Saturday, October 31, 2015

Free and/or Inexpensive Clothing - Recyling at it's Finest

We buy used clothing often. I figure as long as it's in good shape why would we pay so much for jeans, casual skirts, shirts, and shorts. But, finding second hand items is often hard. Many of us know about places like Goodwill and the like. But, often people donate the worst of their closets making it hard to find quality items. What's a shopper to do?

Well, a shopper is to read this post and check out the deals.

My cousin just introduced me to Schoola. It's a website that allows people to buy second hand clothing and support school activities. Here's how it works.

You buy an item of clothing at up to 70% off retail. In turn, Schoola donates 40% of your total to the school that the person who donated the clothing chooses. That's right, if you donate clothing you get to choose where the money goes that your items bring in, how great is that!

BUT, there is a little fun twice. Right now, as in today only, you can get $60 worth of clothing free. You can always get some free, but the amount changes based on discounts offered. Right now, the offers add up to $60. You don't have to buy a minimum, only what you want. But, take a look around and don't waste your discount. They have clothes for women, men, and children of all sizes. They also have shoes and accessories (purses, belts, etc)

OK, here's how you get your $60 in free clothing.

You have to follow these steps exactly to get the credit.
    1. Use my link: (Using my link gets us each an automatic $20 credit.)
    2. Create an account at the top of the page.
    3. "Create a collection". Click the collections tab at the top and then scroll down to +New Collection. On the side of that page will be a button to "create your collection." Just add in your sizes (this is important) and give it a name and that gets you another $10 credit. (make sure the thin yellow banner pops up that says you got the $10 credit once you save your collection. If not, make another one to get this credit.
    4. Now the fun part: Add $60 worth of clothes from the site to your cart. (If an item has a little yellow tag above it it’s not eligible for a discount. But most things are eligible!)
    5. Go to your cart and you will see the $30 worth of credit you just earned.
    6. Use the code SPOOKY during checkout and get another 50% off, making your total $0 (if you have exactly $60 in there).
That's all there is to it. I have used this service and got myself a few skirts, some adorable cardigans, and two sweaters for my boys (some items were brand new with tags still on them) for free. Remember to check the quality description before buying. There is everything from new with tags to some wear and tear. 

The SPOOKY discount code ends today, so hurry hurry. 

**The links in this post do provide me with a credit if you buy something using it. If you simply use it to look around, I do not receive any compensation. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Candy and Treats

It's that time of year when candy is on the brain of every child in the nation. Yes, ever doctor's nightmare and every dentists bad dream. But, the fact is, unless you celebrate nothing in October (Halloween, Fall Festivals, Harvest celebrations, etc), you are going to run into candy this week.

So, what's a parent to do when you don't want all that junk in your kids or at least want it to be healthier? What about if your child CAN'T have those items? It's just hard. This starts the 3 month food fest in our country and that means 3 months of reading labels even more than we ever did.

In our home we have found a few substitutes that are working for us. We have ground rules and we use candy and such as a treat, as it should be. My kids don't lay around in a sugar coma for 2 weeks after this weekend.

We let our kids go to the Harvest festival and then we did a candy trade. Here's what made our cut this year. Some are pretty straight forward, some are unique.

First up, carrots. My kids love carrots. I mean they LOVE them. But, I can't just give them a boring orange carrot in place of a Tootsie Roll. I found organic, non-GMO, heirloom baby carrots. I package those up and the kids get them as a treat. Afterall, they do cost more than their orange relatives so we don't get them very often.

I mean, come on, those are just pretty.

From here
Next up is cookies. Finding cookies that are safe for our sons and also taste good is hard. So far I haven't found an organic one, but I am still on the hunt. So, what do I choose? We like Cybele's Free to Eat Cookies.

They are soft, actually taste good, and are gluten free and top 8 allergen free. They are also vegan if that is a concern to your family.

From here
For a more traditional treat, we like Surf Sweet Organic Spooky Spiders. They are gummies that are not artificially flavored or colored. They are in the shape of, surprise, spiders and are a few different colors. My kids love them. They are big enough that they don't balk if I say they can have only one.

From here
Our last candy treat is from Glee Gum. Now, this is not organic and I use it as a rare treat. But, my kids know what Tootsie Pops are and this is as close as I could find to that. It's a sucker with gum inside. Gum, in our home, is a big deal because it's so very hard to find in a safe form. The only thing we have to watch out for is the green suckers. They are apple and our youngest can't have apples at all.

From here
That's what we do in our home. We use these items as a rare treat so I don't have to feel guilty about the sugar content and other ingredients that aren't awesome. But I also refuse to give up our basic standards just for a fun event. We have worked so hard to help our kids have healthy bodies We don't want to blow it in one evening.

Talk soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Crochet Pattern - Flapper Hat

From here
This is such a cute, cute pattern. I had to make it for my teenage niece for Christmas this year. I chose a bright yarn color because she cannot get enough neon, shiny, bright colors in her life.
From here
It took me just a few hours to crochet up. It's a quick piece which is nice for something basic like this. But I like the flair the brim brings. I used a button I crocheted myself instead of a store bought item. I contemplated a flower instead of a button. But, with the busier yarn, I decided that would be too much. I am going to make myself one of these in more subdued colors and will be using a crocheted flower instead of a button.

