Adoption journey

Over the past year, the Lord has been growing, teaching, and challenging our family in so many ways! We are responding to the Lord's leading and are expanding our family through the adoption of a precious baby!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Classroom Renovation!!

As a homeschooling family of 4 boys, we spend a large amount of time crafting, inventing, coloring, painting and learning in our classroom. Up until recently, the room was quite an eyesore of raveling, stained carpet, littered with play doh bits, paper scraps and everything else imaginable! 

A slight water leak finally necessitated an overhaul for the entire room. We had to pull everything out (carpet included) and redo the entire room! The boys had fun dancing in the empty concrete floor room!
Since we had everything pulled out, we decided to paint the classroom with fun colors (leftovers from the boys' rooms). The boys got in on the painting action!

The room in progress... notice my Young Living Essential Oils diffuser:) We diffused Thieves to clean the air and mold. You can also diffuse peppermint while painting to get rid of paint fumes!
 The floor is starting to go in! 
We're thankful for this hand-me-down flooring that was in awesome condition!
Renovation complete!

Now for the classroom organization!!

Already making messes!!

The little guys love their magnetic chalk board!

lots of books, manipulatives and craft supplies
He's ready to learn in his new classroom!
Starting to decorate!
The final product!!
Little guys' play/learning area

MFW ECC map & curriculum

school & art supplies station

The best motivator ever!!! My boys are eager to complete their "jobs" (schoolwork and chores) everyday!!
Thankful for this sweet place to learn alongside my boys:)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our Road to "Organic" Living: Where do we get our food?

While our transition to a more organic lifestyle has stretched to many aspects of our lives and home, the kitchen is where our "organic" journey began. There are so many toxins, chemicals, pesticides, hormones in today's food; all of these toxins in our body are causing problems! We want the things we put in our bodies to help our body, not hurt our health. Our goal is to eat only REAL food!

Our family also started noticing several problems with food allergies and intolerances. The food allergies sped us along on our journey to "organic"; because of this, we probably traveled farther down the "organic" path than we ever imagined! We hoped to buy from local farmers or organic for all of our food sources, I just didn't realize it was possible!

Many people ask, where do you get all of this "organic" food?

  • Local Farmers
    • Timmons Family - We purchase beef from a local family (they also raise chickens and pigs).
    • Dairy Co-op for cow milk, goat milk and eggs (6 families take turns driving to a farm in Missouri to pick up the week's milk for the group)
    • Farmer's market or local produce stand (our town only has these Spring-Early Fall)
  • Gardening - We grow our our produce in our backyard raised bed (Square Foot Gardens).
    • We buy seeds from Baker's Creek Seed Company
    • We buy starter plants from Azure Standard*, the local farmer's market, and occasionally Home Depot. 
    • We grow spinach & lettuce, root vegetables (radishes, beets, carrots, potatoes), tomatoes, peppers, herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro), sugar snap & snow peas, butternut & spaghetti squash. It's amazing what you can grow in your backyard!!
  • Local health food stores (Kountry Kupboard and Health Food Store-Stone Street)
    • Grains, oats, oat flour, gluten free items, vitamins
  • Azure Standard - this is a once a month order. Several families order by a certain date and pick up their order at a local meeting place, once a month. Let me know if you're interested in ordering this month and I can give you the details. Here are some of the items we purchase through Azure:
    • Fresh and frozen produce (often at less cost than Sam's Club!)
    • Goat milk products (yogurt and kefir)
    • Elderberry powder and juice
    • Nut butters
    • We've purchased organic chicken here, but found it cheaper at Sam's Club.
    • Starter plants for our garden
    • Dairy free coconut milk ice cream (they have a lot of dairy free food options)
    • Molasses, raw Apple Cider Vinegar (Can also be found at Kroger)
  • Soaper's Choice - This is where I get my coconut oil in bulk.
    • Raw is the healthiest type and has lots of great health benefits (I put this in smoothies, baby formula, & use to make chocolate). ID# 59507SC 
    • Refined - great for baking and frying ID# 59707SC
  • Country Life - This is a special order that needs to be arranged with our local contact. I purchase grains, nuts, seeds from them. Can also get organic canned goods, cereals, beans, produce and other bulk products.
  • Sam's Club - We still get several products, some produce (onions, bananas, etc), and organic whole chickens from Sam's Club. 
  • Amazon - Great place to order diapers (I didn't go "organic" in the diaper department), paper products, batteries, teas, water filters, vitamins/supplements for our homemade goat milk baby formula, gluten free items, soaps and ingredients for homemade laundry detergent.
I hope these resources help your family make the switch to REAL organic food!
More blogs in this series coming soon... 
"REAL" food and organic cleaning supplies!

Monday, May 19, 2014

One fun day:)

I'm so thankful the boys are starting to feel better and the weather is nice again! I feel like all is well with the world again when we can get outside to play! Here are some fun pics from our day:)
Art project!

