Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Food allergies / sensitivities

Recently Jason and Josh have been diagnosed with some food allergies and food sensitivities. Here are some good sites to explain these:

These are not life threatening, however we are trying to avoid these foods, as instead of digesting and getting all the nutrients from these foods their bodies actually attack the foods, much like they attack a virus that enters the body.

Jason tested positive for soy and corn allergies; and gluten and dairy sensitivities.
Josh tested positive for yeast and mushroom allergies; and gluten, soy, and dairy sensitivities.
Since it has been overwhelming to eliminate these all at once we have eliminated one each month. May was soy. June was corn. July will be gluten. Aug. will be dairy.
Before this we also eliminated all artificial food dyes and high fructose corn syrup.  We are still eliminating these as well.
I also have switched milk already and at home the boys use non sweetened Almond milk (some brands have way too much sugar.) I cook with this in place of milk as well. Occasionally they still will have a glass of organic milk to drink (they don’t mind the almond milk in their cereal, but hate to drink it as is.)
So what can they eat?
Safe foods are:
all fruits
all veggies (except corn)
meat (as long as it has no added soy, corn, or gluten; some hot dogs and cold cuts add these things.)
white rice
brown rice
any of these products
potato chips (as long as the oil is not soy or veggie, veggie usually has soy.)
almond milk
gluten free certified oats
The hardest thing has been bread. Almost every bread you pick up on the food store shelf has soy or corn, and gluten of course. I found one brand at Wholefoods that has no soy or corn added. I also have used Pamela’s flour to make bread and pizza dough and homemade bars. Pamela’s is free of all the things the boys shouldn’t have (except when I add yeast to bread.) I will use this exclusively when we eliminate gluten as well.

Jason has noticed since eating like this he has less headaches and stomaches. They are not completely gone yet. Both boys also seem to have more energy.
After we have eliminated everything (end of Aug.) we will maintain that for 3-6 months and then start to reintroduce some of these foods. Sometimes with food sentitivities after some time a person can have them again. That is Jason's hope. And mine as well, as this allergy / sensitivity stuff is hard work on me (and costly too.)
Although 100% elimination is the goal, we are human and that is hard, so it is a good day if we have 85% or higher elimination.
But this could be easily be blown with just one processed item that has all of the above, so we still have to be careful.

Do you or your kids have any food allergies or sensitivities?


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blessed with many Father's

Father's day is hard for me. I did not grow up with my dad in my life (although he is now.) And my boys are growing up without a Father as well.

I am so grateful for the love of my heavenly Father who has never let me down, and who has never stopped loving me.

In addition God has blessed me with many father's over the years. He blessed me with my biological father, John. Who helped to give me life.
He blessed me with my stepfather, Gary, who helped raise me. This man loved me and cared for me and did so many things for and with me. This man sat through a New Kids on the Block concert with my best friend and I.
He blessed me with, Andy, who had no reason to love me, but because of Christ did. At a time when my biological dad and stepfather were unable, Andy stepped in and became my dad.
He blessed me with Scott, who is now married to my mom. Scott is an amazing Grandfather, deliberately seeking my boys out at least weekly to do guy stuff and more. He helps me care for my home, and so much more.

So I can choose to be down and sad and think about what I didn't have or what I missed out on, but instead I choose to see the blessings that God has always been there for me and in addition has provided an earthly father in all seasons of my life.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all my fathers and to yours as well.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today we lost my brother Eric.

                                     These are the stones for both my brothers, Adam & Eric.

Today at a get together in Eric's memory. Many of his friends were there and skateboarding in his memory. This was Eric's bike, which Kevin now has. This is me, Josh, Kevin, Sam, Kaiden, Jason, and in the background is Scott. My mom took the picture.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Reading Books 1 and 2

Each year I challenge myself to read a book a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
So far I have read two.

The first book I read is:

This is an ebook, and is currently only .99 cents here. It is a great book for those just starting to homeschool or those who have been homeschooling already. It reminds you why you should simplify and some ideas on how to do so. I went to a class given by this author at Enoch. She was very down to earth. She also has blog that I also am enjoying as well. This book is a quick read, but still worth it.

The second book I just completed (for the second time) is:

The author was at the Wellness Week I attended in May. She was so encouraging to me on my exercise journey. I bought this book at Wellness Week and quickly read it while there. But I wanted to reread it and fully digest each chapter. It is a great book. It also is a great motivator to seek Christ in all your endeavors, and give exercise to Him as an act of worship. It has a lot of heart from the author and also testimonies from others throughout the book. All while centered in Christ. You can buy the book here. Of course yours won't be an autographed copy like mine, but you still will want to read this book.