For a simple button, here is what I did:

  • Make a slip knot and chain 2.
  • Work 6 SC into 2nd ch from hook
  • Sl St into first SC (6 stitches total).
  • Ch 1, work 2 SC into each SC around. SL into first SC (12 stitches total)
  • Ch 1, SC2tog 6 times. SL St in first SC (6 stitches total)
  • Weave in tail, finish. Flatten and stitch to project. 
Here's the link to the free pattern for this hat. It's also a great pattern to use if you are just getting into items that are more than SC and flat. It's a great pattern for your first time working in the round. 

Talk soon!

**The links in this post are not affiliate links. I receive no compensation if you click on them or use anything from the sites. They are merely for ease of finding what I am posting about. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Scary Wednesday Hodgepodge


It's time for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Joyce has given us some great questions this week. Check out my answers and then head over to her blog to read hers and others. 

1. Are you comfortable with silence? If you're home alone, do you like silence or do you need regular background noise? Do you seek out times and places to be silent? What's your favorite place to find silence/be silent?

I am a talker by nature. But, with the hustle and bustle of my life, I am really starting to enjoy silence and peace. I appreciate sitting down with a good book and having time to read. I don't turn on the TV or radio for "background noise". I don't need more noise in my life. (ha ha)

I love to go to my room and just stretch out on my bed with a good book or into our yard under a big tree with a cup of coffee and, again, a great book. 

2. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. Can't let that go by without a mention now, can we? Will you celebrate? How? Let's say you can have one of the following right this very minute... a cup of hot chocolate, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream, or a slice of chocolate pie...what's your pleasure?

Mmmmm, chocolate. OK, wait, I am back. I, ,ironically, thankfully, happily, sadly, decided to start my healthier eating today. If I had only known...

My choice would be pain chocolate ice cream. I like hot chocolate and chocolate pie, but I really like a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream without anything added. I am a purist in that regard. 

3. How do you feel about blue jeans? Favorite thing in the world to wear or nope, don't own a single pair? How often do you wear blue jeans in a typical week? Do you own a blue jean jacket?

Jeans are good. But I am very warm natured so I don't wear them except in the winter or if I am going out hiking/walking around the pasture for protection. I do wear a lot of denim. I like denim. It moves with you, is soft after it's been washed a few times, and is versatile.

I don't own a jean jacket. Wow, I haven't thought about one in a long time. I had one when I was in high school. I was quite the bomb in it. (OK, probably not, but I liked my jean jacket)

4. Are you superstitious? If so, in what way?

Not even a little. I don't get superstitions. My kids have asked where different superstitions started and it's always interesting to look up their origins. 

5. If you had to come up with a costume using only things you have on hand right now, what could you come up with? 

Wow, I could go as a doctor or nurse with all these medical supplies, an injured patient, a pharmacist, pretty much anything medical. I could go as a chef with my kitchen items due to our scratch cooking we have to do with the kids diets. Oh, I could go as a librarian. I could carry around a few books (we have sooo many to choose from), put on my spectacles, sweep my hair into an up do, and whisper "Shhh" over and over. Yes, the list is long.

6. What scares you a little? What do you do when you feel scared?

I HATE MICE! I HATE MICE! I HATE MICE! Really, I do not like mice at all. When we first moved here no one had ever built a home on this piece of property. Wildlife was (and still is) plentiful. But that means mice decided to try and have a hayday in our home. I HATED that. Thankfully, with the help of a good mouser cat and some traps, we don't have them anymore. But, for a good year or two I lived in fear of the mouse.

What do I do when I find a mouse? I scream until my husband comes running to get it. I am not like that with anything else. I hate mice.

If I just have some fear or am anxious or scared, I pray or read my Bible. It helps bring me back to a place of calm and peace.

7. Perhaps today will be the day I ______________________________.

Figure out where to put everything! It seems there's always one small thing that doesn't have a home. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Do you ever find yourself thinking things stay the same once you leave a place? You leave high school and then see a friend 20 years later and are shocked they aren't still 18? You leave a company and visit later and find most of the people you worked with aren't there anymore? Yeah, no? Well, I do that. We went to our old church this past weekend for a special event they were having. We moved and it was just too far of a drive to take each week. But, we wanted to attend this event so we decided to head up early and go for services as well. Our music minister is retiring. It's just odd to think a church service will happen and he won't be up there with his smiling face, his kind voice, and his powerful leadership each Sunday. My brain can't comprehend that. We don't even attend anymore but it seems the end of an era and is sad to me. How can I miss him and his wife (she plays the piano) when we don't even sit in those pews anymore? In my brain he is always leading the music and the pastor we had when we left will always be in the pulpit. Yeah, I know, but let me live in my delusion. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Great Thought

I was listening to Dianne Craft today and she said something that really stuck with me as I think about my older son. After some looking at him through different eyes, I see he has so many strengths that are being missed because he's right brained and being taught by a left brained Mom. It is like I have been hit by so man lightning bolts this week. I am starting to get a little sore. But, it's all worth it because I am going to be able to help him so much more.

From here
She said, on the DVD I was watching (and I am paraphrasing), "being right brained is not a disability. It's an Ability."

My son is so smart. When you look at the characteristics of a right brain dominant person, you see my son. When I teach him the way he needs to be taught, many of his lagging areas of learning will go away. She suggests that you can teach a left brain dominant person using right brain dominant techniques but you can't use left brain dominant techniques to teach a right brain dominant person. I have seen that for quite a while, though I didn't realize it's what I was seeing.

I love these aha moments. I am glad I am having them. But they do wear you out when you have so many each week. Off to take a few more hits before bed.

