Aug 28

Last fall and through the winter I made a decision. I was overweight, and needed to drop at least 20 pounds. Three months and all my willpower later, I achieved that goal. But somehow 5 of those pounds seemed to have found their way back over the summer.

I could blaime it on a lot of things, but I know what the problem really is. I eat too much. I snack too much and eat too much junk. I know better, really, and think “this is so wrong” every time I grab a snack size bag of chips or sneak a piece of chocolate. I also abandoned my exercise routine when the weather got nice, and my nice lean muscles turned to flab.

Time to stop being lazy.

I’ve been easing back into a normal routine after going MIA for several months, and this is one of those things I want to get back to focusing on. Better eatting habbits, exercise, and losing a few more pounds. While it’s true my original goal was just to lose 20 pounds, I could actually stand to lose 20 more. Who couldn’t? But I really do want to do this. I want to see myself somewhere around the same size as I was before the kids were born. If I don’t do it now, it’s going to be that much harder to get to that size later.

So here we go. Counting calories again, watching what I eat, and easy back into excercising. Can we do it? Yes we can! Who’s with me?

Mar 4

Since spring is just around the corner, we’re starting a brand new series on gardening here at the blog. For the next several weeks we’ll be bringing you tips, ideas, and where to buy seeds, bulbs, and live plants. This series will including gardening ideas for flowers, vegetables, and herbs.

Being a farmer’s granddaughter and having a weekend dad who was once in the floral business (who also still lived next door to a greenhouse), I know that gardening and farming is in my blood. When I bought my first home, I couldn’t wait to start adding my own personal touch to the floral decor and growing my own food. Eight years later and I still get excited when the snow starts to melt, exposing my garden once again.

My house isn’t big, and I don’t live on a very large lot. One lonely tree stands in front of the house, but flowers are rapped completely around and a small garden is tilled in the back. Every year I try out something new, no matter if it’s a new vegetable or annual flower, or even a new perennial in a place where there wasn’t anything before. In the summer, our yard is simply alive.

For this series, we’ll be referencing Nature Hills Nursery, Inc. because I really like this store. It has everything you could possibly want for gardening, including seeds, plants, bulbs, and other supplies for decent prices. If you are looking to buy any of the gardening supplies you see in this series online, we’ll give you a link from this store.

If you live in central Iowa though, I highly recommend Hendrikson’s Greenhouse in Newton. This greenhouse was once owned by my dad’s family long before I was born, and really still is. The current owners have always been somewhat of an extended family to me with my dad still living next door, and I’ve known them all my life. They are great people and this is truly a “family owned business”.

Be watching every Wednesday for a new segment of our gardening ideas series!

Apr 30

The other day I posted about how my son, almost age 8, is having problems at school. More and more I’m starting to think the school is making the problems worse and the more I’m thinking about homeschooling (see my article about Homeschool vs Public School).

Earlier last week my son was refusing to do his work again. He ended up staying after school to finish it up. No problem, and that’s not a bad solution. Since once of his issues is wanting to be independent, I’ve been letting him walk home (we live less than a mile from the school in a very small town). The school knows this and called me to let me know he’d be late. 20 minutes after school got out they called again and said he was on his way. Again, no problem.

A few days later I went and picked up the little one from school and came home expecting my son to walk. I came home to a message on my phone stating I needed to come pick him up and they weren’t letting him walk. Why? What happened? I called back noting school had only been out less than 10 minutes, and asked why I needed to come get him. Their answer was “we don’t want him walking alone”. Again I asked “why?”. Same response.

When I got back to the school, he seemed to be fine. I expected him to at least be in a bad mood, maybe saying he didn’t want to go home. But that wasn’t the case. He seemed happy to see me and no arguments on getting in the car. If he had done something terrible, why weren’t they telling me? And why was that day different from earlier in the week?

I just don’t understand why they are trying to make this worse by taking away something that gives him the independence he’s craving. We all know that sometimes kids want to be more independent than they can be, but walking home? Why not? He knows it’s something he can do on his own (and yes, he comes straight home), so why are they taking that away from him?

This isn’t the only problem I seem to be having with the school. Yes I know my son is difficult and I’m not about to let him run the show. But I feel like they are not listening to me when I give suggestions (See my thoughts on Indigo Children, regardless what your religious beliefs are). Not only are they not listening to me, but they aren’t him either. It’s amazing how bright this kid is and how many good ideas he has, but it’s all falling on deaf ears and getting worse. The more they take away the worse it all gets, and I just want to scream.

Thanks for letting me vent. I know you homeschooling moms will understand completely.

Apr 21

This has been on my mind for quite some time. My oldest has had problems “fitting in” at public school, and behavior has gone from bad to worse in the past few weeks. We’re to the point he is now seeing an outside counselor because I didn’t know what else to do.

