One BLESSED Week!!!

Not so long ago, I would plan my week very loosely. And not much in each day. If I had to run to town that is all I would do. If I did wash, that’s all I did. And many days my wash would not even get finished. If I needed to make extra food, that’s all I did. As in, doing more than a normal day of dishes, food making for survival, hopefully get the kitchen floor swept, etc. I think you get the picture. Even though in the past yr I have felt better than I had in the couple yrs previous, I still could not do a whole lot without wearing out. I just took it one day at a time.

Well, this week started out with a bang and just kept going, FULL BLAST!! And well, I just kept going with it and adding more and more. I kept waiting for a crash, but one hasn’t come yet. Every night I have gone to bed tired. But a good tired, like one of having worked hard and is just tired out. (Post coming up with LOTS of picture of our week!!)

Thurs evening, as I was lighting the fire in the fire pit outside for a hotdog roast with the boys, it suddenly hit me and I wanted to stand there and weep. (It still makes me emotional now as I write about it.) I realized just what I was doing, and doing because I FELT like doing it. Not doing it because I was tired of telling my boys ‘no’ for the 129th time. I also started singing and telling the boys, ‘I feel so good’! I wanna spend this time with you. I wanna doing things with you. I wanna make fun memories with you. I am tired of having to say ‘no’ because adding another thing in my day will just make it harder on me and wear me out so much.

So many days I wanted to cry, they would ask me for simple things, a hotdog roast, a bike ride, a walk, games in the evening, a fun snack, go somewhere fun, just whatever, and I couldn’t do it without being so worn out I could hardly make supper. Or do some other needed activity. I felt like I was robbing the boys of memories they deserved to have. I felt so guilty in not being the mom they needed.

As they were growing up physically and emotionally, I watched as I was not able to correct and train in the ways they needed. I did what I could, but many times had to turn away. I had not the energy to run after a disobedient child, or the energy to deal with a strong willed attitude. I had to pick and choose my battles, and many times I didn’t bother to fight. Is it easy saying this stuff? No, I wanna go delete what I have written. I don’t like admitting I failed. I know I probably could have done better in some areas. But then came the inconsistencies. Some days I would have energy to train and other days none at all, so they got by with more things. It was a struggle for me and confusing for them.

A week ago I ordered some charts for training, and it has been a life safer. I really think it would have worked when I wasn’t feeling good. But I didn’t think about using them, even though I had known about them. I didn’t know they would be so good. For each ‘crime’ there is a Bible verse and then a consequence. We (Delvyn & I) chose what it would be. Now, if they commit the offense, we can look at the chart and they know what is coming.

And I will say, it’s not been the easiest week of our lives, as we re-establish order and discipline in our home. But peace is beginning to reign once again. I am seeing the fruits of the labor. Although I know it’s not all done yet, more like just beginning in a lot of ways.

As I can do more work WITH them, and not always try to make them do things. They are enjoying life better too. Learning to work together better, and enjoy working. Not feeling put out because Mom isn’t working but making them work.

Many days or should I say nights, I would lay in bed and wrestle with this whole thing. Crying out to God, as to why He would allow me to be ‘sick’ at this stage of life. When my boys needed me, my husband needed a supportive wife, when I had so many things I wanted to do and could not do it. Or I could do it, then my family would pay by having their Mom crash for days afterward. I know God had a reason for this, or allowed it for a reason. I may never understand the why’s, but I really don’t need to.

But now after this past week, I feel hope. I have literally been doing 2-4 BIG things every day!! And still going… I feel so good. I feel so alive. My brain doesn’t feel bogged down and so muddled when I have a bunch of things going. I can do last minute things and not feel out of control. I feel like I can just breeze through the day. And many times stopping and Thanking God for giving me my life back!! Many times I stop and ‘look at myself’ wondering who I really am, thinking, ‘Do I even know you? Where did you come from? And please, even though I don’t know you so well, please don’t go away again!!! I want to get to know this new you!’

Will I still have bad days? Probably. We all do. And really, I told my hubby the other day that I almost miss those ‘do-nothing-days’. I didn’t feel guilty for sitting at the computer, or for reading books as I didn’t have energy to be doing anything else anyway. Now, if I sit too long I feel edgy and have to go do something. Many times I wondered if I was addicted to FB or reading blogs and such. But on my feel-good-days, they were the last things on my mind, so I knew I really wasn’t. And it’s been that way now. I don’t feel the need for those ‘breaks’.

God is so good!! He has answered my prayers in ways I never dreamed! And I am still watching them unfold before me. And I can’t wait to see what all He has in store in this next chapter of my life. I am still learning to just trust Him, resting in His will, waiting for Him to lead each step.

And as I go, I will keep sharing what has made this huge health change for me – Plexus!!! It has done more then balance my blood sugar levels and then balanced my body. It has changed my life!!! I will never be without my little pink drink!!

If you want to learn more, ask me. Here is a link to my website- Plexus. Go check it out.

