It's more expensive, but probably the cleanest you can buy. Or are you ok with some grain fed, but still raised cleanly, allowed to graze? (This is the choice I've made, by the way. It makes the meat have more fat. Grass fed meat is very, very lean, to the point that I don't think it's that good for us.)

6. No whites: sugar, flour or rice, except on rare occasions. This stuff is sometimes processed with chemicals, it causes constipation, it causes yeast in your system to grow too much, and it is empty calories that don't nourish your body.

7. Avoid unnecessary antibiotics. Did you know that most ear infections are viral, and antibiotics don't touch them? Did you know that taking antibiotics when you have the flu generally does nothing for you? Did you know that fever doesn't necessarily mean your child needs an antibiotic? Our culture has reached a point of absurdity over drugs. I'm grateful for antibiotics, but they are WAY overused. Most kids will recover from most common childhood illnesses just perfectly without antibiotics. Consider carefully before you give them. Every dose wipes out the good bacteria along with the bad. (See number 2.) Any time antibiotics are a must, give LOTS of probiotics during and after that time, to recolonize their digestion.

8. Don't buy processed, packaged foods. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. These foods are sometimes very cheap (some of these foods are government subsidized, and that is why they can afford to give out coupons that make them practically free, a la Extreme Couponing...), but they can make you fat and sick. Really, the money you save in groceries, you'll pay in doctor bills. It costs money to be healthy. And it's worth the investment! Plus, you can make foods from scratch that will taste much better, I promise!

Start somewhere. Pick one thing to change, and work on it. Every step forward is better than you used to be! I often walk through grocery stores and think about how a person could eat healthy on almost nothing, if they only knew how to shop.

Which of these is the hardest for your family? Do you have any tips to add? Where did you learn the things you know about nutrition and eating habits?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

7 Quick Takes

So, I've been feeling the urge to start blogging again. Here's my attempt to dip my toes back in the water...

1. My sister took art and gymnastics for years as a kid (in contrast to me; I couldn't ever do a cartwheel and never learned to draw), so I asked her to teach Hannah and Audrey those things. She agreed, and all she wanted in return was for me to organize her kitchen for her. We started this morning. I hung out with Tess and my nephew, and they went downstairs to learn somersaults and stretches. I was able to move things around in her kitchen to make more room and make it much more efficient. A good time was had by all. I LOVE organizing things, and my sis's kitchen presents some interesting challenges that I handled well, if I do say so myself. Now, to see if she'll be able to find anything...

2. I have been deterred from garden prep by repetitive spring snow storms. Just can't quite bring myself to bundle up to go work in the garden. Next week looks warmer. I'm hoping...

3. We are nearly three months into the GAPS intro diet. I have yet to mention this here, so the short version is: I got sick and tired of dealing with all our food restrictions, and decided to find something that would fix them. The diet is grain free and includes tons of comfort foods. It was hard for the first month or so, and it's still expensive and requires lots of time in the kitchen to make everything from scratch. But, we are seeing tons of improvement and I'm very happy with the results thus far. Audrey is a different kid!

4. Hannah turned 6 last week. I don't feel old enough to have a 6 year old, and yet, she is. She's 1/3 of the way to 18 already. She's missing her two bottom teeth. She doesn't miss a thing. She's already blowing us and her piano teacher away with her musical talent. She has covered the walls of her room with colored coloring book pages and is very protective of them. She loves to help me with Tessa. She takes her Barbie/Princess dolls very seriously. She's best friends with Audrey.

5. I came across two different websites in the past week, both of which I am terribly excited about. Good Morning Girls and Inspired to Action. Check 'em out. Sometimes you just need a kick in the pants to do the things you've wanted to do all along. Ahem! At least I do...

6. Found out last week that I get to lead worship for our church's women's retreat next weekend. It'll be a small gathering - 25 or so women, but I'm so grateful to be able to play for them! Trying to decide on a song to teach them. There are several on the new Bethel Church album that I LOVE.

7. Nick has been teaching guitar on Tuesday nights for awhile now. He had never taught before. It's been fun to talk music lessons with him. Just a few minutes ago he came upstairs between students, and said with a smile, "This gets really easy after awhile." It is so fun to see him doing things he's good at and passionate about. He got SO nervous at first!

Well, there ya go. Is anybody still out there?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sourdough A to Z

The Sourdough eCourse (and my gluten free sourdough) has been published in an inexpensive eBook!

If you've been curious about sourdough but didn't have time or money to subscribe to and watch all the videos, this is a great way to get your hands on all the recipes and information at a great price.

Oh, and for just a couple of weeks, with purchase of the sourdough ebook, you get lifetime access to one of the monthly videos on gnowfglins. One really neat video shows you how to make soap in your crockpot!

If you purchase the ebook through the link in this post, I will receive a small portion of the sales price.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Great Ideals

Blogging has taken a backseat, I suppose, lately. But this article was powerful enough to post. Don't ever forget!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I know I've been quiet...

...for some reason there haven't been words for this spot recently.

SaraW...D wrote some that I echo wholeheartedly, however. She is in a different stage of life that is somehow remarkably the same.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jack LaLanne

What Seth Godin wrote about Jack LaLanne made me smile this morning.

When I was about 13 (maybe?) my mom found one of his out-of-print exercise videos in a Blockbuster store. It fairly obviously hadn't been rented anytime in the last 10 years, so she asked them to sell it to her. They did. Thus began my mom's exercise routine for the next 17 years and counting.

("Punch, punch, punch, punch, punch..."
"...this'll make you feel like you're living instead of dying...")

My mom is amazing to many - raised 5 kids. Homeschooled us all through grade school, some beyond. Exercised several times a week. And, thanks to Jack LaLanne and her own determination and self-discipline, is in amazing physical shape. In the past couple of weeks she started work for the first time in my life - doing admin work at the bookkeeping and tax business they own, where Nick also works. Somehow, Jack LaLanne passing and my mom going to work at the same time makes sense to me. It's the end of an era. Bittersweet.

I wanna live to 96.

I gotta start exercising.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Toy

I'm currently playing around with a Tumblr account. I love the formatting, and it's kind of a cross between Facebook, blogging, and Twitter. Plus, it's super easy to update from my iphone. Not sure what I'll keep long-term, but come visit!

Friday, January 7, 2011

5 Questions for Friday

IT'S FRIDAY!!! Where did this week go?

1. Most importantly, why in the world does my dog smell SO BAD??!!

2. Would you rather have snow in July, or spring in January?

3. What is your favorite herb or spice?

4. Do you know your neighbors' names?

5. What's the song in your head today?