Saturday, September 29, 2012

Nature Soup

I'm a planner.  And sometimes I get to where I am more into the planning of something than actually doing it.  I need a support group, I think.  So, this is me embracing more spontaneity.  The boys wanted to go outside and explore & Eli was napping.  

Sean in his vest, and Luke...well, he dresses himself.  'Nuf said.

This little activity took almost no prep and I just got to walk around with them and talk about what they were doing.  You need a cup and a little water.  Have them find a good stirring stick.  Then just explore and add things to make "soup."  

Crunch up leaves and dried flowers.

Sprinkle on some dirt, add grass and stir it up. Take a sniff...smells like Fall!

Luke climbed up to the fort with his cup.  He's an excitable fellow.

 These are flowers and leaves we collected from our nature walk the day before.  A few carnations were leftover from flowers Jeff had left for me when he was in Cuba.  I like to extend the life of fresh flowers and pull out the ones that are not dead and make a new arrangement.  I also love walking around with the boys collecting things to display God's beauty in the season.  

Luke likes to point out what he picked.
Tucked it in a mason jar with rocks in the bottom.

We use these sites for great outdoor activities: Nature Detectives and Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Friday, September 28, 2012


I'm doing a fun home business link-up with Kelly's Korner featuring my SHAKLEE (what great timing!). 
Welcome to anyone who clicked over here from there!

I started with the company last month and I could not be more impressed with our products and the support of our team.
Here are some of my favorite things:

I really love the cleaning line.  Every time I do laundry or wash dishes (not my favorite pastimes) I love the fresh smell.  The Basic H is amazing and I have used it to get stickers of things (that had been on for years), general cleaning and even washing my dog (worth it for that alone- he lost the stinky dog smell!).  I have to do another post on that because of the sheer awesomeness of it.  What I love about this line is that it's safe for my family and safe for the Earth.  I'm not cool enough to call myself a hippie, but I do love being responsible with what I purchase!
Click here for more info on the Get Clean line

 My husband and I just started the Cinch Transformation.  Essentially, it is is formulated to help you maintain muscle while losing weight.  So, no more losing fat and muscle-then lose energy because you lost muscle-then quit exercising because you have no energy-then gain anything you lost back as fat.  I am a confessed non-lover of protein powders and I really like these.  I actually look forward to my shakes (adding a frozen banana and blending the chocolate is my favorite so far!).  We're tweaking the program to work for us and save some money, too.  I'd be happy to share details... :)  Here's our kit, right at home on my table:

Click here for more info on Weight Loss

My rowdy, active, lovable boys get these vitamins.  I love the safe ingredients and the addition of lactoferin, which supports immune health.
Click here for Healthy Kids

 Now the skin care line... I had to eat my words.  In the distributor pack you get some of these products.  I was like, I don't want no stinkin' skin care!  I want vitamins and protein and house cleaning stuff!  But oh-my-word... this stuff is amazing.  I love everything about it and my skin has never felt healthier.  I wake up and my skin actually feels soft without even touching it.  I am definitely a believer.

And the vitamins... the whole reason I got serious about selling Shaklee.  I began researching whether or not generic vitamins were actually doing our bodies any good.  My search led me to the Vitalizer and it is just superior to anything I have seen.  I love how I feel on them and it gives me peace of mind, along with the great physical benefits, knowing all this goodness is going in my body,

Click here to make a first great and easy step to healthier living
And with the purchase of Vitalizer, you can get free membership:

Check out all the great products and get information on my SHAKLEE site.

Thanks for letting me gush over it all! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Delightfully Random Stuff

Sometimes I just pull pictures off my camera and make a post of it.  Today I am and they really have nothing to do with each other.  But that's how our days are tight now... a series of a lot of things going on. 

The boys got to "box" at tailgating for the football game.

When Jeff got home from Cuba, somehow the house stopped cleaning itself (ha!).  But seriously, there was junk everywhere.  I took a before shot of the kitchen because I do love a good clean-out.

And here we are all cleaned up with stuff put away.

Sean is learning multiplication.  He seems to have a good mind for math and he is always asking random math problems.  Luke will sometimes answer just because he doesn't want to be left out of the conversation.  And a few times he got the right answer.  
Maybe it's lucky guesses, maybe he's a genius. Which would be great, because then he could help his big brother with math when we move into the more challenging stuff.