Talk soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Reducing Toxins in Your Life - Your Body

From here
The dictionary defines toxin as:
  1. an antigenic poison or venom of plant or animal origin, especially one produced by or derived from microorganisms and causing disease when present at low concentration in the body.

When we think of toxins we often think of men in chemical suits protecting their skin, eyes, and lungs from the horrible fumes and chemicals that one must be around for a dangerous job. But, did you know we have toxins of many types in our world today, in our homes, in our daily lives? They don't look like the fume emitting chemicals of movie making greatness. They look like dishwashing detergent, pain relievers, clothing, and more. 

Of course, we could go nuts trying to figure out how to get rid of every toxin. We just can't get rid of them all. But we can help to reduce the load on ourselves and our families with a little education and effort. 

What are some simple ways we can lower toxins? Let me share a few that will cost you nothing or very little. 

  • If you are pregnant, could be pregnant, or want to be pregnant, avoid any metal containing dental for for 3 months prior to getting pregnant. This includes having gray colored fillings removed. 
  • Always avoid Acetaminophen. It lowers your body's glutatione levels, which is it's natural detox system. It's just not a good medication unless you have 100% no other choice. 
  • If you are sick, or within a 2 week period after sickness, don't get vaccinated at all. I am not saying to not vaccinate yourself or your family. That is between you and your family. I am saying, as do the vaccine manufacturers, that a sick person should not be vaccinated. Doctors often ignore this warning, but it's there for a reason. Your immune system cannot take that type of hit when it's trying to heal from something else, even something small. So, if you want to be vaccinated, just wait until you have been healthy for 2 weeks. 
  • Check your household products for aluminum. This is in items such as water, antiperspirant, foil, broth boxes or other boxed foods such as soups, and even cooking items such as pans. Did you know "stainless steel" pans can have aluminum in them. This gets in your body and, yikes, lookout. 
  • Eat clean. I wrote, not long ago, you are what your eat eats and you can't excrete. If the cow didn't excrete it, what makes you think you will? Instead of hoping you get rid of the toxins in your food, just know your food source and don't take a chance. 
  • GMO = no! I can't believe I have to even say it. But if it's modified in such a way, just skip past it in the grocery store. If you aren't sure, skip past it until you can confirm it with the company or a 3rd party independent organization. Science making food in crazy ways, no thanks. 
  • PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are in things like pajamas, furniture, beds, and more. You need to label read everything. For these types of items it will mean looking online and calling companies. Or, you can find a safe fabric source and buy from stores that use those. 
  • TEFLON! UGH! I grew up in the 80's, was an adult in the 90's, and I remember the Teflon craze. Food doesn't stick to the pan, it is awesome. Yeah, well, it's a toxin. It's so bad for us. It's bad for our environment. It's bad for our pets. I remember, 20 years ago, when I met a couple that, back then, would have been called hippies, freaky, tree huggers (yeah, and now I would call them friend - lol). They told me they didn't use Teflon because she burned something once and both their birds in their kitchen died. She said Teflon did it. I smiled, shook my head in agreement with her, walked out, and said they were a bit nutty. Now I know they were right. Get rid of the Teflon. This doesn't have to be expensive.
  • Body products - Get rid of the junk. I know it smells like lilac and lavender, but it's chemicals. If you want lilac and lavender scented soap, by soap that uses real lilac and lavender. Body care, hair care, and personal care products are usually full of toxins in them. Women, they are full of endocrine disruptors as well. If you aren't familiar with that term, you need to be. Do a bit of research. 
There are a lot of products out there that will help you make the switch. For clothing and fabric items in your home the internet is a huge buffet of great options. Just google organic cotton clothing and you will have weeks worth of reading and options at your fingertips. 

GMOs are a bit harder. Companies are lobbying against the labeling of them. Gee, wonder why. If they are so wonderful and safe, why not proudly say you use them? Sticking with organic will nail that one. You cannot have an organic GMO by law. (well, and logic)

Teflon - think about what our grandparents used to use. Look for high quality stainless steel (check make sure it's not mixed with aluminum) or go cast iron. If you use cast iron, make sure to go quality. Go for a company like Lodge made in the USA. There are cheap knock offs and you will pay for it with your toxin load. 

Body products - just check out stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and more. Look online for the myriad of organic or natural choices. I use Ava Anderson myself. I am not writing this post to sell it. But, if you are in the market for a bit of research, please feel free to visit my store online. If you want to order, you can do it all without contacting me so you don't have to worry about me having your personal information. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me. My Ava Anderson Page

Talk soon.

*This post contains a link to a company I am affiliated with called Ava Anderson. I receive no compensation or award if you click the link. But, if you purchase anything I do receive commission. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

For Women Only - Monthly Help

Our monthly friend, the curse, Aunt Flo ... we all use different terms for the same thing, our cycle. We also often need some help once a month to feel better. We cramp, we are tired, our brain is often not thinking as clearly (foggy brain), and we just aren't at our best. The problem is, life doesn't stop for those 4 - 7 days each month. This means we have to go on like normal no matter how we feel. 

For some of us it's more than that. If you have hormone issues, PCOS, etc, your time of the month can be almost grueling. For me, a PCOS sufferer, I get clutzy, have nasty cramps, get so fatigued I often do absolute minimum for the first 2 days, and the headaches are awful. 

We take Ibuprofen, Midol, use heating pads, and more just trying to make it. 

Bioray knows this plight and has come up with something to help. They have two products called Before the Flow and After the Flow. It's pretty obvious how these are used by their names. 