6 years old, self portrait

Self portrait - he dyed the string brown for hair!

Samuel - 2yrs self portrait
Getting creative with shapes!

Timothy sleeping in swing, Evan reading, Ben playing ball and Samuel jumping!
Very typical:)

A quick nap before soccer:) He loves his swing outside!

Sweet Timothy loves to be outside:)

Samuel had fun playing soccer too!
Always jumping:)

Go lightning! They won 5-0!

They played hard tonight!



So proud of my soccer players!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our journey to "organic" living: Medicine Cabinet and First Aid kit

In continuing our transition to an "organic" lifestyle, we wanted to address the way we approach our health and medicine. While our family didn't run to doctor for every little sniffle and our antibiotic use was very minimal, our medicine cabinet was full of over the counter remedies to treat our inconvenient "symptoms".
Here are the ways we have given our Medicine Cabinet an "organic" makeover with Essential Oils and other natural healers:
I am an Independent Distributor for Young Living Essential Oils 
and would love to help you makeover your medicine cabinet for your family's health!

  • Immunity protection--When a cold/virus is going around, or just to booth immunity - rub Thieves oil on feet and chest. Thieves oil is an oil blend that is highly antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-infectious... it can kill even the worst viruses, like Strep!
    • I mix coconut oil with a few drops of Thieves oil and put it on my boys feet everyday.
  • Fermented cod liver oil - If you can only take one vitamin or supplement, let it be this one! This is one of the most effective for improving overall health, reducing pain problems and building immunity.
  • Allergies:
  • Fever
  • Indigestion/Reflux
    • Make this drink in a Quart Jar (not plastic) -- Fill 2/3 jar with purified water, add 1-2 TBSP raw Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's brand), add 1-2 drops of Young Living lemon oil, add honey or Stevia to taste and fill with ice. Drink this every morning and throughout the day and your digestive system will thank you! You can purchase Apple Cider Vinegar at the grocery store.
  • Stomach virus
    • Apple Cider Vinegar can stop a stomach bug in its tracks! Drink the above drink, or a tablespoon in water to prevent or stop the stomach bug. Make sure it is raw Apple Cider Vinegar (with the "Mother").
    • Apply Thieves oil to all members of family's feet to prevent spread.
    • Diffuse Thieves or Purification Oil in the air (to clean the home air).
  • Headaches - rub Peppermint oil on temples
  • Muscle/Joint aches and pains - Rub Pan Away Essential Oil on problem area (I use this on my neck often!)
  • Nausea/upset stomach/morning sickness
    • A drop of Peppermint oil in your water or tea can help relieve stomach problems. Can also rub on your abdomen to relieve discomfort.
    • Young Living DiGize blend helps relieve stomach issues (put a drop in your drink)
  • Cold/Flu
    • Elderberry (juice or powder)- It helps treat flu-like symptoms (headaches, fatigue, sore throat, etc). I'ts a great immune booster too!
    • Thieves oil can protect other family members from catching a nasty bug (I've seen this work first hand!)
    • Oscillococcinum - Basically a natural and SAFE replacement for Tamiflu
  • Ear Infections
    • There are several good Essential Oil remedies for ear infections.
    • Put a few drops of Garlic oil in affected ear and remain still for 15 min (or as long as possible:) This cured my ear infection prone son with one treatment!
  • Sleep Problems - Peace and Calming Essential oil works wonders in giving kids and adults a good night's rest!
  • Vericose Veins - Apply Lemon Oil or Lemongrass. I recently made an incredible Lemongrass whipped body butter that I LOVE!!!
  • Diaper cream for the most sensitive bottoms: Coconut oil mixed with a few drops of Lavender EO.
    • Better than Benadryl - Purification oil
      • This oil is better on insect bites and stings than anything over the counter!
    • Neosporin replacement - I used to be a Neosporin junkie! My husband teased me for putting Neosporin on any abrasion or cut. Now I use Lavender oil!! And guess what... it actually works better & faster! Put Lavender oil on any skin irritation, cut, scrape or skin allergic reactions. 
    • Toothache/Teething pain - Thieves oil has clove oil in it which naturally numbs and safely relieves tooth pain. I mix Thieves with coconut oil and put it on my baby's gums at night---very helpful for the week he cut ALL 4 top teeth at one time!
    • Activated Charcoal - several uses
    For more natural ways to use Young Living Essential Oils on babies and children, check out the book, Gentle Babies, by Debra Raybern

    I would like to hear ideas from your family's natural medicine cabinet!

    Disclaimer: Everything I have shared is my opinion and not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat and disease, illness or injury. 

