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!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Our Crazy Crunchy New Year!

As the New Year approaches, I'm reflecting on this past year and all of the changes our family has made this year. This bread making, Creole cooking, food loving city girl went crazy crunchy!!

Over the past couple years, our family has gotten rid of processed food, tried to buy organic, made most things from scratch, and tried to find natural remedies for injuries and illnesses. For a variety of reasons, food intolerances, allergies, and wanting to rid toxins from our home, our family made some big changes and started eating and doing new things that I never would have imagined five years ago! Buying raw milk (especially goat milk) and pastured eggs from a local farm, replacing our medicine cabinet with essential oils and natural remedies, making homemade baby formula daily, and losing over 40 pounds were not on my radar, but have all been part of Our Crazy Crunchy New Year!!
Upon learning of several food intolerances within our family, we've made radical changes to our lifestyle, changing what we eat and where we get our food. Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post on where we get our food. It discusses local food sources, milk from a farm, organic food co-ops, farmer's markets, gardening, and even what we buy at Sam's Club.

After seeing major side effects and injuries from several OTC and prescription medications, we began searching for more natural remedies. I wrote a previous blog post on our big organic switch in our medicine cabinet. We are thankful to find, learn and benefit from Young Living Essential Oils! My family has loved using remedies that the Lord intended for our bodies, and don't have any of the nasty side effects! Young Living Essential oils help with fighting off nasty germs & bugs, bring relief to all of our cuts/scrapes/burns/bruises, and help with everyday owies! We also found an incredible naturopathic physician, who has helped us learn how to eat for our health, while teaching us what to do to bring healing to our damaged guts and body. Many of these remedies my physician recommended can actually be purchased from Young Living! Here are a couple of my physician's recommendations for my family, probiotics, food enzymes, and a natural cleanse (to fight a nasty bacteria found in intestines).

While I began cutting dairy and grains for our family's health, I began making other changes for my own health and diet too. I was not pleased with the number on the scale last January, or the way I was feeling, lacking energy and full of aches and pains. A couple friends told me about their positive experience with Trim Healthy Mama, a healthy eating lifestyle, with no supplements or extra costs (other than the awesome and helpful book). 45pounds and 4-5 sizes later, my blood sugar is balanced (no more crazy highs and lows), I have so much energy and am so thankful for Trim Healthy Mama!! Here's a great explanation video from the authors of Trim Healthy Mama. Here'a link to a quick start guide too! Here are a few of my favorite drink and shake recipes that have helped my journey!

We are definitely still learning how to balance our health, feed a family of six, and well... life. However, I'm really thankful for the positive changes that have helped my family's health this year and look forward to another great year!! I wonder what we'll learn about and change next year??

Disclaimer: This blog and information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, illness or injury. This is my opinion and I'm sharing the recommendations that were made for MY family. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Homemade gifts with oils

Many of you know how much I enjoy making things from scratch... food, bath and body products, cleaning products, personal care products, and gifts. As I learn more and more about Young Loving Essential Oils, I'm enjoying making many types of products and gifts "from scratch". Here are a few of my favorite homemade items that would make great Christmas gifts!

Lip Balm - This recipe was inspired by another blogger's recipe, but I tried a couple other oils and will only use glass containers for storing lip balm. I find my glass containers for many of these homemade concoctions at Abundant Health.
3 TBSP beeswax
3 TBSP coconut oil
2 TBSP shea butter
1/4 tsp raw honey
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
8-10 drops of Young Living Lavender, Peppermint or Lemongrass (some people may like Orange or other Citrus oil, but Citrus oils can cause your skin to be photosensitive in sun exposure)
  • Over a double boiler, heat (until melted) beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter.
  • Once melted, remove from heat and add honey, vanilla and Essential Oils. 
  • Pour quickly (before hardened) into 1/4oz glass containers. 
  • Seal, label and give away (or enjoy for yourself)
  • Makes approximately 10-12 1/4 oz. containers.
Luxurious Body Butter
This is my absolute favorite lotion! I use daily on face and body!!
1 cup shea butter
1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/4-1/2 cup almond or grapeseed oil
1 tsp Vitamin E oil
10-12 drop Essential Oil-- Great oil choices are Lavender, Lemongrass, or Peppermint, I also like Lavender with a couple drops Frankincense or Lemongrass with Cypress).

  • Over a double boiler, heat (until melted) shea butter and coconut oil.
  • Once melted, remove from heat and add almond oil, vitamin E oil and EOs.
  • Chill a few minutes in refrigerator (over over a bowl of ice water) and whip with a mixer to get a wonderful creamy luxurious body butter!!

Bath Salts are super easy to make and a wonderful gift!!
Mix 1 cup of Epsom salts with 6-8 drops of Essential Oil. My favorites are:
  • Lavender - calming 
  • Peppermint - refreshing
  • Lemongrass - great for circulation and detox
  • PanAway - awesome for sore muscles!
  • Stess Away - exactly how it sounds!
Sugar Scrubs are great for face and body! 
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup sea salt
1/4-1/3 cup Almond or coconut oil
5 drops Essential Oil
Great YL Essential Oils are: Peppermint, Orange, Lemongrass, Lavender, Lemon, Citrus Fresh

Super Easy Youthful Face Cream
4 oz unrefined coconut oil
12 drops Lavender
3-4 drops Frankincense
Combine--that simple! You can also whip with mixer for a whipped lotion.

Interested in ordering Young Living Essential Oils? I would love to help!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Creative Gift Ideas for Boys

With Christmas approaching, many parents and grandparents are searching for the perfect gifts for their kids. Many get tired of the same noisy toys or video games. Here are several ideas that I've found (and links that others have compiled) of great gift ideas that grow kids' imaginations, minds and love for the Lord!

Here's an awesome link by Megan Spires, with a list of 100+ battery free Christmas gifts for kids! From building toys, paper airplanes and Star Wars Origami to creative toys I would have never thought of... this is a great list!
Looking for gifts that grow kids' imagination and love for the Lord? Check out this post!
Ann Voskamp, author of The Greatest Gift, talks about how to have the greatest Christmas! She has beautiful family devotions (for grown up kids and littles) in her Jesse Tree Advent books.
My boys get excited every year when we pull this out of the attic! I love hearing them act out the Christmas story as they play together!!

Do you have a history lover? Or trying to foster an appreciation for American History? This inexpensive CD set would be a great gift!

Looking for family devotional books? Hero Tales is a family favorite with our boys! There are several volumes in this series.

My favorite gift for our oldest son this year is The Dangerous Book for Boys!

My son's favorite book from library, because what boy doesn't LOVE Legos!!
Snap Circuits has been one of my boys' favorite gifts!! They (and Grandpa) spent hours playing with it together!

I would love to hear your creative gift ideas!!!

Disclaimer: There are NO affiliate links. Just sharing my opinion and ideas that I liked!

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!