Friday, December 28, 2012

Reclaiming Our Health (Becoming a Juice Plus Distributor)

In November, I had the chance of a lifetime and got to hear the amazing Dr. Sears speak in my small town. It was an intimate meeting, with not a huge amount of people there. I felt so incredibly honored to be listening to the Dr. Sears, who in many ways helped shape who I am today as a parent. Many of my decisions on attachment parenting came from reading his books. Hearing him talk did not disappoint and he was incredibly smart and knowledgeable. The entire talk was mainly about living a healthy lifestyle and how to take those steps to do so.

Trying so hard to get a cell phone picture without him seeing! LOL! :)

A healthy lifestyle is one that we are slowly converting to in our family. Not that we ever lived a terribly unhealthy one, but there were still many steps we have taken to change our lifestyle in order to better our health.

We started last year by going gluten free. In all honesty it ended up being a relatively easy switch. We started taking a probiotic daily, or in our case, we started making our own homemade kefir. I started the girls on a cod liver oil supplement, and just recently started myself on a fish oil one (although I'm seriously considering doing this instead). We all take a vitamin D3 to boost our immune system, especially with our winters. A few months ago, we also decided to go mainly dairy free and I am slowly working towards going grain free. The one thing I didn't do for us, was find a vitamin supplement to take. However, our natural doctor we see told us that as long as we were eating enough fruits and veggies, we were ok.

Now we eat a pretty good amount of fruits and veggies and in the summer we are signed up with a local CSA. However, I knew we probably weren't getting enough and it made me think about possibly starting to take Juice Plus, a whole food supplement that I had thought of taking for years. Juice Plus is a simple, inexpensive, and convenient way to add more fruits and veggies to your diet each day. Juice Plus isn't meant to replace the fruits and vegetables you eat, rather it helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat. It's also gluten free (which is a huge plus for our family).

The more I looked into it, the more I liked what I saw. In fact, I liked it so much that I figure, if I'm going to take it, I might as well become a distributor too, as I care about the health of others.

As a parent, the real selling point came to me when I found out that if you have any adult (it can be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc.) taking Juice Plus, you can get Juice Plus for a child, over the age of four, for free. That to me is amazing and because Zoelle has really struggled with her health (more so than the other girls) over the years, we have her under me for free.

One of my biggest concerns was how expensive it would be, but for less than a cup of coffee a day ($1.50) you can get the Orchard Blend and Garden Blend and if you want both of those and the Vineyard Blend, it is $2.50 a day. Super reasonable, and if you have a child who is getting it free under you, it makes it even a better deal. For us, it just came to the point of asking what was worth our health, and Juice Plus certainly is. I mean after all, who doesn't need more fruits and vegetables in their diet?

Oh and if you are wondering, Zoelle loves the gummies and thinks they taste really good (I've tried them before too and I agree).

Are you ready to re-claim your health? If any of you are interested at all in adding more fruits and vegetables to your and/or your child's diet, and if Juice Plus sounds like something you would like, please feel free to check out my website, or email me at  I would love to help you get on your way to a healthier life. If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them as well. Lastly, if you too are looking to make a little money, and are interested in becoming a distributor with Juice Plus, e-mail for more information. I was pleasantly surprised at how financially doable it is to become a distributor and the really cool thing is you get to help people get healthy at the same time.

What better time to change your health and lifestyle then now as part of the new year!?!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours, we are wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Mama Heart Cries Out

Too many coffins unbearably small
Voices singing, melodies sweet, now silenced by the grey
Who will lie on the pillow as the tooth fairy waits?
And who will rejoice when the butterflies take flight?

Too many coffins unbearably small
Bright eyes full of future now hidden by the grey
Little shoes, ready to race, have no feet to fill
The dinner table cries aloud for its missing bowl and spoon

Too many coffins unbearably small
Our wombs ache to hide them safely, now torn by the grey
We breathe in the sleepy yawn of molasses cookies
The crook of an empty arm yearns, like a puzzle missing its final piece

Too many blessings to count them all
Voices singing, melodies sweet , now dancing in the light
Running fast, the race with joy, glorious as they go.
Butterflies take flight, and we rejoice, no longer silenced by the grey

Dear girls,

My mind is reeling tonight. It has been for four days. You see four days ago, 20 beautiful children right around your ages were killed. 20 precious little boys and girls who had their whole lives ahead of them, taken away in an instant.

