Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Seasons are **Changing**

It's been a mighty long while that I've been on here!  I think I've posted twice in 4 or 5 months.  I wish I could say it was because we turned off the computers and have been just busy living life ever since my last post.  But such is not the case.  That is ok, though.  Because truth be told the computers did NOT get turned off.  The day or two after I wrote my post we jumped head first into the mold remediation that needed to be done here at home.

We had to move our second oldest out of the house due to her loosing her hair from the mold toxicity.  So I spent time finding her a place to stay, and getting her ready to leave.  It wasn't what we wanted to do, but we also didn't want a bald daughter (for her sake!!),

Some time during these past few months there has been a stirring in my spirit.  Coming to realize that we were in NO way shape or form living a victorious life.  Some would tell me that we are where God wants us to be.  But I couldn't accept that for one more day.  I knew there was a better way, I had tasted of it many years ago, but fell away.

I had been praying in a very dark place.  I could feel the wall that separated me from God.  It was horrid.  And I finally said, "ENOUGH!!!  No more!!!"  I determined then and there that Satan would not have one more day attacking us, and winning.  August 23, 2016.  That is the day when I took my stand that our family WILL be victorious, BECAUSE we already are in Christ!!  I was determined that I wasn't going to let go until I saw success.

It's only been about two weeks, but a lot has happened during that time (spiritually speaking).  I've decided I needed to go back to 'school'.  No, not college.  I needed to pour into me LIVING hope.  To be frank I have not shared the Gospel with another person in over a decade.  Sad, but true.  The reason being is I knew that my life, my family, were the living poster to living in defeat.  The Gospel is supposed to bring LIFE.  We were not dealing with trials, we were living in them day after day after day after day!  And this has been going on for years and years.  Who would sign up for that?  There had to be something I was missing from those verses in the Bible that spoke about having life, and having it more abundantly.

Now, to my friends who are reformed, no need to write to me to tell me how far off the wagon I have fallen.  We have suffered much harm from the teaching of reformed doctrine.  Don't get me wrong, the people had the BEST of intentions, they wanted to help us, they LOVED us.  However there was no power in the religion that they offered.  Of course, maybe it was just me?  All I know is that I have had more victory (notice I said "more"...I've got a lot of growing to do!) in the last two weeks than I've had in a decade.  The Word of God is active and ALIVE, glory to God!!!

We have been making a lot of progress on our mold remediation.  More than we thought we could.  We are hopeful we will be able to move our daughter back in soon.  In the meantime I am filling myself with a lot of Bible reading, webcasts and books and DVD's.

I highly recommend the reading program from here: Bible Reading Plan

Here are some pictures of the new flooring, works in progress and the things I have been devouring :-)

I colored my lists in rainbow order so I could more easily see which reading came next, as when the markers are all in a row you can not see the numbers too well.  Here I have them splayed out to get a better look-see, but they would fall out if I kept them like that.

A close up of one of the markers.  The "187 days" under the list number tells you how long it will take to read that list's books of the Bible.

My 'back to school' supplies.  And here is the amazing part....this was ALL free!  And lest people are worried, like I said I have seen more fruit in two weeks than I have in 10 years.  And we've had a MAJOR testing during this time, one which would have had me totally FREAKING OUT.  That will be another story for another day, but trust me, it was bad!  BUT, we were victorious, and we saw the power of prayer at work in a very real, tangible way!

The new laminate in the family room.  You can see a bunch of books off to the left.  Those are what is left from moving the shelves back into the room.  It took me half a day to get the other books back up on the shelves to where they belonged!  I was all 'booked' out, and have been leaving these to when I am up to dealing with more books again :-)

The laminate flooring in the living room, and the new tile.  The tile goes from the front door to the dining room.  Eventually the tile will cover the dining and kitchen.  There is just soooo much traffic that goes through this corridor that we knew the laminate would get ruined with the dirt, wetness, etc. from all of us coming and going.  So we put the tile in.  It is a dream to clean the floors, knowing I am actually cleaning them!  I have to say, that will the amount of traffic, the amount of people in our house, the amount of mess we create, that our Kirby vacuum really did a great job.  There wasn't as much 'stuff' under the carpet that I supposed there would be for 10 years!