From here
What it is:

Before the Flow is used to "prep" the body for menses and help with some of the common symptoms. You take it 10 days before you begin and can be used during your cycle to help with cramps. They suggest a 3 month trial before deciding if you need to add anything else or tweak it. 

Oh, just a note, for a limited time, when you order Before the Flow you get After the Flow for free. Now that's a good deal and a great way to get started on these two items. 

What I felt:

I have just started using Before the Flow this month so I have not built up full effect yet. However, I did notice some things. I had more energy. I normally am living on the sofa the first two days of my cycle and even feel light headed. I didn't this month, for the first time ever. I also usually crave a lot of sugar and salt. I didn't crave either this month. (hmm, maybe that's not a good thing, I love chocolate - read sarcasm)

From their website:

Before The Flow™ soothes and supports a woman's body before her menstrual cycle. In Traditional Chinese herbs it tonifies the blood and regulates the menses. When used regularly, this supplement reduces stress and frustration and heightens a woman's sense of well-being.*
Health Benefits:
  • Diminishes normal symptoms of PMS
  • Heightens a woman’s sense of well-being
  • Improves a woman’s ability to cope with emotions
  • Relieves stress and exhaustion
  • Improves focus
From here
What it is:

After the Flow is used starting when your cycle ends and for 7 - 10 days afterwards. It is basically an "after the war" type supplement to help you get back to normal and feeling better. It also helps, once you have used it regularly, to keep some of the symptoms from ever arriving. 

From their Website:

After The Flow™ nourishes and strengthens the blood and body after a woman's menstrual cycle. Improvement of absentmindedness is noted when used regularly.*
Health Benefits:
  • Heightens a woman’s sense of well-being
  • Nourishes and strengthens the blood
  • Improves alertness and energy
  • Relieves stress and exhaustion
  • Improves focus
All I know is, I feel so much better. I have PCOS and my cycles are so hard for me. If I can do something, especially something so natural, to help me cope with it better, to be able to keep life as normal as possible, and to be healthier with it, I am all for it. 

I hope you will spend some time over at Bioray. If you have any questions about Bioray or Bioray Kids, call them. They are so helpful, patient, and really know how to help you.

Talk soon.

** I did not receive any compensation or products for my review. The links provided are not affiliate links. They are for your ease of use only. The information I shared is my personal experience with the product. Please read Bioray's website for ingredients, usage, and FDA statements. I am not a doctor. Nothing on my website should be used to treat medical issues. These are to be used as my opinions only. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your medications or supplements. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future Hodgepodge

Talk about good timing. Joyce, at "This Side of the Pond" does a weekly Hodgepodge on Wednesdays. THIS Wednesday happens to be Back to the Future Day. Wahoo. So, prepare for a fun filled Hodgepodge and then head on over to her blog and see what she and other people have to say about it. Should be fun. 

Hop in your Delorean and let's go.

1. October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future Day. Did you see the movie? The sequels? In the second film, Doc takes Marty into the future to prevent Marty's future son from making a mistake. They leave 1985 and land on a 'skyway' on October 21st, 2015. So tell us, what were you doing in the fall of 1985?

Back to the Future !!!! Yes, I saw it. I saw it many times. I saw all of them, though I only really liked the first one. Fall of 1985? I was in school, freshman year. I was learning about how to navigate high school. I was still in my first high school preparing to move to a new town because my Mom had a new job. 

2.  If time travel were possible, would you want to go to the future? The past?

I would go to the past. I would love to learn from pioneer women and how they cooked from scratch. Talk about some yummy recipes. I would also love to take my grocery budget and buy food back then. LOL. Think about THOSE prices.

3. We're not flying cars, but some of the technology imagined in the 80's film has indeed come to pass in real life 2015-flat screen TVs on the wall, tablets, fingerprint recognition, video conferencing, online banking, 3-D movies, motion controlled video games, drone cameras, and smart glasses (Google glass).  Do you worry technology is growing at a rate so fast we'll soon be unable to keep up with it's demands? Do you think the Internet does more harm than good? 

I do worry about technology. I am a tech girl. I worked in the tech field before settling down and becoming a Mom. So, I have an appreciation for technology. However, I think this has gone into a place I wished it wouldn't. Tech is taking over people's lives. You can't go anywhere and not see a cell phone being used for non-necessary purposes. You can't go to dinner and not see a kid with a tablet/iPad to entertain themselves (and some restaurants have them at the table so, if you forgot yours, you can pay a little money and use it there). People can't eat a meal without putting it on Facebook. Some of the things we read about on Facebook shouldn't be shared with anyone, much less hundreds of people online. We have computers are work, in our cars, in our stores, everywhere. I even stopped at a gas station the other day and, on the screen, after I paid, it popped up games for me to play while I waited for my gas to fill up. Really? Is it that boring getting a tank of gas that I need tech to help me through it?

The internet is a good thing. I have gotten a lot of help for our boys medical issues because of research I can do now that I never could have before. But we have to start putting it in it's place. 

4. Your favorite dish prepared in a slow-cooker? Your favorite fast food?

Hmm, my favorite slow cooker recipe is nasty nachos. My favorite fast food is a bowl at Chipotle. I know that's considered "fast casual", but it's fast food. 

5. No time like the present, down time, face time, pressed for time, in the nick of time, make time, mark time, or just in time...which timely saying most relates to your life right now? 

Make time - I have so much to do and I just have to make time to do it each day. Sometimes that's the hardest part of all, forcing yourself to get all the new things on your plate done and also all the things that have to be done each day without fail. 

