Catch Up

This month has zoomed along!

  • Luke has been going swimming with a friend. We’ve been praying for friends for him so he’s been thrilled.
  • The boys and I all got new glasses. We got insurance again so we went to Pearle Vision. Honestly, I think it’s a joke. I’m not certain we saved any money at all and it took 3 hours. We’d been going to Costco and they rock. So I’m not sure we’ll keep the insurance and I’m seriously considering trying a to order a pair of glasses from EyeBuyDirect or one of those places. Or going back to Costco.
  • Gabe attended a birthday party at the Magic House. He was invited by a girl at Dayspring. We don’t really know her family, but I thought it was sweet that she thought of him and I wanted to meet her parents so we went. They were really lovely people, but we didn’t know anyone else there!! Awkward. He did really well though and participated in all of the activities which is a really big deal for my little introvert.
  • We ended back up at the Magic House to play in their huge sand pit. Gabe doesn’t love getting dirty so he was a bit whiny, but Luke enjoyed himself and I got to chat with one of my book club buddies a bit more.
  • Speaking of Book Club, several of us went to see Me Before You in the theater. We’d read the book about a year ago and it was well liked by everyone. I’m not sure that I would have liked the movie if I hadn’t read the book. They had to leave out so many of the details that gave it depth. It ended up feeling like a Lifetime Original Movie. Oy.
  • I’ve been loving my Bible Study! Next Monday is our last meeting! I think I’m going to like attending these shorter Bible studies. It gives me a little break. I know a lot of people are busy every night of the week, but we are not those people.
  • I had a long overdue girl’s night with my three best friends from highschool. We had such a nice time. Got to Bread Co at 6 and didn’t leave until 11:30ish. We shut it down, then moved to the parking lot. We probably would have stood out there talking even longer, but a homeless guy started digging through the garbage cans and we were out there all by ourselves so we called it a night.
  • That was probably for the best because the very next morning I was up at 5:45 so I could start volunteering! Our church has a thrift store that sells everything for 25 cents. The boys and I toured it and I spoke to the director and it turns out that the area she needs the most help is pretty much what I was born to do! Well, maybe that’s a bit much, but seriously. She was desperate for help sorting and I think that’s the best job every. Every bag is like Christmas. Except more dust, cat hair, and musty odor, but so much fun.

We’ve had a few other things going on, but I’ll post about those separately! Pinky promise!

 

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Health Post 6/1/16

It was right about a year ago that this happened. I was diagnosed with Lyme and a couple of other infections. I started treatment right away.

The months dragged on. I could tell things were happening though. I was warned that it would get worse before it got better and it did. My body was working and fighting.

As I continued the treatment I gradually began to feel better. I’ve grown back all my hair, I’m regular without trying, I sleep well, I no longer have joint pain, and I’ve been able to lose some weight!

It’s to the point now where I take: JuicePlus vitamins, cod liver oil, digestive enzymes with each meal, and adrenal supplements. And that’s it on a daily basis!! This is a huge deal for me because I’ve been taking all of these things for years now, but with a bunch of other stuff added on just so I could hobble along each day. To be done with all of that is a huge blessing. And much easier on our bank account.

Well, actually, I guess that’s not quite true. I worked through the Lyme, giardia and candida and have tested negative for all three. So that’s all over and done with. But, months ago, I had several people send me an article about Epstein Barr and how so many people have it and don’t know it, etc, etc. I asked Dr. J to test me for that, too and she said she’d go ahead and test me for everything she could. (That may sound over-the-top and dramatic, but when you’ve had one bacterial infection it weakens your immune system and it’s more common than not to have several infections at once. When your immune system is weak it’s easy for lots of yuck to take hold.)

Anyway, I don’t have Epstein Barr, but I did test positive for 4 other things. Two of which are related to liver. My liver is still a bit sluggish so we decided to work on the worst of the 4 and then retest. So I am currently working through one treatment. Possibly more in the future. I think it’s beneficial to work through everything that I can, but I don’t feel a sense of urgency like I did before. Anything else, at this point, is icing on the cake.