A picture of the paint color the girls picked out.  They are eager to move back in, but you can see there is a wee bit of stuff in the way!

Harder to see, but this is their sub-floor, they chose a tan color.  We will have to go over some spots (and obviously clean it!) after we move everything back to where it belongs.  This is a temporary fix, as we plan on having laminate throughout the house.  But we need the carpets out now, so this is the best option.

The girls' closet floor.  Here is what it looks like after the carpet has been removed.  The staples and padding are still left behind.  Jeremiah got those up last night and put the first coat of paint on.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Too Much Minecraft

I had to share this.  Jedidiah's birthday was yesterday.  Can you believe he turned TEN!?!  Our first double digit boy!  Normally by this age they are having friends over for birthdays.  Well, at the moment our boys only have one friend, and he moved across the state.  So I decided to try to make Jed's birthday a bit more fun by getting some small toys/prizes for the festivities.

My new favorite store is the Dollar Tree, where everything in the store is $1.  Moira says that I should not be allowed to go into that store alone.  I don't know what she is talking about!  Ha, ha.  So one of the toys I picked up was a Rubik cube.  I actually got 3 of them, one for all the boys since they were obsessed with it when one of the girls' friends came over with one.  Ever since they wanted one of their own.  And here they were, only for one dollar each.

This particular cube has shiny/metallic colored squares.  Jedidiah was out and about with Jeremiah and was not home at the time the other kids saw the fun stuff I had bought.  I wanted everything to be kept up high until that evening, but before I put everything up Merida got a hold of one of the cubes.  Ok, no biggie, I thought.  She will tire of it quickly and then I'll just put it up.  There were 1,000 things needing to be done around the house, and dealing with a crying baby wasn't one of them!

About 30 minutes later Merida is crying.  She comes over to me and cries, "I want my diamond back!"  Diamond?  What diamond?  But she keeps crying the same thing over and over, until I realize that the 'diamond' she is talking about is the Rubik cube!  Ha, ha!

The only place or setting she has heard about the word "diamond" is from Minecraft!  I'm not sure why that was so funny to me, but it was.

Hopefully I will have some pictures of Jed's birthday.  We only got pics on a cell phone, and I am hoping that they came out ok.  

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Still here!

Wow, time flies when you are trying to catch up!!  So, so, so much going on over here.  After that bought of illness things just haven't been the same.  And that really needs to change because we are getting nowhere in life....very quickly I might add.

So for many years now I've wanted technology to take a back seat in my kids life.  But, as it stood, I was the only one who wanted that.  We had a go at it some 7 or so years ago, and it was an amazing time.  After the first two weeks of tech detox, which means there was weeping and gnashing of teeth, my kids actually discovered that life was possible without a computer.  They were reading a ton, fiction and how-to books, they were being creative in ways they never had been before. They actually interacted with each other as well!  It was great.  BUT, that all ended when everyone kept badgering me about watching a movie here or there.  And that was the end of that.

Fast forward 6 years later, and my boys do not know how to think for themselves.  They can't be still and thoughtful for more than a few minutes at a time before their brains hurt.  And my girls think that they can not live without a cell phone.  Between being in survival mode for the past year, and the house falling apart, I knew it was time for things to change.  And this post, from Facebook, totally inspired me:

Childhood in the Raw

You can visit her page from this article.  There was a news story on this family and the newscasters were concerned about the kids living without computers since we live in a tech entrenched world.  Really?  I mean, REALLY?  The one newscaster was saying how his 5 year old knew how to download apps already.

Sooooo, if a 5 year old can do it, don't you suppose that when these kids get older that they could figure it out too?  And there is abundant, I mean **abundant**, studies out there about how children's brains work.  News Flash:  Kids need REAL, HANDS ON experience for their brains to develop appropriately.  Computers are NOT real nor hands on experience.