My mama heart cries out for the other mamas whose soulful mourning is heard across the globe. Whose tears rain down soaking everything around them. Whose anger screams out at anyone who will listen.

I feel the pain with them. Although I don't understand it, I feel it to my very bones. After all, I am a mama too. The thought of losing one of you, makes my heart lurch.

I want to scream out to God for those moms. I want to cry out and beg for mercy, for peace, for understanding. All of which I've somehow been quietly doing in order not to alarm the three of you. Zoelle you know though, you always have been able to read me, and you figured it out. I wish I could tell you all it will be ok, that nothing like that will ever happen to you.

But I can't.

All I can tell you, all I can encourage you to know and believe with all your heart is that God cannot be kept out.

No, my sweet little girls, He cannot be kept out. When the world all around you seems dark, evil, and plain old scary. When dad and mom are not here to remind you, please, please remember that there is always a light. Find that light and run toward it and know that God is bigger than the darkness, the evil, and the pain.

These last four days I've looked into your eyes a little bit more, I've snuggled you closer, I've cherished your cute little sayings, I've smothered you in kisses. All the while knowing that each of those 20 mothers wishes for one last kiss, one last snuggle, even one last fight. I'm holding on to you tighter, begging God to not let me forget the anguish of another mama. Because all too soon the world will forget and move on. The next tragedy will come and the focus of the world will turn.

But for me, I'm determined to have it be another wake up call to impart into your lives what I need to now. So each of you would know how much your Heavenly Father loves you, so you feel whole and loved in our home, so you can pass that love onto others. Always love others; no matter what.

So tonight girls, I sit at the piano and quietly sing to you, to God, and to the mamas who are crying out for peace. May these lyrics comfort them like they comfort me, and one day, perhaps comfort you. I love you!

"Breath of heaven, hold me together
 Be forever near me, breath of heaven
Breath of heaven, lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness, for you are holy,
Breath of heaven"

*Poem written by a friend, Jennifer Tostenson, whose heart, like so many others, is breaking for the little ones who were lost.

*Song lyrics are written by Amy Grant

*Picture take by me, and somehow when I look at it I see peace.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: Just Keeping It Real

Not so happy photo shoot of the girls before the Christmas program!

Much happier after being a little bit more awake!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Xlear Sparx Review

Lately our family is taking some big steps to becoming even more natural and healthy (I hope to blog on that soon). But one of the huge areas of struggle for us is candy. Now, I personally am not a huge candy eater (except when it comes to my tootsie roll addiction that I have curbed), but I do have at least one child with a very sweet tooth. She must get it from her daddy because he is the same exact way.

Thus, when I was offered by Moms Meet to review Xlear Sparx, which is sweetened naturally with xylitol, I thought I may as well try it and offer an honest opinion on it! I will admit, I fully went into trying it thinking it wouldn't really taste like candy.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it does have a candy taste. Now, if you are wanting a sugary, sweet taste, this is not it. However, it is sweet tasting and it does satisfy my craving for a sweet. The real test would be my girls. All three liked both the Citrus and the Fruit flavors (although I would say our whole family preferred the Fruit). I was happy they liked it because they are free of artificial colors and flavors (a huge plus in my book). My husband thinks that it tastes a bit cool and sweet at the same time. I'm trying desperately to come up with a better way to describe that, but the only thing I can say is he says the candy gives off a cool, sweet sensation when you eat it. I personally really liked them, and kind of found them addicting (so I still need to watch what I eat with them even if they are natural).

At $1.49 a tube, I think it is a definite healthy alternative to candy. If you want to learn more about Sparx or other Xlear products, make sure you check out the Xlear Website and Facebook, for all the up to date happenings on the company.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet Program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this produce and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Safeskin Kids Antibacterial Gel Review & Giveaway

No one likes to get cuts, scrapes, or burns. However, using an effective and safe Antibacterial Gel does help. Especially, when it is for children.

Safeskin Kids Antibacterial Gel is formulated to keep working for up to 48 hours, if the bandaged wound stays clean and dry. This means you can avoid the pain of bandage removal for a full 2 days! If your kids are like mine, they hate having a band-aid peeled off, so this is great!