So what would I like to see? I’d like to continue losing weight. We’re on a sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free diet so that shouldn’t be holding me back. I’m walking and rebounding every day. I don’t care if I’m a size 2 again, but I do think that when a person is “doing everything right” and can’t lose weight then that’s a signal that something is still off. My guess is that it’s connected to my liver. I hope that as I continue to care for my body and eliminate bacterial infections my liver will grow stronger and will be able to do what it was made to do.

Energy is still an issue. It’s gotten much better. When life is humming along I’m good. But if we have one really late night or a series of late-ish nights, then I really feel it. If I exercise too much I feel it. I hope that I’ll feel energetic and bursting with vitality some day. A girl can dream, right?

I’m working with Dr. J on an experimental allergy elimination. It incorporates NAET techniques. It’s free for me to participate in. I can’t say that I’ve seen any changes, but it helps her out and I can’t see any harm in it.

Overall, I’m so blessed and relieved to be over the worst of it. There were many months there when I really wasn’t sure that healing would be possible. It got a lot worse before it got better and while I’d like to keep improving, I can honestly say that I’m also thrilled to be where I’m at and if it never gets better than I’m still deeply grateful.

I’m hopeful and looking forward to whatever the next year brings me!

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Art

Dayspring has ended for the year. Part of me is relieved. The boys are up there every Friday from 10:15 to 2:30. I make my menu for the week, compile my grocery list, and then go shopping, but sitting around waiting for them gets tiresome after a while.

The best part about classes ending for summer is that they got to bring home all of the artwork they’ve done over the year. I put it up as soon as we walked through the door.

On display

On display

So much color!

So much color!

Luke's clay art

Luke’s clay art

They worked with a lot of different mediums. Clay, paints, sketches, oil pastels…They made stamps, did dot painting, made sculptures, studied columns, and much more. I smile every time I walk into the room.

 

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Beauty Around the Yard

We finally have some mature plants and they are so beautiful. They’re filling out nicely and budding and blooming. It fills my heart with joy!

Hen and Chicks

Hen and Chicks

Lambs Ears

Lambs Ears

Lavender Stalk

Lavender Stalk

Salvia

Salvia

Salvia

Salvia

Spirea

Spirea

Another spirea shot

Another spirea shot

Red Clover

Red Clover

Smaller Salvia

Smaller Salvia

Knockout roses

Knockout roses

Hosta Flowers

Hosta Flowers

Cinquifoil

Cinquifoil

Buckhorn Plantain

Buckhorn Plantain

Black Medic

Black Medic

Begonias

Begonias

I know that some of these are weeds, but I love them just the same! We’ve experienced the devastating effects of soil erosion firsthand so I can keep a straight face when I say that all weeds are welcome in our yard. Grass alone just isn’t suitable in some places. The weeds add much-needed diversity. I pull the by hand from my flower and vegetable beds, but otherwise they are welcome and free to do what they will. In fact, I prefer the weeds sometimes. Especially the kinds that flower. They add so much in the way of texture, color, and beauty.

 

 

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I Kid You Not

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

We visited with friends today and were thrilled to spend time with their new kids. They are so funny and entertaining. I could watch them for hours!

Baymax

Baymax

More Baymax

More Baymax

Eye see you

Eye see you

One of the mamas.

One of the mamas.

The twins, Fawn and Baymax

The twins, Fawn and Baymax

Luke holding Fawn. She's not impressed.

Luke holding Fawn. She’s not impressed.

It’s hard to get good photos of goats!! They like to move. The little ones are so curious. Every movement, every sound, is something that needs to be investigated. They are so adorable. It almost – almost- makes me want one. They are precious!

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Bluff View Park and Trail

I love exploring new hiking trails! Not long ago Ben remembered a trail that he’d passed. We drove over that way and checked it out. The aptly-named Bluff View Park in Wildwood was so nice! There were wildflowers everywhere and the bluff was quite the view! I only wish it hadn’t been so hot! We only did part of the trail.