6. Tell us about a place you went as a child or younger person that's no longer there or is now something else. How does that make you feel?

Growing up in a city is such an odd thing. We drive and see farm land on the outskirts. Now I drive those same roads and it's houses, companies, stores, malls, movie theaters, and more. I remember driving between two good sized suburbs as a teen and we always had to go down this long winding road. It was tree lined, in the middle of nowhere, and, at the top of the hill, was this old farm house. It was white clapboard siding, two story, and just looked like history. I always wanted to stop and ask to go in it. There was a pond near it that looked so much like an outline of the United States.

I never did and it's all gone now. In it's place, housing additions, a Target and strip center. They even bulldozed the pond. It's sad. I think we are not building with any thought to the future. We tear down quality construction, history, and even water sources, and just build. We might regret that one day. 

7. Describe your comfort zone.

My comfort zone is my daily life. I know what to expect, even with the medical stuff and such, that seems to be a known to me. I know when we eat, when we have meds, when we have school, when, when, when. I love our land and our home, and I draw comfort from that. I am at my best here. I am the captain of my proverbial ship and run smoothly in this position that God so blessed me with. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Some HUGE things happened to us this week, and I mean huge. First, an organization blessed us with a new deck and ramp for our son's wheelchair. It's so incredibly nice. It has a big 8'x8' deck and a 36' ramp off to the right. On the left they added stairs for those of us with no chair. 

Yesterday a friend popped in with another blessing. His company had a power chair for our son. We have a manual chair now. Our DME got us a very nice, high end manual chair. But this is an incredible blessing as it gives our son a bit of freedom in his mobility and it has off-road wheels so he can use it in our yard. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyspraxia, Oh my!

We have a lot of Dys in this house. But, we have a lot of other things as well, so we just throw it all in the pile and move on. We have one son with confirmed Dyslexia and another with probable Dysgraphia and Dypraxia (still working on diagnosis there, but it's pretty much a given if you were to know him). It seems we struggle and struggle and then a puzzle piece is finally handed to us to help make our picture a bit more complete, a bit easier to figure out. These two new labels explain so much about our younger son and make figuring out how to help him so much easier.
From here
I spoke to a Mom who home educates her child with Dysgraphia and Dyslexia and she gave me a LOT of information. She also pointed me to Diane Craft. I perused her site, looked at her information, talked to others about it, and decided to purchase items that would be the most beneficial to our sons.

They came yesterday and wow, this looks like exactly what they need. It's not just a new way to teach, it's a new way to learn, and help fixing many of the issues that are causing our sons problems. I am fired up. It's a lot to add to our day and I have some homework to do now, but I can't wait to get started.

I want to share her website with you all in case someone else is dealing with anything she might be able to help you with or your child(visual, auditory, visual/motor, attention/focusing/behavior).

Diane Craft

Talk soon

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crazy Few Days - Or, How I Fell Off a Mountain

OK, I didn't really fall off a mountain, it just sort of felt like it for about 2 seconds a few hours.

Let's see ... Wednesday I did my HodgePodge. Thursday was our wedding anniversary. I went grocery shopping and we cleaned house and got ready for tomorrow. We know how to live it up.

Friday was my birthday (shameless happy birthday to me). We did some work around the house, again in preparation for tomorrow, and I was getting ready to start the pasta salad for our special birthday supper of steak, armadillo eggs (if you don't know what those are, they have nothing to do with armadillo), pasta salad, and a tossed green salad. All of our favorite foods in on meal and almost all cooked on a grill. It doesn't get better than that.

I tossed water into the pot, turned it on high to boil, covered it, and then remembered I needed to tell my husband something. I traipsed outside to find him and suddenly I felt like I was not even in my skin, and then so much pain. You see, our home is about 3' from the ground and it has a nice tall set of stairs that lead up to it from our drive. My husband was working on the house and had moved those stairs about 18" from the house. Yeah, you see where this is going don't you? I had no clue they were moved. He swears he told us. He must have as my kids knew it. I took one step out and didn't touch a step and fell. I hit my right shin on the top step and landed my left leg directly on my ankle instead of my foot.

AGONY! It was like my brain couldn't even think because of the pain. I sat there begging no one to touch me (I hate to be touched when I am hurt, even small hurts). I finally was able to get myself composed and let hubby help me and he sat me on the steps. I had a huge balloon where my shin used to be and pretty much no ankle because it was now the size of my calf. I sat there a long time and he finally got me inside.

He said ER. I told him I was fine. (yeah, I would NEVER let him get away with that if he was hurt). I laid on the sofa a long time and he called my Mom. She said ER. I finally didn't stop hurting and caved. In we went.

4 painful x-rays later (why do you have to be in the one position that hurts the worst when you are hurt) and, praise God, nothing was broken. Oh, did I mention I can't have pain meds because of a reaction that I have to every one? Yeah, so Ibuprofen. Oh, fancy word for Advil.

That's what I did for my birthday. Aren't you green with envy? He did buy me a burrito on the way home since we had no supper, it was now 9:30pm, and we were hungry.

So, today he's doing the work he needed to do yesterday. I am laid up on the sofa with my foot on a pillow and a heating pad attached. We have construction for the wheelchair ramp tomorrow and I am very much not ready and have no ability to get ready.

Talk soon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Birthday Hodgepodge

Joyce, at "From This Side of the Pond" does a weekly Hodgepodge and I thought I would join in since it's been so long. Read my answers and, then, click the picture above to go to her blog and check out what she and many others had to say.