One of the great things about Safeskin is that it is a barrier to MRSA. MRSA (pronounced mersa) is a type of staph bacteria that does not respond to some antibiotics that are commonly used to treat staph infections. Thus, having a barrier to that, helps prevent that step from every happening.

One of the greatest fears that my girls have when having a cut, is putting medicine on the cut that either stings or hurts more then the cut already does. I was able to test it out and found that it did not sting at all. Instead if felt nice and cool to the skin.

I also know that my girls will not use any sort of medicine that smells strongly of that well known medicinal smell. As hard as I tried, I could not smell any smell with the Safeskin Antibacterial Gel.

Overall, while I typically always try for a more natural approach first in a first aid situation, I also realize that at times, an antibacterial gel will be needed. Based off of my experience with Safeskin Kids Antibacterial Gel, I would not hesitate to use it again.

Feel free to clip out the following coupon (click on picture for link to coupon) for $1.00 off Safeskin Kids Antibacterial Gel (available at Walmart).

If you'd love to win a tube of Safeskin Kids Antibacterial Gel, just leave a comment telling me why this is something you would like to win! Contest will end in one week, on  December 7, 2012.

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided for me by BSM Media. I was compensated with a small gift card in addition to the product. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Monday, November 26, 2012

His Love Endures Forever {Book Review}

An unplanned pregnancy. An absent father. Can love really endure all things? God has plans beyond what her mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never fails but endures forever.

For a long time, I have been a lover of Amish books. I am completely intrigued by the Amish lifestyle and so in a way, reading about it places me directly there.

His Love Endures Forever left me feeling like I was watching a movie transpire. Or that I was even a character in the movie.

In the very first chapter, Danielle (an unmarried, Amish woman) finds a pink positive sign on a pregnancy test. This instantly caught my attention because as an Amish, unmarried woman, being pregnant instantly ostracizes you.

From that point on a love story is built up, but it isn't a love story that is in the books or movies. Instead, it is a true love story between friends and the love that can be built up with each other when love seems impossible.

I don't want to share much more about the book, so I will just say that if you like Amish fiction, I highly suggest you to read His Love Endure Forever.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from I was not obligated to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A 5 year old with mono? Yes, it's possible!

A week ago, I took Zoelle in to see our regular pediatrician. We regularly are in contact with a natural doctor, we all see the chiropractor on a regular basis, and because of that, our trips to our regular ped. are rare and far between. In fact, when I brought Zoelle in for her 5 year check up, our ped. mentioned how healthy our girls are and to just continue what we are doing.

Thus, last week, taking Z in was a bit unusual. But I did so because she had several symptoms for 3 weeks and last week, they seemed to be escalating and getting worse. This mama was getting worried. Her symptoms were:

-More emotional than normal
-An on again/off again fever
-Fever was low grade, but at the end of last week was jumping to 103 at night
-Complained of a neck ache
-Not herself
-Said her throat was a little sore
-Often told me, "Mama, I'm just so tired."
-Her new molars coming in hurt

Since she is getting her 6 year molars, I automatically assumed that all those symptoms were related to getting new teeth. I know that getting new teeth is no fun, and so it seemed natural to me that she was fighting off that.

However, last week, she was just more and more "off" and I couldn't ignore it. Every night her fever would jump to 103 degrees, and I would be convinced to call the doctor in the morning to make an appointment, but then by morning she would be back to her spunky self. No fever! I was baffled. Thursday, she slept on and off the whole day, and so knowing that I would be soon going into the weekend, I made an appointment for Friday afternoon. I was soon very thankful I made that appointment, as Thursday night she was really sick. She was feverish, clammy, and completely out of it. I had her sleep with us several nights in a row as I was so nervous. But this night, I was extra worried as I knew something was wrong.

I spent many hours googling her symptoms. All that kept coming up was meningitis, new teeth, or strep. At one point, mononucleosis came up, but it was dismissed because of the fact that children rarely ever get mono.

Zoelle and I made a date day of our ped. appointment being that his office is an hour away from our house. We went, talked to him about her symptoms and he did a blood test (which is no fun for a little girl), a urine check, and a strep check. All came back clear and he mentioned wanting us to come back in on Monday if she wasn't better, and for sure to get her blood drawn again. He brought up the possibility of mono, but said it would never be the case because of her young age.