What are you reading now? What is on your summer reading list?


p.s. I was not given free copies of these books, nor was I paid to do these reviews. These are just my opinions on these books. I also do not get any commission if you buy these books from the authors directly or any online stores.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

More Blessings

Today at church I was blessed with a new to me blendar, a knife set, a gift certificate to the local fishery, and a food store gift card. GOD just keeps on blessing us!

What has He blessed you with today?


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Reading

I like to challenge myself to read a book a week from Memorial day to Labor Day. That is 14 books. I have already read one, Simple Homeschooling. Here is the rest of my list:

Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst (1/2 way through this)
Don't Quit, Get Fit by Vicki Heath
The Candida Cure by Ann Boroch (1/2 way through this)
Give God a Year, Change Your Life Forever by Carole Lewis
Good and Angry by Turansky & Miller
The Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman & Campbell (this is a reread)
Will Medicine Stop the Pain by Fitzpatrick & Hendrickson
The Mom Factor by Townsend
Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
Last Child in the Woods by Louv
Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell (this is a reread)
The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott (Josh & I are reading this together)

I would also like to read a few fiction books, but have no idea of what. I will peruse the library to see what looks good.

What is on your summer reading list?


Is my debt a lack of trust in the Lord?

I just posted how I hate debt, but yet mine has increased in past month, rather than decrease. I know it is not that high (about $400 not including my mortgage,) but still I want it at zero. Why then, you may ask, did it increase.

I used the Kohl's to buy a Mother's Day gift and Josh some summer clothes. I know I could have made the mother's day gift, and probably searched around for more hand me downs for Josh, but I didn't. So in reality none of these were needs. I also bought at Kohl's 100 washcloths on clearance because each year we make about 100 shoe boxes at our church for Operation Christmas Child and we put a washcloth in each box. They were about .40 each and great quality, so I got them. We usually buy a case of cheaper quality washcloths for about .50 cents each. I could put in for these at church (we fundraise money to buy the supplies to make 100 boxes.) But will have to wait to put in for them until Nov., when we have fundraised again. Instead I think I will just donate them. I also bought about 20 winter scarves, mittens, hats, and gloves. These were originally $20-$40 items (of which I would have never paid) and were marked down to $2.80 each. These will be Christmas gifts or donations to those in need in the winter (probably both.) I also got a digital Christmas ornament and a few Christmas flashlights that were left over from Christmas and will be great gifts for this year. I spent about $170 on my Kohl's charge for all these items.

On my Amazon line of credit I just bought some of our fish oils, Goodnights, and a few other not exactly necessities, but stuff we use and I prefer to buy. I also bought a gift for the twins I babysit for because their family is so good to me.

But I know that I should not be using credit cards or lines of credit, so as soon as I pay off the Amazon I will be canceling it. I will not cancel the Kohl's because with it I frequently get 30% off coupons, and I find their quality to be good on the boys clothes.

What I know that I need to do when I think I have a need is to pray and ask God to provide. If He does then I know it was truly a need. If not then I can wait or do without.

Right now I need (as told by oil change place and my mechanic) 4 new (or newer tires.) Instead of using my MasterCard (that is at zero) I am just praying about it.

Also the boys each only have one pair of sneakers. I think they need another and a pair of sandals each, but have decided against going back to Kohl's. I am praying about it. Let me tell it, it is tough though. I feel mom guilt that my boys only have one pair of sneakers (that is all they have at least I have sneakers, church shoes, & two pairs sandals, but only because my feet don't grow. I have had my sneakers since 2007 or 2009, my church shoes since 2002, my other sandals since 2008, and they were only $5 new, and my everyday sandals since 2010.)

God has proven time and time again to me that He will provide. If He doesn't I need to accept that it wasn't really a need.

So yes, my non mortgage debt, is a lack of me trusting in the Lord. Time for a fresh start. So thankful our God is a God of second chances (and third, and fourth, and so on.)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Financial Update

I just finished paying most of May bills.
I still owe for May:
$400 tax money (this is $1,200 every quarter)(next one due August 1st)
$155 house insurance (this is ridiculously high and due every 6 months)

All utilities / other household bills are paid in full

I do still have debt, and it has increased. WHICH I HATE!
$170 Kohl's charge
$230 Amazon charge
$116,00 or so my mortgage (it goes down each month, but am not sure of exact payoff amount)

My MasterCard and online bill pay are paid up in full (I want to cancel the bill pay thing, I am not even sure how I got it.) I will not cancel my MasterCard because it is currently my oldest in good standing debt. I did charge full amount and pay off 70%, then remainder to try and improve my credit score (in 2006 I went bankrupt.) I don't even have a card though as I shredded mine and did not order a new one.