This is one of the reasons we chose the type of educational philosophy that we did.  But the world crept in.  And it is sad to see.  So I wanted that to change.  I decided to have a:

The 'screen free' is obvious.  The 'junk free' is being free of junk food.  With this past year being one of survival mode our nutrition has totally gone down the tubes!  Now, it didn't get sooo bad that we were buying boxed cereal, but it got close :-)  We need to clean up our diets as I am seeing a direct result in poor quality diet and the kids health, behavior and energy levels.

I am not sure if we'll survive it all, but I need to make an effort at least!  I mean, just 3 months (90 days) without screens or junk.   There are a TON of projects that need doing around here.  A ton!!!  I made a video of that, and once it's edited, I'll post it, or link to it.  I'm not sure if I can embedded videos on here anymore.

Wish me luck!  I'm gonna need it.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Finally recovering!

This was one long winded illness.  It looks like we are *all* finally on the up and up. I am ready to move on to better things :-)

It took using my new machine to get Aubrey over his illness.  Poor guy.  I knew he must have been dealing with a secondary infection, I just wasn't sure which one (though I suspected it would go to his lungs).  When he woke up the next morning it became apparent that it was going to his lungs.  The first thought that came to me was, 'bronchitis'.  So that is what I ran my machine for, and by the end of his session he was finally fever free!!  Phew!  I ran it a couple more times that day to be sure he didn't relapse.  I finally have my Aubrey back.

Even though the kids have been sick, I tried to get them outside if they were able.  In Aubrey's case, he just sat in the stroller the whole time.

Aubrey loves spending time with the cats.  He doesn't look sick here, but he certainly was.

 What does one do when they do not have a sidewalk to color on?  Color on your house's foundation, of course!

Merida insists on wearing a hat when I do.  It was quite warm out, but she chose this hat to wear.  I wear my hat for bug protection (I **hate** when bugs fly in my hair and face!!).

 Jed wanted in on the photo action.  He was drawing Minecraft stuff on his side of the wall.

Being goofy.

Jonah wanted to help color in my sign.

The baby had other ideas of people helping HER color in my sign.  Here she is trying to stop Jonah from coloring in this letter.

Meanwhile, I noticed that Aubrey was still hanging out in the stroller, and went to check up on him.  Knocked out!  He took another 4 naps that day.

Merida walked away from the wall giving Jed an opportunity to color in my sign.

Sleds are still useful in the spring.  I suppose that is good, since we only get to use them for about 3 days during the winter.

Merida still in her pj's.  Outside is fun if you are dressed or not :-)

The boys, particularily Jonah, are enamored with our new (to us) van.  For one thing, it has a *working* radio!  As soon as we get in the van, that is their first request....Put the music on!!  Today we opened up the back door of the van to let the music pour out for some hooping.

Merida is able to get the hoop going around her a few times!

Yours truly.  I was attempting to hoop as well.  It was sunny out, and I was hoping we were soaking in some vitamin D.

The finished sign.

Friday, April 15, 2016

And Then....

So my last post had us outside enjoying a fine spring day.  Though we have been outside most days since then, we've also been dealing with some sort of flu type illness. And not the stomach kind. I was worried when it got to certain children as they do not do as well as some of my others with flu type illnesses.  One night we thought we were gong to have to take Moira to the ER (only because it was the weekend and urgent care was closed).  We didn't, as I found a homeopathic remedy that did the trick, and she was over the flu by the next day (though it took a few more days for her to regain her strength).

So a couple of days ago the last two kids came down with this munge (Bella and Flannery).  The day after Jonah started up with a fever.  Hmmm, didn't he go through this already?  I must have been 'off' in keeping track of who had it.  But then, a couple of days later (today) Aubrey comes up to me saying his eyes hurt. he had been eating an orange, so I thought he had gotten some juice in them.  But minutes later I see him lying on the couch...looking sick!  He just came up to me saying his head really hurts, and is now running a fever.  Seriously?  I KNOW he had this already.  Though he had more of a fever and cough, but not much of a headache.  The older kids have gotten a headache and fever first, then a cough added on.  Not sure if this is the same bug going around for the second time or something different, but I know one thing for sure....I'm DONE with the sickies!!!