1. What's something that has recently 'tried your patience'?

Oh, this one is far too easy. DOCTORS and DMEs. They will make you want to pull your hair out. No one just does their job anymore. Everyone passes the buck. "The doctor didn't fax it to us", "we faxed it, they had the wrong number", the list goes on. They don't call back in a timely manner (not even in the amount of time THEY put on their answering service or email service), they don't do what they say they will even when it's their idea, they just don't seem to really care if you get what you or your child needs.

2. Do you think patience comes to us naturally or is it something you have to learn as you grow? On a scale of 1-10 generally how patient are you? (1=I blow up at the drop of a hat and 10=I've got all the time in the world).

I am NOT a patient person, and I am learning to be because of the 2 Ds mentioned above. You can't make people do what they don't want to do before they want to do it. So, I am learning to breathe, relax, push when it's truly the right time, and try hard to be patient.

My natural level of patience is probably a 3. My forced level is probably a 7. So, not bad.

3. Share about a time when you felt like you could fly. Or a time you wished you could fly. Or a time you felt like you were flying.

Felt like I could fly? My last time I felt that way was about 2 weeks ago when my younger son responded immediately to a new supplement and it has changed his life, our lives, everyone's life. I felt like I was walking on clouds after that.

A time I wished I could fly? That's easy. Everytime we drove the 11 1/2 hours to see my Dad. Yikes. That's a long and tiring drive.

Felt like I was flying? Hmm, probably the last surgery I had which was many years ago. LOL. Good drugs.

4. Your favorite song with the word fly in the title or lyrics, or your favorite song that relates to flying in some way?

Sigh, Frankie baby!!! Frank Sinatra singing "Come Fly with Me". I love that song. I like all of Frank's music. I am a music lover of all the rat pack.

5. What's in your fall picnic basket and where are we picnicking in your neck of the woods this time of year?

Mmm, warm soup (tortilla is my favorite) or hot chili (both spicy and temp). A thermos full of hot cocoa or hot apple cider. This is so making me drool.

Where? That's a no brainer for me. There are a few small hills on our property, One has this massive tree on it that's just beautiful. We would sit next to it, not in the shade as we don't want to get too chilly. We would look out over the land and just breathe in the quiet beauty of 400 acres. If we turn our heads we can see the cattle farm next to us and watch cows grazing oh so serenely in the pasture.

6.  Carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping...which skill would you most like to possess and how would you put that skill to use today?

Carpentry! This is actually a very timely question. An organization is building us a ramp for my son's wheelchair this weekend. I wish I had those mad skills to really get out there and lead the charge. Oh, I can swing a hammer, but that's as far as my carpentry skills go.

7. What's something you think is too expensive to justify buying lately?

So far, a new computer. Mine broke (I mean physically broke into two pieces). I am using it right now, but it's just not been in the budget to buy a new one with the medical expenses we have had. However, I have a sneaky suspicion my husband is buying me one for my birthday this week.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Not to make this all about me but ... it's my birthday this week (2 days). Wish me a happy birthday!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More Takeaways from AES on How We Eat

I am collecting all of my notes and pictures of things the doctors shared during my weekend at the Autism Education Summit. I was writing fast and furious, taking pictures of their slide show presentations so I didn't have to copy everything I wanted. I am going to be converting all of those notes and images into a file so I can print it off and put it in my notebook in a more legible form.

As I was doing that I came across two phrases that really spoke to me that weekend and they continue to do so. I wanted to share them with you.

From here
So many of us have heard through the years, "you are what you eat". This is not exactly true. In fact, it's so shallow it borders on untruth. Two different doctors spoke that weekend that said two different things that go very nicely together.

"You are what your eat eats that you can't excrete". - Dr. Amy Meyers

Think about what your food is eating. If you don't know what your food ate, you need to know. You might be truly disgusted once you learn. I live in a farming community. I don't have to guess what's being fed to these animals. I watch it happen. All I can say is, GROSS. I wouldn't want to eat what they are, ever.

The problem is, you aren't just eating what you put into your mouth, but also what they put into their mouths AND you may or may not be excreting the harmful things they ate. So, you say "so what if that cow was dosed up with so much antibiotic it was a walking pharmacy, that's not me, I am very, very cautious with using them in my life". Yeah, well, you just took a big mouthful with your grilled chicken last night, and you wonder why you have gut problems.

Next, "We are what we digest and absorb".

This goes so well with the other doctor's quote because if you aren't excreting it, you are usually absorbing it. That's not a good thing with many of the foods we eat these days. Oh, that chicken might be nice and fresh, but nice and fresh with what in it's system. We also are often not digesting our food no matter how high it's quality. If you aren't digesting it, you aren't using it, therefore you aren't getting the nutritional benefit of that food. We can fill our tummies with organic, whole, wonderfully nutrient rich foods, but if we aren't digesting it properly and then absorbing it, we have expensive poop. Now, while poop is very important (and a topic I will actually talk about later), I want cheap poop. I want poop that is void of all the wonderful goodness I put in my mouth. I want it to be only the barest of what my body couldn't use or if I put too much of a nutrient in my body and, with it's wonderful processing abilities, it just didn't need that much. We need to know if our body is digesting and using it's food.

If you aren't sure (and just because you don't have explosive diarrhea or have a little weight to lose doesn't mean you are doing a good job using your food), please talk to a functional medicine or biomedical doctor. They can do very simple, nearly painless tests to figure it out pretty quickly. You might need something as small as a digestive enzyme with your meals. But, you want to make sure you have one that's specific to your needs. If you aren't dealing with fats correctly, one that ignores fats and works on gluten is not going to be as much help.