Oh yes... the eggs.  Look closely and decide what's wrong with this picture. 
 Other than the massacred  eggs. 
 Give up?
They're all on the wrong side of the carton.  And this, my friends, is what happens when you try to balance the eggs while getting the butter out of the top shelf and then all the stuff in the shelf falls out when you lift up the door because you have it crammed full of stuff.  And to deflect the assault of miscellaneous condiments you drop the eggs while shielding your person from the avalanche. 
 But I did salvage enough to make pumpkin donut poppers!

 We had the college Sunday School class over for lunch.  Let me just say they are such a gracious bunch.  Our boys are always wanting to play and wrestle.  Not that it takes much to summon the inner child of a college student, but still... I love how they love our boys.

And that concludes this most random post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Holiday Planning (already!)

Here is the 1st week free of a good holiday planner.  She has a lot of planning stuff on her site and I have used a few things.  No promo here- just wanted to share it!   At least looking through it is motivation to start thinking ahead.

With these chilly mornings and fall in the air I am getting excited about all the fun celebrations coming up.  In addition to the holidays, we also have 3 of our 5 family birthdays within about a month of each other.

Here is a cute composition notebook-turned-planner: 

Print a few pages or make a whole notebook.  Here are some freebie sites:

I am thinking I need to have a date with a warm cup of tea, a printer and new notebook.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cleaning Products: Before and After

So we are embarking on a new home business with Shaklee.  It is super exciting.  I love how it is encouraging us to aim higher with our own health goals, as well as challenging me to learn more.  Part of what I sell now is a healthy home line called Get Clean.  I had been experimenting with homemade cleaners, and while that is another post, I just never found great results.  The same goes for the pricey, organic products we have tried.
Basic H is so multi-purpose, it's ridiculous!  It literally takes the place of several products.  And I have been impressed with the other products, too.  So, thanks to this line the cabinet under my kitchen sink went from this...

To this...
Not fancy, but definitely functional

We traded these products...
Go here to check labels and see if your stuff is toxic, too

For these...

I talked here about how I currently clean.  But all these fresh, new products are making me want to tackle some other jobs.  Just like getting new running shoes makes you want to get out and run... I, myself, am a "wogger-" that stands for walk-jogger.  I have much yet to accomplish on the exercise front and cleaning does not have much to do with it.  Except you do burn calories with activity.... therefore getting new cleaning supplies will help you lose weight.  :)  
It's my logic and I'm sticking with it. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chores in Real Life

I can make a mean schedule.  I love designing them, filling in the spaces, adding boxes for check marks (oh the joy of checking something off!)...  However, for such a schedule-loving person I am rather resistant to keeping them.  I think the planning gives me an idea of what's important and reasonable for me actually accomplish.  That being said, chores are one of the biggies on my schedules.  There are oh-so-many ways to go about getting them planned.  Daily, weekly, monthly lists;  zones (see Fly Lady for a good site!); blitzes and so many more.
I figured out what works for me right now, in this season of homeschooling, starting a new home business, working alongside my honey, church and just life.  I thought about what needs to be done/clean in the house in order for me to feel like it is under control.  I picked 5 top chores/areas and I make sure those get taken care of each day.  
1.  Keep kitchen clean (dishes done, counters straightened, floor swept)
2.  Bathroom clean (me and a bunch of boys... 'nuf said)
3.  Living room (picked up, vacuumed)
4.  Piles put away ASAP before they grow and take over
5.  Laundry
So what about dusting, mopping, windows, etc?  Well, it gets done when it gets done.  As I have a spare minute I knock it out.  It may not be pretty on paper, but it's efficient (enough) for me.
I get encouraged when the space is organized and tidy.  Take the laundry room:

This is an example of not organized and tidy
Because sometimes I get crazy and start tackling projects at random, I decided to see how quickly I could get this area from messy to inspiring.  Or at least picked up enough so I could quit stepping on junk while I load the washer.

Little helper
(though "helper" may not be the most accurate word)
It took me about  15 minutes to take a few things out and put in their real home, wipe down the appliances and straighten the racks.

Making sure he is where the action is
And now I can work on the clothes without personal threat to my toes.  And it just makes me happy when things are organized.

And it would have been perfect to add a little shot of the handmade quilt hanging out to dry in the fresh air. But no...