    *Disclaimer: I will link many products in this blog series. I am not receiving compensation for these posts.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Our Journey to "organic" living: the bathroom

    I have to admit, switching our bathroom and toiletries over to "organic" was the area that I was most intimidated by in our transition. Interestingly, it was probably the easiest area to switch, once I had all the research in front of me. I wanted to use products that were natural, paraben, sulfate & dye free. Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs everything that you put on it! It is said, that you should only put on your skin, what you would put in your mouth. I didn't want to spend a large amount of money on "organic" products that still have numerous ingredients. I wanted simple, natural (literally from nature) ingredients to use on our bodies.
    Here are a few of the products we use and where to find them:
    • Raw Unrefined Coconut oil - great for your skin (and edible too). I add Young Living Essential Oils to coconut oil to up the benefits. 
      • Lavender helps with skin irritations, burns, scars & cuts. 
      • Frankinscence is amazing for skin health and getting rid of wrinkles!
      • I mix Thieves oil with coconut oil to put on all of boys feet and chest to ward off viruses and other illnesses. I also use this as a teething oil for our baby.
      • Peppermint Oil is great for reducing fevers in little ones; just rub on their belly button. Also great for relieving itching from skin irritations and relieving pain.
    • Shampoo/Conditioner
    • Soaps
    • Toothpaste - one of the worst toxins for kids and adults is fluoride. When taking toxins out of your health regime, be sure to get a toothpaste that is fluoride free (especially for kids who sometimes forget to spit it out;)
    • Sunscreen - Tru Kid Daily Suncare It is a mineral sunscreen with 20% zinc. This is such good stuff, even adults who battle skin cancer issues are asking what kind and how to get it! 
    • Lotions
      • For baby & kids - Cheeky Maiden Shea Butter
      • For adults- Honest Company Healing Balm is incredible for dish pan hands and winter cracked peeling relief!
      • I use coconut oil with Lavender essential oil on my face (morning and evening). You can also use Almond Oil and other essential oils.
      • Coconut oil with a few drops of Vitamin E oil is a great .under eye night treatment!
    • Deodorant - Cheeky Maiden Natural Deodorant. I've tried several scents and like them all, but I think Spearmint and Rosemary is my current favorite! 
    • Bug repellent and insect bite relief - Young Living Purification blend oil
    • Bath salts (Epsom salt or Sea salt) - Put in our baths to detox our bodies.
    • Shaving Cream can be replaced with Coconut Oil - here's the "how to"
    • Makeup
    Coming soon: Going organic in our medicine cabinet and first aid kit!

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Series: Our journey to "organic" living

    About a year or two ago, I talked with an old college friend about wanting to switch our house, food, lives... everything, to "organic". We talked about a few ways we could make the switch, a couple different products to use, but also about the fact that this would be at least a year long process. For economic reasons (and our sanity) we couldn't quickly make the switch to organic everything for our entire family. Several of the things I wanted to accomplish in our big switch/transition was:
    • to buy local/organic meat, produce and dairy, 
    • get rid of processed foods, chemical colorings & flavorings and give our family REAL food that increases our health instead of causing sickness
    • Get rid of the chemical and toxin laden bath & body products and use natural soaps, lotions, detergents & toiletries.
    • Use natural cleaning solutions, instead of harsh chemicals with toxic fumes.
    • Find natural alternatives to our medicine cabinet
    • Give our kids a better and healthier start in life with the products they are exposed to and the foods they consume daily.
    Making this switch all at once would be costly and overwhelming, so I took one step at a time. I'm happy to share that we have had great success in our big switch! While we haven't switched every single aspect of our lives to "organic", our family is healthier and happier with our new "organic" lifestyle!!

    Several friends and acquaintances periodically message me for ideas and resources about making this switch. This blog series will take you on our journey to "organic" living and give you several helps and resources that we have found along the way.  If you're interested in getting rid of some of the toxins in your life and switching to a more organic lifestyle, I hope this blog helps! I would also love to hear feedback, tips, and resources from you!!

    Stay tuned for blog posts on our transition to "organic" living in several areas: the kitchen, the bathroom, the medicine cabinet, cleaning supplies and much more!

    *Disclaimer: I will link many products in this blog series. I am not receiving compensation for these posts.

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    A seven year old's love for the Word

    I was blown away, challenged and incredibly blessed by prayer time with my boys tonight...

    There were only three of us praying together, since one of the babies really needed to get to sleep. My six year old prayed, then my seven year old prayed and I finished in prayer. I noticed my seven year old, Evan, was in a different position from when we started and was laying on the ground. 

    After prayer time, Evan said, "I prayed in 3 different ways." He then demonstrated
    1. Standing with his hands raised
    2. Kneeling with head bowed
    3. Face down in prayer

    I asked him where he learned those ways. He responded, "I read about it in my Bible."
    1. Daniel kneeled down in prayer
    2. After Moses was angry with the Israelites, he fell on his face before God
    3. Paul told, I think, the Galatians to lift their hands in prayer (actually 1Timothy)

    I was blown away, blessed, challenged, and thankful for the love God has given Evan for His Word! I pray God will continue to give him and his younger brothers (and me) a love and hunger for His Word! I pray God will grow our boys and use them mightily for His glory!