So, change what you eat. Know your food and the source of your food (that's really not hard in this day and age of phones and internet). Then make sure your body is using that food well and properly.

Talk soon.

Friday, October 9, 2015

I'm Not All About Toxins

I know I post a lot about removing toxins, how we live a more natural life, and so on, but I do have hobbies. It's not all toxin all the time. That would make for a crazy life and a boring woman. This brings me to something that's new to me but I can see being a big favorite.

From here

I got into crochet a few years ago after my grandmother introduced me to it many, many years ago. I always wanted to like it but just never seemed to be able to pick it up, get my tension right, and, well, it just didn't happen. I finally decided that I was going to go from wanting to like it and being able to crochet to actually doing it. I bought some hooks, some yarn, and sat down with YouTube to search for how-to videos.

For those that haven't used YouTube in this way, you are missing out. You can learn just about anything on that site. Seriously, try it. I have searched for some pretty ridiculous things just to find it's limits. But I digress.

I taught myself how to crochet using YouTube videos and haven't looked back. Recently, when I visit stores and shops that sell yarn, a new hook has been catching my eye. It's called a Tunisian hook for Tunisian crochet. Looking at sample of the work online I decided immediately, without actually seeing how to do it, that it was far too hard and gave up that idea. However, a pin on Pinterest caught my eye and I decided to give it a try.

From here

All I have to say is, "what has Tunisian crochet been all my life". This is so, so simple. In fact, if I was teaching someone crochet, I would start with Tunisian crochet. It's much easier as there are no hdc, dc, FPdc, tr, and more. Nope. That's all a thing of the past with this technique.

From here

If you would like to check out Tunisian crochet, I suggest going to YouTube and typing in Tunisian crochet tutorial. Or, better yet, check out this blogger's how-to page. It's simple, has great pictures and clearly written instructions. This is where I learned the basics. I will be honest, I didn't buy a Tunisian hook until after I learned. I didn't want to waste the money if it was going to be hard. I worked samples on a typical hook until I learned how to do it.

Tunisian Crochet Tutorial @ Crocheting the Day Away

I won't be giving up typical crochet. I am just adding this to my repertoire. It's fun, easy, gives you a semi-knit look, and the piece comes out soft yet sturdy. There's a reason it's referred to as the afghan stitch.

From here
Talk soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Reducing Toxins in Your Home - Kitchen

Reducing toxins in your home doesn't have to be hard or expensive. When we started this journey we didn't do it all at once. Very few people could afford that process. We took it one step at a time and are taking more steps each week. This week I purchased two new pans and a set of tongs. It was a big spending week with regards to reducing toxins as I spent about $50.

Look around your kitchen and find just one thing to replace. I know a simple and very inexpensive way to reduce toxins is your colander. Most of us have a plastic colander like this:
From here
How about replacing it with a stainless steel colander or strainer? You can find them in the internet at stores such as and green home type websites. You can find them in traditional stores, even big box stores if you check labels. 

From here
Make sure, when you purchase your colander, that you aren't adding in other harmful toxins via metals. Read the labels to determine if they are pure or mixed with another cheaper metal like aluminum. If the label isn't clear, call the company or look online. I have stood in a store many times with a product in my hand, on my phone calling a company to find out what's in a food product or how an item is made. 

From here
From here
Another option is to buy a mesh strainer. These come in a lot of styles. They range from the traditional handle style we used to use for loose tea leaves to those that fit in a sink, to bowl shapes. Again, read the labels and do your research. 

If you look around, do your research, and buy smart, you can reduce toxins this way for less than $20. Now, that's a steal. 

Talk soon

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fall Candy That's Less Junky

OK, is junky even a word? If it wasn't before, I officially declare it is now.

From here

Who doesn't remember candy corn from their childhood? It was like a right of passage for children. I remember eating them color by color. They were bite sized but I made it much more of a chore. I ate the yellow, then bit the orange, then the tiny white. Yep, that's how I roll.

But, with our kids, they are a huge no-no. There is no way our younger son could even lick one without repercussions. Candy is pretty much impossible to find that fits into our variety of food intolerances and allergies. So, what's a Mom to do?

A Mom is to get creative and find a recipe for some favorite candies out there. And, now I have one for candy corn. Yep, CANDY CORN. And, yes, it's colored.

Five Little Homesteaders has a recipe for candy corn and even shares where to buy safer food colorings.

But, if you don't want to use a store bought pre-made coloring, you could use the suggestions Bioray has for the needed colors.

"Some ideas: Use saffron or turmeric powder OR juice some yellow bell peppers (yellow) Use carrot juice (orange)"

So have a bit more fun this fall and try some new candy recipes. Just make sure you aren't replacing junk with more junk. Buy real foods, use organic if possible, read labels (read labels, read labels, read labels) and, even with the homemade variety, don't go overboard on servings. 

Talk soon.

Monday, October 5, 2015

How I Got Started on This Path - Part 5 (The Final Steps of the Journey)

From here
This is a multi part series. If you would like to start from the beginning, follow these links: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

When we first got our older son's diagnosis of Autism I became a researching fool. I was on the internet, reading books, going over journal publications, and more. I was told PPCD and that was it and knew there HAD to be something else I could do to help our son. I came across parent after parent speaking about something called a DAN doctor and biomedical approaches to helping our kids feel better. I told my husband about it and, while he wasn't sure this was a legit thing, he suggested we go ahead and at least check it out.