I think we started this two weeks ago?!  I did run a program on my new 'health' machine for Flannery for her headache and within a couple of minutes her headache was gone.  This allowed her to stop taking meds, so her body could let the fever do it's job.  I was reading up on muscle testing for remedy choices (in homeopathy).  I tried it out on Flannery.  In the almost 8 years of using homeopathy I have only gotten the right remedy for Flannery *once*!!!  She is so hard to get the correct one, something having to do with her 'taking on other people's symptoms' as another homeopath told me.  Either way, she is doing better, though not back to health yet.  But she feels a whole lot better.

I think I will try it for Aubrey.  On his first go around, there really was no need for a remedy as he was handling the illness just fine.  Even though he just started, he is really upset about feeling so horrible.  Poor guy.

I was just catching up on my kitchen too :-(  I had been doing great with keeping the kitchen clean every day, all day long.  But multiple kids sick....well, that started to slide, and slide, and...well mess exploded.  If I didn't have to do shopping, a chiropractor appointment, and help two girls get ready for a Ball, I am sure it would have gotten all cleaned up today.

Try, try again.  Please pray for healing.  When the littles get sick, that means they get little sleep, and that means mama  little sleep.  

Saturday, March 26, 2016


I am attempting to make an effort to get my kids outside more.  It is not difficult for the older girls to get out, and not to much of a problem for the boys (they are allowed in the backyard, which is fenced), but baby girl....well, that is more of a problem.  She doesn't go out unless I go out, or if I have an older girl take her out back.  So each day I take a break from the work that needs doing and soak in the sun and fresh air.

There are more pictures of Merida only because I have to follow her around.  Jed was outside with us, but he spent his time chasing down chickens or rounding up baby goats.  The other two boys hung out a bit with us as well, though they had their turn chasing some chickens as well.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

Battling Ringworm

  Not one of the more pleasant topics to write about.  I've mentioned quite a few times that I had been battling 'stuff' for a while now.  Well, I think I am ready to share what I've learned so far.  I am not 100% clear.  I have a couple of 'hot spots' that may be left over fungus, OR some scarring from some of the more extreme things I tried to get rid of it!

Back in June (2015), I spied the horrid red "O".  At that time I had two or three, all under my arms.  Having dealt with this on two other occasions with various children, I knew right off the bat some things that would NOT work.  After our last episode (years ago) we gotten a hold of some Nystatin.  That cleared things up within a couple of days!

We did not have insurance at the time, so I was going to have to make do tackling this on my own.  I tried all sorts of things.  Tea Tree oil, oregano oil (that will burn!), neem oil, and even bleach.  I found that leaving things on contact with a wipe did better than just rubbing some on.  This was taking a tole on me since I had to do this multiple times a day.

We finally got insurance, and had the money for a doctors visit.  This was sometime around Sept. or Oct.  By then I had multiple rashes over my body.  He wanted to give me an oral medication, but I am still nursing, so we decided using a topical would be best.  He gave me two prescriptions.  He told me the first one he gave me was going to be more expensive, so I asked for Nystatin, since it worked so great the last time.

I went with the Nystatin because the other medicine, with insurance, was going to cost $140!!  I can't begin to tell you how excited I was to drive home with that bottle of cream!  The last thing I needed was a house full of children with ringworm.  So I had been very careful in how I bathed, using baby wipes, so I could throw them away.  I had to dry off in a certain order in hopes to avoid spreading this on myself any more than it already had.  Then I had to wash all my clothing and towels in hot water (I increased our water heaters base temp. so that it would be hot enough to kill it off in the washer, but not hot enough for anyone to get burned if they were using the sink/tub.).

After about 4 or 5 days my rashes started to itch like crazy!!!  I knew that this meant either really good things, or really bad things!  In my case, it meant bad things.  My rashes were going into hyper mode and growing!  So back to my other natural, or in the case of the bleach, not so natural options, since it seemed to be keeping things at bay.  However, that one week of using the prescription led to things spreading :-(

I was at the feed store one day when I asked if they had anything for ringworm, that may prove safe for humans. I have heard that a lot of meds for animals (not all!!) are made for humans and animals in the same facility, split at the end to go into different packaging.  Anyways, they had something.  I looked up online, and they do indeed have a human version, but the animal version is just cheaper.  What I got was called Vetericyn.  Now this did make a big difference.