After our appointment, we went to get a "coffee" drink. Zoelle ordered a chocolate/caramel steamer. She got through about half of it before she told me her tummy hurt and she didn't want it anymore. We headed home, got the girls from my parents, she ate a tiny bit of supper, and then we headed back home for bed.

We are in a habit of making our own kefir smoothies, and because she wasn't feeling well, I wanted to make sure she got hers. She drank hers up and almost immediately started screaming to me that her tummy hurt. She was insistent that it was her belly button that hurt. After googling (again), I kept getting appendicitis. So off to the emergency room we went.

I was exhausted as I had been gone and/or driving all day, but I wasn't willing to let a sore tummy go on another day. Especially when combined with her other symptoms. This mama just knew something was not right.

We had a wonderful male nurse, who took her temperature and it was then I found out it had jumped to 104.6!  My little girl was very sick. However, she was still able to loudly declare as the nurse was leaving the room, "I thought only girls could be nurses mom, not boys." To which I muttered something about how I had failed as a parent to show only stereotypical gender roles! Yay me!

When the doctor came in, I immediately recognized him as a doctor Zoelle has had before on another emergency room trip. I remember that he was kind to her before and did a nice job. He asked me the typical questions and I told him everything that had been going on. He told me right away he didn't think it was appendicitis, but that he wanted to take her blood again just to make sure. In the meantime, he also ordered an x-ray. Doing blood work on an overtired, five year old, at midnight is no fun and she put up quite a fuss. But we got it, and then we waited. Thankfully, I had brought my younger sister, Selena, with for company.

Finally, at one in the morning, he came back in and told me that her blood work was fine, and the x-ray was fine. However, he decided to run a test for mono as he has been seeing it more and more in young children. And sure enough, my five year old has mono. He mentioned that it is extremely rare in kids her age as it is the "kissing disease". To quote him, "Normally, you see it in 15 or 16 year olds who are hitting the books and other stuff late at night". So naturally, the mom in me asked him how in the world she got it at age 5? He looks at me, and without missing a beat, in the straightest face ever says, "Because she's 16". I stared at him and then smiling I told him, "Some days she acts like she is." His response, "I know, I heard her with you before". little Z making an impression even on the doctor!

So outside of lots of rest, we have upped her water intake, upped her kefir, and she is taking a lot of Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, and Olive Leaf Concentrate. All in an effort to boost her immune system. She still seems very tired, but for the most part her fever has gone away. I'm thankful that the ER doctor thought to check her for mono, when our regular ped. did not as we could have had a very long weekend. Oh, and if you are wondering where the sore tummy came from, it was from a swollen spleen and liver, that were fighting off the mono.

I know this blog post is long, but I wanted to document it so that way if anyone ever has a child going through the same things as us, they can see that mono is a possibility. Even in someone as young as five!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Yurbuds Review

I am quickly approaching the big 3-0 (well not for another year, but yeah) and it is my desire to be in the best shape of my life at that time.

I started running about two years ago and quickly found out that this non-runner, was a runner after all. You know what, it was actually fun and good exercise. One thing that pushes me through any exercise is listening to music. However, I found that my ear buds would always fall out, which drives me insane.

That was before Yurbuds. Recently, I had the chance to have some of my friends and siblings over for a Yurbuds party. It has turned very cold here lately, and my treadmill is (uh hum) buried in a very messy room right now. So we had our party inside. :)

Included in each Yurbuds pack is the following:

Yurbuds Inspire for Women Sport Earphones
Yurbuds Inspire Sports Towel
Yurbuds Sweaty Band

In addition, there are tips on song choices, and an encouraging word from an ironman world champ, and lastly a LUNA bar for after your workout.

My whole group found that the Yurbuds were comfortable, stayed in no matter what (I had a kid pulling at me at one point and they still stayed in), and the sound was fantastic. I will say, several different people pointed out that it is hard to read which ear bud is the right and which one is the left, and the markings are very small.  I've used the sweaty band a few times now and find that it is perfect for holding back my shorter bangs. Although, maybe it's it's just my head shape, but it does slip off with lots of movement? The Inspire Towel is the perfect size to wipe off excess sweat during exercise.

Yurbuds are the only earphones with Twistlock Technology, guaranteed to never fall out! They are available at Target for $29.99, and are sweat and water-resistant. They also come in a great range of colors (blue, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and green).

Overall the group of girls I was with, and myself included, would not hesitate to recommend these.