Salsify Plant

Salsify Plant

 

Random Steps

Random Steps

Horses are welcome on this trail. Hence the stairs to nowhere.

Path

Path

Small purple flowers

Small purple flowers

River Overlook

River Overlook

Delicate Purple Buds

Delicate Purple Buds

You can either hike to the bluff and circle back, or you can go on past the bluff and connect to the Al Foster Trail. I’m hoping we can go back soon and do the entire length of the trail!

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Puppy Love

I really love other people’s dogs.

We’ll probably never own a dog. Ben is allergic to them which is good enough reason right there. On top of that, though, is just all of the extra work that comes with having a dog. Out of the four of us, I know who would be doing the bulk of that extra work. No thank you.

That’s why I prefer dogs that belong to other people. I love Zeus, Chelsea and Nate’s dog. He’s a gorgeous Great Pyrenees. I think he’s amazing. Now I have another dog to love.

Ada and Gabe

Ada and Gabe

Paul and Amanda brought home a sweet little pup. Her name is Ada and she has two modes: frenetic spaz and asleep. I tried to get a picture of her when she was awake and it resulted in nothing but a bunch of blurred pics.

She’s a mini Australian Shepherd, has one blue eye and one brown, and has the softest fur imaginable. She’s a doll.

Gabe fell pretty hard for her.

We get to visit with Paul and Amanda several times a month so I’m glad the boys will sort of have the chance of spending time with and growing up with these pups. It’ll be good for them. And less work for me.

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IKEA Trip 5/16

We realized yesterday that the boys hadn’t been to the St. Louis IKEA! We needed some replacement parts for our shoe cabinet anyway so we headed out to do some shopping.

But first, we made a stop at Guitar Center.

Put this kid in a store filled with musical instruments and he’s in heaven. He spent an hour there and still had to be dragged out.

HEAVEN

HEAVEN

 

We arrived at IKEA and ate lunch. Then, finally, it was time to shop.

The boys had so much fun. They love exploring each room and looking into all the drawers and cabinets. I find it amusing how much they enjoy the kitchens. I mean, we have all of those things at home. In our kitchen. They sure don’t find it interesting when at home.

We only picked up a few things.

New glasses:

Boring. Most of their drinking glasses were boring, actually. At least the simple glasses. I liked another design better, but they were very small. Only 8 ounce. At least these are inexpensive and very thick.

Luke got two of these in green and Gabe got two in blue:

I’ve worked hard, over the years, to eliminate plastic in our house, but the boy’s dishes were one of the last holdouts. I don’t really know why. They eat off of our regular plates and from our regular bowls. I cleaned out their cabinet and disposed of all the plastic so a lot of their cups had to go. I was thrilled to see these today. They are glass and they came in blue and green. They need to be color coded so that they stick with the same glass all day long. Perfect.

I also purchased two of these pillow covers. I have some in light green, but all of my spring/summer decor is this shade of green. I was thrilled to find these. It’s the little things.

I also picked up two of these frames:

Two years ago (!!) on vacation at Disney, we had caricatures drawn of the boys. They turned out great and we’ve been saying that we need to get them framed, but I’ve just never put any effort into it. Well, no more! I finally dug them out, measured them, and was able to find these frames.

(A note about IKEA picture frames: they are cheap for a reason. They have the kind of backs that really don’t do well if you’re wanting to swap out artwork/pictures on a regular basis. I don’t purchase their frames for my niece/nephew school photos, for instance. For something more permanent, though, they are great. The frame above is simple, but it does have the ability to look/act more like a shadow box. And it come with the mat.)

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to IKEA if we didn’t end up buying a few things that weren’t on our list.

These bandages, for instance, were a cool find. They aren’t packaged in a box, but a bag. So they’re flat. Easy to store.