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Plexus Slim Has Changed My Life…

plexusslim_logo I know it is LONG past due for a health type update from me… so where do I start? Guess I’ll just recap my whole story and try to keep it short and to the point. There are a lot of post on my blog explaining our journey, so if you want more details on a certain point, there is a good chance I have written more about it. Here is the link to all my posts about our lyme journey.

My health began declining right over the time I got married. I had some skin issues a few years before I got married and now know it had to do with my internal health. I got mono a week or 2 before my wedding. Talk about being a zombie bride, but I just thought it was stress and all that with a wedding. We didn’t find out it was mono until 2 mths later.

Then in the course of time, I had 2 miscarriages, and a LOT of research was started. Progesterone cream helped me carry 3 babies to term. But each was not without it’s struggles, and pain. Each baby had issues related to poor gut health, but I didn’t understand that at the time. Collin’s breath-holding spells, Jevan’s collic, and Rylen’s yeast rashes (they all actually had that). For me, after each baby was born, I had a harder time bouncing back. And I would have bad hip pain that got worse with each pregnancy, until the last one, it never really went away. And after Rylen I really just never got my energy back.

Thus began a new chapter in our life. A friend help me realize I was dealing with lyme in Aug ’10. A BIG disease with no clear-cut answer to get better. We began by changing our diet, confirming it was lyme, and beginning natural ways of dealing with the lyme spirochetes, candida, and ‘cleaning house’. We even tried antibiotics for a couple months, but I felt sooo nasty (not just physically, but emotionally) and we decided that was not the route for us.

We stuck with natural, herbal things, like tinctures, cleanses, and eating properly. I would make progress, then slide back again. It was discouraging a lot of days. I would have days of feeling good, then many days of not feeling good.

Then right before our 10th anniversary, in the middle of doing more intense cleanses, killing lyme, etc, God gave us an unexpected blessing!! I discovered I was carrying a new life… and all that I was doing to try and gain my health back, had to come to a screeching halt. Not to mention, I was not on my progesterone cream, and was scared to just jump on it. So we decided to see what God had in mind and what my body was capable of doing. In other words, had all that I had been doing since fall of ’10 been doing me any good?? (Seems a bit harsh, but it was what we felt God was asking of us.)

About a month later, I found out I also had adrenal fatigue and the lady who was helping me with that said she could not help until I was done nursing. In other words not for another 1.5-2 yrs!!! I felt pretty discouraged after that!!

My summer was ok, after I got over the 1st trimester ‘ughs’. I didn’t have lots of extra energy, but I had enough to get me through and do what I needed to do. But I was really dreading the hip pain. And up until July or so, I had been keeping it at a minimum. But knew the last trimester is the worse. I just really dreaded August-October. (I was due Oct 25th.)

Then, my friend who has helped me on my whole journey with lyme, told me about a new product she was on, in Aug, Plexus Slim. We were sorta at a point of being tired of trying new things, having things work for a while, spending $$ and not having long term results. So it took her a bit to convince me to try it. The main pull to try it was the fast relief, and the relief from pain that a lot of people were saying they had.

So we tried that first, and started the slim as soon as I got it, in mid Sept. Within a couple wks I was having minimal pain in my hips, sleeping so much better at night, and beginning to feel like I could cope with life and what it threw at me!!

By the 2nd week in Oct. I was like a person nesting, which I am sure it partly was!! But this was the first time I could actually do something about it, and with TONS of energy behind it!! And believe me… I was like a fireball!! (Umm, mean-grean-cleaning-machine!!) Since I had been so un-energetic for soooo long, I had many, MANY corners who needed cleaned out!! And now, I finally had energy to do something about it. My house was fairly smiling!!

And then so was I, when my baby decided to show up almost a wk early!! And in a BIG hurry!! He beat the midwife here.  My post postpartum was much better than my other 3. I recovered much faster, had more energy and could cope with life. Even with all the changes of messed up nights, adjusting to a new baby routine, etc. I really dreaded those first months after I was due. I didn’t know how I was gonna handle it all. I knew my body would crash, and crash hard! But I NEVER did!! I was on a slow roller coaster ride Plthat didn’t have those highs with hard crashes. My life was just all even-ing out.  I still had my days or even wks at a time where I felt sluggish, but nothing like I used to have.

And I know it was because I was detoxing, rebuilding my body and just healing from the inside out. I have been dealing with the candida, and rebuilding the good gut flora. I just feel soooo much better all over. I can face life again. I don’t get overwhelmed when my plate begins to get full. I sleep good at night, even though it is so chopped up, and I may lose many hrs of sleep. I will still wake feeling refreshed and ready for a new day. (Most times!! There are those moments…)

I just can’t stop thanking God enough!! My prayers have been answered and I can once again be the wife and mother He wants me to be.

(I will post more about Plexus, for those interested later. For now, you can check out my website here.)

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Introducing…

Karson Emmett!!

Karson  1

So I know this is way over due!!! I mean he is 5mths old after all, but nothing has been said about him on my blog. He is our special, unexpected, miracle blessing!!! And has been a joy in our home every day since he was born!! And we can not imagine life without him!!