Right now I will only pay minimum on above three debts because I currently have no emergency fund and need 4 new or newer tires. I know greatly the value of an emergency fund and no debt, however even though I work 5-6 days a week I do not currently make enough to pay all my monthly bills. I am praying about working harder and / or smarter, but also trusting in the Lord as well (trying to anyway.)

July should be an extra check month so hoping the tires hold out until then. And after I get tires will focus on paying off the charges (since they are so small.) I hope by the end of summer to be current on all bills, have the two charges paid off, and have 4 new (or newer) tires.

How are your finances?


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Another blessing

Behind my back door (to the left of this picture) we have this cubby that we throw all our shoes in. It usually is a huge mess. I found this shoe rack on the garbage a few minutes ago. So cool.

The top rack is mine, middle is Jason's, and bottom is Josh's.

I have my flat church shoes, my red slippers, my black fall slip on shoes, my sandals, and my sneakers (I also have my Birk's on my feet and nicer heals in my closet.)

Jason has one pair and one shoe, hopefully we can find the match. (He just informed that the one missing a mate doesn't fit anymore anyway.) Josh has one pair on rack, and one pair on his feet right now. (He just informed me that those shoes don't fit him either.)

The floor is all Kaiden. Four pairs sneakers, four pairs sandals, and one pair rainboots (the blessing is I got him almost all these shoes for $40 recently, plus a few not pictured.)

God even cares if I have shoe organization. I can't believe I found this on the trash. It is not broken and fits almost perfect.

What are your blessings today?


Friday, June 1, 2012

God uses this blog too

God has also used this blog to bless me. Over the years (almost 5 that I have had this blog) people have donated money to us through paypal for various things we have fundraised for (Jason's week at camp, mission trips, etc.)  I also have had bloggers donate to help pay my water bill, buy food, and also just help fill in the gaps. I am SO THANKFUL for these people. Also many people have prayed for us through this blog.

Thank you God for using this blog to bless me and my family.
Thank you to all my readers, especially those who have prayed for us and donated over the years.

Has this blog blessed you? If so let me know how. Thanks.


God provides

I have been needing a newer couch and my dishwasher was broken for months. Last weekend when I was at the Enoch homeschool convention attending a workshop on Homeschooling on a shoestring. The presenter was literally saying if you need something God will provide it. At that exact moment my mom texted me with a picture of the couch she just got me and that she might also have a dishwasher. She did end up getting the dishwasher and Scott, my stepfather installed it. The dishwasher was brand new as well. It works great.

Also I had made a meal plan for Thur., Fri., & Sat. and my list literally included all the food we had in the house. That was all we had and were not able to get anything until some time next week. This list included breakfast, lunch, & dinner but no snacks (and you know kids like snacking.) Yesterday I went to my mom's (she is away) and she told me to take all produce so it didn't go bad. Then Josh's aunt called me and she had stuff to bring over. Mind you I didn't tell anyone we were almost out of food. She brought a bunch of leftovers that my kids love, half a huge watermelon, and other new stuff that my kids love.

Some of the fruit was too soft to eat so I pureed it all and made homemade ice pops, and put some in baggies in the freezer for my smooothies. I also froze some of the veggies to use for making a stir fry later.

These verses come to mind when things like this happen to me:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus

The thing is God does these things for us all the time. On paper my budget doesn't make sense yet He provides. I bought a house in 2009, that is only because of God. This was a desire of my heart and He provided. We have everything we need. I am sitting typing this on a laptop gifted to Jason for his 13th birthday, in my living room with no leaks or holes in the walls (God provided a new roof and the walls were recently repaired of all holes.) I also have my central air on, because it has been hot. I am a baby about the heat. It makes me miserable (but God blesses me again in that it is a requirement of running an in home daycare to keep rooms at or below 74 degrees.)

Recently I have been really stressing about money. I have not been trusting in the Lord, I have been leaning on my own understanding. God has used these blessings to remind me I can't do anything on my way, but He can do everything.

Matthew 19:26

 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Also I am so thankful for the people God uses to bless me and that they head His call to do so (in above instances my mom, stepfather, and Josh's aunt.) He uses many others to bless me on a daily basis as well.

What are your blessings today?