It’s not that he isn’t smart. Quite the opposite actually, he’s way ahead of his class in reading. Everything else he’s quite “average”, but I have to wonder if he wouldn’t be ahead in other things if he was actually LEARNING at school instead of being put in a room by himself as punishment for not falling in line.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe there needs to be certain structure in a child’s life. We all have to live by certain rules, and can’t always have it “our way” on demand. We can’t just do whatever we want any time we want. Kids DO need structure.

But I have to wonder how MUCH structure is actually needed. The main problem with my son is he is very independent. He doesn’t like to be taught to, but rather likes figuring out things for himself. He takes great pride in finishing a project without help, and will go so far as to teach others how to do it. You could say he’s a leader, not a follower.

It’s becoming obvious that homeschool is a better option for him. When the kid spends most of his time in a room alone or in the office, what is he learning? This kid needs one on one help, which the school just can’t give.

I’ve witnessed how smart this kid really is. A few weeks ago I planned to have him out of school because he had an appointment with the councelor. His work for the day was given to us ahead of time. The appointment wasn’t until 1pm, so we had all morning to do the work. He’s quite a stubborn kid, so actually getting him to do what he doesn’t want to do can be somewhat of a challenge. Plus this work seemed meaningless to him, which makes the task that much harder. After some resistance, he did in fact finish his work for the day. In less than two hours! If he would have just sat down and did it quickly, it would have taken no more than a half hour. What exactly are they DOING at school anyway?

I guess at this point I see the public school as a threat to his mental health as well as education. If he’s constantly fighting the school, he’s exhausting himself and not learning anything. Right now he’s only in first grade, but how long before he is falling behind the rest of the class because his energy is spent fighting the system? How long before his social skills start to suffer because he’s in a room all by himself?

My biggest concern with homeschool has always been the social aspect. Although now I’m really starting to question if a public school isn’t hindering his social skills because he’s being pulled out of the class so much. He’s spending his recess inside because he’s fighting the work. Recess that he of course does NOT get to make up. I understand in the real world there is an order to things, and we have to do things we don’t want to do before we go play. However, when an adult finishes their work, they get free time. They aren’t shuffled off to another activity that is of little interest to them.

In conclusion I believe I have a smart, self sufficient child who is being serious stifled in the public schools. As we work our way through counseling, I’m weighing the options of keeping him in school verses homeschooling (see this article on Homeschooling vs. Public School).

What’s your thoughts?

Mar 20

It’s about that time of year - time to starting thinking of great vegetable garden ideas! I can’t wait for it to be warm enough to start, how about you?

Normally our garden is set up as a salsa garden. Basically you’ll find tomatoes, jalapenos, and green peppers. Sometimes we’ll grow red peppers too, and dry them (those plants produce quite a bit - far more than you’ll ever use in one year!). Tomatoes we always have an abundance of as well, and I’m tired of chopping them.

Instead of our normal garden, I think it’s time for something different. Last fall we really got into the pumpkins both for pie and for decorating. So this year we might just plant two different types of pumpkins and see how that goes. Our main garden area is big enough to let them take over, so why not?

I might sneak in a tomato plant somewhere just because it wouldn’t be summer without garden fresh tomatoes. Although I have a feeling a few plants from stray seeds are hiding in the garden right now waiting to surprise me. It’s just a matter of cleaning up all the dead plants from last year to find them. ;)

What are you planning to plant in your garden this year?

Feb 19

If your kids are in public school, they will most likely have pink eye at some point. Fortunately pink eye is similar to the common cold - it DOES go away on it’s own.

Most schools will require they be on antibiotics to be able to come back. Our school always says that, so I just keep the kids out for a few days. I would never put my kids on antibiotics unless it was necessary. Especially for something that’s easily treated at home and needs no extra help to get rid of.

It’s simple: Just make sure you keep their eyes clean to avoid any long term damage to their eyes. A warm wet rag will do. I also use chamomile tea bags over their eyes to draw out the infection. That’s it! Their eyes stay clean and their bodies are able to fight off the infection on their own.

The kids have had pink eye twice now, and this has always worked. Even I caught it once last year. It takes about 2-3 days to be completely free of symptoms without antibiotics. Both times I’ve only kept them out of school about 2 days. Actually the first time there was a “threat” of pink eye in school this year and my daughter’s eye started to water, I immediately treated it with tea bags. She never fully got it. Did we prevent it? I couldn’t say, but I do know she hasn’t had pink eye yet and there’s now been two threats at school in the past few weeks.

Now of course if the symptoms get worse or it doesn’t go away within a few days, you DO need to seek out medical attention. I cringe just saying that because I really do not respect most doctors, but you also want to make sure your kids are well taken care of.