Things started to clear up.  As an aside, I knew this would be a battle, due to the mold in our house.  My immune system is down because of that, which is why I probably caught ringworm in the first place.  Again, I noticed bigger improvements if I held wipes sprayed down with the Vetericyn on my skin for 30 minutes at a time.  But again, though it was improving, it wouldn't clear up.

We had a change in medical insurance so I asked for my doctor to prescribe me another cream, and an oral (I wanted that as a back up).  This time our insurance had better coverage, so I didn't have to pay so much.  I talked to the pharmacist about the oral medication and the fact that I was still nursing.  She was surprised that the doctor had prescribed it since she says it isn't considered safe.  Though she said it is prescribed as a last resort, and if I waited 5 hours after nursing, things should be ok.  Ugh, not what I wanted to hear.

I went home and slathered on the cream (ok, not really, as you are only supposed to put a thin layer on).  And, you might be able to guess this by now, but 4 or 5 days later, big time itching all over again!!!!  I cried.  I really, really did.  I remember staring at the oral medication bottle and praying.  I knew that with the track record I just had with using the creams, AND after reading online that many women find that once they stop the oral antifungal, their rashes just come right back, the oral medication would probably be a failure as well. I felt that the risk to my own health, let alone that of Merida's wasn't worth it.

But then I remembered something I had read in a homesteading book, written by Ben Hewitt, called Nourishing Homestead.  He wrote how each winter his cows would get ringworm.  After a few years of this, and learning more on how to take care of his animals, he figured it was a nutrient deficiency.  He started giving them free choice kelp.  Ever since then his cows have been ringworm free.  I looked in my pantry stock of herbs.  There on the shelf was a glass jar of spirulina.  I had bought it two years ago, hoping to add it to my goats feed.  For some reason that never happened.

I started adding almost 2 tsp of the spirulina to my morning smoothie.  Well, the morning smoothies started because I needed something to put my spirulina in :-)  I add other greens like kale, spinach and chard.  Needless to say, besides those couple of 'hot spots' EVERYTHING cleared up within that first week!!  In the week before I started to spirulina, I had 5 new rashes develop, FIVE!  So the fact that all those, and my other ones are totally gone, is nothing short of miraculous.

My next step is to purchase some more spirulina (I'm running low) and some kelp.  We've started on another supplement that is supposed to help heal your gut lining, and I will be having my alternative health 'machine' showing up on my doorstep this week.  But those things will be to help my overall health, and not so much the ringworm, as that is not an issue at this point.  Again, my body still needs a bit more, since I have these couple of hot spots left, but I am certain that the added spirulina is what finally helped me.

One very BIG step we need to take is to get rid of the mold in our house.  Jeremiah killed it off as recommended to us by the mold removal company.  But we need to go through the attic and get rid of all sources of dead mold, and then do a major cleaning downstairs.  I am sure with all of those things checked off those hot spots will be a thing of the past.  (These hot spots do not itch, are not actual "O"s, --though there are two that are light pink in the shape of a filled in circle--. and anyone who wasn't told I had ringworm would even consider those areas to be ringworm.  I just know that is where some of my ringworm rashes were, so they are areas I am keeping an eye on.)

All I know is that it was very refreshing to use an actual cloth washcloth in the shower and to be able to towel off without having to do so in a certain order.

I try to tell myself that I've gone through all these things with these different types of "bugs" for a reason, but it's not always pleasant to deal with it on a daily basis.  As a side note, ringworm, is NOT a worm, it is a fugal rash, just like athlete's foot.

Now for my disclaimer:  This is what worked (or didn't work) for me!  I am sharing this information with those who may be interested.  Please do your own homework, and talk to a trusted health care professional to see what your situation warrants.

My new BFF :-)  It may be two years old, but it is still potent.  It will be interesting to see how green the new batch will be compared to this batch.