Sometimes completing a little project makes me want to do more.  And next thing you know all the living room furniture is in the middle of the floor and the kids are staring at me.  I think I'll be done for now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Going Raw(er)

At the beginning of the summer we started learning about the health benefits of a raw food diet.  It is basically eating uncooked, unprocessed food as a large part of the diet.  And by diet, I mean way of eating, not weight-loss plan.  I had heard of it before, but didn't look into it.  After watching Food Matters, I checked out David Wolfe and other top raw foodies.  There are blogs and sites galore.  Go here to check out the health benefits.

Our fruit out on the counter.

We also started juicing.  Have you heard of Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead?  After we watched it,  I went nuts looking for info online.  A wonderful friend let us borrow her juicer.  Then another sweet friend gave us one they didn't use.  (We gave the borrowed one back :))  You should ask around! We have juiced all kinds of fruit and veggie combos.  Some fantastic, others...well, not so bad if you can chug.  We drank a ton of good stuff we'd never be able to eat in a sitting.  And it did leave us feeling satisfied.  Now we are not as hard core, but when we have a lot of something (i.e. apples below) or rouge fruit/veggies that need to get used up, juicing is the way to go. Also, we plan to do a juice fast for detoxing.  We have seriously been on the go so much lately that it has been hard to schedule.  But soon!

There are a lot of raw food books at the library; look in the regular cookbook section.  I checked out huge stacks at a time.  When the kids went to bed I would sit with a cup of tea and read through them, putting sticky notes by recipes I liked.  Here are some of my tips for baby-stepping it to raw:
 1.  Go the the farmer's market or produce section first and take time to explore.  Check out new colors and textures.  I discovered jicama and I love it!
2.  Don't get bogged down by recipes.  If you have purchased or grown a variety of foods, just chop them up and enjoy.  Add a homemade (or not) dressing or dip if you feel spunky.
3.  It doesn't all have to be salads.  Smoothies and wraps (sprouted tortillas and bread work great- look in the freezer section) are easy to make in a variety of ways.  There are also amazing raw desserts.
4.  Add more raw each time you eat (each meal, day, week, whatever works).  A simple goal might be to eat one raw meal a day.
5.  Have fun with it and experiment with recipes that sound good to you.

Notice the library cookbook propped up against the wall.
I try to always have raw food with my meals now.  The higher the ratio of raw, the better, but you just do the best you can.  Sometimes I do better than others.

Random shot of boys' lunch one day.
A few blogs I like for recipes and information:
Raw Family
Kristen's Raw
Oh She Glows
This one is a good place to start We Like It Raw

And there are so many more.  I just found these in my initial searching and liked the recipes.
I should note that I do not consider us a raw family.  There are days when the fresh produce has run out and we just cook something up.  But since dabbling in it, I am definitely more intentional about including as much raw as possible in our diets.

Healthy Tip to Remember: 

Have more raw food on your plate than cooked.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Starting in the middle

Jeff and I have been years into a journey towards healthier eating & living.  We have had a lot of amazing experiences- some heartbreaking, others glorious.  I've had a blog for a couple of years where I pretty much just record homeschooling stuff.  I never got into the health aspect of our lives because... well, honestly, I was intimidated by how much I didn't (and still don't!) know.  Looking back, though, we have come so far and I wish I would have been better at keeping a journal or log.  It would be great to see successes and failures (cooking tofu...bleh!).  So, here begins our humble attempt to craft into words and pictures what we are doing and learning.
Things I would like to include are recipes we try and links to favorite blogs on healthy eating.  Much more to come on how we eat (vegetarian, flexitarian, nutrititarian, juicitarian... now I'm just making stuff up...).
I also have been on a "simplify" kick- from cleaning stuff out, organizing our home to make it more manageable and paring down outside activities to enjoy the gift of time, here and now.  Again, hoping to link up favorite resources on this topic, too.
Another area is going green.  It is such a political thing right now, but has really become important to us.  Re-purposing, recycling, cleaning, "making do or doing without."  Again, we have not reached expert status.  Learning as we go.
We have three amazing little boys.  I want to be a good example to them of living the best life possible with what God has given us.
As always, none of this is worth anything without acknowledging God's glory as the goal.  I pray he is pleased with these efforts and that we press on with his energy that works powerfully in us.
Deep Creek, NC