Feb 18

We’re looking forward to seeing the lunar eclipse on Wednesday, Feb 20th. I’ve never seen one before, so this really is a treat for me and the kids as well. This will be one of those rare events I’ll be letting them stay up late to see something really neat. I just hope the weather is good.

You’ll be able to start seeing a change around 9pm EST, and it will be the most beautiful an hour later. Apparently pictures shouldn’t be too hard either even with a regular digital camera, so we’ll be giving it a shot (no pun intended!).

More information can be found at:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/15357796.html

Jan 17

Need some motivation to keep up with your New Year’s Resolutions? How about getting that energy from a candle?

Does that seem like an odd suggestion? Maybe not! Prairie Soy Candles has just introduced a new scent titled “Aromatherapy: Energizing”. This unique scent is a combination of fragrance oils and essential oils. Spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen, aroma with a faint base tone of citrus designed to get you energized and motivated.

Candles are made with 100% soy wax, a small amount of beeswax, and cotton wicks. No dyes or additives, making a clean burning candle. See all scents, styles, and sizes on Prairie Soy Candles online store.

Nov 26

Over the past several months my son has been battling fluid in his ears, ear infections, and hearing problems. All this being caused by major congestion due to allergies. We finally tracked the source of the allergy - mold. But the specialist only said “here’s your drugs” and sent us on our way. Why I thought he’d have some other answer I’ll never know. I do know that I’m DONE fighting this battle with both the allergies and the “specialists”.

I’ve done a lot of reading over the past few weeks, and I’ve come to several conclusions. First off, drugs or no drugs, there is no quick fix. The problems won’t just “disappear” the next day. Even with a prescription he could still be dealing with this for another month. Which defeats the purpose of drugs, don’t ya think?

Second, I’ve realized my son is not healthy. If he was, he would not have these problems. His little body is not fighting off what it should be. It’s not working the way it should be. I feel like this is somewhat my fault for not making sure he’s getting the nutrition he should. His younger sister never has major problems, but she’s also not a picky eater in the least (in fact just the opposite - we have to watch her so she doesn’t eat too much because she’s already a bit “chunky”). She eats and gets what she needs. My son does not.

Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to fight the problems, we have to help his body first. The source of the problem is not what type of allergy he’s suffering from, but rather that his body can’t do it’s job. Instead of “treating” the problem, we are going to HELP his body fight it off on it’s own.

I’ve read a slew of resources for “treatments” and tried several things. After a few weeks, they really aren’t working. In fact, I questioned today if he’s not getting worse. This just confirms what I’ve already said - we need to make him healthy, not just treat the problem.

Currently he takes children’s vitamins that I picked up at Walmart. I like them, I really do. They have no added sugars, additives, or other garbage (I had to really hunt for those by the way - finding anything natural at Walmart is a real challenge!). He likes the taste and I know they are actually good for them. BUT they are not as good as they could be.

As I was doing some more research, I came across Eve’s Best. This is already a friend of mine (in business), and I already trust what she sells. In fact, the water distillers she sells was something I already had in my home long before I met her! She’s got a long article about allergies, which talked a lot about what I had already read in other places. Help the body, don’t treat the problem.

On her site she sells children’s vitamins, similar to what I give my son already. But there’s a huge difference between what she sells and what I already have. Granted they are both natural vitamins, but the ones Evie sells have more of the key antioxidant vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Her vitamins have more Vitamin C, E, and A, as well as more Zinc and other important ingredients that our vitamins didn’t have. It’s not that we have is bad, it’s just that these are better.

Evie’s vitamins are not the only thing my son is given. We also give him flax seed oil capsules which came from Shamanshop.net. We give him this not only for his allergies, but because he’s also got some behavior problems which may or may not be ADD (I refuse to get him tested, because I know the answer will be “yes he’s got it, here’s your drugs”). He was really lacking focus, and I can’t tell you how much he’s improved just from this one supplement. I think it’s also helped the school is now aware of his hearing issues, so they make sure he understands before he’s in trouble for not following directions.

For several weeks now, my 7 year old son has been taking children’s vitamins from Eve’s Best, and flax seed oil capsules from Shamanshop.net. While to me he still sounds slightly congested, I honestly believe his hearing is starting to improve. He has not had an ear infection, or so much as a cold since he started taking these on a regular basis. In fact, his little sister and I both caught a flu-like bug, but he has yet to get it (knock on wood) . If he hasn’t gotten it by now, I highly doubt he will. Which to me is absolutely amazing, because he was always the first to get sick. I do wish I would have been giving my daughter the vitamins all this time too so she wouldn’t have gotten sick, but the plus side is she bounced right back from it and wasn’t sick nearly as long as a few others had been. That’s proof enough to me our old vitamins were good, but these are so much better!

Our supply is starting to run low, so I’m off to buy more right now. ;)