Monday, May 21, 2018

Super soft, Peanut butter/Chocolate Chip cookies

This past week I found out that I tested positive for Mitral Valve Prolapse.
A genetic(highly hereditary) Heart abnormality. Mitral Valve Prolapse occurs when
 Leaflets of the mitral valve bulge (prolapse) into the heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) like a parachute during the heart's contraction.
Mitral valve prolapse sometimes leads to blood leaking backward into the left atrium, a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.In most people, mitral valve prolapse isn't life-threatening and doesn't require treatment or changes in lifestyle(Thankfully!...Just a pain in the butt!)
It's also known to cause anxiety in the patient, which results in rapid heart rate...also triggering the Mitral Valve Prolapse(vicious cycle)😳
My Cardiologist suggested changing up my diet & making sure I'm eating a lot of heart-healthy foods such as Olive oil, Honey, Oats, nuts, Fresh Fruits & Veggies well as taking a daily walk whenever possible(strenuous exercise can trigger it as well)
All that to say this...I've been changing up a few recipes here & there to make them compatible to the diet I'm supposed to follow.
Today is one of only 2 days that I know I'll be home for sure, & next week looks no different. 
I knew I needed to do some baking that I could freeze for the end of next week. We are starting out our summer vacation with a BANG!
The day after, the last day of school, we are headed out for a 4-day camping trip with husband's family.
Camping is mostly about the food, so I knew I wanted to have a little something something for snacking too 😜

I had about an hour before needing to take the kiddos to school, so I whipped these cookies up in no time at all.
without further ado...

3/4 Cup Olive oil
1 Cup Wildflower Honey
1 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Eggs, Beaten
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup dark chocolate chips
3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
-Bake at 350' till just golden brown(do not over-bake). Leave set on cookie sheet till slightly cooled.

You get a subtle hint of the olive oil, but mostly you just taste peanut butter & chocolate, & they are ever so soft. 

Whether  you're needing to be health conscious or not, this is a recipe you'll want to keep in rotation-I know I will πŸ˜‹

Monday, April 16, 2018

River's story

This morning was the 1st morning I drove this little boy to school without anxiety for what his day would be like...
For anyone who knows him well, knows that when he's feeling like himself,  he's sweet & caring, fiercely protective of his family & pets, affectionate & kind.

For the past year & a half though, we've struggled daily with terrible mood swings, behavioral issues, meltdowns & on occasion, downright meanness...

Most days, I couldn't wait to kiss him goodnight & be able to breathe, instead of holding my breath for the next meltdown or tantrum...The struggle was almost daily. I would watch him with tears in my eyes, knowing that this was somehow out of his control, but feeling so helpless, not knowing what he needed, or how to help him.
Getting him ready for school was a daily struggle. It didn't matter how much time we allotted, whether I laid out his clothes the night before...It didn't matter how much we prepared ourselves to avoid a meltdown, it was inevitable. There were even a few mornings I kept him home for the 1st half of the day, cause I knew he was in no state to be sent to school.
Church was a whole other story...If you've sat in front of us at church(or anywhere near us for that matter) at any time, you know that the slightest thing set him off & there would be an outburst.

I would get calls from coaches & teachers, wanting to discuss his behavior...

I'm so thankful though that that is not where his story ends!...

Here is the journey we went on, trying to figure out what we were dealing with...

About a year and a half ago, we started seeing behavior changes.

We tried any number of things to help him. One of them being Valerian root(A natural herb that has a calming affect on a childs nervous system), only to find out that he was allergic to it 😩
We tried Plexus(which helped some) but he hated it & it ended up being too strong for him, no matter how little we gave him.
We tested him for ADHD, The results were negative.
We were told by well-meaning people that maybe we weren't disciplining enough, or in the right way. We were told it's probably just a phase & he'll grow out of it.
We tried fish oil(good for the brain, focus & nervous system) which helps, & he's still using it-it just wasn't enough. 

At this point we were weary of trying new things.

We quit everything...

 I started researching behavior issues in children & what causes them.
The more I read, the more my gut was telling me we were dealing with Autism.
The behavior issues, the meltdowns, social issues...

I called his pediatrician, only to be told that that is probably the only thing he's not qualified to diagnose. We were given a referral to have him tested at Akron Children's Hospital.
Knowing he would be subjected to any number of tests, my heart was telling me he wouldn't be able to handle the testing emotionally.
We decided to check with our NMD(Natural Medical Dr.) to see if  she was able to pick up traits for Autism on the testing that she does...she could! 
Within 24 hours, I got the call, saying he tested very low for Autism(Thank you, God!!), but she noticed that his Blood sugar levels were extremely low.
We found out that abnormal blood sugar levels(whether high or low) are a HUGE factor in mood swings & behavior issues! I felt so naiveπŸ˜₯

She advised us to make that he gets lots of healthy proteins, & 5-6 smaller meals/snacks throughout the day. She also gave him herbal drops that help him manage his emotions if we do get to a place where hes not able to get a snack in when needed.