I made an appointment with our first DAN doctor and showed up. I was so unprepared. I am used to 10 minutes with a doctor, go home with a pill, see you later. Yeah ... no. I arrived to see a sensory waiting room, a huge fish tank, and an appointment that lasted for 1 1/2 hours. I didn't wait for 1 1/2 hours. The doctor and I talked and went over plans for that period of time. He wanted to do a bunch of labs, not just throw pills at us. What he said made sense. The only thing he sent us away with was MB12 injections. He wrote us a script saying that we needed to wait for all the labs to come back, but our son's symptoms were screaming a B12 issue, so he wanted to get him started on those immediately.

A week later our prescription arrived (it had to be compounded). I sat with my son a long time trying to talk myself into giving him these shots. It wasn't that I doubted the need. It was my own personal freak out about the needles. I bribed him with a treat and we did our first shot. He wasn't too happy but it wasn't horrible, especially once he figured out he got the treat the second it was over. We kept our new treatment to ourselves because I was afraid I would see something out of desire to heal my son and I wanted all those unbiased eyes of friends and family to be my testing ground.

1 1/2 weeks later my being sold on the more natural way of doing things happened. My non-verbal son, my son who went from speech to baby babbling in a day's time, spoke. I will never, ever forget that day. I was sitting in a chair on one side of the room and my son was standing next to the sofa on the other side of the room. It was just a quiet afternoon when he stopped his little playing and said to me, "can we take a picture of that". It was like the world stood still. I sat there, for what seemed like forever, trying to comprehend what just happened. I said, "what did you say?" He looked at me like I had the comprehension problem and said, very slowly like you might speak to someone that didn't understand your native tongue, "can we take a picture of that". I about hit the floor. I wanted to scream from the rooftop. Instead I called my husband and told him what happened. Honestly, I think he thought I had been drinking and hallucinating. But, he got home that night and couldn't deny what was happening in front of his own eyes.

As we got him around friends and family I wondered if they would notice.

They noticed. Oh, they noticed in a big way. I kept hearing, "what happened", "what did you guys do", "how in the world...". They noticed. My Mom was sold on MB12 and joked we should give that everyday. This was huge for him and it was what his body needed. Our DAN was shocked when we returned for lab results. He had a non-verbal patient who was now verbal in a matter of less than 2 weeks. But he wasn't totally undone because this was his job and he sees healing in kids weekly.

From that point on we were sold. Supplements became a part of our lives. Diet change became the norm. Research into toxins, environmental issues, things we use in our home, and more became typical weekend activities. We discovered our dishes were a bad idea for our sons. They had the same toxins in them that we were trying hard to get rid of in their bodies, they went. Cookware that we had used for a long time was tossed because it was not safe for our kids, or ourselves. Foods that we never would have dreamed harmful were no longer on the shopping list because our kids had clear reactions that we didn't realize were reactions. (Ever heard of a child screaming for hours after eating an apple? Yeah, I have watched it with my own eyes.) The list goes on.

Is our home 100% toxin free? No. That's impossible. We live in a world with toxins everywhere. I just discovered that the very air we breath in our county has one of the substances that our younger son is intolerant of in it. Can't get rid of air. So, we help clean the air in our home. We make their world as safe as possible so when the attacks come, their bodies are stronger and not over burdened in order to fight it off. We have changed things as simple as shampoos, soaps, cleaners. We have changed OTC pain meds, snacks, and even consumables that I use in the kitchen. We are a work in progress. We refuse to stop our kids from having a fun time as children. So we don't freak as much about toys and outside items. But we do make them safer as we can. As I posted a few weeks ago, we removed some of the toxins from our son's tube feeding system once we discovered all that was in the bags his formula was held in each feeding time. These are simple changes that, while not making much of an impact on how we live our lives, make a huge impact on how their bodies function.

Look, I don't know if we can cure what ails our sons. They have a lot of health issues. But, would you rather have a sick child with a healthier body or a sick child with a sick body? That's all this comes down to for us. If they are going to have issues in this world, let's make them as healthy as we can in order to be able to be strong and fight against what is going on with them. We arm them spiritually to put on the full armor of God. We arm them with education so they can make sound choices and have successful lives in whatever God calls them to as adults. We are arming their bodies so they can be as healthy as possible. It's really that simple.

Talk soon.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Autism Resource - TACA

I went to my very first TACA meeting last night. What is TACA? It stands for Talk About Curing Autism.
From here
Now, before I get hate messages, let me get one thing very straight. If you have a child that has Autism or are someone living with Autism and want to live with it, don't want any change, and think you are fine, awesome. You go for it. That's your right and your choice.

I would ask you to respect our right and choice to see that our children are not healthy, have horrible gut issues, health issues, and more and need a cure for, at minimum, those items related to Autism. So, yes, I am seeking a cure. As I tell our son, I only want to get rid of the harmful and bad effects of Autism, not the way he thinks or feels.

So, after my weekend of learning there was a coffee and chat time to go over our take away thoughts from the conference. I got to meet a bunch of Moms who have kids on the spectrum. We are all on very different parts of our journey in this puzzle of hope. But we share a common bond, and that is love for our kids and a desire for them to be healthier. I learned a few things that I didn't know before, laughed and talked a lot, checked out a great book that I can't wait to dive into, and was hooked up with a lot of resources.

I will be attending regularly.

If you want to see if there is a meeting in your area, check out their website. Meetings are free, support is awesome, resources abound.

Go to TACA or click on the graphic below

From here
Talk soon!

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