You can see I keep a child's liquid medicine cup in here to measure out what I need.  This stuff is so powdery that it gets ALL over when trying to get a scoop.  And since we are always loosing our regular teaspoons, I went for the medicine up.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Groceries for our family of 10

I hope I am not the only one who loves to see not only how other people feed their families, but what it costs.  I can NEVER figure out how some people can have a grocery budget of about $300 for the **month** (family of 5 that I am thinking of).  Um, how is that possible?  Because my **weekly** budget is $450!!

Well, I decided to share what our groceries for the week look like, and their cost.  Because, maybe I'm missing something!

I usually go shopping at BJ's and Walmart.  Two years ago Aldis popped up, right in front of the Walmart I shop at!!!  But I never really made it there, unless they had avocados on sale.  Aldis has added a lot of good food items in those two years, and I have finally made the time to compare prices.  In my defense, Merida was born just two years ago, and shopping with an infant is an IN and OUT as FAST as you can affair!

Aldis does have some great prices.  Some are not too far off what I normally buy, but savings is savings.  For example I save just ten cents on applesauce at Aldis compared to Walmart.  However, for almond milk, Aldis is about 50 cents cheaper.  After Jeremiah came home from BJ's I was able to see that Aldis mozzarella cheese, for the same amount would be 71 cents cheaper.  It all adds up!

 Here is the whole of Aldis, except for a 24 count box of gummies, which my children devoured the moment I got home :-)  All of this cost: $82.05  Is it just me, or does that NOT look like 80 bucks of food!

 Aldis broken down a bit more.  Here are the fresh and frozen items I bought.  Oranges for snacking; the frozen spinach, celery and one of the cucumbers are for my daily green smoothies; the two bags of peppers for two recipes; and the tomatoes, lettuce, and avocados, plus the other cucumber are for salads.

From the back, we have four cans of diced tomatoes for a couple of recipes; two jars of applesauce for snacking and for Merida to take her D-Mannose powder; one can of cashews for a recipe, a splurge, but they were only $2.99; two boxes of baggies; popcorn kernels (popcorn is a favorite snack around here); two blocks of cheese for snacking; two packages of cold cut meat and the sliced cheese, they are for sandwiches intended for Bella, though everyone dug in once I got home;  one bag of shredded cheddar cheese for recipes.

 Three loaves of bread (though I could make my own, I am taking some short cuts at this time in my life!); I bought two almond milks (just one pictured); peanut butter; salsa for chips; and two jars of jelly.

 Two 12 count packages of Ramen (yes, I know they are unhealthy, but I try to grant them a couple of unhealhy food items, plus these cook up extremely fast if we are in a rush to get out the door); two packages of hamburger buns for a bbq chicken dinner this week; and two 10 count packages of tortillas for two different dinners this week.

The whole of Walmart's grocery haul.  I actually went over the receipt because *all* of this cost $86.32!  Not pictured is a 16 pound bag of cat food.  I forgot to mention we also have to feed 1 dog, 2 ponies, 4 goats, 5 cats, 8 rabbits (though tomorrow we are selling them), and 30 some chickens on our grocery budget as well.

 A close up look at Walmart items:  One box of mashed potatoes, stir fry sauce and rice vinegar for recipes; three packages of noodles; spaghetti squash for tonight's dinner; radishes for my green smoothies.

From the back, 4 tubs of yogurt (one will be used to make two gallons of homemade yogurt); 4 cans of soft dog food; mandarin oranges for chicken salad this week; two cans of coconut milk for my smoothies (I can not have dairy or eggs); 4 cans of Walmart brand Rotel; two cans of chunk pineapple for a recipe; two bags of bacon bits (for potatoes); black beans; razors, medicines and bandaids; a bunch of silverware since ours seem to walk off all on their own!

Jeremiah makes the BJ's run on Saturdays, and this is what we bought for the week, though some items last longer than one week.  For example the cocoa will last longer than a week.  Last week we bought baby wipes, but this week we needed diapers.  The total for all of this came to: $195.24

A close up look, from the back, two packages of 2 count whole chickens; three gallons of milk; Italian sausage; ground beef; two tubs of sour cream; bacon and pepperoni (can't wait for pizza night!)

Next up we have 6 packages of bananas (aprox. 3lb. each); children's Ibuprofen; cocoa.