In just the last 48 hours, adding a few healthy snacks into his day, & supplementing with the drops, he's an entirely different child.
We were able to attend church yesterday, & Andy and I were able to sit through the entire service(including Sunday school & an extra long service) without taking him out once.
He woke up this morning, calm, sweet & snuggly. He ate a protein-packed breakfast & was able to get dressed without a meltdown(we were even rushed for time, so this was a miracle!)

We had no idea how rotten he was feeling due to his Blood sugar levels being so low, then when he'd eat a meal it would spike & have the opposite affect.
He was all over the place but couldn't explain why he was feeling the way he was.

All that, to say this... We have our sweet little man back. 
It took us nearly a year and a half to figure it out, but I thank God for leading us in the right direction & for giving us the wisdom needed to get him the care he needed.

If you have a child thats struggling. If your gut is telling you that it's not normal child behavior, don't let someone tell you that it's just a phase, or that you didn't discipline enough(or the right way), you know your child better than anyone else. 

Are there any other moms out there who've had a similar experience-I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The rantings of an old fashioned Mama

It's probably a good idea that I counted to a bazillion, & took a few very deep breaths before I started this post.
About an hour ago, I received the 2nd phone call this year, from the school superintendent saying, there has been another threat made towards the school where my babies attend.

I was immediately livid. Less than a month ago, it happened as well. Everything was kept hush-hush. No one found out who did it, or even if the child had any real consequences for having done it.
Fast forward 2-3 weeks & it's happening again, cause these kids aren't seeing that their peers have been given any consequences.


1ST...Kids nowadays are filled with junk food, preservatives, easy-fast food. They're bodies can't process all that crap, therefore it messes with their physical & brain health.

2ND...There is a severe lack of parenting in our society today. Parents are working their tails off to give their kids everything they didn't have themselves as kids, when in fact, THAT IS ALL THAT THEY NEED.

They need a parent to be there when they wake in the morning. They need a healthy breakfast before being sent off to school. They need a parent to greet them at the door when they get home, to sit around the table with them as they do their homework, & talk about the happenings of their day. Families need to be sitting around the dinner table, enjoying at least 1 meal a day together, discussing the happenings of the NEXT day & preparing the child to be successful, whatever that day may hold.
They need to be tucked into bed each night(my 14 year old still asks to be tucked in). The last thing they need to hear as they drift off to sleep, is that they are precious. They matter. They are important to you, & that you love them.

3RD...You aren't doing them any favors by not punishing them when they do wrong. Children need to know that you love them enough to discipline when necessary. They need rules, guidelines & structure. It helps them to feel safe, loved & cared for.

They need to believe in something. 

We believe that Jesus loves us enough that He died for our sins, He rose again & is interceding for us today, in Heaven. We read our Bibles & pray together with our children every night that we can before bed. Sometimes it gets loud & crazy, & everyone is talking at once., & we wonder how much they are actually retaining... but they are.

You might say that you don't believe in Christianity...I pray that you will, one day.
But even if you don't, you're children need to believe in YOU. They need to believe in LOVE.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Dawson's 14th Birthday!

Today our firstborn turns 14! ...About 2 more years to psych myself out, thinking of him getting his driver's license😳 
Husband took the 2 oldest boys & they're headed out to see all the new gadgets & products for outdoor sports, at the Sportsman show today.

This boy lives & breathes the outdoors. His favorite things to do are traipsing through the woods, looking for any type of creature to bring home & care for. 
Hes happiest with a fishing pole in hand. It doesn't matter whether he's fishing from the boat or off a bank.

This was a trophy catch this summer. He was fishing for musky & saw this one floating by, that had swallowed another fish & it got stuck in it's mouth & killed itself. Dawson claimed it stank something fierce, but he wasn't going to pass up a photo of something "so cool" 

This was a Bass he caught at his Grandpa's pond. He fished for this one a long time...It's also part of his Birthday gift(Andy is getting it mounted for him)

I love his adventurous spirit, his love for the outdoors, & the soft spot in his heart for animals...
...Except for maybe the puppies, whom he loves to tease mercilessly.