He was born Oct 18th, 9 minutes after midnight. And after only 3 hrs of really active labor. Shocking for me!! My labors have all been much longer. So that being the case, we didn’t call the midwife until almost 12 am. And of course she didn’t make it. So Karson was born into my arms, in a big hurry, and a big way! He weighed in at 8.14lbs!! Which was a shock to me. I wasn’t really expecting a big baby. And he has never slowed down since!!

I really think he is just trying to catch up to his 3 older brothers. He watches every move they make and delights in playing with them.  And so far he is keeping up with them, in reaching milestones around the same time. Like sitting up at 4 1/2mths.

brothers50IMG_2212{Awww, looking at these newborn pics makes me want my tiny baby back!! He grew up way too fast!! I was trying to enjoy every moment of it. And I think I did. But when you have 3 other boys, plus teaching school, the days seem to fly by!!}

karson 6wks smKarson at 6wks.

family13 8x10 smThis was our Christmas picture. Collin – 8, Jevan – 6, Rylen – 4 and Karson 1 mth.

k3At 3 mths.

karson 5mths smallAnd these are the most recent. I just took them last week, at 5 mths old. (Believe me, I could post a whole pile more. But I have to stop somewhere.)

Karson has been my happiest, bubbliest baby. And so content. He patiently waits for his meals, naps and whatever. He plays happily for long periods of time. Yes, I am blessed! {Until it comes to night time. He is my first baby that likes to sleep with mom most of the night. He sleeps, but just likes to ‘snack’ all night long. So I keep him beside me, so we both get some sleep.}

Anyway, just had to share my baby with you!! Even if it is mostly through pictures. Now I need to go get some work done while the other 3 are outside. Today is colder again, with sunshine, snow and my wash merrily dancing on the line.

Posted in Boys, Family Life, Motherhood | 2 Comments

Time to Dust Off the Blog

So I pick up this blog, like an old rug that has been laying around for far too long, grab a hold of the sides and give it a firm shake. I watch all the dust fly around, and carefully lay it back down. I really do hope I don’t neglect this blog so long again. In fact that is part of the reason I haven’t picked it back up again. I am scared I won’t keep up with posting regularly. But here it goes… I really enjoy blogging, but so much has happened in the past yr and a half. I didn’t know what to post. And now I don’t know where to start, so I won’t try to cover it all.

Life has its rough spots, its dry spells, and I was in one of those times. In some ways I don’t feel like I am totally out of the ‘desert’, but I am beginning to see a brighter, more colorful world again. It’s hard to share and give of ones’ self, even in a small way on a blog, when I feel dry and empty inside. It’s hard to explain where I was, and what all I have learned. I do know one thing, God is GOOD, ALL the TIME!!!

He has shown me so many things, and I know HE is there even when I don’t always feel Him near. I am learning to trust Him new ways. Learning about relationships, and my role in them as well. Some day’s it still feels so hard, and like I still have a long, long ways to go. So I try not to look at the long picture, or even look at what all I need to do right now. Just take one day at a time. I can get overwhelmed easily when I try to bite off more than I can chew.

All I am hoping for right now is to be able to post a bit more often, we will see where it goes. It may be fairly often at first, as I have things to post. But who knows…

All I do know, is right now, I WANT spring, er, summer!!! Spring is showing its face, in a slow way. But at least we are seeing spring!!

So here’s to a new ‘chapter’ on this blog. And if you are still here and have been patiently waiting on me, wow!! Good for you, and let me know you are here.

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Mini-Family-Vacation

Our summer plans changed slightly, ok, a lot, when we found out I was pregnant. We had tentative  plans for a trip out west. I knew that with my other pregnancies, I can’t sit for long periods of time. And in a vehicle it’s even worse.

So we made plans to do something close to home this summer. (Plus we hadn’t ever taken the boys to get their reward for following the GAPS diet so well in Jan.) We thought of doing a 2 night/3 day vacation in the Dells. But with all the farm related stuff happening around here, and being so busy we didn’t feel we should take off that long. So… ONE day it is!!

Our plans were for a relaxing, fun, family day! Not a pack in all you can, spend as much $$ as we can, party til we drop sorta day. And we did it!!!

First stop- WI Dells Deer Park

8 Aug 131

A place where you can feed and pet the deer. The boys loved it!!! Rylen soon discovered that his boots are noisy, and must walk quietly. (He had worn his cowboy boots.) And they all found out that it’s much better to walk slowly then rush at a deer to feed it, or they will then have NO deer to feed!! Of course they loved the goats, the pigs and admired the chickens. Duh!! Collin even had to feel a doe’s (goat) udder, just to compare it to a cow. (His dream is to have a milking goat one day.)

Next we headed for  a duck ride…

Ridin' the Ducks

Yes, they were all eyes and loved it too, especially the ‘splash down’ into the water. Jevan could have done that run a few times!! But it did sorta get long on the ride, looking at the rocks, scenery,  etc.

Then it was lunch time… And trying to find a place to eat there was sorta a joke, I had packed a picnic lunch, and we didn’t feel like chasing a park down. So we ended up just eating in an empty parking lot behind some stores/restaurants. The boys loved having space to just run and be boys!! Even eating, while laying on the floor of the van.