Large bag of corn chips; 2-5lb packages of apples; 6 pack of romaine lettuce; two packages of mozzarella cheese; and cherries.

The package of diapers.

A quick stop to Whole Foods for some kimchi.  I usually make my own, but needed some to try to knock out a sinus infection I have.  These were about $13.

Due to the truck being used this morning, and church tomorrow, I have to save our animal feed purchases for Monday.  This week we will only need one 50lb bag of goat feed, and three bales of hay.  That should come to around $45.

That brings us to a grand total of $421.61.  There will be small things that pop up, like I didn't realize we needed some SOS pads, and some tweezers.  


One of the great tips I got off of "How Jen Does It", was to put your bag of snacks into smaller bags.  Brilliant!!!!  This has truly cut down on wasted chips.  With that large of a bag, and small children trying to handle said large bag...well, that equals lots of spilled chips.

Saoirse enjoying a baggie of chips :-)

 For any THMers out there, these are the special ingredients I use.  I already had the gelatin on hand way before I started THM.  I bought these neat blue containers at the Dollar Tree.  After a bag of Super Sweet tipped over, which was not closed all the way....well I don't have to tell you that I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again!!  I plan on finding or making some nicer labels, but didn't have anything on hand but plain ole paper and tape.  So far we've been buying our xylitol at Whole Foods.  Not sure if we are saving money or not, it was really a case of "we need some xylitol right now" situation :-)  I did not need to buy any of these this week.  I try to space these purchase out so I am not buying them all at once.

While I was taking these pictures I was sipping on my lovely army green smoothie.  I try to mix up what I use.  The base is the same, either almond milk, or coconut milk (depending on whether I want and "E" or "S" breakfast), a handful of okra, 1/4 pound of frozen spinach and a 1/4 pound of kale, collagen, sweetener, and most importantly for me: powdered spirulina.  Then I add some of the following, all of which is frozen: yellow squash, carrots, cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberris or cherries.  I also may add the following, which are not frozen: radishes, cucumber, avocado or celery.   I would like to get my hand on some beets to try those as well.

Below is my menu.  Moira and I are eating using the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way.  It is easiest of we can all eat the same, and I try to keep it that way, though as you will see below there are a couple of exceptions.  For breakfast I try to make a large green smoothie, but everyone else eats according to the breakfast items below.  You will also see an S, E, or FP for reference for THM.  For a crash course of what those letters mean:  All meals are supposed to have a protein and then each meal will either fall more towards higher in fat, or higher in carbs.  An "S" stands for, satisfying, a meal that has higher fat.  The "E" is for, energy, those are higher in carbs.  The "FP" stands for, fuel pull, which is neither high in fat or carbs.

You can see I have quite a few "E" meals in here, which means that on the days with lunch and dinner as an "E" I will make an "S" breakfast.  And even though my kiddos will be eating the same meals, they will add cross over items, or have snacks that will be crossovers.  Crossovers, for those that do not know are when you combine both fat and carbs in higher amounts.  Again, this is a VERY simple explanation, but hopefully you get the idea of how it works.

My menu for the week:

These are not scheduled, but I try to mix it up between smoothies, some type of eggs and possibly bacon, oatmeal or yogurt with fruit.

Sat: hard boiled eggs and roasted veggies *S
Sun: tomato chicken bisque soup *S
Mon: for the kids, cheeseburger rice/ for Moira and I, salad *S or E depending on how we feel that day
Tues: chicken salad *E
Wed: soothe your soul soup *FP
Thurs: rice and veggies, with shredded chicken *E
Fri: left overs

tonight, Fri: pasta with meat sauce, regular noodles for kids, and spaghetti squash as noodles for Moira and I *E 
Sat: cashew chicken *S
Sun: bbq chicken with coleslaw *E
Mon:  beef burritos, tortillas for kids, lettuce leaves for Moira and I *S or E depending on our topping choices
Tues: rice and sausage *E
Wed: slow fajitas, on sprouted homemade tortillas *E (if we felt we needed an "S" meal, we could put our fajita filling on a lettuce leaf and use sour cream, cheese and avocado toppings)
Thurs: pizza made with sprouted wheat *E

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