Goober 😁

His birthday supper request is Stromboli, with only pepperoni & cheese, topped with coarse garlic salt & seasonings(he was very specific)
And a "cake" stacked high with glazed donuts.

Happy Birthday, Dawson!! We love you like crazy!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


The 1st 4 posts I saw on Facebook this morning had to do with parenting. The highs, the lows, the WORK... 
Truthfully, those 1st 5-7 years feel a lot like boot camp. You teach, train & repeat until you think you might just lose your ever-loving mind. 
It is work, & it is hard...but it is so rewarding when you start to see that work pay off.

There are days when the house looks like Hurricane Harvey has blown through. Where you find 20 snack-size snickers wrappers beneath the sofa cushions while cleaning.
 Evenings where you walk into the bathroom, & find that a little Dachshund puppy has somehow managed to find it's way into the bathtub with 2 little boys(How did that get there?!) 😳

There are days when you simply get nothing done but feed, hold, kiss, & hug the little people.
Days where you feel like more of a referee, breaking up the latest brawl, than a Mom...

And then there are days when it clicks. All that teaching & training pays off-you get to reap the rewards. 
That something you've been teaching, finally makes sense & they GET IT.
The day you can make a job list & each child knows exactly how to do their specific jobs & the house gets cleaned in record time.
The day you can say, "go change out the laundry, please" & it gets done, just like you'd do it yourself... 

The day you see 2 or more kiddos snuggled up together, reading stories or watching a movie together(they DO love each-other), who knew?
When you catch an older sibling looking out for, or helping a younger sibling with something they're struggling with. Giving piggy-back rides, or coloring side by side...

All that, to say this...
Parenting is hard work. Period. It is also one of the most rewarding things you'll ever get a chance to do.
I don't claim to have all the answers. We have teenager, 1 yr. & counting, & another about to earn that title in a few months. We're entering a whole new stage of  uncharted territory.
Some days we'll get it right, & other days we will fail miserably...
Don't beat yourself up about it.
Some days we wonder, "What were we thinking" & other days we wonder how we'd ever survive without them...

It's time to wrap this up...there are cookies to bake, granola bars to make, & laundry to do. After all, well-fed kiddos seem to be the happiest kinds of kiddos.πŸ˜‹

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Asher's 5th Birthday

My baby is a whole handful of years old.
I'm letting that sink in for a little bit.

The children get to chose their Birthday dessert(it's not always cake)
Asher had very specific ideas for his cake.
It had to be homemade. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing, & Christmas sprinkles.

His Birthday meal included hot-dogs, cheesy noodles, chips & pretzels, & cake & ice-cream.

Hes so excited to go to school with his siblings next fall...
His Birthday wish-list included a backpack, basketball & fidget spinner for himself & one for his brother.

My dearest little man,
 My wish for you would be that you grow to love Jesus, more every day. That your heart would desire to serve Him as you grow. πŸŽ”

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Changes and New stages

The changes I see happening outside right now...the cooler temperatures, brightly colored leaves, the scent of fall all around me, the flavored coffees & pumpkin everything...

Just as the weather is changing, so is our family...Just as Autumn is my most favorite time of year, I feel as if this may be my most favorite stage in life as well.

The baby toys have long ago been garage sale-d or taken to the nearest thrift fact, the younger ones rarely play with toys at all. They want to do what the big kids do. Legos, Sports, etc...

Disney Jr. & Sprout have been dubbed "baby shows"...Looney Tunes, Wild Kratts & Dude Perfect are preferred.

I can no longer shop in the toddler section for clothes...I can't even shop in the Jr.s for the 2 oldest(crazy!)...

...And then theres school. 
We started them all out as home-schoolers this year(I'd never had all 5 at home during the school year). I realized very quickly, that I had taken on much more than I could handle and by stretching myself so badly, I was doing them a disservice.
Firstborn decided to finish school at home(he will likely graduate early-one of the perks of home-school) He has his heart set on getting out there, getting a job & making some money...The others are all back in public school again, and I'm realizing that this is okay too.(they're loving it!) New Grade Middle school...Big changes!

This Fall, the 2 oldest will be joining Jr. Youth activities...The youngest is actively participating in pre-school more babies on my lap during Sunday School...

I'm loving the big conversations I get to have with them(the older ones especially) The way their hearts are becoming sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The discussions that follow our evening Bible reading...

We also get to talk about some of the things that aren't so much fun. Like body changes, drugs, sex, and pornography...These are the hard ones. This is where we beg God for wisdom, we ask Him to guide us as we prepare our children for the world that we live in...Above all else, we pray they love Jesus, love people, and show kindness-Always.

Heres to big kids...big changes...& big conversations!