After lunch, we had some time to kill… and a number of options we could have done… So we let the boys pick what they wanted to do… a few rides or play putt-putt. Putt-putt was unanimous.

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So putt-putt it was… and they had a BLAST!!! Delvyn and I let them play the hole first, then we took our turns keeping score for ourselves. Soon they were playing the hole ahead of us, and we moved fairly quickly. It was greatly amusing to watch their version of play. Rylen pretty much herded his ball to each hole. Jevan actually got a few hole-in-one, or else he sent them flying hither and yon. Collin went somewhere between real play and the boy’s version. The last few holes he did play with Delvyn and I and did really good. Just another sign of my little boy growing up!!

Then we didn’t really have time to anything and still make it to the Ski Show. So we found a little beach/picnic area and Jevan was the only one to brave it and go play in the water. Crazy kid, it was a very cool breezy day, barely getting above 75*. Delvyn and Rylen took naps and Collin and I just relaxed, watching Jevan. And then read our story book.

We headed for the Tommy Bartlett Ski, Sky and Stage Show then. It was almost the boy’s favorite part of the day… (they had a hard time picking at the end of the day when we asked them.)

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It was fascinating to watch all the stunts and tricks these guys (& gals) did.

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Rylen does not like clowns… And gladly sat on his Dad’s lap through most of it. I think by the end he realized it really wasn’t so bad. Collin sat at the edge of his seat through the whole thing.

Last stop – Supper- at Buffalo Phil’s!! The dream of the day!! They couldn’t wait for this stop to finally come!!

8 Aug 13

Train delivered food… What kid wouldn’t like that?!?!?!? We had to wait a half hr, because we did make reservations, others were waiting over an hr. The train went by often, and had different things on it each time! Once it was a bubble machine blowing bubbles at everyone as it went by. They couldn’t wait for our stuff to arrive each time. It sure is a great way to keep kids occupied during the ‘long’ wait for food!!

Then we headed home, making one last stop for an ice-cream cone. Each one had a different favorite, but they all loved each part of the day. And that is what matters most!! We enjoyed making family memories, just being together, and building relationships.

Posted in Boys, Family Life, Motherhood | 1 Comment

What If…

roseWhat if… God couldn’t take the time to bless us today
       because… we couldn’t take the time to thank Him yesterday?

 

What if… God decided to stop leading us tomorrow
          because… we didn’t follow Him today?

 

What if… we never saw another flower bloom
     because… we grumbled when God sent the rain?

 

What if… God didn’t walk with us today
        because…. we failed to recognize it as His day?

 

What if… Good took away the Bible tomorrow
     because… we would not read it today?

 

What if… God took away His message
         because… we failed to listen to His messenger

 

What if… the door of the church was closed
        because… we did not open the door of our heart?

 

What if… God stopped loving and caring for us
        because… we failed to love and care for others?

 

What if… God would not hear us today
       because… we would not listen to Him yesterday?

 

What if… God answered our prayers
       the way… we answer His call for service?

 

What if… God met our needs
      the way… we give Him our lives??

 

~Writer Unknown
 
 

 

 
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Our Miracle…

shoes 2013

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A Post in Which I Try to Recap 4-5 Mths.

I don’t like starting posts after I have been absent for a really, really long time. But I know there are many of you who are waiting to hear the results of my last testing, so I will try to update you. But first I will have to go back a bit…

Last fall I could tell my health was starting to go downhill again. And I didn’t know why. And it seemed the more I tried to figure it out, the worse I felt. I did GAPS intro again, it seemed to help for a short time. But then I knew it was not the whole answer. I had a wk here or there of feeling better, and then I would crash again.

There are bits in here I am not going to share, but to say, I was going through a lot of emotional stress too. I felt like my world was all upside down and there was no way to put it to rights.

So in January I began digging again… looking for answers and yet scared of what I may find. The friend I had went to in FL for cleanses winters of ’11 &’12 let me know she was now sending her cleanses and doing it remotely via skype. So we tossed that idea around. It would be a rigorous 8-10 mths, but sounded hopeful. And I found a nutritionist in CA who goes by your blood results to help you.

But before we made any decisions one way or the other we heard about someone who does live blood analysis. So we decided that would be one simple place to start. And I wanted to see what Collin’s blood looked like, to know if we were doing the right things for the boys.

If you have never had a live blood analysis done, it is VERY interesting to say the least!!! Collin was fascinated to see all the moving living things in a very tiny drop of blood (from his finger).

That showed us a lot of things, mainly a bunch of puzzle pieces that we now are starting to fit together. I will just name off the highlights of the things we found… (and I am sure I am forgetting a few, as this was done the end of Jan.)

~Liver congestion – which I already pretty much knew, it just confirmed it

~ Rouleaux -Rouleaux is the French term for “cells in a row.” Rouleaux or rolls, is the tendency of red blood cells to aggregate or stick together and form long rows that look like stacked coins. Causing your cells to not be able to absorb nutrients or oxygen. One of the many reasons I don’t have energy.