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided for me by the company. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

{Just Write}

In my sleep induced haze, I step on the scale. That too high number flashes back at me and I feel the tears start to form and soon my cheeks are wet. Before I know it, a swear word slips from my mouth.


I never swear, but today I'm mad. Mad that my body doesn't want to do what it's suppose to do. Mad that I have to struggle with this when I work so hard. Mad that I eat right, I exercise, I drink about 100 ounces of water a day and my weight still doesn't go down. Mad that I've been on thyroid meds and they haven't done a damn thing for me. Mad that I can't be like others whose weight just effortlessly falls off of them. Mostly, I'm mad that two years ago I was in a healthy range and for some reason my body stopped working with me.

The tears won't stop.

I go about my day making gluten free bread, doing laundry, and teaching school. We take a break to decorate little pumpkins with markers. The utter joy on their faces brings a smile to mine.

I don't want them to see or feel this struggle inside me. I want them to know, that no matter what, they are beautiful. That healthy isn't a number on a scale, but rather a lifestyle. Yet I find myself asking how? Until I live it myself, they won't see it modeled.

Thus I'm determined to change. My attitude. My life. Their lives. I have no idea where to begin, but I will do it. So that even if that number on the scale never goes to where I want it to, I'm still living and demonstrating a healthy life for them and for myself. So that they can realize you have to love yourself first before change can begin.

The tears dry, the stains remain, but in their place is a steely determination to do what is right. To stop the obsession, stop the worry, and just live.

Just Write

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: East and West

I'm blessed to live where I can see a view to the west like this:

And a view to the east like this:

All on the same night!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Noonday Collection Review

I readily admit I am not much of a jewelry girl. I actually always just wore the same pair of small diamond stud earrings, my wedding ring, and one of about three gold necklaces I owned. That is until a few years ago when I realized that wearing jewelry can really "dress" a person up and can be fun. As a mama of three girls, I've struggled at times to still look young and cute. However, I've found that wearing jewelry really seems to help (or at least it does for me).

My friend Sarah contacted me awhile ago about a wonderful company called Noonday Collection. At first, I figured it was just another jewelry company. But in fact, they aren't just that. While they do sell jewelry, they also sell things like bags, scarves, and aprons.

But this review is not about what they sell.

Instead, it's really about what is behind the jewelry, scarves, bags, and more. As an adoptive mama, one of the hardest things I ever did was walk away from Xiomara's birth mom. In fact, I blogged about it on our adoption blog shortly after Xiomara was adopted. Chris and I have talked numerous times about how ideally if every woman who is pregnant and considering adoption had a stable job, there would be a lot less orphans in this world. I love adoption, but ultimately, with adoption comes loss. Loss for a birth mom, loss for the child. It leaves a gap in not just one life, but two. Noonday was started as a way to bridge that gap. You can read all about their story, but essentially the goal of the company is to provide jobs to women, so that they have a stable income to support their family. With a stable income, they are less likely to be forced to abandon their child. I fully support a company that is out there doing something to help other moms like Xiomara's!

I got the pleasure of receiving the violet necklace and bengali earrings. The necklace itself was made in Uganda and the earrings in India. One of my favorite parts of the website is that each item has a story behind who made it. In addition to the necklace and earrings, I was able to actually go to a trunk show that my friend Sarah had, and there I purchased the violet horn bracelet, which is also made in Uganda.

All three pieces are beyond beautiful! Not only are they beautiful, but they are also stylish! Another bonus is that they are quality made. One of my biggest fears with the earrings, were that they were going to be too heavy. My ears are sensitive and I can't handle much weight on them. However, I hardly noticed they were there. In fact, I was shopping in a store and a lady said to me, you look cute. I must have given her a confused look because she clarified saying she loved my earrings! I had forgotten they were even on!

Where To Buy

My friend Sarah is an ambassador for Noonday in the hopes that her and her daughter can raise money to go to Haiti and minister at the orphanage where her son was adopted from! What an awesome reason to support this company. Check out the full collection from Noonday here!

Also, as an adoptive mom, I wanted to make sure I mention that Noonday allows an ambassador who is adopting, to put a portion of their money earned toward their adoption. How I wish I had this option when we were adopting!

Overall, I am extremely impressed in this company, the jewelry, and the fair-trade they stand for! Think Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, or just a way to come together and support fellow women!

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided for me by the company. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.