Oh, and last, but not least, these veggie balls:

Normally, I wouldn’t look twice at something like this because I’d assume it is full of soy. Processed soy is a total no-go here. While we were eating lunch, though, Ben read through the placards on the table and saw that these are gluten free and soy free. I made some up to take to a BBQ today and they are GOOD! And I like how, when you bite into one, you can actually see bits and pieces of real veggies. It’s not just a ball of mush. It’s like, huh, there’s some corn, and a bit of carrot, and some leafy green stuff. Nice. To me, they taste like chicken pot pie without the gravy.

So, that was it for our trip. Nothing amazing. We didn’t want/need to spend much, just needed to pick up a few things. It was a nice way to spend a couple hours and free coffee is always a bonus. :)

 

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Purina Farms with Friends

This has been a busy week.

Originally, I was planning to finish school during this week. We have a end-of-the-year project to finish for health, were going through the Times Tales DVD and worksheets,  and we have a few pages to finish up for one of our Jr. Ranger Badges.

I knew Tiza was going to be here, but she loves to craft and color so I envisioned her crafting while we worked. No such luck!

On Monday, she and Gabe played all day. They both have amazing imaginations and had an awesome time playing together. They dumped all the blankets and pillows in one room to create an island. All of the other rooms were various oceans. It was so cool to see them play that I couldn’t bring myself to tear them apart.

Tuesday wasn’t any better. We had to run the recycling down to the recycling center. It was SO full and overflowing. Then we had books to drop off at the library. After that, we went straight to the park to hang out with friends and other homeschoolers. It was warm so the kids were totally spent after that.

Int the evening my cousin, his wife, and their 3 kids came over to hang out a bit. The kids all played, we talked way too long, and then it was well past bedtime!

On Wednesday we met up with some co-op friends at Purina Farms. I forgot how beautiful it is out there. Everything is maintained perfectly. The attendant at the gate was so warm and friendly.

Our friends arrived and we tailgated our lunch. Then we went straight over to the dog show. The show was great, as usual. The dogs are so talented!

PF-Dog-Show-Frisbee-Catch PF-Dog-Show-Splash

After the show, we walked through the Pet Center. We loved looking at the cats and dogs. I must have heard the phrase, “Can we get a dog?” a million and a half times.

After a quick bathroom stop we ended up in the barn. They had a rabbit, a chicken, and two adorable pigs out to pet. The kids were besides themselves. Of course there were horses, cows, sheep, and lots of other critters to look at, too.

PF-Tiza-and-chicken PF-Moo PF-Fluffy-Bunnies PF-Chicken

Finally, they played up in the loft. They really had a blast up there in all the tunnels. They played tag and chased each other around. They probably did that for a good half an hour before they were tired and thirsty.

PULL!

PULL!

Confession: I left Tiza behind. Accidentally, of course. I told her that we were going and then walked over to my friend. While she was corralling her two-year-old, the kids took off, in a pack, down the winding ramp. We tagged along after them. Down below, they broke up again – some to get drinks, some to pet the pigs again, some to look at the displays. It was a full 10 minutes until I realized that I didn’t see Tiza. Luke said, casually, “Oh, she didn’t want to come down so she hid back in the tubes.” Grr. Could you have mentioned that earlier!? A nice lady was bringing her down as I was heading up. Tiza wasn’t pleased.

The rest of the day went smoothly and without incident. Whew.

We had a wonderful day. The weather was perfect. There was hardly anyone there because of rain earlier in the day. Our friends had never been to Purina Farms so this was a great first experience.

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I Tried It and I Liked It: Paleo Muffins

I’ve really been enjoying the use of tapioca flour in my baked goods! I was scared, when I first purchased the tapioca flour, that it would be awful and that I’d be wasting my money. I’m pleased to report that that has not been true.

These Paleo Muffins were awesome. I didn’t have any blueberries so I threw in a banana and a handful of chocolate chips. Ben and the boys were over the moon about them. They were quick and easy to make and made for good snacks.

If you’re looking for a healthy muffin recipe that will also appeal to friends/family who aren’t gf, this is a good one to try!

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