~Yeast -Or candida. Collin and I both had it. And if one has it, figure the rest of your family does too.

~Parasites -Yep, what we all don’t like to think about and most don’t realize we have. Or think it’s not an issue. Well, parasites are part of life, and they can and do easily get out of control in the body!! We have actually been doing parasite cleanses regularly and we still had a lot of them. I know some of it has to do with the fact we are on a farm and we eat a lot of pork.

~Protein linkage – Which shows I am not digesting my food properly. No surprise. I figured that. And knew I had issues with digesting gluten/grains. And just in the past month realized just how much I can NOT handle corn!! It goes straight through me, sorry if tmi. But it’s the truth. And it’s sad!! I LOVE corn!!!!! So we have not been eating much corn or corn products around here.

~Kidney stress was shown too.

I think those were the main things. The rouleaux is the most thing to be concerned about. It is a sign of a very unhealthy body!! We did things like parasite cleanse, yeast cleanse, and liver cleanse (pills this time), and tried to improve things in general. But I felt like I needed to do more. My body was not responding very well, or in a way I was hoping to see.

Feb. and March were very stressful months for us. Again, for a number of reasons I will not disclose right now. And I was having more bad days than good days. But most of the times was I just feeling good enough to get the basics of house upkeep done, wash, dishes, meals and general upkeep (very loose standards). I didn’t do much cleaning, but by spurts, if I had a burst of energy I’d vac the carpets. Or sweep the kitchen floor, etc. Nothing was ever done all at one time.

We made plans the end of Mar. to get some lab work done, through a nutritionist in CA. I talked to her on Tues. evening. We had actually both been thinking thyroid problems, but the results showed very good on thyroid and not so good on other areas that point to adrenal fatigue.

And a bunch of results indicating the same things we had seen on the live blood analysis. The liver, poor digestion, inflammation in my body (which I know, my hip still bugs me), and something new, VERY low blood sugar. Along a deficiency in folate and vit. B12, which could be from something else that we will need to get tested at some point as well.

What does that mean?? Mainly it all points to adrenal fatigue. And we need to do more testing to find out just how bad that may be. The adrenals are the stress hormones, primarily adrenaline and cortisol. And play a huge part in balancing the blood sugar levels in the body and maintaining the correct electrolyte balance of salt/water for proper cellular function.

I am not going to go into all my symptoms and such. If you want to study it, there is plenty to look into online. At this point I am not sure when we will do more testing, but are going to start doing some adrenal support. And I am being much more conscience of when and what I eat.  I found it very interesting, I read a post of someone on GAPS and she lost energy after a few months or so on it. GAPS is not really a low carb diet, but it does tend to lean that way. So I after thinking I should eat more the GAPS way, it’s sorta hard to think of eating other foods again. But at the same time, I could never totally take myself away from them. Things like rice, sweet potatoes, and some oatmeal. And I could never stop dairy!!! And I am sure that was my body’s way of telling me, I needed those carbs!!

It is hard for me to eat, consciencely every 3 hrs. It’s easy for me to feel nauseated as my blood sugar levels go down, and then I don’t want to eat. And that is a very common place for me to be, so I end up not eating much through the day and by late afternoon am feeling pretty rough. I need to figure out some easy snacks of things my body needs. Right now it has been meat & cheese rolled up in lettuce leaves.

And the number 1 thing I need to do is reduce all the stress I can in my life. hahaha Yep, hear me laugh. This wk knocked me pretty flat!! I was not expecting to find this answer, so I have been stressing out about it all and researching like crazy. Wed-Fri. I wasn’t out of bed much, just felt completely wiped out and very weak and shaky.

Everything makes so much more sense now, as that is how I have been feeling for a while. And I would just push my way through everything. Which is NOT a good thing to do!! I need to STOP when I start feeling that way. It doesn’t take much to bring me to tears, just ask my family. And I would feel so overwhelmed with life and trying to raise the boys, etc.  I’m too much an all or nothing person and it has caught up with me.

I must say I have learned a lot since some events in Feb. But learning to continually apply them is not easy. It’s not easy to learn new things, to think in new ways and live life in a random and carefree way.

So pray for us, as we look into options, and seek God’s will in the coming months. And as I try to not do too much… and we have a couple of VERY busy months coming up!!! God has taken us through high waters before, I know He will lead us again.

Here are some links with more adrenal fatigue info if you are interested in knowing more…

Dealing with Adrenal Fatigue - A good well-rounded comprehensive post on adrenal fatigue, it’s symptoms, causes and what to do. (There is a link here, not sure why it’s looking funny!)

Treating chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue naturally -  a shorter post stating the basics.

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue: Help and Resources for Healing

Posted in Health | 3 Comments

New Year’s Memories 2013

My house is quiet. The boys have gone outside to play in the few remaining hours in which it is to be warm yet. This afternoon it is to start dropping and by morning be around 0*. Right now it’s more like 40*.

15 sandy

So I will post pictures from our New Years party, with my Gingerich Family. Or the ones that were there. It was mostly local people with few others coming from IA and CO. But it’s always so fun to be with whoever comes around for Holiday’s. I was delighted when my hubby agreed to go. We had just hired a couple new guys and I didn’t think it would all work out.

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We headed up there Sunday afternoon, getting there in time for supper. I love how our get togethers revolve around games, games and more games. There is always a new ‘favorite’ that gets played the most, but there is also the old favorites. And often there was some one reading stories to the littles.

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The house was always too warm, but this year the basement was too cool. Growing up, Grandpa had a wood stove down there and it was always so HOT!!! But we still had many wonderful cousin games to warm up the atmosphere if nothing else. Good fun laughter, banter and conversations are enough to warm any one!!!

ryry

There were plenty of Great-grands running around. Once Uncle John came down to the basement to get something from the kitchen and was tackled by a mob of children. He did all he could to get away, but just couldn’t!! There were at least 3-5 kids per leg!! Finally one of the guys came to his rescue, intending to pull him out the door to a snow bank. It didn’t take long and kids were letting go.

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5pullingMonday found talk of going out to the ravine. Our Uncles use take all the cousins out to a back pasture to sled & tube in ‘the ravine’. Soon some of the ‘in-laws’ were lamenting that they had never been back there. My hubby being one of them. We are not sure what happened, but no one has been back there in over 10 yrs to go tubing. So it didn’t take long and we decide to go. 3mom&ry

Oh, the memories of piles of coats, hats, gloves & mittens, along with the boots and toe stompers that came back. No one could find their stuff very easily and I’m sure Mom’s felt frustrated by the time 27 cousins filed out the door. (Just to all come with a wet, soggy mess 2 hrs later.)

4delvyn

Soon a few loads of cousins, littles and some Uncles were piled in pickups, snowmobile, and gator. And we were standing at the top of the old ravine. Oh, yeah!!!

19train

My boys had never been tubing or sledding on such a steep hill, the prefered to ride down with someone, mostly Mom. So you know how many times I went up and down??!!?!?? Gave me a good workout that’s for sure!! My Uncle John did use his gator to take people back to the top if they wanted to.

We made ‘Trains’ and had ‘Train Wrecks’. While the littles watched their parents and other grown-ups acting like little kids… Oh, it was fun!!!

20trainwreck We had a good laugh at Jevan when he went down the hill, when he wasn’t trying or wanting to go down. I was trying to get him to go with me, and he was running away. He happened to step on a sled, and was soon heading down the hill, head first, and his sled was backwards. Yes, he made it to the bottom just fine, much to the amusement of the ones watching from above.

7sisters

My cousin Mary Emma, pictured with her sister, who also is fighting a battle with lyme was able to go out that afternoon and again that night. I was so happy for her, to enjoy some ‘normal old time’ fun!!! She even rode the snowmobile back to Grandpa’s when we were done.

9jeffmegThat evening a bunch of us cousins decided to see the New Year in out at the ravine. Along with snacks and a bonfire. Oh, did I mention it was -10*!! Yep, minus 10 degrees!!! Call us crazy, but that’s what those Gingerich Cousin’s are!! And I was the only one crazy enough to take my 3 boys out there to join in the fun.

13boysThey loved it to say the least, although none of them ever went down into the darkness of that deep ravine. (It didn’t help that certain cousins of mine had told them there would be coyotes waiting for them at the bottom. Ggrrr)

14coldThe full moon was lovely, the fire hot, conversations uplifting, hot chocolate & hot tea warming, the cheese was frozen, the air exhilarating, and blankets comforting.

The rides down the hill were fast, and you could hardly breathe it was so cold. And one didn’t waste time at the bottom of the hill… and the run back up to the inviting fire, did start to warm you up.

We counted down to the New Year, and then made fast tracks back to the warm beds calling for us. It has been a number of years since the last time I seen the New Year in. And we made sure it was in for real, as we stayed up ’til 4 am. Yeah, not a good idea when the kids had all been in bed hours and hours earlier.

17del&iNew Years Day we actually went out tubing again. And had a bonfire for those who missed it the night before.

We didn’t wanna leave the party and family, but home was calling. So we headed south around 5 that evening.

The boys beg to go camping at Grandpa’s, in fact when we told them we were going there for New Years, the first questions asked were if we were gonna go camping again!!! Yep, the 2014 Gingerich Family Reunion won’t come soon enough for them!

Most of these pictures were taken by my cousins. I had forgotten my camera, so got some from them. Thanks, Meg & Verena.

Posted in Boys, Family Life, Randomness | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

My Grain-Free Menu Ideas

Grain-free-SymbolAs most of you probably do not know… We decided to try going grain-free for the month of Jan. The boys have been having lots of ‘issues’ with their health and character, and I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with it. I have known about GAPS for a long, long time, but could never just bite the bullet and do it with them. GAPS is limited dairy, no grains and no starches, limited sweeteners, and limited fruits, LOTS of broth and probiotic. And more ‘rules’.

I had done another Master Cleanse in Oct. And followed up with doing the GAPS intro diet for the next month. I really felt good through the whole thing and felt like it did me a lot of good. I have stayed off grains ever since. (Well, I should say, I did try eating oatmeal, as that was the hardest for me to give up. And that really backfired. So no more oatmeal!!!) And I discovered I am very allergic to soy!! Namely soy lecithin in chocolate!! I haven’t really played around with other foods to see just what it is, as I don’t like soy in the first place. It is hard on your hormones, not to mention 99% of it is GMO. So I like to buy the Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, for our chocolate treats now and then. It is soy free, gluten-free and a natural sugar. And tastes REALLY good!!!!

So anyway, we told the boys that if they would follow the GAPS diet for 4 wks, we would take them somewhere really fun!!! Here we are on day 15 and they ate soup for supper (so now this was last night, didn’t get it posted when I thought I would). That may not seem like a small claim, but it was not taco or chili soups, which has been the only soup they will eat in a long time!! But rather it was a butternut squash soup, with carrots, onions and lots of seasonings. They knew soup was coming and were not really excited, until they sat down. Collin right away pipes up, ‘But it doesn’t really even look like soup.’ I just smiled!! I knew how I needed to do, I was just building up to it in baby steps. And tonight, they LOVED it!!! Rylen even ate 2nds. (Jevan did need a bit of prodding, but he did it!!) How did I do it?? Cooked the squash, onions & carrots in broth until really soft, puree it all, and then added the meat. I put in some seasoned pork. But any cooked meats will do. So it was a thick goop with meat chunks.

It looks like we are well on our way to going somewhere fun next month. And my goal is to remain pretty much grain-free for a long while. And maybe one day do the GAPS Intro diet with them. Until then, we will just keep playing around with being grain-free as much as we can.

I will add in here, we are not 100% grain-free or 100% following the GAPS diet. I am doing the best I can for right now and letting their bodies absorb all the nutrients it can right now. It’s so hard to be 100%, but I would say that we are close to 90% or more!!

We did a parasite cleanse the first week of Jan. Of which my boys dislike greatly, but they do an awesome job at plugging their noses and taking nasty taking stuff. (Not that they really do plug their noses, just metaphorically speaking, they pretty much do hold their breaths though.)

So here are some of the meals we eat around here now…

Breakfast Ideas:

Banana Pancakes - This is 1 banana & 1 egg mashed together and fried in fat. I have added cinnamon, vanilla & salt. Another way to remake and stretch it is to add coconut flour, squash and more eggs. Here is the recipe use, from Kitchen Stewardship.

Breakfast Cakes – I started making different flavors of breakfast cakes this month. We had a routine of Baked Oatmeal on Sunday mornings. And other times when they really wanted it, as it is/was a favorite!!! So the Breakfast Cakes made a good G/F replacement. You can find these recipes on my Pinterest GAPS Board. The ones I have made, are marked with a date.

Eggs - Of course we eat lots of eggs. Scrambled, fried, omlets & custards. We had a new one yesterday, Banana Coconut Baked Custard. It doesn’t seem as filling, but I think I will make sausage patties or some other side of meat to add for breakfast. (Btw, how do you get your chickens to lay more eggs?? I know mine are getting a bit older, but they should still be laying better than 3-5 eggs or less a day!! And I have about 20 birds. I keep telling the boys they need to squeeze those chickens harder. One day I was scared they were gonna actually gonna do it.)

Smoothies - We love smoothies. And they are easy & simple, and yet filling.

Coconut Flour Crepes – We LOVE these!!!! And even use them as tortillas now & then. They are super, simple and very good!! I sorta combined a few different recipes… so if you wanna check out other recipes it’s fine with me.

This is the one I have been using. 2 TBS Butter or Coconut Oil, 6-8 eggs, 1 tsp Honey – optional. Blend with stick blender. Add a dash of salt, 1/4-1/2 tsp Vanilla, 1/3 C. Coconut milk or Milk, 2-4TBS Coconut Four. Blend with stick blender again. (Coconut flour tends to be clumpy, so the blender works best.) I say the honey is optional, because if we use them for something savory use we don’t want it sweet. Anyway, melt coconut oil or butter on frying pan. Pour about 1/8 c. batter on pan. Swirl pan to spread it really thin!!! Let fry until lightly brown, just a minute or 2. Flip and fry a half-minute or so more.

We butter one side. And serve with my sugarfree jams and apple butters, adding some homemade yogurt and maple syrup now & then. It is also good with fresh fruit. Or you could make a berry syrup to serve on it. (Sometimes they roll them up, other times eat them as a pancake.) It takes a lot to fill them up.

Tropical Traditions has a recipe about like mine.

Lunch Time:

Leftovers - Our main staple for lunches. And no, I don’t have a microwave. So it takes a bit of thinking ahead. Either getting it in the oven ahead of time to warm for half an hr or more. Or in a crockpot, or just reheating on the stove top. It really is not as bad as it sounds. It took a bit for us to get used to, but now we don’t think anything of it.

Tomato Soup - It’s my own home canned. I experimented with trying a G/F version of our favorite recipe. And it is really good. My boys just really miss the toasted cheese sandwiches we used to eat with it. Maybe I should try a cheesy crepe substitute.

Cheese & Meat – We have our own summer sausage, or ham or whatever other meat is on hand, and sliced cheese.

Lettuce Wraps - This is something new for us. And one Delvyn & I like better than the little boys, Collin loves them. It’s best to use romaine lettuce (with big leaves), and add lunch meat, & cheese (may add homemade mayo if you wish.) Roll up and eat.

Other filler ideas - Egg Salad, Fish Salad, Fajita’s, Hamburgers. We pretty much just replace our bread with the lettuce. I don’t mind it so much as my hubby does. He misses his breads more than I do.

Supper Ideas:

Squash, squash and more squash, that’s what we have been eating a LOT of!!! Mostly butternut squash, and spaghetti squash, but I have fun trying other kinds as well.

Butternut Squash Casserole - The boy’s favorite!!! (I have not used this exact recipe, most times I just throw stuff in, and skip the topping. But figured you all would like a recipe. And I’ve never added sour cream, so I would say it’s optional.)

Spaghetti – With spaghetti squash. I just bake a spaghetti squash for 45-60 min. (After cutting it in half and scooping out the seeds.) Then shredding out the squash with a fork. It really is in strands, sorta like noodles. I make a meat spaghetti sauce to serve over the noodles. And a side of some veggie. I made it the other night, with the biggest squash yet and they almost ate it all!!!

Stir Fry - I LOVE a good stir fry, with LOTS of different veggies. But my boys don’t care for it that way. We had been loving it served over rice. So if stir-frys are new for you, try making it to serve that way, (unless you are going grain-free.) I have found my guys like it with a sauce poured over the veggies. Here is a simple, yummy sauce: 2TBS cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder, 1 C. Broth, 2 TBS Soy Sauce or 1 tsp Salt, 1 TBS Lemon Juice. Bring broth to boil, and add rest of ingr. Stirring constantly, cook until thickened. Pour over stir fried veggies. My boy’s veggies of choice are onions, peppers and carrots, I like to chunk squash into it too.

Roasted Veggies -  Choose whatever veggies you want, cut them up, combine oil, seasonings and veggies, tossing to coat. Then roast at 425* for about 45 min. Seasonings to use rosemary, salt, pepper, my herb seasoning mix, or whatever you wanna put on. Learn to season your foods with herbs, they will tastes so much better!!!

Fajita’s - Another favorite of ours. And I serve it on a lettuce wrap. Recipe – 3TBS Oil, 1 lb Chicken breast, cut into thin strips, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano flakes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 2 TBS lime juice, 1 large pepper cut into thin strips, 1 large onion, sliced. Mix seasonings and pour over the chicken strips, coat well. Fry in the oil until almost done. Add peppers & onions on top of meat. Fry until tender crisp, (as I do.) Or you may steam the veggies by adding some water and covering for 5 minutes or so. Serve with lettuce, sour cream, salsa, shredded cheese. Optional serving the traditional way with tortillas. (The recipe can be found in the Healthy Choices Cookbook.)

Shepherds Pie - This one would be really easy for you to get lots of veggies in a picky-eating-child. There many different versions out there. I found one that is GAPS, and uses cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, which are not on the diet. My boys seen me chunking up the cauliflower, but didn’t see me process it. So they happily ate ‘mashed potatoes’. (I didn’t bother informing them otherwise.) Recipes are on my GAPS Pinterest Board. This was one recipe my boys loved with the mashed potatoes on top.

Meats – We eat lots of meat. Chicken, pork, & beef mostly. Fish once in a while as a treat.

We also eat some fermented foods. I made my own sauerkraut. Delvyn loves it, I think it’s ok, and the boys tolerate the spoonfuls I give them each meal. Oh, I just give them the liquid, no cabbage. I wanna try more with other veggies soon.

We eat lots of fruit, and veggies. The boys think it’s great fun to peel their own carrots for a snack. And don’t cut it up, by all means. It’s way more fun to hold a big ol’ carrot.

I do tend to use Coconut Flour as my favorite grainfree/gluten-free flour. It is the most frugal that I have found. It does NOT take much flour to replace in recipes, as it is a VERY thirsty flour and a little bit goes a long ways. It has taken us a while to get used to gluten-free foods. But Sunday I had made coconut flour cupcakes and even my hubby loved them. They are more crumbly, but it was still tasty.

Here are links for grainfree eating… for those of you who asked and are looking for more ideas…

Nourished & Nurtured - There are a lot of good recipes here. And some of them are linked to in this post.

Grainfree Foodies – A blog I browse now and then.

GAPS Diet Journey – I have found some ‘keepers’ on this blog.

Elana’s Pantry – Has lots of good baked things. But more of your uncommon ingredients. I just started using her cookbook a lot.

Any more ideas you have to share in the comments?? Or more questions?? I hope this helps some of you who asked…

(This post maybe a work in progress, I’ll probably add more things as I think of them.)

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